Tag Archives: Worship

Thanksgiving. Day 12.

Today I am thankful for

Music

Music gets down into the soul of a person
and reaches places nothing else can.

Worship

Christmas

Rock

Blues

Jazz

just about any type of music – except country
{but even then there are a few songs & artists I like}

Music relaxes me, always has.

My favorite radio station is Air1 Radio. This is the one my car is tuned to nearly 99% of the time. The 1% being the times I am listening to Christmas CD’s. 🙂

Growing up, I was fortunate enough to participate in the

Grandest Band in ALL the Land
The Incomparable
Pride of Broken Arrow

Today I can look back at the shows we performed and see how far they’ve come and am so honored to have been a part of such a legacy. It was hard work getting there but it was well worth every bit.

 

 


Thanksgiving. Day 7.

Today, and always, I am thankful for my ability to worship my God. In times of trials or tribulations the one thing that always grounds me, gives me peace, and makes me feel secure, is the knowledge that my God has big plans for me and for this country. The election may not have gone the way I hoped it would and while I may not understand why, I know God is not finished with us yet.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_O1GleGicNg

You are good
You are good
When there’s nothing good in me
You are love
You are love
On display for all to see
You are light
You are light
When the darkness closes in
You are hope
You are hope
You have covered all my sin

You are peace
You are peace
When my fear is crippling
You are true
You are true
Even in my wandering
You are joy
You are joy
You’re the reason that I sing
You are life
You are life
In You death has lost its sting

Oh, I’m running to Your arms,
I’m running to Your arms
The riches of Your love
Will always be enough
Nothing compares to Your embrace
Light of the world
Forever reign

You are more
You are more
Than my words will ever say
You are Lord
You are Lord
All creation will proclaim
You are here
You are here
In Your presence I’m made whole
You are God
You are God
Of all else I’m letting go

My heart will sing
No other name
Jesus
Jesus


Thanksgiving. Day 4.

I’m playing catch up today seeing as how I was in a camping induced coma yesterday and completely forgot to post Day 4. Yesterday we made it home from our camp-out and had company waiting for us. It was great!

My pastor and his wife, and one of my best friends were all here. My mom had snagged my friend from church and had her cooking and helping put out food and such. It was really very funny to walk in and see someone doing “my job” but it works. 🙂 I love the people in my life.

For yesterday,

I’m thankful for

the freedom to worship

community worship

organized worship

Even though I did not make it to church yesterday, I know that I can go to church without fear of being tortured and killed, becoming a martyr. There are so many places around the world where “freedom to worship” means “worship who we tell you to” and that is not the case here.

Something to think about.


Resurrection Day.

We celebrate Valentine’s Day as the “Day of Love” but have you ever given any though to the greatest gift of love ever shown to man?

John 15:13 says – 13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

I don’t know about you but I honestly don’t have too many people in my life I’d die for. My boys and a few other family members and that’s truly about it.

Jesus laid down His life for us – people He didn’t know, strangers, so that we would have the chance for eternal life.

Not only did He give His life, He willingly walked into the worst torture ever known to man. In Bible times a typical punishment was to either be scourged (brutally beaten) or crucified but never both – Jesus went through both.

The week before (what we typically celebrate as Palm Sunday), Jesus rode a donkey into town to people praising Him and bowing at His feet with palm branches. He ended that week on a cross, buried in a tomb, fighting Satan so that we wouldn’t have to. He had the power to call down 12 legion angels to save Him (a legion = 1000) and yet, He didn’t. He knew what He was getting into.

He had already made His choice.

The following depiction is something I copied from this website and is very, very difficult to read.

The physical trauma of Christ begins in Gethsemane with one of the initial aspects of His suffering – the bloody sweat. It is interesting that the physician of the group, St. Luke, is the only one to mention this. He says, “And being in agony, He prayed the longer. And his sweat became as drops of blood, trickling down upon the ground.”

Though very rare, the phenomenon of hemathidrosis, or bloody sweat, is well documented. Under great emotional stress, tiny capillaries in the sweat glands can break, thus mixing blood with sweat. This process alone could have produced marked weakness and possible shock.

After the arrest in the middle of the night, Jesus was brought before the Sanhedrin and Caiaphas, the High Priest. A soldier struck Jesus across the face for remaining silent when questioned by Caiaphas. The palace guards then blindfolded Him and mockingly taunted Him to identify them as they each passed by; they spat on Him and struck Him in the face.

