August 27th, 2009
(Portions adapted from a evotional by Mark Batterson of National Community Church)
Your Focus Determines Your Reality
Vicki Medvec, a professor at Northwestern University studied Olympic medalists and she discovered that Bronze medalists were happier than Silver medalists. Silver medalists tended to focus on how close they came to winning gold so they weren’t satisfied with silver. Bronze medalists tended to focus on how close they came to not winning a medal at all so they were just happy to be on the medal stand. “The mind is its own place, and in itself, can make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven.” John Milton
· We all can find something good to focus on even in the worst of circumstances.
· We all can find something bad to focus on even in the best of circumstances.
We tend to see what we’re looking for. / What does that have to do with worship?
There are two basic types of people in the world: complainers and worshipers.
· Complainers can always find something to complain about.
· Worshipers can always find something to praise God about.
A worshiper makes a pre-decision to look for something to praise God about even in the direst of circumstances.
In Acts 16, Paul and Silas are in a prison cell in Philippi because Paul casts a demon out of a fortune-teller. Her master doesn’t like it because she loses the ability to predict the future so he has Paul and Silas arrested. They were severely beaten, and then they were thrown into prison. (Acts 16:22-24)
The jailer was ordered to make sure they didn’t escape. So he took no chances but put them into the inner dungeon and clamped their feet in the stocks. It just doesn’t get much worse than that.
Acts 16:25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. (NIV)
Spiritual or emotional slumps are usually caused by zooming in on a problem. Fixating on something that is wrong. Focusing on the wrong thing. Zooming out to get some perspective is often the attitude changer. What’s the best way to zoom out? Worship.
Worshiping is taking our eyes off of our external circumstances and focusing on God.
· We stop focusing on what’s wrong with us or with our circumstances.
· We start focusing on what’s right with God.
Paul and Silas could have zoomed in and complained about their circumstances but instead they chose to worship. Worship restores spiritual equilibrium.
· It helps you regain your perspective.
· It enables you to find something right to praise God about even when everything seems to be going wrong.
Worship is zooming out and refocusing on the big picture. And as we worship, God restores the joy of our salvation and we regain our spiritual equilibrium.
Is it easy? Absolutely not! Nothing is more difficult than praising God when everything seems to be going wrong. But one of the purest forms of worship is praising God even when you don’t feel like it because it shows God that your worship isn’t based on circumstances.
Worship is based on the fact that GOD IS WORTH IT!
Victor Frankl was Holocaust survivor who wrote about his experiences in a Nazi concentration camp in his book Man’s Search for Meaning. Everything was taken away from these prisoners. They were stripped of their clothing, their pictures, and their personal belongings. They even took away their names and gave them numbers. Frankl was number 119,104. Frankl said, “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances.”
Your internal attitudes are more important than your external circumstances. The outcome of your life will be determined by your outlook on life. At the end of the day, one way or the other, your focus determines your reality! We have free choice. We are response-able. In other words, we have the ability to choose our response in any set of circumstances.
Paul and Silas were in prison. Their bodies were chained. But their choice to worship set off a chain reaction.
Premeditated Cognitive Commitments
“You can’t solve a problem on the level it was created.” Albert Einstein
Problems created on a human plane are solved on the supernatural plane. That’s what happens when we worship God. It changes the spiritual atmosphere. It charges the spiritual atmosphere.
Worship sets the stage for miracles! Worship causes spiritual earthquakes that can change the topography of your life.
Worship is the way we stay positive in negative circumstances.
The key is focusing on the right reality!
We let what’s wrong with us keep us from worshiping what’s right about God.
We’re focused on the wrong reality.
In her book, Mindfulness, Ellen Langer says that all of us have “premeditated cognitive commitments.” Translation: we tend to see what we’re looking for.
· A pessimist will always see something bad in a good situation.
· An optimist will always see something good in a bad situation.
Paul gives some priceless advice in Philippians 4:8. It’s a list of eight premeditated cognitive
commitments. He says,
Phil 4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable– if anything is excellent or
praiseworthy– think about such things. (NIV)
A worshiper always finds something to praise God for because they’re looking for something to praise God for.
When the circumstances you complain about becomes chains that imprison you. Worship is the way out.
It was worship that set Paul and Silas free physically. It’s worship that will set you free emotionally and spiritually. Worship sets off a chain reaction. The prison doors fly open. The chains break free.
Are there circumstances that you’re allowing to imprison you?
Have your complaints about someone or something become chains?
Stop focusing on what’s wrong about you or your circumstances.
