With Everything

Hudson, my 14 month old, has already experienced a plethora of emotions.  Trust me.  There have been times where he wants nothing but to be held by his mom.  So much so that he just whimpers at her feet with both of his little hands extended toward her.  As of lately, we have been watching a lot of Royals baseball.  If the boys in blue make a big defensive play, or one of them hits a home run, we unashamedly clap and shout at the TV (don’t judge us).  

Outward expressions are merely natural responses to life experiences.  We don’t shout for our favorite team because that’s what we’re supposed to do -we do it because we care (sometimes, a little too much) about what just happened out on the field.  We don’t mourn for the death of a friend because it’s some sort of “unwritten rule.”  We weep because our emotions naturally lead us to when we have lost someone that we dearly love.

It would be backwards not to express the joys and sorrows that well up when our intellects collide with our emotions.

Is it not strange then to sing about how holy God is and how much we adore him with our hands in our pockets as we yawn the words?  It does not seem fitting to praise the God who raised our spiritually dead, hell-bound lives back to life with a straight face and our arms folded.  

Author and worship leader Stephen Miller writes on this subject.

King David, the innovator of music in corporate worship, wrote hundreds of songs for the purpose of engaging the mind, heart and body in worship. He understood that posture is an outward expression of an inward reality. Our body naturally acts the way our hearts feel. So we see encouragements throughout scripture to bow humbly, raise hands joyfully, shout and sing loudly, clap hands and even dance before the Lord. This must have felt very awkward to the people of the day, who had never seen anything like this before.

Worship is a response.  God’s people have and will forever respond to God’s goodness.  It really is that simple. God is good in unique ways, so we respond uniquely -clapping, singing, shouting, dancing, kneeling, and even weeping as we ponder the mercies of our Savior King.  It must be said that the simplicity of worship can easily get complicated.  Our silly preferences over styles of music can cause quarrels and create barriers, but we must find a way to worship because God created us to enjoy (worship) Him.  The foundation of our worship will never be our whimsical preferences.  In fact, if our nit picky desires for a certain style of music creates a barrier to our worship of God Most High, then we aren’t worshipping Him, we are worshipping ourselves.  The only way we will truly worship comes through receiving the good news of the gospel -Christ crucified in our place, and raised from the dead to give us new life (see John 14:6, and 1 Cor. 15:3-4).  The Person and work of Jesus is what we are responding to.  In Christ we have enough grace to be saved from the wrath to come, and enough grace to be sustained in the day to day grind of worshipping God in all circumstances.  Jesus is the Author and Perfecter of our faith (Heb. 12:2). So don’t get caught up thinking about what you look like when you’re singing on Sunday mornings.  Get caught up thinking about the One who saved you from your sin, and worship Him with everything.

“Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory” (1 Peter 1:8).

not lofty words of wisdom, just the plain and simple gospel

I’m in the middle of a YouVersion Bible reading plan in the book of Galatians.  It’s a six day devotional taken from Timothy Keller’s book, “Galatians for You.”  Everything I have read/listened to from Keller is dynamite -I highly recommend his ministry to you.  On day two of the plan, Keller poses the simple question, “How would you  explain the gospel message to a friend?”  This is a question we should all think through, because this is a message we should all share.  Here’s how I answered it in my journal, how would you answer it?

The gospel is good news that speaks into our horrible predicament.  The God who created everything is holy.  He is perfectly just and right in all he does.  Since we have all sinned against this holy God, we have earned the judgement of God -eternal death.  This is our horrible predicament.  The gospel is the good news that Jesus, God’s only Son, willingly stepped into our sinful mess to bring us out of it.  He gave His very life as a substitute for ours.  Jesus paid the total cost for sin’s penalty when God crushed Him on the cross.  After three days in the grave, Jesus rose again giving power to all of God’s promises.  This is the good news.  We have the gift of slavation at the high cost of Jesus life.  Nothing we do can add to or take away from this gift, we must only receive it.

I read this quote today out of Stephen Miller’s book, “Worship Leaders We Are Not Rockstars,” and just had to share it.  Here Miller quotes G.K. Chesterton who speaks to the creative nature of God.

It might be true that the sun rises regularly because he never gets tired of rising. His routine might be due, not to a lifelessness, but to a rush of life. The thing I mean can be seen, for instance, in children, when they find some game or joke that they specially enjoy. A child kicks his legs rhythmically through excess, not absence, of life. Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, “Do it again”; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, “Do it again” to the sun; and every evening, “Do it again” to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we. The repetition in Nature may not be a mere recurrence; it may be a theatrical ENCORE.

Excerpt From: G. K. Chesterton. “Orthodoxy.”

