Unity Needs A Foundation

I have these nice dress shoes I wear when I preach.  I think they are from Kohl’s.  They are anointed-with my sweat and fire!  I signed the bottom of them with my pastor signature, which is illegible according to my daughter.  How much do you think I could sell them for?

I also have a pair of Lebron James’ shoes worn during the final game of the 2016 NBA championship, anointed with his sweat, signed with his hand (ok, I am pretending).  How much do you think I could sell them for?

The first rule of value: an object’s worth is derived from its owner.  

The creator’s value is tied to the object’s value.  The object, by osmosis, inherits the value of its owner. A broken guitar, a sketch, a game ball, a baseball card.  None of these objects have much value unless their owner endows them with it.  A Jimi Hendrex burnt guitar sold for over 380K.  A Da Vinci sketch is priced at 16 million.  Mark McGwire’s 70th-homerun-ball is worth 3 million. A 1952 Mickey Mantle baseball card is worth over $500,000.  Each is a piece of the owner; something that ties us to them and their greatness.

In Psalm 8 King David declares a foundational truth: “What is man that You are mindful of him….You have crowned him with glory and honor.”  Every person is created by God; every person is important to Him.  Why!?  Because they bear His image, carry His glory, and where His crown.  Glory and honor!  Human flesh wrapped in the beauty of God, showered with esteem from heaven, lifted up from dust to be given meaning and purpose.  Because of the Creator, the created has value.  If He is of infinite worth, inestimable value, then those whom He made in His image are endowed with, infused with, that value.  His is an inherent value; ours is derived. 

Because of the Creator, the created has value.

This truth is the foundation of all biblical ethics and commands.  From the first chapter of the bible, the foundation is laid in love.  The value of every person is the basis for love and love is the basis for all true human relations and societal laws.  Remove a human beings dignity and you open the door to atrocities, oppressions, injustices, and violence.

Our society, as a whole, has removed this foundation.  There is no solid ground to build upon.  But, as our Master Jesus, told us, “Not so among you!”  We know this truth; we delight in this truth.  Now we must be governed by this truth.  We are glad to be valued by God; now He is calling us to see the same in every person we meet.  Our eyes must see the glorious treasure inside each soul; our hearts must be drawn to their value; our words must voice their honor; our hands must protect their dignity; our lives must bring forth their purpose.

People sometimes ask me how to cultivate unity, or a diverse community, or an atmosphere of acceptance.  It is this simple: I endeavor to value and add value to EVERY person I meet.

So if you have never heard, or you wonder, or its been awhile: you are VALUABLE!  You matter to God and to me.  You are created in the image of God.  You are beautiful; fearfully and wonderfully made.  Your days are written in God’s book.  He thinks about you so much that his good intentions towards you are more than the sand of the seashore.  You are glorious.  You are not a product of random chance or natural selection or mutations.  You are the artwork of God.  The desire of His heart.  The apple of His eye. You are worth more than Lebron James’ shoes or Mickey Mantle’s baseball card.  You are worth the glory of your Creator.

Now go see it in others and speak it into their soul.  Now create environments charged with honor, where every person is valued and welcomed.

A Voice For Unity

I recently read a news article that, in essence, claimed that the “experiment” of racial unity in churches was dead.  Well, not where I live!  

I recognize we have deep, historical roots of pride and  injustice.  I recognize we have lots of work still to do until we “all come to unity of faith and the knowledge of Son of God”; until we fulfill the prayer of Jesus, “that they would be one Father as You and I are one” on earth as it is in heaven.  But the “experiment” is not dead.  These “statistics” and “social observations” are non-scientific; these individuals see what they want to see.  They claim churches are homogenous.  Well, they haven’t been to my church yet!  We are far from our vision and far from perfection, but we are on the way and picking up the pace. I feel like we are becoming a church for those “in-between”.

During a motivational seminar, I was recently reminded of the “expectancy theory” that states, “whatever you focus on expands”.  Scripture presents a corollary principal: “Death and life are in the power of the tongue and those who love it will eat its fruit.”  What we give voice to, influences our hearts and minds.  We plant words, like seeds, into our souls and those ideas produce fruit in our attitudes and actions.  Ideas become institutions; words shape environment; concepts mold culture, thoughts forms systems.

If we give voice to disunity, it will consume our society.  And no house divided against itself can stand.  It inevitably will fall.  If we give voice to unity,  it will heal our society.   As we learn from Galatians 6, we harvest the fruit of the seed we sow.  If we talk about unity, it will grow.