Start focusing on what’s right about God.
Here’s an assignment.
Keep a gratitude journal this week. Find something everyday to be grateful for. It’s a spiritual discipline. Ps 103:2 Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits–(NIV)
In the words of the hymn: “Count your blessings. Name them one by one. Count your many blessings. See what God has done.”
August 26th, 2009
Our 5th Sunday Offering is this Sunday August 30th, 2009.
All tithes and offerings will go directly into the E-Plan to eliminate the debt in 2009!
You may also give on line at www.believersstatesboro.com
Believers Church E-Plan Summary
Beginning E-Plan Balance (03-01-09)
Contributions to Date
Current E-Plan Balance (08-18-09)
How Can You Be A Part of the E-Plan?
- Pray and ask the Lord what He would have you give above your regular tithes and offerings.
- Keep Believers Church in your prayers as we strive to please God in all that He has called us to do.
- Tithe your resources. You honor God with the material resources He has given you by following the Biblical instructions to bring 10% of your earnings as unto the Lord.
- Above your tithe, consider bringing an offering of at least $1,000 in 2009 for the E-Plan. That’s only $83.33 a month, $19.23 a week, or $2.74 a day.
- Join the many families who already give one week’s salary into the building fund each year. You will essentially be working one full week for God and the completion of future projects.
- Ask God for creative ways to increase your gifts. Involve the whole family in raising a specific amount. Some have said they will give their income tax return. You may want to consider giving the extra take-home pay that will result from the recently enacted payroll tax cut. So pray for God-inspired ideas and be creative!
- You may also choose to honor a loved one with a monetary gift given in memory of a friend or family member. We have a special plaque in our church lobby for gifts of $1,000 or more given to honor or in memory of a friend or relative. The plaque will have the name of the gift giver and the one being honored or memorialized.
- We, as a church, will continue using all tithes and offerings given on the 5th Sundays for the E-Plan as well.
- We are looking for 100% participation from our members. We believe in Equal Sacrifice, not Equal Giving.
I think it is a “God thing” that God is asking us to do this in light of our country’s economic down turn. But, we operate on God’s economic plan. We will boldly move forward rather than shrink back. Our lives and financial blessings will be a living testimony and example to those around us. I am asking you to join us as we eliminate our debt and build for the future. Always remember that our buildings are not just for the present members of Believers Church, but they are also for all those the Lord will send in the future. The buildings are just ministry tools to help us reach our community. God is doing something wonderful among us. We need to continue to move forward with Him.
Honored to Serve You,
Pastor Scott Moore
August 20th, 2009
- Main Entry: 1wor·ship
- Pronunciation: \ˈwər-shəp also ˈwȯr-\
- Function: noun
- Etymology: Middle English worshipe worthiness, respect, reverence paid to a divine being, from Old English weorthscipe worthiness, respect, from weorth worthy, worth + -scipe -ship
- Date: before 12th century
Worship is what each one of us is called to do and what we are created to do. Like we’ve learned these past weeks, It’s not whether or not you worship, It’s what you worship.
When we fully engage in worship, we not only bless the Lord but also are blessed ourselves. When we worship it:
· Gets our focus and attention on what really Matters, God
· Strengthens our hearts and minds to receive all that He has for us
· Gives us an opportunity to tell God how thankful we are for who He is and what He’s doing
· Allows us to feel how near God is and how much he loves us and how much He enjoys fellowship with us
Worship goes beyond our experiences on Sunday morning. So all of the benefits from worship can be experienced in our everyday lives as we allow God to be a part of everything we do.
“This story of God initiating a relationship and of the people responding in faith is not only the story of salvation and redemption, but it comprises the very essence of worship. What lies at the heart of worship is God’s continual movement toward the peoples of the world and the continual response of the people of God in faith and obedience.” (Robert E. Webber)
Sunday morning is going to be an amazing opportunity for us to worship our God like never before. To respond to what he’s saying to us and showing us. Sunday morning will have many different elements being used. All of which can be used for worship. Such as:
· Music (1 Chronicles 15:16-19)
· Video (2 Kings 6-7)
· Scripture Readings (Ex. 22:18-22; 23:1-9; 34:11-26; Lev. 18:7-18; Deut. 27:15-26)
· Drama/Dance (O.T. Choreographed Movements)
· Art (2 Kings 6-7)
Worship can be experienced visually, audibly, tangibly, etc.
As long as our hearts and minds are open to what He is doing. There are no limits to what God can do.
Worship is ascribing worth to what truly is worthy a.k.a. Worth-ship.
