Friday, April 26, 2019

The Call to Worship - Preface

My latest book, The Call to Worship, has just been released and will be available on Amazon by May 1, 2019, in both print and Kindle formats. I hope you read it. If you do, please send comments. My e-mail address is included in the book, or you can leave them here.

The Call to Worship


After completing my first book on worship, The Names of God, I began looking for material for writing. Our church had a school of ministry at that time and I had accumulated a list of potential topics for classes that I could teach. As I began reviewing the list it came to me that it would make a great book.

I began writing on the various topics, not really knowing where it would lead. The end result was a trilogy of books on the subject of worship. This is the first. It’s a simple look at what it means to be a Christian.

Every person born has a call from God to become like His Son, Jesus. The first step, of course, is to become a Christian. That restores relationship to the Father. That, however, is only the beginning. Worship is the life of every Believer.

I challenge you to spend time evaluating each aspect of worship mentioned. The chapters are short, but hopefully your time spent in application will be long and fruitful.

The remaining books in the trilogy will be out later this year. I hope you read them as you pursue The Call.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Praise, Worship, and Other Things – Part 5

Part of a series of articles published in our church newsletter.

What do you think the Bible means when it says, “sing a new song”? “Sing to him a new song; play skillfully on the strings, with loud shouts.” Psalm 33:3 (ESV) There are several examples of “new songs” given to us in scripture. Most come after an encounter with God, such as when Moses led Israel through the Red Sea to escape Pharaoh’s army. “Then Moses and the people of Israel sang this song to the LORD, saying, …” Exodus 15:1 (ESV)

One of the most significant “new songs” came from Mary after her encounter with Elizabeth in Luke 1. This passage has since been named The Magnificat, but when Mary began singing it was simply her heart expressing the full emotion of what God was doing inside of her. She was about to give birth to the Messiah!

We see this will continue in eternity. Revelation 5:9 and 14:3 says, “They sang a new song …” So if it has been going on basically from the beginning of time, and will continue into eternity, what about now? I believe we should be singing “new songs” right now! Most of us do not consider ourselves to be composers in the proper sense, but each of us has a song to sing. Just like Mary, each Believer is called to “give birth” to Jesus in our life, to reveal Him to our world. Some of these expressions may actually become songs, but most are simply displays of emotion brought on by what God is doing inside of us.

Let your song be heard. “Sing” to your world the Good News that Jesus loves you. Let others hear your “Magnificat” as you go through your day being light and love to those you meet along the way.



Monday, April 8, 2019

Praise, Worship, and Other Things – Part 4

When you mention prophecy most immediately picture some old, rough looking guy screaming on a street corner, “Hear ye, hear ye, the word of the Lord!” This may resemble the way prophecy was used in the Old Testament, but it has drastically changed since Jesus came.

New Testament prophetic ministry is very different from the Old Testament prophet. In the Old Testament the Holy Spirit “came on” people to empower them to do the Lord’s bidding. After Jesus was crucified, He rose from the dead, and ascended to Heaven where He was seated at the right hand of the Father. He then fulfilled His promise to send “another comforter” (John 14:16), the Holy Spirit, to fill the Believer. Since the Day of Pentecost the ministry of the Holy Spirit is no longer external but internal because He abides “in” the believer.

Now we are empowered to be witnesses of the resurrection of Jesus by the inward presence of the Holy Spirit. Paul describes some of the workings of the Holy Spirit in 1 Corinthians 12 – 14. He specifically describes New Testament prophetic ministry. “On the other hand, the one who prophesies speaks to people for their upbuilding and encouragement and consolation.” 1 Corinthians 14:3 (ESV) This is the essence of what occurs during our corporate worship.

When we engage in praise (speaking about God) it “builds up” the other Believers in the room. It “encourages” them when we begin to boast about our God and all that He has done. When we sing of Heaven it brings “consolation” to those who have lost loved ones, or who themselves may be facing death.

When we worship, just like the woman with the alabaster box (Matthew 26), it exalts Jesus so everyone is drawn to Him. “Then I fell down at his feet to worship him (the angel), but he said to me, ‘You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God.’ For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” Revelation 19:10 (ESV) This, too, is prophetic in nature.

From this you can see a little more about New Testament prophetic ministry. It is in essence speaking a word in due season, in the moment, that brings glory to God and exalts Jesus. When we praise and worship we engage in the prophetic. The end result of our corporate praise and worship should resemble what Paul described in Ephesians. “…  be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.” Ephesians 5:18-21 (ESV)

Unity is the purpose of New Testament prophetic ministry of the Holy Spirit.

Monday, April 1, 2019

Praise, Worship, and Other Things – Part 3

(This is the third part of a six part series recently published in our church newsletter.)

Just about everything I hear reminds me of a song. Music has been a big part of my life as far back as I can remember. There are many things I love about music. The thing I find most helpful are the lyrics. There are times when emotions are stirred and we cannot seem to find words to express fully what we feel on the inside. Songs help us by providing those words.

One of the benefits of corporate worship is it gets the entire congregation saying the same thing. When we lift up our voices to lyrics that exalt the Lord it brings us into a place of unity. Music has a way of penetrating our heart. This quote from St. Augustine sums things up very nicely: “Words find their way to the heart and mind more effectively when sung than when said, for there is a hidden kinship between the soul and music.”

This is why we should sing scripture. Putting the Bible to song feeds our spirit and helps us in our communion with the Lord. When you add to that the dynamic of corporate worship, the Church grows in their relationship with the Lord, and with each other. Our differences are minimized when the presence of the Lord is maximized.

I hope that songs we sing in our gatherings come back to you during the week. I hope when you face a circumstance that is challenging the lyrics to songs come to mind that will bring faith to help you stand. Or, perhaps when you have a victory and want to give thanks to the Lord, songs from our times in worship will help give voice to the feelings you have as you praise God.