Thursday, February 25, 2010

A Visitor At Church (Part 4)

This is the last of my four part series of being a visitor at church.

Read the first article here

Read the second here

Read the third here

Ministerial Message

A Visitor At Church (Part 4)

Last summer (2009) I wrote the first of a four part series of my observations of being a visitor at Church during the summer of 2009. It seems like a distant memory by now, but last summer we were away from LPC for 11 Sundays. In my first article I challenged people that attend church to remember what it was like to be a visitor at church as we can so quickly forget. In my second article I underscored how important it is to “Be Friendly!” A friendly person could make all the difference in how we viewed the service. In the third article I wrote about how many churches we visited had no children in attendance and it made me ask the question, are kids no longer welcome? You can read the articles on our blog page (LPCHOME.BLOGSPOT.COM) if you missed any of them. This is the fourth and final article in the series (though I have a few more observations I would like to write about but maybe another time). In every church we went to, we soon discovered that they had “a way” that they did their services. Now, I am not talking about the order of service, which was usually in a bulletin, but the things that happen in the service that are not mentioned publicly but understood between the leaders and those that attend there. Let me tell you, there is nothing that makes you feel more unwelcome than to feel that you are the only one that is totally unaware of what is happening next in the worship hour. The way I have described how this feels is like taking a rollercoaster ride, that you have never been on before, and riding it blindfolded. When we would go to church, and find a place to sit, often the leader or pastor would do or say things that would evoke a vocal response from the people that we did not know the words or expression. Sometimes they would be just going along fine in the service and people would just stand up all around us! Sometimes people would just bow or kneel to pray, which is all good but we did not know that they were going to do it. They did, but we did not, and no one was warning us “hang on, here comes a corner”. Let me tell you folks, when you are trying to blend into a Sunday morning as a visitor and everyone stands except you and you quickly try to join everyone, forgetting that you have a book or books on your lap and everything falls on the floor, LOUDLY, it does not add blessing to the experience! If I was a seeker of the Lord and if I had gone through this experience that we did in several churches on a Sunday, I would NOT be coming back. So can I ask that we, who go to church, help show new people “the way” in our services? In a book of the Bible called Acts, it records how that God was beginning to have people who were not Jews, come to saving faith in Christ. This was very hard for the Jewish Christians to at first accept. It was also hard for the non Jewish Christians to feel apart of what God had been doing with the Jewish people for years, with all their traditions and long held structures of leadership and practices. I am sure they felt much the same as I did last summer. To make matters worse, the Jewish Christians were telling the non Jewish Christian that they had to do certain things to be truly apart of the new work of God. This did not sit well with any of them! There was such a dispute on how to treat the “new comers” that there was a council meeting in Jerusalem to discuss the matter. You can read about it in Acts Chapter 15. After the two sides were done presenting their views, James, the moderator of the meeting, says 19"It is my judgement, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles (non Jewish people) who are turning to God”. Did you see that “we should not make it DIFFICULT”. What wise council to us as part of established church to take the time to explain, even before the service, what will be some of the “turns and bends” in their time together as a visitor. It will be just like kindly taking off “the blindfold” and so they can enjoy the ride. I remember one older lady who did this for us in one service. What a blessing it was to our whole family (I just wish that she would have told us that they use real wine for their communion, but that is another story). By just helping a visitor to feel loved by you, taking the time to let them know what is coming next will make all the difference to them, and you will be blessed also knowing that God is using you.

Monday, February 22, 2010

New Songs

Hello everyone,
Here are TWO NEW SONGS I want us to learn... take a listen so you can help out when we get to it.

Remember to let the song on your lips and in your heart be His song...

Awesome Is The Lord Most High (by Chris Tomlin)

"Glorious One" by Steve Fee

I love you Lord

Why the Kingdom Still Matters

Good morning.... or whenever you read this! Here is an article that is in keeping with the series we are in called "Good News". It is written by Rob Phillips who written a book called, The Kingdom According to Jesus.

We have been looking at how the Church was God's idea to reveal his kingdom's power, purpose and potential here on earth. I thought this was helpful to better understand what His kingdom is all about.


