What’s in Worship

March 30, 2010

As the debate continues to grow in our churches over Worship, I think I may have found the heart of the issue this past weekend. And Yes, pun intended.
I visited Forest Park Baptist Church in Joplin, Missouri this most recent weekend.  http://www.fpbc.net/
I chose their 9:30 a.m. early service, so as to make my son’s noon start time baseball game.
I really do enjoy the pastor of the church and his apparent passion as flock leader of this local assembly. The church program lists the early service as “Classic Service.” It does live up to the billing as over 90 percent of those attending this time slot appear to be in the retirement category. Although it could be said that I’m not to far away, in comparison to eternity.
The choir gave a small glimpse into the upcoming Easter Contata, but that is not what I want to share.
What caught my attention was on the front row. A very dedicated lady was “signing” for a couple of “handicapped” people who I’m assuming can not hear.
The lady was singing to these people with her hands. That in itself was beautiful, but those two “handicapped” people were signing back. It wasn’t just the fact that they themselves were signing, but it was the zeal of their body language. It moved me to tears.
They were truly worshiping the Lord. Now the Psalms (100 in particular) tells us to make a joyful noise into the Lord.
I truly believe that this is not from our mouths, but from our hearts. In fact, I have to believe that those two people who were signing back were making the most beautiful “noise” in the eyes of God and Heaven. I don’t want to dismiss the choir or the rest of the congregation who were singing, but all I really heard in my heart was what was going on with these “handicapped” congregants.
I asked one time in this blogspot, what does Grace smell like? Maybe I should follow that with, what does Grace sound like. I will save that for another time however. I want to stay focused on the worship of these signers. The Lady who was signing was obviously exerting an endless amount of energy to lead this couple in worship. She was the true worship leader in this service. Perhaps, if you believe the bible, she was a willing vessel of the Lord. In short, she was “speaking their language”. They, in response, were speaking “His” language.  My response was to worship the Lord myself. How could I resist, after all, I was witnessing the true heart of worship. I couldn’t take my eyes of this worship experience, how could I, I was staring the Holy Spirit in the face. Wow.
If these two believers were truly (physically) deaf, then is the sound of music a mute or moot point for worship? It would be easy to argue the style of music, but in context to the experience I witnessed, we may all be missing the point. It is a Heart Thing.
The scriptures tell us that David was a Man after God’s own heart. David was not perfect, far from it, but yet understood the heart of God. Obviously his wife didn’t, as she judged his style of worship (dancing) as an embarrassment. David danced with all his might.
Hear, O Israel: the LORD our God is one LORD: and thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. David got it, and so did those I joyfully watched sign in church.
These people are labeled “handicapped,” but I think they are the ones who truly understand the heart of worship. Perhaps the rest of us are the ones who are handicapped.

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What’s in a celebration

December 9, 2009

I wrote an excellent blog this morning that I was sure was going to stir the souls of all those who might click on this blog sight. However, due to my computer illiteracy skills, I deleted the inspiring words.
Today is the one year anniversary of Sac. Flies and Double Plays. I know the whole blogworld was anticipating a huge party, but this will have to do instead.
I thought I would give up the idea of me trying to tickle your brain stems. So, I will just borrow some poetic thoughts from Dr. S.M.
Lockridge.
This sermon is and has been famous since it left his lips some many years ago in California. I find it inspiring and uplifting. It also blesses my soul deeply. You can google 7 Way King and find the audio, video or words to his famous expression of faith. Until then, enjoy the poem from my heavenly brother:
He’s the King of the Jews – that’s a racial King.
He’s the King of Israel – that’s a national King.
He’s the King of Righteousness.
He’s the King of the Ages.
He’s the King of Heaven.
He’s the King of Glory.
He’s the King of kings and He’s the Lord of lords.
That’s my King.

Well, I wonder do you know Him.

David said, “The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament showeth His handiwork.”
My King is a sovereign King – no means of measure can define His limitless love.
No farseeing telescope can bring into visibility the coastline of His shoreless supply.
No barrier can hinder Him from pouring out His blessings.
He’s enduringly strong.
He’s entirely sincere.
He’s eternally steadfast.
He’s immortally graceful.
He’s imperially powerful.
He’s impartially merciful.

Do you know Him?

He’s the greatest phenomenon that has ever crossed the horizon of this world.
He’s God’s Son.
He’s the sinner’s Saviour.
He’s the centrepiece of civilisation.
He stands in the solitude of himself.
He’s august and He’s unique.
He’s unparalleled, He’s unprecedented.
He is the loftiest idea in literature.
He’s the highest personality in philosophy.
He is the supreme problem in higher criticism.
He’s the fundamental doctrine of true theology.
He is the core and the necessity for spiritual religion.
He’s the miracle of the age, He’s… yes He is.
He’s the superlative of everything good that you choose to call Him.
He’s the only one qualified to be an all-sufficient Saviour.

