Tag Archives: worship

Does Agape Ever Come Under Fire?

Agape is a powerful tool and weapon. love3 While that may sound like an oxymoron, it really isn’t. So you ask the question, “How can love be a tool and a weapon?”

Jesus said that if our enemies were harsh and mean that our reaction to them should mirror that which they have done, but to “heap coals of fire on their heads.” What is this fire that He speaks of? It is the fire of Agape.

When you feel like your Agape is being tried and tested by those who would frustrate you to no end or get on your last nerve, remember that Agape cannot really be tested. It was examined, tested and tried on the cross, and it cannot be tested anymore. It has God’s seal of approval all over it.

Jesus said, “I have overcome the world and you will too because of the agape that I have and have instilled in you.” God said that His agape is shed or poured out into our hearts. That means that we have the DNA of agape in our bodies as a result of Jesus’ act of agape on the cross. Jesus said that the ultimate act of agape was that a man lay down his life for a friend. So if that is the ultimate, what are the simpler acts of agape before that? Anything good you do in agape for anyone is great. Be happy and encouraged by that!

You might think that someone is testing your agape by frustrating you or overwhelming you with their personalities or nuances. Nope. You can’t test something that has already been tested, tried and proven. What is happening to you is that the maturity level of agape is being tried. How much have you matured in agape?

Do people, circumstances and situations still cause you anxiety and frustration? Do you find yourself still dealing with jealously, aggravation and envy? If so, you have a whole lot more to learn and a lot more to grow in agape. However, don’t be dismayed at your progress. Agape is a growing process. It is one of those “line upon line, precept upon precept” things that the Holy Spirit teaches us in our maturity.

There will be a time when anxieties are a thing of the past. You will encounter life without frustration. You will joy in others delights and, in fact, you will be able to encourage them instead of being envious and jealous. Your life will be full of faith and creative ideas based upon the fact that you agape the one who created you, everything about you, everything that causes you joy and happiness, and He agapes you so much that He will delight in you as well.

Jesus’ prayer was to let it be done on earth as it is in heaven. Heaven is full of agape. Heaven is full of people who have equality in love. No one agapes one over the other. Agape is not judgmental, nor does it practice prejudice. Let’s begin to share that atmosphere of agape here on earth.

That’s what I think about it.

DTW-www.exaltationchurch.comeclogo13

Mary Magdalene; She Understood It!

tombMary Magdalene was the grateful woman who knew what agape love was. She had no choice. It overwhelmed her from the beginning of her walk with God. It absolutely did a major overhaul in her life. She went from turmoil to total peace. She understood what Jesus taught about agape. She found it to be a sweet solace to her spirit.

Mary was targeted early on in Jesus’ ministry. She was a prostitute, a woman of the street, a lady of ill repute. She was a member of the world’s oldest profession. She had no self-esteem. She had no respect from the community. She was just rubbish in the eyes of the religious world.

However, Jesus recognized that she had a problem. It was a huge problem. It wasn’t that she was intent on continuing her business out of greed and lust. It wasn’t that she felt this was the only thing she knew to do in life. No, it was because she was the carrier of seven demons inside of her. She was being controlled by the adversary. Jesus recognized this by His agape for her.

He didn’t need to go to some ministerial conference on how to win the un-churched and make the sinner feel comfortable. He didn’t need to evaluate the problems of evangelism and how to attract more people to Him. He didn’t try to figure out ways to stomp out prostitution in the city. No, He just agaped her. He knew she needed God; plain and simple.

When will we, as the church and church leaders, comprehend that it’s not about solutions and programs? It’s simply what Jesus said, “Agape people.” See, people want agape. People need agape. Agape is what altered Mary Magdalene’s life.

Jesus agaped Mary and cast the seven demons out of her life. She felt the agape and returned it to her Master. It changed the way she worshiped Jesus. Again, she didn’t have to have a worship leader telling her how to love and worship the Savior. She agaped Him with reckless abandonment of image and feelings. She wept over his feet and her tears washed the dust off. She dried them with her hair. That is agape.

She was the first at the tomb early before daylight came. Her actions show she understood it. She got it. She knew what agape was, and she lived it. She was moved with compassion toward her Savior. She knew her Lover’s voice. She knew the look in His eyes. She felt and knew His agape.

Jesus showed agape and she realized it was the ingredient that was missing in her life. It was the essential that would change her world; the very world as she (and everyone else) knew it.

Mary went from being a prostitute to being the first to see Jesus after the resurrection. How in the world could that happen to anyone, especially her? It’s called agape. Jesus wants His people to understand it, enjoy it and show others what it is. Like Mary, it will change you too. It will, in fact, change all of us.

That’s what I think about it.


DTW – http://www.exaltationchurch.comeclogo7

Christian Cannibalism On the Rise!

cannibal-zoomIt is so incredible to me how we have so many believers in our community, state, country and world and we still can’t agree on enough similarities to bring us together. If we would, that could ultimately make us such a powerful force in the world. This force would impact lives for the greater good of Jesus Christ.

I’ve been allied with groups that had “lines of demarcation,” not for unbelievers, but for believers. If you had long hair you couldn’t be a leader. If you listened to music where the strong beats were on two and four you were considered “worldly” and unusable in the church. (I’m not making this stuff up!) Clapping in the church was not allowed.

Now we have to have traditional or contemporary services to try to please everyone. The preachers must wear liturgical garb, suits or shirts that are not tucked in and jeans. The choir wears robes or their best attire or no choir allowed–only praise teams. People can wear jeans or what they want to or they must be dressed in suits, ties or dresses. The 11 o’clock hour on Sunday morning is the most segregated time in America. White people don’t know how to have “church” and African –American churches are just too emotional. We either know how to “flow in the Spirit” or we do not stand unless there is an asterisk beside that part of the order in the church bulletin.

