Currently showing posts tagged New Covenant

  • All Of Life's A Stage

    All Of Life's A Stage

    All of life is for worship.

    Creation itself is a theater of praise.

    Worship is what we were made for.

    It is the center of all activity.

    Every tribe and tongue, every creature, all of heaven and earth are called to worship the one true God.

    A worship service? We can schedule these as often as we like yet worship is the space of our lives. We have been given the capacity to receive God for who He is and by Him we have the ability to respond, reflecting His very image back to Him in worship. Sing. Dance. Celebrate. Clap hands. Lift up our eyes to the King of Glory. Worship is a fitting response because He deserves praise, honor, and glory for what He has done.

    The first song recorded in Revelation 5 tells us what Jesus the Lamb of God has done for us as the voices in heaven sing out, “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slaughtered and by your blood you ransomed for God saints from every tribe and language and people and nation; You have made them to be a kingdom and priests serving our God, and they will reign on earth.” (Rev. 5:9-10)

    By the actions of Jesus Christ, we have been freed from bondage. Through his blood we have been given authority to stop being spectators and start being actors. Our physical life at work is our spiritual act of worship. Paul says in Romans 12:1, “. . . offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God--this is your true and proper worship.

    The shift from being spectators to actors is about taking up our God-given vocation, truly being God’s kingdom and royal priesthood in the earth. While the Old Covenant priesthood was for mediating God’s presence to His people. Now, in the New Covenant, this royal priesthood (1 Peter 2:9) involves all believers representing God to all creation.

    What does a life of worship look like? It means life without compartments, everything for the glory of the Lord. That means everything we do. File under worship all your choices, decisions, habits and priorities. What we worship is revealed in what we do.

    What we worship is revealed in...

    ...our presentation of ourselves and our local church

    ...the things we say in casual conversation

    ...our parenting

    ...our leisure

    ...the way we eat

    ...the way we rest our bodies in sleep

    ...our being at work and how we do our jobs

    ...the way we celebrate our calendar year

    ...our obedience to His commandments

    ...our writing

    ...our online history

    ...our Netflix queue we entertain ourselves

    ...our response to the poor and what we wear

    ...our bank statements

    ...what we laugh at

    ...the way we mourn

    ...our attitudes when we drive

    ...our response to media

    ...our Facebook wall

    ...our dependence on ______.

    Often we categorize worship as ...our singing ...our celebrations ...the arts ...and while these are ways of expressing worship to the Lord, worship is attached to all of our activity. The allegiance of our heart, mind, and strength is made visible not just during adoration times, but in our bored times. Worship is what we lean into in the low times as well as the times when we feel devout.

    This gets personal and why wouldn’t it? Either life is in Christ or we have available another power source worthy of our attention, our energy, our love, our money, our time, etc. The lie swallowed by Adam and Eve was that they thought life was just as much in the Tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil as it was in the Tree of Life (actually they banked on more life being in the choice of forbidden fruit than in the wholesome kind that was recommended by God). In their case, they made idols out of their choices by serving something less than their Creator. Their sin problem was an idolatry problem which was a worship problem. All of life is worship.

    Life without compartments means we acknowledge that all choices bear fruit. What kind of fruit do you want? Because of Jesus breaking the power of sin, we get to choose life in every scenario. By his blood, we are free to choose to do the right thing, to have our footsteps directed by the Lord. This is the reality Paul speaks of in Romans 8 when he declares that “neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

    A life of worship is total surrender. For the believer, this means that our whole lives are ordered under the authority and reign of Jesus the King. Being me means being as Jesus is in the world. That’s the reality of expressing we are in Christ, living under the rule of the King. Nothing less than being found entirely in Him is our authentic expression of who we are.

