I want to first of all thank all of you who either pm’d, emailed, or personally told me of your appreciation of the last worship article. Here is the next in the series and I hope you can help others know about the worship services by passing along the opportunity to others you know. You can be anyplace on the planet, and worship with The Virtual Pew from the services provided at Mosaic Church in Wichita Kansas. It is a reminder of how big our God is, and how big our family is. Of course for those searching, for those looking at trying to get spiritual answers, you are always welcome to The Virtual Pew. I realize it isn’t always easy to go a church building. While we would encourage you to find a good church home, if you don’t have one, I would state, The Virtual Pew Virtual Sermon is a place to start. I would also remind you, we can work with you to make recommendations for church homes in your area. We have helped place people in homes all across the United States and a few in Europe and Australia.
God is good, as a result of his goodness; let’s enjoy some worship time in song. You are welcome to sing along, even in an office listening in on the headphones. Just don’t be too freaked out if at work and it freaks out those in the cubicle next to you.
It is my desire, at Mosaic Church, The Virtual Pew, and in my life, that Jesus is lifted up. Hopefully we all recognize that while we fail, Jesus is the way, he is perfect.
We Want To See Jesus Lifted High
One of my favorite worship songs is the Days of Elijah, I love the beat, the rhythms, and as my dear friend Keltic Ken would appreciate, I love the Celtic influence. While life seems to suck at times, the truth is, the day will come when Jesus takes his followers to Heaven. What a day that will be. As you sing along, or worship in silence, think of all of the trials in your life that will one day be gone, all the difficulty will be over. For those who know and have a relationship with Jesus, there is a hope that tomorrow will be better than today.
Days of Elijah
When I think of how good my Jehovah (Provider) God is. I am reminded of how I will one day be with him in heaven forever. I don’t know how many have ever seen the movie, The Polar Express, but there is a scene towards the end of the movie where you see all of the kids and all of the elves gathered together at the North Pole worshiping Santa. I think that is an illustration of what Heaven will one day be like, all of us who call Jesus Forgiver and Leader or Lord and Savior, alongside the angels, singing praise to the King of King’s the one who showed his love for us by offering his life up for us and giving us eternal life.
I Could Sing of Your Love Forever
One of the things I am pleased about is that at Mosaic Church here in Wichita we don’t pass an offering plate, at The Virtual Pew we seldom talk about our monetary needs. That don’t mean we shouldn’t be encouraged to give. I realize this sounds a lot like my dear friend Jesse who also does a cyber church, but I appreciate his spirit on this point. It is a joy, an act of worship to give of our time and finances to the work of God. If you are a part of a church, support that church. If not a part of a church, find a ministry that helps you, support them, if the Virtual Pew, fine, if someone else, fine, but realize, your gifts allow others to touch those in need. It also allows ministry to take place. I see the giving of my time and money as an act of worship, I actually enjoy it, go figure? Hopefully you do as well.
My prayer, Father you are such a wonderful God who has given so much. Let us show a little of our gratitude in the way we are willing to give to others whether it be our time, or our money. In Jesus Name I pray, Amen.
There is an older song I love as I am awed at the goodness of God. Stand with outstretched arms if you want. Realize the goodness of God. During the end of this song there is a period of instrumental music, use that time to pray, thanking God for all he is.
I Stand in Awe
You know, kids are often left out in the worship experience; it can be a dull experience if we aren’t careful, it doesn’t have to be that way. This next song is a great song that shows how much fun worship can be. As we get ready to go to today’s message, it is more than appropriate. Don’t be afraid to be as a small child. Find the guts to become as a child, even in worship. Have you done that; let’s see as I want to hear you sing out loud this next song.
Now that was fun, if you really did get into it, you may have been up dancing around, maybe even dancing with your kids who could see that you aren’t afraid to be a big kid yourself. Now is the time to take a break, get a snack, make a phone call, and go to the bathroom, then come back, sit down, and read the rest of the sermon.
Did you have a nice break? Are you ready for the message, let’s pray. Holy Spirit Come, Holy Spirit Move, Father give us ears to hear what you would have us hear today. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.
