The Fear of Worship

I have always believed that we worship what we fear. In other words, where we place our thoughts, our focus, and our reverence is ultimately what we are worshipping. Period. So we have to be intentional about setting our mind on the things of God, and responding with a Godly response.

In Acts 9, when Saul had what could have been one of his most uncertain moments in life, he led with worship.

On April 12, 2012, we arrived at the hospital at 5:30 AM to check in for what was one of the most uncertain days in my life, my family’s life, and the life of everyone we touched. I was scheduled for an all-day surgery–a craniotomy. They would be going in at the base of my skull, drilling up to the top of the head, drilling back down through the center of the brain, attempting to reach a tumor on the central nervous system.

What did we know? We knew that I might not wake up ever again, that I might be incapacitated the rest of my life, many other options, but for sure I would have to relearn the motor skills of walking, etc.

I remember going to bed the night before thinking, “No matter how scared I am in the morning, I choose worship!!”

We got to the hospital and checked in, and then, people began showing up. I continued to stay in a good frame of mind and acting like I was having a little knee replacement surgery or something.

When the staff came to get me and told me to say my “goodbyes” I have to admit I got a little closer to giving up on an “attitude of worship.” I’ll never forget the long ride down the hall, with Robin holding my hand saying, “I love you” and not knowing if that would be the last. (I still weep when I think and write about it).

After I had to let Robin go, they wheeled me into the surgery room, and I remember choosing to intentionally shift my mind back to worship. I was more “awake” than I think I was supposed to be, so I greeted each person in the room, asked how their day was so far, told them this was going to be a great surgery, and that I personally want to thank each of them for their service.

Did I get to everyone? I have no idea, but I tried.

When Saul faced scary days he chose to worship. When I face scary days I do my best to worship!

Question: What scary, uncertain situation in your life do you need to choose to say, “Yes, Lord” and give over to worship?

I promise, it’s the greatest decision that you will ever make in your entire life. That one decision will release the supernatural ability of God in your life!!!

And, by the way, I woke up, learned to walk again, ride a bike again, and have never been more satisfied. They were unable to get a good reading on the tumor, so we still don’t know how scary it actually it is, but we choose to keep going everyday with a life of worship!

The “What Just Happened?” of Worship

In Acts 9, when Saul has his encounter with God, it is a dramatic, Game-of-Thrones sight to say the least! There is a bright light, dust in the road, a leader fallen to the ground, an invisible voice, and a whole lot of guys standing there asking, “What just happened?”

Fair question.

Saul’s response to the invisible voice, was a response of worship, “Yes, Lord.” It was right then and there that he acknowledged the Lordship of a mighty God. His doing so had a profound effect on his helpers. If it hadn’t, they would have all ran away.

When God allows tricky things to happen in our lives, it is easy to say, “God, what just happened?” However, we have to know that in that moment, everyone, and I mean everyone, is watching. It’s an opportunity for us to show worship in the midst of seemingly challenging times. When we do so, people will take notice!!!

Question: What situation do you need to be careful to worship in, so that it can effect those around you?

The “but God…” Of Worship

We always love the idea of worship when it includes euphoric pleasures for our own five senses. The peace, the joy, the hope, the satisfaction of loving on God, and the list goes on. But when our call to worship puts our safety, pleasure, or lives at risk, we quickly say, “but God…” As if God is missing something that we see, and he doesn’t.

While Saul is on the road to Damascus, God begins to deal with the heart of a “true worshipper” named Ananias. Ananias was a God fearing man, a worshipper, a great believer, a great example of what it meant to be a Godly man, but Ananias freaked out when his call to worship, was a call to a dangerous place.

God was calling Ananias to go worship with Saul. The plan was that in that moment, God’s presence would be so good, that it would restore Saul’s eyesight!! God was going to use Ananias for a supernatural miracle, yet he was still saying, “but God…”

I wonder how many miracles are missed on planet Earth because of our reluctance to worship in the dangerous places? How many times have we disqualified the call to worship because it was to go somewhere that didn’t make sense, with someone who wasn’t “ready, or qualified, or…(the list goes on).”

