Christian Living

Decision Making and Our Default Settings (part 1)

What were the last five decisions you made today? Maybe it was what to have for a meal or how you would satisfy a thirsty feeling. Did you turn music on or off in the past hour? What about the television? Are you taking a break right now, choosing to think about anything other than work? Did you have to prioritize some projects for the weekend?

All day long we make decisions. Some of them we agonize over. There may be a hundred different ways the outcome can change my life or those around me. Other decisions just happen and we move on, knowing what we know with confidence in what we like or dislike.

In a time of continual change, uncertainty lies around every corner. Most of the time it is not like a mugger in a dark alley, waiting to strike and make off with the best we have on us at the time (though it certainly can feel that way). Think of it more like taking a drive down a long highway and toll booths are coming more frequently than they used to.

How quick are your decisions lately? Are you coasting on knowing what you know? Does the thought of other people forcing you into a decision you don’t want to make lead you to frustration, anger and defiance? Maybe you’re like a driver stuck in one of those toll booth’s looking for exact change and the blaring encouragement to get moving from those behind you is making it harder to concentrate.

Chances are, whether you just want to move on and get out of the way or you have dealt with so much recently you just can’t stop and think too hard about things anymore, you have learned to rely on your default settings. Over a short series of posts, let’s take a look at how these work in our lives, where they came from, and what we can do to hone or change them.

Continue reading “Decision Making and Our Default Settings (part 1)”
Faith

Finding Fulfillment in Personal Worship

I have very strong feelings about worship. Worship has opened many doors for me in ministry and gives life to my personal relationship with Jesus. It has been a continual study of mine, and I think it about it so much i even wrote a book about it.

According to one personality profile, music is so important to who I am that not having it in my life for an extended time can actually be harmful to my mental health, and the vast majority of the music in my life is worship related.

Worship is a powerful element of our life in Jesus Christ. It isn’t something new, finding purpose because of the growth of the worship music industry. Quite the opposite, actually. It is because of our inner desire for and benefit from worship that kept lead worshipers going and be able to take advantage of today’s technologies to explode worldwide.

But maybe you go to church and wonder what the big deal is about worship. Maybe you haven’t grabbed hold of what it can mean for you. You are not necessarily opposed to the music at church, it just does not affect you like it does others. You love God, but this worship thing is not really a “need” in your life.

In a previous post I talked about how COVID-19 is giving us an opportunity to rediscover personal worship, to spend time with God, singing to and about Him, all on our own. This post cracks the idea of how it is different from congregational worship and bit of how to make it happen.

Continue reading “Finding Fulfillment in Personal Worship”
Faith

Are You Willing to Worship Alone?

Church has changed in the past couple of years. COVID-19 will do that. The good news is we are in a slot of this pandemic where in most areas churches are allowed to be open.

We are glad to be able to get together and feel the power of Holy Spirit connection in one room. For a lot of folks this is better than the online church we had before. But it still isn’t the same, is it?

In my slice of the world we still have to wear masks, social distance, and are not supposed to have congregational singing. That last one is hard. Some sing anyway under their masks but most try to open themselves to God’s ministry through the worship team and quietly set their hearts and minds on Heaven.

It seems like an oxymoron, worship without singing. Yet it feels like a good to remind us of a lesson I learned while leading worship teams and writing a book about worship: the importance of being able to worship on our own, away from everyone else.

Continue reading “Are You Willing to Worship Alone?”
Faith

6 Complications to Admitting Our Sin and Facing Our Need for Jesus

Everyone who bumps into Jesus has to decide whether or not they need Him in their life. Whether a search for truth or life or forgiveness or hope led us to Him, or we found ourselves presented with the life and work of Jesus by a friend or stranger, there is a basic evaluation we run through to decide how far we are willing to hear or receive this Jesus. But the admission of sin requires us to overcome complications which tend to stop us in our tracks.

Continue reading “6 Complications to Admitting Our Sin and Facing Our Need for Jesus”
Photo by Ricky Turner on Unsplash
Christian Living

What does Easter remind you to sacrifice?

At this time of year, I always have trouble separating Easter and Good Friday. If Jesus didn’t offer His life as a sacrifice for sin, we wouldn’t have a resurrection to look forward to. Either in Easter, or for those who believe on the day when these mortal bodies are transformed into the immortal.

The sacrifice of Jesus was unique. Though it was symbolized for centuries through the sacrifice of lambs, bulls, and goats, it is only the precious sacrifice of Jesus which makes us truly right with God.

Christ entered the Most Holy Place only onceā€”and for all time. He did not take with him the blood of goats and calves. His sacrifice was his own blood, and by it he set us free from sin forever. (Hebrews 9:12 NCV)

But what about us? Though Jesus “paid a debt I could not pay” according to the old hymn, is my life in Him without its own sacrifice? Or am I also called to lay put aside, consider dead, sacrifice something of me?

Continue reading “What does Easter remind you to sacrifice?”

Church Life

The Oxymoron Church: Imprisoned freedom

As an American, freedom is a term that is both familiar and foundational. There are battles over various freedoms in our Western nations, and we wonder at the lack of basic freedoms around the world.

Freedom is an essential building block of Christianity. Though it neither demands nor forces the freedoms many fight for today, it offers a deeper freedom that cannot be bound by any earthly shackles of inequality or oppression.

Proclaiming freedom for captives and the truth that sets us free, the church invites the hopeless to a life of freedom in Christ. At the Oxymoron Church, while shaking the keys of freedom before the chains of sin and death, they hold open the door a new life where hope slowly dies in a different kind of prison.

Continue reading “The Oxymoron Church: Imprisoned freedom”