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Monthly Archives: April 2011

“Pierce My Ear”

Pierce my ear, is one of my favorite “worship songs.” It is very popular among our youth today, it is a song that is commonly sung at youth rallies, camps, and retreats. Recently I was asked to bring a lesson at a winter retreat over the topic. I have since been asked to put that lesson in writing, so, here is the short version 🙂

Pierce my ear
O Lord my God
Take me to your door this day
I will serve, no other God
Lord I’m here to stay.

For you have paid
The price for me
With your blood, you ransomed me
I will serve, you eternally
A free man I’ll never be.

This song has some deep Biblical roots. As was mentioned in the last post, we are wanting to take a deeper look at some of the songs that we sing in our worship to God Almighty. I’m afraid that many times we simply go through the motions in our worship. Our mouths are moving, words are coming out, but our hearts are far away from God (Matt 15:8) Let us examine just a few things about this song, and it’s origins.

Exodus 21:1-6- “Now these are the rules that you shall set before them. When you buy a Hebrew slave, he shall serve six years, and in the seventh he shall go out free, for nothing. If he comes in single, he shall go out single; if he comes in married, then his wife shall go out with him. If his master gives him a wife and she bears him sons or daughters, the wife and her children shall be her master’s, and he shall go out alone. But if the slave plainly says, ‘I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free,’ then his master shall bring him to God, and he shall bring him to the door or the doorpost. And his master shall bore his ear through with an awl, and he shall be his slave forever.”

This song was taken from this old testament passage. We see that a slave after serving for the set amount of time, could go out free. They could be whoever they wanted to be. They could develop their own career, start a new family, travel, they could live like they had only dreamed about, while being in slavery. However the slaves had a choice. They were not forced to go out away from their masters at the end of their time served. They could choose to stay with their master. If they chose to stay with their master, their master would “pierce their ear” as a sign that this slave, belonged to them forever.

How often have we mouthed the words to this beautiful song, without thinking of the commitment that we are making to our God? When we sing those words, we are telling our God, that we are “selling ourselves” into permanent slavery. We will never leave Him, we will never be free, we will never be able to leave His presence. He IS our master! And our entire purpose is to do His will in our life. “Slave” is such a bad word in our world today. It carries multiple negative connotations. Paul did not have a problem reminding Christians that we are to consider ourselves as slaves.(1 corinthians 7:22-23)

In this beautiful song, in the second verse, we find the phrase “for you have paid, the price for me”

As a child, I was informed numerous times that when I was “old” and had children of my own, then I would truly understand the love (John 3:16) that God had for me. Now that I have a little girl, and another baby on the way… I would love to say that I now understand the love that God has for me, but that is simply not the case. I am more confused now, than ever before. As I hold my baby girl, see her smile at me as she says “da da” I cannot even fathom the love that my heavenly father must have for me. To send his only son, to DIE for me, a sinner. Maybe that was what was intended by the “one day you will understand” statements. I now understand, that I will NEVER “understand” the depth of love that God has for me.

“I will serve, you eternally, a free man I’ll never be”

When we sing this phrase, do we truly mean what we are saying? Do we mean to tell our Father, that every minute of everyday for the rest of my life, and for all eternity I will be in service to Him, not myself? Do I mean it when I say, “A free man I’ll never be” Lord, I will no longer place my will, my priorities, or my “wants” a above yours? Do I mean it when I sing “I will serve no other God’s” Lord, I will never allow money to take your place in my life. Lord, I will never miss an opportunity to worship you because of a sporting event. Lord, you and you alone, are my God.

It is my hope, my aim, and my prayer that we will all take a true hard “self examining” look as we worship our God. May we put an end to the days when worship is “That thing we do on Sunday’s” and let us begin the days when worship is our way of life.

