Worship by definition is to acclaim and make much of one or thing that is worthy of praise, honor, glory, attention or focus. Worship sits deep within the heart and when given opportunity, explodes with expression, not just about that which is worthy, but in honor of and toward such worth. Think about this, do you worship Christ or something/someone else? Are you invested with every fiber of your being in the glory of Jesus Christ? When you gather with the Saints of Christ each week, do  you come to make much of and hear Christ?

Jesus says that out of the abundance of the heart that one speaks from the mouth. So, when preachers preach, that which come from their mouths is what they worship. It is becoming more difficult to hear Christ and His truth and see His face in preaching. When Christ is absent from the text which reveals Him, the one proclaiming such fails to herald the One of true worth and instead places his own treasure at the heart of all things. Paul says in Romans 1 that people suppress the truth by unrighteousness and worship created things. I believe that many Christians love themselves and “church work” over Christ, thus, they keep sitting and maintaining worldliness as religion instead of true worship. So often one can hear sermons centered on man’s work, man’s worth and man’s well-being which are guilty of promoting idolatry. Beloved, learn to hear truth and lies and know the difference. Sinner, come to the One who alone is worthy of all praise.

An old hymn rings true to my ears each day I ponder the glory of Jesus Christ… “And the things of Earth grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and and grace.”  So how do you know? Well, when you stand in awe of God, nothing else is in focus. Not even you! Praise not the content, pastor, service, music, feeling, friends, or anything else. Praise the ONE who is HOLY and who is Worthy of Praise. Run from anything else, it is a terrible thing to worship idols.

To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen. (1 Timothy 1:17 ESV)

For His Glory by His Grace,

James

Ineffable.

Thinking on such seems foolish.

Considering the task surely a fool’s errand.

Subject this to the God of Heaven.  Unknown, Unknowable, Indescribable.

YET, He who is at His side makes Him known.

The SON perfectly knows the MIND of the FATHER.

The Spirit is GIVEN the Son without Measure.

The Spirit and the Son give life.

The Spirit Prays for us.

The Spirit reveals God to Us.

The Spirit rebirths us.

So, the worship of God is fully known in the face of the LOGOS come to Earth, Jesus, the Eternal Son who is GOD!

But even in knowing, ETERNAL LIFE GIVEN CERTAINLY, there is an inability to FULLY encapsulate the essence of the nature of the glory of God. Therefore, looking, seeing, knowing, believing, loving, hoping… they all are still yet a shadow.

Why? Because even when the fullest of our minds and souls see and savor, we are awestruck, unable to speak past the whispers of wonder locked behind our language and thought.

Now to HIM who is able to do far more than ANYTHING we could ever THINK or ASK…

We worship in SPIRIT and we worship in TRUTH. THe spirit alone allows a peek into the unknowable. Jesus reveals fully. He is truth. And when we are unable to see what we can see and unable to relay… we see and are satisfied knowing that our bold affection is that given to us by GOD. Through God the Spirit. God the Son.

I digress that I may rest in the unfathomable; knowing what I know of that which is not knowable yet known… 🙂 I love this. No, I love Jesus.

 

Writing for God's GloryWell, if one had to know, I really have never written, just played around with some semi-quasi-halfway syntax and called it writing.  The breath of my pen has exhaled with not even a vapor of expression remaining and at the end of this sentence I could stop and hit delete.  Seriously, well… more like honestly, I don’t write much anymore because I have more drafts in books, files and on my blog than I actually have published.  I look at everything I want to say and think, “I don’t really want to say it and if I did, I want it to be perfect.”  To this I confess that I have a pride issue when it comes to writing.

Yes, pride.  Not the, “look at my great prose and covet” but more like, “if I don’t get this perfect then I am a loser” pride.  Yes, pride is the core reason I have not completed much of the writing that I really would like to publish.  Two finished manuscripts, many pamphlets, articles galore and yet I sit here writing about how I don’t want to write.  Now as I talk to myself about this issue I have several thoughts that are ringing in my ears that need to be pressed into the pad of this article.  Why do I feel this way?

SOCIAL MEDIA

I believe the draw of “interaction” has overtaken the allure of intimacy in writing.  Thorough and insightful script seems fruitless in today’s social sphere and if it can’t be said in 140 characters, it probably isn’t worth saying.  No one is going to read it anyway.

