Category Archives: worship

Where is Church?

Why this question?

In looking around the blog world the other day, I stumbled on a blog by Michelle Lesley. It is well written and thought out but definitely not in line with how I interpret  the teachings within Timothy’s. No problem, 1 John 4:1 tells us to “not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to determine if they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.”.  I’m not saying Michelle is a false prophet. I am saying that I (we) are to test what we read and hear against God’s word. Not to challenge it or argue against it, but to ensure we are believing, following, sharing, teaching and preaching the right message.

Christ himself gave us an example of how we are to have this conversation in Acts 19:8 when he entered the Lecture Hall of Tyrannus: “Then he entered the synagogue and spoke boldly over a period of three months, engaging in discussion and trying to persuade them about the things of the kingdom of God.”

In a nutshell she was discussing the role of women in the church, which is not what we’ll talk about today. In a brief exchange between us, I asked “If you believe 100% what you have written here, then you believe 100% what you have taught, proselytized, preached (different people will apply different words to what we bloggers do) here. How does your work here not go against what you have said the Bible does? ” Her response took me back, “The instruction is that women are not to preach to, teach Scripture to, or exercise authority over men in the church. A blog is not the church.”

What is Church?

I have written about this before (Where We Gather and Here & Now – Worship) as this question as well as what is worship are ones far too many of us do not understand or experience.

A quick survey of a variety of versions of the Bible show that the word church shows up a little over 100 times in the New Testament. When God talks about the church with us, He is not talking about the man made denominations we’ve created, He’s talking about His people. In the Old Testament, church did equal the Temple and people were expected to gather there for sacrifices and teachings (the men anyway). But in the New Testament, Christ changes this format. The Bible does give references to congregations, but those are congregations of cities or communities, not a physical institution. So, what is church?

For the purist among you, the word church comes from the Greek word ekklesia meaning ‘assembly’ or ‘called out ones’.

First of all, we need to understand that the church is Christ:

“He is also the head of the body, the church;”.   Col 1:24 (HCSB)

Then we need to understand that church is a place of gathering, but it is a place where two or more gather.

For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there among them.” Matt 18:20 (HCSB)

Some would argue that the Holy Spirit being present can be counted as one since He is a participant in prayer; I don’t think this supported biblically but can understand the argument when Christ gives us examples like the Garden of Gethsemane.

Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and He told the disciples, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” Matt 26:36 (HCSB) also Mk 14:32

And when we’re instructed to privately talk with Abba, one-on-one; two are present.

But when you pray, go into your private room, shut your door, and pray to your Father who is in secret.  Matt 6:5-6 (HCSB)

Christ first mentions the work of building a church in Matthew, but He is not talking about the confining walls of a building, but The Church (of Jesus Christ) full of people.

And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the forces of Hades will not overpower it.  Matt 16:18 (HCSB)

To truly understand what the church is, we must go to the Book of Acts and recognize some major shifts in societal and physical behaviors. One of the largest is the clarity of the message that no one is excluded.

The Disciples were baptized by The Holy Spirit and received His power (Acts 1:8).
Women were included in acts and in gifts. (Acts 1:14, 2:17,18)
Pentecost brought the time of speaking in tongues so the Word of God would be heard by so many more. (Acts 2:4)
One expectation was laid out for followers, REPENT.  (Acts 2-38-40)
A picture of church is presented, people who devote themselves to learning, gathering, breaking of bread (eating) with a joyful and humble attitude, and praising. (Acts 2:42,46)

With all of this, we can now go to the question, are we on this blog, a church? Are we discussing, teaching, preaching, sharing, learning and supporting each other in the name of Christ? Are we asking questions to ensure what we learn is true? Does this technology allow us to find God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit? I believe so and I believe I am responsible for each person who reads or shares this.

What I do not believe is that this makes me the head of a church or places me over any man who may be reading this. Just as women were including in the act of praying in the upper room, teaching in homes throughout Acts and receiving calls directly to guide others, they were not the head of their churches; they were answering God’s call to teach, proselytize, praise, whatever their gift was.

After Michelle and I chatted, I searched out many more blogs and websites hosted by women Christians and I was astonished at how many did not accept responsibility, most saying (in various ways), ‘I can not control who reads what I write’ and ‘if a man chooses to read my writings that is on him’. Really? How is ones accountability for what one shares with one gender any different than the other?

I stand in my conclusion that, I am a Disciple and it is my humble prayer that God uses me, through the Holy Spirit, to reach out to anyone who knows or does not know Him who saves us all, and provides either encouragement or hunger for their own walk with the Triune God. I know I am challenged when I sit down and do this blog for fear of false teachings [2 Peter 2:1]. I humbly pray if any of you ever feel I am guilty, you hold a conversation here with me so we all may grow.

FYI: Those of you that have followed me for a while know I use a multitude of versions of the Bible. I do this for two reasons; one, some versions have wording that is easier to understand and two, to help show that although the words may be in a different order, the meaning is the same. Currently I’m using The Apologetics Study Bible (Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)).


