Counter Cultural

Some of you recently watched the State of the Union address; to be honest I was not one of those people. They have become very predictable and not since President Bush’s axis of evil speech have there been any surprises. Our President’s do a great job during these speeches and that is expected, they have the best speech writers available to them and more than enough time to prepare.

The very first State of the Union speech was given by George Washington in 1790 and they have taken place every year since. The media certainly does attempt to build these events up but what do we remember if anything from these speeches. I can mention the one speech that President Bush gave because it was somewhat different from the others during my lifetime. Other people might mention President Johnson’s speech when he introduced the War on Poverty or when President Roosevelt proposed the Four Freedoms. And for those of you who are students of history you might mention President Monroe and the Monroe Doctrine which became the cornerstone of foreign policy for this country for a time.

The STU in my opinion is the political and cultural viewpoint of our President. At one time I might have said; the viewpoint of our country but our country is so divided in its views that it has in the very least become the President’s view and his supporter’s views. The STU speech seems to be more of a laundry list of things that need to happen in order for peace and harmony and fairness to be achieved.

In either case those of us who identify ourselves with Christ, have to ask ourselves what is the biblical view of our culture?

In spite of all the increases in technology, medicine, education and all the other areas we deem important, we have not changed from our own basic nature and if we haven’t fundamentally changed then it can be said that neither has society. Our confidence grows as a society mainly because of the increase in accomplishments. But this confidence or faith is not in the One that truly matters. It seems that what people would call progress, has had the effect of diminishing things like peace of mind and purpose in life. But what this progress has given us are new ways to indulge ourselves in sinful lifestyles, new ways to corrupt and destroy ourselves. Society is not spiraling out of control; it seems to me to have a pretty consistent downward spiral. This should not surprise us; the bible teaches us that things will get worse.

What do we base our actions and the actions of society against? The answer would boil down to morals no matter how we slice it. A problem that we have is, as a society our morals are what society deems right or wrong or what the law might say. Because of this our Morals change with what is normal or even what is acceptable in society. The fact is our morals should be based on the Ethics of God and His word.

I joked around with a friend of mine saying that we need to start our own commune. Which is exactly what some Christians try to do by isolating themselves from the world around them. I think most of us have attempted this at one time or another, and most of us have also found it doesn’t work. You may remove yourself and your children from the culture, or at least attempt to, but the culture will find you. Jesus prayed this for us: “I’m not asking you to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one” (John 17:15).

The objective of believers is not to isolate, but to infiltrate; not to evade, but to invade. We are to impact our culture without being compromised by it. And what does God say about our culture?

We see unseen things (2 Cor. 4:18)
We conquer by yielding (Rom. 6:16-18)
We find rest under a yoke (Mt. 11:28-30)
We reign by serving (Mark 10:42-44)
We are made great by becoming little (Luke 9:48)
We are exalted by being humble (Mt. 23:12)
We become wise by being fools for Christ’s sake (1 Cor. 1:20, 21)
We are made free by becoming His bond servants (Rom. 6:10)
We are strong by being weak (2 Cor. 12:7-10)
We find victory by boasting in our infirmities (2 Cor.12:5)
And we live by dying (John 12:24-25; 2 Cor. 4:10-11)
For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,”
declares the Lord. (Isaiah 55:8)

Sarcastic Lasagna

A few months ago I gave some great friends of ours my lasagna recipe for a gathering at their home, which we would be attending. They had not made lasagna before but needed a recipe for a full tray for about 40 people. I dictated my recipe to them, I have hundreds of recipes floating around in my head but have only written some of them down. The fellowship and dinner were great, but during that evening another friend wanted the recipe. I told him I would write it down for him and email it to him.

I did write it down for him, it just happened to be during one of those days, you know the type, it’s the type of day that can’t end soon enough, well anyway here it is I am going to share it with you.

This recipe will make a full tray and can easily feed 30 to 40 people, but if you don’t read the recipe in its entirety first it will most likely be bad and no one will eat it.

