Archives For joy

This video was shared tonight at our 1st Wednesday Service.  I love the enthusiasm and reckless abandon that this little one shows as she sings to the creator!  Oh, that we would be the same as we worship our God, and try to bring a bit of up there, down here!

Anticipation

Jason Petermann  —  December 24, 2008 — Leave a comment

I am home today on Christmas Eve.  We are doing all the last minute things that you do before Christmas Day.  We are watching Santa’s progress on the NORAD Santa Tracker RADAR.  My kids are on a high just waiting for the big day.  The waiting is going to kill them, and drive their christmas-adventparents nuts!  Actually, it is fun to sit back and watch them in their anticipation of the arrival of Christmas.  It is like Christmas will never get here for them!

As I watch them, I cannot help but think about all the people involved in that first Christmas night.  The nation of Israel, Joseph and Mary and all those expecting the arrival of a Messiah… the One who would come and save them.  They did not know the weight of what would happen that night.  They did not know what the birth of Jesus would be all about, and what it would set it motion.  They could not comprehend that the birth of this child would be the catalyst that would allow mankind to come into a right relationship with the God of the Universe.

I hope that as we go about our fun the next couple of days that we do not forget that all this was because God wanted a relationship with us.  He wanted to be a part of our lives.  He wanted to be able to lead us to the life that He has planned, a plan that will allow us to live life to the full!  God has always had a plan… and that plan includes us! It includes you living the life that God planned for you.

As we anticipate Christmas Day, let’s not forget that Jesus is not just the reason for the season… He is he reason for life!  Let’s live that way!

I was just sitting here thinking over the last several days.  Our nation has certainly witnessed some passion_worshipincredible things with this election.  People were passionate about the political process.  They were passionate about their candidate, their beliefs, and the change that they believe needs to come to this nation.  Emotions ran high… sometimes too high as people argued and displayed behavior that was childish and immature.  The passion and emotion that was shown during this process at times was even inspiring.  I think it is awesome to see people so motivated and inspired about the country, but I sit here and wonder what would happen if that same type of passion and emotion was displayed by those that are part of the church and call themselves Christ-followers?

Are we suppose to have passion and emotion about our faith?  Are we suppose to show that passion and emotion as we walk this life?  Are we, God forbid, to show passion and emotion even in our church services?  I think we do God, other Christ followers and those that are not Christ followers a great disservice if we do not.  Why should we contain passion and emotion as we worship our God?

Jesus said that the greatest command was to love God with all our heart, soul and mind.  I love this, because in saying it the way He did, Jesus was saying that we are to worship our God with our entire being.  With all of who we are.  The soul certainly is the seat of our spiritual longing, that which causes us to yearn for something greater than ourselves.  The mind is the part of life that processes truth, that deals with facts. The heart is the seat of our emotions.  I am SO glad that the Scripture puts it the way it does.  Many try to tell us that emotion has no place in our worship.  But to say that, we are denying the fact that God has made us emotional beings… and He did that for a reason.

  • If we only love God with our soul, we will find ourselves latching on to many things that call themselves spiritual, and will find ourselves worshipping things that have nothing to do with God.
  • If we love with only our mind, we find ourselves loaded down with facts and we can dupe ourselves into thinking we are great Christians because we know so much.
  • If we love God with only our emotions, we can substitute a feeling for obedience and rely on that to drive our Christian experience.

So, any one of these by themselves is not enough.  I believe that our spirit drives us to know the true God, and when we find Him, and realize who He is and what He has done, we worship Him with a passion and emotion that he has designed us for, and that is contagious to those that do not know Him.  Remove any of this, and you do not have a full love for God.

Before you read any more, I am not pastor bashing here.  I do not face this situation where I am at.  I have an awesome pastor to work WITH (emphasis added on purpose!).  He is awesome!

I have heard preachers say that you should not show emotion during the singing part of the service.  They say that it lets the flesh get involved (uhh, hello! emotion does NOT equal flesh), and when you get emotional, it puts the focus on you rather than God.  How stupid is that?  How contrary to how God made us!  Should we not get emotional about the cross and what Jesus had to go through there?  Should we not get emotional about the fact that we have been allowed to come into a relationship with God, and there is absolutely no reason God should have done that for us?

