Getting back to the basics…

Yesterday and today, I was blessed with the chance to be the production engineer for a training at our church.  Earlier in the week I received a mass text looking for someone to work the training on Friday night and Saturday, and I figured that someone else had already answered and was setup.  But I responded later in the evening anyway, and I was still needed, so being me, I said sign me up.  I had no clue what I was going to be sitting in on at that point.  The training was on prayer and healing…

Praying no matter what, is what we need to be looking at.  It is in God’s hands not yours.  You will at times just be overcome with the pain of someone else.  Too many times people pray in condemnation, people pray for people and air the dirty laundry that they know about them, and push disbelief out to people.  Many times people will pray for show, or will blame the person that does not have their prayer answered, or will reason with the issue – it’s a sanctified pain…

To me more than the Friday night teaching and the sessions on Saturday, was the feeling of the Spirit during worship.  I have been in church all of my life.  I have been working with church praise teams for many years now too.  While I’ve heard and felt God’s presence many times before during worship, this morning I felt something that I hadn’t felt for a while.  And I felt God really laying this message on me.  But I couldn’t get the song “Heart of Worship” out of my head.  The opening line of the song, kept repeating itself –

When the music fades
All is stripped away
And I simply come

So many times we get caught up in the entire production of “church” today, and we don’t really move forward in Worship.  We play church too much.  Now, I’m not talking about what churches to today, but more of what the attendees do.  I myself find myself just showing up.  Too many times sitting in service I find myself thinking – I would do this with the sound, that was off-key, That is off beat…  Many of us show up on Sundays or Saturdays and go through the motions.  We like the beat of the songs, we like the concert that many churches have each week.  But that brings me to the point that God was driving into me this morning; the worship session at this training that started out both days was one guy and an acoustic guitar.

You could feel as he led the room in worship that he was pressing in to God’s spirit for himself.  It is that sincerity that can be felt.  It is getting yourself away from the noise and the show, as I thought back on the other times, that I had felt God the most during worship, for me, it has been the times that it was a simple set.  Not a full band, sometimes it was just voices, at times it was an old hymn.  The only formula for getting close to God, is opening your heart.  It is knowing that no matter what, you are God’s child, and that even if His answer isn’t the one you wanted, or His “lack” of an answer, you still know that he is there with you and for you.

The belief that God is with us no matter what, and that we are His.  We are His hands and feet, in all that we do.  We don’t know His full plan, we only see the glimpses that He reveals to us.

16 Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us[c] from Your Majesty’s hand. 18 But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” 

Daniel 3:16-18 (NLT)

To me these are the basics:

  • God is God
  • God waits on us to open our hearts to Him
  • We don’t know what he has next for us, but asking for a glimpse is fine.
  • And to steal a line from Garth Brooks – Just because he doesn’t answer, doesn’t mean he don’t care

I challenge you to put away the noise of the things around you.  Take some quite time with God, this doesn’t have to be time in silence, but take time to just wait for God.  Spend time in the Bible, we won’t always hear God in a loud booming voice, but He reveals himself to us in different ways.  But it is in our time pushing into Him and concentrating on Him, that gets us back to the basics.

Manual Focus

Retina Reflex SLR

So many times in life we lose our focus.  We need to adjust our lives back into focus, and get back in touch with what matters.

I’ve spent the last few weeks thinking through this post, and reflecting on the start of this year and what the new year means and the new beginnings that it brings.  It is when we take our eyes off of what is most important, that we lose focus and lose our way.  When you look through the Bible, you find many stories of true Bible heroes, that lost their focus, lost their way, and then eventually came back to the life God had called them to.

The first three that come to Samson, David, and Peter. Samson, lost his focus, blinded by the lies of Delilah and feeling that he could go about things on his own, was blinded literally by his enemies.  But with his last breaths, he prayed, that God would bless him with power one last time, and defeated more Philistines in that moment as he crashed the temple.  David, lost his focus to lust for Bathsheba, lost a child, and lost his way.  But in the end learned from his mistakes, and changed.  And the story of Peter walking on the water is to me the prime example of having, losing, and regaining focus, in a very short amount of time.  As soon as Peter stepped out of the boat and had his eyes focused on Jesus he was walking along just fine.  But it is the exact moment that he took his eyes off of Jesus, and looking at everything that was around him, he began to sink.