August 13th, 2009
(Portions adapted from an evotional by Mark Batterson of National Community Church)
The Fear of Foolishness
Deep down inside, all of us are afraid of looking foolish. Poles tell us the #1 fear – is speaking in public. The #2 fear – death! Why? The fear of looking foolish! It’s the curse of self-consciousness. It’s that fear of foolishness that:
· Keeps us from raising our hand in the fourth grade.
· Asking someone out on a date because what if they say no.
· Changing majors or changing jobs.
· Praying for a miracle or sharing our faith.
· Worshiping the way we could and should.
Faith: the willingness to look foolish.
· Noah looked foolish building an ark in the desert.
· Sarah looked foolish buying maternity clothes at ninety.
· The Israelites looked foolish marching around Jericho blowing trumpets.
· David looked foolish attacking Goliath with a slingshot.
· The Wise Men looked foolish following yonder star.
· Peter looked foolish stepping out of the boat in the middle of the lake in the middle of the night.
· And Jesus looked foolish hanging half-naked on the cross.
Faith is the willingness to look foolish. And the results speak for themselves.
· Noah was saved from the flood.
· Sarah gave birth to Isaac.
· The walls of Jericho came tumbling down.
· David defeated Goliath.
· The Wise Men found the Messiah.
· Peter walked on water.
· And Jesus rose from the dead.
Can I tell you why some of us have never killed a giant or walked on water?
· It’s because we’re not willing to look foolish.
· We’re not willing to attack with a slingshot or get out of the boat in the middle of the lake.
II Samuel 6 is a microcosm that reveals why God used David in such historic ways.
2 Sam 6:16 As the ark of the LORD was entering the City of David, Michal daughter of Saul watched from a window. And when she saw King David leaping and dancing before the LORD, she despised him in her heart. (NIV) (Spinning like a slave girl.)
Note: When you get excited about God don’t expect everybody to get excited about your excitement.
Why? When the Holy Spirit turns up the BTU’s underneath you it disrupts the status quo. Some people will be inspired by what God is doing in your life. Others will be convicted. And they will mask their personal conviction by finding something to criticize. Nine times out of ten, criticism is a defense mechanism. We criticize in others what we don’t like about ourselves!
2 Sam 6:17-20
David wasn’t afraid of looking foolish. He wasn’t afraid of taking off his royal robes and dancing without hindrance and without inhibition before the Lord.
David refused to find his identity and security in his position as king.
He found his identity and security in God. Ps 23:1 / Ps 59:16 / Ps 18:2
2 Sam 6:21-23 V22 – The New Living Translation says, “I am willing to act like a fool in order to show my joy in the Lord. Yes, and I am willing to look even more foolish than this.”
Civilized Rocky III. Mick, says to Rocky, “But then the worst thing happened that could happen to any fighter, you got civilized.”
When I read the gospels, the only civilized people I see are the Pharisees. I see Jesus lambasting the Pharisees and praising a prostitute who doesn’t know any better than to crash a party and pour an Alabaster jar of perfume on his feet as an act of worship. What God is looking for is people who are desperate enough to climb sycamore trees and cut holes in ceilings and push through crowds and yell at the top of their voices and jump out of boats to get to him!
Undignified “I will become even more undignified than this.” One of the words for worship in Hebrew is hallal. It means clamorously foolish. In other words, if you aren’t willing to look foolish you can’t worship! On a human plane, worship is foolish isn’t it? Singing to someone you can’t see! Raising your hands to someone you can’t touch. Old proverb: “Those who hear not the music think the dancer is mad.” David hears the music. Michal doesn’t. Who’s crazy?
All I know is this, if we had ultrasonic hearing and we could tune into heaven’s frequency and, hear the angels singing it’d lift us off our feet. We’d dance like David danced in II Samuel 6!
2 Sam 6:20 …"How the king of Israel has distinguished himself today, disrobing in the sight of the slave girls of his servants as any vulgar fellow would!" (NIV) (Like any indecent person might do.)
Worship is disrobing. It’s getting naked and exposing ourselves to God. It’s also the recognition that it’s not about what we can do for God. It’s not about our “royal robes.” It’s about what God has done for us. The greatest freedom in the world is having nothing to prove. Instead of trying to prove who he was—the king of Israel. David was embracing who God is—the King of Kings.
Kids aren’t self-conscious. Jesus said, “You must become like little children if you want to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.”
John the Baptist said, “He must become Greater. I must become less.”
We need to care more about what God thinks and care less about what people think.
· Unhealthy and unholy people are trapped by our fear of looking foolish.