Negative voices are constantly bombarding us with the problems of race relations, division and such in our country.  There is place for this as it can, when executed correctly, bring awareness, stir holy indignation, and arouse action.  Like an accurate diagnosis of a disease can lead to a life-saving cure, examination of our social problem can lead to transformation.  But diagnosis without prognosis is only disappear.  To vent anger or spew criticism, leaves our “patient” with no hope.  There is a vast difference between, “You have a tumor, but if we act now we can save your life” and “You have a tumor, there is nothing we can do.”  The later is what the divisive words are sowing.  you mean well, you are making an observation, but you lack the sight beyond your experience, the hope beyond your world.  I refuse to stay there!

These divisive words are both the cause and the engine of our current state of division.  Rather than helping us move towards a cure, they are exacerbating the problem.  Our words, often on the news and in social media, are doing great harm.

I am committing to be a voice of unity; one who carries words of life on his tongue; one whose speech builds bridges.

I want to sow seeds into our culture that will both heal the wounds of the past and create the future we need and desire.  If we want a different future, we must speak different words.  I invite you, friend, to do the same.

Cut out sentences that contrast “us” and “them” and starting talking about “we”.  Elevate your generalities to specifics.  Who are “they” anyways!? And not everyone on the left or the right, the white or the black, the rich or the poor, the urban or the suburban are the same.  Transition from speaking about problems, to offering solutions. Criticism and cyncism are easy; strategic solutions require work, faith, and love.  Stop judging people’s motives while giving yourself grace.  You know what I mean; it sounds like, “They really want…”, “They don’t really care about…”.  Let’s be honest, we cannot see someone’s heart, we can only see their actions.  Take responsibility for your part–we cannot speak of another’s responsibility (i.e. “they should…”), without also speaking of our own. Cut out derogatory language–we never have the right to speak evil of or curse another person.  As God says, “Do not speak evil of one another” (James 4:11).

Speak words of honor about others.  Highlight the best in people.  Assume people have something to teach you; ask questions and actually listen and consider.  Emphasize our similarities, connections, and oneness.  Value differences–different perspectives, colors, gifts, and personalities.  Our differences can be the way forward; can be the weapon of unity rather than the weapon of disunity.  Share testimonies of those who are succeeding rather than failing.  Celebrate the victories, even small wins.  Have conversations about solutions rather than problems.

So, I declare that God’s vision for a unified church will become a reality; the prayer of Jesus will be answered on earth as it is in heaven.  And the church will become light again.  A hope to the world; a testimony of God’s brilliant, loving work of redemption.

I see leaders rising up with noble hearts, ready to serve the people rather than their own self-ambitions.  I see leaders who will lead the “streams” into one river, knowing that “all things are ours in Christ”.  I see walls of offense, fear and pride coming down.  I see a church that lives out the vision the Apostle Paul had when he called for “brotherly love” among rich and poor, slave and free, male and female, Jew and non-Jew.  I see a church on earth as it is in heaven: the redeemed of the Lord representing every tribe, language, people-group, and ethnicity, which implies an accentuation of our differences, a celebration of our uniqueness.  Singing, dressing, talking, relating in our own cultural flair–a unity in diversity, a beautiful mosaic of worship to our Maker, God and Father.

How is this possible!?  Honor is the key to unity.  I’ll have to talk about that in another devo because I am out of time.

Join me in being a voice of unity.   Let’s speak life and sow seeds into our culture that will both heal the wounds of the past and create the future we need and desire.

 

Faith Reasons

I’ve heard many people say, “I think too much. That is my problem.” Thinking too much is never the problem. It’s what you are thinking about that is the problem. 
Unbelief reasons. Fear reasons. Pride reasons. So many people reason according to misinformation or even lies. Many people reason according to what is right in their own eyes. This is what leads to bad decisions.

But did you know faith also reasons? Faith simply believes God and accepts the truths of His Word. This shapes the way we think which in turn leads to the right decisions.

Consider how people of faith reason…



DAVID reasoned that since God was on his side he could defeated a man many times stronger and more skilled than him. He simply concluded that God was stronger than a man. He declared, “You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts” (1 Samuel 17). 

Isn’t that the most logical conclusion: God+me=unstoppable?

