BookLook

“The Privilege of Worship” (BookLook)

Worship Wars

In “The Privilege of Worship,” Stewart Holloway addresses worship in a new vibrant way. We all know the “worship wars” that can happen within our churches and relationships. We spend far more time arguing or sharing our puffed-up opinion about how we want to worship, than we do simply worshiping. And the result of such actions, is destruction rather than peace and brokenness rather than the wholeness Jesus gives to us. There is no beauty in “worship wars”. I have seen its effect on a personal level, and it reminds me of the need to focus on worshipping God (not myself or someone else). What if we worshiped God in all His holiness and splendor, rather than arguing about the way we worship?

Help Wanted: Jesus!

As Holloway stated, many Christians are missing out on the privilege of worship. We get more excited about a football game, than we do about worshipping our Savior. We should be more excited about Jesus Christ and the opportunity given to worship Him. This is why revival is the only word to kindly express our need as the Church.

For many of us, our worship needs a revival. We need to remember what worship is honestly about. These days, we aren’t treating worship with the reverence it deserves. We need to remember the design of worship. Through worship, we get the opportunity to “communion with God” as Holloway states as he describes worship. God has given us a way (worship) to meet with Him and pour all that is building up in our hearts.

Worship is the beautiful communion and celebration between us and God.

Thoughts on “The Privilege of Worship”

As I read Holloway’s book and reflect on its key principles, I am able to gain a clearer picture of worship and its importance in my life. However we worship, it needs to be the center of our lives. Holloway shows his heart for worship in “The Privilege of Worship,” and God will change our own hearts as we read this book. Our hearts will become excited about worshipping the Lord our God. We will have a more intimate relationship with God through His Son Jesus Christ. We will see peace flow through our church lives, as we give ourselves to God, His Church, and choose to not participate in worship wars.

There are many good things God will give to us, as we give ourselves to Him and commit to worshipping Him.

This book has been a blessing for me to read. While I am not done reading or using it in my Christian life, I do think it is a good book for any Christian to read. We all need to remember the amazing privilege we have been given, in Christ, to worship. (Psstt: The book is only $3.99 for the Kindle edition)

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through BookLook’s blogger review program, in exchange for a honest review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

 

Godly Living, Thessalonians

Week 3: 1 Thessalonians 3:7

Welcome, my friends, to week 3 of our study! I am so glad you are here. Thank you for taking a few moments out of your day to read today’s blog entry in your email or possibly on the website. You will not regret taking this time to invest in your relationship with God through Jesus Christ. He is the source of all hope and comfort.

The Scripture –

While I am limited in sharing at this moment due to circumstances, I want to be able to share with you our new weekly memory verse.

In the middle of our trouble and hard times here, just knowing how you’re doing keeps us going. Knowing that your faith is alive keeps us alive (1 Thess. 3:7, MSG).

The Truth Revealed –

As I face my own troubles, I can relate a bit with Paul. Honestly, the great “longing exchange” (where the longing for a close friend is mutual) is a tremendous comfort in hard times. When you are in desperate need and alone, quality companionship is one of the top desires one troubled friend could have.

When we are going through hard times, we just need someone to be there for us. . . someone who will lead us straight to Jesus Christ. It’s the exact medicine we need.

We learn a few things about Paul and the Thessalonians –

  • Paul’s Heart: Longed for the Thessalonians, and bombarded with troubles.
  • The Thessalonians’ Heart: Longed for Paul, and continually sought Christ. . . resulting in much spiritual growth even during persecution.
  • Resulting in much comfort, especially for Paul in his time of need.

Hearing others’ stories of faith in Christ makes everything much better. While the circumstances may not change, our heart are uplifted versus drowning. Our perspective changes – because we receive comfort from friends. . . friends who treat our friendship in a godly way. Encouraging us to keep pressing into Jesus, praying over our circumstances, and helping us to hold onto our faith in Jesus and His Good News.

Biblical Friendship

While we may not choose our times of suffering, God can use this time to be encouraged (or encourage others) by others’ faith and show us the kind of friends we have (or are).

The Thessalonians and Paul had biblical friendships. They sought the Lord Jesus to be honored in their lives. They wanted to help encourage one another, pray together, and continue to live out their faith in Christ.

Biblical friendships are hard to find, but are what makes the lasting change in our spiritual lives.

Jonathan and David are a classic example of biblical friendship (see 1 Samuel 23:15-18). They loved each other in a godly friendship; Jonathan made sure to be there when David needed him the most (click here to listen to a sermon on the topic). Likewise, the Thessalonians would have send word back conveying how much they care for Paul and miss him.

Biblical friendships make the difference in our Christian walk, and an important tool in our transformation.

“[Thessalonians’] steadfastness was a great source of comfort to [Paul] in his trials. . . In the inevitable trials of the ministerial office there is no source of comfort more rich and pure than this (Albert Barnes Commentary).”

Thessalonians

Week 2: Wrap Up

What was special about this week’s message? I invite you to comment below, and share with me (and other readers) about how God spoke to you in this week’s Bible study on 1 Thessalonians

Read 1 Thessalonians 2:7-20

… We took you just as you were. We were never patronizing, never condescending, but we cared for you the way a mother cares for her children. We loved you dearly. Not content to just pass on the Message, we wanted to give you our hearts. And we did (vv. 7-8, MSG).

Jesus’ Deep Love

Jesus Christ loves all of humanity. He saw and felt the agony of our lost relationship due to our disobedience. Sin separates us from God, and Jesus went to incredible lengths to bring us back into a right standing relationship with the Father, where we can stand in His presence, enjoy sweet intimacy with God, and have our prayers heard! Jesus Christ took our sins, died on our cross, and rose again. Because of Jesus Christ, we can be restored and have our God-shaped hole in our spirits – filled! Will we accept Jesus Christ and let Him love us?

