Three Ways to Hunger and Thirst for Righteousness as a Family

1. Simply involve God in our daily conversations. When we’re talking about anything, we’re going to involve God in our daily conversations. And this may seem weird when you first start, but it’s really simple. You’re driving along outside, beautiful sunrise on the way to school, you say, “Man, that’s awesome.” Instead, you say, “Wow, look at the sunrise that God has blessed us with.” And you’re simply showing that God is a part of our conversation.

And you do this in your marriage, instead of saying, “Man, I don’t know what to do. What do you think we should do? Let’s look at the pros and cons.” Instead, you say, “Wow, I wonder what God wants us to do?” & so, in your marriage, you are reminding yourself you are not just a Christian home, you are a Christ-centered home. You involve God in your conversations.

2. Make participation in a church family non-negotiable. If you’re a Christ-centered home, you make the worship of your God something that is non-negotiable. To take one hour a week to honor the Creator and Sustainer of this universe who sent his Son, Jesus, to hear the proclamation of the word because faith comes from hearing and hearing from the word of God. So you say to your family, “We’re going to church, period.”

3. Show how seeking and serving God is fun. There is no reason that church and faith and Christianity can’t be fun. And if it’s not, why would the world want any part of it. So have fun as a family even as it approaches faith issues. Let’s not take ourselves too seriously but let’s be light-hearted so that our environment is not legalistic.

People ask me, “How did you get your daughter to want to go to Haiti to serve others?” I didn’t do anything! She knows that if I’m traveling or people from this church are travelling that fun will break out. She’s understood from an early age that serving others is simply what we do. It’s non-negotiable. But at the same time, we can have lots of fun doing it. We don’t have to tell our kids to be good when we are already seeking the One who is good. We seek first the Kingdom of God & his righteousness and then everything else will be added . “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness because they will be filled.”

This may sound crazy to you but I’ve got a 17 year old daughter, and Jennifer and I never told her “Don’t have sex with boys, don’t party.” My daughter has had no real desire to date yet because she doesn’t think that those hairy-legged creatures are pursuing God enough for her right now. And that’s just where she stands. And some of you might think, “Well, that’s just weird. You’re raising weird kids.” OK, we could do that or raise normal kids that have 8 sexual partners before the age of 18. Which do you want? Normal or weird? You can have what God wants you to have if you will pursue God, period.

Parents, get up off your butts and lead toward a Christ-centered culture; lead toward it. You say, “Hey, I don’t even know where to start.” I’ve made it as simple as I can. Can you show it’s a blessing to serve God? Yes, you can. Can you make church a priority? Yes, you can. Can you involve God in your conversations? Yes, you can.

The Meaning of Worship

Twice in Revelation 4-5 it says that the elders fell down and worshiped the One who was on the throne. Now, I’ll admit worship is not an easy thing to define anymore than if you were to ask a young couple to give a definition of their love for each other. They would have a hard time defining what they feel very deeply and emotionally. It’s hard to give a definition to such things.

 

Charles Spurgeon said, “I believe that a very large majority of churchgoers are merely unthinking, slumbering worshipers of an unknown God.” Ouch! Unthinking, slumbering worshipers of an unknown God.

 

So what is worship? I’m going to give you a definition in four stages and then we’ll put it all together.

#1: Worship is a response to God. We love him, John. says, because he first loved us. So it is our response to God.

#2: Worship is the proper response to God. Not just a response, but the proper response. It’s the right thing to do. Romans 12:1, “And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.” It’s the proper response to God.

#3: Worship is the proper response to God that comes from the heart. Jesus said in John 4, “The Father is looking for worshipers who will worship him in spirit and in truth.”

#4: Worship is the proper response to God that comes from the heart in which we put God above everyone and everything else. That’s the full definition. It’s the proper response to God from the heart by which we place God above everyone and everything else. Jesus said the first and greatest commandment is “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your mind, all your strength, and all your soul.

 

That means we place God above hobbies. We place God above jobs. We place God above agendas. We place God above equipment. We place God above families. We place God above everything else. And we do it from the heart. Jesus even said, “He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of the Kingdom.”

Why I Don’t Dress Up for Worship Services

Someone asked me the other day, “How come you don’t wear your robe or a coat and tie in worship?”

Here’s why: One of the biggest excuses I hear from people who don’t attend church is that they don’t have nice clothes to wear. Now that may be a convenient excuse. Surely they have something nice to wear. Of course, how nice is “nice enough for my church.” As I read the Bible I can’t find any dress code for worship. In fact, one time King David stripped down to his underwear to worship God publicly (but don’t worry, I’ll never do that!). Is it possible that our cultural expectations of “Sunday clothes” limits who we reach? And doesn’t our mission statement say that we want to “reach out to all.” Paul taught in 1 Corinthians 9:19-23 that his desire is “to become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some.” If I thought wearing a tie or a robe would reach more new people then I would. I would also shave my head or pierce an ear if I thought that’s what was necessary to reach those in our community for the Gospel.

It’s not that I don’t like to dress up. I appreciate the compliments when I wear a coat and tie. But for me, spirituality needs to be separated from outward appearance. When the Prophet Samuel anointed David, God said to him, “The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7). Jesus echoes this sentiment when he got on the Pharisees who cared more about outward appearance than inward transformation. Jesus said, “You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead man’s bones and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness” (Matthew 23:27-28).

Dressing nice for worship is a cultural expectation that has been dying for the last decade in this country. Most people I talk to prefer to be themselves, not “put on something they’re not.” I see the leader’s job as leading the way to make newcomers comfortable.

P.S. There are inappropriate things to wear depending on the venue. Men and women should dress modestly and appropriately. So I’m not arguing for bathing suits or risqué outfits on Sunday morning!

We Don’t Have “Rights” as Disciples

Luke 17:1-10

We don’t have “rights as disciples.  We do not have the right to “do our own thing” if it causes another to sin (v. 1-2)  We don’t have the right to keep our mouths shut when we see a brother of sister in Christ sinning (v. 3).  We do not have the right to be judgmental or to bear a grudge (v. 4).  And we do not have the right to feel smug or complacent in our work for the Lord (v. 7-10).

Jesus Prays for You!

If you could name one prayer warrior to lift you up, who would it be?

I choose Jesus.  Hebrews 4:14-16 and 10:21-22 are pretty clear that He intercedes for us when we come boldly and sincerely looking for mercy and grace.

Jesus’ intercessory work must be especially important because at least 3 New Testament authors emphasize it

  • Paul: Romans 8:34
  • Author of Hebrews: Hebrews 7:25, 9:24
  • John: 1 John 2:1

Jesus prays for YOU!  Every prayer you utter has Jesus supporting you, interested in you, seeking God’s very best for you!

So now imagine that you are in the throne room of heaven.  Jesus is there praying to the Father on our behalf.

Our Guardian Angels are Bored

“Our guardian angels are bored.  We’re playing it safe, not taking chances.” -Mike Foster

Church culture has fashioned an addiction to safety and security. If we cannot plot a future path with visible certainty, then we cannot imagine God would call us or lead us down it. But the way of the cross is one of trust, and it is trust that leads us to obedience in following the Master wherever he leads. The path may be uncertain. But for those who trust, the One we follow will never steer us wrong. Our guardian angels are bored.