Condemned to Crucifixion

In the early morning, Jesus, battered and bruised, dehydrated, and exhausted from a sleepless night, was taken across Jerusalem to the Praetorium of the Fortress Antonia. It was there, in response to the cries of the mob, that Pilate ordered Bar-Abbas released and condemned Jesus to scourging and crucifixion.

Flogging first

Preparations for the scourging are carried out. The prisoner is stripped of His clothing and His hands tied to a post above His head. The Roman Legionnaire steps forward with the flagrum in his hand. This is a short whip consisting of several heavy, leather thongs with two small balls of lead attached to the ends of each. The heavy whip is brought down with fill force again and again across Jesus’ shoulders, back and legs.

At first the heavy thongs cut through the skin only. Then, as the blows continue, they cut deeper into subcutaneous tissues, producing first an oozing of blood from the capillaries and veins of the skin, and finally spurting arterial bleeding from vessels in the underlying muscles. The small balls of lead first produce large, deep bruises which are broken open by subsequent blows.

Finally the skin of the back is hanging in long ribbons and the entire area is an unrecognizable mass of torn, bleeding tissue. When it is determined by the centurion in charge that the prisoner is near death, the beating is stopped.

The half-fainting Jesus is then untied and allowed to slump to the stone pavement, wet with His own blood. The Roman soldiers see a great joke in this provincial Jew claiming to be a king. They throw a robe across His shoulders and place a stick in His hand for a sceptre. A small bundle of flexible branches covered with long thorns is pressed into His scalp.

Again there is copious bleeding (the scalp being one of the most vascular areas in the body). After mocking Him and striking Him across the face, the soldiers take the stick from His hand and strike Him across the head, driving the thorns deeper into His scalp. Finally, they tire of their sadistic sport and the robe is torn from his back. This had already become adherent to the colts of blood and serum in the wounds, and its removal, just as in the careless removal of a surgical bandage, cause excruciating pain – almost as though He were again being whipped, and the wounds again begin to bleed.

The walk to crucifixion

The heavy beam of the cross is then tied across His shoulders, and the procession of the condemned Christ, two thieves and the execution detail, begins its slow journey, The weight of the heavy wooden beam, together with the shock produced by copious blood loss, is too much. He stumbles and falls. The rough wood of the beam gouges into the lacerated skin and muscles of the shoulders. He tries to rise, but human muscles have been pushed beyond their endurance.

The nails of crucifixion

At Golgotha, the beam is placed on the ground and Jesus is quickly thrown backward with His shoulders against the wood. The Legionnaire feels for the depression at the front of the wrist. He drives a heavy, square, wrought-iron nail through the wrist and deep into the wood. Quickly, he moves to the other side and repeats the action, being careful not to pull the arms too tightly, but to allow some flexion and movement. The beam is then lifted in place at the top of the posts and the titular reading “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews” is nailed in place.

The pain of crucifixion

The left foot is pressed backward against the right foot, and with both feet extended, toes down, a nail is driven through the arch of each. As he pushes Himself upward to avoid the stretching torment, He places His full weight on the nail through His feet. Again there is the searing agony of the nail through His feet. Again there is the searing agony of the nail tearing through the nerves between the metatarsal bones through the feet.

Crucifixion – the medical effects

As the arms fatigue, great waves of cramps sweep over the muscles, knotting them in deep, relentless, throbbing pain. With these cramps comes the inability to push Himself upward. Hanging by His arms, the pectoral muscles are unable to act. Air can be drawn into the lungs, but cannot be exhaled. Jesus fights to raise Himself in order to get even one short breath. Finally, carbon dioxide builds up in the lungs and in the blood stream and the cramps partially subside. Spasmodically, He is able to push Himself upward to exhale and bring in the life-giving oxygen.

Hours of this limitless pain, cycles of twisting, joint-rending cramps, intermittent partial asphyxiation, searing pain as tissue is torn from His lacerated back as He moves up and down against the rough timber. Then another agony begins. A deep crushing pain deep in the chest as the pericardium slowly fills with serum and begins to compress the heart.

The compressed heart is struggling to pump heavy, thick, sluggish blood into the tissues – the tortured lungs are making a frantic effort to gasp in small gulps of air. The markedly dehydrated tissues send their flood of stimuli to the brain. Jesus gasps, “I thirst.”

Crucifixion – the last gasp

He can feel the chill of death creeping through His tissues. With one last surge of strength, He once again presses His torn feet against the nail, straightens His legs, takes a deeper breath, and utters His seventh and last cry, “Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit.”