The Main Intent
For as long as I can remember, I thought being obedient to God and seeking to find happiness and joy were two different roads.  I knew that God loved me and sent Jesus to die for me, but that was just to pay for my sin, right?  I thought that the cross of Christ was mainly about a legal transaction.

Now it must be said that we are in fact justified by faith alone for the glory of God alone.  Jesus’ death on the cross was the literal payment for our sin.  He absorbed all of God’s wrath that I deserved because of my trespasses, and by trusting in Jesus’ work on the cross, God declares me righteous -not according to my righteousness, but according to the righteousness of Jesus that is now mine through the gospel (is this a run-on sentence? Nah).  Romans 8:1 promises that for those in Christ Jesus, there is no condemnation.  This is great news!

But is this the point?  

I’m not trying to question the gift of God’s Son, I just have to know what the intent of God’s gift is.  I feel like there are way too many people who think, act, and relate to God like I used to (and still at times slip into).  We think, act, and live like the main reason Jesus died is so that we don’t have to go to hell.  But if this is the main reason, what do you do with all the other verses in the Bible?

  •  “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4).
  • “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:11).
  • All Scripture is God’s Word, but this next promise comes straight from the mouth of Jesus, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10).

The Devil would have us believe that happiness is found outside of God, but God is like a bottomless ocean of joy.  Happiness is only found in God.  Satan tempts us.  He offers us sin which disguises itself to be true happiness, and after we partake in it we wonder why we aren’t satisfied.  It’s like we are chasing a shadow but never finding the substance that casts the shadow.  You see, Satan doesn’t have the market on joy, God does.  God offers us eternal pleasure in his presence.  The brilliant C.S. Lewis says it better than I ever could, “It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”

Can you see it?  Jesus didn’t die on the cross for you and I to just have a “get out of hell free card.”  Jesus death rescues us from the pits of hell so that we could access and enjoy the glory of God.  He died to justify us, in order to adopt us (1 John 3:1).  By the grace of God I’m beginning to see that Lord’s path of life, and the path to happiness and joy are same path.  Jesus died to bring us to God in order that we might enjoy a life spent worshipping, treasuring, and cherishing him.  Do you see it?  Jesus is the fountain from which all joy flows.  The point of his life, death, and resurrection, is to give us full access to the fountain of joy himself.  I plead with you.  Quit trying to quench your thirst from the broken cisterns of this world, and start drinking from the eternal fountain himself.  This is where true happiness is found.  This is where God’s glory is displayed.  This is the main intent of the Bible.

CROSSPOINT WEEKEND WORSHIP PREVIEW | October 20, 2013

The weekend worship service is all and only about glorifying God, through finding our utmost joy in God, growing in our understanding of him, and learning the desires of his heart.  One of the primary means of loving God is by letting his Word, namely the gospel, dwell in us richly.  Colossians 3:16 gives us this command, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”  This weekend worship preview serves to help the word of Christ dwell in you richly at all times, and to give you a taste of how I pick songs for the church I get to lead worship at.

“Come Thou Fount” – Public Domain
(Call to Continued Worship/Adoration)

“Prone to wander, Lord I feel it, prone to leave the God I love…”  We all come together on Sunday morning from different spots on the map geographically, emotionally, and spiritually.  As we gather we remember that even when we wander, God is faithful to draw us back.  This song helps us to fix our eyes in the right place and to tune our hearts to the One worthy of our praise.

“Never Once” – Matt Redman
(Assurance of God’s Providence)

Since the beginning of creation, God has been making promises that he always keeps.  The New Testament tells us that “all the promises of God find their ‘Yes’ in Christ” (2 Cor. 1:20).  Through all of life we can cling to God’s promise to sustain, provide, and walk along side us, no matter what trials we face.  As a church we declare, “Never once did we ever walk alone, never once did you leave us on our own.  You are faithful; God you are faithful!”

“Before the Throne of God Above” – Shane and Shane
(Assurance of Salvation through the Gospel)

“When Satan tempts me to despair and tells me of the guilt within, upward I look and see Him [Jesus] there, who made an end of all my sin.  Because a sinless Savior died, my sinful soul is counted free; for God, the Just, is satisfied to look on Him and pardon me.”  This is the gospel.  Christ is the measure of God’s love, and anyone who is in Christ has no condemnation (Romans 8:1).

“Build Your Kingdom Here” – Rend Collective
(Song of Mission & Sending)

“Come set your rule and reign in our hearts again…” When God rules our lives, we live differently than the rest of the world.  We will with conviction, direction, and purpose infuses all that we do -to glorify God in every facet of our lives.  God didn’t save us to kill time just listening to Christian music, or to join multiple Bible studies.  God saves us so we can join him in his mission -to build his kingdom here in Salina and around the globe.

