John 4:19-26

"Sir," the woman said, "you must be a prophet. So tell me, why is it that you Jews insist that Jerusalem is the only place of worship, while we Samaritans claim it is here at Mount Gerizim, where our ancestors worshiped?"

Jesus replied, "Believe me, dear woman, the time is coming when it will no longer matter whether you worship the Father on the tis mountain or in Jerusalem. You Samaritans know very little about the one you worship, while we Jews know all about him, for salvation comes through the Jews. But the time is coming-indeed it's here now- when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship Him that way. For God is Spirit, so those who worship Him must worship in spirit and in truth."

The woman said, "I know the Messiah is coming-the one who is called Christ. When he comes, he will explain everything to us."

Then Jesus told her, "I AM the Messiah!"

Monday, January 26, 2009

Here we go...cont.

Hello, everyone. Hope you're having a good day!

Yesterday was a great day at the Journey. We spent the week prior getting a lot of tech stuff fixed and changed out. We kicked off our catalyst service, holding our breath, and praying like crazy that it all wouldn't go kaputz! But, as always, God is good! And everything went off without a hitch... well, I hit a few clams on the guitar, and forgot a couple words... but outside of that, it was awesome!!! My tech team is phenomenal!!! These guys don't get the recognition that they deserve, most times. So, I want to take a minute and just let them know how unbelievably awesome they are. John Ayers, Jessie Dillard, Jason Harding, Kim Raffield, Kevin Burton, Austin Burton, and Billy Reed... you guys (and girl!) are the best. You always give above and beyond what anyone asks of you, and you do it selflessly and with determination. You guys literally make what we do on Sundays possible. Without y'all, we'd be standing in a room with an acoustic guitar and a megaphone. I love you and thank you from the bottom of my heart.

So, when I finished last time, I think I was telling y'all about how we were created to worship. If you're saying, "What is he talking about?" right now, you need to go back and read the original post, "Here we go". 

So I have a question for you. Ready? What do you worship? Ahhhhh... don't answer so quickly. This is not something that you can just blurt out! You need to think about it. This is something that I had to think about for a long time.... months. Because it's not just the idea of "worship", as we think about it. See, when we think about worship, we think, "what do I give my faith to?", meaning, am I a Christian, a Buddhist, Jewish, Muslim...etc. But here's what the last year has taught me. Every act that we do; everything that comes out of our mouths; every conversation that we have, is an act of worship. We may not look at it as such, but ultimately, it is. If we were created for worship, then it stands to reason that everything we do is a contributing factor to it.  Man, this can get complicated! Not really. Here's the simple explanation for it:

IF... and that's such a big word for so few letters... if you do anything....anything!.... without God in the center of your life, then you are worshiping something other than Him. So what does that mean? Do you have to become a reclusive monk, doing nothing but reading your Bible and praying all day? YES!!!!    No, I'm just kidding! But that's what people think it means. It just means that God has to be infused into the center of your life, in every aspect of it. If the most important relationship that you have in your life is not with Him, then you're worshiping something else. Not to regurgitate every sermon that Pastor Erik Reed has given, but this is good stuff... "Why would you trust the most important thing in your life, your salvation, to a God that you won't trust for your every day life?"  That's a big question. I hope it disturbs you for awhile!!!! Don't dismiss it lightly. Think about it. Ask, "what does that mean to me?", and then ask yourself again, "What do I worship?" 

That's some pretty heavy stuff, so I'll leave you with that. We'll continue later. Have a blessed week, everyone. May the love of God and his Son surround you and bring peace to your life. And if you don't know what that is or what that's about, may They disturb you in every aspect of your life, until you're forced to confront it, and deal with it!

Here's the songs from our catalyst service yesterday:

"Let God Arise" (Chris Tomlin), "Beautiful Jesus" (Kristian Stanfill), "Healer" (Hillsong), "How He Loves Us" (Eddie Kirkland), "Indescribable" (Christ Tomlin)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

hope and change

Well, today was the day. Our first African-American President was sworn into office. Man... what an amazing thing to witness. Some day... I'll be able to tell my great grandchildren that I was there and watched it all. (well, not THERE, but here, watching it on TV) 

I have to tell you, my political views are conservative. But nonetheless, Mr. Obama is now my president and I will be an advocate for him. Not because I just want to jump on the bandwagon, but because he is our leader. He will be faced with decisions that you and I cannot imagine. Please, Please, pray for him. He needs it. No matter what your political views are. Pray for him. Cause here's the thing. It's not his job (according to our constitution) to do all of the things that he says he would like to do. If he can do it... more power to him. I wish him well. But it's not his job. It's his job to protect and defend this country. All that other stuff... feed the poor, care for the needy, bring compassion, hope and change... That's the church's job. (according to Jesus, anyway!) Again, you don't believe me... read the book. It's all in there. 

The point is this. The church is asleep. It's time we WAKE UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I would love to get into this in depth, but I promised y'all that I was going to rant about worshiping in truth and spirit. So, tonight, I'll say farewell. I'll talk to you all soon. 

Pray for our new President. And may God bless him and keep him well for the next four years. May He grant him the wisdom to do the things he needs to do, and the courage to do them. 



Monday, January 19, 2009

Here we go

Tonight is the community meeting for the new campus that The Journey is launching at Providence, in Mt. Juliet. I'm excited! We are finally moving forward with this thing. I can't wait to see who God brings into our folds, and how they are going to be helping to shape who we are! 

Please be praying for us tonight, and over the next couple weeks, as we move into this time.