It is the times that we take our eyes off of what God has for us, and focus in on the chaos around us, that we begin to drown in life.  We get so caught up in the stuff, that goes on day in and day out, that we forget the blessings that are right in front of us.  We have to regain our focus on our families and on what God has for us.  It is the minor adjustments that you wouldn’t think about that make the biggest changes in life.  We must make sure that we are looking to God, and being fully focused on what He has for us.

What’s your hope?

So last week I started with passion, and this week I want to move on to hope and faith. No not the sitcom, but true hope and faith.
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hope |hōp|noun1 a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen: he looked through her belongings in the hope of coming across some information | I had high hopes of making the Olympic team.• a person or thing that may help or save someone: their only hope is surgery.• grounds for believing that something good may happen: he does see some hope for the future.2 archaic a feeling of trust.verb [ no obj. ]want something to happen or be the case: he’s hoping for an offer of compensation | [ with clause ] : I hope that the kids are OK.• [ with infinitive ] intend if possible to do something: we’re hoping to address all these issues.

faith |fāTH|noun1 complete trust or confidence in someone or something:this restores one’s faith in politicians.2 strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof.• a system of religious belief: the Christian faith.• a strongly held belief or theory: the faith that life will expand until it fills the universe.

faith – noun 1 he justified his boss’s faith in him: trust, belief, confidence,conviction; optimism, hopefulness, hope. 2 she gave her life for her faith: religion, church, sect,denomination, (religious) persuasion, (religious) belief,ideology, creed, teaching, doctrine.

hope – noun 1 I had high hopes: aspiration, desire, wish, expectation,ambition, aim, goal, plan, design; dream, daydream, pipe dream.2 a life filled with hope: hopefulness, optimism, expectation,expectancy; confidence, faith, trust, belief, conviction,assurance; promise, possibility. 3 have we any hope of winning? chance, prospect, likelihood,probability, possibility; informal shot. verb 1 he’s hoping for a medal: expect, anticipate, look for, be hopeful of, pin one’s hopes on, want; wish for, long for,dream of. 2 we’re hoping to address the issue: aim, intend, be looking, have the intention, have in mind, plan, aspire.

To me, hope and faith, are the same but different. Faith to me is the belief of things unseen, and hope is what we want to happen. I have faith that the studs in the walls will hold up my house, I have faith that my heart will continue to beat, I have faith that God will provide for me and my family. I hope that my car starts every morning, I hope that my computer works properly everyday, I hope that I save my blog posts… It is also my hope that my daughter will grow up to be a great woman of God, and find a nice christian husband. I hope that I am the father figure that God has called me to be, I am the husband that God has called me to be.

If faith is a belief in the unseen, why do so many people say the the will only believe in things they can see. Do we not have any faith anymore. To me the best description of faith I have ever heard is; “I’ve never seen the wind, but I have seen the effects of the wind… but I still know that there is wind.” So while we can’t see God, we can see his creation all around us. We can see and feel the effects of his presence around us. Just when we don’t know where else to turn, we see a way out. God knows the answers the entire time, we have to look to him to get those answers.

Think about some of the team building exercises that are out there; the trust fall, walking blindfolded while someone else guides you. With all of these exercises you have to hope that people will catch you, and that they will guide you properly. Look at all of the plays that are used during a football game; the quarterback has to hope that his line will keep him protected, and that a receiver is going to get open, and be running the route that he is expected to run so that the quarterback knows exactly where to look.

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It comes down to the fact that we need to have a child-like faith. We just need to trust God that all will be taken care of. As kids, we didn’t care about the things that our parents did, house and car payments, bills, etc. We just wanted to know that mom and/or dad would be there to: pick us up when we fell down, make dinner, and that things were the way they were because that’s how God made it. As we get older, we start applying logic to our thinking, we start questioning faith with logic. It is here that we have to go back to the child-like faith, and realize that the things of God, don’t always make sense in the now. Many times we can look back on situations that happened in the past and see where God was in it, but it is hard to see when it is happening.

The biggest question that I want to pose to you now is, where are you putting your hope? Do you put your hope and faith into people, material things, sports? Do you put your hope and faith in God and Family? Take this time leading up to Easter, and reflect on where you place your hope, and what your passions are.