I wonder if you know him today?

He supplies strength for the weak.
He’s available for the tempted and the tried.
He sympathises and He saves.
He strengthens and sustains.
He guards and He guides.
He heals the sick.
He cleansed the lepers.
He forgives sinners.
He discharges debtors.
He delivers the captive.
He defends the feeble.
He blesses the young.
He serves the unfortunate.
He regards the aged.
He rewards the diligent.
And He beautifies the meek.

I wonder if you know Him? Well, my King—
He is the key, He’s the key to knowledge.
He’s the wellspring of wisdom.
He’s the doorway of deliverance.
He’s the pathway of peace.
He’s the roadway of righteousness.
He’s the highway of holiness.
He’s the gateway of glory.

Do you know Him?

Well, His office is manifold.
His promise is sure.
His life is matchless.
His goodness is limitless.
His mercy is everlasting.
His love never changes.
His Word is enough.
His grace is sufficient.
His reign is righteous and
His yoke is easy and
His burden is light.

I wish I could describe Him to you.
But He’s indes… Wooah, yeaaah! yeaahh,
He’s indescribable – yes He is ! He’s God.
He’s, He’s indescribable, yes, He’s indescribable.
He’s incomprehensible.
He’s invincible.
He’s irresistible.

Well, you can’t get Him out of your mind,
You get Him off of your hand,
You can’t outlive Him, and you can’t live without Him.

Well, the Pharisees couldn’t stand Him, but they found out they couldn’t stop Him.
Pilate couldn’t find any fault in Him.
The witnesses couldn’t get their testimonies to agree.
Herod couldn’t kill Him.
Death couldn’t handle Him and
the grave couldn’t hold Him. Yeah !
THAT’S MY KING !
THAT’S MY KING ! YEAH !

And Thine is the Kingdom the power and the glory forever and ever
and ever and ever.
How long is that ?
And ever and ever.
And when you get through all the forevers, then
Amen !

GOOD GOD ALMIGHTY ! AMEN ! AMEN !

Dr. S. M.. Lockridge, from Southern California

What’s in a Champion

September 22, 2009

I literally walked into a debate last week, and I can’t seem to get the discourse out of my head.tim_tebow
As I walked into the gym, I was asked about my thoughts on Florida Quarterback Tim Tebow.
Now if you haven’t learned of this splendid lad, then you are truly missing out. He happens to own some heavy hardware that’s handed out by many outlets including the NCAA. One piece, the 2007 Heisman Trophy.
Even if you aren’t a fan of college football or the Gators, this athlete is truly a champion.
Did you know that Tebow was home schooled? Seriously, home schooled. Our public schools scowl at the classrooms of our homes. I also want to share with you that Tim’s mother was told to abort him as she was pregnant. Story is, there was an infection the doctors said would kill her child. There was no abortion, but still the doctors were skeptical and were expecting a still-born.

More than 20 years have passed, but still the skeptics abound.
This brings us back to the pigskin controversy. Seems one side of the ruckus was contending that Tebow was good according to the system that Florida runs between the hashmarks. Any QB would be great in the reptiles offensive scheme.
Well, although I could dispute the seemingly outlandish claim, that doesn’t mean Tebow isn’t a great college football player.
footballstorageWhich brings me to my next question. When can we as fans  start to celebrate greatness? Must we always put outstanding athletes and/or players in our own little boxes? So let’s unpack.
Case in point, I’m not a Yankees fan per say. However, I can’t deny the fact that Derek Jeter is a great baseball player and the poster boy for the pin stripes in New York. How can a pure hardball fan not like the player who dons the #2 Uni in the city that never sleeps?
If the Bronx Bombers happen to play my Cardinals in the World Series, I won’t pull for Jeter. I also won’t bash him for being great either. I won’t compartmentalize is achievements as being surrounded by the best players money can buy. Simple truth, he’s a greattebow player.
I can’t help myself, I happen to believe that Tebow is a champion on and off the field. He is truly a leader. He’s passionate, athletic, competitive, intelligent and his heart beats victories much to chagrin of many football fans across our nation.
Have you heard “The Speech”? It is enshrined on the campus in Gainesville for all to see and remember. It wasn’t just that he followed through on his promise, it was that he led his team on his promise. He used all the tools, blessings and gifts God instilled in him before birth to cash in his mark on greatness.
He is a huge part of the two national championships over the last three years at the southern panhandle state. Now the push is on for a third title in four years and a repeat in gridiron greatness.
Even if the Gators don’t win the crown, Tebow will arguably go down as one of the greatest college players in the history of the game.
My answer to the fuss was this, I’ll take 11 of him any day. Fact is, there is only one of him and he is still winning. System or no system, he continues to deny the naysayers. One of him will suffice it seems.
The story of Mr. Tim Tebow is to large for me to confine in this blog, so stay tuned to see what he’s going to do next.
John Wooden once said, “Sports Do Not Build Character…They Reveal It.”
This young player happens to be a man of character who plays college football on the national stage, not a college athlete who happens to be a man of character.
Let us celebrate greatness, but better yet, let us celebrate the greatness that God has instilled in all of us.
Are you a man of character on or off the grand stage of life? Hebrews says we are surround by a great cloud of witnesses. The world is watching, so let us celebrate as Champions on the field of Life.