The term "kingdom" has in many respects become archaic in 21st-century lingo. Unless you're talking taxonomy -- the No. 1 context according to Google -- or a theme park in Florida, the word "kingdom" conjures up images of ancient empires, epic quests and faded glory.

Even in the church, the most important -- and perhaps least understood -- kingdom of all is rooted in the ancient texts of Scripture: the Kingdom of Heaven, also called the Kingdom of God or, simply, the Kingdom. Some find this an obsolete expression better suited to first-century believers than modern-day Christians navigating the Twitterverse.

But the Kingdom of Heaven is of exceptional relevance today, especially when we understand its meaning and explore its value.

Defined simply, the Kingdom of Heaven is God's reign, or His authority to rule. The primary meaning of the Hebrew word "malkuth" and the Greek word "basileia" is the rank, authority and sovereignty exercised by a king, according to George Eldon Ladd in "The Gospel of the Kingdom." Certainly, a kingdom needs territory and people, but God's Kingdom first and foremost is His authority to rule them all.

Yes, the Kingdom still matters today. Here's why:

-- It matters to Jesus. The Kingdom of Heaven is the primary focus of Jesus' teaching. Matthew records no fewer than 13 of Jesus' parables of the Kingdom of Heaven, in which He uses mustard seeds and bridesmaids to reveal the "mystery" of the Kingdom (Matthew 13:11). The Jews are looking for a political and military Messiah based on their understanding of the Hebrew Scriptures, but they miss the prophecies that point to the Suffering Servant. Jesus' parables make it clear that the Kingdom must first come without fanfare in the Lamb of God who, through His death, burial and resurrection, will take away the sin of the world. The Kingdom will come in power and great glory one day when Jesus returns as the Lion of the Tribe of Judah (see Revelation 19:11-16). The King of kings is still very much interested in His Kingdom.

-- It matters to the church. The Kingdom of Heaven and the church are not the same, since Christ's authority extends beyond New Testament believers. Yet the Kingdom involves the church as God's primary means of communicating and expanding His Kingdom in this age. The Apostle Paul preached the Gospel of the Kingdom, as the church is to do today so that many will enter in by faith. The Kingdom is God's conquest, through Jesus Christ, of His enemies: sin, Satan and death. This is the heart of the Gospel message the church is commissioned to proclaim.

-- It matters to Satan. In Matthew 12, Jesus confronts the religious leaders who accuse Him of casting out demons by Satan's power. His response is revealing: "If I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, then the Kingdom of God has come to you. How can someone enter a strong man's house and steal his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man? Then he can rob his house" (Matthew 12:28-29). Satan is the prince of his own rogue kingdom, a kingdom of darkness and bondage. In the incarnation, Jesus invades Satan's kingdom, binding the "strong man" and plundering his goods by transporting lost sinners from Satan's kingdom into God's Kingdom. Satan is defeated. His time is short. And when the Kingdom comes in fullness with the glorious appearing of Jesus, Satan will be cast into hell, which was created for him (Matthew 25:41).

-- It matters to creation. Paul writes that "the whole creation has been groaning together with labor pains until now" (Romans 8:22). Since Adam's fall, the creation has been under a curse. But the curse will be lifted (Revelation 22:3) when the Kingdom comes in fullness, when this sinful and fallen world is purged of sin (2 Peter 3:10-13). The new heavens and earth will no longer bear the weight of sin. And the pinnacle of God's creation -- human beings -- will be perfected with glorified bodies that are fit for eternal worship and service unto God.

-- It matters to you. In the end, you will spend eternity in one of two places: the Kingdom or outer darkness. Where you spend eternity is determined not by some future balancing of the scales, but in how you answer the question today that Jesus asked in Matthew 16:15: "Who do you say that I am?" In the end, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord (Philippians 2:10), but not everyone will enter the Kingdom. Make no mistake: Many will be denied entrance. But they will go into outer darkness of their own choosing because, as the characters in Jesus' parable of the 10 minas say, "We don't want this man to rule over us" (Luke 19:14).

While manmade kingdoms come and go, the Kingdom of Heaven stands forever. It has Christ as King, believers as subjects, redemption as its mission and the universe as its realm.

