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Posts Tagged ‘News’

Worship Quick Thought: Attitude

Posted by undergroundchurch on November 28, 2010


A few weeks ago, I was in the Sunday morning service when the music leader asked everyone to lift their hands. I overheard a person seated near me that said, “I’m not doing that.

Worship starts in the heart, and I am sure that everybody has their own “way” of expressing outwardly the worship taking place in the heart, but the mouth often indicates what is actually going on in the heart.

What is an “attitude of worship”, and how do you know if you are “worshiping” or just going through the motions?

I think there are questions you can ask yourself to evaluate you quality of your attitude in worship.

What are you thinking about?

If you are thinking, “What are people thinking about me,” then you need to change your focus from you to the one you are supposed to be worshiping.

Maybe you’re concerned about how people perceive the quality of you voice, or that they may think you are “weird” if you lift your hands, close your eyes or clap your hands. Maybe you think you are a crooner and want everyone around you to hear it.  Either way you look at it, if you are thinking about yourself or how you may look, then your worship attitude is off target.  I know it’s a struggle, but try only thinking about God.

Am I caught up in the music?

I am a sucker for a good tune, and music can definitely help the mind and heart connect to God, but it can be just as much of a distraction.  Listen to what you’re saying while you are singing.  Do you mean it? Are you doing what the song says you are doing?  Are they just words on a piece of paper or the wall or are they words written on your own heart?  If you are singing a song as an expression of worship, make sure that you are reflecting the words in the song. If not, don’t sing it.

With God, words mean things.  If you are singing it, to God, it is just like you are saying it.  Many times when I sing, I will do one of three things if my heart doesn’t match the song

  1. I will change the words of the song.
  2. I will pray or sing in the my spirit.
  3. I will just listen.

Remember Jesus’ words, “True worshipers will worship in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24). Keep your worship true.

How can I go deeper?

If you are comfortable with where you are in worship, maybe it’s time to take another step deeper.

You will never ever, ever, ever, ever reach a level of worship on this planet that you will see before the throne of God in eternity. Do not be afraid to dig deeper in your heart and express a little more outwardly.

Until you attain the level of a heart of worship that David reached and demonstrated when he was dancing and leaping before God and all Israel in the streets of Jerusalem unashamed in his underwear (2 Samuel 6), you still have room for improvement.

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This Pacman Doesn’t Gobble Ghosts

Posted by undergroundchurch on November 23, 2010


I am no fan of boxing, but once in a lifetime a person comes along that you just have to love no matter their occupation. His name is Manny (Pacmaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan) Pacquiao. I see him as “Manny-smiles”.

His sport is a violent one. The basic object, beat your opponent up before he beats you up. (Sounds like how the rest of the world works, but I digress.)

There are two lessons I learned from watching the 60 Minutes video of him – see below. First, He has a unique skill in boxing; he is equally devastating with both fists.

You may not think that is a very big deal, but when you are on the receiving end, you don’t look for jab, jab, jab, PUNCH! You look out for PUNCH, PUNCH, PUNCH. He is an ambidextrous boxer, and the pain comes from all sides.

We believers need to learn to deal with the enemy of our souls in the same way. Don’t just shore up one part of your life; train your whole life – body, soul, mind, spirit, heart, etc. to be equally strong to both stand against the enemy and to do battle with him when that time comes. Build up the weak areas in your life and reinforce the strong areas.

Second, Manny-smiles! Fighting is not easy, but Manny smiles anyway. Why? I believe it comes from knowing who he is and where he came from. He was a dead man on the streets of the Philippine islands. He worked hard and got a break. He has now won the championship in 8 different weight classes. I guess you could say that he enjoys the battles because he expects to win.

There are a lot of defeated Christians trying to battle through life with a lack of assurance that they can or ever will win. The Scriptures say that we are more than conquerors through Jesus Christ (Romans 8:37), so do battle with a smile. You might get hit a few times, but I have a secret for you… the fight has been fixed. You will win in the end!

So fight like you know it.

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Making the Unexplainable – Undeniable

Posted by undergroundchurch on April 17, 2010


One of the problems when sharing Jesus with someone seems to be in convincing them of the truth.  It ‘s a very frustrating prospect, but it doesn’t have to be so if we adjust the approach from trying to prove the unexplainable to establishing the undeniable.