It seems many preachers only apply this to the music in a service.  Why only the music?  From what I have seen, the pastor usually feels intimidated because there is no response to his message.  He gets intimidated because people get excited in their worship of God through music (and other things in the service), but then offer no excitement when he speaks and there is no response during the invitation.  He should be asking himself why is there no emotion and passion from the people during his preaching or at the invitation?  I think many times it is because there is so little passion, preparation and prayer from the pastor in the construction of his message.

Think about it.  It is hard to get excited about a message that is ill-prepared, or that you have heard before… maybe even 2 or 3 times before.  So, instead of asking himself the hard question of why, he just decides if they are not going to be passionate and excited for the message, he does not want to see excitement, emotion and passion at any other time.  God forbid!  It is all about him after all.  That is called personal kingdom building, and has nothing to do with building the Kingdom of God!  Think about it, when is the last time you heard a preacher say that you should not say “AMEN” during his preaching?  Is that not an emotional response?  You bet it is, and it is no different than being emotional during music or any other time during the service.   Why would someone want to suppress something that God has made us to be?  We are emotional by design!   So, go ahead, be emotional!  God gave you permission, you do not need the pastor’s permission.

Oh, one other argument some pastor’s have made about this: showing emotion brings attention to a person and not to God.  That can happen.  People can seek attention in their worship by being emotional, and that is a wrong motivation and expression of emotion.  But do we dismiss all emotion because of someone like that?  I think not.  I have known more than one pastor that draws attention to himself in (or out of) the pulpit by trying to get the affection or sympathy of his people.  Is that any different?  Actually, I think it is worse.

Jesus said,  “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”

Love Him with all your being.  Be passionate!  Be emotional!  If we can do it in politics, we can certainly do it when it comes to the worship of the Creator of all things!  God made us that way!

jordan_daniel

She has been dating this young man for quite some time now, and last Saturday at the Marine Ball, he asked her to be is wife, and she accepted.  I am proud of her.  She was a great student in school, she has been a responsible teenager (oxymoron, I know) and I know she will make Daniel a great wife.  Daniel is a great young man, and is a Marine who serves our country in the Reserves.  He is set to be deployed next Spring.  Pray for his safety.  Pray for their current relationship and future marriage.   And pray for my wife and I as we decide what to do with her room!

I stumbled across a quote a couple weeks ago at Jonathan Herron’s blog that just keeps playing itself in my mind. Here is the quote, and the author of it:

“The greatest opposition to what God is doing today comes from those who were on the cutting edge of what God was doing yesterday.”
– R.T. Kendall, pastor of Westminster Chapel

Is saddens me (and ticks me off at the same time) to know that there are people who think that God stopped allowing His kids to be creative in 1950, 1960 or 1970. That somehow God looked down in 1970 and said, “Ahh, they have arrived. This is the ultimate Christian experience, and it should remain like this from now until Jesus comes.”

Can you imagine that? Can you understand that? If so, try and explain it to me if you would, because I sure can’t understand it. So many people are so used to their “Churchianity” that they forget that life is all about Christ, not their version of the Bible, their preference of music or their style of dress. Jesus said that we have the opportunity to live an abundant life that comes from living for Him. I think it is time we get our eyes off of what used to be and start focusing on what should be.

I am glad that things change. Not just change for change sake. But I like air conditioning, and riding to church in a car as opposed to a horse. I like many of the changes that we see in the church today. Are all changes good? No.

As you read the Bible, you do not find God doing the same thing over and over again as He dealt with His people. You do not see Jesus doing the same miracles over and over again. He did things different. Sometimes in a radical way. A way that ticked the religious leaders off. I think that is cool and sad at the same time. Cool because Jesus was certain that God was not working the same way He did with Moses and Abraham and others in the Old Testament. It is sad because Jesus told these so-called religious leaders that by holding on to their traditions and preaching those traditions the same as being God’s law, they had made the Word of God of no affect. That is what scares me about churches today. They are so in tune to tradition, that the Word of God has no affect when it is actually preached. God, please do not let me ever get to that point!

God changed His methods. Jesus changed His methods. But the message was always the same. God loves us, and wants a relationship with us. That message will never change, nor should it.