Is It Performing or Worshipping

This is a subject close to my heart. I have personally been judged in this area with comments that slice through flesh wounding deeply. Wounds that took a long time to overcome and heal. Whether someone who sings, plays, dances, acts, teaches, hosts, preaches, organizes, or cleans for God or whether they have ulterior motives is something only that person and God truly knows. Obviously, there are situations where a person’s motives are transparent; however, many times it is not. If you are a singer and you want to truly sing for the Lord  –  you would imagine that person would sing a mix of everything they are asked to. It wouldn’t matter if it’s “high” or “low”, whether it’s “vocally ornate” or a “simple melody”… if you want to sing for God then you sing for God regardless of what you think you should or should not be singing and regardless of what you like or don’t like. If you play for God and that is your talent – then the same principle applies. You play the stuff you like and don’t like regardless and do it all with a good attitude. If you teach for the Lord – then you teach what God tells you to teach not what you think people need to hear or what pertains to your “current conflict” and you want to teach people a “spiritual lesson”.

At the end of the day my opinion is the only difference between performing or worshiping is the state of the heart. Both should be done in excellence, both should be done with 110% effort, both should be  practiced, both should be done to the absolute best of your ability. With that said… are you performing? Or are you worshiping? “So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God.” (I Corinthians 10:31).

Not sure which one you are? Ask yourself a few questions…

1. Am I looking for others to “pat me on the back” and give me compliments?
2. Am I only concerned with God’s opinion of me?
3. What is my priority in what I am doing?
4. What is my purpose in what I am doing?

These are only a few questions of what could and SHOULD be asked. It’s a fine line to be walked but one I believe is capable and probable to be walked. Trust me when I tell you I have gone through this transformation. I remember a time when I was singing in a praise band and I only wanted to sing the notes that were “powerful” and “showy”. I wanted to finish singing and hear people tell me how great I sounded or how “anointed” I was. Now? Sometimes I just prefer being in the congregation because I can reach a level of private worship I can never reach while on a stage. I am speaking of singing because this is a talent I use for God. This applies to playing instruments or teaching or any other skill/talent used for God. My private worship time for God is most of the time more powerful than any level of worship done from a stage whether for leading worship or done to be part of an event.

“And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men.” – Colossians 3:23

If you have no idea of this “private worship” I am talking about – it’s probably because you are not taking the time nor the opportunities to experience it. Probably. There are always exceptions. When you date someone you are always wanting “alone” time because it’s more intimate than hanging out with a group. The same applies with God – He wants “alone” time with us for intimacy – to get to know us and us get to know Him. You have to have this or nothing else works. Trust me – I have been there and often learned the hard ways. This is why I expose my personal feelings and trials with complete strangers… so you can learn the easy way if there is such a thing.

Challenge: I challenge you today to reevaluate what you do for God. It doesn’t matter if it’s position oriented or if you are just in a congregation. Do you lift your hands hoping for others to SEE YOU, do you lead worship because YOU WANT the notoriety of it, do you offer to help collect items for a food drive because YOU WANT others to see how selfless you are? If you are answering these “no” – good for you – if you are honestly answering these “yes” then it’s time for you to sit with Jesus and figure out your true purpose. It might be what you are doing just needs to be  reevaluated or it might be time for a change. At the end of the day, God is a gentleman, so it’s up to you.

“And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ” (Ephesians 4:11,12).

“Now there are varieties of gifts,” Paul said to the Corinthians, “but the same Spirit. And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. And there are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons” (1 Corinthians 12:4-6).

“Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.” (Romans 12:6-8)

4 Temptations Christian Leaders Face

I read this and thought – How Appropriate! It’s a thought I think every leader needs to ask themselves. What is your motive for doing what you do? Where do you fit in within these categories/questions? Adding to this article… I think the sign of a good leader is being able to learn from all ages. I am 28 years old; however, I have learned things from people who are 18 years old, and even 10 years old! A good leader never lets themselves think “they know it all”. The minute you stop listening to others  you forfeit your right to be a leader. (My personal opinion of course). This doesn’t mean every time someone voices an opinion you run with it – because you also have a mind of your own as a leader and there is a reason you were put into that position and not that other person… however… other people still have good ideas. One person’s idea might stir a new thought into your idea! KAPOW! Two heads were better than one 🙂

