How Do You Worship?

August 1, 2021 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Worship

By Janet Morris Grimes –

In a recent discussion about styles of worship, a friend told me that he and another member of his church are touring the area, visiting churches of all denominations that are experiencing extended periods of growth to find some common denominators.

What they found is this: a church that loves God first and people second is a church that draws others in. They aren’t focused on numbers and size, but by focusing on the needs of the people in their community, growth happens as a natural by-product of the love they dish out. At one church they visited, they had a moment where everyone prayed for someone that needed Christ by name.

The church where I am a member in Antioch, Tennessee is a perfect example. The building is likely to be as full of people on a weekday than during Sunday services. With outreach programs that teach English to non-English speaking people, serve the children of the inner city, serve the children of our own congregation, serve those recovering from addictions and teaching beginner Bible classes for those who are curious, each night of the week is filled with a new group that may not normally set foot in a Christian church for any other reason. With meals and a warm place to take a shower and sleep for the homeless during the cold fall and winter seasons, assistance with cleanup and meals following a massive flood in our area, and a coat drive for families in the neighborhood, our church has become known not for the building, but for the smiling and accepting faces people find when they walk in the doors for any reason.

When these people arrive, they see something that intrigues them enough to return. They see a love for families like their own, and they see enough to make them ask questions about Jesus.

Church growth has little to do with styles of worship. As it turns out, it may have more to do with the One who is being worshiped. Where Jesus is present, others are drawn in, like a city on a hill.

QUOTE: “Worship changes the worshiper into the image of the One being worshiped.” Jack Hayford.

“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden” (Matthew 5:14 NIV)

The Last Five Things I Would Say

July 22, 2021 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Worship

By Art Fulks –

This month finds my life in transition. After nearly eight years of planting and pastoring a church, God has chosen to move us to a new ministry in a new city. As I pondered my final message to the people I so dearly love, one of our elders challenged me to review our ministry with some final statements of challenge for the path forward.

Included here are those five thoughts, most that will be credited to those who have invested in my life and ministry over the years. But they form some of the deepest core spiritual values of my life. Maybe they will help you on your journey as they have mine.

#1 – “God’s glory is our singular goal.”
I have heard many people say that God’s glory is our primary goal. However, it has been clarified in my heart that I have no other goal or mission in life. The question I used to ask when facing challenges was if my decision would bring God glory. The question has grown to be, “Which choice would bring God the most glory?”

#2 – “We need to take God seriously” [Dr. Tony Evans].
In our culture, we have lowered our perception of who God is and what His expectation is for our lives. God certainly is loving, caring, and merciful. However, He is still the same God who destroyed the earth with a flood and will one day do it with fire.

#3 – “Investing in others provides the greatest return” [Donald Pope].
If all that I can personally accomplish in this life is all that I have to lay at the Master’s feet when I die, it will be an incredible loss of potential. The meditation that brought this to reality in my life was when I took time to remember all who had invested in me.

#4 – “I’ve never missed anything I have given away” [Otis Scruggs].
I did not have the privilege to meet Mr. Scruggs. But one of my mentors, Dr. Johnny Hunt, knew him well and shared this statement with me. He taught me that an open hand allows more of God’s blessings to pass through it than one that holds on tightly. This has proven to be one of the greatest joys in my life; to be a channel through which God can bless my life by allowing His resources to bless others.

#5 – “You cannot coast, even for one day” [Dr. Page Patterson].
We all need rest from time to time. But life is short, especially when compared to eternity. Satan does not take a vacation, but he is looking for you to be on one so he can attack. Neither is God on vacation. Aren’t we glad for that? Every day, whether at work or rest, we should be aware of the Divine and the enemy…and the opportunity to make a difference for the eternal Kingdom of our God.

The Guest List

July 13, 2021 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Worship

By Hally Franz –

Entertaining can be fun. Party stores have inspired us with an endless supply of clever themes and coordinating paper products to accommodate any occasion. Food retailers offer a tempting display of dips, appetizers, gourmet desserts, and meat, fruit and veggie trays. It’s all so thrilling! That’s the fun part of hosting a party.

The more challenging part of throwing a party is the guest list, which can sometimes be quite tricky. Determining how many and who to include for your niece’s baby shower, your 10-year-old’s birthday party, your senior’s graduation gala or the family wedding can be a major dilemma, much less fun than selecting a theme and munchies.

