Thursday, July 27, 2006

Quotable Quips - Celebrate Out Loud!

Okay, I'm starting a new, recurring feature in my blog. You guessed it, it's called Quotable Quips. I run across so many great stuff on the web and more, it would be great to share a tidbit or two. So here's the first one:

"... we have two choices - the first is we can be silent. We can choose to “celebrate in silence.” We can give God a mighty “golf clap” every time He moves in an undeniable way. We can seal our lips out of fear that someone may get offended at the words we speak. And if we do this ... then people around us will be pleased ... and the Lord will be dishonored.

The second choice is that we can boast in the Lord! If you read Scripture you will discover that when God moves in an awesome way - people rejoice - OUT LOUD ... and they BOAST in what HE has done...

... I mean, people boast all the time ... you see athletes boast about their abilities ... you see rich people boast about their money ... you hear movie stars boast about their accomplishments ... and that is all fine and well. BUT for some reason a person who will accept this will not tolerate someone talking about all that God is doing in their church? That doesn’t make sense. I will continue to boast in the Lord."

Perry Noble, Senior Pastor or NewSpring Church in Anderson, South Carolina - as quoted from his blog at (July 27, 2006)

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Superman Returns: The Gospel Story?

SPOILER WARNING: This post contains info about the plot and/or ending of the movie. If you haven't seen the movie yet, reading this post may "spoil" your movie-going experience.

Originally, I was not at all interested in seeing Superman Returns. I think I misunderstood the commercials as portraying the new movie as a remake of the 1978 Superman: The Movie with Christopher Reeves. Although I figured the plot line might be a little different and the CGI would be much better, most everything else would be similar (even the music).

While browsing Google reviews, I read that the movie was actually a sequel to the original Superman movies - a Superman 4 if you will. At that point, I was much more eager to see the movie.

First of all, I guess with this Superman movie I was hoping for something a little more realistic and less "fairy tale" than the earlier movies. For instance, I really hated the original Batman movies, but loved Batman Begins. I wasn't looking for a gritty Superman at odds with "truth, justice, and the American way," just something real and authentic. Here are my thoughts...
  • Overall, I liked the Superman Returns. I thought it was a little slow in the beginning (and a little long overall), but the end really worked for me - I'll explain later.
  • I know that John Williams' original theme score to the first Superman movies is great. But I was ready for a new, yet worthy theme score. Superman Returns comes back with a music score very similar rendition of John Williams' original score.
  • Through much of the long beginning of the movie, I kept noticing how much I was reminded of the original Superman movie. Even Brandon Routh reminds me of Christopher Reeve.
  • At the same time, I really felt the film had an unbelievable feeling to it. How come Superman looks so young now? How come no one has noticed Clark Kent has been gone at the same time as Superman? How come Lois Lane looks younger now that she has a kid (I swear she looks about 19)? How come Superman can fly and hover? Not in the films, of course, but originally Superman didn't actually fly. He made very big leaps. You know, "Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound."
  • So midway through the movie as I was watching, I was becoming disappointed in the movie. Somewhere however, things started to change - I think it was about the time Lois decided to track down the source of the EMP pulse (leading her to Lex Luthor).
  • First, Kevin Spacy played a great Lex Luthor. A little crazy, a little sane. Very believable and not as comic a Gene Hackman's.
  • We get to see the "seeds" of another Superman sequel. That could be really great depending on how they deal with it.
  • We also get to see Superman suffer and actually need help from someone else. He gives all he has and almost dies. He's in coma. He needs to be hospitalized. And then he comes back.
As we got to this point in the movie, my old understanding of successful film formula kicked in. You see in every successful, popular film we see the vague rendition of the Christ story...
  • The Good guy starts in normal life (Jesus is born, grows up)
  • Something changes and that life is disrupted (Jesus' ministry)
  • skinflint comes (Jesus' conflicts with religious leaders)
  • A final struggle ensues with a climax (Jesus' struggle on the cross)
  • The bad guys seem to have won (Jesus dies and is buried)
  • The good guy comes back and gains the strength for a final victory (Jesus' resurrection)
  • Things have changed forever; a new world begins (Jesus appears to many)
  • Normal life returns, but character is different (Jesus ascends)
So then it hits me hard , I'm watching the Christ Story. Yeah, I know it's different and all the points don't line up - but it's a lot like the Gospel. (Another warning: This is a major spoiler)
  • God dwelt with Adam until the Fall separated them; Superman had to go away
  • People got used to not having God's presence around. They didn't need God; Lois wrote an prize-winning article "Why the world doesn't need Superman."
  • Jesus came and was God made flesh. He ministered performing miracles; Superman returned and began catching bad guys and saving people again
  • Jesus was betrayed by a man and died on the cross saving humanity; Superman is betrayed by Lex Luthor, but battles to near death saving humanity.
  • Jesus lies dead in a tomb for three days; Superman lies in a coma - no one knows if he will return to life
  • Jesus raises from the dead, and gives the great commission to the disciples telling them to be His hand and feet - His body; Superman recovers and visits Lois' little boy. He passes on the Superman legacy, "The father shall become the son, and the son shall become the father"
There is some dialog between Superman and Lois Lane that goes something like this. Upset that Superman went away for some years, Lois came to the conclusion that "The world doesn't need a savior?" Hmmm... Then Superman takes her up in the sky (yes, kinda like the first one), and responds. He says, "What do you hear?" She says, "Nothing." He replies, "You hear nothing, but I hear a million voices crying out for a savior." (He has "super" hearing.) Wow! That is a definite parallel with the world and the true Savior!