By: Michael Hyatt

  1. The temptation of priorities. Weak leaders put themselves last. They mistakenly think this is more spiritual. As I wrote in another post, it is a dangerous temptation that has left many leaders cynicaland burned out.But successful leaders face the opposite temptation. They put themselves first. In fact, some are outright narcissists, putting themselves at the center of their own universe. The correct position, I think, is second. Strong leaders put God first and themselves second. They know that they can’t meet the needs of others unless they attend to themselves.
  2. The temptation of entitlement. Weak leaders become convinced that they deserve something different. They lose any sense of delight or gratitude. They come to believe what others tell them: they are special and thus deserve preferential treatment.Successful leaders are alert to this temptation and war against it. It can sneak up when they least expect it. So they work hard to thank the people closest to them, knowing that their position is a privilege and likely temporary.
  3. The temptation of resentment. Weak leaders take offense at every slight. They are hyper-sensitive, reading into every situation more than is warranted. In the “movie” about them, there has to be drama.The reality is that offenses are inevitable. Jesus Himself said, “offenses must come” (Matthew 18:7). In fact, I would go so far as to say that God often sends offenses—for our good and for our sanctification. Strong leaders thus overlook offenses, knowing that this is the true mark of maturity and character (see Proverbs 19:11).
  4. The temptation of popularity. We live in a world that places a high value on fame and “personal branding.” We seem to have a list for everything, including the top 100 largest churches and the 100 fastest growing churches. It is difficult for me to imagine the early church—the church of the martyrs—compiling these kinds of lists.In reality, Jesus was a publicists’ nightmare. He eschewed fame. He miraculously healed people and then ordered them to keep it to themselves, telling no one about their experience (see, for example, Luke 5:12–14). Strong leaders are quick to give others the credit and avoid the limelight. They would rather be effective, even if they labor in obscurity.

The bottom line is this: Be careful what you pray for. Leadership is a burden—and a privilege. It is best held with an open hand. “The Lord giveth and Lord taketh away” (see Job 1:21).

Something’s About To Change

I can just feel it. Sort of like a season where you know summer turns to fall – and you know the leaves change colors from green to yellow, red and orange – but you don’t see this progression quite like that. It’s summer and then all of a sudden you look at the trees and you see the leaves have already turned colors. Change happen in the twinkling of an eye (or so it seemed…).

Yesterday, my husband and I had to put our dog to sleep. A 3.5 year old maltipoo named Cassanova. We showed up at the house, I said my goodbye and my husband left with him. 30 or so minutes later he returned and we gave Cassanova a proper burial. Yes, we buried our family pet with his favorite blanket, two purple toys in a box handmade and painted by my husband. It was not an easy decision by any means. Cassanova had been diagnosed with lymphoma on February 4th, 2011. He had beat the odds given by doctors of 4-6 weeks to live by living 21.5 weeks. God chose to bless us with almost 4 times the amount of what human people said we could expect. God shined through Cassanova who showed obedience to us no matter how much pain he was in or bad he felt. Do we? Do we show obedience no matter what our level of pain? God breathed life into Cassanova for weeks on end when he should have already passed away on his own. What am I telling you this for? Take your eyes off of your selfishness and look deeper for the pearl called Jesus Christ.

Shane and I had to make a decision to finally put Cassanova to sleep. I prayed for weeks upon weeks for God to take him in his sleep… to make it peaceful… When I started to see Cassanova suffer I argued with God – “How could you not take him? How can you let him suffer? Why would you do this? Why did you choose for us to go through this?” I quickly learned that I had to learn to be able to make that difficult decision. God doesn’t promise to do everything for us. He promises to provide us with the strength to do everything with us. I finally got to a place where my selfishness didn’t reign over Cassanova’s pain. My want for one more day with him was costing Cassanova more agony and pain than I could ever imagine. Sorry for the graphic nature of this – but his throat felt like a bag of marbles starting in the back of his neck and circling all the way around, they went up into his shoulders and down into his chest. Everytime he went to the restroom or barked or strained of any kind his rectum came out – after a short amount of time (sometimes as long as 2 hours) it went back but bled as a sign of what had just happen. I know you are sitting there, perhaps even judging me, saying to yourself, “how could she of not done something? how could she of let him live like that?” Until you have walked in my shoes – don’t judge me. Until you have walked in someone else’s shoes – don’t judge them. You have no idea what someone is feeling, what they are going through, what tragic event just happen in their lives that they are choosing not to tell you – but you judge them because you “think” you know everything about them. You “think” you know every detail about their situation and how they should handle things.  It’s not your situation so don’t give your two cents unless asked. Even then, be tactful. Truth does not have kill. If you choose to judge someone then GET READY TO BE JUDGED YOURSELF! The harder you point your finger at someone the harder you will have a finger pointed at you. Don’t get me wrong – I’m preaching to myself here to. I have judged others when I should not have because I “thought” I knew how to handle their situation. But I didn’t. I had no idea the emotional battle they were facing. I had no idea the physical dilemma they were facing. And I tried to make a judgement call on them? How could I?! I was wrong for it. And you are wrong for doing it too. God didn’t make us to tear each other down but to lift each other up. To love each other no matter what. May I remind you what love… REAL LOVE… is…

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  8 Love never fails.

