Archive | August 2010

More Cowbell…

I got a fever…and the only prescription is more cowbell!

The SNL “More Cowbell” sketch is arguably one of Christopher Walken and Will Ferrell’s best comedic moments. If you haven’t seen the skit I have attached a link here —-> http://www.morecowbelloriginal.com/

As I was reflecting, better yet, meditating on the “more cowbell” message, I came across a few ideas that we can learn from. I thought I would share them here.

“I NEED MORE COWBELL”

Life is loud. Often times too loud. Too many times we buy into the idea that we need more when really we need less. We have created a culture in which we look for the next best thing to add to the noise of our life. We have become some noise driven that some people can’t even sleep without noise. We keep turning up the “cowbell” in our lives hoping it will make sense. The truth is…it doesn’t. Cowbell works but only ever so often…otherwise it becomes an annoyance…it wears you down and wears you out.

“EXPLORE THE SPACE”

This is such a great line…explore the space. As if moving the “cowbell” in the “space” will generate a better result. Too often in our lives, marriages, relationships, ministries we try to rearrange the noise…move it to a different night or say it a different way. Noise is noise. We need to recognize what the noise (annoyance) is and eliminate it – not just move it around.

“WE DON’T HAVE ANY SONGS THAT FEATURE THE COWBELL”

There is a reason why. Now I enjoy a little cowbell here and there…key word “little”, but we get carried away and try to make something that is not the main thing….well…the main thing. Cowbells aren’t featured because there isn’t anything to feature…it doesn’t really require a skill…just a little rhythm. Keep the main thing the main thing…don’t feature things that don’t deserve a feature.

…now back to making gold records…

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True Worship

“To worship is to quicken the conscience by the holiness of God,
to feed the mind with the truth of God,
to purge the imagination with the beauty of God,
to open the heart to the love of God,
to devote the will to the purpose of God.”
– Archbishop William Temple

Worship is more than music—it is life. Worship is an attitude of the heart. It flows from intimacy with the Father. It is demonstrated more in who we are than in what we do.  Too often we try so hard to do worship rather than allowing our lives to be worship.  One of the most challenging scriptures to me is Romans 12:1, which states: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living (breathing) sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable (logical) service (worship of God)” (NKJV, amplification mine). In essence, the apostle Paul is instructing the Romans that the life they are living should be lived sacrificially as logical worship unto God!  This is true worship.
Jesus had much to say about true worship and whether or not people were true worshippers. He declared to a Samaritan woman at a well: “But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:23-24 NKJV). In a conversation with a woman who did not know what she worshipped (vs. 22), Jesus reveals two requirements for true worship: (1) you must worship in spirit; (2) you must worship in truth.  The fact that Jesus calls it true worship implies there is a form of worship that is not worship at all.
How do we ensure that we exemplify the worshippers God seeks?  The answer lies within the two requirements Jesus established. Those who worship Him must worship in spirit!  Notice the intensity of this statement.  It is obviously not a suggestion but a command for true worship.  The word spirit is the Greek word pneuma. It has many definitions, including the third person of the Trinity, or the Holy Spirit. In this text we know that it is not referring to the Holy Spirit, since the Holy Spirit is a proper noun and the word spirit here is not capitalized.
Instead, the word speaks of the vital principle by which the body is animated, or the breath that makes man live. We learn from the Word, “And the lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul (speaking spirit)” (Genesis 2:7 KJV, amplification mine). There are two things that separate us from the rest of creation: we were created in God’s image, and we were given the breath of life.
It is that breath of life, which made us speaking spirits; no other form of creation carries a spirit.  God has entrusted us with this life—this very breath—and we have a duty to return every breath, the essence of who we are, back to Him. This is true worship.  If we truly grasp this, everything that we are and everything that we do then becomes worship unto the Lord.  “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him” (Colossians 3:17 NKJV, emphasis mine).
Those who worship Him must also worship in truth—the second of the two requirements for true worship. It has equal importance to the first. There is no indication that one is more essential than the other, but both work together to create true worship. The word truth is the Greek word aletheia. Simply speaking, it means nothing hidden or concealed. It holds the idea of living a transparent life grounded in integrity producing prosperity.
Think about the fact that Jesus spoke of truth or transparency as true worship.  Secrets spoil sacrifice! David the psalmist said, “If I had not confessed the sin in my heart, my Lord would not have listened” (Psalm 66:18 NLT). To not confess known sin is to conceal it, and David said if I conceal my sin God will not hear my cry. Why? Because God is looking for true worshippers, those who worship in spirit and in truth.
Solomon, the wisest man to ever live, declared, “He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy” (Proverbs 28:13 NKJV). Covered sin equals poverty, and confessed sin equals mercy.
David, whom God declared “a man after His own heart” (see Acts 13:22), prayed, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23-24 NKJV). This is a prayer that we all should form a habit of praying. Worship coming from a heart that conceals wickedness is worthless. True worship is transparent.
Take a moment and ask yourself, What kind of worshipper have I become? God is seeking those who worship in spirit and in truth. So become that kind of a worshipper! Live your life as worship, and allow God access to every area. Be one who worships God wholly abandoned—in spirit and in truth—and watch what He will do with your life.

