The Holy war is over

I’ve been pressing into personal worship for a few years. Often I’ll head into the Big Room, grab my guitar and worship. Just me, no one looking, no one listening except One. It’s been interesting. 

Sometimes I’m afraid to open my eyes, other times new songs bubble up, and sometimes nothing, just the discipline of leaning in. Many times my prayers, crying out, my heart exposed is given in song. Sometimes I just play softly saying nothing. 

When my notes and songs seemed to bounce off the floor… same notes, same songs, and my playing is so limited… I’ve continued to venture in, to seek His presence.

One phrase I’ve found myself repeatedly saying, “Jesus we need you as you really are. Jesus, be who you really are to us in this place. Walk among us.” Interesting phrase, Jesus be who you really are to us in this place. Walk among us.

He is salvation.
He rescues and saves.
He is redemption.
He is healing.
He is provision.
He is forgiving.
He is protection.
He is wisdom.
He is comfort.
He is power.  
He is mercy.
He is grace.
He is the one who holds all things together.
He is who He is, and so much more.
He is Jesus, King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

He has eyes of fire, yet there is kindness.
His voice sounds like many waters, yet He often speaks most powerfully in a whisper.
His Spirit is like a flowing river, yet often touches our lives like the early morning dew, or a soft spring rain.
When He walks among us He sees, hears and knows all things.
He is Holy… yet, He invites us into His presence.

One thing I do know, I want Him to be who He really is in my life, in my family and in my church. He is the One who gives us access to the Father’s love, presence and power.

This is amazing love! A love that gave the very best. A love that willingly sacrificed His life for others. We are now sons and daughters.

“I tell you the truth, anyone who believes has eternal life.” Jesus. (John 6:47)

At the moment we believe, we receive everlasting life. The life we now live is an everlasting life that deepens as we experience the love and the knowledge of the Father through the Son, experienced by the agency of the Holy Spirit. (I know run on sentence but couldn’t say it in another way.)

“This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” (John 17:3)
R.C. Sproul expresses the thought this way:
“The moment Jesus died, the instant the just one died for the unjust, the veil in the temple was torn. The presence of God became accessible to us. We now have access to His grace (*which brings peace) but even more we have access to Him. (*His presence) 

Now we can feel welcome in the very presence of a Holy God.”

The Holiness of God, R.C. Sproul
*my note

This is the good news Jesus brings… we have access.

My friend Stephen Bell states, “The really good news is that the Father… now has access to us!” This truth is most amazing.

His sacrifice for our sins brings peace. It’s settled. The Father, through Jesus can now joyfully draw near to us. Justice has been satisfied. Redemption is realized. Our sin has been removed. We can now boldly come. His resurrection to life, ensured our confident access into the presence of our loving Father and secured His access to us. This is good news!

To fear and yet to be unafraid is an interesting experience.

R. C. Sproul sums it up:

“But when we come, we must remember two things: (1) who He is; and (2) who we are.

 For the Christian the holy war is over; the peace has been established. 

Access to the Father is ours. But we still must tremble before our God. He is still holy.”

The Holiness of God, R.C. Sproul

A few months back, I heard a whisper as I worshiped, “If this was the only thing you did, would it be enough?” I knew the question was a probing question searching deep into my heart. I paused… I want you to be enough. I don’t know. I’m so driven, I strive so much. 

Months passed. I continue to go, worship… wait. 

I was in B-ham at a leaders meeting. The worship leader began to lead... the words, You are more than enough, popped on the screen. In an instant I was a puddle, I wept, no sobbed, was undone, heart exposed.

At that moment, I knew I wanted to be a worshiper the Father seeks. Jesus makes it possible.


Social Space

Read a great article this week in .Rev Magazine by Waltz of Granger Community…He is sharp, insightful and understands people. He quoted a book by Joe Meyers The Search to Belong Rethinking Intimacy, Community and Small Groups. A great book worth the read.

He mentioned spheres of relationship and levels of relationship moving from social to intimate. I really liked what he had to say. The church in general has removed the social safe place step. In our effort to get people connected we often miss the safe social place aspect and don’t understand that people are in process, are on a journey toward relationship with God and others. We tend to move people too fast and expect people to get relationships, worship, discipleship etc. I’ve heard this statement over the years, “If people are not fully committed to our church and to discipleship and evangelism I don’t want to invest my time into their lives.” It’s the highway or the bye way thinking… Not understanding the maturity process.

Hopefully we at the Vineyard understand.
We are developing worship spaces with the goal of deepening a persons intimacy with God.

Sunday at the Vineyard we have about 25 minutes of worship, familiar, easy to sing, God focused, Holy Spirit honoring and Jesus glorifying. Words are on the screen to help people sing etc. Our worship team does a great job of not meddling with people but gently leading. This is the first worship social space.

WOW Wednesday Of Worship is the second arena we’ve developed. WOW is designed to bring people a bit deeper. 90 minutes of uninterrupted worship, readings, dance, art, video. WOW creates a space for people move deeper together. It’s a corporate time where we seek to deepen our worship together.

God Encounter is the third arena. The worship experience is deeper still. We are together, but the emphasis is on a personal encounter allowing the Holy Spirit to deepen His presence in our lives. We also offer personal prayer for people to receive ministry from our prayer team.

All spheres are important and are intentionally created to help people move from the social, to the personal. Creating safe places is the challenge, as is understanding Vineyard, Dayton people.

Also, we attempt to apply the principles in our Connection Pathway.
our Track is
A Access Point a lunch with our leaders and an overview, vision casting.
B Beginnings membership sessions with key leaders explaining who we are, where we came from, what we do, why we do what we do. Where questions can be raised and answered.
C Community Groups where people can, if they desire to join a small group, some groups are long term some are short term
D Discipleship Pathway our training, growth and development track mainly worked out on Wednesday night training, classes etc and weekend seminars.

We are also launching Quick Connect

Creating a social entry level space, serving opportunities where people can serve together, build relationships and make a difference.

Below is some of the .Rev article geared toward our thinking. (my paraphrase from Waltz)
‘Your Corporate Story matters… The stories of bygone days are important, they reveal our roots help us form our identity. They anchor us.(I call them mile markers.) They remind us that we are not alone. People need to know how the church started. The first building. The moves, the reason we began Main Street a couple of years ago. The history before Main Street, The LEC to our now building, to our soon to be erected new building.

It’s extremely important they understand our compelling vision they can buy into. The stories celebrate family, and a sense of identity and belonging. Belonging is partly about embracing roots, heritage and beginnings. The second aspect of Corporate Story is our future together. How they can become a part and play in the game. What’s the vision for tomorrow?.. If a compelling vision is cast, then new and old together have an opportunity to be invited to help form the future. Then the impulse to belong will be greater. People want to belong to a story that is still being written.’

The article is worth the read. should be on soon.