Thoughts from the weekend:
Great morning yesterday. The was a tremendous spirit of praise - I was grateful for the presence of God's spirit.
Let me reiterate what I said yesterday. There is a huge difference between praise and worship.
Sometimes we think of praise as a "happy clappy" song, where we sing loud and fast - and we think of worship as a slow tune - where we slow everything down.
But it is much more than that.
Worship is where we acknowledge God for who he is. Not just what he has done but for who he is in our lives.
At to worship him, and acknowledge him for who he is we must know him. We must enter into relationship with him.
It becomes not just a verbal expression from our lips - but an attitude of our heart.
We are bowing down to God in our spirit. There are no thoughts in our mind but God. We aren't coming with a petition, a need or a request. We come in worship because we love God so much and feel the need to express that love.
Worship is a time of love.
God pours out his love on us and we pour out our love to him.
The waiting bride of the Song of Songs doesn't way, "I love him because he loved me, he saved me, he delivered me, he set me free."
She says, "This is my beloved - This is my friend. I know him intimately. I can describe him from personal experience."
Praise, on the other hand, is verbally praising God for his works of power and might. We praise God for he is a mighty God full of great and mighty deeds.
We celebrate what he has done in our lives.
Praise is a declaration, a victory cry, where we stand and say that the things that come into our world to plunder us will not rock us - we stand strong in God.
Praise celebrates God for what he has done - Worship connects to God as we are grateful for who he is in our lives.
Anyway...it was wonderful to hear the praises of God's people lifted up before God.
I have received several emails today, sharing of the way God ministered to them yesterday, and the fact that today that awoke, praising God.
We had a great life group last night....began watching a video series entitled, "Liquid, a fork in the road." We discussed the giants in our lives - and then had a great time of prayer.
I always leave our life group refreshed.
Saturday, I went to a life group leaders seminar at New Life Church in New Lennox. they have a beautiful new building (2003), and it really got me jazzed about our new facility and moving in.
One side note: I noticed how fast that area is growing. The area is ripe for a strong Pentecostal witness!
Anyway, Paul, Bob Konrath and I attended the meeting.
Amongst many wonderful principles that we learned, hear are a view that I want to share with you that I anticipate will be helpful.
Some “rules” for a good life group meeting:
- Remember that the time together is all about relationships
- As a life group leader (and host) you don’t have to have all the answers (in fact it is probably more effective if you don’t)
- Use icebreakers or some kind of lead in question to get people talking and make start feeling comfortable
- Prepare ahead and ask good questions
- Be open (I might add the word vulnerable) as a leader/host. Hope with open ended questions that go a little more personal by offering part of your own life
- Don’t be afraid of silence
- Close with a time of prayer
- Have fun!!!!!
Finally…..some important thoughts to share with your life group:
- There is to be mutual respect
- No one has to talk
- Only one person at a time talks
- Confidentiality is a must
- There is not such thing as a dumb answer or question
- No one is to dominate the discussion
Well, I am off to Japan on Friday of this week - and will be gone for 5 days. I am speaking in the largest Assembly of God church in Japan on Sunday....and going to the 50 anniversary of the Assemblies of God in Japan on Tuesday.
I will share with you some of the highlights when I return.
The Dallas Cowboys lost yesterday. They are just not a very good football team.
The playing calling at the end of the game was atrocious.
Kind of a bummer way to end the weekend....but.....