Thursday, August 28, 2014

Where will we turn?

We've all been in situations where we've felt, maybe even known, that the odds were stacked against us.  In those moments, we make a decision...Where will we turn?  King Asa was in an overwhelming situation and his response is a great example to us.

2 Chronicles 14:11 - And Asa cried to the LORD his God, “O LORD, there is none like you to help, between the mighty and the weak.  Help us, O LORD our God, for we rely on you, and in your name we have come against this multitude.  O LORD, you are our God; let not man prevail against you.”

Back story…Asa is the king of Judah.  At this point in time, Israel and Judah have split into two kingdoms with 2 tribes in Judah and the other 10 tribes in Israel.  During this time of separation, there were many kings that would follow after other gods and not follow after the way of the Lord.  However, Asa, “did what was right in the sight of the LORD and followed in his ways”.  Asa, followed God and trusted him to help him lead the people of Judah.  God gave Judah ten years of peace during his reign.  After that ten years, a huge army from Ethiopia came up to attack Judah.  Before battle, the king would always call out to God in a prayer; verse 11 is that prayer before this battle.  God went before the army of Judah and destroyed the entire army of the Ethiopians.  So…

It would be quite easy to see that Asa felt overwhelmed by the challenge that was before him.  He had some great and mighty warriors on his side, but he was facing a massive army, almost two times larger than his own.  All of us, at some point, have felt the weight of being overwhelmed by the situation(s) in front of us.  In those moments, we make a pivotal decision…Where will we turn?

When we make the decision to turn to our vices, our own strength, or whatever brings us some sort of temporary comfort, we fall immediately to defeat.  I’m sure that Asa had a plan and had his men set out strategically.  We read in verse eight that he had a lot of men of might and valor…these were words used to describe the baddest of the bad in biblical warrior terms.  However, plans and preparation are not where Asa placed his complete trust.  He placed his trust in the LORD.  

“O LORD, there is none like you to help, between the mighty and the weak.  Help us, O LORD our God, for we rely on you…”  That last phrase is so powerful!  Our every breath is reliant upon God’s power to sustain it.  We are held together by his very will.  He is unstoppable.  Nothing is impossible for him.  He is our greatest source of comfort, strength, and peace.  He is the first place that we should turn when we feel overwhelmed by our circumstances, whatever they may be.  “…we rely on you…”  What an amazing cry for help and a comforting place to find hope!

Pray that scripture this week…pray it everyday!  Especially in the moments that you feel overwhelmed.  “O LORD, there is none like you to help, between the mighty and the weak.  Help us, O LORD our God, for we rely on you…”   I pray that each of us would look to the Lord for our strength and our help; for truly, he is the only source that really works.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The "WHY" behind our worship...

Coming out of the weekend of our Night of Worship at Fellowship of the Parks, I wanted to share a bit about the "why" behind our worship.  This passage from Psalms displays it quite beautifully.

Psalm 96: 1-13 - Oh sing to the LORD a new song; sing the the LORD, all the earth!  Sing to the LORD, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day.  Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples!  For great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; he is to be feared above all gods.  For all the gods of the peoples are worthless idols, but the LORD made the heavens.  Splendor and majesty are before him; strength and beauty are in his sanctuary.  Ascribe to the LORD, O families of the peoples, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength!  Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; bring an offering, and come into his courts!  Worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness; tremble before him, all the earth!  Say among the nations, “The LORD reigns!  Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved; he will judge the peoples with equity.”  Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; let the sea roar, and all that fills it; let the field exult, and everything in it!  Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy before the LORD, for he comes, for he comes to judge the earth.  He will judge the world in righteousness, and the peoples in his faithfulness.

This psalm, hymn, song, or whatever musical notation you want to give it, sums up the “why” behind our worship.  It give us a clear picture of who God is and why he deserves our worship.  It also gives some foreshadowing to God’s plan salvation and how we are called to share that Good News through our worship.

