What is wrong with the worship in most Churches?

worship 2

We, the conservative and Evangelical church, for the most part has forgotten what it is all about. The liberals and mainliners did these decades ago, now we are doing it? How?

Just as they did, by substituting what we want and throwing out what God wants!

We just rationalize it better (well, not really). The prime problem we have is that most of us in ministry should know what worship is; but, in practice, we do not. We ignore the main event and place our emphases on the trivial and unimportant. We focus on our style and music preferences, the techniques and practices of the sound and the instruments, the trimmings and trimming and so forth, having the ‘right’ guy to lead worship, thinking we are being practical when we are not. Like in Revelation chapter three, while Jesus is knocking on the door, we ignore Him, too busy; too preoccupied. He is left outside of the Church when He should be front and center as Supreme, exalted, worshiped, and reverenced! While the technicalities are important to a degree, they are not meant to be center stage or even given a place in worship (Rev. 3:14-22).

Most pastors and churches totally ignore Christ in their worship!

The foremost aspect to keep in mind about worship is that it is not about us! It is not about preferences of style, order, procedures, music, who is leading, who is not leading, and so forth.

Worship, which is real authentic and practical praise, is all about placing Christ first, acknowledging His Lordship and place, and our response of praise with reverence and gratitude to Him for who He is and what He has done. The sad fact it most Christians in the pews do not have a clue about worship or praise-and may I go on so far as to say-even most worship pastors. Why? Because, we do not model and/or teach God’s precepts and disciple our leaders properly! So, they are consumed with what they want and forget what He wants. We forget that it is about Christ-not about us!

In John, chapter four, we are given some key aspects of what God desires and requires concerning worship through His encounter with an outcast woman. He is seeking worshippers, real Christians giving real, effectual, true adoration from hearts that truly love God, who are grateful for His work, and are dedicated to His true Truth-not to the ideas of people, our schemes, trends, or feelings. This is also is a snip at the overly traditional church missing the point, both in the pretentious Jewish services then and the ones many of us lead today. The contrast, Jesus was making is that there are too many worship services that are merely rhetorical, driven by obligation, meaningless ritual, and liturgy that just spins one’s pride and/or hides one’s heart (John 1:18;; 3:3; 4;1-26; 14:16-18; Acts 2:33).

Worship is a covenant and call from our Lord to come before Him and meet with Him with our reverence, gladness, and joy.

It concerns how we draw near and give God the recognition and admiration that He deserves.

Real Worship is our inward expression of attitude to His Holiness and authentic praise is our outward expression like singing and clapping in gratefulness for who Christ is and what He has done. Both are offered as a church service for worship and a lifestyle of being a Christian (Psalm 22:27; 29:2).

Real Praise is our motivation from an impassioned, changed heart, with an emotional and mindful exaltation of our gratitude for what God has done. It is a call to know Him intimately and express appreciation to Him with honor and thanksgiving, doing so with passion, sincerity, conviction, and in reverent fear and trembling.

Worship is our aptitude and attitude of our expressions to God and praise is the practice of expressing our desire to know our Lord and Savior further, and being grateful for who He Is and what He has done for us.

Worship and praise are the giving of our best to Him. And, we do this because we are His; we give Him our heart that is already His. He has given His best to us already; in addition, we are enveloped in His eternal love and care for pure and useful purposes. This has nothing to do with musical prefaces or orders of worship. It is the matter of a changed heart that responds back to Christ, who is the audience of our worship, as we are the performers. What we are doing in our church services is placing this attitude into a presentation where God is the audience and we are the ones who offer praise.

More here:

http://www.intothyword.org/apps/articles/default.asp?blogid=3881&view=post&articleid=70204&fldKeywords=&fldAuthor=&fldTopic=0

The Book of Revelation and Church Leadership, PIX

revelation 2 3

Read Revelation 2: 1-7

You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary.” Revelation 2:4

Revelation was written to the Seven Churches of Asia Minor, which is now modern Turkey (Rev. 1:4, 11). The principle purpose for the writing is to encourage and chastise the Christians for how they were running their churches (Rev. 2:1-3:22). John was fully convinced that Christ would triumph over the forces of Satan and his work in the world. He then exhorted them to be faithful and discerning between what is false and what is truth, and warned them not to worship the Emperor or to comply with evil, apathy, or compromise. He restated the importance of discipleship and Christian formation so they (we) could be authentic Christians of excellence and distinction, bringing no disrepute to Christ or His Church. 

Consequently, God’s purpose in the first two chapters of Revelation is not to be condescending or judgmental. Rather, it is to offer hope and encouragement to the Church, who have not grown weary, as they did not to give up hard work and ethics. Then, show us how the leadership of these churches function from God’s view, so to give us a heads up where and what we are to focus on. As Jesus reprimands what we do wrong and compliments what we do right.

