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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Quiet Time: You Never Arrive

You Never Arrive
I passed by the field of the sluggard
And by the vineyard of the man lacking sense,
And behold, it was completely overgrown with thistles; Its surface was covered with nettles, And its stone wall was broken down.
- Proverbs 24:30-31

I've had many music instructors, teachers, and professors over the years which I greatly admired.

Director S., was a hard driving typical type "A" personality who often brought artists to tears. But, he was greatly respected in the arts community and had a knack for presenting high level programs. We'd just finished a practice session in which I felt pretty good about what I'd accomplished; and, apparently my peers liked my work too as was evident from all of the pats on the back. While I packed up my equipment in preparation for the evening's show, Mr. S. moved in close and said, with dead pan inflection, "Doug, you never arrive." In other words, you did well, but you can always improve; so, keep working hard.

Mastering an instrument (or anything for that matter) is hard work. That’s why instrumentalists use the term "wood shed" as in chopping wood with an axe when describing personal practice time.
It is often long lonely work; but, then again: No wood - No warmth.

Proverbs 24:30-34 reminds us of the importance of staying on top of our game by consistently caring for what God gives us. I believe this extends to the talents God gives as well.

"Use it or lose it" (Proverbs 24:34)

Friday, April 22, 2016

Quiet Time: Glean As You Go

The Gleaners, by Jean-Fran├žois Millet
Glean As You Go
Being a person of noble character

“And she (Ruth) said, ‘Please let me glean and gather after the reapers among the sheaves.’ Thus she came and has remained from the morning until now; she has been sitting in the house for a little while.” - Ruth 2:7

Read: Ruth (it's a short story well worth your time)

A worship arts pastor who leads a very large and growing ministry shared that it was his willingness to minister wherever God opened the door that eventually led to the position he now holds.

Pastor G. did not attend seminary and had zero formal training in either church leadership or music theory. What he did have, however, was a godly heritage and innumerable hours of practical application in leading worship. Like Ruth the Moabitestess, he worked hard in the field God placed him.

Had Ruth not been "a woman of noble character" (Ruth 3:11) Boaz wouldn't have married her, and her life would've simply been another meaningless loss in the mass of humanity. As it turns out, Ruth ends up being the great grandmother of King David (in the lineage of the Messiah) not to mention, a living example of self sacrifice and lovingkindness.

The takeaway: don't sell yourself short simply because you have no letters before your name (Dr., Mstr of..., etc...) simply glean the field God gives you and serve Him to the best of your ability. Like Ruth, you may find yourself blessed beyond your wildest dreams.

When we serve Him selflessly He opens doors we never knew existed.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Song Series: O Come to the Altar

O Come to the Altar

"Say to them, 'As I live!' declares the Lord GOD, 'I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn back, turn back from your evil ways! Why then will you die, O house of Israel?' - Ezekiel 33:11

Are you hurting and broken within
Overwhelmed by the weight of your sin
Jesus is calling
Have you come to the end of yourself
Do you thirst for a drink from the well
Jesus is calling
The Hebrew word for turn is "shub" pronounced "shoob". It means to return or to bring a person back again to the place where they belong.  
I am convinced that many Believers, as well as, seekers, think that God is angry with them, or at least, very dissappointed. This could not be further from the truth. God loves repenters! (Acts 3:19)
While it is true that God in deed hates sin; the reason for the hatred is not the sinner, but the fact that sin actually disprupts and intrudes on the love relationship that He so wants to develop. (Isa. 59:2)
That love relationship will grow, or in the case of a person seeking after the heart of God for the first time, will begin, when he turns from his sin to God through His Son Jesus, the Christ.
That's what is meant by "Coming to the altar".
Most Sunday morning worship services include an invitation to come to the altar. Although we certainly don't need to wait until then to repent and return to Jesus, that's not a bad time to do so.
O Come to the Altar, the Father's arms are open wide; and, so are ours.


Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Song Series: This Is Amazing Grace

Amazing Grace by Gary Borse
This Is Amazing Grace

READ: Psalm 24

Who is this King of glory? 
The LORD of hosts,
            He is the King of glory.
                       - Psalm 24:10

Does grace amaze you?

The fact is, if we are willing to admit it, that we often take God's grace for granted. So, lets walk through exactly what it is that makes grace so amazing:

According to (1 Corinthians 6:9-10)
  1. We are unrighteous (violating what God says is right) but for grace
  2. We are fornicators (involved with porno) but for grace
  3. We are idolaters (worship anything "money" other than God) but for grace
  4. We are adulterers (married people messing around with married people) but for grace
  5. We are effeminate (soft, a catamite) but for grace
  6. We are homosexuals but for grace
  7. We are covetous, drunkards,  revilers, and swindlers but for grace
Thank God, that Paul goes on to say  (1 Cor. 6:11) Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God. 

WOW! God sees us as who we are not who we were

Now that is amazing! That is grace in action.

Standing in that grace we are motivated to worship. Therefore, when we see scripture like (Ps. 24:3) where the psalmist asks poetically, "Who can worship God?"

Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord?
Who may stand in his holy place?
We answer with him in verse 4 :
The one who has clean hands and a pure heart,
who does not trust in an idol
or swear by a false god.

We are clean because of grace; and, God gives grace to us; so, we give glory to God.

Who breaks the power of sin and darkness
Who's love is mighty and so much stronger
The King of Glory the King above all kings

Who shakes the whole earth with holy thunder
And leaves us breathless in awe and wonder
The King of Glory the King above all kings

This is amazing grace, this is unfailing love
That you would take my place
That you would bear my cross
You laid down Your life, that I would be set free
Jesus I sing for 
All that You've done for me