Faith & Reason ... a mystery

Monday, August 31, 2009

Worship: To Kiss toward God!

James Packer states, “To worship God is to recognize his worth or worthiness; to look God-ward, and to acknowledge in all appropriate ways the value of what we see.” (Your Father Loves You, Harold Shaw Publishers, July 1986, P. 15.) The Bible calls this activity "glorifying God" or "giving glory to God," and views it as the ultimate end, and from one point of view, the whole duty of man (Ps. 29:2; 96:6; 1 Cor. 10:31).

Biblical Word for Worship is “proskuneo” and its definition is “to kiss the hand to (towards) one, in token of reverence.” It is the kneeling down and bowing one’s head down in total surrender to the Almighty God.

Scripture views worshiping God as a six fold activity:
1. Praising God for all that he is and all his achievements;
2. Thanking God for his gifts and his goodness to us;
3. Offering God our gifts, our service, and ourselves;
4. Communing with God to meet our own and others' needs;
5. Learning of him from his word, read and preached, and obeying his voice;
6. Telling others of his worth, both by public confession and testimony to what he has done for us.

This then is worship in its largest sense: petition as well as praise, preaching as well as prayer, hearing as well as speaking, actions as well as words, obeying as well as offering, loving people as well as loving God. The Primary “WHAT” of worship is focusing one’s attention on God directly -- Worship is kissing God’s direction.

The previous was an excerpt from my sermon yesterday. I thought it a good thing to meditate on this day after. May we never forget how God inhabits the praises of His people and thus, our dedication to worship and kissing toward God is a daily exercise for the good of my (and your) Christ-centered life.

You know I love ya - a fellow worshiper.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Friday Funny - I might do this.

It is Friday....I thought this was funny and then realized I might do this.

A visiting minister came to a church. There was a long line to see him. At was a little boys turn in line and he said he need prayer for his hearing.

So, the Minister grabbed his ears and said a prayer.

The minister let go and asked, "hows your hearing now''.

"I don't know.. it's not till Friday," replied the boy.

Have a great day and you know I love ya - Don

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Ultimate Jump! Worship - God is all-knowing.

God is all knowing! Now isn't that an intimidating thought? Each of us, to some degree, fools our friends and family about who we truly are. But it is impossible to do that with God. He know each of us, deeply and specifically. He knows out thoughts before we think them, our actions before we commit them, whether we are lying down or sitting or walking around. He knows who we are and what we are about. We cannot escape Him, not even if we want to.

Take a deep breath...let it out...read this slowly...When I grow weary of trying to be faithful and weary of avoiding the sin that so easily entangles me and I want a break, it doesn't come to a surprise to God. He knows.

For King David, God's knowledge led him to worship. He viewed it as wonderful and meaningful. He wrote in Psalm 139 that even in the darkness he couldn't hide from God; that while he was in his mother's tummy, God was there.

Hebrews 4:13 states, "Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account." It is sobering to realize that this is the same God who is holy and eternal, the Maker of the billions of galaxies and thousands of tree species in the rain forest. This same God knows intimately all the wrinkles and creases in the back of our hands. This is the same God who takes the time to know all the little details about each of us. 

He does not have to know us so well, but He chooses to. His choice calms our intimidation and opens assurances for worship...may we declare His worth today - Don

Monday, August 24, 2009

Ultimate Jump! Worship - God is eternal.

Most of us would probably agree that God is eternal. But how many of us truly meditate and contemplate what it truly means that God is eternal and what does it mean to our worship. Each of us had a beginning; everything in existence began on a particular day, at a specific time.

Everything but God...has a starting point. Almighty Jehovah never had a beginning. (If you are ever asked if God has everything, you can say no. God does not have a beginning.) He always has been. Before there was an earth, a universe, or even angels, God was there. God exists outside of time, and since we are within time, there is no way we will ever totally grasp that concept.

Not being able to fully understand God is frustrating, yet is expands our worship to new heights. It is also ridiculous for us to think we have the right to limit God to something so that we can be capable to comprehend it. What a stunted, insignificant god would ours be if he had a start. If my mind is the size of a soda can and God is the size of all the oceans, it would be foolish for me to say He is only the small amount of water so that I can scoop Him into my little can. God is so much bigger, so far beyond out time-encased, air/food/sleep-dependent lives. This makes him the Lord over all my dependencies.

Lets stop here, even if just for a moment, and join me in making this day a day to glorify the eternal God. "But you, O Lord, sit enthroned forever: Your renown endures through all generation...but You remain the same, and Your years will never end." (Psalm 102:12, 27)

He always was, always is, and always will be. I like this truth...I am His and He is mine, thus I have a secure eternal existence.

