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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.

I am Blessed

JourneyChurch.tv —  April 12, 2012 — 1 Comment

Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity. – Ephesians 5:15-16

Dear friends,

Words cannot even begin to describe all the emotions running through me right now! The only thing that comes to mind over and over again is – I am blessed!!!

I am blessed with a wonderful God! I am blessed with a wonderful wife! I am blessed with a wonderful family! I am blessed with wonderful friends! I am blessed with a wonderful church! You get the idea – I am blessed!

As I stepped off stage this weekend, I stood amazed at all that God did! When they told me our attendance was a little under 8,000 people all I could do was give God honor! To think about how much what started 10 years ago, with 36 people has, grown, was truly humbling! But even more impactful was the thought of all the stories that are being shaped forever by the grace of Christ. I am blessed! What God is doing through Loveworks is stellar! All He has done in less than a year with the afterschool initiative is nothing short of miraculous! Again, I am blessed!

Over the past weeks, months and decade we have made the most of the opportunities in front of us, and as we have done so, we have been blessed! Now I, and we, will embrace the next opportunity in front of us. On Thursday, April 12th at 7:00 AM I will undergo surgery to remove the most concerning tumor. While it is a major surgery, which always have risks attached, one thing I know is this – I am blessed! The procedure is scheduled to take anywhere from 2 to 6 hours, but obviously that can fluctuate. Because of the location within the brain where they will be working, the doctors plan for me to recover in ICU for a few days. The church will keep everyone updated at the JourneyChurch.tv Health Update Blog over the next few days.

Sunday we begin a new series called, “This is My Story.” It is a series you will not want to miss being a part of because of the work God will do in you! You have a great story to write, share and invite God to shape for your future!

On behalf of our family I want to say, “thank you.” We could not feel more loved or encouraged. We will make the most of the opportunities in front us because we are blessed!

Love you,
Clark


Remember to check the JourneyChurch.tv Health Update Blog for further updates.

The third dream I want to share with you is about a young man, Brian Andrews. I had been aware of Brian for several years, but never had the opportunity to get to know him. A couple of months ago I made the decision that it was time to invest in my physical body (we will talk more about that later!), but I’m pretty picky about where I work out. This is when I got to know Brian. I was researching Norman’s gyms and found BA Fitness. I dropped by to check things out and started working out the next day!

Brian’s story is filled with ups and downs, like we all experience. He had plenty of opportunities to give up on his dreams, but he kept trusting God! Recently, we were talking about his time serving our country in Iraq and he said it ended up being one of the best things that ever happened to him! God moved in his life throughout that time and energized Brian about not only pursuing his dreams, but also God’s dream for his life. And through that encounter, BA Fitness was birthed!

Within six months they were almost filled to capacity, so they have already had to expand! Not only does Brian trust God, he functions in excellence and honors his clients. A few weeks ago I was there working out and another client shared that she didn’t have time for extra cardio because of errands she needed to run for Christmas dinner. One of the employees took the list, headed to the store, and the client did her cardio! That is service!

I love seeing dreams come true and am proud of Brian, and the team, for trusting in a big, big God!

BAFitnessNorman.com 

Glee Spoof | We Belong

JourneyChurch.tv —  November 1, 2010

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So here we go! After much prayer, thought, reflection, fasting, and research I have concluded that in November 2010 I endorse….

The Church!!!

Yes, I am a political junkie! But more than a political junkie, I am passionate about the Bride of Christ living into her potential and truly making a marked difference in our world!

I am not talking about the church endorsing candidates, or getting behind certain issues. I am not talking about the church saying, “Yes” or “No” to someone else’s ideas. I am not talking about the church-bashing people for thinking differently than they do.

I am talking about the Bride of Christ, the Body of Christ, the House of God, the Church rising up to a new level of leadership! I am talking about the church praying for God to give us the most innovative, intuitive ideas and us implementing them! I am talking about the church getting off her seat, rolling up her sleeves, and getting to work!