THE POINTI'm hoping you're getting my point here. My point is not whether I liked the movie or not. We can and should use popular culture as a common ground to share our faith. With the story in Superman, you could talk to a child about what Jesus has done!

There are many Christians that shelter themselves from the world and it's culture. It is one thing to not be conformed to the culture, it is another to not even be aware of or understand the culture. Jesus didn't hide in the synagogue during his ministry years. He walked among the people, even quoting lines from common plays of the day. We can do the same.

So get out there. See a few movies. Take a friend, share a lunch, and talk about Jesus. Don't forget to visit to help you scope out this spiritual themes to discuss. The world does need a Savior!

Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest

SPOILER WARNING: This post contains info about the plot and/or ending of the movie. If you haven't seen the movie yet, reading this post may "spoil" your movie-going experience.

Yes, we are one of the many that have helped this sequel break so many box office records. As for the movie itself, I really enjoyed it. I think it really delivered with swashbuckling sword fights, love, and adventure (until the end).

As far as spiritual themes (I have not yet consulted, the clearest seems to be those of purpose and choice. The character Captain Jack Sparrow struggles with both in the movie. Sparrow possesses a "magic" compass that will "point you toward what your heart most desires."

Unfortunately, whenever Sparrow consults the compass, it spins around without giving any direction. Even from the first movie, Sparrow struggles between being a typical "bad" pirate, and choosing the "good" path. In the end, he does not know what he wants. Like so many of us, we have a choice. The world tells us we have a certain path, that certain things are okay - but inside we know there is another choice, some of us finally choose that path and become children of God.

A big (really, really big) disappointment for me was the film's end - it didn't. Apparently there is a third movie to be released. I actually understand that they filmed both at the same time, much like the filming of the Lord Of The Rings (LOTR) trilogy. However, it didn't work for me in Pirates. Every single plot point is unresolved like they just stopped and saved the rest of the footage for the next film. It worked for LOTR because it already was an established trilogy. But it does not work for pirates.

Hollywood Jesus - 8 Below

It's time for some movies updates. In the following posts, I'll give you my impression of two big summer hits: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest and Superman Returns. If you have not seen the movies, you should probably skip the posts because they WILL contain *spoilers*.

