Category Archives: church

Learning to Worship….again

Its hard for people who are in ministry, have been in ministry, or have been involved in Worship Production to sometimes find a way to Worship.  In the last year I have transitioned not only from being on a church staff to being a lay person, but also out of all my technical/production related roles.  So for me I’m in a new phase of “learning how to worship” again.

For me being technical  I have to find ways and times that I can worship and either ignore the technical distractions (be it the use of technology, sound issues, lighting, ect) or move beyond them.  I had a recent experience where the technical distractions were almost too much for me to even continue to sit through the worship service.  Probably part of it was my mindset at the time, but has re-spurred me to a couple of things that I need to do.

Here are my thoughts on things to do to get into a mindset of worship:

1.  Arrive early.  The reason for this is multiple.

a) It allows you to have time to get your heart right, pray for God’s protection of your focus and to allow you to worship Him with your whole heart. We have to open ourselves to worship.  If there is a hurt or pain we must ask God for healing and to mend us, as this will greatly distract us from worship.

b) It allows you to get a seat where you can worship with the least distractions.  I’m finding more and more personally that this means closer to the front and center, which is contrary to what might be most “comfortable”.  I spent years sitting in the back of the church service because I had to be able to get out easily in a case i was needed, but that is not the case anymore so I have to learn to change.

2.  Find other ways or places to worship.  For me I have to find times like driving in the car listening to Music to get my heart and mind focused.  I have found places like North Pointe and Life Church’s online services to help greatly in allowing me to worship when I need it.  I get the actual worship experience as well as the teaching.   For some it may mean a major change, finding a new place of worship.  This can be hard, but depending on your situation it might be what you need to do to worship.  It can be either a permanent change or just a temporary thing to get yourself back into the Worshiping mindset.

3.  Close your eyes.  Sometimes what keeps those of us who are technical from worshiping is what we see.  So be willing to close your eyes to remove that one sense from your distraction.  Distractions can be the people around us, what they are doing, or the technology that is involved in the service.  Be willing to close off your eyes so that these distractions do not keep you from experiencing Worship.

4.  Make it a community experience, because well that is what it is meant to be.  If you have a group of friends that you go to church with, you may  need to ask them to surround you and help you to worship.  This may be necessary if your not actually going to church and need the accountability to do it.  If your hurting because of something that has happened you might need people to encourage you to be there, to worship and to be loved on by them.

For whatever reason that your life has changed and you need to re-learn how to worship, it is vital that we try to find a way to make worship a central part of our lives.

If your are actively serving on a church or ministry staff, you NEED to make time to worship.  If you do not find a way or a time to worship each and every week you will be doing yourself, those you minister to and God an injustice.  You cannot serve God fully if you are not opening your heart and time to worshiping and being feed by the Word.  You need to make going to a worship service happen.  If you find it impossible you need to beg those that you work with to help you make it happen and do the same thing for them.

Do not give up on worshiping God alone, but also with the community of believers God has placed you in.

~tfkr


Book Review: The Next Christians: The Good News About the End of Christian America

The Next Christians: The Good News About the End of Christian America

By Gabe Lyons

Gabe Lyons really hits it home with The Next Christians.  The book itself was an easy read when it comes to the content and time it took to read, but it takes time to process and see how it is impacting you.  This book is not one to take lightly it is a book that challenges the reader to ask themselves, what are they doing as Christians to make an impact on those around us. This book has hit me at a time in my life where i have been asking myself whats next, how do I do this thing called my Christian Walk and living in Community with others.  After reading it I have no clearer answers but I do realize that there are others with the same struggle and battle.

Lyons talks about the fact that we are coming to a point in time that we must “reenvision” what our faith is, how it plays out, or should i say how it is lived out.  We need to find a way to help those around us to experience the Christian faith in such a way that it meets their deep spiritual needs.  Current or past Christianity does not necessarily do that.  Our church’s are making less of an impact on the people that attend and less of an impact on the communities they minister to.

Lyons discusses the 6 Characteristics that set “Next Christians” apart:  1. Being provoked and not offended. 2. Creators, not critics. 3. Called, not employed. 4. Grounded, not distracted. 5.  In Community, not alone.  6. Countercultural, not “relevant”

The points that I think resonate so personally to me are the Called and not employed and in community and not alone.  We are called to a life of ministry not just one vocationally, and we are called to not live our life out alone.  These are just two areas that I personally felt and seen God nudging me.  I know that there are others.   Take a further look into The Next Christians” to be further challenged and inspired to change.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group <http://waterbrookmultnomah.com/bloggingforbooks/> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html&gt; : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


Prayer and Conferssion

Today’s thoughts come in tandem with my last post.  I think that we often just think of confessing our sins to God, which is an absolute must.  However when there are certain issues (don’t have a list of them) that is affecting ones walk with God, Spouse, Family, Others there is some freedom, support and healing that can happen when we share the confession of that sin with others.  Take a look at this passage:

James 5:16 (New International Version)

16Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.