You know I love ya - Don

Friday, August 21, 2009

Friday Funny - Smarter than the world around you.

Happy Friday! Never let the world get the better of you...

A mangy looking guy who goes into a bar and orders a drink. The bartender says: "No way. I don't think you can pay for it. The guy says, "You're right. I don't have any money, but if I show you something you haven't seen before, will you give me a drink?" The bartender says, "Only if what you show me ain't risque." "Deal!" says the guy and reaches into his coat pocket and pulls out a hamster.

He puts the hamster on the bar and it runs to the end of the bar, climbs down the bar, runs across the room, up the piano, jumps on the key board and starts playing a tune. And the hamster is really good. The bartender says, "You're right. I've never seen anything like that before. That hamster is truly good on the piano." The guy downs the drink and asks the bartender for another. "Money or another miracle, or else no drink", says the bartender. The guy reaches into his coat again and pulls out a frog.

He puts the frog on the bar, and the frog starts to sing. He has a marvelous voice and great pitch. A fine singer. A stranger from the other end of the bar runs over to the guy and offers him $300 for the frog. The guy says, "It's a deal." He takes the three hundred and gives the stranger the frog. The stranger runs out of the bar. The bartender says to the guy, "Are you some kind of nut? You sold a singing frog for $300?

It must have been worth millions. You must be crazy." "Not so", says the guy. "The hamster is also a ventriloquist." ...
Have a great Friday and Weekend - You know I love ya - Don

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Ultimate Jump, Worship! - God is Holy!

There has been a change of plans. I am not preaching on the 23rd of August, but I am preaching on August 30th in Solid Ground Services. The sermon topic is the "Ultimate Jump, Worship!" I am very passionate about worship and pleased for the opportunity. The next few blogs will be me sharing some of my worship thoughts in preparation for this teaching.

I am currently reading a book titled, "Crazy Love," by Francis Chan. He talks about how infinite God is and how Crazy in Love with us that God is. I encourage you to go to www.crazylovebook.com and watch the video on the Awe Factor of God. You will be amazed at how vast our God is and that He loves you. The same Jehovah God that created us, died for us. It is amazing to know without a doubt the love of God and then experience His vastness. All I can do is bow in reverence and worship.

Lets consider the worship truth, God is holy. A lot of people say that whatever you believe about God is fine, so long as you are sincere. But that is comparable to describing your friend in one instance as a three-hundred-pound sumo wrestler and in another instance your friend is a five-foot-two, ninety pound gymnast. No matter how sincere you are in your explanation, both descriptions of your friend simply cannot be true. There is only One God that created us, died for us, and redeemed us.

The preposterous part about our doing this comparison to God is that He already has revealed His name and identity. We don't get to decide who God is. Exodus 3:14 states, "God said to Moses, 'I am who I am'." A few chapters later, God tells God chosen people to be Holy because He is holy. We don't get to change these truths.

To say that God is holy is to say that He is set apart, distinct from us. Because He is set apart, we will never be able to fathom all that He is. To the Jews, saying something three times demonstrates its perfection, so to call God, "Holy, Holy, Holy" is to say that He is perfectly set apart, with nothing and no one to compare Him to. That is what is means to be "holy."

Many Spirit-filled authors have exhausted the thesaurus in order to describe God with the glory He deserves. His perfect holiness, by definition, assures us that our words can't contain Him. Personally, I am glad that I can and do worship a God that is beyond my ability to exaggerate! He is bigger than my feeble mind...His set apart from all my praises, yet chooses to dwell among the praises of His people...He is more powerful than any issue this world throws my direction.

I love you, God.To you be all glory, honor, praise, and adoration! Amen.

I plan on writing this topic for a few weeks, all your thoughts are welcome. You know I love ya - Don

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Wise Jumps of Faith

 28Peter said to Him, "Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water."

 29And He said, "Come!" And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus. - Matthew 14:28-29

We have all asked this question before an important decision. "Lord, if you are in this...would you let me know? Give me a sign?" I will be preaching in Solid Ground services next Sunday (8/23/09) and we are going to discover some principles for understanding God's leading. Thus, we will be better equipped to make wise jumps of faith.

In v.28 Peter said, "Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water." To be fair to Peter, I do not believe he wanted to show off. He mainly just wanted to be with Jesus. Notice his request was, “command me to come to You on the water,” rather than, “command me to come on the water to You.” That translation is faithful to the Greek word order. “On the water” was simply the only way to get to Jesus quickly.