Adults don’t typically come to Christ because they understand salvation completely or have all their questions answered.  They usually come to Christ because they encountered him in some fashion that made the unexplainable, undeniable.

The questions don’t really matter when the experience has proven that Jesus is undeniable.  It’s not that they got their questions answered yet, it’s just that Jesus became personal to them. Answering questions come later.

We always opt for the undeniable over the unexplainable when given the choice.  You might get on a plane and fly across the country knowing without a doubt that the plane can fly, but you can’t explain how it does it.

You use a phone, text your friend, drive your car, browse the internet on a computer.  It is undeniable that these things are real, and you use them even if you can’t explain them or how they might work. If you want to go deeper, then you may learn more about them after you start using them, but you might just be content with the fact that it is an undeniable fact that computers, internet, TV are real, and I don’t have to know how it all works.

Let’s take a 90 MPH pitch in baseball.  A recent study showed that the 90 MPH pitch takes 400 milliseconds (ms) to travel the 60.5 feet from the pitcher’s hand to home plate.

The batter goes through a process which takes 200 ms to find the ball once it leaves the pitcher’s hand, another 150 ms to determine where to swing the bat (high, low, fast, slow, etc.), and 100 ms to actually swing the bat.

If you are keeping track, it takes a batter 450 ms to hit a pitch that takes 400 ms to get to home plate.  The researcher concluded that it is impossible for a batter to hit a 90 MPH pitch.

Now, if you have ever watched a professional baseball game, you have seen batter after batter hit a 90, 95 or even 100 MPH pitch.  Yet scientific studies prove that it is not possible.  The unexplainable becomes undeniable and you accept the fact that a 90 MPH pitch can indeed be hit… and hit well.

Don’t spend all your time trying to prove God exists, prove the crucifixion happened, prove Noah’s flood, prove the virgin birth.  From a faith point of view, these are all critical, but from an introduction to Christ point of view, they don’t actually “introduce” anybody to Christ.

People need an encounter with Jesus so that he becomes undeniably real to them.  Once they latch on to the undeniable truth that Jesus is real to them, then the importance of having their questions answered become smaller and smaller and the reality of God in their life becomes bigger and bigger.

You cannot answer all their questions; you can only introduce them to Jesus who can do a much better job answering the questions that need to be answered.

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The True Power of Evil

Posted by undergroundchurch on September 11, 2009


9-11

Numbers etched in our conscious for as long as we live.  Those numbers no longer represent a date, but a traumatic event in our country.  To those who do not remember their exact location the day the towers fell, the impact of this day lessens a bit – similar to those of my generation trying to put their minds around a Pearl Harbor, Nazi internment camps and the American Civil War.

The visual nature of our existence fuels our emotions, and as time passes, we want to put the images of that day eight years ago far behind us in order to relieve ourselves from the pain. I understand that desire, but the reality still remains – evil in the hearts of men, still wants to destroy America, and to a greater extent, what America stands for.

Evil is a powerful force bound up in the hearts of all of us.  It always starts with a selfish drive and when unchecked, progresses to a destructive force where the objective evolves into the denigration of those that do not agree with the one birthing the evil thoughts. Before you know it, irrational and ungodly thoughts and actions spew from that person until a greater evil force found in the depths of Hades drives the destroying force in the evil heart to actually destroy one’s own self – e.g. suicide bombers and airplane hijackers.

As powerful as evil seems, it pales in comparison to the true power of good.  Contrary to popular opinion, good and evil are not opposites.  For an opposite to exist, there needs to be equality to the opposing power.  However, only good exists in power, evil prevails only in the absence of good.  Evil loses to good every time like darkness loses to light each you flick a light switch in a darkened room.

Let’s look a little deeper into this idea of light and darkness.  Darkness really doesn’t exist of its own power; it only exists when light disappears.  Darkness cannot stand up one day and say, “I think I’ll defeat light today.” Darkness cannot make that call because light, which operates at a higher plane than darkness, determines whether darkness will exist. This can be said about hot and cold. Cold does not truly exist.  The lack of heat gives the illusion of cold from the reference point you give it. To achieve true cold, you must remove all heat.