In Him,
Troy

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Posted by on April 25, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

The most beautiful sound on earth

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There are so many things in this life that bring us true joy. For instance, we enjoy going on family outings such as trips to the zoo, theatre, restaurants, camping, and vacations. Some enjoy video games, sports, or…. (insert your favorite activity here)

I know as a young husband and father, there are so many things that I am blessed with to enjoy. One of the most precious things I get to enjoy is to play with my 9 month old daughter. When she laughs and giggles as she smiles at me, my heart melts. I look into her pure eyes as we roll on the floor together playing with the toys (yes I enjoy playing with her toys:) I realize that there is little on this earth that can compare to this.

A couple of years ago I was fortunate enough to be able to attend a lectureship where there were 5,000 people sitting in the auditorium together. We all sat with our open Bibles as we were “soaking in” the lesson. I will confess, I do not remember what this particular lesson was about, however, what happened next I do remember.

I will probably never forget that sound, “The most beautiful sound on earth.” 5,000 Christians lifting up their voices in songs of praise to our God. I remember that sound like it was yesterday. I remember thinking that this was the best thing I had ever heard in my life.

There have been many times that I have felt this same way, even though the crowd I was in was much smaller than the 5,000 at the lectureship. I believe with all of my heart, that the size of the crowd has a much smaller part to play in our worship, than the state of the hearts of those doing the worshipping.

I am reminded of Matthew 14 when Jesus calmed the waters saying, “peace, be still.” all of those that were there, that had “little faith” they were terrified that they were not going to make it. Then they saw the true power that Jesus possessed.

Matthew 14:33-And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

Shouldn’t it be the same with us today? When we become convinced within our hearts that Christ “Truly is the son of God” we cannot help but fall on our knees and worship our God. Heartfelt worship among Christians is truly the most beautiful sound on this earth. I’m afraid far too often we fail to put our hearts in our worship. I am convinced that there is a direct correlation between the way we worship our God and the way we live our lives. The next several posts will be dedicated to helping us focus in our worship, and better understand the songs that we sing.

In Him,
Troy

Revelation 7:11- “And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God,”

 
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Posted by on April 15, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

“Messages From Home”

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When I was 8 years old I spent an entire week away from home. I was filled with excitement, and fear. I was excited because this was the first year that I was able to attend church camp. But I was terrified because this was the first time that I was going to be away from my mom and dad for more than a night or two spent at grandma’s (just down the street from our house.) I wanted to be at camp, but I didn’t want to be away for that long. This experience has helped me as a camp counselor. Every year we have those younger ones, that just simply miss mommy and daddy. I feel their pain.

My parents didn’t allow me to come home early, (even though I asked repeatedly.) They made me stick it out till the end of the week. And I am glad that they did. As I look back on this experience, I know that there was were two things that kept me going throughout that week.

#1. Letters/phone calls from home.
#2. My sister who was at camp with me.

I enjoyed getting those “messages from home.” They reminded me of my parents love, they reminded me of what was waiting for me at the end of the week, they reminded me… of home. Of course I wouldn’t have been able to make it had it not been for my sister. Every time she saw me, she tried to make sure I was “having fun” and if I needed anything. She was a great encourager, and a constant reminder of home.

I recently read an article about a soldier who just returned back home, after serving 4 tours. Needless to say, he was VERY happy to be back home with his family. When asked the question “How did you cope with being away so long?” he responded, “messages from home.” He went on to say that any time they had a chance, he would be contacted by his family and he would save the letters, and the pictures. He kept them close as a constant reminder of home.

As Christians today, we also have these precious messages from home:

John 14:1-3-“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.”

2 Timothy 4:8- “Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.”

Philippians 3:20-“But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,”

Revelation 2:7- “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.”

If you are anything like me, it is easy for you to become discouraged. Discouraged because we are surrounded by grief. We are surrounded by loss, emptiness, worry, natural disasters, violence, dishonesty…. Sometimes we just need a message from home. We need to be reminded that Jesus Christ, the very son of God, not only came to this earth, not only died for our sins, not only was raised on the third day, but that He is ALSO preparing YOU an eternal home!

As we look at the world around us, rather than being discouraged by what we see, we should be encouraged by the knowledge that this world is not our home.