In the point of films, a great site to look at the spiritual themes found in popular movies is I really like the site, because it takes movies at face value. Instead of expecting every movie to boldly present the Gospel message (which Hollywood is just not going to do), reviewers on the site find the spiritual themes in movies that the makers may not even be aware of. It's a great way to start discussions of faith with friends.

Let me also say that Eight Below is out on DVD. If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend it. Check out my previous post on it when we saw it in the theater.

Where The H*** Is Matt?

I came across this video on YouTube (as have many others). At first, I thought it was a hoax, but it's not. Check it out. Also check out his website here. If you've ever thought of quitting your job and heading out to see the world, here is your inspiration.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Praise Him With The Dance

Hey, isn't this great! The software company Digital Praise has come out with Dance Praise. A video game with a dance tablet similar to the popular Dance Dance Revolution home and arcade games that have been so popular. I think every youth ministry should have one of these!

However, I realize that dancing is still a difficult "doctrinal" point for some churches (another example of how our "doctrines" tend to tear us apart, rather than bring us together).

How is it that we feel we need to follow some of the instructions from God's Word and not others?
  • You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, (Ps. 30:11)
  • Let them praise his name with dancing and make music to him with tambourine and harp. (Ps. 149:3)
  • praise him with tambourine and dancing, praise him with the strings and flute, (Ps. 150:4)
Granted, we humans can take any expression and pervert it - watch any music videos, lately? Does that mean we remove the expression altogether? If so, we may soon gather together in silence while sitting motionless (or should we be standing?).

I say let us passionately praise Him with the dance!

The Theology of Pews

One guy I love to read is Dan Kimball. There is an interesting post on his blog Vintage Faith. Moving into a new building, their emergent congregation was faced with a new fixture, pews. Read his thoughts regarding the theology of pews here. (He recently added another related post here.)

(You can consider this related to my last post on misguided passion.)

God's People are Passionate...

One thing I've noticed in my time in ministry. Many of God's people are passionate. Unfortunately, they are passionate about things like...
  • the color we paint the church
  • the kind of seating we have in our gathering place
  • the coverings we have over the windows
  • the style of music we play
  • our expectations of non-believing visitors (we expect them to act like believers even though they are not).
As one who is called to lead worship, my heart breaks when we are so passionate about so many things without being passionate about God. When we gather to worship God together, our worship is often anything but passionate for God. It could often be described as apathetic, uninspired, lacking heart, done out of duty. The atmosphere is more akin to either attending a lecture or a funeral.

If we were only half as enthusiastic, outspoken, and passionate in our worship of God as we are about the petty things, then I believe that 85% of the churches in America would not be dying and over 4,000 churches would not be closing their doors each year.

It's clear, we're passionate, all right! Only we're passionate about the wrong things.

My encouragement to you is to look past all other things and keep your gaze upon Jesus, for "Those who look to him are radiant" (Psalm 34:5a)

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

King of the Jews...

Check this out....I just think it's funny. Apparently there's some people in Houston that have a little too much time on their hands. Another blogger said it made them "thirsty" for Jesus. I'm sure there are some spiritual parallels here, but none come to mind.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

20 PDW Takeaways For Worship Team Members

  1. There is no sacred music, only sacred words.
  2. In our gathered worship we are not performing, we are expressing our hearts together to the God who loves us.
  3. We need to learn to not be bound by the head-knowledge, but consider the heart-knowledge.
  4. We need to learn our songs well enough that we can communicate the heart of Jesus in the song – simply delivering the info is not enough.
  5. Are people convinced that we believe what we are singing/playing? Is God?
  6. People come to church to meet God, not to see people perform.
  7. The words coming out of our mouths and notes coming from instruments should change the atmosphere of worship.
  8. Smile when you sing; it changes your tone.
  9. “Whatever you’ve got, you better spend it right now in worship!”
  10. We need to integrate relevant elements from popular culture to make it easier for our people to participate in worship.
  11. It has been said that black folk play by emotion while white people play by note.
  12. Sheet Music gets in the way
  13. Sing like you speak; sing sideways, shave consonants, accentuate vowels, mess up rhythms, etc.
  14. There is too much harmony singing in church.
  15. Our job description is in Psalm 33:3, “Sing him a new song; play skillfully, and shout for joy.” – Creativity, skill, and fun!
  16. The more instruments on the stage, the less each needs to play.
  17. We are to use music for the heart, not the “Art.”
  18. God is more interested in our heart in worship than our artistic ability.
  19. God is not looking for worship, He is looking for worshippers
  20. Worship is not for us, it is FOR GOD – He is the goal.
(Gleened from the 2006 Purpose Driven Worship Conference + Festival)