· The happiest and healthiest people aren’t afraid of looking foolish.
Adam and Eve sinned for the first time: “At that moment, their eyes were opened, and they suddenly felt shame at their nakedness.” Gen 3:7
The moment they sinned they became self-conscious. In other words, self-consciousness isn’t just a curse. It is part of The Curse. Before the fall, there were no inhibitions in Eden.
Think of spiritual maturity as a continuum. On one side is “God-consciousness” and on the other side is “self-consciousness.” To become like Christ is to become more God-conscious and less self-conscious. The end result ought to be no ungodly inhibitions.
Eph 5:18 What happens when people get drunk? They lose all inhibition. Paul is saying that wine is the wrong way to lose inhibition. The right way is being filled with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit helps us overcome our ungodly inhibitions.
“Isn’t it the task of the Holy Spirit to introduce some madness and intoxication into the world?
Why this propensity for balance and safety? Don’t we all long for one moment of raw risk, one moment of divine madness?” Ron Rolheiser
David is intoxicated with God. His dance is divine madness! He takes off his royal robes and loses all inhibition. He humiliates himself before God. We are way too preoccupied with ourselves. And that’s what keeps us from worshiping God the way we could and should.
“Worship is the strategy by which we interrupt our preoccupation with ourselves.” Eugene Peterson’s
The greatest moments are those moments when we lose self-consciousness. We forget about ourselves. It’s almost an “out of body” experience.
That’s what heaven will be like. We’ll be so enraptured by God that we won’t be thinking about ourselves. We’ll be too busy enjoying God. Forever.
Worship Is Our Response To What We Value Most To Ascribe Worth. Worth-ship to what matters most.
August 10th, 2009
There is a new time for Wednesday night services!
Join us for “One Hour On Wednesday” from 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. beginning this Wednesday Night, 8-12-09, at Believers Statesboro.
Isn’t God WORTH our Worth-ship One Hour On Wednesday Nights?
The adults will be exploring Authentic Christianity as seen in the book of Romans.
We also have some great things for your children as well. PromiseLand, Believing Kids, and Holy Culture for Junior High and High School.
All events well be from 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
If you are going to study the New Testament, you must diligently address this book.
Romans is commonly considered the greatest exposition of Christian doctrine anywhere in Scripture.
The theme of Romans is:
The Righteousness of God in the Gospel of Christ.
August 6th, 2009
(Portions adapted from an evotional by Mark Batterson of National Community Church)
Worship Is Our Response To What We Value Most Worship is about saying, this person, this thing, this experience (this whatever) is what matters most to me… it’s the thing of highest value in my life. Worship, in essence, is declaring what we value most.
To Ascribe Worth. Worth-ship to what matters most.
We are Hardwired to Worship Human beings are hardwired to worship. There isn’t a single non-worshiper here today. Everybody worships someone or something. Worship is non-negotiable. You can’t not worship! It’s impossible. Either you will worship God with a capital “G” or you’ll worship gods with a lower case “g.” You are hardwired to worship. Not everybody worships the right thing. Not everybody worships the right way. Worship is what we were designed to do!
The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. The Westminster Catechism
Vacuums (Exodus 32) Moses is on top of Mount Sinai for forty days. When the cat’s away the mice will play! (Exodus 32:1) “Nature abhors a vacuum.” Aristotle That isn’t just a law of physics. It’s a spiritual law. The Israelites couldn’t go forty days without worshiping. Moses was gone for a few days and it created a spiritual vacuum. The Israelites had to find something to fill the spiritual vacuum that was created. Why? Because we can’t not worship!
Gold Earrings Exod 32:2-3 Aaron answered them, "Take off the gold earrings that your wives, your sons and your daughters are wearing, and bring them to me." So all the people took off their earrings and brought them to Aaron. (NIV)
These aren’t any old earrings. These gold earrings were a gift from God. Exod 12:36
The Israelites turned a gift from God into an idol. The Israelites literally used a gift from God capital “G” to make a god little “g.” If we aren’t careful, God-given gifts can become idols. In fact, the greatest blessings pose the greatest danger.
Exod 32:4 He took what they handed him and made it into an idol cast in the shape of a calf, fashioning it with a tool. Then they said, "These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt." (NIV)
How could they worship a golden calf? But we worship little green pieces of paper with numbers on them. Is that really any different? I think our idolatry is much more refined and civilized. But if we’re worshiping anything other than
God Almighty then we are bowing down to a golden calf.
