Worship out loud

April 18, 2015

Worship is not deep silent respect, as in solemn reverence. It’s loud. It’s passionate. It’s exuberant. It’s moving.

There can be no careful dignified restraint in worship because this is no response to a crucified Christ.

We are made free by a crucified Christ so our worship is free, unfettered, unchained, and full of passionate love. It’s moving. It’s roaring. It’s explosive. It’s joy-filled. It’s unapologetically loud. It’s not looking for the approval of people. It’s to busy looking to a glorified King.

Prayer and fasting

April 2, 2015

You are the God who performs miracles; You display Your power among the people, Psalm 77:14.

The early church was birthed in power. Their normal-Christian experience was one of hundreds of people being saved daily; miracles, daily; the power and presence of God in their midst, daily. This was normal.

So was prayer and fasting.

Many of us can read through the New Testament in awe as we think about the early church and the impact it had. We can read about the rapid expansion of the church, their meeting places, the extraordinary miracles God did among them, and we can think, They were the super apostles. They were the super Christians…

The fact is they were no different from you and me. They were people in desperate need of a savior and in desperate need of His help everyday of their lives. But, they leant into God through prayer and fasting.

An easily overlooked yet very important mark of the early church was their devotion to seeking God through prayer and fasting. It was common for whole churches to gather, sometimes daily, to pray. They would pray overnight. They would meet in people’s homes, sometimes in the Jewish temples, at times they would meet just outside the walls of their city. And all the people fasted twice a week, no food till sundown—even the kids!!

This was no small devotion.

Their commitment to prayer and fasting was in essence a humbling of themselves in recognition of their desperate need of God, seeking Him so that His will would be done through their lives powerfully.

The New Testament stories can be our stories. Miracles can be our normal. God still wants to move through His people powerfully. He wants to show up in our lives to show us He is good and strong and generous. He wants to provide for us and be our ever-present help (Psalm 46:1).

God wants us to live lives that are full of His power because when we live full of His power our lives are made better, and so are the many people’s lives we come in contact with everyday.

There are no short cuts to accessing God’s power. No magic bullets. It’s simply when we get desperate for Him, humbling ourselves and devoting ourselves to prayer and fasting to seek Him.

We can have as much of God in our daily lives as we want. The question is, How desperate are we for His presence and His power?

He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted, Job 5:9.

There must come a time where people in North American churches care more about the integrity of the church and the reputation of Jesus and the spreading of the gospel than their own comfort and convenience and opportunity, and even their bank account.

Well that sounds a little self-sacrificial…

Does it?

In countries where Christians are not thinking about their comfort, convenience, opportunity, or bank account–because they’re too busy trying to stay alive or out of jail as they spread the gospel–God’s church is experiencing revival. Revival such that leadership cannot keep up with the growth God is bringing. Literally, their churches are being overwhelmed with such large numbers of people, they are signaling for help, as in Luke 5 where Jesus brings the large catch of fish.

Why?

The care and concern is not for themselves, not self-satisfying, not self-fulfilling, but a spiritual concern for the lost and dying people around them, a brokenness for the people around themeven their persecutors. This changes the way a person thinks and prays and lives. It’s no longer self-centered thinking or praying, but outward-focused, other-people-focused and Christ-focused thinking and praying. This consumes their whole life. Others consume them.

If we want revival in America, we have to care more about others than we do ourselves. We have to care more about people’s spiritual status, their heart, their comfort, their spiritual destination, more than anything else.

It’s good to ask ourselves what consumes me? What do I care more about? Is it others? Is it truly others?