I am so thankful for my brothers and sisters in Christ. Whenever I am around them, I am reminded of heaven, I am reminded… Of home. I am reminded that I get to spend an eternity praising my God in beautiful song. I get to spend an eternity in perfect fellowship with all of my closest friends. I get to spend an eternity at the feet of my God who created the universe. I get to spend an eternity at the feet of the one who died for me. Could I be any more blessed?

In him,
Troy

“Holy Father, thank you for another day. Thank you for sending your son for my sins. Thank you Father for your forgiveness and grace. Thank you Father for the promise that one day, you will bring me home. Help me Lord to stay strong in your work until that day. In Jesus name..”

 
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Posted by on April 13, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

“Don’t Judge Me!”

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If you are a Christian who has ever tried to lead a lost soul to Christ, or perhaps lovingly correct a wayward brother or sister in Christ you have probably heard the statements before. Statements such as “You are a Christian! You aren’t supposed to Judge!” many Christians today are crippled by statements such as these. They feel completely torn. On one hand they have a strong desire to reach out to the lost. On the other hand they don’t want to be accused of “Judging” so more often than not, they do nothing.

This truly is a puzzling question for many, Should Christians Judge? I want to briefly address the main passage of scripture that is used to say that we shouldn’t judge, and see if this is the message that God is trying to Convey.

Matthew 7:1-5 (ESV) “Judge not, that you be not judged.For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye?You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.

There are 3 observations I would like to make about this passage:

#1. This is a warning to critical Christians.

The people that Christ was addressing in this passage no doubt had a heart problem. They were a negative people. They were not content in just pointing out the sins around them. The were “speck hunting” specialists. They would ignore whatever facet of their lives needed changing, and seek out the speck in someone else’s eye.

We are often more critical of others, than we are ourselves. The people Jesus was addressing here in Matthew 7 are no different. In this passage it says in the same way, or the same measure that you use. In other words, stating that we will be held to the same standard that we hold others. Why is it that we are so harsh towards others, and so easy on ourselves? Let me call your memory back to King David in 2 Samuel 12. Nathan told David of a rich man, who took from a poor man, what little he had (rather than out of his abundance) to prepare a feast for a guest. Do you remember David’s response to this story? With vengeance and wrath in David’s heart, he responded that this man deserved to die! Do you remember Nathan’s response to this? He told David “You are the man!” This was not a compliment.

#2. Some judging is not only acceptable by God, but is commanded by Him.

Those that say those phrases mentioned above about Christians not judging people, either have never read, heard, or just completely reject the following verses. Jesus does not say to the man with a log in his eye, to “Get the log out of his eye, then mind his own business” Rather Jesus states then reason that he was to remove the log. “..and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” The purpose in focusing on ourselves, and our own sin is not only to benefit us, but also for us to be better equipped to assist others who are struggling.

John 7:24-“Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.”

#3. Jesus cares about the speck!

There are many who look at the surface of Matthew 7:1-5 and say, “Jesus doesn’t care about the speck! Jesus doesn’t care if I have just a little bit of sin in my life” They reason with themselves saying “As long as I don’t have a log in my eye” or “As long as I am not as bad as some people” then I will be okay.

This is simply not true. Once again, Jesus’ command to the log-eyed sinner was to remove the log from his own eye THEN remove the speck from another’s eye. You see, allowing a little bit of the world to dwell within us, even just a little bit of sin, is in no way pleasing to God! In fact we read in James chapter 1:27 That one of the characteristics of “pure religion” is to keep your self unstained or unspotted from the World!

Should Christians Judge? Yes! But it must always be the “Right Judgement” not, judgements based on appearances, not judgements based on race, political parties, or occupational positions. Our judgements must always be based on scripture. If something is sin, it is right for the Christian to call it wrong. However, our Judgements must always be done in a spirit of love, and gentleness.

In Him,
Troy

 
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Posted by on April 7, 2011 in Uncategorized

 
 
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