Let’s meet up @ God’s house

This has been a difficult week at best.  There is so much to process.

Today, go to church. Go where God’s people are going to gather under His banner of love and truth, grace and mercy.  We don’t just worship and submit to Him in the best of times, we follow and trust and obey and worship, even in the worst of times.

Going to where God has called us to gather, is what God has invited and initiated among us. His church is His idea. It’s where we gather to worship Him, to grow in knowledge and understanding of Him, and to encourage one another because of Him.  Today, as much as ever, we need to worship Him, to grow in our knowledge and understanding, and we need to encourage one another. Don’t sit this one out.

It’s going to be a beautiful day here in Flagstaff. Cold, but beautiful. The 20″ of snow is sitting heavy on the branches and today promises clear skies.

Being with the church is where I want to be.  I’m getting ready to go.  Join me.

I Choose God

What will or better yet, what is your life marked by?

After the LORD retold Israel all He did for them, Joshua stands up and speaks up, without apology declaring for all to hear: “Choose you this day whom you will serve… but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

In my teaching yesterday, I emphasized that the group responded with a resounding YES! We too choose to serve the LORD.  Then Joshua challenged them to what that really meant.  Joshua 24:14-24

We don’t just serve the Lord from an emotional plea or from guilt or from a position of expertise in all that we can “do” for the Lord. We don’t serve the Lord just because He’s really nice and has done so much to better our lives.  No, it’s apparent from the text that Joshua and his family already considered the cost. He already knew that God is holy and jealous, (Ex 20:5, 34:14) and yes, faithful in our dealings.  I want my life to be marked as one who serves the LORD because He is worthy of it. (Rom 12:1-2)

Don’t allow your service to God to become idolatry in that it (the actual project or ‘to-do’ list) becomes more important than my heart for God, my worship toward God. Joshua 24:23

Ps 42:1-2 “As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.”

Organized Praise

At Grace we are currently in a series entitled, Psalms of Summer.  A few weeks ago I taught from Psalm 34. You can hear the sermon here if you’d like.

What I didn’t tell you that day was that this psalm is one of a few that is written in an acrostic.  Simply put, David went down the Hebrew alphabet as he penned each new verse. As you may know, the Bible was not written with chapter and verse markings, so he simply wrote this poem in acrostic style then later numbers were added to denote verses.

So here’s a quick thought for you today. What if you wrote out a prayer or praise to God using our alphabet? Write out a poem, speaking about God and why we praise Him. Or maybe make a list of things in your life that you give Him praise for. Perhaps write one word for each letter of the alphabet, each saying something about God. For instance, Awesome, Beautiful, Compassionate…

Go ahead. Give it a try. I bet it’s a worshipful experience you won’t soon forget.

What a great week

This has been a great week. It started with an almost record attendance at church as we witnessed three people getting baptized.  Each Sunday the worship has been amazing, our worship team is doing an excellent job.  You are a great church that loves to worship the Lord.  I love being a part of that!

I’ve had several meetings with new members of Grace.  The Grace 1.0 class was just a couple of weeks ago. We now have several new members. I just love getting to know these dear people that want to make Grace their home.

I finished teaching the class on “Telling the Gospel”. I absolutely love helping our church family in sharing the gospel.  The next class starts this coming Monday. Jason Alley will be teaching on Theology Proper.  Come to the Ministry Center at 6:30 this Monday.  You’ll be glad you did!

Then the following Sunday, which happens to be 10-10-10, I’ll finish up Habakkuk and right after church we have Grace@Noon – this is our way of saying we’re having a huge lunch. We have ordered food for the entire church. So, plan on sticking around after church on Sunday, Oct 10th and you’ll get a good meal and have the chance to meet a few people.

God bless you, as you also celebrate the week God has giving you!

I Get to Preach Sunday

I’ve enjoyed sitting in the congregation these past three Sundays. A big “thank you” to Paul, Doug, and Bob for their timely teachings. I’ll be speaking this Sunday and leading our church in remembering what the Lord has done for us through communion.

Couple of reminders that you’ve heard about: This Sunday is our only summer time Grace 1.0 membership class. If you’ve not yet joined the Grace family in who we are and what we’re doing, then this Sunday is for you. Please call the office today and reserve your spot. We meet right after church at the Ministry Center and provide materials and lunch. We can’t provide childcare so you’ll need to take care of that. Church number is 774-8091.
Also, next Thursday is our blood drive here at the Ministry Center. We’ve just about met our goal, but there’s probably room for you if you’d like to help our community by donating blood.

Can’t wait to worship with you this Sunday at Grace.

It is Well!

One of my recent favorite worship albums is AWAKE from North Point Live.  I love the classic song It is Well with a beautiful chorus added.  You can get it here. It’s worth the buck. Actually the whole album is good.

