What do you want to show?

All churches are full of culture, personality, vision and character. Church is a living, breathing organism of people from all different backgrounds, jobs, ages, and even old age “social classes”. We all bring something with us and each member has their own talents and gifts to enrich their church family.

But what do we look like from the outside? What do we show the local area?

Every church has a vision, and a statement of how they want to fulfill that vision. When was the last time your vision statement was updated? Is it still a valid vision for your area? Has there been a change to housing, new estates been built or knocked down? Has there been a big drop in the local economy, a loss of jobs, a number of jobs created? Has the number of families increased or decreased since your statement was created? Has your church grown or seen a number of people left? Has the leadership changed? These will all have some affect on the vision of the church in some way, even if the change is a positive one.

Does your church want to be relevant to the local community? Then from leadership down, it must been shown and lived out. Devotion? Be devoted. Live what you preach and teach, live and breathe the Word.

St Francis of Assisi said, “Preach the gospel at all times, and if necessary use words”.

Actions speak louder than words, so what we live and communicate is vitally important. We can be watched by our communities, and if we are living different to our vision and teaching, then how do we differ from the world? How do we show ourselves to be the Bride of Christ in a world that lives the opposite of what we see in the Bible.

Think about how our fellowships are coming across to the outside unchurched locality. Welcoming? Accepting? Bible believing? Christ filled? Empowering? Devoted? Loving? Teaching?

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continual worship

Psalm 34 vs 1

I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.

Psalm 146 vs 1-2

Praise the Lord.

Praise the, O my soul.

I will praise the Lord all my life,

I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.

The Bible is full of praise to the Lord. And it’s not just the 2 hours we manage on a Sunday morning. Its more than trying to do the right thing in church, it’s an attitude of life. It comes from our hearts. The Psalms tell us to praise with everything, and at all times. It is constant.

Psalm 145 is a whole song of us recognising and worshipping God because we can see how He is full of love and what >He has done for us through the giving of His most treasured Son. We can trust God and know His love will never fail. Doesn’t that make us want to praise at all times? How hard are our hearts when we read how much He loves us, created us, cherished us, died for us, defeated death for us.

Praise doesn’t have to be only when we are with other people, only for when we are at church or a meeting. It is something we can do in our private times, the same as our private times of reading the Word and praying.

LaMar Boschman says in his book A heart for worship

“How do you know you are a worshipper? Worshippers spend time in Gods prescence. They like to linger thwere. They are not in a hurry to leave His prescence. They worship often because they delight in Gods prescence and in giving Him honour, reverence and exaltation”.

I want to spend more time just sitting and being in the prescence of God. To feel Him with me and sitting in silence together. That level of intimacy is what  I myself am aiming for. I want to be there, and know its up to me to get there through worship in my life

The World

Watchman Nee says that the three definitions of the world are 1) the material earth or universe, 2) the people on the earth, 3) the things of the earth.
Each of these three contribute to the whole picture of the earth, some are tangible some are intangible. They need each other to function.
Scripture gives us some understanding of the world around us, and explains why it functions as it does and how the intangible effects the tangible.
Jesus tells us “My Kingdom is not of this earth”. Adam opened the door for sin to enter, making our world hostile to God. Creation tries and in a way, can’t, know God, and the human race pulls against God. Even though Adam allowed sin in, Jesus overcame sin. He was of this world and not of this world, he was human and God. He was born of the world, but was fully God, so overcame and allowed creation to be drawn back to God. At the Lords return there will be a Kingdom. This world will become part of that Kingdom. It will know no sin then, it will return to the beginning when first made.
We are in the world, but not of it. We belong to God as soon as we give ourselves to Him. We grow more and more like Jesus. We live in a fallen world, a world if sin and death. We need to make sure that how we live in this fallen society, we radiate the love and power of God. We are a witness. No one is too small to make a difference or work for the Lord.

