Undergroundchurch Blog

Preparing the Church for the future

Archive for September, 2011

Day 69: The Power of Abstinence

Posted by undergroundchurch on September 18, 2011


Scriptural Nuggets Daily DevotionScriptural Nuggets Daily Devotion

The Post Office is in financial trouble because people don’t want to waste the time sending “snail mail” when “e-mail” and “texting” is so much faster.

We live in a culture born in hyperspace with the hyper drives fully engaged. We are constantly looking for faster and faster ways of doing what we do so that we can fit in more stuff to do.

You would think that if we freed up time, we’d take the time to rest, but it just isn’t the case. We have such an addiction to speed and busyness that we are killing any chance to make room in life for things that really matter.

Who has time to play with their kids, read books, sit on a porch swing, pray, quietly meditate upon God, look at the stars when we have all this “stuff” going on in our lives.

Not only are we busy, but even when we slow down, we have TVs and radios going on in the background because we just can’t do the silence.  We just can’t seem to break the “busyness habit”.

This is where the power of abstinence comes in.  We just simply need to go cold-turkey, and stop some of the things that bring useless clutter, vain noise and non-value added busyness to our lives.  Here are just a few of the myriad of ways we can bring some calm back into our lives and give room to celebrate those things that really matter:

  • Use your phone only to call people
  • Eliminate (at least for a time) Facebook, Twitter, Tumbler and other “social networking” apps
  • Keep the TV off
  • Keep the radio off if just using it to fill the quiet, especially in the car
  • Try praying or singing to the Lord (no music) while driving instead of blaring the radio and yelling at other drivers

I hope you get the point.  Abstain from things for a season that create “noise” in your life, and don’t fill the void with more noise that is meaningless. Take that new found freedom and read God’s word; spend quality time with the kids listening to them; pray and worship God like He matters to you.

Begin a process of resetting your life. It will not be easy at first, but it will be rewarding as you discover that you are not as busy as you once thought.

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Day 68: Worship Lite Syndrome

Posted by undergroundchurch on September 17, 2011


Scriptural Nuggets Daily DevotionScriptural Nuggets Daily Devotion

Ask yourself a few questions:

  • When was the last time you lifted your hands in worship in a public setting? or even a private setting?
  • When was the last time you were speechless because of the presence of God?
  • When was the last time you cried before the Lord, not because you needed something, but just because you couldn’t find the words to show how much you loved him?
  • When was the last time you danced before the Lord?
  • When was the last time you sang to the Lord without a tape, CD or song leader?
  • When was the last time you fell down prostrate before the Lord?

If you have not done any of the above in a while or have never done some or any of them, you could be suffering from a syndrome known as “Worship Lite”.

You know, the primary words we translate as “worship” in Scripture mean to fall down prostrate, to bow, to kiss the hand, to fear, to tremble, to confess, to profess, to exalt, to lift up, to abase oneself, and to bless.

Worship Lite Syndrome is diagnosed through its symptoms. Thoughts like, “I’m content with my worship experience”, “I don’t want people to think I’m weird”, “Lifting hands is something kids do”, “My worship experience is limited to the 20 minutes we sing on a Sunday morning” are all early signs the the syndrome is taking hold.

Worship is always a “verb”.  It reflects your understanding, attitude, feelings and emotions in the presence of an awesome God.  Worship has no limits. The worship experience never ceases. It is only bound by the limitations of our pride.

Treatments for Worship Lite Syndrome are available through “times set aside each day for worship”, “singing to the Lord in the shower”, “lifting those sweaty hands in a Sunday morning service”, “falling on your face before God because he is God and we are not”. Understanding who He is and what we are in comparison to Him is the first step to a cure.

So go ahead and take a leap. Stretch your worship experience into more than a 20 minute orchestrated experience on a Sunday morning. Break out of the old habits and break into unabridged worship.  You might just find the cure you aren’t even aware you need.

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Day 67: Buildings and God

Posted by undergroundchurch on September 16, 2011


Scriptural Nuggets Daily DevotionScriptural Nuggets Daily Devotion

For years, I have been very perplexed at what we spend money on in the church.  Over the years, I have been very forthcoming to people that if they want to give to an organization that helps the poor, the widows and the orphans, they should give to another organization other than the church that specializes in those areas.

What bothers me most is, “Why is this the case?”

We actually have a direct calling in the scriptures, both OT and NT to take care of the windows and orphans (Deut 14:29-31 and 1 Tim 5:3. In fact, we have one definition for “religion” in the Bible and this is it…

James 1:27
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

So I direct this question to church leaders, elders, deac0ns and pastors alike, “How much money do you spend on widows and orphans versus the money you spend on your buildings?”

No place in the NT will you find a call to build buildings.  You will especially not find a single passage that says, “Spend 60, 70 or 80% of your budget on buildings, grounds keeping, maintenance, utilities, cleaning services, fire hydrant fees, church steeples, stained glass, projectors, 5” thick padded chairs and laser lights.

As Stephen cried out just before the religious people of his day stoned him, “The Most High does not live in houses made by human hands. (Acts 7:48)”

God’s temple is in the heart of men and women, but we all know this, so why then do we invest so much in something that is going to burn up, does not save people, does not make disciples, does not go to live with Christ for eternity, but does keep eating our resources day after day taking money away from reaching the lost, feeding the poor and helping the widows and orphans?

I’m just asking.

 

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