Today’s message is called, Becoming as Child. It is another part of the worship series we are doing, and is a continuation of the series from the Back to the Basics series.
There is a video I want love you to watch prior to the start of the message. Take the time, watch, and learn.
Become Like A Child
You know, one of the things I try to do is read the Bible and apply it in a practical, real way. One of the things that always amazed me is how some people make the concepts of the Bible so super spiritual, yet leave out the simple basic concepts. One of those concepts is what it means to become as a child. The above video touched on various subjects that I want to touch on as well. The question I am going to ask, is have you ever thought of the benefits of becoming like a child again? What does it mean when Jesus makes the point of becoming as a child?
One of the things I am impressed with as I read the Bible is God’s use of metaphor. The use of metaphor and allegory takes place from Genesis to Revelation. One of the things you see especially in the New Testament is the use of children as an illustration.
In the metaphor of children there are things for each of us to think about. One is that Jesus is speaking of children, in various ways related to age. Now in looking at age, or thinking about age when thinking of children we need to realize that Children have always been children. When you see a kid playing, having fun, sneaking around, doing all of the things we are accustomed to, that is typical behavior for kids and has been for thousands of years.
Psychologist Sigmund Freud’s view of Child development is largely consistent and not restrained by time. In other words, his theory on the development of children is something that has withstood the evaluation of many others. Despite what some issues some may have with Freud on various points, his views on child development is widely accepted. Even contemporary Christian Psychologists Dr. James Dobson borrows on this concept in his writings and presentations. We can see various stages in the development of a child and those of us with children have experienced some of this, whether through the terrible twos, or the sweet teens. We know there are developmental stages to a child’s life.
When Jesus is speaking in many places he is speaking and using children as metaphor, but the concepts are the same, anyone, at any age, can become as a child. Obviously Jesus is seeking to bring people into the kingdom with some of the illustrations he uses. He wants people to experience the best of life, not just the minimal. In that experience, he often uses children as an illustration.
We have to think about some of the illustrations Jesus uses; it is easy to overlook their meaning. The following is such a passage.
Matthew 18: 1-5
About this time the disciples came to Jesus and asked him who would be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Jesus called a child over and had the child stand near him. Then he said:
I promise you this. If you don’t change and become like a child, you will never get into the kingdom of heaven. But if you are as humble as this child, you are the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And when you welcome one of these children because of me, you welcome me.
Notice that Jesus was responding to a question from his disciples about heaven. Can anyone tell me what the primary purpose of heaven is for kazillions of years? It is to worship. I challenge the concept or component of worship, Jesus is in part illustrating, starts now and with the attitude of a child which we must take on in our life experiences. Note the concept of change, metamorphous that has to take place. We must become as a child. Becoming as a child is critical to getting into heaven. We must welcome the behavior of a child into our own lives.
While we glimpse over this passage, we have take the time to get to the place where we try understand some of the basics of what it means to be like a little child. We must learn to apply these concepts into all areas of life. This is something to apply in our lives if we are to get into heaven. It is the start of what will eventually lead to a heavenly worship experience.
When looking at this as a command, we need to ask ourselves, what does it mean to be like a little child? In part it means to trust God like a small child trusts their parents. Children trust parents in all kinds of ways. Or at least they should. In understanding the relationship between parents and children it has become difficult because of the poor role models we see in society. Unfortunately, the family desired by God is not the model we often see. We don’t see it because we live in a broken world.
Remember Christ and his Spirit are mighty counselors, they are the great physicians. There are no deductibles and the premiums are paid. The coverage is full and you don’t have to wait for it. The insurance policy provided by God is perfect and pays complete dividends.
I love the illustration of children reaching up to their parents when they want something. It is one of the reasons I believe we are encouraged to raise our hands during worship. Let me ask the question, why does a child reach up to their parents? I think it is for various reasons, they trust their parents, they love them, they want to be held, they know their parents will protect them, it is fun, and there are many more reasons. You can even insert some of your own reasons here, they are all appropriate.