There are plenty of things to get us distracted and feeling overwhelmed, like pretty much everyday.  But the truth is, in the hands of our loving God, “it’s all good”. (That’s the new lingo for it is well.)

I don’t know how much you enjoy good music, but I’m an avid listener to a variety of music. Worship music does its job when I listen and am encouraged, or challenged, or simply in awe of God and His greatness.  I recently retweeted a great statement made by a worship leader, “gotta give props to God for creating MUSIC…He could have kept it for heaven, but He knew we needed a little teaser here on earth”.  Agreed!

We Need Him!

I remember when I was like 20, if I ever woke up in the middle of the night I thought, “cool, it’s 2 a.m., that means I have like 4 or 5 more hours to sleep”. Then I’d turn over and sleep soundly for another 4 or 5 hours.  It was like I got another night’s sleep.

I don’t know when that changed. But it changed.  Now, if I wake up at 2 a.m., I’m completely bummed.  Because I know there’s a good chance that’s it for the night. I’m going to lie there and watch the digits change on that clock sitting across the room.

This morning was one of those mornings. I have no idea why. I wasn’t anxious. I didn’t need the little boys’ room. I didn’t have coffee yesterday afternoon or evening.  I was just wide awake.

I got up and sat where I always sit.  Next to my Bible I had put my ipod, so I thought I’d find a soothing tune to read by, in an effort to calm myself and hopefully find a couple more hours of sleep.

I found Fernando Ortega and listened to several of his mellow tunes. He’s an awesome musician for your 2 a.m. needs.  Then came an old classic song that I just love, but we don’t really sing in today’s church.  “I need Thee, O I need Thee. Every hour I need Thee, O bless me now my Savior, I come to Thee.”  I grew up with the old King James, so I don’t mind the Thees and Thous.  Actually, I rather like the sound in this song.

You see, at 2:15 or so, I wasn’t especially worried, but I was awake and thinking.  As I heard this mellow tune, with that amazing voice…”every hour I need Thee”, I realized why I was up.  I think God wanted me to know that I NEED Him. Every hour.

I’m so blessed in my life. I have an amazing wife. I absolutely love our church family. God has graciously blessed me with wonderful people to work with at my office and throughout our ministry. It’s like God was saying to me in this moment…”please don’t forget this one very important thing…”

How are you doing today?  Busy? Overwhelmed? Enjoying His blessings?  Remember, along with me… “We Need Him…and yes, every hour.”

Unplugged was Awesome!

“What if we intentionally had a few more Unplugged services throughout the year?”

“It felt a little bit like Grace when we first started, but with more people!  It also makes me realize that we don’t need all of that “stuff” to have an incredible Sunday morning.”

“We had to sit close to other people! :)”

“There is no stopping the people of God who desire to gather together to praise and worship God.”

“I don’t usually turn around and look, but I did Sunday, Wow!”

Flagstaff saw 52″ of snow and major closures throughout the city for several days.  With no equipment we all spent Sunday morning together.  We’ve only done this a few times in our history.   It was an amazing time as 500 people squeezed together for a time of acoustic worship and preaching without a mic.  I loved it. Snow didn’t hold us back in our worship and service to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!   Thanks to the Grace family for being so flexible.  And remember…

Joshua 1:9

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Holy Anticipation

I’m in my office on a Saturday morning going over notes for tomorrow, cleaning up the place, and…oh yeah, listening to the Grace Worship Team rehearsing for tomorrow. As I’m listening to them, I’m thinking of tomorrow morning at Grace. I’m anticipating God’s blessings on His people as we come together FOR Him. I’m picturing hundreds of people lifting their voices and some even their hands as we worship God as His holy community. We are HIS. He’s our Abba, our God, our Saviour, our Life-giver, and our Friend.

Whether you attend Grace on Sunday or your church in your community, do you go with a sense of anticipation? Here are some thoughts to help you get ready for the holy gathering of the community:

  • Lord, what will you teach me about YOU?
  • Who will I see tomorrow that needs a fresh look at YOU, someone I can love and encourage?
  • What will I learn from your WORD?
  • How can you use ME to bless someone else in this holy community?
  • Who will be there tomorrow for the first time, seeking YOU?
  • Who will be there hanging on by a thread, needing more of YOU?
  • Lord, what can I give you?
  • Lord teach me your ways.
  • Lord show me your glory.
  • Lord, bless our holy gathering.
  • Lord, may I be rested and thoughtful as I approach this sacred moment.

I seriously can’t wait to gather with God’s people and our many guests to see what He’s got in store for us as we bring our offering of praise to Him. To the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! Amen.

Rom 16:27
to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Chris