First you will need 3 boxes of lasagna noodles (2 is enough but some break and I always like to have extra.) Do not buy no cook lasagna noodles this is a much larger offense than fake truffle oil. If you buy no cook lasagna noodles I will hunt you down and console your guests. The box will say 8-10 minutes I always under cook them by a couple of minutes. Cook these after the sauce is ready and the meat is cooked so they don’t sit too long. After they have been drained place them in a bowl or throw them in the bowl it depends on your mood I suppose. Mix with a bit of olive oil to keep them from sticking. (The type of olive oil is of no concern as long as it is oily)

If you are using jarred sauce you will need 4-5 jars (And shame on you if you use jarred sauce) you will also need 3 cans of tomato paste (this helps in keeping the lasagna together)

A minimum of 3lbs Mozzarella (you will need to divide it up for 3 layers of lasagna and the top if you get that high)
2 large containers of Ricotta cheese (use your hands to spread it out, it’s fun and if no one is looking you can lick your fingers when done)

If you are planning on using meat 3lbs should do it, nothing wrong with a bit more but 3 minimum. (I prefer sausage and beef but turkey is fine as well if you’re a pansy) Cook the meat in advance, drain the juice off or add it to your sauce but make sure you have time to cook your tomato sauce down you don’t want watery tomato sauce.

Other ingredients are entirely up to you. I like mushrooms not everyone does. If you do add other ingredients like mushrooms or garden vegetables cook them in advance and I would add them to your sauce. That is if you are actually making your own tomato sauce, I truly hope you have a recipe for your own sauce, if you don’t, I really don’t want to know unless you would like one. In that case first apologize for this offense and I will send you one.

Warning: Do not add parmesan cheese, if someone wants to add it after it has been cooked that is up to the individual. If you want to add parmesan cheese you might as well make stuffed shells because those three cheeses GO IN STUFFED SHELLS and this is a lasagna recipe. Okay that is all I have to say about that.

Start with the sauce, if you are making your own sauce I salute you, my hat is off to you, you are a fine person in my book. If you are using jarred sauce I will deal with my own feelings and we don’t need to discuss it any further. In either case of sauce being homemade (yeah you are a fine human being) or jarred (I will hold my tongue) you will need to add the tomato paste, this will thicken your sauce to hold the lasagna together for better plating and presentation and it also helps prevent watery sauce. If by unholy chance you are using a jarred sauce please add some seasonings like parsley, basil, just a bit of oregano (too much will make it bitter), rosemary, thyme, garlic, onion, salt and pepper. And of course any other herbs you fancy, I like red pepper flake. Fresh herbs are always nice but dried will suffice for a tomato sauce. If the sauce is bitter you can add a few spoons of sugar and a table spoon of baking soda. If you make it from scratch this would most likely not be an issue.

This is the preparation for the tomato paste before you add it to your sauce, see if you didn’t read the whole recipe you would have screwed up big time.
Dice an onion or two and a couple of peppers (I don’t care about what color pepper, it’s up to you. Oh so you can’t think for yourself then use a sweet pepper) In a heavy skillet or cast iron skillet heat some olive oil, fine you want specifics a ¼ cup. Add the tomato paste, remove it from the can first. Sauté the tomato paste for a minimum of 30 minutes, you will be caramelizing the tomato paste. After the first 10 minutes add the diced onion and diced peppers and continue to sauté. Add additional olive oil or you can also add some wine if you have some (Red or White, which is better flip a coin) do this when the tomato paste looks like it needs liquid, you could also use broth (Chicken or Beef this also doesn’t matter, are you starting to see the pattern yet) If you want to caramelize the tomato paste longer than 30 minutes please feel free to do so don’t let me hold you back. If it was I who was sautéing the tomato paste I would do it for at least 45 minutes but that’s me, you go ahead and do whatever you want. When you have finished this process, add the tomato paste to your sauce and stir it in completely and remove from the heat. (turn the stove off and remove the pot from the source of heat.). Taste it, make sure you like the flavor. Always taste your food, but for the sake of your guests use a clean spoon each time.