ABRAHAM reasoned that if God had made a promise He would keep it. This led him to trust and obey God. Romans 4 says of him, “being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform.” When asked to sacrifice Isaac, the son given by the promise, Abraham reasoned in faith that God would raise him from the dead (Hebrews 11:19). He simply calculated His decision based on God’s character. 

He factored God’s faithfulness into the equation.


PETER reasoned that if Jesus could walk on water that he could also walk on water. His faith reasoned something like: “Well Jesus can do it, and I am a follower of Jesus, so if He says I can do it, then I can do it because He gives me power to do what He does.” Peter had already experienced miraculous provision and healing when he obeyed Jesus and depend on His power. And so walking on water was more of the same. His faith reasoned, he asked Jesus, “Tell me to come to you.” Jesus said, “Come”. Peter walked on water. 

Simple math for believers: Jesus says I can do it = I can do it.   

This is how faith reasons. What seems illogical to unbelief is logical to a person of faith. The person of faith is not being illogical, they are simply reasoning from faith rather than from unbelief. A person of faith comes to a conclusion based on the information they’ve received from God. The truth changes their perspective. 

So use your mind to trust God. Think like a believer. Reason in faith.  Think too much about His word rather than about, well, whatever else you have been thinking about. Reason in faith.

Here is a good place to start: 

Romans 10:17 “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”

If your mind believes what it hears, then hear God’s word. We need our minds renewed. When our mind is renewed our character and choices and life are transformed (Romans 12:1-2). Listen to faith filled preaching and read the bible.  

Psalm 1:2 “But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates day and night.”

Think about and speak out loud God’s word–His way of thinking. Let His mind change your mind. 

Every Stronghold Will Fall

We all have things that confront us in life from time to time: pressure from the outside, fear on the inside; difficult circumstances and trying relationships; plaguing thoughts and crippling emotions. We all face these things but the important question is: how do you face them? Do they defeat you or do you defeat them? God says you are more than a conquerer through Jesus Christ who loves you (Romans 8:37). God tells us how to overcome these things in His power, to see every stronghold fall.

The bible describes these external and internal trials in various ways. One time Jesus called these trials “mountains”-enormous, immovable strongholds. In essence He was saying, “When you are faced with an impossible situation, a sickness or financial situation you cannot bear, an addiction you cannot overcome, or emotions you cannot change, you need My power. What is impossible with men, is possible for God and for those who trust Him.” You might not be able to move that obstacle by yourself, but you and God can bring it down easily. My four year old can barely carry a large box of cereal by himself. But with my help, it’s easy.

So how do we trust God? How do we work with God to overcome?  

Check out what Jesus told us to do:

 “Have FAITH in God. For assuredly, I say to you, whoever SAYS to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says.” –Mark 10:22-23

When faced with something that will never move without God’s power, do what Jesus says: speak to it! He did not say, “Ask God to move the mountain.”  He told us to speak to the mountain. His power will not be released until we speak God’s word in faith. Just like Jesus told the storm He was in to be still (and it worked), so speak to that mountain in front of you. Just like David spoke to Goliath before he felled the giant, speak to that giant in front of you. Tell that stronghold to get out of your way in the name of Jesus and that stronghold will fall.  

His power will not be released until we speak God’s word in faith.

That thing opposing you wants you to be silent. God wants you to speak. When we believe that God’s word is true and powerful, we act accordingly. Faith declares God’s word and every stronghold will fall.

Return To Where You Began

Have you received a promise and rejoiced?  and then after the promise came hardship and delay?  Did you struggled in faith?  Well, you are not alone.   And just like Abraham, the father of our faith, you can return to where you began.

Abraham was called by God to leave his family, his comfort zone, and his financial safety net. He left everything because he heard God and trusted in His promises (Check out Genesis 12 and Hebrews 11 for more of the story).

When Abraham arrived in the land of Canaan he heard God say, “To your descendants I will give this land.” So he built an altar as an act of worship to God. This altar was a symbol of his faith—of his joy, his gratitude, his confidence, his resolve to follow God.

This altar was a symbol of his faith—of his joy, his gratitude, his confidence, his resolve to follow God.

But then Abraham was confronted with an economic crisis, a drought and famine. After the promise came hardships and delay.  Abraham struggled in his faith. His character was tested. Abraham went down to Egypt where it was safe. He lied, putting his wife in danger, to save his own skin.  Hint: don’t follow that example. 

But after his failure came restoration. Genesis 13 describes Abraham’s return: he came out of Egypt and returned “to the place where his tent had been at the BEGINNING, between Bethel and Ai, to the place of the altar which he had made there at FIRST. And there Abram called on the name of the Lord (Genesis 13:3-4).”