What’s in Smell

August 18, 2009

I was mowing my aunts yard the other day when I had to travel under an evergreen. As the limbs brushed over me, the smell of the evergreen made my shoulder sting. Oh it wasn’t the tree, but rather the memory of smell that took me back to the days of my youth.
When I was a young lad and playing football in the streets of Texas, a pass found its way into the neighbors evergreen. When I reached up to grab the pigskin, three hornets were on the defensive and quickly stung me. Now the memory sting only lasted as long as the whiff, but it reminded me of the powerful sense of smell.
k2220863Smell can be intoxicating like a perfume one moment and stenchly stifling the next. If I mention fried chicken, BBQ or pizza, can you sense the 179chickenomaha03_small1smell?
What’s even better, is when you sniff familiarities that take you home, to your school or even the ballpark.
So it begs the question, What does Grace smell like?
Does Grace smell like a early spring rain? Perhaps the essence of pines and spruce from the mountains. Could it be the honeysuckle or even roses? Is the garden the aroma of Grace personified?
I might tell you that my grandmothers house was the redolence of my youth, and the bouquet of dinner there is still a vivid memory.
Can we smell Grace? I wonder, because I think we all know the odor of sin. The flavor of sin can be as intoxicating as the incense of Grace, but the stench can’t be quenched.
The scent of fresh fruit is delightful, but rotten fruit is the emanation of death.
I may not know exactly what Grace smells like, but i do know what the Bible says. The incense of all the prayers of the saints was offered up on the altar. We read about this in the book of Revelation.
HoneysuckleThe prayers of the Saints are a sweet incense to our God the Creator.
What did the cross smell like, and how about the empty tomb?

I know that Faith is not something we can touch, see or even smell, but somehow I believe we can identify with the fragrance of heaven if we just pay attention. May you inhale the Word of God this day.

What’s Up

July 24, 2009

Wow! It’s been over a month since I’ve posted anything to my blogsite, and to be honest, I’m struggling to post anything now.
Oh I’ve wrote several potential blogs, but for one reason or another, I’ve not suspended them on the big world of blogsphere.
It’s not that I don’t have anything to say or that I can’t think of anything thing worthwhile to post.
I have plenty of things to post, but honestly, I don’t think most of you would really sit down and ponder the words cycled from my mind. I could ramble on about theology, sports, friends, church, work, kids, traffic, people, government, weather, Lego’s, bugs, snakes, women, superstars, Rachel McAdams, weightlifting and baldness.200px-The_Time_Traveler's_Wife_film_poster

edible-gummy-lego-bricks-1

Don't tell my nephew, but they have "gummy lego's"

