Friday, March 29, 2013

Different ways to worship

How do you worship?  As I have been around many different churches and christian organization I find it fascinating to watch how everyone worships differently.  Now I want to say there is no right or wrong way.  It is what you are comfortable with. 

I grew up in a formal United Methodist church.  Loved the rich tradition of the church.  Very litgurical.  It worked well when I was a kid.  Then my family went to another church where there was drums.  Then to another church where there was dancing, speaking in tongues and it was very vocal.  Then FINALLY when I graduated from high school I could FINALLY go to my own church!  The church that I chose!  I was beyond EXCITED because I knew that I wanted to attend Granger Community Church because that was where Mark Beeson preached at!  I started attending GCC the summer of 97 and LOVED it there!  I was challenged and encouraged to worship God just like you would perhaps cheer on your favorite basketball player at a game!  Well, maybe not loudly screaming but we sang with passion even if you could not sing!  You were encouraged to raise your hands toward Jesus!  I even remember one time when Pastor Mark prayed we did not pray with our heads bowed but with our faces toward heaven.  I get no greater joy then singing with a big smile on my face!  I have many wonderful memories of the time spent at GCC and the many Sunday's spent in prayer praying over chairs of our friends that would be there!  Prayer is such a powerful tool of worship.  Communication between you and the almighty!  From GCC I attend a grand catheridal downtown South Bend. St. Paul's Memorial United Methodist Church.  Few people gathered but the worship was meaningful and at the end of each service we would turn to those across from us and sing the Benediction.  From there I went to Iowa, then back to Indiana where we served in smaller churche's where there was no praise bands.  Just very old hymnals.  I learned some great hymns of the faith during those times.  I am grateful for going back to those songs.  They carried me well. 

What do you put into worship?  Do you go into the sanctuary with reverence and a sense of being ready to meet with Jesus?  To be filled up?  Or do you go into the sanctuary with your cell phone on, catching up on the latest with your family and friends.  As I have attended Madison Park in Anderson, I see the later true.  It bother's me that people really have a hard time focusing on the worship service prepared before them.  YES!  I used to do this at my old church because I was going because I had to not so much because I wanted to.  Now, I go to church because I WANT TO BE THERE!!  I AM HUNGRY FOR WHAT THE LORD HAS PREPARED FOR ME!!! He has something prepared for you.  Will you put your cell phone aside?  Can your conversation's wait to happen outside the sanctuary doors?  There is nothing so important in the world that you can not give God 60-90mins of your time each Sunday. He DIED on the cross FOR YOU!!!! I try to leave my cell phone in my car.  What did you do before cell phones?  You were able to survive! 
As I mentioned I now attend Madison Park Church of God in Anderson and LOVE it!  I love the worship and am getting fed.  I love the different stations that are available each week for you to move to during worship as you feel led.  You can light a candle, pray alone, go to the cross, ask for healing, or take communion.  It's a beautiful thing!  This week TRY to smile while you are singing!  It will bring great joy!!!!!!  How do you worship?

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Stronger may wonder why in the world would I write a post that basically is a pity part for myself, well to get my feelings written out and so that I can remember or forget this time.  Either way it is an account of a journey that I am on.  As Easter comes upon us I am filled with joy, sadness, thankfulness, and other emotions. But right now I am focusing on the sadness.  For the past 10 years we have almost always had folks over for a big ham dinner after church.  It was either family, or friends that didn't have any "family" to go to.  I am not wanting you to feel bad for me.  I am going to be stronger because of this and Jesus will be at my dinner whether that is a salad or ham on Sunday.  It just has me saddened thinking that this Easter there will be no big dinner, no sink filled with dirty dishes from too much food made, there will not be left over's for weeks, there will not be any of this.  This is a new chapter.  Family member's have passed away, kids will be with their dad and my brother will be flying home from Singapore.  On day's like today I wish I could run as far away as possible.  Where I don't know but just some where any where but here! But I will over come this sadness.  I am grateful for my church's Maundy Thursday dinner.  It was fabulous   I am grateful that I have a place to worship and is becoming home!  I am blessed to have a home and food to eat!  But yet I long for on these holiday's to have that sink full of dirty dishes for someone else to wash! :)  That means there was laughter, friends, and family!  That time will come as the seasons change!


Maundy Thursday

What does Maundy Thursday mean to you?  Is it just another day of the week or is it a day that you stop to prepare your heart for Easter?  In the Christian realm Maundy Thursday is the Thursday before Easter remembering/celebrating the Last Supper.

 Can you imagine what it was like to be there?  Amongst the 12 disciples?  I often wonder what was going through their mind as they sat and ate with JESUS knowing that they were going to betray him and hang him to the cross the next day?  I am not sure if I would be able to sit knowing what was going to happen.  Tonight was the first time in over 10 years that I did not have to be in a church service but was in a church service because I wanted to be.  I was there for healing.  I was there because it was something new.  I was there because Jesus wanted to meet me there.  I went to Madison Park Church of God.  Now I only have been going there since February so a little over a month now and know a handful of people from my class.  On Sunday I had asked if any of them were going to be there and only one said that he was.  So, I found him and sat with him.  He has attend MPC for quiet some time and knew many of the well established folks there.  It was a pitch-in and there was round tables set up all over the atrium.  It was special in a way as you were going to share communion with the people around the table and fellowship with them as if Jesus was sitting amongst you.  It was something so simple but yet so meaningful as there had been a team of folks that had spent time preparing the tables just so and prayed over the tables that people were going to sit at.  My friend Don was sitting at the table with Pastor Lyon and his small group.  It was something quiet special to be but yet so simple.  We fellowshiped and I got acquainted with a few of the well established folks of MPC.  Then it was time to pass the body of Christ and drink from the cup.  He did this for us!  There was a time of quietness and you could move on to the foot washing.  I have never taken part in a foot washing and was very excited to do so.
 The men went to one area while the women went to another.  There were chairs set up in circles.  I sat in a circle that had no one at it.  A lady tried to encourage me to move to another circle and I just said people will come.  Four other ladies came and you put your name in a bowl.  We passed the bowl and you wash the person's feet who you draw.  It was very meaningful.  Such a simple act of washing someone's feet yet so powerful!  A lady names Carol washed my feet.  Such a simple act with such love.  When she was through we hugged.  Then it was my turn to wash Rene's feet.  As I washed her feet I simply wept.  I shared some of my story with her, we hugged and she prayed for me.  So, simple...I encourage you to try this simple act when you are given the opportunity.  You may say my feet are gross or how gross wash the feet of a stranger.  It was strange but the presence of Jesus was with us and it was no longer strange but love.

In John 13:1-17 shares the recount of Jesus washing the Disciple's Feet.

verse 5:"He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, "Lord, are you going to wash my feet?"  Jesus replied, "You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand."  "No," said Peter, "you shall never wash my feet."  Jesus answered, "Unless I wash you, you have no part with me."  13:5-8