Here & Now – Worship

Be Still and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10

Today’s world is insane! It is no wonder that almost every single person feels overwhelmed by the world. Between social media sites, tweets, instant picture postings and 24×7 news, sport, entertainment and financial alerts and access. The average person is bombarded with information constantly. And this is not an American thing, this is a world-wide person thing. With the distribution of networks, internet routing, smartphones, laptops and tablets, people all over the world have instant access to almost anything. Or maybe, just maybe, I should say instant distraction. I will confess that even now as I write this posting God has prompted me to write I have my television on and am distracted by the show Quantum Leap.

What does all this have to do with worship? Merriam-Webster defines it as “to regard with great or extravagant respect, honor, or devotion“. Worship is so much more than going to a church service called service.  It means that the person gives God all of their adoration and attention. Their whole focus is on who they are worshiping, not the boy ahead of them or the grocery list or the ball game or the latest beep, tweet or buzz from your device.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Phil 4:8

If there is anything worthy of praise, what could be more worthy of praise? Or of our time and attention.

Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.  Matt 6:31-33

One last thought, so much of our teaching, preaching and evangelizing, things we are all called and qualified. (Romans 8:30) It’s what others see that shows them the truth. When we share our music, our life, our focus, our definition of what God means to us and what we mean to Him; AND, what we allow to distract us from Him.

Dear Jesus, Help me to remember what really matters in life. Help me to remember that when I work, I do it for You. Remind me to be generous with my money, my time, and my love because You are always generous with me. Amen.



Pitch Perfect

Quick, whose the best singer ever?

Elvis Presley? Ella Fitzgerald? Frank Sinatra? Robert Planet? Aretha Franklin? Peter Gabriel? Miles Davis? Bruno Mars? The argument can go on forever. I mean, what is best? Style? Vocal range? Story telling? Entertainment style?

David is one of my favorites. David, from the bible. I have no idea what kind of voice he had but here’s what I know, he was always rejoicing or making a joyful noise or encouraging others to do the same. He called on people to blow their horns and shake the tambourines, literally and figuratively. Even when he was in his dark days and he struggled to find his way, he continued to make noise, to use this noise to reach others, just read the book of Psalms or the books of Samuel.

Of all his teachings that talk about using music in worship, 2 Samuel 6:22-23 (ESV) tells us how free we should be.

David returned home to bless his family. Michal, Saul’s daughter, came out to greet him: “How wonderfully the king has distinguished himself today—exposing himself to the eyes of the servants’ maids like some burlesque street dancer!” David replied to Michal, “In God’s presence I’ll dance all I want! He chose me over your father and the rest of our family and made me prince over God’s people, over Israel. Oh yes, I’ll dance to God’s glory—more recklessly even than this. And as far as I’m concerned . . . I’ll gladly look like a fool . . . but among these maids you’re so worried about, I’ll be honored no end.”

So what’s my point? Especially if you can’t sing? The point is, sing anyway. We’re all called to make a joyful noise. (ESV)

… let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! Psalm 95:1
… let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise! Psalm 95:2
Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth; break forth into joyous song and sing praises! Psalm 98:4
With trumpets and the sound of the horn make a joyful noise before the King,  the Lord! Psalm 98:6
Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! Psalm 100:1

God’s hearing is perfect. His tuning ability, unbeatable. To him, every tone is right on, every tempo is the exact count, every strum has the right capo, and every brass has plenty of air.

God just wants us to give Him our praise, be it by singing, dancing, playing an instrument, clapping, praising, praying or celebrating Him. He wants us to give Him whatever our heart wants us to give Him.

Let each one give [thoughtfully and with purpose] just as he has decided in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver [and delights in the one whose heart is in his gift]. 2 Corinthians 9:7 (AMP)

Praise your God loudly and proudly!

Be blessed.


Miriam took a tambourine into the street. David leapt and danced before the Lord.

I had an interesting question asked of me today and it stayed with me all day, so guess what, it’s tonights topic. In essence the question was what is the right way to worship? How’s that for a loaded question? Actually, it’s one I love.

The short answer is, any way that is right for that person. [I just heard some Pastor’s cringe, keep reading you’ll see where this is coming from.]  The scholar A. W. Pink (1886 – 1952) in his exposition of the gospel of John, says this: “It is a redeemed heart, occupied with God, expressing itself in adoration and thanksgiving.”

God’s Words do not change.  His presence is the same today as it was yesterday and it will be tomorrow.  His mercy and grace knows no limits.  He made us as unique creations where we all like different style of writing, music, dance, art, etc., God knows what worship style, what worship tool will touch each of the hearts of His creations and His desire is that we love Him and embrace Him and hunger for more.

Regardless of whether this question is one on your heart now, one that is an issue in your family or not, I encourage you to pray.  Ask God to open you up to hearing what it is you need so your desire to worship Him more isn’t a worship but a hunger.  Maybe it’s a music style, a preaching style, a bible version (ESV, NIV, KJV, etc), worship dance, or maybe it’s an extremely quiet, private style. When you take the time to talk with God (pray) about this you’ll find that He will open you up to many different styles, usually one that goes along with the season of life you’re in and you will find your relationship with God growing deeper than you could ever imagine.