BACKLASH AND NASTY PEOPLE

There is no more etiquette or politeness any longer among opinions and conversation has been devoured by the cookie monster of “hear me, hear me” to the point that most people with anything useful are fearful of having to deal with all the mess.  Even if the comments are off, it doesn’t take the heat away.  I especially enjoy the rebukes and wickedness poured over people’s heart-felt testimonies as if anyone ever asks for input in the first place.

YOU DIDN’T SAY THAT

In the end with everything being said, it’s hard to actually have an original thought.  In today’s googley  circles, nothing is precious and there are some out there that would rather steal words than anything else.  Who cares?  Well, let’s just say if someone who stands against everything you ever did stole your words then someone else found them in your mouth, you would be quoting them right?  Meh.

LEARNING VS LAUGHING VS LOOTING

Writing for the sake of teaching is mainly what I enjoy, but it seems that people would rather laugh or take advantage of a controversy and “loot” the wave to the center of “likes” and “&^%$@#&^!@” listed on their blogs and social pages.  Come on, who doesn’t enjoy having 4893 friends that they have never met comment and like what they didn’t even say to begin with but shared what someone else didn’t say about what someone else said about what their other friend who they never met said about what they didn’t hear anyone say.  You know?

SUBLIME GLORY

At the core of it all though is the fear that something is too precious and glorious to waste.  That the object at the tip of the pen is so concerning with divinity and the beauty of ineffable majesty that no amount of paper and ink could do it justice.  It seems that sometimes it just cannot be said rightly so is it better to not say it at all?  I think this is truly where I sit, worrying about whether or not my service to the glory of God and His word, doctrine, et al in my writing is even effectual to the praise of His glorious grace.  Is it even going to partner with His purpose to engage the mind of the saints to a greater seeing of His wonder?

You know what?  It doesn’t matter.  If nothing else, a partnering with God’s great work in small and piece-milled ways will outshine the grandest of debates on the most divisive issues of man.  The majesty of Grace will devastate the minds of Americans who work to the end of their fingers to produce yet another wasted effort against the grain of the cross of Jesus Christ.  The smallest drop of blood from the Savior is heavier and weightier than the chasm of the cosmos and the doxology of silence in the face of Holiness is louder than the highest gathering of the greatest people for the greatest cause.

So, I desire to write for the glory of God, for an audience beyond my knowledge and sight and to do what I can, if nothing else, to catalogue the Master’s fingerprint of my own heart as I encourage all the saints to do the same.  What would happen if the children of God for one season all praised Him in their words?  I cannot even imagine.

For His Glory by His Grace,

Pastor James

This series contemplates the reality that in so many circumstances, the people of God act and live as though the Gospel has no power in their lives and in as much, the Gospel must not work.  Over eight weeks in preparation for the “Horrors of Christmas” (wrath, judgement, horror and hell) series, we have discovered that the Gospel IS power in the life of the church and when we fail to rest by faith in the gospel of Christ, we are the problem, not Christ.  Worship with us through this look and pray as God prepares us to move into Titus in January.

 

 Worship

Worship is one of the wonders of the Christian life creating awe, an opportunity of expression and a sense of overwhelming joy that is unsurpassed.  This joy is fully known because of Jesus Christ, the One and only Son of the living God who created all that exists for His glory.  Jesus, in His glorious and triumphant life, death and resurrection, has secured the eternal forgiveness and life for all who believe.  Because of this great work, God is revealed to the lost sheep that they might be saved.  From the beginning of time, God has established Himself as the object of great worth, praise, adoration and reverence.

Though our current attitude toward worship changes from season to season and generation-to-generation, the scriptures teach us all that is needed in order to understand worship, participate in worship and celebrate Christ who is the object of our worship.  Worship, in a nutshell, is praising something because of its worth.  As the church, we understand that the only one who is worth anything in this universe is the one who created it all, the Lord God Almighty who has made Himself known through His Son, Jesus the Holy Anointed One of God.  These lessons will engage the mind and the heart in the action of worship and allow the learner to look deep into the cavern of their soul and discern what is the greatest joy and affection found.  They will be able to see clearly God’s plan for worship through His creation, His holiness, His worthiness, His character, His justice, His mercy and His love toward His children.

Paul says in the book of Romans chapter 8 that nothing can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.[1]  Therefore, we must now take time, to view scripture through two lenses:  a lens of theological truths, and a lens of consequences of worship.  Then we will understand the great God worthy of great worship!