Faith Works

“Faith can rewrite your story, any day, any time.”
Bishop David Oyedepo
Faith works!  Faith is not concerned with your current situation, it is not intimidated by the circumstances that surround you, nor is it profiling you to determine your worthiness of its working.
Faith works…if you work it.  Faith is the great equalizer of life; it levels the playing field for everyone willing to engage it.  “Without faith it is impossible to please God,” (Hebrews 11:6 NIV) but with faith anything is possible (Mark 9:23).
Before we go any further it is important to get a biblical understanding of the depth of the word faith. Faith is not simply believing or confessing something.  It is not just a mental idea that one holds.  In the Greek, faith has a threefold definition, each aspect incomplete without the working of the others.  It is defined as:
1. A firm conviction, producing a full acknowledgement of God’s revelation. (Belief)
2. A personal surrender to Him based on that revelation. (Trust)
3. A conduct inspired by such surrender. (Obedience)
Faith must be employed in your life in order to receive the desired result.  You must put your faith to work.  When faith is at work nothing is impossible for you.  The contrary is also true, without faith, many things, if not all things become impossible.  God has called us to live a life of great exploits (Matthew 5:16), to demonstrate His power here on earth but it only works by faith.  The Apostle James has much to say about the working of your faith.  In writing to the twelve tribes he declared, “What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works?  Can faith save him?  If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,’ but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit?  Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.  But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.  You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble!  But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?  Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar?  Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect?” (James 2:14-22 emphasis mine).
Do you see that?  Faith without corresponding actions is not faith at all.  If I say I believe but do not demonstrate that belief by putting it to work through absolute obedience then my belief is dead.  How then does faith work?  True faith is at work when we choose radical and raw obedience to the Word of God regardless of the cost.  Abraham’s faith was made perfect (complete) by his works.  His works were a demonstration of his faith.  His works were an absolute and instant act of obedience to the Word of God.  Notice Abraham did not spend hours in prayer pleading for more faith, nor did he walk around just merely confessing his faith…he simply obeyed.  It was his obedience (his works) that made his faith perfect (complete).  Let us work our faith until the desired result is made complete.
Let’s examine a few accounts from the Bible in which faith was worked to produce a supernatural result. I think these accounts are so powerful because they demonstrate that the power of faith works even for those who are not experts in the realm of spirituality.  You do not have to be a preacher or an expert in Hebrew and Greek text to work your faith.  Faith works…if you work it.
First let’s look at the Roman Centurion, his story is found in the Gospel of Matthew; “Now when Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, pleading with Him, saying, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, dreadfully tormented.” And Jesus said to him, “I will come and heal him.” The centurion answered and said, “Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof. But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed. For I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” When Jesus heard it, He marveled, and said to those who followed, “Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel…Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go your way; and as you have believed, so let it be done for you.” And his servant was healed that same hour.”  (Matthew 8:5-13 emphasis mine)  The centurion’s faith was so great that it caused Jesus to marvel and declare that among the religious experts He had never seen such great faith.  His servant was healed that same hour because of his belief (faith).  Do you see how his understanding of obedience was in direct correlation to the level of his faith?  The Centurion’s understanding of authority and obedience is what Jesus marveled at and Jesus called that great faith!  When you get understanding of God’s Word and the authority that lies within your faith will begin to work greatly in your life!
Let’s also look at the Gentile woman, her story is also found in the Gospel of Matthew; “Then Jesus went out from there and departed to the region of Tyre and Sidon.  And behold, a woman of Canaan came from that region and cried out to Him, saying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! My daughter is severely demon-possessed.”  But He answered her not a word.  And His disciples came and urged Him, saying, “Send her away, for she cries out after us.”  But He answered and said, “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”  Then she came and worshiped Him, saying, “Lord, help me!”  But He answered and said, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs.”  And she said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.”  Then Jesus answered and said to her, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour.” (Matthew 15:21-28 emphasis mine)  It is amazing to me that this woman from Canaan was not even a woman of the covenant (Israelite) and yet she got the attention of Jesus by her faith.  Again note, she had an understanding that was expressed by faith to produce a supernatural result.  Had she not had the understanding, the moment Jesus referenced her and her people as “dogs” she would have given up, but because of her understanding she responded in faith and that caught Jesus’ attention.  The manifestation of her hope was released by her faith and understanding.  Her great faith released her desire. May your great faith release all you desire!
Faith works…so work your faith!  Do not let anything stand in the way of what God has ordained for you…work your faith and watch it produce all that you desire.  All the faith you need is found in God’s Word…in the revelation and understanding of Jesus (The Word).  “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith…” (Hebrews 12:1-2a)