Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Power of Words

This is an amazingly powerful video.
It shows what can happen when we change our words.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Bible edits leave some feeling cross

By Alex Johnson, taken from MSN.com this morning 

It's purely a coincidence, but U.S. Catholics and Protestants alike are being introduced this Easter season to separate "official" updated translations of the Christian Bible, which arrive in the year the magisterial King James Version celebrates its 400th birthday.
But with millions of dollars in publishing revenue and the trust of millions of churchgoers hanging in the balance, the new versions aren't being met with universal acceptance.

While the changes may seem small, they are resounding throughout Christianity, whose many denominations formed or broke off from others over clashing interpretations of God's word.
The two new translations touch on some of the most sensitive issues behind those differences, particularly on the inequality of women in society and on the divinity of Mary and — by extension — the birth of Jesus.

'People,' not 'men' Since its debut in 1978, the New International Version has been the Bible of choice for many evangelical and other Protestant Christians in North America, selling more copies than any other version. But a 2005 gender-inclusive edition called Today's New International Version was widely criticized after some evangelical denominations condemned it as being too liberal.

Members of the Committee on Bible Translation, a nonprofit organization of biblical scholars formed in 1965, hope their latest edition will avoid a similar fate. The new version drops "Today's" from the title and turns the clock back on some of the more controversial choices of the 2005 edition, reviving words like "mankind" instead of "human beings," while still avoiding generic references to "he" and "him."
Mark 1:17, for example, has been translated to read: "'Come, follow me,' Jesus said, 'and I will send you out to fish for men.'" The new version changes "men" to "people"; in other verses, "forefathers" are called "ancestors."

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, meanwhile, has thoroughly revised the Old Testament in its New American Bible, similarly changing many generic references to "mankind" in favor of  gender neutrality. It also adopted language intended to "more clearly express the meaning of the original," it said — like changing "booty" to "plunder" or "spoils of war," because "booty" has a different, decidedly unbiblical meaning nowadays.

Most controversial is its revision of Isaiah 7:14 to predict that the messiah will be born to a "young woman," not to a "virgin," a characterization that some critics say casts doubt on the miraculous nature of Jesus' birth.
Actress Eve Foster in costume as the Madonna in the 1933 play, "The Miracle."
Sasha  /  Getty Images
Actress Eve Foster in costume as the Madonna in the 1933 play, "The Miracle."
The conference of bishops explained that it had concluded that the original Hebrew ("almah") more accurately meant "maiden" or "young woman" and pointed out that several other modern translations agree, including the Revised Standard Version, the monumental 1950s translation that was the basis for many of the Protestant revisions in use today.

Unlike the New International Version, which can be used in evangelical and other Protestant services, the latest New American Bible isn't yet approved for use in the Catholic Mass, the bishops conference said, because only the Vatican can grant such approval — a process that can take years.
It will nonetheless be highly influential in the United States as a study Bible officially approved by the U.S. bishops, who said it would replace the current version as the official text on the conference's website later this year.

Ancient accuracy in today's world Translators of both new versions said the goal was to strike a balance between sometimes conflicting imperatives: fidelity to the original Greek and Hebrew texts, and readability that honors the sensibilities of a 21st-century audience.
"We have to be very careful about how we go about this, because we don't want to change the word of God easily or quickly," said Douglas J. Moo, chairman of the New International Version translation committee.

"But precisely because the Bible is a timeless document, we want it to speak to every generation of people, and as English changes and we learn more about the world of the Bible, we want to be able to put the Bible into the English that people are actually using," said Moo, a New Testament scholar at Wheaton College, a leading evangelical university in Illinois.

YouTube: Bible editor explains the changes

Not everyone thinks the committee got it right.
Deanna Brown, owner of Parable Christian Book Store in Kennewick, Wash., declined to stock the new version, saying it was "just too controversial." (The store will order it for pastors on request.)
Mary Beth Cain, a customer at the store, agreed with the decision, saying the new version's issues with gender and language were "really obscuring the real truth we need to focus on — that salvation is in Jesus Christ."

But Chip Brown, senior vice president of Bibles for Zondervan, the division of HarperCollins Publishers that has exclusive rights to publish the New International Version in North America, predicted that it would be "the translation of choice for millions of people around the world who want to read and understand Scripture in today's language."

To promote acceptance of the new translation, Zondervan said it would phase out the 1984 update of its popular 1978 version of the book, which many churches have continued to use during the translation controversies. That means no more copies will be printed to continue stocking the pews for denominations like the Southern Baptist Convention, which rejected the 2005 modernization and stuck with the 1984 version.

