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Advent: welcoming Jesus

Advent-welcoming-jesus

If you grew up like me, you grew up in a home that did a great job of celebrating the birth of Jesus each year, but without much liturgy.  I didn’t grow up in a liturgical church so it should be no surprise that liturgy wasn’t a part of our our celebrations.  In fact, I didn’t really know what Advent was until I was a worship pastor at a church and my lead pastor said we should have Advent candles in our services this season.  I said, absolutely…then quickly googled “advent candles”.

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The Faith To Stay Still

faith-to-stay-still

Growing up in a pentecostal tradition I’ve heard a lot of pre-message sermons on faith.  For those of you who aren’t familiar with the pre-message sermon, that’s the sermon you get before the regular sermon.  It can be anywhere in the service, but pentecostal pastors like to give their congregants their money’s worth — so we normally get 2 sermons.  (Sorry for that rabbit trail…see I make a good pentecostal preacher).

So, as I was saying, I’ve heard a lot about faith — mostly in the context of moving or doing something.  We even have a phrase for it: stepping out in faith.  It’s a very biblical concept.  After all, Peter stepped out of the boat and walk on water (Matthew 14) — albeit for a brief moment, but nonetheless he stepped out of the boat.

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What Are You Worshiping

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The other day I was talking with a friend who said, “My favorite part of worship is when the drums build into an exciting climax.”  This is not an unfamiliar statement.  I’ve heard similar comments like this before — you may have too.  I love my friend and know he loves Jesus, but whenever I hear comments like this concerning worship it vexes my spirit.

Don’t misunderstand me.  I love music.  I love musical dynamics.  In fact, music isn’t musical without dynamics.  I believe God made us emotional beings.  I believe that to strip ourselves of emotions when we worship God devalues who God created us to be. (Everything in balance of course.)

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Cold Caves & Gentle Whispers

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“It’s not fair. I have faithfully served the Lord, why is this happening to me?”  This is something I have said many times.  I bet you’ve said it too.  It’s doesn’t take too long in life to begin to feel the disappointment of things not going your way.  The disappointment can so easily turn into depression, anger, and frustration.  

This is where Elijah found himself in 1 Kings 19.  Elijah has a great victory, but when his life is threatened, he flees.  Eventually he finds himself in a cave of depression.  In the coldness of the cave the “woe is me’s” begin to set in.

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