Rob Phillips is director of communications for LifeWay Christian Resources

Thursday, February 04, 2010


Here is a blog post from Trevor Schmidt, our former worship ministries leader. You can find it on his blog here.

Verse 1: The greatest day in history, Death is beaten You have rescued me Sing it out Jesus is alive The empty cross, The empty grave Life eternal You have won the day Shout it out Jesus is alive He’s alive

Chorus: Oh happy day, happy day You washed my sin away Oh happy day, happy day I’ll never be the same Forever I am changed

Verse 2: When I stand, in that place Free at last, meeting face to face I am Yours Jesus You are mine Endless joy, perfect peace Earthly pain finally will cease Celebrate Jesus is alive He’s alive

It may seem weird that I am posting this song today, it would seem to be more suited for Easter rather than just before Christmas but when the Holy Spirit places things on our mind the time of year does not matter and to Him it is not weird at all.

This song has such an incredible anointing, as I read the words alone they send chills down my spine and bring to mind the passage from Luke 24:6 “6 He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead!…”NIV, I can only imagine how the women must have felt after their initial shock and disbelief passed, they must have been singing Oh happy day….. Death is beaten…. Yah... Praise God.... Hallelujah.

When Pastor Kevin and I lead this song at LifePoint Church I was blown away by the congregation’s response. The Holy Spirit filled us with so much excitement and such a strong desire to worship Him, that as the song progressed everyone started singing louder and louder as if they had sang the song for years and when we moved into the Chorus this excitement burst out and as the congregation danced, jumped for joy, clapped with all their might and sang at the top of their lungs to the Lord our Saviour Jesus Christ, He brought to mind how King David danced before the Lord in only a linen cloth while the Ark of the Covenant was brought to the City of David. The scripture tells us that not only did King David worship the Lord but all of Israel that David brought with him were praising God as well, read here; “14 David, wearing a linen ephod, danced before the LORD with all his might, 15 while he and the entire house of Israel brought up the ark of the LORD with shouts and the sound of trumpets.” NIV.

If you look a few verses back when King David first went out to bring the Ark to the City of David you will see another example of how serious the people of Israel took worship. “3-7 David and the whole company of Israel were in the parade, singing at the top of their lungs and playing mandolins, harps, tambourines, castanets, and cymbals.” The Message. Now imagine a whole company of men which is 30 Thousand men, praising God in this manner, gives us something to strive for doesn’t it!

When David’s wife saw him dancing and praising God in this manner she got mad at him and more or less told David that he had made a fool of himself (I would imagine that she was thinking more of her self and how David had made her look like a fool) read her response to him; “20 When David returned home to bless his household, Michal daughter of Saul came out to meet him and said, “How the king of Israel has distinguished himself today, disrobing in the sight of the slave girls of his servants as any vulgar fellow would!” NIV. Now David’s response to her is priceless and one we all need to take serious note of and apply it to our time of public worship; 21 David said to Michal, “It was before the LORD, who chose me rather than your father or anyone from his house when he appointed me ruler over the LORD’s people Israel—I will celebrate before the LORD. 22 I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes. But by these slave girls you spoke of, I will be held in honor.”NIV.

Here is another translation 20-22 David returned home to bless his family. Michal, Saul’s daughter, came out to greet him: “How wonderfully the king has distinguished himself today—exposing himself to the eyes of the servants’ maids like some burlesque street dancer!” David replied to Michal, “In God’s presence I’ll dance all I want! He chose me over your father and the rest of our family and made me prince over God’s people, over Israel. Oh yes, I’ll dance to God’s glory—more recklessly even than this. And as far as I’m concerned…I’ll gladly look like a fool…but among these maids you’re so worried about, I’ll be honored no end.” The Message.

Praise God that Death is beaten, Praise God that He has rescued me, Praise God that both the cross and grave are empty and that Jesus Christ is ALIVE so jump up and down, shout out at the top of your lungs and sing Oh Happy day, happy day you washed my sin away….. Forever I am changed…. Enjoy being in the presence of God as you worship and do not worry about what the person beside you might think, this time is between YOU and GOD, although you may get some funny looks if you strip down to your underwear, I highly recommend that you don’t do that……