The SBC — the nation's largest non-Catholic denomination — hasn't said yet what it will do. However, the Council on Biblical Manhood & Womanhood has already said it will reject the latest New International Version, largely because of "over 3,600 gender-related problems" it had identified.
"Our prayer is that evangelicals will continue to be very discerning with regard to the Bibles that they purchase and will utilize those translations that are the most accurate," the council said in a statement.
The council is influential with the Southern Baptist Convention and its flagship Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, which trains many Southern Baptist pastors. The seminary's president, R. Albert Mohler Jr., is a member of the council, which is headquartered at the seminary in Louisville, Ky.

'It's not rewriting. It's retranslating.' Similar concerns have greeted the Catholic bishops' revised New American Bible.
Many of the changes reflect new scholarship arising from the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, translations of which were just beginning to emerge when the bishops last updated the New American Bible in 1970, said David Lyle Jeffrey, a Bible scholar at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, and editor of "A Dictionary of Biblical Tradition in English Literature."

The Dead Sea Scrolls, which were discovered in caves near Jerusalem beginning in 1947, include the earliest known Hebrew manuscripts of the Bible. Their discovery has been a source of great controversy in Judeo-Christian scholarship ever since, with competing schools of thought arguing over whether the material should be canonized in the modern Bible and, if it is, what should and shouldn't be included.

"I suspect that the scholarship they reflect will have more value in the seminaries than in the pew — where some of these things may, in fact, confuse more than clarify," Jeffrey said.
That may especially be likely with the change from "virgin" to "young woman" in Isaiah, which has drawn a great deal of media attention, Jeffrey told the National Catholic Reporter.

Mary Elizabeth Sperry, associate director of Bible Utilization for the bishops conference, said that change was an isolated revision and doesn't signal any update in the doctrine of the virgin birth.
"It's the same stories that you know. It's the same texts that you know," Sperry said. "But you're seeing them with greater precision and greater clarity. ... It's not rewriting. It's retranslating."
Msgr. Daniel B. Logan, pastor of Our Lady of the Sea Parish in Ponte Vedra, Fla., agreed, saying that change and others simply reflect that "English is a living language" and that "certain words mean certain things today, but they didn't meant the same thing" when earlier translations were published.
That consideration factored in to many of the changes in the Protestant New International Version, too, said Moo, chairman of the committee that oversaw the new edition.

"We're always working from basically the same original language texts, the Hebrew and the Greek of the originals, and we learn more again about what those words mean," Moo said. "And of course, as English changes, the translation of those words has to change sometimes.

"I hope those differences can always sort of remain in a charitable kind of context, but I think the differences themselves can just help us all learn better what the Bible is all about, and that's a great thing as far as I'm concerned."

© 2011 msnbc.com Reprints

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Casa Nueva

Hey, everyone! I wanted to share the latest updates at the Casa Nueva. As most of you know, in October we started renting a house down the street, which we call the Casa Nueva. Each team that has come since then as helped renovate a piece as well. Every team participated in different fixer'upper porjects which have really helped us out. Steve, Tito, and Rodney have also poured out their hearts and backs into fixing the place up. It is used for classrooms, Bible studies, guitar classes, worship and prayer nights, and mostly inmportantly Sunday services. The most recent addition was a canvas-tarp roof over the enitre backyard. We changed church services from Saturday night to Sunday morning due to entering the rainy season. The weather is usually dry in the morning, even during rainy season, but even so, the roof should keep rain drops off our heads :) It has undergone a huge transformation. I created an album of the changes on facebook.  Thanks to everyone for all their hard work and support. Here is the link to that so you can see how far it´s come in just a few months (even if you don't have facebook, I think you should still be able to access this particular photo album...Let me know if you can't):

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Just Something to Think About

How would you feel if God asked you to give your Bible away? I'm not just talking about any Bible on your bookshelf, but the one you personally use? The one you carry to church every Sunday and have underlined? The one that has those awe-inspiring sermon snippits that really cut you to the quick. The one that, shoot, you don't remember the reference to that inspiring Psalm and you want to share it with some one, but Oh, yeah, you can turn to it because you know right where the feel of it is in YOUR Bible (forget about trying to find it in some one else's, though). Would you feel sad? Like you're giving away your favorite book in the world and how could you ever get another one like that?!? Would it feel like a big deal? How could you EVER highlight all those passages again?!? What if you never find that inspiring Psalm again?!?!? How can you get those sermon notes back!!!! Would you feel joyous? Like you're giving away life to someone else? OR nervous, like what are they going to think of me? They'll think I'm CRAZY! Or would you not even notice? Would it even matter to you? Would it be a big deal? Or just another thing to do?