**UPDATE: See all the PDW posts listed here...

Taking Risks

It's official, I am adding another blog to my links list. Perry Noble is the Senior Pastor of New Spring Community Church in Anderson, North Carolina. His church along with Tony Morgan's Granger Community Church in Granger, Indiana, and Crossroads Christian Church in Corona, California are all worth keeping tabs on. They are each reaching people for Christ in big ways.

So okay. I'm really not taking any risks in do this. But taking risks IS important. Check out what Perry thinks about taking risks.

Time For A Garage Sale!

Okay, okay. I admit it. I actually shared that last post about serving the community just to provide background for this one. You see, I was captivated by Pastor Dave's vision (see here) for serving the community. For me, it was one of those "duh!" moments.

The problem, of course, is figuring out a way to serve that is authentic and specific to your community. While I have been continuing to think about it, I received a postcard in the mail from another local church. Oh my gosh, they figured it out!

East Valley Foursquare Church
here in Helena is having a community garage sale. They are inviting individuals in the community to come and use their church parking lot - for free. Anyone can sell their own stuff. East Valley is doing all the advertising. They are providing the space. AND they are providing a free BBQ after the sale.

If you are not getting it, yet. Garage sales are so BIG here in Helena - we have a "garage sale season." (Remember, we're multi-season around here, so once Spring rolls around the garage sales are on!) Even entire neighborhoods have garage sales at one time to bring people in.

Perhaps we could use the comments for this post to come up with sopme other great ideas to serve our communities. Please post an idea.

Finally, I say "Good Job" East Valley. You nailed it. And thank you for loving our community.

What Is Your Church Doing To Serve Your Community?

I could ask the same question of my church and give the very same pathetic answer. Recently at the Purpose Driven Worship Conference, I attended a worskshop entitled "Drawing a Crowd to Worship." While I thought the workshop would be more about drawing people into His presence, it was more about simply getting people to come to church. (I know that the two can be the same in the end.)

The workshop leader was Dave Holden, pastor of Lake Gregory Community Church in Crestline, California. Their church grew from nearly 100 to over 800 - in a community of only 8,000! And he basically told us how - They served their community without expecting anything in return.

The church was celebrating it's 70th anniversary and instead of giving itself gifts and accolades, the church gave to the communuty. Each week for 7 weeks, the church gave away 70 gifts. The first week, it was 70 baseballs to the local little league. The next, they gave 70 brand new books to the city library. Another week, they donated, planted, and installed irrigation for 70 flats of flowers at the local Post Office. With 7 weeks of this the local newspaper caught intrest, and before long, everyone wanted to know what this church was all about - This church that gave without asking anything in return.

That is the key, I think - too often we do stuff for other people with an ulterior motive. We want them to come to church. We want them to know Christ. These are not bad things, but we need to realize that Jesus served people simply because He loved them.

Think about this. When is the last time you held a "Harvest Festival" without expecting kids to learn any verses, making them watch some kind of the Gospel message, or at the least, giving them a tract? Can't remember? Me either.

How about a Christmas event simply to provide entertainment for the community? How about a youth basketball tournament where we did not make the participants listen to a gospel presentation or come to a Bible study?

The point is that Jesus served people's needs. He healed the sick, gave sight to the blind, and made the lame walk. He did it because He loved them and because they needed it, not because He wanted to convert them. (Although God's love is ultimately what draws us to Him.)