If I consider hot above 72 degrees and cold below 72 degrees, then I define the power of cold.  But my definition distorts the reality that cold exists only in the absence of heat. I allow 71 degrees and lower to be the dividing line between hot and cold.  We determine in our minds where to draw the line.

If I define evil as the act of men flying planes into a building in to kill innocent people, then I deceive myself because, though the emotional stirring in me is strong because of such a heinous act, my emotions hide the truth that I raised my evil threshold.  The line I draw to define where evil ends and good begins really defines my understanding of good and not evil.  Living in the culture of the day, we tend to alter our interpretation of that line based on social interpretations.  I might determine that the evil line of those individuals started the day they believed in their hearts that those that didn’t see things their way should die. In doing this, I lower my evil threshold from an act of violence to a heart condition.

For example, once upon a time, the evil threshold stopped at killing children. Today, killing them before they breathe air is societally acceptable.  Tomorrow, that line will move to make it permissible to kill them when someone determines that their quality of life won’t achieve some predetermined level. We are already opening our minds to that concept with our elder population through euthanasia.

The issue isn’t even that fact that we kill babies.  Our problem of evil travels back to the very thought that people THINK that they can justify it in their own minds.  It starts with a selfish thought, progresses to a justifiable belief, and eventually manifests as a heinous act.

The cure to evil exists in the promotion of more good in the hearts of people, and not just human good, but the good found only in the heart of God.  Jesus said it, “Why do you call me good? Only God is good.” (Mark 10:18)

We are not battling a villain on a battlefield in the Middle East as much as we are waging war against an unseen enemy that prowls around seeking people to devour.  We battle for the hearts, souls and minds of people.  Necessity determines that we must take a physical stand against the tyranny of the devil’s schemes revealed in man’s actions, but on a much higher plane, we need to make war in the spiritual realms.

“Our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Ephesians 6:12)

If the soldier on the battlefield is the only one doing battle, then our battle is in vain.  However, if we couple that with the spiritual warfare needed in a time of depravity, then there is hope that this evil can be saturated with enough godly good to drown out its perceived power.

“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” (Edmund Burke)

If this generation falls to the evil power that prevails in man’s hearts, then it is not because we did not kill enough “enemy combatants” (terrorists), it is because we did not take seriously enough the power of good that exists in God and that is given freely to his children by the power of the Holy Spirit.  It will be because believers around the world did not vest prayer and fasting and go to war against the real enemy to win the hearts, souls and minds of this generation.  It will not be because we did not have enough “good laws”, it will be because the good law of God’s love was not written on the hearts of men.

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What’s a Believer to do about our Political Situation?

Posted by undergroundchurch on August 29, 2009


Intro:

This article is a bit longer than normal, and certainly more political than most of the ones I publish, but I felt such an urgency to write it that it kept me up half the night.  I finally succumbed to the drive to write and woke up at 5 AM on a Saturday morning to put it all down… That in itself should tell you something.

The UnderGroundChurch Pupose:

The purpose of the UnderGroundChurch is to prepare the church and anyone seeking God for the days ahead which include new methods of doing church in an increasingly hostile environment and understanding the environment from prophetic angle so that as things occur in our American society, we can take hope that no matter what actually happens in America, two things are always true:

1)      America, as great as she once was and to some degree still is, is not the center of God’s plan.

2)      God has a plan that will unfold.  It will be messy, and that is by design.  It is not to be feared if you are a believer, but to be embraced as a time of refining, rebuilding, reorganizing and revival in the church. 

The Dream:

Last night, I dreamt of a changing world.  It was such a powerful dream that I still remember every detail of it, which for me is extremely rare.  The following is that dream.

My family and I just installed a pool at the house (that’s the good part, hope that it comes true someday). As we are swimming in the rather frigid waters, I was talking of creating a solar heater system to make the water somewhat bearable.  As we were conversing, two rocket ship like objects blasted out of the earth about a mile away in town.  They looked almost alien in their appearance with technologies that couldn’t be manmade.