    1 John 1:6-9 there is a series of statements that define the authentic worshiper as:

    • 1:6 // One who does not walk in darkness but in the light
    • 1:6 // Who lives in the truth
    • 1:7 // Who has fellowship with the community
    • 1:8 // Who does not lie but recognizes sin
    • 1:9 // Who confesses it and is cleansed from sin by the blood of Jesus, and is forgiven

    Another way of understanding life this way is holiness. To be holy is to be a pleasing fragrance to God (see 2 Corinthians 2:15). John tells us in the passage above that because of Jesus we share his intimacy, his close relationship, with Father God. He’s made us holy by his own blood. He’s brought all of our lives into his light revealing the truth that all of life was intended for communion (community-union). Because of Jesus we can face our past. By his blood we have a clear conscience. By his blood there is no condemnation for any intentional or unintentional misfires where we fell short of receiving all of his love. By his blood we press forward as holy people walking with God in every area of life.

    “All the world’s a stage, ” wrote Shakespeare. In Genesis 1-2 we see God set the stage when He blessed everything that He created. This meant that He made all creation the sign and the means of His presence, and wisdom, love, and revelation. What was lost in the Fall was redeemed in Christ. Ephesians 1:22 says, “God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.”

    It’s time to worship. The location is wherever we go. We not only remember what he has done but when we lift our eyes to worship him in the space of our lives we see him holding all things together, reconciling all things to himself, “whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.” (Colossians 1:20).

    Behold the King!

    Your life is a stage made for revealing His glory.

    // Seeking info on the band pic at the top? They're called OK Mayday

  • Still Optimistic?

    The world is a mess. Aren't you paying attention?

    How can you be an "optimistic local church?"

    Are your heads in the sand? Don't you know it's only getting worse?

    Aren't you just choosing ignorance in saying that you believe that "God is in a good mood?"

    No one has ever just come out and asked me such bold questions, but I imagine they are there. I'm a leader of DreamHouse, a church that calls itself "optimistic." Just take a look at the news or scroll down your Facebook wall. It doesn't take a Sherlock Holmes-like sense of details to see that things are rough out there. The question I ask myself is this, "What are we optimistic about"? Allow me to answer.

    1 Corinthians 2:9-10 says, 
    "What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived” — the things God has prepared for those who love him—these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit."

    Paul is quoting Isaiah here. In Isaiah 64 this scripture is a prophetic passage about the coming of Jesus. In the first verse of the chapter, we read, 
    "Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down, that the mountains would tremble before you!" 
    If you read Isaiah like it was written to you for 2015 you might get excited because to a lot of Christians this scripture is the anticipation that Jesus would come and solve the world's problems. Like Superman, or something less commercial, he would come down from the Heavens and trounce his enemies. The hope from this perspective is that even if things really are horrible, Jesus's appearance will fix it.

    Here's the thing, the book of Isaiah wasn't written to you. It was written to Jews in exile around 711 BC (BC as in before Christ). The historical context here is that Israel and Jerusalem were in Babylonian captivity. The expectation of God - as being delivered through Isaiah - is that restoration is ahead for God's purposes for His people. This passage is a prayer that is followed by God's answer, ultimately reminding them of His plan for salvation comprising a new Zion that will include the nations (66:18-21).

    So when does God's salvation come? When will the nations be included in this new Zion?  Great questions. Let's read from the Gospel of John.
    "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16)
    Do you mean to tell me that is your answer??
    Jesus's death and resurrection are why you are optimistic?!

    In a word - yes. Let's read on from verse 16-21.
    "For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God."
    Traditional wisdom tells us that we don't have an answer for today's problems. I'm not spiritualizing the situation, I'm telling you that in Christ we can live in the truth of His Light. That means we can approach today and tomorrow with wisdom, hope, peace, joy and the empowerment of our Heavenly Father.

    The implications of Jesus coming to earth, dying on the cross, resurrecting and giving his disciples his authority is more than we've realized. In Christ, we have been given God's life. Sin and death are no longer holding all the cards. It's our move.

    We are an optimistic church because we believe in Christ Jesus as Lord and Savior. Jesus isn't yet to be Lord. His Kingdom is here now. There is no separation between us. Now, let's open our hearts to the one's who are in front of us and let's come up with a plan for the next 100 years. There's a big opportunity in front of us.