Christmas - A Reminder to Wait & Worship

Read Psalm 62.  I'll wait.  Waiting. What a horrible curse word in our Western mindset. No one wants to wait, to experience delayed gratification. Eww. The state of awkwardness that comes while waiting for something leaves us hanging in the balance between patience and impatience, thankfulness and grumbling. More Eww.  Waiting. Taking a pause to trust in another's timing for the outcome.  Waiting . It's a worship muscle that for the Jesus follower must be worked out, developed, exercised.  Waiting. Cannot be separated from trust. It builds our stance. Because God is faithful, I can wait. Without waiting, we become fragile in our faith, our trust in God. Every small gust of suffering that blows our direction topples us over. Our pain threshold becomes low.  Waiting . It builds endurance to brace ourselves and trust when answers don't come quickly or when deliverance isn't instantaneous.  Waiting. Divides. Reveals hearts - true believers and faithless believers. W

Clear Glass, Stained Glass: Worship God vs Worshiping Worship

  A few weeks ago, I was working on my Bible study and the lesson referenced a story from Numbers 21 that made me feel confused, honestly. It's a story about the Israelites who had yet again grown impatient with God and crabby about the food He was giving them and well, just plain mad about their deliverance wilderness experience! So, God, in response to their faithlessness in His promise to provide, protect and deliver, sent "fiery snakes (vs 6) among the camp and they bit the people, and many died. This caused a wave of repentance among the Israelites. They took responsibility and stopped the complaining. And so, God instructed Moses to make a fiery serpent and set it on a pole and anyone who looked at it would be healed and live.  This was confusing to me.  So, I dug in and began to look at what this snake on a pole was all about. The snake on a pole wasn't magical, so what was its significance? I found it mentioned again in the book of 2 Kings 18 where, many years late

What to Do When You Don't Know What to Do...

"We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on You."  2 Chronicles 20:12, this verse that comes in the middle of the unknown, the fear, the grasping at straws for the next move. This verse that is uttered out of the mouth of King Jehoshaphat, who's country is on the brink of war, outnumbered by a pagan, demonized military advancement. The Moabites and Ammonites had encamped around Judah. They set up camp as a military strategy. As they camped, they slowly moved into Judah, with all of their pagan practices and worship of other guys. Their strategy was to cause the Israelites to slowly compromise their commitment to God, the one true God. As they moved in, Judah was pushed to shift and lower standards to accommodate pagan standards. They were pushed to comply with the world - it's points of view, it's way of living, it's way of worship, it's fearful/human response to life in general. To comply. To panic.  In the middle of this comes 2 Chronicles 20:12. &qu

The Way Out of the Identity Crisis

Our culture is in an identity crisis. We don't know who we are. We don't know why we're here. We don't know why we were created. We live with our eyes on the ground, with limited sight and perspective, just trying to be happy, do good deeds, resist temptation. All of this doing and spent energy without realizing that the Lord wants His people to know Him, to understand His heart. He created us out of desire for communion and fellowship with humanity. But we've lost vision of God's high vision for us. Instead, we're trying to find our own purpose in life.  In that searching, aspects of our identity have been found and magnified to become our only identity. Our sexual identity is a prime example of this. All of us are sexual beings, God created this to be a PART of who we are, but it is most definitely not ALL that we are, or even the major part of who we are. But it's been exponentially exaggerated to become all that we embrace or all that we make known t

Define Him

The doorway into knowing God, or the knowledge of God, is the awareness that what you think you know is nothing compared to the reality of Him. Who is God really? The one who cannot be contained or fully defined by our limited human minds reveals Himself in the Word. But is He even contained or fully defined there, or is His Word only the beginning? Psalm 113:5-6 says, "Who is like the Lord our God, who is seated on high, who looks far down on the heavens and the earth?"  God can be unnerving because we can't define Him. He defies definition. He's outside of our world. This verse states that God has to humble Himself to behold the things in our universe. He's transcendent, and when we get glimpses, have moments of beholding Him we don't the words in our limited language to articulate Him.  I've grown up in the church my entire life, particularly one church my entire life. I remember well in my late teens, twenties, even into my thirties having this concept