They landed on the town, sprouted four legs each and began a journey that lead them straight toward us.  As they walked along, their powerful pace and frightening appearance cause everyone around to pause in fear.  I looked to the street where some military vehicles pulled up.  I was set back by their inactivity; I mean, they are the military here to protect us, so why weren’t they shooting it or something?

I walked over to them after the craft stepped over our house, and as I approached, I saw them waving green flags that had a camouflage pattern.  This certainly intrigued me, so I asked them what they were doing. Their answer literally woke me from my slumber.

The soldier there told me that everyone would be issued three flags.  As the robot like crafts passed by, you were to wave the flag that represented your support for our government.  The first flag was the one the soldiers were waving.  It represented support for the current government.  The camouflaged nature of the flag meant that your support didn’t necessarily mean you agreed with everything, but that you wouldn’t do anything about it even if you didn’t agree; therefore, your support was implied, and you were safe.

The second flag was white with some symbols I didn’t recognize in a circle in the middle.  The white flag told the alien looking craft that you were a believer, and that you wanted to practice your faith.  You were committing to practice your faith in so far as you didn’t speak against the current system of government, and that you weren’t going to make any waves.  You were just going to be spiritually minded and not concerned with the political or social environment around you.

The final flag was red. This represented you as a rebel to the ways of the government and that you opposed the direction the government was taking and that you were willing to fight for freedom.

In the absence of waving a flag, the default interpretation of your intention was that you were a “red flag waver”.  A red flag waver was the enemy and would be captured or killed on site to preserve the new American way of life.

Waking Thoughts:

As I awoke, I reviewed the dream and was reminded of a speech almost a half-century ago in 1961 that Ronald Reagan gave about the threat that lay before the American people.  This speech, which I was reminded of recently and which I have posted below, coupled with the changing times made me think of the challenge before the believer.  Do we get involved?  If so, how involved do we get?

“A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves money from the public treasure. From that moment on the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most money from the public treasury, with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy followed by a dictatorship.

The average age of the world’s great civilizations has been two hundred years. These nations have progressed through the following sequence:

  • from bondage to spiritual faith
  • from spiritual faith to great courage
  • from courage to liberty
  • from liberty to abundance
  • from abundance to selfishness
  • from selfishness to complacency
  • from complacency to apathy
  • from apathy to dependency
  • from dependency back to bondage.

—unknown

The Constitution was given as a framework of the nation for two reasons:

1)      To limit the powers of the federal government, giving governmental powers not specifically granted in the Constitution to the state governments (see the unenforced 10th Ammendment)

2)      To protect the citizenry of this great nation for a government that, by design, seeks to grow its power, intrude in people’s lives, oppress its people and in the end, control everything – thus ending our republic (See the first 10 Amendments, a.k.a. the Bill of Rights)

The Bill of Rights aren’t freedoms granted by the government for us, they are our protection measures given to protect us from an out of control government.  Over the past 50 years, those rights have been diluted by ideologies foreign to the framer’s original intent.  The Constitution is no longer a framework, but an obstacle.  Freedom is no longer a right by default, it is a privilege given to a few.

What is Our Precedent?

Again, I ask, “So what is the believer to do?”  Is there Biblical precedent to do anything? Is their historical precedent to do anything?

Biblically speaking, there is a precedent.  Nations don’t just popup out of thin air, they are made.  God made a nation called Israel with rules, laws and ceremonies to govern their activities.  It wasn’t just a gathering of people to worship him; it was a nation under God to be governed by the will of God.

In the New Testament, there is not much political precedent to “rebuild” government, but rather an underground approach to change the hearts and mind of the leaders.  God wasn’t building a church-state, but a people whose hearts were bent toward him.

Paul actually sacrificed his freedom, rights and dignity for the chance to change the heart of Caesar.  He willingly was led captive to Rome so that in the hopes of real change, he might show the leader of the world the love and power of a humble Messiah; any governmental change would have been a byproduct of that change in the heart of Caesar.

Two hundred and thirty-three years ago, a group of God fearing, Bible believing men made a choice to break from a tyrannical king to create a new nation with the hope of freedom.  It cost many, many lives to establish that new nation, and many more to keep it, but in the end, it became one nation, under God which impacted the world in ways never before seen.

