Sometimes you have to search across the globe to find good Christian music. Today’s group is from Scandinavia. HB is a Christian symphonic metal band that formed in Forssa, Finland in 2002. While this sound may not be your cup of tea, the lyrics point listeners in the right direction with God Has All Glory just as John the Baptist guided his followers toward Jesus as the One to follow.
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. 15 (John testified concerning him. He cried out, saying, “This is the one I spoke about when I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.,”) John 1:14-15.
The gospel of John begins with Creation and introduces readers to the Holy Trinity in chapter one. This quick summary highlights the fact that God has all glory, honor, and is worthy to be praised. HB’s song does this in an unique manner, but in the body of Christ, we are all one in Jesus, Colossians 3:11. Therefore, may you celebrate the diversity in Christ Jesus as you glorify God.
Audio Adrenaline started out as a pop/rock outfit that emerged out of Kentucky Christian College in 1986. There aren’t many bands that last 20 years and release ten plus albums. This longevity is apparent in today’s featured song Kings and Queens which is part of a passion project from 2013. If you haven’t seen the attached video, the lyrics of Kings and Queens are moving as Audio Adrenaline seeks to demonstrate the love of Christ to Haiti.
Then little children were brought to Jesus, that He might put His hands on them and pray; but the disciples rebuked those who brought them. 14 But He said, Leave the children alone! Allow the little ones to come to Me, and do not forbid or restrain or hinder them, for of such [as these] is the kingdom of heaven composed. 15 And He put His hands upon them, and then went on His way, Matthew 19:13-15.
Perhaps, the inspiration behind Kings and Queens comes from the passage above. The disciples didn’t feel like children were worth their time as ministry leaders. Yet, Jesus has to correct them of their ungodly belief so that future children will feel part of the body of Christ. Although not everyone possesses the personality to relate to and reach young people, God calls all Christians to love. Therefore, as you listen to Kings and Queens, may the Holy Spirit inspire you to love your neighbors as yourself.
John F. Kennedy was the 35th president of the United States. Prior to his assassination in November 1963, JFK’s Inaugural Address on January 20, 1961 contains one of the most powerful comments ever made by a sitting president. “My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” This statement was a request to urge citizens to become active participants in making America a better place to live.
Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen, 1 Peter 4:9-11.
While JFK was a political leader, Jesus developed a spiritual following, curing, hearing and teaching a new philosophy about life. This message included a demonstration of what it means to serve others by laying down his own life. Jesus practiced what he preached, laying down his life by dying on a cross. In modern times, Christians tend to be too me focused, expecting God to show up and do something miraculous. Yet, if believers applied JFK’s challenge to Christianity, prayer lives would be transformed by a mind searching for ways to serve God daily.
Now there are [distinctive] varieties of spiritual gifts [special abilities given by the grace and extraordinary power of the Holy Spirit operating in believers], but it is the same Spirit [who grants them and empowers believers]. 5 And there are [distinctive] varieties of ministries and service, but it is the same Lord [who is served]. 6 And there are [distinctive] ways of working [to accomplish things], but it is the same God who produces all things in all believers [inspiring, energizing, and empowering them]. 7 But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit [the spiritual illumination and the enabling of the Holy Spirit] for the common good, 1 Corinthians 12:4-7.
In the passage above, the apostle Paul implies that the local church needs your help. Just like the old Uncle Sam posters used to recruit soldiers, Paul urges the church of Rome to take an inventory of the present gifts and talents. When a piece or part is missing, the body of Christ does not function as the Holy Spirit and God desires. Therefore, when you add JFK’s speech to Jesus’ selfless example, volunteers begin to come forward. Instead of 10% of a church body doing 90% of the work, applying spiritual gifts within a congregation fills in the missing parts. Therefore, don’t ask what your country can do for you. Rather, ask God how you can serve your local church and community by praying to God.
As a novice student, when high school teachers and college professors started to repeat something, my classmates began to write this information down in their notebooks. Others instructors would be more obvious, coughing in jest or implying, “hum… this sounds like a good test question.” However, when the son of God, Jesus, repeats the same message three chapters later, you might want to take this to heart. In the verses below, Jesus takes two different scenarios that illustrate how and why individuals can block miracles from occurring.
“Again I say to you, that if two believers on earth agree [that is, are of one mind, in harmony] about anything that they ask [within the will of God], it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered in My name [meeting together as My followers], I am there among them,” Matthew 18:19-20.
This first passage is one of the most misquoted verses in the Bible. A month doesn’t go by without someone in church, a person praying or a pastor on television who names and claims this promise. However, Jesus places two escape clauses in verse 19. The first refers to harmony within the body of Christ. God wants members of a congregation to be on the same page, united in the decisions that are made. The second clause mentions the will of God. Prayers that exclude, ignore or go outside the will of God will be rejected. Thus, whenever discord or selfishness exists, potential miracles will be blocked and nullified.