Without Compassion, Vision Dies

  My family, and many others from Redeemer, just returned from the Holy Spirit conference at Green Lake, Wisconsin. This conference is a lot of work for Michael and I, and so many others who contribute to make it happen, that many years I feel too worn out or task oriented to show up to this conference with much level of expectation. God always does incredible things as we gather here year after year and, if nothing else, our times of worship are so sweet. People come hungry, ready, hearts engaged to have Jesus seen and heard. It's the easiest "arena" so to speak to lead worship in. This week...was a new ballgame for me. In all of my busy-ness, God met me. In all of my organizing and leading, God provided so many moments of stillness to hear Him. He brought clarity and direction for me. He put words in my heart, understanding for His current transformation happening within me. He worked on the foundation and building of my faith and my purpose - personally, within my fami

Invited to KNOW God

We live in a similar time to that of the Old Testament prophet, Hosea who proclaimed this message throughout Israel:  "There is no truth or knowledge of God in the land," (Hosea 4:1). Our culture does not know God. Some may know facts about God or be able to answer Bible trivia. But our culture does not have an intimate, living knowledge of God that dwells in the depths of who they are.  Similarly, the church is following suit. The Body of Christ as a whole is Biblically illiterate, but worse, is God illiterate. Corey Russell, in his book Pursuit of the Holy, says this: "The greatest problem for the church in this nation is not a sin problem as we would typically think of sin. Rather, it is the subject of God - who He is, what He's like, and who we are to Him. Our mandate is to know Him intimately, yet we do not understand who He is. We show up at church one day a week, throw our money into a bucket and listen to what the man or woman of God has heard lately. We woul

Pride in Identity

It 's "pride" month.  So...I've been spending every day this month so far looking at what God's Word says about "pride," reminding myself of His truth. The Bible has much to say about pride. Not one of those things is positive. The Jesus-follower has no room for pride, should have no place in it, no connection at all. So to have an entire month out of our year devoted to "pride," setting aside what this month boasts of even, is mind boggling to see any Jesus believer supporting it. The basis of "Pride Month" is the celebration of self, celebration of the identity one embraces. Self is exalted above the good of any other person or being. Self is worshiped. This is the core of pride, all pride. Self worship over God worship.  I'm thinking much about our culture, as I'm sure most of you are, too. I'm thinking of it's direction. I'm thinking of how worldly and unwise it is in its pursuits and thinking. The surface self

The "P" Word is a Dirty Word!

Satan is called, "the accuser of God's people," in Revelation 12:10. This verse not only gives our enemy this name but also it talks of his demise: "And I heard a loud voice in heaven saying, "Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers and sisters has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. (vs 11) And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony , for they loved not their lives even unto death."   The heart of the accuser is looking for faults, failures, screw-ups, imperfections, poor performance...anything that he can bring up to make our minds linger on who we were, instead of who God has made us to be. Lingering here, dwelling on our sin nature, keeps us in performance mode...trying to fix it, trying to make things right, trying to change our own hearts and actions. This was the life of our old self befo

Worship - Ritual or Relationship?

This year I have been participating in Bible Study Fellowship's bible study called, "The Kingdom Divided." BSF has had a huge impact in my life and given me a great love for God's Word...HIGHLY RECOMMEND IT! I've been leading a group in my home in hope to help bring this great ministry to my home town in Monroe, Michigan.  I can't even begin to write about the impact this study has had. It has focused on the Old Testament stories of the divided kingdom of Israel & Judah, and all of the prophets who were sent with God's loving, desperate call and pursuit for His people to repent from idolatry/sin and to return to His heart and desire for them. I have seen great sin, great rebellion, great stubbornness, great stupidity in humanity in this study...I've seen my own heart in need still of God's healing and purifying work in my heart. I've seen our nation in this study and cultural downward spiral. Most importantly, I've seen the incredible