If we love people in our community, I think we need to start looking for ways to serve them unselfishly and out of Christ's love.

**UPDATE: See all the PDW posts listed here...

Do Not Click!

Being somone who has worked for years in marketing, advertising, and PR, I enjoy reading Seth Godin's blog. He has a gift pointing out thing we should see when we are tying to make ourselves, our products, or our organizations known (or Jesus known, if you are in a church context).

Recently, I came across this on his blog. While there may be a deeper lesson about clicking, I just had a bunch of fun. Check out the link...


"LOOK at it burn," Hezbollah's chief declared as a missile struck an Israeli warship, hours after his stronghold in southern Beirut was bombed.

"You wanted open war. We are going to open war," Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah told Hezbollah television.

Israeli aircraft last night fired rockets at targets inside Beirut's southern suburbs, a Hezbollah stronghold. Earlier, planes blasted roads and bridges in south, east and north Lebanon...

(Read the rest here.)

I have been watching what's going on in the Middle East with great interest over the past few days. Of course the news has been following it, but I don't know if people here really see it as significant. I mean, although I already believe we live in the "end times" (I believe we have since Jesus came), these events could signify some of the later stages of the end times. Then again, it could die down after an intense couple of days (or an intense war), and everything would seem to be back to normal.

Which brings me to my point. Where is your relationship with Jesus? Do you know Him? Do you spend time with Him? Are you living for and "in" Him? Is He living in you? How about those in your circle of influence? Those you work with? Shop with? Play with?

I don't know when "the end" is coming, but I do know that it is. And I plan on living like it is.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

I Would Shave My Head

I came across this on Shane Yancy's blog A great question to ponder...

Erwin McManus asks, "If you were afraid of nothing, what would you be doing?"

How about you? Leave a comment for some dialogue...

Saturday, July 01, 2006

God Is Great!

Just a quick note about how great God is. He has a plan. He is intimately involved in our daily lives. He changes us.

We have been here in SoCal since Monday evening and have been driving from Fontana to Lake Forest every day. It's over 150 miles round-trip. We got up about 5am each day to get there in time for the first general session at 8:30am. It was also a long trip back. We usually got in about midnight.

Through all of it our van worked great!

When I got up this morning (it is the first day after the conference), the van did something very strange. We walked up and I unlocked the doors with the remote. I opened the automatic side door with the remote. All was normal.

Then, I put in the key.

At that point, the dials went crazy and the windshield wipers went on. It was possessed! Everything was working crazy EXCEPT the engine wouldn't start. Now, as much as we love SoCal, we have a new home in the Big Sky Country and we intend on coming back some day. Besides, we'd like to see some friends and family while we're here.

Although a dead battery came to mind, this was strange behavior for a vehicle with a dead battery - something was powering the accessories. What could be wrong? We tested the battery...12 volts. We tested the fuses...they were all okay. We decided to take out the battery and take it in to be test and buy a new one anyway.

When the battery was tested, the tester confirmed that it needed to be replaced. The attendant looked at us funny when we said "fantastic!" We bought a new battery, installed it, and the van works great again!

There are multiple levels of God's provision here. 1) Our van works. 2) It wasn't some deeper, more difficult, more expensive problem (we hope). 3) The van worked all week during the conference. God wanted to make sure we made it to every session and every workshop. That simply wouldn't have happened if the battery went our any earlier.

So not only did God provide, he gave a story to share with others. He also infused us with confidence that He is involved with our daily life. He has spoken this over us, and by doing so He changed us. I know Him more intimately. He has confirmed once again that He cares and loves us.

How will we respond? Will we remember this tomorrow when we worship with other believers? I think so...and we will worship from a grateful and joyous heart!

God is great!

Day Four PDW Report

Well, day four marked the end of the PDW conference. I must say that once we were finished, I felt completely "undone." This last session with Louie Giglio left me convicted and encouraged at the same time.

