We’re All Worshippers

Unknown-2We are all worshippers! Every single person you’ve ever met is a worshipper. We often see only those who go to church on Sunday, Temple on Saturday or a Mosque on Friday as worshippers. But all of mankind is reverencing, pursuing and serving, something or someone — a person, an idea, a spirit or God through Christ Jesus.

No one you’ve ever seen or encountered is exempt from this truth. We are all in daily, constant pursuit — desiring, pursuing and serving, something or someone. Every human being is made in God’s image and after His likeness and we are all in constant pursuit of peacefreedom from anxiety and a sense that everything essential is in place; we are all in constant pursuit of purposea deep sense of fulfillment in and from our daily activities; and we’re all in pursuit of praiseworthinessa deep sense of identity and worth. It is these basic and shared needs that make us all worshippers.

God is our greatest need and our only true supply. He wants our worship. He doesn’t want our empty, repetitious acts, performed in an attempt to get some other object of affection. God needs to be the one we crave and are unwilling to do without. Nothing drives us, shapes us and ultimately defines us more than what we worship. John 4 — “The Woman at the Well” is an account entirely about worship. Jacob’s well represented much more than the essential need of water for the Samaritans. Jacob dug this well on his own purchased plot. The well this woman was drawing from was sacred and believed to be the very spot where their asserted ancestor had dug his well and built his altar. The history of the place and their proclaimed patriarch meant peace with God, purpose in His plan and gave praiseworthiness — value and identity to these people. The Samaritans worshipped this well and the place it sat upon. They came to it to meet their basic needs but they also looked to it to meet their deepest needs. We all share the same basic needs and the same deeper need. Our lives are shaped by our worship — how we seek to meet our basic and deeper needs.

This woman had likely been coming to this well all of her life. She had been coming to Jacob’s well on this sacred mountain but she was still thirsty and her needs were still unmet. She’d been worshipping at the wrong well. Jesus — the well of living water — points out her six illicit relationships to prove to her who He is and how inadequate Jacob’s well is as an object of worship. It has shaped her life.
She has no peace, she has no sense of purpose and she is known as anything but praiseworthy. She is the least among her people (Samaritan, Woman, Unwed, Been in 5 illicit relationships, Living unmarried with a man now). She worships at the wrong well. Her being there at high noon (the worst time to go for water in that region) by herself, is proof enough of just how far she has fallen and just how futile her worship there is. She hides from others out of shame. Even though she is with a man, she is really alone.

God is man’s greatest need — But my God shall supply all of your need. We will worship the Creator seeking Him and living in His truth or we will worship the creation seeking life in a well with stagnant water. To worship in spirit and truth is to go to God as the source for our most basic and our deepest needs. Where we go shapes us, our hearts and our lives. The Father is seeking worshippers. The Father made us to be worshippers. May we all seek and drink from the Right Well — Jesus.

perfect God. perfecting people.

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It’s time toUnknown move beyond the hatred, divisiveness, labels and polarization that became the norm during the US election cycle. We were never destined to find our identity or a savior in a candidate or political party and we’re not called to find those things in our president or this current administration now. Some are still mourning, while others are continuing to defend and gloat.

We must move on and get to the work we’ve been called to.  Our work and calling is not building an empire or personal kingdom in this world by alining with a political party or worldly ideology, neither is it to condemn and curse this world and hide until Jesus returns.  We are here to be a disruptive agent, a refuge and a relevant hope.

As a disruptive agent we should be decisively and glaringly counter-culture. To be counter culture at its roots means to love and care where our culture hates and demonizes; It means running towards those who the majority says to reject; It means drawing attention to unjust laws, practices and systems that advantage some while disenfranchising others; It means giving voice and value to those who have been silenced and dehumanized; It also means confronting and speaking to power on behalf of those who lack the know how and access to do so. In doing these things we begin to look and act like a 21st century Jesus.