Thus, Revelation gives instructions to the seven churches and ours. At the same time, point out the issues and problems so we can address them and move from our ways to His Ways.

The Church of Ephesus was in the Roman capital of Asia Minor. It was located near modern Istanbul, Turkey. Its ruins are still visible today. It was once a jewel of a city with a population of 250,000. It had to move many times due to the rising of the ocean levels and nearby river silts, which have since receded. Ephesus means “Cayster” the god of the river. John himself may have planted this church, and Paul lived there for three years ministering to them while he wrote the Epistle of Ephesians. Now, it is only a small village where the ruins remain in sight (Acts 18:19-20, 26; 19:8-9, 8-38; Eph. 1:1-3, 15; 1 Tim. 1:3).

Jesus gives them encouragement on what they are doing well! They persevered in turbulent times!

Perseverance means having confidence in God so we trust Him in difficult situations and still see His grace and love. Perseverance is not being faint with relationships or within situations, but being able to persist in dealing with stress so we can accomplish what God calls us to. We can do this by being encouraging with Christ-like temperament (2 Chron. 32:1-8; Esther 7; Luke 16:22-31; 18:9; Acts 19:8-10; 26:19-23; Rom. 15:14-16; Gal. 6:9; Phil. 1:6; 12-14, 25; 2 Tim. 2:25; James 5:7-12).

Endured means God shows patience by tolerating our misdeeds for a time for the sake of others who will benefit from it by their faith being strengthened. Our endurance will communicate encouragement for our staying power; it is contagious as in “you can do it, too!” When God seems far away and no one seems to care about injustice or your concerns, God is still there caring! He will vindicate and care for you, turning your suffering into His glory and a benefit to others, too (Prov. 6:9; Rom. 9:14-29; 2 Pet. 3:9)!

Tested infers that we are called to test for correct doctrine, and the importance for any church to be giving real, dependable, true teaching (1 Cor. 14:29; 1 Thess. 5:21; 2 Peter 3; 1 John 4:1).

Reflection 

Accordingly, we today can learn from these churches and recenter the ones we lead back to our first love. But, if we just sit and point fingers at problems, ignore them, rationalize they are OK, or worry we might offend people and do nothing about fixing them, we do the Church, God, and ourselves a disservice. We are called to know what we are doing and His precepts so we can be better for His glory.

Let’s take a hard look at our church and see where we are with what He has called us to, and have the courage and fortitude to fix what we are not doing right so we can seek being our best for His glory.

 

· Churches that are healthy have pastors and leaders who are equipping others to serve, doing so with care and kindness; they see their people as participants in the ministry of the church.

· Unhealthy churches tend to see their people as consumers, not participants.

Reverence in Leadership

reverence b“Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire.” Hebrews 12:28

Proverbs tells us that the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. This type of fear is not being scared, or fearful of what will happen, nor is it distrust or terror of God. Rather, it is reverence and awe that fuels our worship and faith.

Why is this so important in church leadership? It is all about Who we lead others to!

Reverence is the understanding of the wonder and majesty of our incredible God, who transcends time and space, and who is bigger than the entire universe He created, yet, He personally knows and loves us with deeper and more love than we could ever comprehend. We need to keep this on the front burner of our mindset as we lead and manage His Church. Reverence to God is how we are to live, lead, disciple and teach the people God brings us! If not we, are being reverent only to ourselves, ideas and goals, keeping Him out of the loop of our lives and church. This is a prime factor for why many churches are in decline. There is no leading to the incredible green pasture of our Lord, just wallowing in the past, pride, apathy and infighting.

Read leading is directing others to a destination, what is yours? Is it to be on the path that Christ has laid out? Is it moving others in the love and care and learning on that journey of faith? If not, what are you doing?

In the Old Testament, the stipulation of this ‘fear’ was put to the Jews so they follow God and stick to the Covenant. The Covenant, we have now is grace; the stipulation is that we accept it by faith. The growth of our fear (awe) is the response with gratitude to His Majesty.  Thus, reverence will enable us to take the incredible knowledge of His Majesty, and applying it to our lives first, so we will walk with confidence in our Lord, and as we lead operate with respect to Him in our teaching and administration, and to the others around us whom He knows and loves.

Reverence leads to real worship and effectual leadership because we can acknowledge whom God is, and respond!

This is the only way we can lead biblically and effectually, to surrender our will to Christ as LORD! As His created being, saved by His grace from a destiny we created and deserved, we have an obligation to give Him all of our honor, all our praise, and all our adoration. This is the reason for the primary purpose of our saved lives–to give God the glory that is rightly due Him.