On this final day, we only held a general session and a worship session. It started with Chris Tomlin playing a few songs alone on guitar. Buddy Owens opened the day and then introduced Louie Giglio, the founder of the Passion movement and worshiptogether. Let me take you through this amazing discussion.

His initial statement point was that the "worship conversation" is not getting clearer. At this point, Louie took us through a energetic and humorous recent history of worship in the church. We have always worshipped, but there have been different ways.
  • Starting in the 50s, there really wasn't a "worship conversation."
  • But somewhere in the 60s and early 70s, contemporary music started "attacking" the church. (Some very funny anecdotes and illustrations here).
  • Then we came up with "modern" worship. Isn't that strange that we've come up with an updated type of worship for a God who is timeless?
  • There there was "blended" worship. Very bad idea - nobody is happy!
  • How about "ancient-future" worship. Let's take a lot of really old worship and sing it as though it were new,
  • Modern worship wasn't new enough so we had to have "post-modern" worship.
  • Then "emerging" worship. You know, because any day, worship is going to emerge.
  • Every year, there will be something new, but we have not clarified the questions of worship. How do we know when we have worshipped? When can we "check the box?"
Louie focused his presentation on Hebrews 13:15-16, "Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise - the fruit of lips that confess his name. And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased."

The core theme of worship is the righteousness of Jesus Christ as mediator for all people. "Through Jesus, therefore..." Verses 11 and 12 set it up. Jesus died outside the city gates. We must always be reminded of the cross of Jesus. It is through the cross that we can praise God.

True worship is always marked by the cross. It is only through His suffering, sacrifice, and blood that we can worship.
  • We don't come into the presence of God without coming through the doorway of Jesus. Louie has six guys come up on stage and stand face to face, hold up their hands, and create an archway (or doorway, if you will) in which Louie could walk through during this illustration.
  • If the doorway is closed, you can't get through. If it is a little open, there will be a little worship. But if the door is wide open and lavishly decorated, our worship will be unbridled.
  • Ask yourself, what does it look like when people go through the door of mercy and grace?
  • Eric's thoughts - I have to ask, how much Jesus is there in our worship? Do we talk about Him? Do we acknowledge Him in our services? Not just that He exists, but that He saved us and daily lives inside of us? Is it evidenced in our hearts and in our worship? Without Him, the doorway is closed.
There are implications...
  • Some of us are carrying guilt and shame. It is like a big rock that we carry upon our shoulders.
  • But Jesus says, "It is finished. I was crushed by your rock of iniquity, please don't pick it up again." "There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus" (Romans 8:1).
  • Some of us can only get our hands as high as the rock we carry. It is difficult to get through the doorway.
  • Some of us stand outside the doorway and look through saying "Hey God, I'll just stand out here."
  • But going through the door, our heart melts, we take on reverence and awe, and we are taken to our knees.
  • Eric's thoughts - How many of us stand outside the doorway each Sunday, never meeting with God? Never coming into His presence?
The direction of worship is to God. We worship for God, not for us. Yes, is blesses us in many different ways, But it is for God. He must be the focus.
  • How many of us get in the car after worship and make comments like...I didn't like that last song...I wish so-and-so was leading...I really enjoyed worship today...I wish we didn't have to stand so long...etc?
  • The cross does not shine a big spotlight on me. Worship is NOT about me.
  • Even with the is about people, but it is FOR GOD.
  • When we get in the car after a service, maybe we should as God. "God, what did you enjoy about the service?" "Did You get anything out of the worship." He might say, "Yeah, I got something out of it...I was offended." Sometimes in worship, we are a bunch of liars. We sing "How Great Thou Art" but don't mean it in our hearts and express it in our worship. Our worship is boring to God. "Yeah, but God, what about the band. Weren't they great? Wasn't that a cool song?" God wants our hearts - all of us. Are we giving Him that?
  • Louie gave a story about how he took his wife to Italy for their tenth marriage anniversary. His twentieth is coming up and the expectation is high. He joked about taking her to Alabama to stay in a run-down Holiday Inn. It was very funny, but it lead to a point.
  • It is not appropriate to come in on Sunday and give God the run-down Holiday Inn of worship. He deserves our best.
  • Our worship needs to be appropriate and proportional to the God we worship.
  • Let us invite the lost and let them be amazed at our worship.
  • And Worship is more than just music. If we make 20 minutes of music on Sunday morning our definition of worship, we are doing God a great disservice.
"Let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise." Worship more about what you give, than what you get. We worship because we came through the door. We need to move from being consumers of worship, to consumees of worship. In other words, instead of being consumers, we need to be consumed by worship.
  • Consumers buy, consumees have already been bought
  • For consumers worship is about style, for consumees it's about surrender
  • For consumers worship is enjoyable, for consumees it's costly
  • For consumers worship feels good, for consumees it hurts good
  • Consumer worship is segmented, consumee worship is all of life
  • Consumer worship uses up the songs, consumee worship uses up the singer
  • Consumer worship is about my choice, consumee worship is His will
Finally, this is how we can check the box...
  • The scripture tells us what worship is..."The fruit of lips that confess His name." This means telling God that He's the best and telling the world that He's the best.
    "Do not forget to DO GOOD and to SHARE WITH OTHERS with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased."
  • God is not saying "Man, I hope they sing me some songs this morning." He is saying, "I hope they GO OUT and touch lives, help the sick, poor, oppressed - the people whom this world has no concern for.
  • Consider the brothel down a small alley in India where a little 8-year-old girl is chained to a bed. Does God want another song? or does He want more?
  • Louie fears that we may be know as the most style-obsessed, most worship-consuming, and the least poor-embracing generation in the history of Christianity.
  • Caring for widows and orphans...and keeping ourselves unpolluted...will save us from the little bitty lines of small worship.
So I have to ask, where is worship in our churches. I think that we have missed the point. As a worship leader, it is one of my jobs to prepare an atmosphere in which people can walk through the doorway each week (of course there is more). People need to see Jesus, but also come to meet Him - and I don't believe they do. They are comfortable to stand outside, look at Him, and say "great to know ya." But worship changes us - It transforms us because you can't come face-to-face with Jesus and come away unchanged, unconcerned, and undone.