Now I know that two of those stuck in your mind, Rachel McAdams and Lego’s. I don’t have a problem essentially with either one, but there seems to be Lego’s everywhere in my house. I’ve decided not to pursue Ms. McAdams since she doesn’t know I exist. Legos on the other hand, apparently thrive in my house. If this seems puzzling, then let me remind you that she won’t return any of my phone calls, emails, twits or letters.
Seriously, I think she doesn’t like Lego’s. My brothers’ son loves Lego’s and these things are reproducing. They are in the dryer, in the carpet, in my room, in the kitchen, in the closet and behind everything against the wall. Last night as I got out of “the chair” there was a lego in the seat. If your wondering, I have no answer.
Now to the topic of the blog, what’s up. That’s the heck of it. Rachel McAdams has a new movie and she is too young for me to dream about, and yes, Lego’s seem to be even transcending into my dreams.
Nothing is up, my life has come down to picking up Lego’s these days.
Actually, Lego’s can teach us lot about our lives. Whatever your passion is, there will be remnants spread all over our own little world. My nephew loves Lego’s and always is playing with them. He has so many that they are everywhere as you have read. His passion, even though not my own, has indirectly touched mine. Just a couple of months ago I took a dresser to my son at college. I thought I had it cleaned out well, but their was a trail of Lego’s from the truck to his room. Lego’s made their way to college.
What ever is up in your life, good or bad, it will have its remnants lying around. You can ask my dearest friends and those who think they know me the best and they will tell you my passions. The crumbs of my life are sprinkled every path I’ve crossed.
This reminds me to be careful of what residue I feel needs to be left lying around in my own little world.
If your passion is truly Christ, then may the dust of your walk fall on those around you. May your passions exalt the one from whom they come. Let no debris be left that can’t reflect the Glory of the Most High God.
I’m sure there will continue to be lego lunacy in my house until he hopefully moves on to building relationships. Then maybe he will see the debris left lying around by a loving Savour.
Pick up the pieces, fit them together and build a lasting relationship with King of Kings.

What’s in brotherhood

June 18, 2009

Let me get a count of those who have ever been punched in the stomach?index
There is a proverb (18:24) that reads, “there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.” I think it is easy to read that verse and think of our friends that we feel we can count on from day to day. Maybe like me, you have friends that have been there through thick and thin. Friends that you can call when things are distraught and when things are glorious. A brother to share shortcomings and victories. Who are the friends you call? It is all so valuable for men to have healthy relationships with other men. We need each other to stay sharp. Another proverb(27:17) reads “iron sharpens iron, so does one brother

Iron Sharpens Iron

Iron Sharpens Iron

sharpen another.” I have to have Godly friends to stay healthy with my relationship with the Lord. I need other men to keep me accountable, and I certainly need other men to go to battle with. If you haven’t noticed, this life can be a daily fight. It is a war zone out there and Satan is out to destroy our walk, our testimony and above all else, our families and friends.

Have you ever noticed in action and drama films when the bad guy is trying to get the good guy? The villain will almost always turn the gun on those closest to the hero.
So, what do you do when the villain and the “friend that sticketh closer than a brother” happen to be the same person?
Is it what they call being hit with friendly fire?
Can you save a man from drowning if he refuses to grab on to the life vest you have thrown him? The truth of the matter, it is that betrayal that has me drowning, and my friend won’t throw me a life vest.
Our iron has sharpened each others iron for years and now I’m cut and bleeding. In fact, as I look around me, there are countless victims dieing in a sea of betrayal.
You see, that is what divorce does. That is what sin does to all those around you. There is a statistic that says divorce directly affects a minimum of 300 people. An affair that destroys two families drives those numbers higher. Countless lives will be touched and impacted in a negative way because of sin and divorce.
You might be asking why such gloom and doom. When you are a child of divorce and deception, your life is changed forever. This sort of things tends to make one angry all over again. I hate divorce and will fight for my friends to keep them from suffering the demise.
If I’m your friend, I’ll be that one that sticketh closer than a brother. Even to the point where I’ll defend you until betrayal slaps me in the face.
Guys, we must stay strong and faithfully sharpen each others iron. The battle is getting intense. I don’t want to see another brother fall to the disease of infidelity. Not only does this illness directly cripple my friend, but his whole family is suffering from the affects of this infestation.
Rise up brethren, the battle is raging. This is a call to arms. I will not stop praying.blood_brothers_front_small
Remember always, no matter what, the Lord will never disappoint.

What’s in Fatherly Advice

April 27, 2009
brideofchrist

"Bride of Christ"

A close friend and I were discussing the message from church this past weekend when he peeked my interest. Seems this father of three has been keeping a journal for his children.
The sermon was on forgiveness. It was truly a great and inspirational message that everyone needs to hear and apply. The message was based on God’s truth and not on our own understanding of how to deal with forgiveness that is directly relational.
I could give you the whole message, but I’ll give you the link instead(when available) if you want to take the time to listen.
Now back to my friend. He revealed that he was going to add the message we had heard into this journal he was keeping for his two sons. The name of his journal, “Things my father didn’t teach me.”
My friend is keeping notes on things he wants his children to know about. Things he feels is of vital importance in their life and marriage. He plans on giving this book to his kids as each one gets married. I think it is a wonderful idea and hope it proves inspirational for his two boys when they finally get married (and his daughter who is still very young).
It led me however to the fact that our Heavenly Father has penned a book for us. Everything we need to know about Him and his son is in this book we call the Bible.images
From Genesis to Revelation, God reveals himself to us through his word. You want to know about the consequences of not obeying God, then read about the many characters in this divine reading. You want to know about the faith of others, then open up this number one best seller from all generations.
What a gift this book truly is. When we come to know the Lord through our salvation experience and become the “Bride of Christ”, we have Jehovah’s Journal to tap from.
Actually, the book is open to all who want to discover the true identity of all of creation and its splendor. The Bible doesn’t know race, creed, nationality, color or class scale. It opens if you are five or ninety five. This book has road maps, pictures, letters, dedications, instructions, lessons and many other useful tools that directs us to a closer walk with our Father.
It has heritage and history that proves that our God is sovereign. Outside of the cross (that is in the Bible as well), this gift is monumental. If you haven’t discovered this gift, then I challenge you to open up this revelation of life. It evens knows the future.