Add a layer of sauce to the lasagna pan then a layer of noodles, I like to go left to right with the noodles on the short side of the pan but feel free to do as you like it’s your world and I am just happy to be living in it. Then add a layer of meat, a layer of ricotta cheese (salt and pepper the ricotta cheese) then a layer of mozzarella cheese and then a layer of tomato sauce, repeat this process until you reach the top of the pan. Once you are at the top cover the top layer of noodles with sauce but not cheese. Cook uncovered for 70 minutes at 350 degrees then remove and add the top layer of mozzarella cheese and cook for 20 minutes more.

Hint: If you are cooking the lasagna the night before, yes it’s true pasta does taste better the next day. Cook the lasagna for the whole 90 minutes without the top layer of cheese add the cheese the next day when warming up the lasagna.

Cook at 350 for 60 minutes uncovered without cheese to warm the lasagna up then top with cheese and remove when it has melted to perfection.

Lastly this is very important if the lasagna goes over incredible well tell everyone it’s my recipe. If it doesn’t come out well don’t mention my name.

It’s A Matter Of The Heart

Have you ever thought about why you trust someone? I know that I base my trust and confidence in people based on the evidence of their actions. If someone is reliable and they are willing and are able to provide what is needed, we can make a reasoned decision to trust that person and have confidence in them. Another way of saying this is; “We have Faith in them.” This is a faith we know and can understand. What we need to realize is this is not the same faith we should have in Christ, there is a big difference.

The difference is that we cannot only trust Christ to fulfill our needs, we must trust Him in a way that brings Him honor for the one gift that is needed above all others, which is the need for Christ Himself. Our belief, our faith and our trust must be loving and treasuring of Christ first, above all things. One of the best ways we have of showing this love and adoration is through worship.

When we elevate Christ’s worthiness through worship, we discover one of our greatest joys. Conversely when we ascribe worth elsewhere, we are practicing idolatry and this negates the joy which we were meant to experience.

“You shall have no other Gods before me.” Exodus 20:3
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” Matthew 6:21

What do we hold as most precious or important in our lives? What do we live for? What would we say we can’t live without? If our answer or thoughts are anything aside from God then we are dealing with issues of idolatry.

My pride is a daily struggle as most of us would admit to, pride is certainly the struggle of self. But what we need to understand is that pride fuels idolatry. Pride puts us on the throne of our lives and that seat only belongs to God. Its hard to see these things about ourselves when we don’t admit how depraved we are. You may think depraved is a bit much but when we compare ourselves to Christ, it is very much a kin word. The simple truth is on our own we are not able to overcome our flesh, without Christ we would remain slaves to sin.

As we walk with God more and more of the world should fall away so we can fall more and more in love with Him. This doesn’t mean temptations and struggles will lesson but if we are committed followers it does mean we will turn more readily to Him in those times because He will occupy the places in our heart that the world once occupied.

John the Baptist understood this and even said as much “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30).

Worship or adoration is the most powerful expression that we are capable of and God is the only one worthy of this expression. For us to accomplish this we must put the full measure of our belief, our faith and our trust in God. But that doesn’t just happen we must pick up our cross daily and deny ourselves in order to keep God on the throne of our lives.

And their are times when we will all say; I can do it! The struggle seems too much and we will fail and sometimes we don’t even want to try. How do we lessen ourselves in order to be filled by God? How can my desire to do what is right be enough, if I keep messing up?

Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.
John 3:18-21

Do we seek the truth? Do we follow after the truth not because its right but because we love God? Do we bring our sin out into the light? Are we constantly examining our heart through the word? Do we desire to do what is right in the eyes of God and ask Him for help?

It’s not about being right or doing right but simply where your heart is and if it’s with God, then you will desire to do good.

If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God.
1 John 3:20-21

Spiritual Warfare

We are involved with a wonderful ministry, Discovery Weekends, and right now we are going through a teaming process to prepare for the upcoming weekends. We are leading the perspective support teams for this ministry, women’s support team and men’s support team. There seems to be an over abundance of Spiritual Warfare happening in our lives and in the lives of those we are doing life with.