If we are following Jesus Christ, it is because someone had the courage to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with us. Praise God!! We know the mighty power and love of our Risen Lord, but need to share the Good News with others – so they can come to know the love of our Savior and how He can radically change their lives for the better.

This kind of boldness comes only from being with Jesus (Acts 4:13).

What Scripture Says:

We can show others His love, by the way we treat them. Scripture teaches us a few things, in regards to treating others as a means to share Jesus with others.

  • Love others the way you love others (Matthew 22:39).
  • Do good to all people, especially those in God’s family (Galatians 6:10).
  • Be wise in the way you interact with non-believers (Colossians 4:5-6).

Learning How to Treat Others

Relating to others has never come easily for me. Even if it is out-of-my-element, God is calling His sons and daughters to go into the world and share the Gospel and ourselves with others.

Before we can do so, we have to learn how to treat others. We need to learn how to love well, starting with how we love (and treat) ourselves.

This is where leaning into Jesus really counts, because He is the One showing me to love. While He shows us how to love, it has to begin by realizing the love He has personally for each of us. This is the most important relationship we have, with Jesus Christ. So, I need to nurture this special relationship. Christ ought to be my motivation in how I treat others, for these acts of kindness can last for eternity.

Jesus, You are our Hope! You are why we can have the strength to change the way we treat others. Thank You, Lord!

Introversion/Highly Sensitive, The Overcomer Life

New Year’s “Hang Over”

Tonight is New Year’s Eve. I made a plan last week to go out to a little party thing. Today, I tossed and turned about going. The habit of living fearlessly is something we can all pursue. I do, for the most part, try and keep on the fearless mask. However this whole “fearless” act I have going on, well I was not that for a good part of today.

I am one of those people whose personality traits include: introversion and being highly sensitive (otherwise known as HSP).

Obviously, it sounds easier to stay home at this point. Right? I mean, I could have used pouring rain as an excuse. I have loads of excuses, besides the valid one of “people freak me out” (a whole new level of honesty, I know). I really do love people, friends, family, random strangers I connect with, as long as I have room in my human interaction cup.

I literally have nothing to offer anyone if my human interaction cup is full

Excuses Versus . . .

I had a moment of realization tonight. I do things like attend social gatherings, when part of me struggles with it, because I want to honor God with my entire life. If it wasn’t for God, I would not push past the fears or moments of struggling to face the world when my spirit is hung over (detailed explanation below). It’s pretty simple for me. They say you need a “why,” for goals and such.

Here is my why: I don’t want to miss out on opportunities to bless God, because I was too afraid. So, I wrestle between being fearful versus fearless. On one side, I have introversion where human interaction can literally suffocate my spirit. And on another, I have the hindrance of being a highly sensitive person where too much stimulation causes me to run away and never return if given the option.

I want Jesus, my King, to be lifted high in my life. And I know, God can do miraculous things – even when I am scared out of my mind.

… Jesus is why I can step out of my comfort zone and face peopling, even when my spirit screams “I am done for the week. I need silence!”

The Hang Over

With peopling and being overstimulated (noise, lighting, people, reacting more deeply, etc), I face something I call a “hang over”. It is simply from overwhelming my spirit. My spirit becomes intensely weighed down, that it is hard to interact with anyone in a meaningful conversation or watch a favorite show without adding to it. My spirit is just scattered, beyond overwhelmed, and struggling to just get through it. My spirit, in some ways, becomes paralyzed. Everything becomes difficult. That is the best way to describe it to a non-introvert.

… And, the answer is “recharging”. I have to take a “time out,” and allow myself to recover. I have to allow myself the time and space to process and recover from the past few days or weeks of human interaction and a heavy load of stimuli.

Jesus Christ, my Beloved Savior, is the One who walks me through this process of welcoming the new year and process through the past few days or weeks.

 

Tyndale

Befriend (Tyndale)

befriendScott Sauls has come out with a new book, and I am very pleased to bring it to you today in review.

In his book, Sauls opens up about the truth regarding friendship and even ourselves. While we all crave friendship on different levels, we were all made for relationships. Authentic relationships.

In Befriend, we are given direction and insight on how to pursue real friendships with others.

Sauls makes his case for befriending. In relationships, there are specific types. Many of us are familiar with one sided friendships. While we ache for a friendship resembling something that David and Jonathan of the Bible shared, we face a difficult reality. We find it difficult to have authentic friendships, where we can be vulnerable and build a common connection of two lives shared. I know, this struggle quite well.

Real friendships, for many of us, seems just too far out of reach. In the world we live in, surface level friendships seems to be what is made available to us. It seems to be the norm in the world of Facebook, to settle for inauthentic friendships. Let’s become unsettled, friends, and remember the gift of authentic friendships. In this book, we are reminded of the abundant beauty found only in real friendships. In real friendships, we find belonging and a support system.

We all want to belong. Even in today’s world, we can find the tools necessary to turn our relationships into something more.

This book hits home for me. I have written about my ache for real friendships before. I am loving this book. It has been exactly what I have needed to read. While I am not finished reading the book, I can definitely say I would (and do) recommend grabbing a copy to read for yourselves. Not only does it talk about authentic relationships that seem far away, I find a friend in Sauls. As soon as I began reading his book, I just felt like it was exactly what I needed to read. Sauls offers much needed advice.

Befriend reminds us the better friendships must include vulnerability and love.

There are twenty essays collected in Befriend. Not only are the chapters short and relevant, Sauls hits a different aspect of real friendships too, giving us a fuller picture of friendships.

Be sure to pick up your copy of “Befriend” today!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through Tyndale’s book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.