We eat our own. We devour our brothers and our sisters. We consume that which we should be edifying. If we don’t agree with them, we become at odds with them. If they don’t agree with us, we are looked upon with disdain and contempt. If they don’t play by our rules we kick them out of the game of “church and religion.”

Can we not hear what we are saying?

Can we not see what we are doing to each other?

Where is the Christian leadership of our communities? Who is stepping up to the podium to say, “Follow me, we will get the work done?” Where are those who understand what it’s going to take to get Virginia and America back to where we trust God once again?

At this point we can’t agree on anything much less try to be a force for the enemy to reckon with. I am sorry that we cannot. We should be doing a much better job at getting along.

We have got to become less disturbed about theological differences and more concerned about attacking the adversary. Word here; our brothers and sisters in Christ are not our opponents. Let us vent our resentment where it should be vented; at Satan.

We have to be as David and say, “Is there not a cause?”

Let us resolve to make a greater impact for Christ beginning today than ever before.

That’s what I think about it.

DTW-www.exaltationchurch.com

A Church Building With A Dance Floor?

Musical Concert - Christian - clappingPastor, are you crazy? Nope, absolutely not. I’m more excited.

I’ve never heard of such! Neither have I until now.

You know, we speak about joy and excitement in our churches and that’s great. We want people to come to church use their spiritual and physical energies in praise and worship by lifting of hands, dancing, swaying or kneeling. But I have found there is a problem here.

We build our churches in the opposite extreme. It’s time we do something about that and I along with others plan on doing something about that.

We put pews and chairs so close to each other that there is no room for any of this during the praise and worship time. Our people can’t do what they would want to do when it comes time to fully expressing themselves to the Lord during the worship time.

David danced before the Lord. Others waved their hands and arms during worship. Many more knelt in worship. I want to see people have the physical freedom to do all this. Can you imagine a church with a large stage for the band and singers? Comfortable chairs on three sides with cup holders and a small flexible light so one could see their Bible?

Then in the middle is a huge open floor that where when the music starts people begin leaving their chairs and come into the open space called the dance or praise floor. This is where they can have enough room to do whatever they feel during the praise and worship time. Not everyone has to go there to worship, but at least you give them a place to do it. Lighting enhancement will make it even more conducive to praise and worship that will motivate and encourage a complete experience.

Then after praise and worship they will return to their seats and a round platform will be positioned to the middle of the floor where the preaching/teaching will take place “in the round.”

My worship leader sent me a video of a T-Mobile ad that was made in England. As I watched it, I said, “yes, that’s it.” It is exactly what I see people doing on the dance floor in my church. Wow!

Here’s the link; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mUZrrbgCdYc

I can see it. I know it can happen. I want to make it happen.

Exaltation Arena? That’s cool! That’s just God.

That’s what I think about it.

DTW-www.exaltationchurch.com

Traditional Versus Contemporary

worship9-02-07024small1

We are so spoiled as Christians. Amen, Brother

You drive to church in your bumper-sticker clad and religious license plate car. If you’re of the “elite denominations” it’s either a Prius or some eco-friendly, easy on the gas and no pollution because I believe in God’s green earth. Or, if you’re Pentecostal or Charismatic you’re driving a trick out Lexus, Mercedes Benz or Cadillac because God wants you to have the best, or a fixer upper that has been fixed up more times than the cars worth, that gives the resemblance of a James Bond automobile with all the smoke coming out the back and a bumper sticker that reads, “God Prospers Me.” Maybe you’re a Baptist and are driving a Ford, Chevrolet or Oldsmobile because you know your reward is not here but in Heaven. Come on now, preach it.

What ever the case may be, we’re all spoiled by our cars that we drive.

We go to the choice of our church according to our preference. If we want to have “church” we go to the biggest Pentecostal or Charismatic church in town. Should our choice be a little laid back we look for the sign that advertises two kinds of church; traditional or contemporary? Now if I wasn’t a church attendee, I’d have to ask the question what is the difference.

This is probably what I would hear.

In the traditional service the music is not loud, it’s not fast, we don’t read the words on the wall, we hold a hymn book in our hand and the sermon is not exciting or enthusiastic, it’s just targeted toward making me a better Bible student. It might just even be a denominationally scheduled homily that all the clergy use for that particular Sunday. In this service you usually wear suits and ties. You know that’s right, preacher!

In the contemporary service the music is loud, it’s fast  for a while, then it slows down, then it speeds up, then we repeat it several times, we raise our hands, we might dance a little and this might go on for about 40 minutes. We don’t use the hymnbook because it gets in our way of worshipping.  The preacher preaches an exciting positive message that causes me to feel good about myself. I can feel comfortable in this service because I can wear my jeans and tee-shirt.

Yeah even in our style of worship we’re spoiled. We’ve become like Burger King, we can have it our way. If we don’t we can find something that will suit our fancy.  Alright now!

Here’s the reason churches do it. Whatever it takes to bring more people in we’ll do it. Churches have gone the way of pleasing people instead of pleasing the Master.

So, have it your way.

Good morning, sir. May I please seat you? Traditional or Contemporary?  Suits or Jeans?  Hymns or choruses?  Chairs or pews?  KJV or NIV?  Air conditioning or window seat?  Feel good or step on your toes sermon?  Speaking in English or in tongues?  The list goes on and on.

When will it ever end? (Now you’ve gone to meddlin’ preacher)

Our services are contemporary.  I like that.

That’s what I think about it.

DTW – http://www.exaltationchurch.com