 We forget often that we are a community of brothers and sisters and that we are called to pray for each other, to support and walk alongside.  When we speak of our sin and brokeness with other believers and allow them into our brokeness we are battling the devils grip and hold on is.  Things that are kept secret the devil attacks even harder and tries to bring us down.

This last semester in our couples group I have witnessed not only the power of prayer (its healing and encouraging affects) but also confession of sin, struggles, and strongholds.  I’ve been reminded so much about how we need to remeber to not just listen but to step and pray for the working of God in others lives.

Seek to be and live in community where prayer, conferssion, and accountability can grow. Give God the glory.

~tfkr


Ask the Hard Questions

Its been a while, I know its my fault. So I guess as its been a while I should have a lot to say.

The thing hitting me right now is something that I probably have written alot about before, our lives, living in community and reaching out to each other. So lets dive in:
The body of Christ is meant to be a living breathing organism. An Organism that gives life, encourages life and draws people unto itself. A place that celebrates joy and happiness together, that greives and mourns death and suffering, a place where people can be who they are and work through the grim that living in a sinful world we are faced with (1 Cor. 12:225-26, Gal 6:1-2, James 5:16, 1 John 3:16-18, Matthew 22:37-39, John 13: 34-35, Acts 2: 42-47). I’m not sure if what I’m saying is true to people living in smaller churches but I can say at least from my view of the large church that I’m living in that the church often does not resemble this living breathing organism that it is meant to be.
I know that one must venture into the organism and seek to be involved and part of it. One must seek out connections to the community, they must seek to know and be known. But I think there is also a responsibility for the “organism” to seek out others and to be known. Its a two way street.
We as Christians are called to seek out those that are lost and share the gospel with them (Matthew 28: 18-20 and others). I may be taking this a step farther than its meant, but I think we also need to seek out those in the church that are around us and to care for them. The body so often just comes together for worship, teaching, parties, and food. I think the body forgets one of its key functions: To care for each other. I know that some of the distancing from care steams from in my opinion the dual nature of the individual (the public and private person). As a result there are only certain topics, issues and questions that seem to be “appropriate” to ask, discuss or reach out in care for. I think that we are afraid to lovingly reach into the lives of those around us in community and to ask some “harder” questions. (I do give the warning/disclaimer that you must have a relationship of more than the “hi there” type to do this, don’t just assume!) I think we too often don’t ask each other how we are doing in loving our family, spouses, how we are honoring God, getting into the Word. I think that we all assume that the other person has someone else in there lives that is filling that role. We never bother to ask them if they do, or to put out there that we are willing to be there for them.
I have regreatbly waited too long in some friendships, I’ve felt that nudge of God that I should reach out and I didn’t…. but now I’m sitting with my friends and trying to help them through some tough times, that if we had connected sooner may have been avoided. Some of those, “what do we do now?” situations. Times where asking the “hard” questions sooner possibly could have prevented some of the pain or at least helped make an impact (at least that’s what I pray).
Asking the “Hard questions” requires though somethings on both ends of the situation: 1) Honesty from both parties involved. 2) A Two sided relationship of questions going both ways. 3) Humility. 4) Desire to see both excell to the best of their God given abilities. 5) Strict confidence in what is being shared.
So what do I propose? What am I saying? Well first of all we need to be more intentional when it comes to our relationships with those we go to church with and do life with. If they are more than acquaintances, we need to treat them as brothers in Christ! We need to reach out in love to them and encourage them to grow. Not every brother/sister in Christ is necessarily a person that we will ask the truly tough questions too (and by no means do I encourage men and women to be asking each other really deep questions unless they are your spouse). We just need to be aware that just because someone is in your small group and you talk about the generalities of life, that they may not have someone who is making an impact on them and seeking to ask them the harder questions. Take it slow when you start to ask the harder questions. Don’t jump in with the deepest darkest or hardest question that you can think of. Build that relationship. Reach out with Christian Love, Compassion, and a true desire to challenge them to be who God is calling them to be.
Be the hands, the feet, the arms, and person of Christ to those you worship, fellowship, and encounter on a regular basis!
~Tfkr

HOW THE CHURCH SHOULD BE!