Likewise, in John 21:7 we read that after the resurrection, Peter jumped out of the boat and swam to Jesus when he realized He was standing on the shore. Again, he just wanted to be with Jesus. In Matthew 14, it probably seemed to Peter that in the storm it is safer to be on the water with Jesus than in the boat without Jesus!  We should desire to be with Jesus. And in fact, the storms of life will often drive us closer to Jesus.

Oh the power of what faith can do when God gives us a promise we can rightly claim for ourselves! By faith the power of Jesus flowed unto Peter, and He was able to walk on water just like Jesus! As Peter was held up, so we shall be held up everywhere, and in any storm, as long as we set our confidence and faith upon Him.  So, how do we get the answers to the question, "Lord, if it is you?"

Simply ask.  Ask Jesus, "If this is you"...and wait for His answer.  His answers are found in Scripture, in Godly Counsel, in experience, and most important, in the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Simply ask the Lord and if it is Jesus, He will call you out of the boat to join Him. Then we must be willing to jump out and walk on the water.

You know I love ya - Don

Friday, August 14, 2009

Friday Funny - Back to School

Greenfield Central Schools (Greenfield, IN) returned to school in session this week. This is a odd time when I was growing up...First we did not return until the Tuesday after Labor Day...which made Labor Day a death holiday. Mom, Melinda, and I loved our summers together, so we called it the holiday the killed summer. My father on the other hand would sing all day the Christmas classic, "Its the Most Wonderful Time of the Year." I think we were getting on his nerves by then. (In later years I think even he was a little sad to see us go back to school. Although he never admited it.)

My nephew Domanic and I are a great deal alike. Of course he is a great kid and much smarter than I, but it gives me pleasure to know that our mannerisms are alike. For our Friday Funny today I thought I would relay a true story of Domanic.

Domanic is in 7th grade now, but on his first day of school for Kindergarten, we were all excited. They live in Tennessee and at the time we lived in Virginia. So, after dinner, Aunt Karen and Uncle Don (there was only two of us then) called Domanic to see how his first day went. He loved it. I asked, "what did you learn today...a new poem...wow, can you share it with me?" This is what he recited:
Little miss moffet, set on her tuffet
Even her curves and waves.
We still laugh at the thought of a curvy, wavy Miss Moffet. Hope it touches you as well. Keep laughing and maybe as I walk into heaven someday, I will get to hear dad singing, "Its the most wonderful time of the year." You know I love ya - Don

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Matthew 14:22-36

Lord, help me to get out of the boat and walk out to you, the source of all blessings! AMEN! - Enjoy this great passage in Matthew and then join me out here on the water....it is pretty cool! You know I love ya - Don
22Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, 24but the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.

25During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. "It's a ghost," they said, and cried out in fear.

27But Jesus immediately said to them: "Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid."

28"Lord, if it's you," Peter replied, "tell me to come to you on the water."

29"Come," he said.

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, "Lord, save me!"

31Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. "You of little faith," he said, "why did you doubt?"

32And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, "Truly you are the Son of God."

34When they had crossed over, they landed at Gennesaret. 35And when the men of that place recognized Jesus, they sent word to all the surrounding country. People brought all their sick to him 36and begged him to let the sick just touch the edge of his cloak, and all who touched him were healed.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Thanks for a "Fiddler" blessing

This was sent to me by Anjanette Wicker last week. After all the dancing in Fiddler on the Roof, the great music, the Fantastic Orchestra, the Real-to-life Cast, and the sold out crowds...It seemed very fitting to give God thanks for a very special blessing in my (our) summer.
Dancing With God
When I meditated on the word Guidance,
I kept seeing 'dance' at the end of the word.
I remember reading that doing God's will is a lot like dancing.
When two people try to lead, nothing feels right.
The movement doesn't flow with the music,
and everything is quite uncomfortable and jerky.
When one person realizes that, and lets the other lead,
both bodies begin to flow with the music.
One gives gentle cues, perhaps with a nudge to the back
or by pressing Lightly in one direction or another..
It's as if two become one body, moving beautifully.
The dance takes surrender, willingness,
and attentiveness from one person
and gentle guidance and skill from the other.
My eyes drew back to the word Guidance.
When I saw 'G': I thought of God, followed by 'u' and 'i'..
'God, 'u' and 'i' dance.'
God, you, and I dance.
As I lowered my head, I became willing to trust
that I would get guidance about my life..

Dance together with God, trusting God to lead
and to guide you through each season of your life.
Fiddler Cast: Thank you for the shirt, the magic baton, & the Violin Ornament. Thank you for all the hard work and support. Well Done!