In Psalm 96, we see three different commands:

1) SING. We are told to sing and declare the glory and majesty of God, to declare his marvelous works that he has done.  All you have to do is look around creation and even your life to see the marvelous works that God has done.  His glory and majesty are stamped all over every aspect of his creation!  In the line, “sing to the Lord, all the earth!”, the Gentiles (or non-Jews…that’s us) are being invited to sing along and join in the salvation that God offers.  There’s foreshadowing into God’s plan to bring salvation to all the world through Jesus.

2) ASCRIBE (OR ACKNOWLEDGE). When we acknowledge how great and powerful God is, it makes it much easier to take on a position of worship.  If I think I’m high and mighty, I’m likely not going to be bowing down and submitting my life and will over.  Acknowledging God for who he is, helps us acknowledge ourselves for who we are.  We are broken, weak, and undisciplined.  We need a Savior God who is strong and able to heal our brokenness.  Our acknowledgment of who God is, helps us live lives of worship.  It allows us to show others around us what and who is most important to us.

3) SAY. This one in a way goes right along with “ascribe”.  This however, is the action to that acknowledgement.  When we say with our lives, “The LORD reigns!”, we are saying that God is the King of my life.  He controls my steps, gives me strength, and I trust Him and have faith in him.  

We sing, ascribe, acknowledge.  In other words, we worship.  We worship because he is worthy of our worship.  We are commanded as Christ followers to worship because, just like the Israelites, our worship proclaims to the world the greatness of God.  Our lives of worship, the songs in our hearts, tell of the hope of Christ.  The good news that there is hope in Jesus and that He is enough.  

Big takeaway's: SING.  Sing loudly and let the music speak to your heart as your pour out your prayers via music to your God.  ASCRIBE.  Acknowledge God for the mighty, powerful, and just God that he is.  That creates awe and worship.  SAY.  Live a life of worship and tell others about how God has transformed and changed your life.

I pray that each of us would ask God to examine our hearts and worship him for all that he is!

Friday, August 15, 2014


With a big Night of Worship approaching at Fellowship of the Parks, I thought it would be great to share one of the greatest "call to worship" passages in Scripture.  In the very last Psalm, we are commanded to worship and praise God with everything that is in us...and to do so...loudly!

Psalm 150 - Praise the LORD!  Praise God in his sanctuary, praise him in his mighty heavens!  Praise him for his mighty deeds; praise him according to his excellent greatness!  Praise him with the trumpet sound; praise him with the lute and harp!  Praise him with the tambourine and dance, praise him with strings ad pipe!  Praise him with sounding cymbals, praise him with loud clashing cymbals! Let everything that has breath praise the LORD!  Praise the LORD!

"Praise the LORD!", is not only a declaration, but a command.  As Christ followers, we are commanded to give God the glory that he is due.  Why wouldn't we?  Think of how he has blessed us and all that he has done for us.  He has set us apart to know his salvation and the satisfying joy of having a relationship with him.  He has shared the glory of creation with us.  He has invited us to be a part of his story of reconciling the world to himself.  The list could go on and on.  This great God is so worthy of our praise, our adoration, our song, our worship!

In the last few verses of that passage, I hear the Psalmist saying, "Plug in the electric guitars, crank the amps, push the faders, slap da bass, crash the cymbals, and beat the drums!  Lift your hands, fall to your knees, lift your voice as loud as you possibly can.  Why?  Because our God is worthy of our praise!  Worship with your entire being!"

I want to share with you a video talking about the power of music, the song, and worship.  CLICK HERE.

I want to invite you to join us at one of our DFW campus locations Sunday night, August 17, at 6pm. Haslet | Grapevine | Keller  Even if you can't join us, I pray that wherever you may find to worship, that you will let yourself go and worship our God fully for all that he is worth.  I pray that if you are on the journey to faith, or even if you are far from it, that God would pull the strings of your heart to see that we all worship something, and that we are most fulfilled when we worship him.  

Worship Him...LOUDLY!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Setting the bar...