Jesus replied to them, “I assure you and most solemnly say to you, if you have faith [personal trust and confidence in Me] and do not doubt or allow yourself to be drawn in two directions, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ it will happen [if God wills it]. 22 And whatever you ask for in prayer, believing, you will receive,” Matthew 21:21-22.
The second disclaimer is based upon faith. Despite witnessing miracle after miracle, the disciples struggled to place their complete confidence and trust in Jesus. When a fig tree isn’t bearing fruit in season, Jesus curses it, withering this tree immediately. Using this as a teachable moment, Jesus refers to a mountain blocking your view from God’s full potential. Thus, the key element is a persistent faith that believes you will receive what you ask for in prayer. When this is missing, a lack of faith blocks potential miracles from occurring. Therefore, if you want to determine what’s keeping you from ascending to your full potential, you may be out of alignment with God’s will. Or traces of doubt are holding back future miracles. May this blog help you gain understanding into what God truly desires.
As a former teacher, I despised planning for my days off, putting together lesson plans for a substitute. While this replacement for a class, day or week tries their best to follow the material provided, students will do all they can to battle for a movie day or study hall. When I returned back to the classroom, I was usually disappointed by the lack of progress that was made. Although there are several excellent full time subs, some individuals are impossible to replace.
And when they had appointed elders for them in every church, with prayer and fasting they committed them to the Lord in whom they had believed, Acts 14:23.
As an adult, I struggle to focus when I attend a church service and the senior pastor is off or out of town. Maybe once or twice the guest speaker is just as good, but usually there is a big drop off. When worship leaders are absent or the A team is away playing for another service, there is usually a noticeable difference. Whenever superior talent is replaced by an alternate or reserve, these fill ins are put into a no win situation. If surprisingly good, regulars might feel threatened. When someone fails miserably, you will likely lose this volunteer, to avoid future embarrassment.
But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone, Hebrews 2:9.
These illustrations prove that no substitute will do for certain scenarios. For example, attending church from an off campus sight or virtually on an electronic device is a growing trend. When pastors or worship teams aren’t available, newly planted churches can participate by watching from a large screen. If you are not careful, it’s easy to withdraw, staying home to listen to sermons and worship. I must confess that I have fallen prey to this trap. I rationalize my actions by listening to two to three sermons each Sunday. Yet, when it comes to being part of a local congregation, no substitute will do. God designed the body of Christ around imitate relationships. Thus. getting involved means going to church, fellowshipping with others and making yourself vulnerable to God.
As technology replaces words with emojis, the English language is losing descriptive terms. One example is known as murmuring; where individuals complain without confronting or solving the problem in question. Rather, dissenters quietly express their displeasure via gripes, moans or muttering.
In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Hellenistic Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food, Acts 6:1.
If you belong to a church, there should an annual congregational meeting. The purpose of this event is for church leaders to illustrate through a financial report where all gifts and tithes are invested or spent. If this document does not appear to be genuine or above reproach, expect the murmuring to begin. During the first century, apostles discovered that they were overlooking the needs of certain widows. This complaint convinced leadership to separate teachers from servants. In this case, murmuring was effective.
So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables,” Acts 6:2.
Today, social media has revolutionized murmuring. Instead of sitting in the back of a church grumbling, disagreements are posted as blogs, posts or tweets. Some of this dirty laundry goes viral, creating dumpster fires that affect, impact and wound the body of Christ. Those afraid of confrontation are empowered to express how things should be without talking to anyone. In the end, this type of murmuring does more harm than good. If this trend continues, no one will want to enter certain churches due to past murmurings of the disenfranchised. The next time you feel the urge to mumble discontent, realize that any complaint may cause a child of God to stumble. May this image put to rest unwholesome talk which tears down the church.
If you have ever visited several churches over the course of a month, methods, styles and terminology vary. Some denominations expect priests, pastors or preachers to do the core of the discipleship, evangelism and ministry work. Yet, Jesus tell his disciples a completely different approach. God’s plan involves harvesters.
Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few,” Matthew 9:37.
In this age of megachurches, spiritual growth is misleading. Visitors often treat facilities like the latest trend, hopping from the old to the new as long as it satisfies your soul. When the crowd begins to move in a different direction, loyalty is pushed aside. This mentality causes individuals to become consumers, not servants. Thus, harvesters are vanishing as a new generation of Christians take center stage in the church.
Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field, Matthew 9:38.
One of the logical reasons for this void is known as the 90:10 rule. Ten percent of congregations does ninety percent of the work at church. This overuse can wear out willing volunteers. If these harvesters aren’t given a break, burn out can occur. In view of this, discipleship, nurturing and training is essential to unite the body of Christ. When spiritual workers become a rarity in your house of worship, may a spirit of prayer prompt the Holy Spirit to bring harvesters out of retirement and back into action.