The bottom line is that God has put us in gross, dark, lost, hopeless places…not as a punishment to our lives, but as a call on our lives. He gives us a call to take our worship there. He gives us a call to take His presence there. He gives us a call to take His power, His love, His mercy there, but we usually miss it with a, “but God.…”

Worship itself is a privilege. How much greater of a privilege is it to take His presence to the hopeless, the poor, and the hurting?

He not only gives us a call, he gives us the opportunity of a lifetime to be a part of something that will change all of eternity and the course of history on earth itself.

Question: Where is God calling you to take your worship to that you are being reluctant?  What area in your life do you need to drop the “but God….”

The Weirdness of Worship

One of the stories that shaped our ministry is the conversion of Apostle Paul. It was his encounter with God that shaped our name, much of our philosophy, and the reason we do MCKBD.

Saul, later known as Paul, was on a road to persecute and prosecute believers when he had an encounter with God in the middle of a road!!! He fell to the ground, and cried out, “Yes, Lord,” and that was his first act of worship.

We as believers have sometimes convinced ourselves that “worship” is the sanctuary, with the band, the worship leaders, the anointed, the produced, the video elements, the graphic treatments, and the list goes on. I believe that in many ways some of us, me at times, have missed “the weirdness of worship.”

Saul didn’t begin to worship in an “experience,” an outreach, a seeker-sensitive service, or a night of worship. He began his life of worship in the middle of a dirt road, while being met by a loving God, that blinded him in response to his worship.

Why do we do “My Church is Kind of a Big Deal”? (Which by the way was Willie George’s brilliancy, not mine) We do it to provide a “dirt road” opportunity for folks that might not be ready for a full worship experience yet! The don’t understand it, desire it, or even contemplate it, but they will come to a huge food festival in a heartbeat! They will come to a fire works show! They will come play games with their kids! They will come to “have a blast,” and in doing so, they are beginning to “Honor God, and build healthy relationships.…”

For some, worship is simply driving into the parking lot. That willingness is them saying, “Yes, Lord!” and is the beginning of the life of worship. Does it start weird? You bet ya! And the Bible is full of weird worship experiences! We’ll talk about one this week.

This past week, in the lobby, a couple was visibly waiting for me to free up to tell me something. They proceeded to thank me. I asked them, “…for what?” They went on to say that when they came to church they were atheists but were willing to give it a try because we were doing something “weird.” So, they came, hung out, started building relationships, and began having a blast. You guessed it…after a few months, they surrendered their lives to Christ! They led themselves to Christ by simply beginning to “Honor God, build healthy relationships, and having a blast”.

Two questions:

  • What can you go do that is “fun” but is actually worship? It could be taking your wife to play miniature golf and having a great date night.  That is worship!!
  • Who are you bringing to MKCBD? And I am not talking about one person. I am talking about many. I promise you that if you will make the effort, invite them, have fun with them, and not pressure them, they will have a blast! And I promise you that approach over time will lead them to give their lives to Christ!!

Worship can be weird! Honor God, build healthy relationships, and choose to have a blast!

Reimagine – 21 Days of Worship

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:1-2

For me, worship started at an early age. It was around the age of fifteen that I really started liking the idea of being a worshipperwhatever that really meant. I would read this passage over and over again trying to figure out what it meant, what it looked like, how to apply it, how to please God, how to hit the target of “His good, pleasing, and perfect will”, and how to feel like I was winning in worship.

What did I find? Many things.

The first and most important thing I found is that worship looks different for every individual. While there are common elements, there are also many uncommon patterns.

God created you to be you!! So what does it mean for you to “sacrifice”? That word takes on a different application for every person, believer, family, church, etc.I can’t define sacrifice for you. If I did, I would really just be judging you and trying to fit you into my box and not the will of God.

So, what is “sacrifice in worship” to you? I encourage you to make a list or a journal and begin defining your worship life personally.

I know this…God is thrilled that you are taking the time to think about it, to pray about it, and to pursue it!!! As you take a step towards God, it is met with a smile on the face of your Father, open arms, a loving heart, and an aggressive embrace of encouragement.

Happy New Year, JourneyChurch!

I pray you are enjoying time with friends and family. It was amazing to celebrate the fruit of 2014 with you all and I am so excited about the miraculous things God has in store for 2015!

We look forward to seeing you on Sunday, January 4th for our new study, Dwell and to begin a Psalm 84 challenge as a church family.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0DbpLa-29fI&feature=youtu.be

I can’t wait to see you, your friends & family at Christmas Spectacular this weekend!