Apparently to make doubly sure of death, the Legionnaire drove his lance through the fifth interspace between the ribs, upward through the pericardium and into the heart. Immediately there came out blood and water. We, therefore, have rather conclusive post-mortem evidence that Out Lord died, not the usual crucifixion death by suffocation, but of heart failure due to shock and constriction of the heart by fluid in the pericardium.


Haiti. One year later.

230,000 people dead.

http://www.haitinews.net/

http://www.cdc.gov/haiticholera/

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=cholera-outbreak-haiti

http://progressinhaiti.org/

http://tri-statedefenderonline.com/articlelive/articles/5660/1/Haiti–One-year-later/Page1.html

I know the one year anniversary of this tragedy was nearly 2 months ago. I’m flabbergasted at the amount of destruction.

Between Haiti and Japan and Egypt I wonder if we’ve stretched ourselves too thin but then I remember some things the Bible says:

* Go into ALL the world and lo I am with you ALWAYS (No go, no lo!!)

* Whatever you do unto the least of these you do unto Me.


A Playset Raising.

Back in the pioneer days if a family needed a barn, house, or other necessary building built they’d have all of their friends, family, and neighbors travel out, camp out on the homestead in their wagons and work each day on building whatever was needed until it was finished. We did something similar recently.

Several weeks ago my dad bought this massive playset for my boys. You know the kind, made of wood with a rock wall, slide, swings, a too tall tower, etc. And then we had weeks of seemingly non-stop snow and below zero temperatures. So, building this was postponed until the weather was in a better mood.

It came in 4 boxes that remained stacked on our back porch through many weeks of snow and below freezing temperatures. Finally it was warm enough to build it completely. We thought it would be fairly easy. In theory, each of the 4 boxes was a complete section to be joined with each of the other 3 boxes once they were all together. Not so.

Each box was full of wood. So much wood. And all of it was numbered so we began by sorting the wood into matching piles based on whichever numbers were stamped on them.

Then we started reading the directions. Or rather, my dad read the directions and the rest of us did as we were told. Ha! I want that job next time! Our progress went something like this:

Putting the roof on was … interesting. We laid the whole thing over on its side in order to reach the roof area and to attach those boards. Made it a teeny bit easier to do than trying to stand on tippy-toes at the top of a ladder drill in hand. Once the first roof (yes, first – there were two) was all on we stood it up and called it a day.

On to day two. We started with the second roof – again by laying it down and drilling the roof boards on. One plus to laying it down: made it much easier to undo and redo the boards that slipped a bit out of line. And then came the picnic table. Yes, this thing has a built in picnic table. We were somewhere in the middle of securing the boards that would soon hold the benches when the wind picked up (somewhere around 60-80 mph I’m guessing) and the whole thing started lifting up! So what did I do? I sat on it. Okay, I wasn’t the only one who put my weight on it as there was no way we were letting this thing blow over and potentially destroy all our hard work. Oh, and for the record, the finished project is much more weighted and stronger as well as anchored into the ground really well so it won’t be blowing away any time soon.

Finally, it was time to add the “fun” stuff. You know, the swings, slide, rock wall, and a few small ladders to move between the three levels. Yes, in case you hadn’t see that in the pictures, there are three levels to this thing. The top one is roughly the same height as out attic floor. Aye-yi-yi! That’s tall! Fortunately, I know just how sturdy all of those pieces of wood enclosing the top level almost completely are as I’m the one who secured them all.

The finished product is so much more fun to play on than it was to build. Building it required reading many pages of instructions and sometimes disagreeing with how things went together; meant hitting myself in the head with the drill a few times and scraping my hand on concrete; waking up for a few days with sore muscles in places I’d forgotten there are muscles. It also meant seeing some of the biggest smiles on the boys faces.

Now we just need the weather to cooperate for more than five minutes so we can all go out and enjoy it!

Some thoughts I had while building this:

* Why can’t children come with a manual?! It would be so much easier to raise them if we knew what to say or do and when. Then I smacked myself and said, “that’s exactly what the Bible is”.

* I also thought about how God takes us and molds us to be who we are supposed to be for Him. If something doesn’t line up right, He works on us until we relent to His way and get things lined up again. I consider each learning experience to be the equivalent of each bolt and screw in the playset. Each one holds us to the memory of how God helped us in a particular situation just like each bolt and screw holds that playset together. Individually it seems as though there are just random pieces lying about but when put together they form a masterpiece that only the Master can create.


Mountains.

The Climb – Miley Cyrus

Click the link above and listen to this song as you read this.

