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Archive for March, 2009

U Wouldn’t… Class Holiness

In my daily reading I came across this verse (in Leviticus) talking about the rules for priests and this verse caught my eye:

6 They must be holy to their God and must not profane the name of their God. Because they present the offerings made to the LORD by fire, the food of their God, they are to be holy.

I began writing a note in my bible about my (and other pastors/worship leaders/church workers/etc) role saying, "We are called to holiness because we present what we do directly to God".

Then it hit me. The reminder that the application of this old testament verse totally changed upon the death, burial, resurrection and the subsequent birth of the person that been saved by Jesus. This verse is no longer a verse to temple/tabernacle priests (or to pastors, preachers and church workers). This verse is a verse to everyone who has asked Him into their life. Read this:

4As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him— 5you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

Did you read that? YOU are being made personally into a holy priesthood. If your life has been changed by Jesus, God is looking to you as a priest. Is that a trip or what? You may not consider yourself a priest but God does. You might ask yourself the question, "am I truly representing Jesus as a priest?". Most people would rather be spiritually blind to this fact and live below its truth, beneath the calling that Jesus has called us to, but the calling on your life as a believer (and a priest) is high.

You know, there are a lot of deep theological things happening here in this passage but let me break it down to today's subject:

Because you are a priest you must be holy to God. Because you are a priest you must not profane the name of God. Because your life is supposed to be an offering to Jesus (Romans 12:1, 1 Corinthians 10:31), that life must be one that is holy towards God.

How many times have I been in a situation where someone would be talking to a group of people (believers) and I come up and (seemingly) kill the party? They're all laughing and telling jokes that were obviously acceptable for them to hear and laugh at but were not acceptable for me to hear…

"You wouldn't want to hear this, Mike", (or see, do, go… you add the appropriate verb). "I mean, everyone else will think this is great and hilarious, but you wouldn't". And you know, honestly, they're right about one thing: I wouldn't normally enjoy it or think that it's funny. It's not because I don't like to laugh. It's not because I'm prudish. I think it's because there are just some things that are unacceptable behaviors for people who are supposed to be representatives of Jesus. My question often (in my mind) is, "how does this bring glory to God?".

The reason that they think that I wouldn't want to "see, hear or do" it is because we have what I'll call, "class holiness" (I think that I just coined a new term :)). 

How about this: I believe that God calls all of us to a higher level of holiness. "Class holiness", meaning, one level of holiness for a pastor and a lesser holiness for laypeople, leads to unrighteous living and brings everything and everyone to a lower level. It is my desire to inspire people to live their lives worthy of their calling, 1Corinthians 10:31 style.

Remember, if Jesus lives in you, you're a priest whether you like it or not.

(Oh, by the way… before all of my religious friends come out in full-force to support me "WholeHeartedly" for letting "them" have it may I point out that:

  • holiness isn't a style of dress,
  • a commitment to rituals
  • or a set of rules that you choose to live by that makes you feel superior to others.

Most of the time I have found that many who live what many in today's church deem a "christian" lifestyle (meaning they don't drink, smoke, watch "R" rated movies or listen to secular music) are far from living a holy life: many say inappropriate things to others that they wouldn't say to Jesus or display attitudes towards others which are far from being Christlike.)

Sunday Nite

I am SO wiped out tonite… seriously – my whole body hurts after today, but…

God is SO amazing! I don't know what to say except that I am so thankful to serve Him with You. Here's a quick Sunday Nite (hope you were there)

  • REally amazing day at hp today! Great crowds, great response…
  • My message this morning was one that touched me deeply. I SO want to engage people outside the church with the message that has totally turned my life in a different direction.
  • So proud of our musicians, singers and choir today! All 3 services were off the chain!
  • The cardboard testimony that Freda Pittman gave today was SO great. I know that it was not easy to share… so proud of her.
  • Our music today: Glory (Hillsong), Let Me Sing (Todd Fields), Saviour King (Hillsong), You are Good (Gateway Worship).
  • We saw 4 people accept Jesus today over the 3 services. Thank You, Jesus!
  • Had the priviledge of meeting new people today. Always love that!
  • Ummm… Go Tar Heels. All of you "haters" need to get a life. Final Four Baby!!!!
  • We had our Christian Kidz Have Talent Too Show tonite – great stuff there! I especially liked this dancer named Madison .

So proud of all of you… You knocked it out today! God is Good! Love you all…

Friday Nonsense (not really)

Friday morning, Henry's Blend in hand… Jesus on my mind… Sunday on the way (and my A.D.D. is kickin'!)