Monday, April 18, 2011

Julie's Bookshelf

Just wanted to pass along the titles of 3 AMAZING books that have been really inspiriting to me lately. They were brought down for us by the last few teams and come highly recommended!! Enjoy!!

Beautiful One: A Walk In Deeper Intimacy with the One Who Created Us

Beni Johnson (Author), Sue Ahn (Author), Ann Stock (Author), DeAnne Clark (Author), Heidi Baker (Author), Sheri Hess (Author), Winnie Banov (Author), Nina Myers (Author)

From the Back Cover

“Arise, my love, my beautiful one come away.”
Song of Solomon 2:10 (ESV)

The insightful wisdom, joy, and lightheartedness of seven amazing women who have pushed through extreme winters only to fall more intensely in love with Jesus will challenge and provoke you to dance, live, breathe, and have your being in the One who created you to arise and come along with Him as His delicate, brilliant one into the bounteous reality of Heaven on Earth. Shed the orphan mindset that keeps you or your loved ones in spiritual poverty, misery, bondage, or rejection and get caught up in the swirl of deeper Father-daughter relationship with Abba Daddy God, who dispatches all of Heaven’s resources concerning you for major help and breakthrough from whatever your cocoon into a lavishly abundantly fragrant “destiny now” season. See how time truly has been on your side! Not one moment has been wasted!

Learn how all of these women:—Sue, Heidi, Beni, Winnie, Anne, Nina, and DeAnn—endured and discovered how to push through their painful labor for the birthing and rushing in of new things beyond belief. Your moment has arrived. Daddy is in the building! Say good-bye to Poverty Flats. Hear the voice of the Spirit of Adoption calling His darling beautiful daughter, “Arise! Come with Me child. Your time is now.”

The Happy Intercessor  by Beni Johnson (Bill Johnson's wife)

As we dive into the Father s heart we are overwhelmed by His presence, the fullness of joy. From this place we begin to see from His perspective. As we see and understand His world we are compelled to intercede.We are now praying and speaking with fresh insight.We see that we no longer have to pray from a place of defense. Instead we pray offensive prayers from His presence. When we speak our petitions and most important our declarations into the atmosphere, authority and breakthrough come. From the intimate place with our Father everything is birthed.


When Heaven Invades Earth by Bill Johnson

When Heaven Invades Earth is a powerful statement and testimony on the Kingdom of God. Theologically sound, well supported, and extremely well argued, this message provides a carefully constructed biblical foundation for the average Christian to live and walk in the miraculous, supernatural power of God. Not only is the supernatural possible, it is also our commission. The Great Commission that Christ gave to the Church challenges us and makes us responsible to rise up to this supreme supernatural calling. Johnson shows you how you are called to dominion in the earth through the divine rule of God.


These books are definitely worth checking out. They have surely stretched me and drawn me closer to the Lord.

But don't take my word for it :)

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Change in title

This past week I was thrown into something very unexpected. Every 90 days I need to leave the country to renew my visa. (I'm on a tourist visa and can stay in the country 3 months at a time, I need to cross the border for 72 hours and can come back for another 3 months). One of the other Vineyard churches was planning a missions trip to Nicaragua during Holy Week (Easter week), but the trip was cancelled at the last minute on monday. This put me into a scramble...What was I going to do? Where was I going to go? Who was I going to go with?!?!?!? I looked into flying home, but the cheapest ticket ANY WHERE in to the US was $700. Thanks, but no thanks! After much freaking out and even more prayer, I decided to take a road trip to Nicaragua with one of the ladies from our church, Elidey (most people just call her Elli)...And it just happened to happen ON my birthday! God definitely stretched me on this trip and I know He did it on my birthday on purpose. Everything was last minute and with complete trust that God had it all under control. Here are some of the lessons I learned on the trip:

I thought of changing the title of my blog to one of the following:
  • The Adventures of Peeing on a Moving Bus on the Road to Nicaragua
  • Travel Toilet Paper: Never Leave Home Without It
  • 3 Marraige Proposals at the Bus Stop: How to Choose a Nico Husband
  • Caution: Climbing Sand Dunes at High Noon May Cause Foot Burn
  • Following the Gringo Clock: Come Early, You Never Know When You'll be Told the Wrong Time (The "11:00" bus showed up at 9:00. Fortunately we were there at 8:53....)
  • Rocks, Shells, Sand, and Sticks of Nicaragua: Elli's New Collection
  • Man Cannot Live By Bread Alone, But if it's Nicaraguan Sweet Bread, Woman Can Live for a Day

