Posts Tagged ‘God

02
Dec
09

Losing My Religion?

Once when I was covering the pastor-on-call an email came through from a church member asking about whether or not we can lose our salvation. Here is my answer:

We believe that once saved, always saved.  This is known by the term “perseverance of the Saints.”  I.e. if someone is saved, and they persevere to the end of their life here on earth as saved, they are truly born again.  We hold to a reformed theology on this subject, that a truly born again individual cannot lose their faith.  John 6:38-40 shows that “every one who sees the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.”  Another scripture is John 10:27-29 where we read “…I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish…and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.”  Many more passages exist to support the view of the perseverance of the Saints including Romans 8:1 and 8:30.  Ephesians 1 says we are “sealed with the promise of the Holy Spirit” and it is the “guarantee of our inheritance.”  There are so many other passages to support this perspective.  There are people who are close to the church that appear as if they have a genuine saving faith, but actually don’t. The best example I can think of is Judas who apparently exhibited saving faith but ultimately was not truly saved (Jesus called him the “devil”).  And also Jesus says in Matthew 7 “Not everyone who says to me “Lord, Lord” shall enter the kingdom…”  If a person exhibits behavior that does not line up with one of a saved, and sanctified individual, it calls into question whether or not they were truly saved to begin with.  As I said, we do not believe that you can lose your salvation.  The Armenian view that you can lose your salvation often uses Hebrews 6:4-6 as the main basis for their argument: 

For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away,to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame. For the earth which drinks in the rain that often comes upon it, and bears herbs useful for those by whom it is cultivated, receives blessing from God; but if it bears thorns and briers, it is rejected and near to being cursed, whose end is to be burned – Hebrews 6:4-8 (NKJV)

In this scriptural example (reading on through verses 7 and 8), those who receive final judgment are compared to land which bears no fruit but rather bears thorns and thistles.  It appears that the author of Hebrews is referring to fruitlessness, and in scripture we see this as a sign of someone who is not a believer (see Matt 3:8-10; 7:15-20; 12:33-35). I.e. if you bear no fruit, you are likely not saved.  In John 15 Jesus says “every branch of mine that bears no fruit…” showing that there are branches that are fruitless.  Armenians use this verse to imply that branches that bear no fruit are still true branches on the vine.  We would say they are counterfeits. The term “enlightened” in verse 4 of the Hebrews passage simply means that they understand the truth of the Gospel, not that they have entered into a saving faith.  The argument for losing your faith is just not convincing enough when we have so much overwhelming evidence to support the reformed view.

17
Oct
08

Concert of Worship

Tonight we held our Concert of Worship.  I just want to say this night was one of the most amazing and enjoyable times I have ever had playing and singing.  Right out of the gate, in the first minute of the event you could sense the powerful presence of the Holy Spirit.  It was amazing.  We had set up a bunch of things to set a really worshipful atmosphere, and when I get some pictures in I will post them for you to see.  From a special entrance to our sanctuary with multimedia stations to set people’s hearts for the evening, to a big cross set in the middle of the sanctuary, to candles, etc. it was a great evening.  The best thing about it was that people’s lives were transformed.  We had a part of the evening dedicated to allowing people to write down their burdens on pieces of paper and lay them at the foot of the cross in the center of the sanctuary (we removed almost all the chairs).  It was beautiful.  I feel priviledged to be a part of this church, to serve this body, and to have am amazing team of friends to worship with!

02
Oct
08

Song of Living Praise

Click Here to Listen: Song of Living Praise  As most of you know, we’re all about writing a new song to the Lord here at MSC.  We just recorded a Concert of Praise and over the next few months we’ll be producing it and creating our 4th CD.  In preparation for that event we recorded some of our church services and created some demos of songs so the team could rehearse with them and learn the tunes for ongoing church services and also the Concert.  I am going to start posting some of these songs out here for you all to enjoy.  First is “Song of Living Praise.”  This song was inspired by many scriptures but the keys ones are Romans 12:1 and Acts 1:8.  Here are the lyrics, enjoy the tune (recorded post-service on a Sunday morning). 

Song of Living Praise

Verse 1
You poured Your Spirit out on us
A Father’s love displayed in grace
Now that I’ve tasted living water
I sing a song of living praise

Chorus
To be a witness for Your glory
A banner of Your love
Lord I’ll live to tell the story
Of Your grace,     of Your unfailing love

Verse 2
And where Your rivers go they heal us
Now there is life where there was death
We are Your chosen generation
Our lives a song of living praise

Bridge
And I’m ready now, Lord send me out
To sing a song of a heart set free
I will be Your hands and feet

Copyright 2009 Destinysong

17
Aug
08

Concert of Praise/Recording Night

This Friday night we are having a Concert of Praise at MSC.  We do these intentionally throughout the year when I feel the Lord is speaking to us that we should gather with abandon in praise and worship of Him.  They are different from our regular weekend church services in that the music time is a bit longer (hence the moniker “concert”), a bit more passionate, a bit more intimate, and a bit louder. 

This night is significant in that it will be a launching for our church in to the Fall season.  It feels as though we have entered a new season at the church as well and hopefully this night will be especially glorifying to God and unifying for the body. 