If you would like more information about this amazing ministry please visit their website at: http://www.discoveryweekends.org

Do you believe in Spiritual Warfare? Have you ever experienced it? I came across this devotional this morning and found it very fitting considering all the Spiritual Warfare that is happening right now. It’s from the devotional book by Rick Renner called: Sparkling Gems from the Greek.

He’s Still the Lord Of the Wind and the Waves!

And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full…. And He [Jesus] arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.
— Mark 4:37,39

Anytime you are on the front lines of battle doing something significant for the Kingdom of God, the enemy’s attacks against your life will escalate. I’m not telling you this to scare you, but to mentally equip you. That way when the attacks come, you won’t be taken by surprise!

Being mentally prepared for a spiritual attack is very important. If you are familiar with the devil’s tactics, his assaults won’t take you off guard or by surprise when they intensify against you. You’ll be able to recognize and resist every demonic attack, rejoicing in the Lord because you know what’s happening.

Jesus came under this kind of intense attack when He was crossing the Sea of Galilee with His disciples on His way to cast a legion of demons out of the demoniac of Gadara. This demon-possessed man was an important weapon in Satan’s arsenal. Through the actions of the demoniac of Gadara, the devil had held the countryside hostage with fear for a very long time. The demoniac was so legendary that people throughout the entire coastland region knew of him.

The devil knew that if Jesus crossed the Sea of Galilee that night and reached the other side, He would cast the demons out of that man. When that happened, Satan would lose the weapon he had long used to terrorize the whole countryside.

So as Jesus and His disciples crossed the Sea of Galilee that night, violent and destructive winds seemed to come from out of nowhere to capsize Jesus’ boat and drown Him and His disciples in the middle of the sea. Mark 4:37 says, “And there arose a great storm of wind….”

The phrase “there arose” is taken from the Greek word ginomai, which in this case describes something that happens unexpectedly or something that catches one off-guard. This plainly tells us that Jesus and His disciples did not expect bad weather that night. The Greek word ginomai emphatically means that this event completely took the disciples by surprise.

To let us know the size of this storm, Mark uses the Greek word mega, which denotes something of massive proportions. It is where we get the idea of mega-bills, mega-work, and megaphone. Because Mark uses the word mega, it alerts us to the fact that this was a mega-storm with mega-winds!

The word “wind” is the Greek word lalaipsi, which means this was a turbulent or terribly violent wind. This word can also be translated hurricane, cyclone, tempest, gale, windstorm, a furious tempest, or a fierce squall. Therefore, we know the storm that came against Jesus that night was no small breeze. It was a formidable, crushing, overpowering type of storm.

One very important fact must be pointed out: This was a windstorm. There is no mention of rain at all because this was a storm of wind. Jesus and His disciples could feel its effects as the wind blew against them and their boat. They could see the raging waves that were tossed to and fro by this violent wind. However, the windstorm that had come to overturn their boat in the middle of Sea of Galilee and to kill them before they reached the other side was invisible.

The Greek words in Mark 4:37 gives this idea:

“And suddenly and unexpectantly – as if it came from out of nowhere – there arose a gale of wind. It was a ferocious tempest with winds that were terribly violent, turbulent, and overpowering….”

Here was Jesus – on the brink of one of the greatest miracles of His ministry. At the same time, there was the devil, fearing that he was about to lose one of his most highly prized weapons of terrorism. It was at this exact moment that this violent, destructive turbulence came down upon Jesus and His disciples.

The occurrence of the storm at this exact moment was no accident. The devil didn’t want Jesus to reclaim one of his most prized captives. This was a preemptive strike of the devil to undo the work of God.

But that night in the midst of the storm, Jesus arose and took authority over the situation. The Bible says that when He exercised His authority over this unseen turbulence, “…the wind ceased, and there was a great calm” (Mark 4:39). In doing this, Jesus demonstrated that He was the Lord of the wind and the waves. This potentially deadly situation provided a great opportunity for the disciples to learn that Jesus Christ is truly Lord over all!