Some of the verses that really spoke to me this trip were the following:

"I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses."
 ~Joshua 1:3.
(Elli and I spent time praying for every place we went,
carrying the Light of God with us) 

"19 I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh. 20 Then they will follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. They will be my people, and I will be their God."
~Ezekiel 11:19-20

21 Whether you turn to the right or to the left,
your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying,
“This is the way; walk in it.”
~Isaiah 30:21

 "Stop trusting in mere humans,
   who have but a breath in their nostrils.
   Why hold them in esteem?"
~Isaiah 2:22

Jeremiah 31:3

 3 The LORD appeared to us in the past,[a] saying:
   “I have loved you with an everlasting love;
   I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.

Jeremiah 6:16

 16 This is what the LORD says:
   “Stand at the crossroads and look;
   ask for the ancient paths,
ask where the good way is, and walk in it,
   and you will find rest for your souls.

Jeremiah 9:23-24 (New American Standard Bible)

23Thus says the LORD, "Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches;

 24but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things," declares the LORD.

Micah 6:8 (New American Standard Bible)    

8He has told you, O man, what is good;
         And what does the LORD require of you
         But to do
justice, to love kindness,
         And to walk humbly with your God?

Something I was reminded on during this trip is that God requires us to be like Him. That's our purpose. We are to be examples and models of who God is. It's what He requires...because it's what He delights in!! He requires us to be just like Him. And what is that? Loving, kind, just, righteous, and in relationship with Him. My favorite part of this trip was having opporutnities to demonstrate this concept to the people around me. I loved being able to pray with various people along the way, who ever happened to be in my path. To be able to share a word of encouragement, hope, and love was amazing...and to see God move in the lives of others was incredible! I am excited to see what God has in store for this next year....and to celebrate this birthday as a way of ushering in a new season of my life, too. More, Lord, more!!

Monday, April 11, 2011


2 Chronicles 20

Jehoshaphat Defeats Moab and Ammon
 1 After this, the Moabites and Ammonites with some of the Meunites came to wage war against Jehoshaphat.  2 Some people came and told Jehoshaphat, “A vast army is coming against you from Edom,[b] from the other side of the Dead Sea. It is already in Hazezon Tamar” (that is, En Gedi). 3 Alarmed, Jehoshaphat resolved to inquire of the LORD, and he proclaimed a fast for all Judah. 4 The people of Judah came together to seek help from the LORD; indeed, they came from every town in Judah to seek him.
 5 Then Jehoshaphat stood up in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem at the temple of the LORD in the front of the new courtyard 6 and said:
 “LORD, the God of our ancestors, are you not the God who is in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. Power and might are in your hand, and no one can withstand you. 7 Our God, did you not drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel and give it forever to the descendants of Abraham your friend? 8 They have lived in it and have built in it a sanctuary for your Name, saying, 9If calamity comes upon us, whether the sword of judgment, or plague or famine, we will stand in your presence before this temple that bears your Name and will cry out to you in our distress, and you will hear us and save us.’
 10 “But now here are men from Ammon, Moab and Mount Seir, whose territory you would not allow Israel to invade when they came from Egypt; so they turned away from them and did not destroy them. 11 See how they are repaying us by coming to drive us out of the possession you gave us as an inheritance. 12 Our God, will you not judge them? For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.”
  13 All the men of Judah, with their wives and children and little ones, stood there before the LORD.
14 Then the Spirit of the LORD came on Jahaziel son of Zechariah, the son of Benaiah, the son of Jeiel, the son of Mattaniah, a Levite and descendant of Asaph, as he stood in the assembly.
 15 He said: “Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the LORD says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s. 16 Tomorrow march down against them. They will be climbing up by the Pass of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the gorge in the Desert of Jeruel. 17 You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the LORD will give you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the LORD will be with you.’”
18 Jehoshaphat bowed down with his face to the ground, and all the people of Judah and Jerusalem fell down in worship before the LORD. 19 Then some Levites from the Kohathites and Korahites stood up and praised the LORD, the God of Israel, with a very loud voice.
20 Early in the morning they left for the Desert of Tekoa. As they set out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Listen to me, Judah and people of Jerusalem! Have faith in the LORD your God and you will be upheld; have faith in his prophets and you will be successful.” 21 After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the LORD and to praise him for the splendor of his[c] holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying:
 “Give thanks to the LORD,
   for his love endures forever.”
 22 As they began to sing and praise, the LORD set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated. 23 The Ammonites and Moabites rose up against the men from Mount Seir to destroy and annihilate them. After they finished slaughtering the men from Seir, they helped to destroy one another.
24 When the men of Judah came to the place that overlooks the desert and looked toward the vast army, they saw only dead bodies lying on the ground; no one had escaped. 25 So Jehoshaphat and his men went to carry off their plunder, and they found among them a great amount of equipment and clothing[d] and also articles of value (some translations says jewelry)—more than they could take away. There was so much plunder that it took three days to collect it. 26 On the fourth day they assembled in the Valley of Berakah, where they praised the LORD. This is why it is called the Valley of Berakah[e] to this day.
 27 Then, led by Jehoshaphat, all the men of Judah and Jerusalem returned joyfully to Jerusalem, for the LORD had given them cause to rejoice over their enemies. 28 They entered Jerusalem and went to the temple of the LORD with harps and lyres and trumpets.
 29 The fear of God came on all the surrounding kingdoms when they heard how the LORD had fought against the enemies of Israel. 30 And the kingdom of Jehoshaphat was at peace, for his God had given him rest on every side.