CROSSPOINT WEEKEND WORSHIP PREVIEW | SEPTEMBER 29, 2013

The weekend worship service is all and only about glorifying God, through finding our utmost joy in God, growing in our understanding of him, and learning the desires of his heart.  One of the primary means of loving God is by letting his Word, namely the gospel, dwell in us richly.  Colossians 3:16 gives us this command, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”  This weekend worship preview serves to help the word of Christ dwell in you richly at all times, and to give you a taste of how I pick songs for the church I get to lead worship at.

“Here For You” – Matt Redman
(Call to Continued Worship/Adoration)

As created beings, we exist for our Creator.  ”Here for You” calls us to remember that we exist for the continued worship of Jesus Christ.  Join creation’s song with us as we “welcome [God] with praise” Sunday morning!

“Never Once” – Matt Redman
(Assurance of Faith)

Since the beginning of creation, God has been making promises that he always keeps.  The New Testament tells us that “all the promises of God find their ‘Yes’ in Christ” (2 Cor. 1:20).  Through all of life we can cling to God’s promise to sustain, provide, and walk along side us, no matter what trials we face.  As a church we declare, “Never once did we ever walk alone, never once did you leave us on our own.  You are faithful; God you are faithful!”

“Cornerstone” – Hillsong United
(Union With Christ)

As we just declared in “Never Once,” we will not be left or forsaken by our God.  We have hope that is built on something solid, the gospel of Jesus Christ.  ”Cornerstone” takes the old Hymn “On Christ the Solid Rock,” and adds the following chorus: “Christ alone, cornerstone, weak made strong in the Saviors love.  Through the storm, he is Lord -Lord of all!”  What a great God we worship!  What a great Savior we adore!  What a great hope we have that transcends our circumstances.  Because of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, we have union with God.  It’s good for us to revel in that union and celebrate the relationship with God that Christ has made right once and for all.

“Forever Reign” – Hillsong United
(Song of Mission & Sending)

We have been saved to be sent.  We have gathered as the church to scatter as the church in our community.  We take the hope we have received to those who desperately need it, and we do it for the name and fame of Jesus who deserves to be worshipped by all!  ”Light of the world, forever reign!”

CROSSPOINT WEEKEND WORSHIP PREVIEW | SEPTEMBER 1, 2013

The weekend worship service is all and only about glorifying God, through finding our utmost joy in God, growing in our understanding of him, and learning the desires of his heart.  One of the primary means of loving God is by letting his Word, namely the gospel, dwell in us richly.  Colossians 3:16 gives us this command, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”  This weekend worship preview serves to help the word of Christ dwell in you richly at all times, and to give you a taste of how I pick songs for the church I get to lead worship at.

“Your Love is Strong” – Jon Foreman
(Call to Continued Worship)

This contemporary take on the Lord’s Prayer is a perfect song for us to gather on.  Casting our agendas, worries, and cares on Jesus should be a daily practice for us as believers.  As one church body, we unite under cause of Christ.  “Our God in heaven, hallowed by Thy name above all names!  Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven!”

“In My Place” – Matt Boswell
(Corporate Confession)

Sin is a terrible thing.  The nature of sin is selfishness.  It pushes others away, and puts barriers up that can ruin relationships, tear apart families, and ultimately separate us from the presence of God.  BUT there is a hope.  There is one hope.  One hope for restoration and reconciliation, one hope that we might spend eternity with God and not separated from him.  This one hope hinges on the Person and work of Jesus Christ, namely the death he died in our place, for our sin.  2 Corinthians 5:21 says, “For our sake [God the Father] made [God the Son] to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”  That’s good news.  The death Jesus died, he died for our sin, so that the life we live can be lived for God.  We sing, “Hallelujah!  What a Savior!”

“In Christ Alone” – Stuart Townend
(Communion)

Reminding ourselves of the salvation that Christ wrought through his life, death, and resurrection should cause joy, peace, and humble adoration to well up inside of us.  ”What heights of love!  What depths of peace!  When fears are stilled, when strivings cease.  My Comforter, my All in all, here in the love of Christ I stand.”

“Christ Is Risen” – Matt Maher
(Song of Sending)

While the center of Christ’s work takes place on the cross when he exchanged his righteousness for our sin, we must live in light of the resurrection.  I heard a pastor once say, Jesus death was the payment for our sin and his resurrection gave us the receipt.  If Jesus didn’t rise from the dead, how would be know if he actually paid for our sin?  How would we know that we are forgiven and free?  We wouldn’t!  BUT thanks be to God that Christ is indeed risen!  We have great cause to celebrate.  We have great cause to live each and every day.  “O death, where is your sting?  O hell, where is your victory?  O Church, come stand in the light -our God is not dead, He’s alive!  He’s alive!”