“…to the place of the altar which he had made there at FIRST.” -Genesis 13:4

Did you see that!? He returned to where he BEGAN. He returned to the place he had FIRST built an altar. He went back to the place God had spoken, to the place he believed God, to the place of joy, of confidence, of resolve, of thankfulness. He returned to faith.

Do you need to return to faith? Do you need to remember what God has promised you? Do you need to remember joy, confidence and thankfulness? Do you need to return, rebuild an altar of faith, worship and call on God’s name?  Well, you can. Just like Abraham you can return to where you began.  God’s mercy is new today. He is waiting for you to turn to Him, and cry out for His help.

And here is a good place to begin: like Abraham, be “strengthened in faith, giving glory to God (Romans 4:20).” Worship.  Boast about God.  Praise Him.  Find His promises in the bible and shout, “Thank you!”

 

 

 

 

What Jesus Wants 

Jesus said: “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain….And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.” John 12:24 and 12:32

Why did Jesus die? He didn’t want to be alone!  Jesus is the “grain of wheat” or Seed that died, was buried, and in rising from the dead produces “much grain.”  We were created FOR Jesus, to be His Daily Delight (Colossians 1:16 and Proverbs 8:31). He came to bring us out of darkness and into His light. He came to set us free from the bondage of sin and give us His righteousness. He came to ransom us from the power of death and give us eternal life with Himself. And that is exactly what He accomplished through His death and resurrection. Thank you God! Now, when you and I trust in Jesus, making him Lord, and receiving this FREE gift, we become His—alive, forgiven, and free.

And how many people (“grain”) does Jesus want?  ALL PEOPLES!  Jesus does not want to be alone; He wants “much grain”–a metaphor for all people to come to know Him and become like Him.  Jesus wants His Father’s house filled with people from all different ethnicities and backgrounds. He loves that person at your work; He loves your neighbor, He loves your prodigal family member; He loves that person serving you at the store or restaurant. Jesus desires them to be His Daily Delight too!  He is drawing you and He is drawing them to Himself.

 

 

The Lord will restore you completely!

“When the Lord brought back the captivity of Zion, we were like those who dream.” Psalm 126:1

In a season of brokenness and despair, the Lord came to me and promised, “I will restore you completely.” Even though the struggle with depression, hopelessness, fear, and shame did not end immediately, I continued to stand on this promise, flood my heart with God’s word, and cry out to Jesus for deliverance.

Years later, while enjoying the freedom, joy, peace, and confidence in God’s love that had become my “new normal”, I was reminded of God’s promise. I was assured: God had restored me completely.   My faith, calling, joy, intimacy with God, confidence, passion, and more were restored. The many promises God had given me were (and still are) coming to pass in my life. Just to name a few:

He had promised joy and intimacy with God from Isaiah 56:7;

He had promised blessing and confidence from Isaiah 54;

He had promised freedom from Psalm 126;

He had promised hope through Isaiah 60 and 61….

God is faithful. He will do what he promised for you. He will restore you completely. He is the God who hears the cry of your heart and sees your distress (Exodus 3:7-10). He is the God who is with you even in opposition (Genesis 39:21). He is the God who conquered sin and death (Acts 2:24).

Do you remember what God did to the Egyptians? He destroyed them because they were oppressing his people. That is your God. That is the God who loves you and made promises to you. That is the God who made a covenant with you in Christ. Just as He delivered Israel completely, bringing them out of bondage, blessing them financially, teaching them to worship God, and leading them into their promised land, so God will restore you completely. He will heal you inside and out, He will deliver you from all addictions, He will rebuke the devourer of finances and pour out abundant provision on you, He will put confidence in you for your calling, He will fill you with His Spirit, He will break off all fear and shame, he will lead you on the right path, He will be glorified through your life.

So you will declare, when God restores you completely, what David said in Psalm 18:19, “He delivered me because he delighted in me!” And you will sing, “When the Lord brought back the captivity of Zion, we were like those who dream. Then our mouths were filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing…. The Lord has done great things for us, and we are glad.” Psalm 126:1-3

I encourage you to receive God’s promise TODAY.  Start declaring TODAY; starting singing TODAY.  God is for you!