What makes the founding of this nation unique is that never before was a nation created by the people for the people.  It was designed specifically to allow for the people to drive the growth of the nation.  It was not the intention of the framers to take on power over people but to empower the people.  Freedom was granted to the people and only the people could choose to give it away.

What next?

This is a tough question to answer.  At what point does out nation cross that line where the vote no longer works, where freedom is gone, where society is lost to government control, where the “American dream” for a brighter future gives way to an “American memory” of what once was?

A day may come when the people’s voices are no longer heard and a rebellion foreseen as possible by the framers of our nation actually manifests. That day I believe is sure to come as long as a thirst for freedom still exists in our nation.

This is a possible outcome, but is not necessary if we can take action while our voice is not silenced.  We are believers first, but as believers in America, we are obligate to work hard to set a tone for America. 

In setting that tone, we must always understand that you can’t legislate morality, virtue and character.  You can’t “make” people believe in God; you can’t force your opinions on others.  Unfortunately, the government is not bent that way and because they are men and women given power, they can be corrupted and lose sight of why they are there in the first place… to defend freedom.

We must fight for the hearts and minds of the American people.  That is our first call.  You don’t legislate change, but you can inspire people.  If the last campaign taught us anything, it taught us the power of inspiration. 

The Political Tone:

President Obama won the election without telling anybody what he actually believed, how he was actually going to do anything, without any opposition, without any leadership or governing experience, without any executive or military experience.  He won with one word, “change”, which in itself doesn’t say anything.  However, the word spoke to people because they wanted something different, and they didn’t really care what it was as long as it wasn’t the status quo.  They were voting against the current circumstances, not for the direction that has been set in the past 8 months.

He has set a tone in our government not seen in this country in 50 years.  The tone is one that has been tried for over 100 years and has failed every time it is implemented.  But what it speaks to is the destruction of our political infrastructure, our freedom and our way of life.

Both the Democratic and Republican parties do not exist today.  The Democrats have been taken over by the minority extremists in their party that seek to undermine the whole point of our Constitutional government. The party of JFK, fiscally conservative, socially balanced and defenders of national freedom, has given way to liberal extremism, apologizing to the world for being a leading nation that stands up for absolute truth in the face of relativistic ideology.

The Republican Party has lost its voice, its power and its conservative roots.  The party of Lincoln and Reagan is now leaderless, and the leaders that try to step up are either spineless or shut down by pseudo leaders and the media.

Real Change:

The only political change you can believe in is change back to the system that actually works and not an experiment that has repeatedly failed.  There is a swell of opposition to the current direction of our nation because of legitimate fears that our freedom, our way of life and our history will become a memory. 

As believers in Jesus, we can capture this wave of change and fight to win the hearts and minds of the people, not just for political reasons, but for eternal reasons. 

“By our apathy, by our acquiescence, and by our ignorance, the church of Jesus Christ has consigned itself to irrelevance and impotence in the ongoing struggle for the soul of America.”—Alexis De Toqueville

People are circumstantially driven.  The feelings are based largely on their environment.  Fear is a powerful weapon that is used quite extensively from both the left and right.  Quotes like, “If we don’t pass this legislation now…”  can create a sense of desperation where there really doesn’t need to be panic. 

Believers are not to drive people with fear.  We use the opposite force, FAITH!  Fear and faith are both of the same substance, but have vastly different results. Fear is the belief that it’s all bad; faith is the belief that it’s all good. 

Our Choice Matters

We can cry a rally call for conservative values, Constitutional ways, American spirit, and  Godly principles, but we must do so with a heart of God.  We must stand on truth, not fear.  We must do everything for people, not for selfish interest or power.  We don’t do it to legislate morality and virtue but to facilitate an atmosphere where people have a choice.

The best and worst part of freedom is that we have a choice to make choices.  This is the essence of Love.  Love only exists when the choice not to love exists.  If I have no choice but to love, then I am not truly loving. 

God gave Adam that choice in the garden, and Adam chose not to love.  That choice still exists for each one of us today, and God still waits for our answer. 

So always remember that whether we win or lose, we fight the good fight of faith and that if we don’t operate in love, we are nothing and our message means nothing.

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