Sunday, February 13, 2011

Flight Lesson

2Corinthians 11:15 So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.

While flying at high speed fighter pilots are taught how to keep their perspective while flying extreme maneuvers. It’s easy for a pilot to become disoriented while making loops or rolling his jet during high speeds. You can get so caught up in the moment you forget where you are and the power you have in your hands. In each situation you have to know where you are as well as the equipment.

Many years ago a friend of mine took me up in a vintage 1941 Stearman Bi-Plane. I loved to fly so he invited me to go with him one day. We took off from historic College Park Airport in Maryland. As we began our flight, climbing higher and higher, he asked me a question, “Do you like rollercoaster’s?” Yes, I said. Wrong answer. He throttled forward, banked the plane to the left then right, dove towards the ground and pulled straight back on the stick and all I saw was blue sky. As we climbed the engine struggled and I watched the propeller stop spinning. I felt the control stick jam into my left thigh and we rolled over and began a barrel roll toward the earth. All I remember thinking was, ground, sky, ground, sky as we tumbled for what seemed a lifetime. My friend regained control and as we leveled out he pulled back on the stick again and we made a complete loop. As we reached the top of the loop, upside down, I flung my head back against the head rest to see the ground below me. “Breath!” he shouted over the headset. My weight pressed me against the seatbelts, as we came around the loop I felt weightless, then as we approached the bottom of the loop I was pressed down into my seat. My head was spinning but by now I was screaming like I was on a carnival ride. What a rush! I’ll never forget it.

My friend was a trained pilot and instructor he knew what he was doing. This wasn’t his first time. I wouldn’t not have gone on that flight with just anyone, I trusted him. The same is true on our walk with Christ. We must be aware of who it is we are taught by as we learn and become Christ followers. There are some popular teachings that sound religious and they include things about “God” but they are far from the truth. Worship God, His son Jesus Christ and the forgiveness of our sins that comes through the blood Christ shed on the cross. That’s it. It’s not a diet, you don’t have to go through anyone else to get it, it’s not church activities, or a special cause that gets you closer to God. It’s Jesus Christ only.

How do we prepare ourselves for this journey? The Bible has the words we are to apply to our lives daily. Getting involved with a group of Christ following believers is paramount to your success as you live and work in the world around you. Find a church that teaches from Gods word and learn how it applies to your life, each and every day. It’s a weekly relationship you can’t do without. When you learn how to apply Gods word to your life it will begin to provide the meaning and substance God created you for. Ask Christ into your life today by asking Him to forgive you of your sins and allow Christ first in your life. Ask Jesus to make you into the kind of person He wants you to be. You will learn this by associating with other Christ followers and learning Gods word from the Bible. It’s a lesson that will help you pilot life’s journey.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Everyone's A Stage

Recently I was sitting in the chair at the barbershop getting my hair cut. My barber is never short on stories to tell. I’m usually there first thing in the morning to get a haircut so the stories are fresh for that day. Some mornings I don’t feel like talking and will just sit quietly in the chair while he snips and trims my hair and I’m out the door without much conversation. During my most recent visit he told me something that was so profound it bears repeating.

This particular morning I was sitting in the barber chair retelling a story about a local group of churches that had put out a call for help for an event they wanted to put on and then refused help when I had offered services from our ministry. My barber put in the proper light. “Have you ever heard of the Opera ministry”, he said. “No”, I replied. “Well, he continued, it’s all about Me, Me, Me, Me!”

Hebrews 13:15 Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. ESV

Now I don’t think that most ministries are selfish or self-centered rather they are not always equipped to know how to work with others that have resources to help. Churches just don’t naturally work together. Guarding against pride and selfishness is something I have to work on daily in my own life and ministry operations. Ministry leaders will tell you that you must be focused on your objectives and not let anything or anyone distract you from your calling. For example many times someone has said to me, “This is the way we do it at our church”, or “nobody around here will like that”. Even better yet I’ve heard it said ‘church is not a performance’, usually in reference to various styles of praise and worship music or even preaching styles. You right, church is no place for a performance, and it’s a place for worship, yours’ and mine. Many times the music at a Christian concert has moved me to go beyond just watching and listening to worshiping and at times music in a traditional church has lulled me into a sleepy comma as the organist tries to keep up with the pianist and the congregation is a measure ahead of the choir director and everyone’s face is down inside the hymnal muffled by the pages. It’s not about music or message rather worship.

Matthew 15:8 "'This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; ESV

Recently as I was writing this, a local church asked me to sing for their Sunday morning worship. The church, two months prior, had lost its pastor and youth minister at the same time, basically pressuring them out because of their efforts to create a more contemporary format. They also informed me they don’t do the “Praise and Worship thing”. As I began to sing on Sunday morning, by the way, I was leading everyone in traditional hymns and asking them to sing along, we had the words on the screen but it was all traditional music. I noticed four people walk out. On Monday one of the deacons and his wife called me and told me in a most hateful manner, I quote “did you see those people leave? Well they left because of you!” Wow, thinking to myself. People refused to worship in song so they walked out and they blamed me. They were not there to worship me rather they were there to worship the Living God and couldn’t even do that. I couldn’t believe my ears; it became clear why the staff was gone.

I was standing on the football field at Dolphin Stadium in Miami during the Half Time Show of Super Bowl 41, I watched Prince perform to a sold out crowd in the pouring rain. As he began to sing one of his most popular ballads, Purple Rain, seventy-five thousand screaming fans rose to their feet waiving purple glow sticks and singing at the top of their lungs. Standing there on that field, in that moment gave me chill bumps down to my toes; I can still see it and hear it in my mind. Even people that didn’t like Princes music were on their feet swaying to the music, it was a moment you’d never forget.

Why then can’t we worship our Creator and Savior with the same fever? God made you his instrument, so you stand on the stage of His worship and raise your hands, sing your song, lift your eyes to the Maker of the Universe. You will never be without an audience; He is watching and all of creation applauding your worship.
Ephesians 4:12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ,

Monday, February 07, 2011

Church One Day

by 6ene Blankenship, Jr

I went to church this Sunday
to sing, pray, worship and praise
At the end of the service a comittee broke out
They said when you come back again
Ask the Lord before you come in
If you should sing and sway whats that all about
Come back next week if it's church you seek
So off I went considering my song
Lord fill my heart make me strong
Next Sunday I went to church
To sing and pray this time to worship
Again I was told now listen here
Your worship was loud the music with a beat
Search your heart during the week
Is God in worship with that sort tone
Again I pondered how do I worship Christ, Gods Son
This Sunday I was met at the door
Did you pray they ask, did you do as we wish
My answer was short something like this
Yes I prayed much time on my knees I spent
Asking the Lord about this church I went
To sing and worship, praise and pray
The Lord answered me in this way
Go ahead sing and pray it's from your heart this music with a beat
Get off the pew, raise you hands, stand to your feet
As for the church you ask I wouldn't know
Their faces drawn their voices low
The comittee formed the people met
But worship Me they haven't yet