  • NPP Web jpg
    I cannot wait for Sunday! We are kicking off our brand new series, "K(NO)W PERFECT PEOPLE?"! This 3 week series that will culminate (or should I say EXPLODE!) on Easter asks the question, Is there any chance that someone could harshly label you a "friend of sinners"?
  • I'm excited that Pastor has given me the priviledge of actually kicking off this series. The study that I've done for the weekend has kicked my tail (totally beat!). I don't know why…
  • Easter is only 3 Sunday's away and I'm telling you right now to begin inviting that friend that you've been praying for, that family member, that work associate to attend hyde park with you on Easter morning. God is going to use that service to ROCK a lot of worlds!
  • There are many uses for piece of cardboard… ever seen one change a person's life? You will – Easter Sunday!
  • I can't wait to share with you next weekend HOW God is going to rock world and what part you may actually play in it. Truth is, God wants to use YOU, in our service on Easter Sunday, to ROCK people's worlds! Curious yet?
  • Loving the new song, "You are Good" which says, "Your kindness leads me to repentance, Your goodness draws me to Your side, Your mercy calls me to be like You, and Your favor is my delight! Everyday, I'll awaken my praise and pour out a song from my heart!". Have you poured out a song to Him today yet? I just did.
  • Speaking of songs… Here is a link to all of the music that we're doing since the beginning of the year.
  • For those of you who have prayed to receive Jesus since the last baptism: next baptism will be on April 26th (register here). I would also encourage all who have not had baptism by immersion SINCE they believed to go ahead and take the plunge – let me know if you're interested (register here).
  • Did you see ABC Nightline last night? They did a face-off asking the question, "Does Satan Exist" using Pastor Mark Driscoll and Annie Lobert debating philosopher Deepak Chopra and Bishop Carlton Pearson. I agree with @adamherod who said that watching Carlton Pearson "makes me sad". Amazing how someone who God used to use (I guess God used him – a lot of people claimed salvation under his teaching) could actually turn from the faith as he has. I think it's ironic that he would basically argue against Satan's existence – seems to me that satan himself got in his head. (You can watch the whole thing here - it will take a few but absolutely worth it.)

K(NO)W PERFECT PEOPLE?

NPP Web jpg
Question: Do you know any perfect people? Didn't think so… neither do I.

I don't know if you're aware of this or not but often times people outside of the church think that they aren't welcome here.

CRAZY, ISN'T IT?

For the next 3 weeks as we journey towards Easter we are going to look at the truth that there are No Perfect People – just people who are being fixed by God.

I bet you didn't know that a piece of cardboard could change someone's life, did ya? You'll see for yourself – DO NOT MISS THIS SUNDAY as we ask the question, "Why Does Your Teacher Hang With Sinners?"

Sunday Nite (and a men’s conference thrown in)

This will definitely be a short one tonite as I am beat – here we go…

  • Today was an amazing day at Hyde Park. I LOVE SERVING WITH ALL OF YOU!
  • All services were off the chain today.
  • We finished our "GSP: God's Stimulus Plan" series today. It's never easy to spend a number of weeks talking about finances. The thing that you always realize is that finances are often not about money – they're about the condition of our heart. I want to manage all that He has blessed me with to bring glory to Him.
  • Music in today's AM Services were: A New Hallelujah (Michael W. Smith), Jesus Paid it All (Kristian Stanfill / Passion Version), Counting on God (Desperation Band / Life Church), Without Him (LeFever).
  • We had "Night of Worship" tonite at 6PM. Tonite's set was: Glory (Hilllsong), Today is the Day (Lincoln Brewster), Shout to the Lord (Hillsong), A New Hallelujah, Here I Am to Worship w/ Call (Hillsong), Prayer Time, You Are Good (Gateway Worship), Jesus Paid it All, Counting on God, You Said (Hillsong). We closed by praying over our mission team who are leaving this Saturday for Senegal, West Africa.

On another note… we had a tremendous time worshiping with our friends at Arran Lake Baptist Church for the "Living Life Pure" Men's Conference. An unbelievable weekend of worship and EXTREME (and I mean unbelievably EXTREME) men's messages. I will never in my life forget the 2nd message on Friday Nite – EVER! I love being in a room full of men and hearing them lift their voices. And the steak they fed us…

  • I cannot wait to begin the new Easter Series this Sunday, "K(NO)W PERFECT PEOPLE". I cannot wait to share with you the part that many of you will play in our Easter Services.
  • Last thing… I was just thinking about all the new attendees that I had the opportunity to connect with – pleasure to meet you all! See you Sunday!