As a refuge and relevant hope, we’re embracing the reality we’re not here for ourselves but we are here for others.  Jesus said the greatest among us must be a servant (Matthew 23:11). We have to embrace a world-view that says, I am here at this point in time to have my gifts and passions employed by the King of Kings not a natural king.  For the entrepreneur that means moving towards social entrepreneurship where sustainable enterprise is imagined and created not simply to make money but to reach and transform lives and communities. One example is Becca Stevens and Thistle Farms, who among other things make natural bath and body products while training, employing and providing housing for a staff which is comprised of women who are former inmates, drug addicts and sex-trafficking victims.  For the executive, social-worker, dentist, medical professional, teacher, chef etc. being a refuge and relevant hope means no longer seeing our skills and professions solely and simply as a way to make money but seeing them as a way to serve others and meet needs through volunteerism and community service.

Being a disruptive agent, refuge and relevant hope means churches must be reimagined.  The Church can no longer exist simply as the place to gather a couple of times a week for the purpose of helping us get through the week.  The Church must become the missionary.  The Church can no longer be the place that exists primarily or exclusively to gather in community and celebration of Christ’s work in “us” but we must be the place where people are trained, equipped and mobilized to engage the culture and society in which they live. The Church must realize its role as the agent and ambassador existing to embrace the most vulnerable and challenge the most powerful on behalf of the King. The Church must release disciples into society rather than existing as a place to hide from society. Throughout history the church has not primarily been just a different kind of place but a different kind of people. May we realize that call and mission now more than ever.

perfect God. perfecting people.

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Fearless Love! by Michael Dixon — Perfecting Marriages

images-1“There is no fear in love, for perfect love cast out fear…But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.” 1 John 4:18

Keith Sanford of Baylor University surveyed over 3,500 married couples and analyzed the words couples chose to describe a past argument and the feelings and behaviors of each partner during the disagreement. What he found was that every argument, covering everything from dirty clothes on the floor to the meaning of life, came down to two fundamental concerns: (1) one person feels that he or she is being unjustly blamed or controlled because of something that has nothing to do with the argument and/or (2) one partner feels neglected, and this causes the other partner to think – “You don’t really care about me” or “You are not as invested in this marriage as I am.”

In other words, the research revealed that most fights are driven by two things: a perceived threat or a perceived neglect. In 1 John 4:18, the Apostle John narrowed it down to one thing, fear. Fear of being accused, fear of being neglected, fear of being controlled, fear of losing control, fear of losing connection — fear causes us to try to preserve our life by defending ourselves or by withdrawing from the battle entirely.

It’s been said that, “Our thoughts determine our actions, our actions create our habits, and our habits construct our destiny.” The challenge is not just to have good thoughts, but for our thoughts to move from an action which we do occasionally into a habit that we perform daily. When we habitually operate in fear, we will try to protect our own rights and preserve our lives. The focus is all on what “I” am getting out of my relationship. The greater question is, what is God getting out of our relationship? Matthew 16:25 says, “If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it.” NLT We have a choice, do it our way and ultimately lose what God has for us. Or we can do it God’s way, which means dying to self, and eventually we will possess an abundant life of love!

Perfect love means mature, fully developed, complete love. The word for love here is agape love, which is unconditional love. We must “know” the agape love of Christ. To know His love means that we must experience it. In other words, we will have to operate in the love of Christ, not just talk about it. We will have to walk it out. We can not walk in love if we don’t experience difficult, frustrating, disappointing and unlovable situations.

As you express love towards those who you may feel do not deserve it, you become more like Christ, because He loved us when we did not deserve it. You become fearless…not afraid of not getting what you believe you deserve. You don’t attack others demanding your way, or withdraw because you feel neglected. No, you can press into God and release love because you are getting immense love from Christ and that’s more than enough. Give and you shall receive…pressed down and running over. The more love you release, God promises that you will reap it…if you do not quit. The love your heart longs for can only be experienced through sacrifice. Love never fails. Keep loving!

perfect God.  perfecting people.

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