When looking at what it means to become as a child, we need to think of the concept where we need to love unconditionally: We can’t attach strings to our love for God or others. This one is tough, we know God’s example, it is hard to be like God, but remember we are applying this to worship, and we can’t let our feelings at the moment, be a condition of how we worship God in the moment. One of the things we find out, is when we worship God, even in the hard times, God finds a way to reach down, and pick us up.
We need to find joy in God’s creation, no matter where we are in our lives. We tend to focus on the bad instead of focusing on what God can and has done. Some churches say or imply that we are stagnate, aren’t moving, aren’t doing what we want God to do, and so forth. This is generally true no matter where one may go to church. We have this attitude despite the need to work on our relationship with God and learning to love each other. It is as if some see little or no value in relationship with God and each other. We can talk about being different, but there comes a time we have to be different.
One of the ways to be different is to look at what has God done for us. For many, you may be able to look at the number of visitors God continues to provide. You may look at the space you have. It is easy to overlook your facility if you have one. Look at the things your church is working on. Are there positives? Look at the positives not just with the church, but look at the positives in your life. There are these things and many others that we should focus on. Another point, remember God isn’t just a congregational God, he is a personal God. Don’t just look at what he is doing in the life of the church, but look at what he is doing in our life. Odds are, if we don’t see him working in our life, we won’t see him working in the life of the church because we are the church.
When we get to the place where we are stagnating in our worship and in our lives, we need to ask God for help. We all need it sometimes; there is nothing to be embarrassed about. Remember the examples of children. We seem to get so caught up in pride, we often forget we have a God who owns it all and can hear our prayers, knows our hurts, knows our desires before we even ask. We need to remember that requests and sharing our hearts is a part of worship. In this, realize while prayer is the prelude to revival, it is also a huge part of worship. It is critical for each of us to hear, if there is a problem in our life, we will never be satisfied with any church. While churches may have issue at times, the overwhelming majority of time the problem is with the individuals who make up the church. While we often place the blame on our church for our inability to worship, or grow, it is the person in the mirror that is the problem most of the time.
Sometimes we get caught up in tradition, when we do, we should try new things, listen to what God may ask us to try that is different. We get so caught up in old traditions we forget there may be more for us than we realize. I think of kids at Christmas time here. All of those Christmas presents, how long does a child stay focused on a single thing? It is through many experiences that we learn to appreciate various things, and ultimately find our niche. If you don’t normally raise hands during worship, try it. If you normally clap, be reflective in worship. If you normally raise hands, try something different. Remember worship isn’t about us, it is about us giving to God, find a way to make it the most meaningful gift you an offer, after all, God deserves it. Part of trying new things is so God can give us new things. It isn’t why we do it, but one of the benefits.
In the long run we need to ultimately believe God can do anything, because he can, because he does. We have to have big hearts, and big areas of belief, just like children. Why? Because God demands it from us, not because he wants to horde over us, but because he wants to show us that he is God.
One of the things I want to illustrate as a final point is that in becoming like a child, we often have to undo what we have become. Society tells us how to behave, what to do, we have our images of life we have been told how to paint, and despite that we should have our own dreams God has given us. We all have our own talents God has given us. We have our own way to worship, we have our own individual relationship with God, yet many tell us what their expectations are of us. We are told that these other views, these other practices are the mature things to do, but are they really the things God wants us to be, or become?
In closing, this is one of my favorite songs written by one of my favorite performers Harry Chapin. While this is a different version, the message is still there. Watch the video and think if you have allowed others to tell you how to paint your life?
Flowers are Red
As we get ready to dismiss today, I want you to realize, God still moves mountains. Let those mountains of struggle be moved in your heart. May the traditions of the past that deserve to stick around stay, let the new traditions that God has for you, start. May you become just like the child Jesus wants you to become.
Did You Feel The Mountains Tremble
Father, bless each soul that took part in this message, be with them today and through the week, let them become as excited to serve and worship you as a child is on Christmas Eve. Bless them, bless us all. In Jesus name I pray, amen.
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