So, a couple weeks ago, I taught a new song at our Catalyst service. It's called "Lift High". You can get it on itunes. The version that I have is by Eddie Kirkland, who wrote the song with Steve Fee. Both are Worship leaders at North Point (an absolutely incredible church in Atlanta). I love this song!!!!!

All throughout scripture, particularly in Psalms, we're told to exalt the Lord, to lift our voices to Him, to sing our praises. This song epitomizes all of that. If you are a worship leader, or just someone who really studies worship, this song should be in your top five in your ipod. The lyrics are simple, yet profound. I think I told you all about how my life was changed last year, when I happened upon a verse that I'd read a thousand times, but for some reason, that particular time, God made me stop and read it again, and again, and again. What ended up happening is, I spent the better part of a year living with that verse and trying to dissect it, and praying about it, and asking God to reveal to me what it truly means. The verse is John 4:19-26. It is also the verse at the top of this page!  In it, Jesus is talking to a Samaritan woman when they get into a discussion of worship. He tells her (I'm paraphrasing) that God is not concerned with people who aren't willing to worship Him in truth and in spirit. 

So, I spent the next several months praying and searching and asking God, what does that mean? To worship in truth and in spirit? I can tell you, the more people you ask, the more answers you get! But after a year of searching, this is what I feel like God is saying. Take it or leave it, but if you're going to leave it... then be responsible and pray about it until God gives you your own answer. Don't just leave it. You may have to give an account for that someday :) !

Anyway, this is what I came up with. We were created in His image. We were created for His purposes. That purpose is to love. For Him to love us, and us to love Him- completely, wholly, and without restraint, or restrictions. Therefore, we were created to worship. Erik Reed, the lead pastor of the Journey put it this way. He said, "We are created to worship. It's part of our genetic makeup. And we WILL worship something, whether it's money, sex, our job, or any number of a million other things. We WILL worship something. You just have to decide who, or what, it is that you will worship."

Often times in church we ask people to raise their hands or to sing out loud with us or to clap their hands. And the funniest thing happens. Many people get this horror-stricken look on their face, as if they are  being asked to rob a bank or slap a complete stranger in the face for no good reason. Now, I'm not chastising anyone. I know that people have different personalities and some are introverts, some are extroverts. But that doesn't matter. I would suggest that if you are holding back, and God is prompting you to raise your hands, or fall to your knees, or to lift your head to look to the heavens, it is because of pride. Bottom line... you're afraid of what other people will think of you. When you let all of that go, and respond to the Living God, and allow yourself to worship Him, with no obstacles in your path, then, and only then, will you worship Him in truth and in spirit. Now, there's a whole lot more to it, but it's gonna take awhile to get through all of it. So, I'll leave you with that for now. We'll get into the rest later. 

Know this though, I'm not saying that in order to worship God you have to lift your hands during praise and worship at church. DID YOU HEAR ME?????? :)  That is only one component of the whole picture. That component is being obedient to God's voice. That doesn't mean that God is calling you to raise your hands or shout out loud or whatever! It just means that if you sit there, and you desperately want to do those things, because you know that, that is the outward expression that you feel like you want to show God, but you're afraid to because of what someone might think or say about you.... then YEAH! You're being prideful and it's keeping you from worshiping Him in truth and in spirit. And that means you're going through the motions and He isn't even going to acknowledge your efforts. (That's not me talking... it's Him. Says so in the book! Look it up!)

Over the next few posts, I'll continue to get into this a little bit more. I hope you find this interesting, and I hope you'll stay with me to hear about it. But more than that... I hope it disturbs you in a way that will cause you to ask, "what does it mean to worship in truth and in spirit?" And more importantly, "Do I worship Him that way? Or do I worship something else completely?"

Love Y'all,


Here's yesterday's songs from our Catalyst service:

"Salvation Is Here" (Hillsong), "You, You Are God" (Jeff Dio), "Lift High" (Eddie Kirkland), "Lead Me To The Cross" (Hillsong)

Saturday, January 17, 2009

bad blogger

I know! I know! I know!

I'm a bad blogger! :( Sorry! I know that I haven't posted in like a month. I'd like to use the excuse that I've been too busy... but I think we all are busy and I've just not been disciplined. I'm going to try and right that!

I have been busy though! And it's an exciting kind of busy! In less than four weeks, The Journey is launching its second campus. This is something that we've been working on for over a year now. And now that we are about to launch, it's amazing to watch all the pieces fall into place. We are going to have our community meeting, Monday, at Rutland Elementary. This is where the new campus is going to meet. John Griffin and I have been to more music stores and supply stores in the last two weeks, than I've ever been in my life. LOTS of stuff to get, in order to make this thing happen. 

The Journey has always been a church that has wanted to plant churches and start new campuses. We feel that it is important to NOT spend millions of dollars on buildings and expect people to come to us. We've always taken the command by Jesus, to go into all the world, literally. So, our philosophy is to start new campuses in locations where people are, to go to them, not ask them to come to us. And now, after having helped to plant a church, The Summit Church, in Seymour Tn., we are about to embark on the second aspect of our vision. The Journey will open its doors in the Providence Community, in Mt. Juliet Tn., on February 8th. We are excited to see what God is going to do in that area. I'm looking forward to working with Shawn Allen, the campus pastor there. Along with Erik and myself and the rest of the Leadership team, he will head up all of the operations and everyday workings of that campus. We're excited to see Shawn get to do what God has called him to do, be a pastor.  Please be praying for him and everyone who will come through those doors. 

The next few weeks are going to be fun and hectic! As always, I hope that you all are doing well. I'll talk to you all later.