There are no perfect earthly fathers and I don’t know one person that doesn’t have some kind of “father issues”. The truth is, our Father in Heaven is perfect and has written down everything we need to know for our journey. What exactly do you think your Father wants you to know? It is ready to discover and rediscover. He loved you enough to write it down.

I hope and pray you enjoy his love letters to you.

What’s in being fruitful

April 2, 2009

I heard a pastor just last night that got inside my head enough to keep me from sleeping. It was a topic I had never really thought of. Well, I had, but not enough to ever discuss it with any one. It wasn’t on purpose, it was just a topic that I thought was never presented to the church or Christians for that matter.
Okay, so I’ve lingered long enough. The topic is being fruitful as a Christian. Having large families to be exact.
According to statistics, mathematically, Christian families are not keeping up. In layman’s terms, for every Christian that dies, there is not a Christian replacing that life.
Now I know that you can’t be born a Christian, but the chances are great that Christian families that have offspring will become Christians. Look in all cultures and the kids become a product of their environment.
Doesn’t sound like a big enough deal. Hey man, having big families is not worth “dying on the hill” for. Well the group of people in this world that hates America and Christians the worst, are on average have much larger families. The are reproducing more frequently than Christians.
I still haven’t chewed this topic enough, so that is why I would covet your wise input as Christians readers.
Before you do however, be careful that you don’t sound like the world.
In Genesis God said to be fruitful and multiply. From a deep theological standpoint, there is a personal reason for this.
Also, many bible scholars and readers wonder where America is in the book of Revelation. Maybe, the pastor remarked, we ran out of Christians.
After much thought, why don’t you see large families any more?
Most of the reasons can simply come down to selfish and/or worldly reasoning. Now when this pastor shared this message he used actual interviews sharing what most people reason with. I understood and agreed with them (till this topic).
Outside of a mass revival in America, Christians voices will continue to diminish over time. Like it or not, heathens are reproducing faster than the Christians. Yes, even Christians have slimmed down their family sizes for a variety of reasons without thinking about being fruitful and multiplying. In conjunction with the divorce rate, Christians are simply not stepping up to the plate. The pastor was passionate about standing before God and trying to explain why the unbelievers were “out-begatting” the Christians.

Now I’m not doing this topic justice, so if you want to dive into this more before you scald me then google love, marraige and stinking thinking. It is all very interesting to say the least, and maybe just worth repeating to the church.

What’s in a Youth Group

March 23, 2009

I have recently contacted several old friends from my youth group back in the day via facebook.
Wow! It is fun going back in time and trying to remember everyone. After being contacted, I immediately check out their profiles. Interesting enough, it seems most of us have kept the faith. What I mean is, most are still professing Christ or to be Christians.
Proverbs tells us to train up a child in the way that he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
We are not children anymore, and we haven’t departed from the faith. Good job to all our parents and youth leaders back in the 80’s.
Hopefully we can get in touch with everyone and some day have a reunion of sorts. Facebook is helping out.
The second thing I do is check out their pictures to see if any one has aged like me, and/or gained weight. It seems that the women have aged graciously and still look the same. Oddly enough, the girls look like their beautiful mommas. Good thing! That is, the mommas I knew.
I plan on writing more about these facebook reunions in the future as I hope to see all those youth group girls I accidently kissed. I say accidently because our youth pastor kept us busy with studies and all.

Then I look at the pics of their kids. It brings a joyous smile to see that everyones quiver is full.

More on this later

What’s in Junstifying Grace

March 6, 2009

I’m giving a talk in a couple of days on Justifying Grace. So, I’m extending the invitation for you, my friends, to give me some insight on what you think Justifying Grace is.
Comment as long as you like. I have some illustrations and some thoughts on delivery, but you might something better I could use.
Look forward to hearing your thoughts.