Louie said "If your life is not changing, worship is not happening in your life." Each of us need to consider that statement very closely. Especially when we are more concerned about whether the music is too loud, whether we're standing or not, we're uncomfortable with the way the person next to us worships, whether the windows are covered, whether we like the decorations, whether we get to hold a mic or not, whether we have enough variety, whether we like the songs, etc. IT'S NOT ABOUT US! IT'S ABOUT GOD! IT'S FOR GOD and He wants your heart totally focused and committed to Him! Even during our worship times.

Also, Louie talked about the doorway to worship being Jesus. It's so very true. But it now makes more sense to me why "coming into worship" is so hard at our church. Jesus is an aside. He is a historical figure that existed, even died for our sins. But He seems to have no bearing on everyday life. We rely on Him for nothing. We rely on our willpower and our to-do lists for daily life. We MAJOR on sin-management, and believe Jesus saved us for so much more!!! He wants to invade our lives, transform us, speak to us everyday (yes, I said SPEAK TO US). He has something to say for everything we do and ask. He wants to be intimately involved with us and He wants us to be intimately involved with Him.

If worship is truly our response to who God is and what He's done, our response is pitiful.

Okay, so my rant is over. My heart was undone by Louie's talk. I love God AND I love people. I want to see us come to Him and know Him. I am tired of playing church. I want to see people meet with Him, live in Him, and be transformed.

Well, that's it. I will try to follow up in the next week with some photos and a list of "Things I Learned at the PDW Conference 2006." Now we're looking forward to a little vacation time with family and friends.

**UPDATE: See all the PDW posts listed here...