This night is also significant because we’re only going to play songs written by members of the MSC worship team and record the event to become our next full-length live worship CD (targeted for release in Spring 09).  The team is fasting, praying, and doing a book study together.  This is warfare on many levels and I believe we are going to birth something in our church in praise and worship.  It makes sense therefore that there is spiritual warfare happening.  But what we loose on earth will be loosed in heaven an we’re loosing joy and adoration of Jesus Christ and I have to believe that in the heavenlies there will be victories as well. 

13
Jun
08

In Everything Be Thankful

Psalm 100:1-5 says, “Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth. Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the LORD is God. It is he, who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.”

What an amazing scripture! The faithfulness of God is a humbling thought. Look at the past few months and see how he has looked after all the details of our lives! Thanking and praising him doesn’t mean that difficult times become easier, that problems disappear, or that good times get even better. It just means that God gives us hope through Him in every situation and that when we choose to acknowledge Him, we take on His perspective instead of our own. Be encouraged to take a minute each day, remember to bless and praise the name of the Lord, and watch Him work in and through your life!

04
Jun
08

Worship Through the Storm

Worship as it relates to suffering is a subject of discussion that doesn’t seem to be widely talked about. The book “Blessed Be Your Name: worshipping God on the road marked with suffering” by Matt and Beth Redman addresses some of the biblical approaches to suffering and making the choice to worship God no matter what. Here are several thoughts to ponder directly from the book.

Isaiah 43:2 says, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned…”

“Worship is a choice the choice to praise God despite the pain a person may find themselves in. It’s at these times of suffering when we can do nothing but trust God. Do we have faith to believe God is God of the storms of our lives? Faith will always fan the flames of worship. We need to be reminded that God’s love, and loyalty will never run out, and are new every morning.”  

Lamentations 3:22-23 says, “Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”

Psalm 13:5-6 says, “But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing to the LORD, for he has been good to me.”

“When we can’t seem to perceive God amidst our path and the clouds of anxiety and fear closes in on us, the way forward is to remind ourselves of what we know to be true and dependable. The unchanging grace of God.”

Psalm 42:5-6 says, “…Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him. My Savior and my God…”

“To worship God is to tell Him that we believe Him for who He says He is. I believe in the sun even when it is not shining. I believe in God, even when He is silent.”

“Yes, every act of worship is a choice, a decision to believe and respond to God for who He says He is; no matter how pressing our circumstances. And the greater the pain we’re experiencing the greater a choice it may be.”

“Sometimes we will walk blindly, unable to understand a certain situation.  Our only comfort being the knowledge that God Himself is not walking blindly, but instead, kindly, and firmly in control. So often God will often take our broken moments and weave them into a powerful tapestry to the glory of his name.”

“To praise God through all of the storms is to fully praise and worship him. To know that he is Lord over all and has a perfect plan.”

15
May
08

Praising a Long Time

The history of Praise and Worship in the Bible is a fun and interesting adventure.  Music has a tendancy to be a bit controversial topic within the church these days.  The best case scenerio is one where us Jesus-followers would advance past personal opinion and onto the purpose of the church which is to praise God, leaving issues of style and culture as unnecessary dividing lines.  To that point, if I sing “Jesus, how sweet the name” and I do it with a pipe organ, or an a cappella group, or a choir, or with drums and electric guitars, does it really matter?  I think not, what matters most is the heart with which we praise.  Nevertheless when subjects like this kick around in my mind I find myself wondering what God thinks of this.  How can we honor Him?  The components we use for His glory in Praise and Worship are namely 1) Instrumental and 2) Vocal.  (Additionally we have a) soul and b) spirit but we’ll save that discussion for another day.)  One teaching I’ve done many times and still adhere to this exegesis, is that if God sings over us (Zephaniah 3:17) he must have a) created song b) love song.  Therefore anything, any music, that deviates from the purpose to glorify God is an abberation of its original intent.  That thinking excludes a lot of music in the world, but I believe it to be true.

One encouragement to those of us who are called to praise God and lead others in the same, is just how long this has been going on.  We often highlight David’s court as an example of praise in the highest order. Yet a quick look into Genesis reveals that this has been going on a really long time.

In Genesis 4:17-22 we have a listing of some of Cain’s descendants.  Check out verse 21 where we are introduced to Jubal.  “…He was the father of all those who play the harp and flute.” (NKJV) Wow.  This enables us to pinpoint the use of instruments in praise and worship to as early as the 7th generation from Adam.  I don’t know about you but that gets me really excited!  (Being a guitar player, knowing that stringed instruments existed as early as the 7th generation gets me extra stoked.)  I’ll also point out that the number 7 represents perfection in Kingdom accounting.

Secondly, a few verses later there is an amazing statement.  In verse 26 we read “That’s when men and women began praying and worshipping in the name of GOD.” (The Message)  By reading further and adding up the age when Adam fathered Seth, and then Seth fathered Enosh, we can estimate something just over 235 years from the creation of man to when humans began corporate worship of GOD.

A little over 200 years from the dawn of creation and people congregated in worship.  Only seven generations passed and musical instruments were used in worship.  This leaves no doubt in my heart that music is God invented, God inspired, and God purposed.  Does this encourage anyone else out there?  Let me know!




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