 

 

 

 

 

He will direct your steps

“In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:6

None of us know the future.  When we are honest with ourselves, we need and long for guidance, wisdom, and direction.  If we will acknowledge the Lord with each decision, He promises to provide that needed direction.  When I look back at the past two decades of my life, I am amazed at how Jesus has kept his promise to direct my steps.

When I was 16 God brought a friend into my life to share the gospel with me.  Months later I began leading a bible club and started sensing a pull to give my life to full time ministry, being an agent of healing and empowerment in people’s lives. I was not excited about that pull.  I tried going in a different direction.  Then the Lord spoke, “Shepherd My people.”  I knew He was asking me to serve Him as a senior pastor.  I surrendered.

I never pursued a position but served–painting, cleaning toilets, folding bulletins.  My friends and I prayed a ton and went looking for people to share Jesus with.  The Lord directed me to Life Pacific College and to NewCommunity Church. He brought Dave Metsker into my life to mentor me.  I became a small group apprentice.  I later started leading small groups and outreach teams, and teaching evangelism classes.  I served as an admin, then a youth pastor, then as an assistant pastor, then as a professor at LPC, and then as the senior pastor…all while at the same church!

At each turning point, I acknowledged the Lord and He directed my steps.  Whether it was a question of staying or going to another church, a question of buying or selling a house, a question of accepting a new position or not, a question of starting a masters degree or not, I asked the Lord and He directed my steps.  I can think of dozens of times the Holy Spirit spoke to me or led me.

All the joy I have experienced in ministry, all the blessings in my life, and any impact I’ve made on other people boil down to one common factor: I acknowledge Him, He directed my steps.

As a young senior pastor, I asked the Lord for a certain kind of mentor.  A few weeks later, the Lord said, “Call Jerry Dirmann.”  I did not know who he was except that he pastored in Anaheim.  I did not consider God was answering my prayer.  I called any ways.  The short story is that Jerry and The Rock “just happened” to be the very mentor and ministry I was asking God for.  My heart and ministry have increased because I made that call.
A couple years ago, I was enjoying being a senior pastor; we were experiencing God’s blessings.  I had no desire to move on. Then one night I had a significant dream (rare for me but not the first). In the dream Jesus led Michele and I under the Arch in St. Louis and spoke to me, “This is your city.” Again, the short story is that now I am in St. Louis preparing to start a multiplying congregation of The Rock in the city if St. Louis.  Why!?  Because Jesus is directing my steps.

Years ago he saved me and called me to follow Him.  I have decided He is worth following.  Lord, what’s the next step?

Acknowledge Him and He will direct your steps.  Promised.

Psalm 23

Psalm 23 was not written on a green hillside on a peaceful day; it was written in a dark cave on a frightening day.

1The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.2He makes me to lie down in green pastures;He leads me beside the still waters.3He restores my soul;He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.4Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,I will fear no evil;For You are with me;Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.5You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;You anoint my head with oil;My cup runs over.6Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life;And I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever.

Often, because of the wonderfully comforting words David sings to God in Psalm 23, we imagine he wrote it on a green hillside, on a sunny, peaceful day while watching sheep feast on grass. Descriptions like “green pastures” and “still waters” and statements like “restore my soul” cause us to see this picture David is painting with his song and release inside of us the same comfort he was experiencing while he sang.  

We image these words were penned during his boyhood years as a shepherd of his father’s sheep, as he spent many days and nights alone, contemplating and singing. We believe the song flowed from a heart full of youthful innocence and optimism.

But by doing this we miss the power of Psalm 23. By looking closely at Psalm 23 we observe that David was not on a green hill side but inside a dark cave. He was not a youth but a fugitive. He was not inexperienced at the crises of life. He had been betrayed, lied about, and attacked. He had lost everything. He was afraid for his life. Psalm 23 is a manifesto of patient faith sung during a dark time in David’s life. It is an anthem of hope. When we place this bright Psalm in its dark context it shines even brighter–the words more comforting, the example more compelling. 

