Archive for May, 2010

Worship by iPhone

Unless you have been on the moon for the past year and a half or so, you have seen all kinds of marketing for the iPhone.  This revolution can do practically anything you can imagine because inevitably “There is an app for that.”

At the risk of doing a little iPhone bragging, I have been carrying one for just over a year and have been amazed at all it can do – with new apps hitting the market daily.  Oh, and by the way, it can be used to make calls too – amazing!

But I never would have thought this little device could be used for worship.

Check it out for yourself by clicking on this  YouTube video .

What can you do with your iPhone?

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The last couple of days, I have been thinking about clarity – clarity of thoughts, of direction, of calling.  I notice that the busier I get, the more convoluted my thinking can easily become.  I often have a tendency to be pulled into the urgent of the moment.  The constant battle is to keep my eyes on the goal.

I try to make it a practice to begin with the end in mind.  In other words, before I undertake anything, I try and visualize the outcome (at least in general terms).  By beginning with the end in mind, I find it easier to maintain direction and focus along the way.

As a leader, we must keep our focus.  1 Corinthians 14:8 says, “if the trumpet does not sound a clear call, who will get ready for battle?”  As the trumpeters, if we are not clear in our direction – in our own calling as followers of the Way – or if we fail to give a clear calling to those who follow us, then how will anyone be able to follow.

Spend some time today doing a little soul-searching and personal evaluation.  Where are you headed?  How does God figure into that picture?

What kind of a trail are you blazing and do those who follow you truly understand where you are leading?

Just food for thought.

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The Mundane Cross

In our church, we have  a huge cross that hangs over the baptistry behind the stage.  It has lights behind it to make it stand out.  It is a meaningful part of our auditorium.

However, yesterday, as we sat in the service, one of the lights behind the cross began to flicker.  All through the service the light would flicker on and off at random.  While this was somewhat distracting, I pondered on the cross yesterday afternoon.

That cross hangs there every day.  Every worship service we have in that room is done at the foot of that cross.  But because it is a permanent fixture, it blends in with the rest of the decor.  At Easter, we put a drape on it and it draws our attention to the cross.  But here we are, a little over a month past Easter, and already, the cross has become a mundane part of the service.  If it had not been for the blinking light, I dare say most of us would not have thought much about the cross yesterday.

Has the cross event already become a mundane fixture in our lives as well?  May it never be.  Take some time to remember Christ’s sacrifice today.

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Today is the National Day of Prayer.  People all across America are gathering to pray.  It is exciting to see the news of groups gathering to pray for their city officials or to lift up their schools.  It should be a reminder of just how great the nation is in which we live – an environment that still allows this kind of activity.

As I think about setting aside a day to pray, it stirs up a couple of thoughts in me.  One is that we allow ourselves to become so busy that it takes setting aside a day as a reminder to stop and pray.  I hope that today will remind us that every day should be a day of prayer.

The second thought is that while praying for God to move in our nation or to guide our leaders or to work through our schools are all worthy and needed prayers, maybe today we should include praying that God will change the world through me.  So often, even our prayer life reflects how we think the problems of the world have their source in something or someone other than ourselves, ie. “God, help them make better decisions.”  “Dear Lord, change their hearts.” “Holy Father, provide for the hungry.”  Maybe our prayers today (and every day) should be a little closer to home.

My prayer for you and for me today is this:  Holy and merciful Father, use me today to make a difference in a hurting world.  Burden me with a passion to see lives changed for you.  Strengthen me with your patience and power to stick with it long enough to see that change happen.

Bess someone today!

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Be a Blessing Today

This morning I was up early.  Today is the last day of the Drive Conference here in Atlanta – this afternoon I’ll be on a plane and back in Levelland by bed time.  As I laid in bed this morning praying before getting up, thinking about the day ahead and what I have experienced here at this conference, God impressed on me one simple thought.

You have heard me talk about my friend LaPinsky Phillips – he is my brother from another mother we like to say.  He lives right here in the Atlanta area.  Oddly enough, we haven’t run into each other while I’ve been here (it’s not like it’s a big city or anything).

At any rate, when LaPinsky is asked how he is doing, his common response is, “I be blessed.”  And then when we say goodbye he always says, “Be blessed.”  I have adopted that for many of my email correspondence and even the closing of the blog post many times.

But today, God impressed me with this simple thought:  Instead of being blessed, today, your focus should be “who can I bless today?”

So today, my prayer for you and me is this:

God, make us sensitive to ways and situations in which we can be a blessing to someone else today!

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I am here, and last night I had the blessing of sitting in an amazing worship service and hearing Andy Stanley speak on the impact that the reality of life can have on our dreams.  I am not talking about the dreams we have when we are sleeping, I am talking about the dreams we have when we are awake.  Maybe the things we used to have but don’t much take time for any more.

The reality of the world has a tendency to squash our dreams into something manageable.  When it comes to following God’s will for our lives, that is a tragedy!  Why is it that we have allowed our circumstances to affect our ability to dream – to imagine what God could do?

Have we forgotten that God created this world?  Or that Jesus was truly raised from the dead after three days?  If there truly are no limits for God, then why do we insist on trying to limit God’s ability to do mighty things through us?

Stop it!  Stop it today!  Stop it now!

Ephesians 3:20-21 says this:  “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”

God will surpass anything we can imagine if we do not place limits.  So take some time to dream today.  What does God want to do through you?

It can happen!

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This morning, the Pray-As-You-Go reading was out of John 14.  As I listened to the reading about Jesus being the Way to the Father, I was reminded of something.  The reading ended with verse 14 (take a look at John 14:13-14 here).  The question then asked  for meditation was this:  “Do I take seriously Jesus’ promise in these verses?”

Jesus made it clear that he would do whatever we  ask, when we ask it in his name but what does that mean?

Jesus used a phrase, “in my name” to clarify that our requests must be in line with his heart – in other words, we need to be asking in the frame of mind of the old question, “What would Jesus do?”  I think verse 13 helps us understand this idea a little better.  Jesus tells his followers that the purpose is for the Father to be glorified through the Son.

As long as God will receive glory, Jesus will do anything we ask of him.

Do you truly believe that whatever you ask of Jesus, he will do?

That is a promise I plan on meditating on all day!

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