We tried a new church just after Thanksgiving last year. I’m finding it necessary to have one a little closer to home for several reasons. I was more than a little nervous. I’ve tried new churches before and always get nervous but that’s gotten worse since I have 2 little people who depend on me for everything. Who God gave me and who I feel this enormous responsibility to make sure they are taught about Jesus and who He is and everything He’s done for us. One of the biggest steps in doing this is finding the right church. One that will not only teach my kids in a way I agree with (by teaching them the Word) but in a way that shows them just how real God’s word is AND one that I can worship in and be 100% who I’m supposed to be in Christ.

That’s pretty demanding if you think about it. So often we hear, “you don’t have to make everyone happy as long as you’re happy” and there are times when that applies but this isn’t one of them. It is absolutely imperative that all three of us are getting what we need on the level we need it – especially from church. And no, I’m not talking about the actual physical building we call a church. I’m talking about the Church, as in the people who make up the church. When we go to a church expecting things to be what we need we’re setting some pretty high expectations for those who are leading worship, teaching the kids, running the book store and coffee shop, and preaching/teaching. That list goes on and on.

With that in mind, I walked into this new church with VERY high expectations. And I was completely blown away. My kids loved their classes (although E-Man does say he has to sit still too long sometimes but I think he’s enticed by the pool and foosball tables!). Worship was amazing. And then there was the sermon.

How often do you hear a grown man quoting Miley Cyrus? Honestly, that rarely happens and if it does it’s a single dad who’s trying to impress someone in regards to the time he spends with his daughter. Okay, that’s a bit cynical but you get my point. That’s something that just doesn’t happen. Well, the speaker that Sunday started his sermon, not with words, by playing a clip from Miley Cyrus’ song The Climb (see above link). And then he started talking about mountains.

Now, unfortunately, I don’t have my notes in front of me so I don’t have the scripture references he used but I will tell you what I got out of his sermon.

There’s a verse in the Bible (Matthew 17:20 Amplified Version – italics & bold mine – courtesy of YouVersion)

20 He said to them, Because of the littleness of your faith [that is, your lack of firmly relying trust]. For truly I say to you, if you have faith [that is living] like a grain of mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, Move from here to yonder place, and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you.

So often the second portion of that verse is taken a bit too literal. Out of context even. We are taught that as Christians we have the ability to move mountains. True. Very true. We’ve also become complacent that just because the mountain hasn’t moved means that we’re meant to be here, going through this trial or tribulation for a time. Just like Jesus spent 40 days being tempted in the desert. And when that time is finished God will removed the mountain before us. But what we fail to see is that not every mountain is meant to be moved. Some are meant to be climbed.

Take a look at the following list (compiled in part using Max Lucado’s book Fearless: Imagine Your Life Without Fear — Chapter 14):

* Noah’s ark lands: Mountains of Ararat

* Isaac as a sacrifice: Mount Moriah

* Moses and the burning bush: Mount Sinai

* Elijah ascending into Heaven: Mount Horeb

* Christ Crucified: Calvary

* Christ’s Transfiguration: Mount Hermon

Some of the most important and life changing events in the Bible happened  on the tops of mountains. Think about that. If the people we grew up knowing from the Bible had to face their mountains and climb them in order to see the goodness God had for them at critical times in their lives, why would we try to remove the mountains in our lives? Why wouldn’t we want to race up those mountains as fast as possible in order to see what God has in store for us?

I admit that I am one who has previously stated something akin to, “God will remove this mountain when it’s time”. Trust me when I tell you I’m not saying that anymore. Yes, I do believe that some mountains are to be removed and cast into the sea but the keyword there is some. Not all.

So many times I have said, “I can’t”. No more. I know that life as we know it is only going to get worse. Let me rephrase that. The world as we know it is only going to get worse – go read Revelation, Daniel, and Isaiah. Why on Earth should we, whose home is in Heaven, succumb to the things of this world? Why can’t I climb the mountains and receive all that God has for me and my family?!

Did you get that? Climb the mountains in your life. Rely on God to be with you and trust him to lead you through paths of righteousness. In the 23rd Psalm, the Bible says; (Amplified – italics mine)

4 Yes, though I walk through the [deep, sunless] valley of the shadow of death, I will fear or dread no evil, for You are with me; Your rod [to protect] and Your staff [to guide], they comfort me.

 

We have to make it through the valleys in order to climb the mountains but when we do so with God there is no fear. God guides us. God protects us. God comforts us.

What are you waiting for?

 


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