Friday, August 28, 2009

Worship, more than just music.

"In our life Lord, be lifted high".  Those are the words to the song blaring through my computer right now.  I am locked away and listening to some Hillsong United and feeling God fill me up.

How many of us take the time to allow God to work through us in worship?  In most churches, worship is limited to just the singing we do before preaching.  If you were to ask the average church attender, that is what you would hear.  This is a very limited few of worship.  If we think that only singing is worship, then some of us are missing the boat.  Worship is so much more.  Worship is allowing God to "be lifted high" in what we are doing.  Ultimately, the life we lead should be a continual worship of God.  

Luke 19:29-40 tells us  "Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!" “I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”  If we don't worship God, then His creation will do it.  We are His crowning jewel but if we don't live up to our call then someone else will do it.  I am learning more and more to allow other forms of worship to fill my time.  I love music and I always will.  I have a vast collection of music that sits on my iPod.  Sometimes I just sit and blare the music so that my own thoughts are blocked out and try to allow God to speak through the music.  In spite of this, I am using other forms of worship to move me.

This past Sunday at Refuel we talked about worship and participated in many different forms of worship.  I wasn't sure how the students would take it.  I figured some of them would enjoy it while others might be confused but we moved forward anyways.  I was amazed at our turnout and of those students who took it seriously.  I am thankful for Ginger, our prayer pastor, who came in and helped us.

During our time together we participated in the following types of worship:
  • Praise & Worship - Fliteline did a great job in leading us in musical worship.  They are doing a great job and the students are loving the new songs
  • Your Art - We gave the students time to practice their art. We told them to express what God has done in their life by using crayons, markers, play dough, scissors, glue and paper. Each of us has our own art or way to express ourselves and we wanted each student to find theirs.
  • Scripture Reading - Matt came on stage and read Psalm 23 to all of us.  I love his voice and he did a great job
  • Prayer Stances - This was the big part of our evening.  We went through 5 different prayer stances and focused on different areas of the students lives with each one.  The students formed groups of 3.
    • Kneeling - We confessed and committed ourselves to God so that we may be filled with him
    • Standing - We stood in the gap for our Government, Church and Families
    • Arms held high - Like Moses we lifted our arms to pray for the battles in our schools, our neighborhoods and our friends
    • Sat down - Each student took turns prayer for each other.  Laying on hands and lifting them up to God.
    • Circle Up, Hold Hands - We finished our prayer time by having Ginger pray for Flite Ministries. She prayed for all the leaders and students that we would continue to follow God and do His will.
  • Communion - Ginger served us communion and reminded us of why we do what we do and of the sacrifice that Jesus made for us.
We ended the night with Fliteline leading us in "Take It All" by Hillsong United.  I love the energy in the song and the way the students get into it.  I know this isn't a complete list and each of us could think of several different ways to worship God.  One thing I want the students to know is that we should be worshiping God 24/7/365.  We cannot limit our worship to a couple hours each week that we are in church.  We need to find time to worship his as we live our lives, no matter where we are or what we are doing.

*** I want to thank Jana Sarti at Saddleback Church of giving me the service they used during the PDYM SLC.
If you are interested in what we did, here is a link to my outline (adapted from Jana's)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Evangelism, Are you a fan?

When you hear the word 'Evangelism' what do you think about? For most Christians, it is a word that was commanded to us by Jesus. For those outside the church, it is a word that causes fear, anxiety and anger. In my 30 years in the church, I have seen many different models of sharing your faith, from the very extreme to the very subtle. Over time we have caused the world outside the church to run in fear when they hear that a Christian is coming. No matter how the world sees it, Evangelism is a commandment that Jesus gave us in Matthew. We are to tell the world the good news of Jesus Christ and share with people how He has changed our life. Some of us have no problems striking up a conversation, others of us are scared to death to talk to anyone about our faith, but still we are commanded. Evangelism is the life blood of any church. If people aren't sharing their faith, if we aren't vocal about our beliefs, then we are failing. You can contrast sharing our faith with talking about our favorite sports team. It's amazing the things we do and say as "fans" vs things we do and say as Christians.

We can look at Matt 5:14-16 and see that we are called to be more than what most of us are. 
14“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden.
15Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.
16In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

We cannot be hidden.

I know for teenagers (and some adults) sharing your faith, really sharing your faith, is met with fear, confusion and anxiety.  Fear of being rejected or labeled.  Confused about what to say or how to say it.  Anxiety over making a fool of themselves.  I know it is easy to say we don't need to be worried about what other people think, but in reality it is very hard.

Doug Fields talks about (in his book PDYM) that sharing our faith is about living our lives so that Christ is shown and not us.  This way people will see us and wonder why we are different.  He also gave 5 easy steps to sharing  your faith.
  • Step 1. Tell your friend that you are a Christian (not just go to church)
  • Step 2. Invite your friend to an appropriate program (Refuel, FNF, Gross Night)
  • Step 3. Tell you friend why you are a Christian (do you know why) (GOSPEL)
  • Step 4. Tell your friend how you became a Christian (God story)
  • Step 5. Ask your friend if he/she would like to become a Christian
Looking at these 5 steps, we can easily share our faith with our friends and those we meet.  We don't need to badger or pound people into believing.  If we are the light the God calls us, people will see us and what to be like us.