There are so many questions to consider. Will this be an obligation rather than a privilege for the guest? How many are in the class? Am I leaving any child out? Will they wonder why they have been invited? Will they remember us? Where will I put them? Can I afford what I want with this many coming? Will this group all get along? And, so it goes…

Once a host completes the arduous process of composing a guest list and inviting everyone, then there is the RSVP issue. This is where you wait and wonder who, if anyone or everyone, will make it to the soiree. Sometimes, an estimate regarding attendance is sufficient; other times, exact numbers are needed to be fully prepared. Conscientious guests will always RSVP, not wanting to leave the host “hanging.” It can be fun, but entertaining can be a real headache, too.

Our Heavenly Father is hosting a ‘round-the-clock party. Everyone is invited, so we don’t need to keep quiet to avoid hurting an uninvited person’s feelings. Preparations have been made for as many as wish to come; we can spread the news to any and all. His party is like none we have attended before, and it goes on forever. While He would love to anticipate our attendance for years, Father God will gladly welcome us even if we fail to RSVP until the final hours.

Our Heavenly Host asks that we accept His invitation. By accepting Him as our Lord and Savior, by repenting and being forgiven of our sins, by being baptized and beginning our Christian walk with Him, we assure our place at His party. That’s one I don’t want to miss!

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank You for planning an event unlike any we’ve been blessed with here on earth. And, thank You for an open invitation to celebrate eternally with You and Your children.

“Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost” (Isaiah 55:1 NIV).

Ready, Set, Go

July 2, 2021 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Worship

By Cheri Cowell –

It seems every advertisement, every commercial, and every store is focused on the second biggest shopping season of the year, second only to Christmas. It’s back-to-school shopping time! Some states even offer tax-free holidays to aid parents in buying clothes and other school supplies. Everyone, everywhere is getting ready, even if you don’t have children. For now is the time to buy office supplies, new sneakers, and clothes because the deals are too good to pass up. It’s time to get ready.

The Bible is big on getting ready.

In our scripture focus, the Kohathites were middle-aged men from the tribe of Levi tasked with moving the furnishings of the tablernacle. Aaron and his family were the only ones who would “see” the holy furnishings before covering them and preparing them for the move. The Kohathites were the movers with very specific instructions: Do not touch the holy things.

What are you doing to “ready” the holy space in your heart today? God is ready to move and He’s given specific instructions to make way for the Holy One. Are you ready to move?

PRAYER: Holy God, please forgive the casualness with which I approach Your presence. Show me the ways in which You want to ready the holy space in my heart for the next move you want to make. And thank You for not only being a God worthy of my reverence, but also a God who welcomes me as a child.

“After Aaron and his sons have finished covering the holy furnishings and all the holy articles, and when the camp is ready to move, only then are the Kohathites to come and do the carrying. But they must not touch the holy things or they will die. The Kohathites are to carry those things that are in the tent of meeting. “Eleazar son of Aaron, the priest, is to have charge of the oil for the light, the fragrant incense, the regular grain offering and the anointing oil. He is to be in charge of the entire tabernacle and everything in it, including its holy furnishings and articles” (Numbers 4:15-16 NIV).

Mountain on Fire

June 23, 2021 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Worship

By Peter Lundell –

Colorado mountain on fire. High winds blow it into conflagration. Firefighters come from across the country. Thirty-two thousand residents evacuate. Panicked people drive on the wrong side of the road. Cell phone networks jam. People in safety still feel panicked. Others repeat the word “nightmare.”

The raging power of the flames roars through the forested slopes, eating animals, homes, ranches, anything in the way of its jaws. The sky bloats with white smoke, black smoke, brown smoke, a mile high and as far as one can see. It then descends across the entire city of Colorado Springs and beyond. Like an alien invasion. It is the worst fire in the state’s history.

Life goes on with us in the rest of the city, but unease lines people’s thoughts. The feelings of collective loss and the taunting sense of helplessness lie heavy.

Perhaps at some time your life has been brutally interrupted as well. Natural disasters hit cities. But more often cancer, debilitating illness, divorce, or losing a job hit individuals. These afflictions come like raging flames roaring through our lives, eating bodies, relationships, or the worlds we’ve so carefully built for ourselves.

Despite insurance, diligence, and all the cautions we may take, we are still fragile, still vulnerable. When we’re hit, life still goes on. And we may feel very alone. But we’re not.
And we’re never without hope. We mainly need to see right. My friend Cec lost his home and son-in-law in a fire several years ago. And what he said will forever stay with me: “I’m in God’s hands. I was in God’s hands before the fire. And I’m in God’s hands after the fire.” Think about what that means.

Be ready for anything that may happen to you: Are you in God’s hands?

PRAYER: Lord, no matter what I go through, I am in Your hands. My family is in Your hands. My job is in Your hands. All I have is in Your hands. All my failures and successes, fears and hopes are in your hands. . . .

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging” (Psalm 46:1-3 NIV).

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