When we face trials in life and situations come that seem insurmountable, the best response is to seek the face of the LORD.
When we don't know what to do, the best response is to fix our eyes on God,
the God who hears and sees and answers.
And when He tells us not to fear, we should not fear!
When we fix our eyes on the LORD, have no fear, and WORSHIP God, the result is that God sets the ambushes so that by the time we the people of God get to the battle,
the war is over!
This is such an amazing story of a strategy of trusting God and letting praise and worship go before and win the fight.
The battle is not ours, but God's!!
WORSHIP is the most powerful weapon we can use against our enemy!!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Worship Conference: Fiel Hasta el Final

Last week Viña Este hosted a 4 day worship conference, Fiel Hasta el Final (Faithful Until the End). It was a conference packed with Spirit-filled worship, amazing speakers, and personal touches by God. Highlighted speakers/worship leaders included Tapón, Hans Wurst, Crossover, and Jeremy Riddle. What I'm sharing is right out of my notes. They may not be complete. They just are. They are more for pondering and questioning. For discussion. For research. For personal growth. Take them for what they are: incomplete notes that are like salt grains of truth that came from a much bigger shaker:
Are we afraid to surrender our whole lives to God because we're afraid He will send us to Africa? Or that He won't let us have our dreams and our passions? Yet who gave us those dreams and passions? Why would He deposit those in our lives if He didn't want to help us fulfill them? Not everyone is called to Africa. Or to a foreign country, even. Why do we belive that? The best fruit we can produce in our lives comes after we completely surrender all to God. Doors can be opened at the right time. For example, the story of Joseph. He had big dreams, but he had to completely surrender his life to God and accept the struggles along the way to see the accomplishment of those dreams. If he had given up any where along the way, or said the road was too hard, he would not have seen the fruit and the outcome. He knew and believed in the dream he had in his youth and held on to it throughout his life even though it wasn't fulfilled for many, many years.

If you want to produce something, it has to be something this is being sown into your life. The best written songs are about things that the song-writer has actually experienced. So by sowing specific things into your life, like worship, admiration of God, spending time with the Lord in His word and in prayer, etc., you will grow that kind of fruit in your life. From that experience and growth, it's only natural that genuine worship songs emerge. 

What are you here for and what are you about? What is your life for? Who's glory are you about? Are you about your own glory and finding your purpose in life? Or are you about giving glory to God and finding His purpose for your life? Are you about realizing your dreams and passions by realizing that He gave them to you and He wants to see them fulfilled in your life?

We should not be afraid of favor, or being successful at what we do, because it's for Jesus' glory. We were made to shine and to stand out FOR GOD's GLORY. We should be constantly giving that glory back to God. Favor in our lives is a way of bringing glory to God. If you are in a position to give glory to God and not keep it for yourself, it is so pleasing to God. We can do this by not being needy of other people's praise. Other people's praise can fill the holes in our lives of needing to feel needed or loved or special. But Jesus wants to do this for us. He wants to give us this affection because He loves us. He wants to fill our need for affection as we give Him affection back. When we have been called to do something, like worship, we should not be motivated by other people's praise OR criticism. Even when people question what we KNOW are called to do, we need to continue to do it. Know who you are in Christ and persist in that. It's for God's glory.