Doodle Squat Worship is Worth-ship. Worship is giving credit where credit is due. Sin is the exact opposite. Sin is giving credit to anyone besides God for anything. (Job 34:14-15) God, without you I’m Doodle Squat.”
We must realize that every ounce of energy, every penny, every second of time, every thought, every talent, every opportunity, every blessing is a gift from God.
Thank You for Your Gifts Worth-ship is saying “Thank You.” “Please” and “Sorry” and “Thank You” aren’t just good manners. They are the key to spiritual maturity. (1Thes 5:18) “No matter what happens, always be thankful, for this is God’s will for you.”
Dance Party Exod 32:5-6 They built an altar before the calf. They sacrificed, they danced, and they partied like it was 1999. Moses comes down the mountain with Joshua and they hear this ruckus. Joshua said, “It sounds as if there is war in the camp.” Moses said, “No, it’s neither a cry of victory nor a cry of defeat. It is the sound of a celebration. He is not happy! Exod 32:19
I’m embarrassed for the Israelites! They were getting excited about the wrong thing.
There is nothing wrong with getting excited. The word enthusiasm comes from two Greek words: En Theos. It means “in God.” Christ followers ought to be the most enthusiastic people on the planet.
Consider this. Mark Batterson of National Community Church has a personal conviction:
He said, “I don’t think our biggest problem is not feeling bad enough about what’s wrong with us. I think our biggest problem is not feeling good enough about what’s right with God.
He said, “I think our greatest sin is under-celebrating!” I think I agree with him! Heaven is going to be a cosmic celebration. One of Satan’s tactics. The enemy tries to get us to focus on what’s wrong with us so that we won’t worship what’s right with God. Don’t let what’s wrong with you keep you from worshiping what’s right about God.
Here’s the bottom line: the Israelites celebrate the wrong thing. We were hardwired to worship something so much bigger and so much better than our manufactured idols.
Idol Excrement The Israelites were bowing down and dancing around the golden calf when Moses descended the mountain…To make a long story short, Moses melted the golden calf. He ground it into powder. He mixed it with water. And he made the people drink it. Why?
He showed them the idol was powerless to save itself, much less the people. The Gold that was once a blessing from God was now reduced to dust. (1 Cor 8:4 b) When you eat something, Nutrients are digested and everything else is excreted. They literally excreted an idol. I don’t want to be crude, but I think God was making a graphic point. Look at your idol now. I think it was God’s way of saying: your idol stinks!
Praise or Pride Every blessing becomes the source of one of two things:
1. a source of praise
2. a source of pride. There is no in between. It’s one or the other.
The gold earrings were a gift from God, but the blessing became a curse. Why? Because the gift became a source of idolatry! If we aren’t careful, the blessings of God can become a source of pride. And if they become a source of pride it would have been better not to have been blessed in the first place!
The blessings of God can so easily become a golden calf. We take the gifts God has given us and turn them into an idol. We bow down to the blessing. We have a choice every time we experience a blessing. We can take credit or give credit.
I love the lyrics from Blessed be Your Name: “Every blessing you pour out I’ll turn back to praise.” Not a source of pride! But when we turn blessings into praise they become a double blessing!
So here’s my question: is there a blessing in your life that has become a source of pride?
Is there a golden calf that needs to be melted, ground into powder, mixed with water, and excreted?
Don’t settle for a golden calf. You were hardwired to worship someone so much bigger and so much better!
Join us this Thursday night, 08-06-09, at 6:30 p.m. for our Inside Out Ladies Dinner.
We are excited about our guest speaker Kaye Brooks. Kaye is a personal friend of our Children’s Minister Erlene Rowland and Kaye comes highly recommended. She will be sharing with us on the subject of “Walking Through”. After serving the Lord for more than 45 years, Kaye knows a thing or two about “Walking Through”.
Kaye is the wife of Pastor Dale Brooks. It was there that they began their ministry and together they served Center Point Church in Tampa Florida for 45 years. Not only was she a pastors wife but Kaye has traveled the world alongside her husband preaching the Good News of Christ Jesus.
They recently retired from the position of Senior Pastor at Center Point and retirement began a new phase of ministry for them as they continue to travel extensively strengthening relationships and mentoring young pastors and their wives.
As important as ministry is to Kaye, her greatest joy comes from the time she spends with her husband, her children, and her grandchildren. Together they enjoy motorcycles, fast cars, and the excitement that comes from new and exciting things.
This Thursday you may laugh with her or you may cry with her, but you will not be bored because her unique sense of humor enables her ministry to be unpredictable!
Ladies, you don’t want to miss this!