Fiddler Orchestra: Thank you for the Star Trek TNG season 1 & 2, for all the love, and for being awesome players. Well Done!

As the shirt says..."You know I love ya!" - Don

Friday, August 7, 2009

Friday Funny - Young Preacher

A young preacher was contacted by the local funeral director to hold a grave-side committal service at a small local cemetery for someone with no family or friends. The preacher started early but quickly got himself lost, making several wrong turns.

He arrived a half-hour late, the hearse was nowhere in sight, and the workmen were eating lunch.

The pastor went to the open grave and found the vault lid already in place. Taking out his book, he read the service. As he was returning to his car, he overheard one of the workmen say: "Do you think we should tell him it's a septic tank?


Keep laughing! Happy Friday to you! - Don

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Attitude/Mood of God

I was at the Dr.'s office yesterday and there was a Time magazine on the table. It contained an article on "The Moods of God." I am not going to give you the link because it was not worth the read. (If you are that interested, google Time Magazine. It was in the last issue of July. Just remember it is total fiction.) The writer's presupposition is that we have multiple religions because God has mood swings. The God that I serve is more powerful, mighty, and consistent than to be controlled by "moods." The article made it sound as if we could watch God's mood ring and figure it all out...Good grief, people actually believe this.

The one identifying characteristic of the life wholly devoted to Jesus Christ is the attitude of a servant. Jesus was God! Think about that – Jesus was God. He needed nothing. He lacked nothing. He, God the Father and the Holy Spirit lived in perfect harmony and oneness. Jesus had nothing to gain and everything to lose by coming to the earth to redeem humanity from our sin. So what did Jesus do? Paul tells us that Jesus “emptied Himself.” In the New Living Translation we read, “Jesus made himself nothing.” Nothing. He who was everything, became nothing for you and me! Better news has never been heard! Jesus became nothing, so that we could receive everything He came to offer—life, eternal life, in all its abundance!

The Apostle Paul tells us to have this same attitude. When someone offends us, we are called to return love. When someone infringes on our rights, we are called to return love. When we have given everything we have to give—we call on God to give us the power to give more. The attitude of Jesus was humble servanthood. This is the opposite of everything our culture and Time Magazine tells us to be. We’re told to look out for #1 (meaning us) and Jesus says, “I am #1 and you must be willing to give up everything for me. Not only that, but every other person is to be treated as better than we are! The world says the one with the most toys wins! Jesus says, “The one who serves the most people wins!”

The true dividing line between Jesus Christ and the world is an attitude of humble service. Wherever we go as Christians we go as ambassadors for Jesus Christ, which means we go humbly, as servants. If we are to equip others to receive the transformation Jesus offers, the best possible tool for accomplishing that goal is an attitude of humble, submission to the will of God, and to serving others to His glory. In a world where everyone is looking for their rights. Jesus says, “Give up your rights and follow me.”

I am thankful for God's revealed truth in the Scriptures...You know I love ya - Don

Monday, August 3, 2009

A Creative God looks inward!

"But the Lord said to Samuel, "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." 1 Samuel 16:7
I am coming off of a long weekend. It has been a good weekend, with a great deal of hard work and intensity. We have had three major performances of Fiddler on the Roof with the R.W. Theater group and a great typical morning worship services with Solid Ground. It has been fun. I am very blessed...as I look around I see that God has surrounded me with good people with some extreme talent.

I am also not worthy of such a life. It is very humbling to look around and see so many people willing to follow, work hard, and dedicate themselves for a single goal. The community event is different in that we primarily focus our talent on a program of entertainment. At church, our primary goal is to declare God's worth in our lives by worshiping Him. The reality is that even in our community setting, as Christ followers, we are striving to express ourselves in unity, love, affection and in a creative spirit. Thus, we are created in God's image..."creative."

The above scripture text comes to mind for me because I am not worthy to stand in front of such people and direct. Yet, God continues to bless and allow me the privilege and honor to teach, direct, conduct, and lead. I am humbled by such a blessing.

My prayer today, "Lord, may I never take advantage of the true nature of a humble heart that only comes from you. You are a great God filled with joy, creativity, power and grace. You make all things new and bring life to all that you make. I ask you to bring your desires in all that I do so that the world around me will see and know that you are God. I leave it in your hands and declare my faith, in Jesus Name, Amen."


Thank you for reading and listening in on my thoughts today. Please know that God is interested your heart as well. God does not look at the outward appearances or the height of a person. God looks at the heart and character of a person. My prayer is for you too. You know I love you - Don