Who I am

I know a lot of my failings, and there are many more that others can see in me or that God can see that I don’t recognise yet. They will be shown to me at the right time, or at Gods timing for my life. It amazes me that He uses me with all my failings, warts, sins and all. God loves me and uses me for His kingdom as I am right now, and not who I will be 10 years from now, because who I will be then will be a different person. I know I am on a journey, but if I stop learning and growing in God, then I won’t be any different, but will stand still. To be different, I have to grow, learn and change my attitudes and heart to be more like God, then I will change into a more Christ-like child of God.
When I look in the Old Testament at some of the old “heroes” of the faith like Samson, Solomon and perhaps David, they were never super spiritual. God used them as they were for His kingdom and His purposes. They didn’t change for God to use them, they didn’t change who they were in God. We have consequences of living a sinful life, but God made us because He loves us.
We need to pray and ask God what He wants us to do for Him; who He wants us to speak to; how He wants us to live for Him; how we follow Him.

God is Sovereign over all

God gives us a calling on our lives, and what we do for Him is a calling. No one can hold God back, He is sovereign. He is love and His grace is new every morning.
What better reasons do we need to praise and worship our Lord and Heavenly Father?
We fail every day. Our lives get in the way, our pride, our minds. He never fails, never lets us down. How much of what we do is an offence to God? Maybe we need to sit and think about how we do things or how we speak to ourselves or others. Our flesh is strong, and we seem to battle all the time. Gods sovereignty is being watered down within our churches and how we view Him. He is God, He is our Maker.
Nothing can surprise God or shock Him. He knows all and knew us before we were born. He knows what we go through and weeps with us. He feels what we feel. He is there, and never goes away.
Praise is what I can bring. I can worship because I have nothing else to bring sometimes. I can praise when I am in a place where I am low, happy, content or in despair. Praise lifts us out of the mire.
Faith is believing when we dont see God, or dont know what to do. Keep your faith in Him who created dust into His child. He created you because He loves you.

When we let Him arise

As a worshipper, I love to praise my Lord. I love the closeness to Him, and how after I stop singing or praying, I can still feel Him close to me. Its like being in a cloud of light, soft and still. It can carry me through many a bad night when even though there is no sleep, there has been a night of being with my Lord and Friend.

God lives in our praise and worship. He inhabits it. He desires to hear our praise and the worship of His children. He waits for it, and is there with us during our day, still and sure.

Worship is our relationship and intimacy with God. He created Adam and even before Eve was created from her husband, there was a close and intimate relationship between Adam and God. Our Lord was looking for the worship that could restore what was lost when Lucifer was banished. We restore what was broken there, and Christ restores us back to His Holy presence. We can be with Him forever because of Jesus sacrifice for us.

God has a purpose for us all as well as our worship. He has a plan for us. We don’t see the plan if we sit around waiting for it to come to us. We have to make the decision to push the doors to see through prayer, if they are the way we are to go. Just because we maybe can’t see the plan yet, doesnt mean it isn’t there. It is like a seed that is in the ground. Just because we cant see it until just before it gets harvested, does not meant it is not there. We need to position ourselves in Him to see the plan. Prayer, worship and praise bring us in the right place with Him and all He has for us. He wants to bless His children, all of them.

Let God arise in your life. Let Him do His awesome work, and purposes that we cannot even imagine.

My Guide

When we look to Jesus and keep our eyes fixed on Him, we never lose our way or our bearings. He is our guiding light and guiding star in all the darkness of the world and our lives. He shines bright in the murkiness, showing us the right way to go. The safe and straight small lane to eternity with Him.

As we look back over our lives and especially over this last year, we can see how His hand has been on us, our lives and our actions. We can see where the decision we have made has led on to amazing things. The right person to talk to at the correct time. The phone call that has encouraged at the exact time and place we needed. We can see how He has shaped events or our reactions to those events. It gives us an idea of how to live in the future. Looking back and seeing His hand guiding us can help us to nurture thankful hearts.

We need to discipline ourselves to be thankful. Its not an easy in a world that is based on Self and self motivation way of life. Learn to “count your blessings”. At the beginning we may seem childlike or unsure of how to start to be thankful. Start small, and practice. God will honour any attempt even for the small things. Its not something most of us are taught to do. Keep being thankful as much as you can. Nurture it and help yourself grow into new depths with our Lord.

Psalm 100

Shout with joy to the Lord, all the earth!

Worship the Lord with gladness.

Come before Him, singing with joy.

Acknowledge that the Lord is God!

He made us, and we are His.

We are His people, the sheep of His pasture.

Enter His gates with thanksgiving;

go into His courts with praise.

Give thanks to Him and praise His name.

For the Lord is good.

His unfailing love continues forever,

and His faithfulness continues to each generation.

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