I have been blessed to be able to find and explore these awesome ministries above. Being a seminary student and having an education in psychology helps me see the need for these minstries. I at one point in college started a ministry sorta like xxxchurch, but nothing near to what they are today!
I believe that the church often fails in being real about the “trash” that is in the church. As xxxchurch will often say, we avoid the elephant in the room and talk about anything but it.
It is absurd that we the body of Christ is so unwilling to talk about the real facts of life. The struggles that affect us all, and most importantly affect our realtionship with God.
It is important that we as the body are willing to be honest, and in the end are people that others can talk to about who they truly are.
Here are some important things that we as followers of Christ need to remeber about ourselves and others.
1. We are God’s creation.
2. We are all affected by the sin in the world, some of us will struggle with different things than others, but ultimately sin is sin.
3. We are called by God to love each other. Loving someone does not mean that we “approve” of their behavior or actions. But that we ultimately show them God’s love!
4. We all have a God shaped hole in us. Some of us are seeking God to fill that hole, others are struggling to an in turn are filling it with addictions, bad relationships, or other forms of sin.
5. Us being open about who we are is painful, humbling, and hard. Ultimately we will grow from it and will become better people. (*** disclaimer *** it is important to be wife in who you reveal things of a sensitive nature, make sure that the person is someone trustworthy and able to handle what you reveal, if you need please find a counselor to talk to!).
So what am I advocating? I’m first of all advocating the Body of Christ learning to truly help and heal the broken. We often forget how much our words of encouragement and hope can be healing. We need to listen and to help those in need around us.
I’m advocating for the church to be real. Stop hiding things in the closet and be honest. Don’t live behind the shadow of “I’m perfect and have no problems”. GET REAL! I know that each of us has problems, they may not be the “same level” on our human scale of badness, but sin is sin, vice is vice. Lets work on ourselves and help each other to be the people God has called us to be.
I’m excited for the Ministry of Heart Support, XXX Church, and for the tool that X3 Watch is! May God continue to bless their minitriest.
I some day hope to find time or a way to get involved in on of these ministries on a regular basis. I ask that God might use me to make a difference!
God open the doors for us and show us YOUR will, YOUR way, and YOUR timing.
~tfkr


Behind the doors the same as in front……

Well, Yes the title is confusing or perplexing but well I think it should be. I have had thoughts for a while based on my struggles that well have been enlightened in someways by my Introduction to the New Testament course I’m in.
Christian have always battled with being in the world but not of it. God gave the Israelites the law as a direction and guidance for them on how to live so that they would be set apart for Him and not be part of the world. However the Israelites continually failed in following the laws and commands that God had set forth.
The church today I believe is in the same boat. Some people are living the lives that God has called them to, and there are others who aren’t. There also are those in between that aren’t living the way God wants us to but is living behind a mask. Having lived this way myself I wonder how we can address the sins in the church and help people to change, to grow, to be made new in Christ? How do we help the church realize that the same sins that are out in the “world” are in the pews next to them? How do we help the church to be more compasionate in their handlings of people who are battling sin? What do we do? How does God want us to do this?
Its a hard topic to address, and a hard one to live out.
The church is the same behind its closed doors as those who live outside of the church doors. there is sin and filth all the same. We need to make a difference. Where do we start? How do we start?
-Lord make me an instrument of your peace……..
~tfkr

New Year New Challenge. Todays Topic: Suffering

Well I have a challenge with my friend Remy to be more focused and consistent with my writings, and him with his. So today is the start. He challenged me to make a post within 3 days, so well I am posting today, now, before he has a chance to post his! Oh well I’m sometimes competitive.

So now for the post:

Suffering:
In the past months I have heard about, seen, experienced and walked with friends, family, and others through different periods of suffering. It is hard to see friends and families suffer. Its hard to not just try to jump into a situation and try to fix it. My wife was reading to me a question she had to respond to last night for her graduate program. The question was whether a counselor should try to remove the patients suffering.

To me this question is ridiculous. We as humans can’t remove suffering, only God can. I have found and am still learning that we as followers of the Rabbi are called to support others, comfort them, help guide them if needed, and just plan share God’s love.

I will never be able to provide medical answers or medical healing, I’m not a doctor or God, but I can be there in prayer, physically by one’s side, and I can walk with them. With those who have struggles and addictions, I can encourage them, give them advice, walk with them and love them, BUT I CAN’T HEAL THEM.

So often we want to heal those who are suffering or remove their pain. But I think we forget that in our trials and suffering we often grow the most, and are able to be molded more and more into the man or woman God has made us to be.

Lets not try to be God, but instead be His Hands, Feet, and Arms. Let us love others, comfort them, and be with them. Let us be present in the pain and suffering. I know it won’t be comfortable, it won’t be easy, but God smiles when are his instruments of love and comfort, even though true healing may not occur.

I think of my family right now who is dealing with my sister-in-laws surprise visit to the hospital. I can’t be with them 24/7, I can’t watch my nephew all day and night, and I am not a medical professional who can heal her, but I can be there to help support them, love them, and just be with them. I can be God’s hands, feet, arms, and mouth.

The Bottom Line: Don’t try to remove the suffering of others, be present, be there, be the arms, hands, feet, and words of God to those who are in pain around you.

His servant, His Son……
~tfkr