I love how Henderson Hills Baptist Church is reaching those in need through their Ministries of Jesus. They provide free dental and medical care! They provide recovery counseling! They provide transformational counseling! They provide a fitness center!

I love how Christ Fellowship in Florida has an orphanage! I love how they have a ministry to help develop leaders in the marketplace! I love how they have a healthcare ministry!

I love how Gateway Church in the DFW area gives away cars to those in need! I love how they have helped single moms go back to college! I love how they dream of building an apartment complex for single moms! Providing them an affordable place to live, giving them a community for their kids, and helping support them as they get formal education!

I love how you, Journey Church, are moving into your call to see a city transformed! I love that you are tutoring kids in our public school systems! I love how you are about to launch an after school initiative for Jr. High students! I love how you are trusting God to provide the funds to build a hospital in Haiti! I love how you are continually becoming the church!

Those are just a few examples of what I love! But, there is so much more to be done! In November, as citizens of the greatest nation on earth, each one of us needs to go vote! We do need to pray, research, fast, etc. about the candidate we are going to elect, but more importantly we need to continue to do all we can to help the church become all she can be in transforming our communities, states, nation, and world!

I endorse the church! Her best years are yet to come!

When Controversy Hits

JourneyChurch.tv —  September 27, 2010 — Leave a comment

About 4 months ago I received an email sharing with me about a proposed proclamation coming before the City Council of Norman. Being the competitive person I am, and seeing things in a prophetic nature, I immediately blew up! Beyond, blowing up, I allowed my passion to consume me, and responded inappropriately.

After calming down I sought the counsel of my mentors, and went to meet with our Mayor to try to gain understanding on the issue. I took time to listen, and I took time to share with her my opinion on the issue.

This past Thursday I began to receive calls again, on this particular issue, with people asking me, “What are you going to do?” I think that is a great question!

How I handle controversial issues within our city:

First, I try to understand. It says in Proverbs 2 to seek understanding. I think, many times, Christians respond before understanding. For us to be a light we have to take time to hear and listen.

Second, I meet with the Mayor, and our counsel, to express my opinion on the matter. In doing so, I LISTEN first! I do not want to presume anything!

Third, I seek the counsel of mentors, and church leaders, on how to respond to the issue. I am simply not wise enough to go at things on my own.

Fourth, I remember my core values of Honoring God, building healthy relationships, and having a blast! When there is an issue I think I need to address I need to do so in a way that builds on the core values. If I express my opinion in a way that is unhealthy to relationships I miss my purpose.

What does this mean for you?

  1. Be aware of what is going on in your community! In the City of Norman, you can go online to read the City Council Agenda to see what they are voting on. I encourage you to do so on a consistent basis!
  2. Seek understanding and clarity on the issues.
  3. Share your opinions with you Council members!
  4. Honor God, build healthy relationships, and have a blast!

One of the surprising things to me is how unintentional people are about the talent that God has given them. My observation is that undeveloped talent is one of the greatest lids placed on people lives today. So, with that being said, here is the question:

What are you intentionally doing to develop the talent that God has given you?

Here are a few suggestions:

  • Take a Strength Finders Test
  • Hire a Personal Coach (I know you can’t afford one! I can see why you wouldn’t want to sacrifice your cable or cell phone to invest in your future. Reality, you can’t afford not to get coaching from somewhere!!!)
  • Go to a conference
  • Do a Biblical Study on the topic that ties to your talent
  • Get a mentor
  • Read a book a month
  • Memorize scriptures that encourage you
  • Quit having a pity party over how you have seen your best days and didn’t steward them well
  • Embrace God’s grace
  • Live life with excellence
  • Change your habits! Stop doing some things that are holding you back!
  • Evaluate everything!

I could go on forever on this one! God has something great in store for you! Go discover it! Let me know how you intentionally invest in your talent.