David describes himself as walking through the valley of the shadow of death–a clear allusion to the physical desert he was hiding in, the threat to his life, and the emotional weight bearing on his soul. He says that he is the presence of his enemies.  He did not have enemies before King Saul tried to kill him.  When he says, “Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life” he is using a play on words. “Follow” is best translated “pursue”.  It is a word used of hunting someone or something to destroy it. It is a word used to describe persecution. This declaration, like the rest of the Psalm, is a faith-filled defiance of his circumstances. David is experiencing lack, but he declares that God is his shepherd and lacks nothing. David is emotionally raw, but he declares God makes him lie down, gives him rest and restores his soul. He doesn’t know what to do or where to go, but he declares God will guide him. His life is being threatened, but he declares God is with him and comforts him. His enemies–an angry, jealous, crazy King Saul and his army–are pursing David in the desert, but he declares that God delights in him. Can you imagine someone hating you, lying about you, attacking you and trying to end your life? David was innocent; he had done nothing to warrant this attack. In the midst of rejection and loss, he declares God loves him and enjoys him. Though a crazy man is trying to kill him, David declares God’s promise and plan for his life will win. He is implying, “This man might be chasing me, but God is chasing me too. And God, not this man, will catch me. His goodness and mercy, his love, his blessings, his promises, his plan, his commitment to me will catch me, consume me, and characterize my life!”

Psalm 23 is powerful because David is declaring the exact opposite of what he is experiencing. Without denying his precarious state, he boasts about his God, defying his circumstances with the declaration of God’s promises for his life. He is not a green hillside, but a dark cave. 

  • He declares he has no lack because he was hungry and alone.
  • He declares God is with him because he is scared for his life.  
  • He declares God’s delightful fellowship because he is being rejected and attacked by his King and father-in-law.
  • He declares the goodness and mercy of God pursues him because he is being pursued by a man who wants to end his life, terminate his calling, and rob his blessings. 

He is assuring himself that God is with him and for him; that, even if others reject him, God delights in him; that, in the end, God’s good promises will win out in his life. Whether financially or relationally, physically or spiritually, emotionally or practically, David is placing his trust and hope firmly in the Faithful One’s hands.  

We have, in many of David’s Psalms (and especially Psalm 23), a perfect example of how faith responds to trials, delays, setbacks, disappointments, and life threatening situations. This is what it means in 1 Samuel 30 that David “strengthened himself in the Lord” in response to tragedy. This is costly worship. Faith boasts about God. Faith does not deny circumstances but it sure does defy them. Circumstances have a way of preaching to us, of boasting that they will defeat us. David knew how to overcome. He models for us that we need to preach to our hearts and to our circumstances by boasting about our God. We need to declare that our God is bigger than our circumstances. This is how to be people of faith, of worship, who overcome and see the fulfillment of God’s promises and plan in our lives.  

So boast about your God. Declare what God will do for you.

I do not lack; because I have God, I have everything I need. If I have nothing, but I have God, I lack no good thing.  God is my comfort, peace, and rest. I will not fear.  Though I am emotionally raw, God restores me. He is the strength of my soul, the strength of my emotions, my confidence, my rock and refuge. God is with me; I am not alone. He will guide me.  God delights in me. Even if others reject me, God loves me and enjoys me. God will bless me. His plan for my life will win. His goodness and mercy, his blessing and promises, his love and faithfulness will characterize my life. And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever!  

Refreshing Worship part 2

Part 1: Refresh the heart of God with your praise

Part 2: when God is refreshed, he refreshes you.

When God is refreshed, he refreshes us. When we praise him, he sits down; when he sits down, his brings his kingdom (Psalm 22:3)– his kingdom full of joy, peace, righteousness, freedom, wisdom, and power. He has everything you need! God created us so we could enjoy him and he could enjoy us. Bring him joy through worship and you will encounter the presence of the Lord full of his enjoyment of you.  


Acts 3:19
Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, 


Psalm 23:5
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over.

Give God a sacrifice of praise; pour out all your heart in worship. You will find your heart flooded with peace and joy. God is an extravagant giver and we were created to be filled with his joy and pleasure. 


Psalm 16:9-11
Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices; My flesh also will rest in hope.10For You will not leave my soul in Sheol,Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.11You will show me the path of life;In Your presence is fullness of joy;At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

When God appeared to Abraham (recorded in Genesis 18), Abraham first honored God, hosting his presence, seeking to refresh God’s heart. Only THEN was the power of God released, only THEN was Abraham’s prayer answered.  


Genesis 18:9-10
THEN they said to him, “Where is Sarah your wife?”So he said, “Here, in the tent.”10 And He said, “I will certainly return to you according to the time of life, and behold, Sarah your wife shall have a son.”

Abraham and Sarah had a promise from God; they waited 25 years to conceive a child together. When God appeared to Abraham and his presence was honored, Abraham’s desire became reality.  The power to fulfill God’s promise was received when God’s presence was received. 

Refresh the heart of God with praise and he will refresh your heart with the blessings and promises of his kingdom.