Rest assured – Satan will certainly try to attack you with unexpected turbulence from time to time. His attacks against you will probably escalate whenever you’re right on the edge of a breakthrough, as was the case with Jesus that night. But just as that event provided an opportunity for Jesus to demonstrate His power and authority, you need to see each demonic attack against you as an opportunity to rise up, take authority, and demonstrate who you are in Jesus Christ!

Mentally and spiritually prepare yourself to deal with the devil’s attacks. Put on the whole armor of God. Rise up and take authority in Jesus’ name over the wind and the waves that come against you and your family. Never forget that this is your golden opportunity to see a demonstration of God’s power in your life!

My Prayer for Today:

Lord, thank You for teaching me that Satan often attacks right when I’m on the verge of a major breakthrough. This knowledge helps me so much because it causes me to recognize that Satan loves to make all hell break loose in my life just before a big victory. Now that I know this, please help me keep this in mind when a turbulent wind blows into my life. Help me to look at that storm and say, “I know that the devil must be upset; otherwise, he wouldn’t be messing with me right now. I must be right on track with God!” With this understanding, I will keep pressing ahead, regardless of what I see, feel, or hear.
I pray this in Jesus’ name!

My Confession for Today:

I declare that every attack of the devil is my opportunity to see a demonstration of the power of God. What the devil meant for my harm, God will turn for my good. This is my opportunity to rise up, speak the name of Jesus, use my God-given authority, and declare to the spiritual realm that the Lord of lords whom I serve is by far the One with the most spiritual power!
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!

Carrying Your Cross

Most of us are familiar with Jesus telling us to “take up our cross and follow me” but what does that mean? I have heard this explained as picking up the weaknesses that we don’t confront in our lives, to lay our strengths down and trust in God, to make ourselves transparent to others, to simply follow God, to suffer hardships or burdens, or to prepare for persecution, or to put God first. What I feel answers this question the best, and has always been my belief, is to die to self.

And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. Luke 9:23-24

Historically speaking what did it mean to carry a cross during the time of Jesus? We don’t even need Google to answer that question. If you carried a cross then it meant you were going to your death. Those that Jesus was speaking to knew that and most likely even witnessed it themselves. It’s not a metaphor, there is no hidden meaning, Jesus is speaking about dying, not just death but death to self. Our cross is death to self, our will, and our wants, our own interest’s, our own sin. So to follow Him we must carry our own cross, which is something that He did himself. Philippians 2:1-8 speaks about God setting aside His Glory and His Power to bear His cross.

We have such a hard time with the minor distractions in life, let alone with the serious issues with sin that strike at our hearts. I think this is why we must take up our cross daily. It’s the willingness to give these things up that mean more to God than the actual handing them over. When we identify with the death of Jesus, our self is put to death. The difficult part is we continue to jump down from the cross and leap back on the throne of our lives. While writing this it’s hard not to think about the struggle that Paul speaks about in Romans.

For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin. Romans 7:18-25

The cross means we must put to death our old nature.

What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. Romans 6:1-8

If then you have been raised with Christ, seekthe things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your lifeappears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Colossians 3:1-5

The only way we can experience life is by dying to self. A committed disciple is one who dies to self-daily. A committed disciple is not ruled by their will, their wants, their own interest’s, or their sin. A committed disciple is not perfect but it does mean that their heart is different. And their motives are becoming more Christ like; we aren’t focused on pleasing ourselves but on pleasing God. Christ wants to fill us with His love, His patience, His forgiveness, His peace, His wisdom, but that can only happen when we die to self.

I came across a couple of questions in a study I have been doing and think they are questions we should all be asking ourselves as committed disciples:
“There is no way to follow Jesus without him interfering with your life. Following Jesus will cost you something. Following Jesus always costs something. Has following Jesus cost you anything? How has following Jesus interfered with your life?” (taken from the book: Not A Fan by Kyle Idleman)

Complete Trust and Obedience

I was referencing some scripture in Genesis recently and along came one of those moments when you’ve spent time in a passage before but you’ve never picked up on a certain something. If I asked you to think of an Old Testament story about trust, I am certain Abraham and Isaac would be a top pick.