Why must we? Because He is the Holy, Sovereign, the Creator (Duet. 7:21; Neh. 4:14; Psalm 48:1; 86:10; 95:3; 97:2; 145:3; Dan. 9:4; 1 Cor. 13:12; Heb. 12:28,29)!

Too many Christian leaders have neglected the basics of the faith, replacing it with new teachings and trends, or neglect good teaching all together. They forget who God is, and who we are in Christ. If we do not know who God is and what our call and responsibilities are, then how are we to grow in our faith, in maturity, and in character, not to mention in leading others in the direction of God’s call? We can’t!

The Book of Revelation and Church Leadership, PVIII

love lostRead Revelation 2: 1-7

These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstandsYet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first.” Revelation 2: 1, 4

How important is it to you to be loved? How important is it to you to love others? How does your church show love? How are these three connected? If you get this, you can grow your church! Thus, consider the ways your church can do to make sure you are a golden lampstand that radiates Christ’s love, and never forget or lose our first love? 

John is asked to write a letter to seven churches, giving them encouragements, blessings, and condemnations. These are areas we all must carefully and seriously examine our own church to see if we are doing our best for His highest! As you read Revelation, consider that each of these seven churches is an actual church, then, and a representation of every church that has ever been, including yours. Read Revelation 2-3 and examine and pray, which one are you?

The letter is a clear proclamation of the sovereignty and eminence of Christ, who stands in authority and judgment to show that He is in charge, that He does care, and that we need to get aligned with His will or else suffer the consequences. His Church is His Church; it does not belong to us even though we are the Church in unity and being. We belong to Him with a distinction and a purpose, we must heed, take to heart, and practice to the best of our abilities and endeavors.

Thus, we need to have the mindset we are in worship and disciple and be effectual stewards of this endeavor to glorify Christ. 

Golden lampstands” refers to God’s Light, as the Church is the light to the world for God’s Glory. Christ is the destiny and pattern we follow and emulate. This shows His care, that Jesus is God and omniscient (all knowing and all seeing), and the One who is to inspire us, lead us and Who we worship.

So, why do so many churches fail and close down?

Because we did not do as we are called to do and as the letter states, as the warning proclaims, remove your lampstand. Judgment will be at hand soon, unless they repent!  The same for us, unless…  Jesus threatens them with judgment if they do not start to love again! This is also a parody of words, since the city of Ephesus had to be removed and then moved. So, is your church a golden lampstand or one whose has flamed out? All you have to do is repent and catch the love again (1 Cor. 13; 1 Thess. 1:3). 

So, keep in mind the principle purpose of the writing is to encourage and chastise them for how they were running their churches (Rev. 2:1-3:22). Which should cause us to heed how we run the ones we are called to steward?

John restated the importance of discipleship and Christian formation so they (we) could be authentic Christians of excellence and distinction, bringing no disrepute to Christ or His Church.

Jesus ends this letter with the importance of listening and heeding His precepts. God wants His Church to succeed, He wants you to succeed. John was fully convinced that Christ would triumph over the forces of Satan and his work in the world. As can we. He then exhorted them to be faithful and discerning between what is false and what is truth, and warned them not to worship the Emperor or to comply with evil, apathy, or compromise.

So what does this come down to?

We are to allow the flow of the Holy Spirit, and to be Love led, Sprit-led and Word led, not self-led, especially with how we lead the Church. A church can only be successful as long as love is penetrating and being modeled from its leadership and members with a zeal for Christ and His love. When love is lost, so is the church (1 Cor. 13; 1 John 4:19)! 

Reflection 

Why do you suppose this church in Ephesus had trouble with loving? Do you think people could become victims of the ‘ugly’ that happens when a key component of doing church is left out? 

What does it mean to your church that Jesus is in charge and that He does care for you? How can this help you be aligned more with His will?

What if your church refuses to heed Christ as Lord? Does He have the right to judge your church? Would you deserve to suffer the consequences? Why do many Christians feel the answers to these questions is “no?” 

What are you going to do now about God’s call to heed Him and love them?

 

“In-N-Out” Bible Study

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How Religiously Unaffiliated Is Your City?

More Americans than ever are choosing to forgo formal religious attachments—the religiously unaffiliated make up 22 percent of the U.S. population overall—but the American Values Atlas shows that the religious landscape varies considerably state by state. Recently, we took look at the top three religious traditions in each state—but what about America’s cities?

http://publicreligion.org/2015/03/how-religiously-unaffiliated-is-your-city/#.VQe4pi1XI06.facebook

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