I Double Dog Dare You

I remember it was in between the first and second service when the worship pastor pulled out a flip chart in the center of the worship team. It was not what I was expecting. Normally we do this thing where everyone checks in and tells what God is doing in their life.

He said to us, he wanted to do something a little different because he cared about our relationship with God.

He drew a circle. He placed an x inside the circle. He placed another one outside the circle.  He said many people do church like this.  The X on the inside represented people who came to church regular. Served and participated. They were doing good works. They were checking things off the list of the things they had been taught to do. 

People on the outside of the circle were not into serving or coming every time the church was open. They were not considered one of the in-crowd people. They were thought to be far away from God.

On the other side he wrote God. He put an x close, then one far away. He drew arrows pointing the x toward God. He said it is not so much that we are serving but serving is good. He asked are you doing what you are doing with a heart for Jesus or checking things off a list?

He asked if we had a heart for the things God has a heart for. It was more than coming to church every Sunday. It was more than serving and giving. It was about what kind of heart do we have for God. What heart motives our relationship with God?

He challenged us to check our heart’s motives. Is our life and service drawing us closer to God?

As a result, I have been asking God about my heart towards Him. He has been answering. I have found him in places I wouldn’t have under ordinary circumstances. In revisiting old things, He has shown me Himself in a new way.

This past week, I watched the movie Paul, the Apostle of Christ again. One thing this movie does well for me, is shows how to love in a hard space. Watching Christians being burned alive or sent to face wild animal attacks in Nero’s circus reminded me that true Christians never have it easy.  Yet what absolutely sold me was the word of God being an active participant.

Now the only thing that changed in my second viewing of this film is me. I watched as Paul continued to stress this love. I still don’t understand it, but I know it is important to God.

My challenge to you is that there is something stirring deep within you. Ask the Holy Spirit to change your heart for Him.  God has promised that his love is longer, deeper, wider, and much higher than anything we can imagine. There have been moments this week His love has taken me into the stratosphere.  There have been some moments when it just wrecked me. His love is great.

I double dog dare you to ask God to show you His love.

James C Lewis, an international photographer, created a series of images of people from the Bible.  I was inspired by his images and have drawn the ones that I like the most. This month we will turn back time follow some of mt favorite bible people. The first one is Jesus.

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Public Worship Personal Praise

This morning I was more late than usual. I arrived in time to sit on one of the back rows and hear the praise team rehearse the last song. I didn’t play with my phone or talk to the person sitting close to me. I just listened to them rehearse.  Soon I started singing with them cause I liked the song.

As I listened to the words of the song, I got into it.  The words resonated with my spirit. I sat in the dark sanctuary having my own worship session. Then the Holy Spirit nudged me to stand up, throw my arms up and praise Him.  Now the room was empty except for a dozen or so people preparing for the service. I mean I would be the only one physically worshipping during the rehearsal.  Pretty sure I would catch some strange looks.

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But I did it anyway! (I mean David’s praise when they brought the ark back has always been my model. He didn’t care who watched. His praise was meant for God. ) I loved it. My private praise and worship session was now public.  Everyone would know that the love of God could slay me at any moment in time. I did not look around to see if anyone watched me, I just looked up to the one I was praising.

After the rehearsal, the worship leader said to me “You were getting into that.”  I told him, he lead that thang! Always appreciate someone who can lead you to the throne of God. I have learned that not all people who lead worship know God.

During the services, when we sang the song in community, it took the worship to a whole nother level for me. The Holy Spirit’s sweet sweet nature filled the room.  I saw Him (The Holy Spirit) in the singers and band on the stage. I saw Him in the uplifted hands of the audience. I felt Him in me. My tears fell with every word.

Praising Hands

I pray that each of you will invite the Holy Spirit to fill your worship so you may experience His sweetness beyond description. I want you to have that indescribable moment with God that fills your spirit, stretches you beyond your flesh and mind. It will transcend time and space and let you know that God loves you very much.

There should come a moment in your life when you realize that even if you gave the Lord every ounce of your being, it wouldn’t be enough to make up for all He has given you.  And He doesn’t hold it against you. When you accept His grace, it will lead you to worship in spirit and truth.

There is nothing like it.

Knowing What You Are Called To Do

Have you ever had someone say something you know, but once they say it it actually becomes clear? What I love about my relationship with God is that  He doesn’t just say something to me, He gives me a full 3D experience to make sure I get it.

The speaker said “We are not called to be successful. We are called to be obedient.”

This word encouraged me to the point I almost shouted right there! God used my whole weekend to make this point.

Sometimes when we are doing things we were called to do we have a goal in mind, but it is not the same goal as God’s.  There is a feeling that if He calls me to it, He is going to make me successful in it. Sometimes all He wants from us is to show up. We assume that He calls us to places to win the big prize or make the big deal.

Saturday started with me finishing last in a 5K.  I mean the very last person to walk across the finish line. When I finally caught up with the police officer  who managed the traffic for the race, I asked if he was afraid I was going to jump on his bike and ask for a ride because he pulled off everytime I got close. He laughed and went on home.  I kept walking. I finished the race. (Now I wasn’t trying to win, but I later learned that I was not called to be successful, just to be obedient.) Somedays it is about us showing up.

2018 5K

No matter how many things are on my agenda for the day I still have to manage my business. Later that evening I sat down with my marketing plan and saw there were some holes in it.  Usually, I would get frustrated and chuck it. I would look for something else or contact a consultant.  But I came to a better understanding that I was not called to be successful, just obedient.  Somedays it is about showing up.

This statement reminds me that God’s plan doesn’t look like man’s plans.  As long as I am obedient, I am moving in the right direction. My obedience is success in God’s plan. You have to learn to listen to God and not all the people around you sending you in the wrong direction.

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Finally, this evening as I was standing in a hallway, I watched a little boy have a melt down while the adults around him didn’t know what to do. The adult in me said leave those people alone, I don’t have a dog in this hunt. But the Holy Spirit who is quite familiar with me, said you know what needs to happen.

So his father put the little boy down after I asked if we could pray.  After seven years as a children’s leader, you know how to listen for the Spirit speaking to you.  You see this morning the pastor taught us that we are all in a struggle and God is waiting to rescue us.  We just have to give Him our struggles.

I don’t know if the little one will understand what we prayed for, but I know that success was not my goal. It was being obedient to the Holy Spirit. The God I love gave me all of these expereinces that mean one thing on earth, but something different in heaven. This will be a year of letting the outcomes go.  You see He didn’t call me to be successful. He called me to be obedient.

1 Samuel 15:22