Early the next morning Abraham got up and loaded his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about. On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. He said to his servants, “Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you.”

Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them went on together, Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, “Father?”

“Yes, my son?” Abraham replied.

“The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?”

Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them went on together.
~ Genesis 22:3-8

My plan was to explore when Abraham says “we will be back” that’s what I wanted to study, I wanted to see what I could learn from that type of trust but it was the trust that Isaac had for Abraham that stuck out to me. I mean Isaac had no concern, no worry he went willingly, knowing he was safe with his father, he even carried the wood and the knife.

I had to ask myself reading this; I am a Christ follower, but do I trust God to the point of carrying the wood. It was the wood that made me think of Christ, He carried His wood right to the top of Golgotha.

I recently spent a lot of time studying the scripture about picking up our cross daily and it seems that I have been led right back to it. Carry the wood. Pick it up daily and head for Golgotha.

We have heard all the reasons why Christ died on the cross, and there is truth in all of those things that were accomplished by Christ hanging on the cross. I am not trying to reduce His sacrifice but the big why He did what He did, for me is; Christ died on the cross first and foremost out of obedience to the Father. And for me it is the Fathers plan that is fulfilled through this obedience.

And in both situations we find Father and Son walking on together.

In the case of Abraham, God did not ultimately require such a sacrifice from Abraham. He stopped Abraham from slaying his son, and provided a ram for the sacrifice; a type of the Christ to come, who would be God’s own sacrifice to redeem mankind back to Himself.

The only path to eternal life is to pick up our cross daily and trust God to the point of full obedience.

Worship

Worship is the act of ascribing worth to God.

Why is this important, well how often have you heard or been told that everything we do is an act of worship? I believe obedience is of paramount importance but the acts themselves are not worship. I concede that acts done out of the love we have for God, those can be called worshipful but they are not the highest expression of vertical adoration we are called to have, which is worship.

This is not a new idea; frankly I don’t think there are many original ideas left. C. S. Lewis one of my favorite authors spoke about Chronological snobbery, the thought that our ideas are better than the ideas of the past because they are newer. I am not a Simpson’s fan but I feel a smattering of Homer coming on “Duh” the truth is the same now as it was 2 or 3 thousand years ago. I just wish our government and our society would understand this as well as our founding fathers did but that is a blog for another time.

Worship can have different forms but it does need to be intentional and direct and it must ascribe worth to God. But please don’t take my word for it let’s look at scripture. Psalm 29, Psalm 96 and 1 Chronicles 16 speak to these non-original ideas the best.

Psalm 29:2 “Ascribe to the Lord Glory and strength. Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name”

To me these Scriptures are telling us that worship is all our emotion and thoughts focused on the ascription of worth.

I am going to pick on the church for a moment. How often have you heard; “The worship team is going to play a song for us to prepare us for the teaching.” or at least something along those lines. Worship should elevate God by ascribing worth to Him and I believe it helps lower us to our place. I don’t believe we worship in order to be more receptive to preaching, the preaching should make the worship more impactful for God. This is not to say that I believe we can add to God, because we can’t but it does mean that we can bless God with our worship and knowing that we can bless Him should really get our motors running.

Psalm 103:1-2 Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits

For me a part of having an intimate relationship with God involves me learning who God is and who God says I am. And my gratitude for who He is and what He has done for me and for what He continues to do in me. These are important and extremely precious to me but I can’t focus on what, because worship is not about what I have received but the ascription of worth to God. Giving Him all the glory! So when it comes to worship in your church if it is done with the right priorities when the world visits they will be impacted. That is why church shouldn’t be a compromise; church should be a place where you get to see God move, worship that ascribes worth to God starts with adoration.

Adoration of God first and not the things of the world.