How to be faithful to the end:
Jeremiah 6:16
"Stand by the ways and see and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is and walk in it; And you will find rest for your souls."

You can't run for the goal is you don't know the path or the way. You will get lost or go in the wrong direction.

The role of faith in worship: A life of worship is a life of faith. If you want to test your faith, look at how you live your life. Do your actions reveal faith? What are the church's claims? What do we believe? We believe some crazy, massive things. We believe Jesus is the incarnate son of God. Our God is the one, true God, He is Holy, pure, He saves us, redeems us, He is a consuming fire, the first and the last, the creator of heaven and earth, He is rich in kindness, mercy, and grace. He heals. He can WALK on WATER!! He can RAISE the DEAD!! Do we actually believe these things?!? As the Church? Faith without action is dead. You know what you believe by how you act. Do we believe God really loves us with an everlasting love? What is our response to this?

We are not just minds. We are not just souls. We are not just hearts. We are not just bodies. They are intertwined. They are supposed to be. Have you ever noticed that when you look good, you feel good? After a hard day's work doing something dirty, like building a house or digging in the garden, it's amazing the change that can happen to our outlook on life after 1 shower. That is our heart and mind's connection to our body. What is in your heart will also physically manifest itself on your body. There once was a study that said people who experienced heart break actually feel the heart break as a physical pain.

So, do our church services and our lives reflect what we believe about God? Another example, kids and ice cream. When an adult says there's ice cream, they sure aren't looking around to see if anyone else is excited. They're EXCITED!! They don't care if anyone else is jumping up and down, they are jumping up and down! The same with football games. No one taught sports fans what to do to get excited. No one said, when they score a touch down, jump up and down and scream. It's a natural reaction! Case in point with concerts, too. You could go to a Coldplay concert. You may not like Coldplay (you may not even know who they are), but the fans there ARE GOING WILD...even before the concert starts. Just being in that environment will make even the most apathetic listener start to at least tap their foot. It may even make that person into a fan. These are examples of when we are so emotional, so un reserved, unabashed. And all of these are examples of worship--people attributing worth to something. God is being outcelebrated by meaningless, trivial things. He is to be celebrated at a much higher level. We need to wake up to the glory of God!! We've made raising our hands and prostrating ourselves into emotionalism and not as a valuable response to who God is. When we sing songs, like Chris Tomlin's "We stand and lift up our hands, for the joy of the Lord is our strength. We bow down, and worship Him now. How great, how awesome is He!" Do we occasionally actually lift our hands or bow down in worship, or are they just words we sing??

Love is so much deeper--it's a choice. A choice to honor no matter how we feel. It's really irrelevant how we feel. He is still worthy to be praised. It's like loving a spouse or a relative. There are probably times when you really don't feel like loving that other person. But if you always waited until you felt like loving that person, that wouldn't really be real love. You love inspite of feelings because you choose to. The world is watching and asking if we really believe what we say we believe. If we're asking people to give their whole life up, I hope it's evident as to why.

God waits to be sought after. The system is that He beckons to us--If you seek Me with all your heart, you will find Me. He waits for a thirsty, hungry people who will respond to Him. We're first. Draw near to Him and He will draw near back. We will experience Him in crazy, awesome ways. We experience as much as we desire to see. The people who long to see miracles will see them. The steadfast pray-ers see them. Those who never pray, never see. One person can change the culture of worship in a church. The extent to which we hunger and thirst and long for God is the extent to which we see God in our lives. Increase our appetite, Lord. Increase our vision to see You.

Jeremy Riddle and Josh LaFrance at Harvest Hands

Monday, April 4, 2011

Another post of words

This excerpt is taken from Cutting Edge, a Vineyard Church magazine, vol. 14, no 4. It's from an article titled "A Vineyard Approach to Blessing Muslims", by Craig Simonian. What he has to say, though, should be applied univerally:

"What we say, and especially what we write, is no longer a private matter. It's like a politician making a private comment while his microphone is accidentally left on. When on evangelical leader in the U.S. insulted Muhammed, a protest immediatly followed in Solapar, India. The protest turned into a deadly riot that killed eight people and injured 90.

A lifetime of blessing Muslims can be derailed by one offbeat comment jettisoned throughout the world via internet. You can try and clarify your comment, but the damage is already done. Words are powerful, which is why "a man of knowledge uses words with restraint" (Proverbs 17:27). Whatever you say, say it with the understanding that perhaps millions are listening."