In case you didn’t take the time read the scripture above allow me to list it for you:

Love is: patient, kind, doesn’t envy, doesn’t boast, isn’t proud, doesn’t dishonor others, isn’t self-seeking, isn’t easily angered, keeps no records of wrong, doesn’t delight in evil, rejoices in the truth, protects, trusts, hopes, perseveres and never fails.

That is a lot of responsibility. But if you choose to be a child of God it’s a responsibility you accept. Stop picking and choosing what you want to do when you want to do. Do what is right regardless of how your FLESH feels. Then! And only then! Will you see the change that is coming your way. When you learn the hard lessons, like I had to with making a decision to put my “son” down, and let God fill you with strength in your moments of weakness, Then! And only then! Will you see what God has waiting for you. And if you choose to not learn these lessons, and you choose to walk the other direction, and you choose not to do the list of what love is… then I guess you are telling God you don’t want those blessings.

I’m not perfect and I am the first to admit it. I owe some people apologies. This experience has shown me how hard it really is to make decisions especially when your emotions are involved; but I also learned it’s possible. God gave me the strength to do what I had to do – what was best for Cassanova. Making that decision hurt me more than I have ever hurt and I will be overly emotional for the next few weeks I’m sure – remembering all the good times we had and the morning rituals we had when I got up for work, or the nightly rituals he had with my husband… There is nothing wrong with taking time to grieve. Take your time! Deal with it now – instead of pushing it down and blowing like a steam engine later. Undealt with feelings of any kind are a sure way to hurt those you love and those who are the closest to you because it builds and builds and builds until you can’t take it anymore – then you BLOW.

Take your step of faith. Take your steps in love. Apologize to those who you have wronged… and move on.

Enemy of Our God

Is it possible for a christian to become the enemy of God?
By: An Anonymous Guest Blogger of “Feed My Sheep”

How does God view a believer who once walked with him and knew the power of the Holy Spirit but has now become so entangled in the world that he hardly ever picks up his bible to read it, rarely prays, and comes to church only if it “fits” into his schedule of things to do?  How does God look on it when a believer departs from the red- hot spiritual passion he once possessed and turn his devotion to other things?

James 4:4 says:  Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefor will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.

Wow!!! How many times do we read the bible and skip over verses like these.  God immediately convicted me.  How selfish I am!!! Oh yeah I get on my knees and pray in the morning!  I read a daily devotion but it still not enough for what God has called me to do.  He has called all of us to be something more then we even allow ourselves to be.  He says if we are dabbling in the world we are his enemy.  I don’t know about you but I really don’t want to be his enemy.  In Romans 8:31 says, “If God be for us, who can be against us?”  but by the same token if God takes a stand against us and our activities because our actions are wrong, our plans and pursuits will be frustrated and paralyzed.  Our plans can be family, ministry, finances, jobs, etc…  When the things of the world moves from our hands to our hearts that is violation that concerns God the most.  It felt like in my heart there are things that his people are dabbling in and the sad part is that the we think we are pleasing God because we gave god ten minutes this morning.  The lord is saying it is not enough!!! Your not filled up enough.  You cant preach, teach, see miracles, healings, lead worship, and so on with only getting a ten minute prayer when your driving down the road.  If your wife our husband needed you, you would wake up in the middle of the night drive across America just to be with him in his time of need but as children of God we will not wake up in the middle of the night to simply listen to his voice.  Let me ask you this, “What do you think about more than anything else in life?”  This will show you where your heart is. In prayer the lord spoke this to me to tell his people, “All of you have seen great mountain tops in my name, you have seen me move, I am the tree of life, I am the one who brings healing, but you put things before me.  You put things like your personal image and laziness.  Now is the time to arise and get serious about my  business.  You are running out of time!  I will return soon.   There is so many people left to be saved and you only worry about yourself”, saith the Lord.

Please don’t get mad at me for this!  I am just a messenger and when you hear the lords voice in the morning you have to be obedient.  I know this is not my character to send something “saith the lord”  but I know that gifts are about manifest again.  The gifts that we all prayed secretly for are about to be given to us.  I believe if we seek God first all the things that we worry about he will give to you.  Please, please don’t let life get you caught up with addictions (not just smoking, drinking, pills, etc)  but you can be addicted with, work, money, your body, gossip, approval of other people, depression, etc.  We all have our things in life that consumes us, but now is the time to let go of the control for the worldly things and and go full force on the things that matter.