Click here to see a Christmas Spectacular invitation video

Friday, December 12th at 6:00 and 7:30 PM
Saturday, December 13th at 6:00 and 7:30 PM
Sunday, December 14th at 8:30, 10:00, 11:30 AM and 6:00 and 7:30 PM

Church Family,

I hope you’re staying warm and having a great week! With the snow and ice on Sunday I want to share with you here about some big, exciting things coming up for anyone who may have missed last weekend. Our Dream Offering and One Life, 12-month commitments take place this Sunday, November 23rd. God’s favor and opportunities are upon us and we are ready to run!

Throughout our One Life study, we’ve learned about the abundant life we experience when we live in sync with Christ. As a church, our dream is to equip, encourage and empower you to live into your God-given potential and dreams. With that, we asked you to be devoted to the following Biblical commitments, which support you on your journey.

  1. Biblical Devotion
  2. Biblical Health
  3. Biblical Community
  4. Biblical Generosity (Time – Talent – Treasure)
  5. Biblical Influence

In addition to the Biblical commitments, we asked you to seek God about making 12-month generous, financial commitments. These commitments are above your normal tithe, to fund projects that will reach the next generation and further the Kingdom. To begin these One Life commitments, we invite you to give a portion of your commitment to our annual Dream Offering.

Each year we spend time praying and asking God to reveal ministry opportunities that will help transform cities. 100% of the Dream Offering will go toward funding these opportunities. It is important for our church to partner with others who are actively involved in transforming cities so that we continue living out our mission as a church. The projects and ministries that we are supporting this year are: JourneyChurch Intern Program, Loveworks Leadership, Inc., The Gallery at The Loveworks Center, JourneyKIDS Mobile, Church Planting, Norman Campus Auditorium, Future Norman Campus Master Planning, Journey Park, Transitional Homes, and Vision Contingency. Each of these projects results in life-change and that is our ultimate priority.

Please remember, One Life and Dream Offering are not taking the place of your normal tithe. Your gifts are Spirit-led, abundant amounts above your tithe. We simply ask that you hear God and respond to the commitment He is asking you to make this Sunday.

We are a generous church of committed and Spiritual people who want to see our cities transformed one life at a time. Be encouraged to seek God throughout the remainder of this week, asking Him to impress the Biblical commitments upon your family and stir your heart for the needs in our community. Then, come on Sunday prepared to respond with commitments to One Life and Dream Offering. The wake of change we are creating in our communities will last for generations to come. Join me in these opportunities to make the most of our one life.

Blessings,

Pastor Clark

 

Journey Family,

I wanted to share a brief update with you as we jump into fall! Hope you’re having a great week!

Clark


Dear Journey Family,

Robin and I wanted to take a moment to thank you for your prayers, encouragement, and commitment to what God is doing in and through our church family!

Part of the adventure over the past several years has been my personal physical health. Due to the issues I deal with, my body will go through episodes where it presents stroke-like symptoms and then go back to normal. This past Sunday, as I was teaching, my body decided to have an episode, which affected my ability to speak clearly and have good physical coordination on the stage. While I was aware of my struggle, I was not aware of its extent until many hours later. Due to that, we pushed on through the day and saw God do many miraculous things! All glory to Him!

If I knew then, what I now know, I would not have tried to continue teaching throughout the morning. In the absence of that knowledge, I chose to push on and see what God was doing.

At the end of the day, we know that for some reason, every once in a while, something will trigger one of these episodes. While they appear as stroke-like symptoms, there is never any permanent damage visible on any scans or tests. I had scans completed this week and while we are still waiting for the final results, the preliminary results continue to indicate what I communicated above. Our course of action is to continue seeking our doctors input, both locally and through Mayo Clinic, to see if we can figure out the trigger point or a pattern of any sort.

I’m feeling great now, and things seem back to normal. We were already planning on having Adam Barnett teach this Labor Day weekend, so we will stick with that plan and try to give my body a physical break. I will be teaching next weekend, September 7, as we kick off Four Cups, a study on God’s promises in holy communion that will change our lives forever!

We love you, we appreciate you and we are so proud of you! Together, we are seeing cities transformed one life at a time!

Blessings,

Pastor Clark