Continue reading “A Few Thoughts on Worship Through the Scripture”

Thinking back on Thanksgiving day is sometimes a somber time.  It reminds me of the reality of even the poorest of poor have so much in God’s providence, especially in America.  It reminds me of all that God allows us to have, dream of and establish in our lives and at the same time, it is a conviction of these things.

I was considering my short life thus far this morning and this thought came to my head, “When my life is over, whenever that may be, I want those who knew me to surely grasp where my absolute affections laid.” As this thought mulled over in my mind for about twenty minutes, I begin to sort through affections and places I give my attention in life to see what others might say.

Sadly, I have been shown the real and present need of God’s grace in that I have too many affections that divide my time for the glory of God.  I guess that is why Paul speaks so bold in regards to giving “glory to Christ” in all things and why Jesus speaks of “seeking first the Kingdom of Heaven” so that our lustful hearts will continually strive in His power to love Him above all things.

This kind of thinking requires, for me, a listing of things that often times get in the way of my ultimate treasure who is Christ and can easily be mistaken as my absolute affections, especially if I am not here to defend against them.  So for the record and for my own worship, I wanted to expose a few of them that maybe someone else might glean for themselves some idols.  I am also aware that many who read this will say, “this guy is crazy, these are not “wrong” to love”.  And you might be correct, but be warned that if you love them above Christ, they are your treasure and HE IS NOT.  God’s mercy abounds in our unbelief and ignorance – praise be to God!

My short list of affections that sometimes take first chair can easily be seen in my children and my bride.  Although I am to love them as Christ loves the church and lead my children in the ways of the Lord, my family is not Christ and I do not want to be known for loving my family above all things, but second to Christ.  This is a problem with many Christian families in that they put themselves and their relative homes in front of the gospel of Christ and in turn become worshipers of the idol of family.  Something interesting to note is that the children in our care are given to us by God that they might grow up and “leave” the parents and “cleave” to another thereby displaying a miniature picture of the gospel.  Then our marriages and theirs, are to reflect the eternal nature of the gospel of Christ and will one day cease.  This tells me that even our families are dying things and our affections for them above Christ is a dying affection placed on perishable things.  Something to consider.

With this being said, our entire purpose on this world is to give glory to Christ and long for the day when we see Him face-to-face.  That day when all that we have done is over and what we have left to do is worship His majesty.  This is the legacy of a true child of God, to leave behind an unmistakable reality that their affections were for Christ above all things and my prayer is that my dying day would usher in that thought into all who morn by departure.

I read through 2 Corinthians as I finish this post and resign with these words:

But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you.
Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, “I believed, and so I spoke,” we also believe, and so we also speak, knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence. For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.
So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
(2 Corinthians 4:7-18 ESV)

For His Eternal Glory

James H. Tippins

Although my title gives a little insight of my ability in the fine art of grammatical usage, the meaning should stand on its own.  (I hope).  Today I received a call from a brother in Christ that I have never met looking to answer a question about Matthew 22:37.  The question revolved around the teaching of Jesus from Deuteronomy 6:5 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.

This passage in Matthew parallels Luke 10:27 and Jesus is specifically talking about a part of God’s law that the Jews knew well and repeated twice each day by the faithful.  God’s word in Deuteronomy is talking specifically about the essence of the believer’s love for God.

Although one might be able to consider the different “parts” of a person and allocated spiritual meaning behind each one, the text is plainly revealing that all of a believers being, even strength or efforts, are to be encapsulated by a passionate and spontaneous affection for God.  In the context of the Gospels, Jesus is making sure that the Jews understand that their hearts toward loving God will also follow with their loving others.  You cannot say you love God and hate your brother… (1 John)

The primary question from the call was, “who is Jesus talking about here?”  In essence, and plainly, the law speaks of God the Father, for this is the only way the Jews knew God.  However, the New Testament brings some real light to how God works and acts in three persons as the trinity.  So, to be brief, when believers love God with their entire being, then they are also loving the Son and the Spirit for they are the same God.

In light of New Testament teaching of Jesus, He said He was God and as we see in John’s writing, Jesus will be the focus and object of our adoration and worship as Jesus is the only “One” that can make God known to us.  The Eternal God-Man Jesus is the image of the invisible God!

Colossians 1:15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. 19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.