It's likely that most of us have heard sermons, talks, podcasts, etc. on giving to the church.  That topic has become somewhat of a stigma for my generation (mid 20's to mid-to-late 30's).  Perhaps it's because we've seen poor stewardship of the church?  Perhaps it's because we know we are being disobedient and should be giving faithfully of our time and resources, but we aren't.  Maybe it's because we think "we could do it better"?  

Whatever the excuse may be, we are still called to give faithfully.  It's a commandment and demonstrated very clearly in Scripture. It's an act of worship.  When we give, we are honored with the opportunity to be a part of God's story and how he is reaching people in our communities and our world.  Here's the thing, God is going to reach people with or without us.  He doesn't need us.  However, he knows the joy that we receive when we do join in the story.  He's basically saying, "I'm going to save these people.  Do you want to be a part of it?"

Today, we'll see that giving is a matter of obedience and leadership.  We'll see where King David gave sacrificially and set the bar by setting the example.  

1 Chronicles 29:1-9 - And David the king said to all the assembly, “Solomon my son, whom alone God has chosen, is young and inexperienced, and the work is great, for the palace will not be for man but for the LORD God.  So I have provided for the house of my God, so far as I was able, the gold for the things of gold, the silver for the things of silver, and the bronze for the things of bronze, the iron for the things of iron, and wood for the things of wood, besides the great quantities of onyx and stones for setting, antimony, colored stones, all sorts of precious stones and marble.  Moreover, in addition to all that I have provided for the holy house, I have a treasure of my own of gold and silver, and because of my devotion to the house of my God I give it to the house of my God.  3,000 talents of gold, of the gold of Ophir, and 7,000 talents of refined silver, for overlaying the walls of the house, and for all the work to be done by craftsmen, gold for the things of gold and silver for the things of silver.  Who then will offer willingly, consecrating himself today to the LORD?"Then the leaders of the fathers’ houses made their freewill offerings, as did also the leaders of the tribes, the commanders of thousands and of hundreds, and the officers over the king’s work.  They gave for the serve of the house of God 5,000 talents and 10,000 darics of gold, 10,000 talents of silver, 18,000 talents of bronze and 100,000 talents of iron.  And whoever had precious stones gave them to the treasury of the house of the LORD, in the care of Jehiel the Gershonite.  Then the people rejoiced because they had given willingly, for with a whole heart they had offered freely to the LORD.  David the king also rejoiced greatly.

I know that’s a long passage, but here are the big takeaways…

The Lord has blessed us greatly.  He has.  No question about it.  He’s blessed us with life, family, money, talents, time, the list could go on and on…and on and on.  God has a great thing going in this world by offering his love and acceptance to those that would receive it.  He’s called us to be a part of that.  When we give willingly of our resources (time, money, talents, etc.) we in turn have a great joy in that.  There is just something in how God has wired us in that we receive joy when we give and when we serve.  That’s why we encourage those inside the church to give and to serve.  It is part of fulfilling the role of a disciple of Christ to give back to his church.  By giving, we play a crucial role in helping more people hear about the Gospel of Christ.  

The second takeaway is one of the greatest leadership principles.  You should never ask your people to do something that you aren’t willing to do yourself.  David modeled that perfectly in this passage.  He gave sacrificially and then called his people to do the same.  He set the bar by setting the example.  As leaders, that’s what we are called to do.  We lead by setting the example.  Anyone who is on the stage is viewed as a leader.  Like it or not, it’s just a fact.  People see those in a high profile and visual position as someone in leadership.  By simply serving, we are giving faithfully of our time and talents; but are we doing it whole heartedly and joyfully?  As leaders, we should be the first to give and the first to serve.  We should encourage others that see us as leaders to join in God’s story and to experience the joy of giving to God’s cause.  

I pray that God would continue to grow us as leaders and use us to encourage people to give and serve with the talents and resources that he has blessed them with.  Ask God to investigate your life and see if you are giving faithfully in the areas he has called you to.  Pray for the courage to trust God and set the bar by setting the example.