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JohnRWallace.com » Worship http://www.johnrwallace.com Refresh. Renew. Repeat. Sat, 19 Jul 2014 02:04:55 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.1 American Church Epidemic… http://www.johnrwallace.com/2014/07/17/american-church-epidemic/ http://www.johnrwallace.com/2014/07/17/american-church-epidemic/#comments Thu, 17 Jul 2014 15:36:44 +0000 http://www.johnrwallace.com/?p=4812

“Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise — the fruit of lips that confess his name.” Hebrews 13:15 NIV (emphasis mine)

As a Christian, hearing the term “praising God” is nothing new. And hopefully all of us participate in this act. As a worship leader, this is something that resonates with me on my many levels. But I have been noticing a trend that I would like to speak to…

Disengaged worshippers.

I’m sure many of you have seen the ARTICLE that spread around Facebook about this issue in our churches. Now, people are raising good points about some of the shifts that are happening in churches but I still feel we are missing the mark and not really getting to the heart of the issue.

The truth is, taking away the lights and set design won’t make people sing more. Just having people with passion but no talent, won’t help and will most likely distract people from engaging. Turning the overall volume down won’t solve the issue either. Singing only hymns and having acoustic sets isn’t the answer to the issue. All those things are really a matter of preference and don’t really speak to why people aren’t singing.

Singing in church actually doesn’t have much to do with your worship team, worship leader, or location. Singing has nothing to do with whether it’s a hymn or hillsong tune. And singing has nothing to do with it being acoustic or electric. We like to make it about those things…but it is really not.

Singing (or praising) is a choice! And ultimately a matter of one’s heart.

I think the heart of this issue we are facing in our churches is that we, as christians, are just a product of our culture. We are consumerists, and operate based on convenience and that, unfortunately, has become our largest basis for making decisions.

God didn’t say “praise me when you feel like it” or “when you’re happy and have energy…praise me” He didn’t say, “when life is good and all your things are in order, feel free to praise me then.”

Nope.

The verse above says let us continually offer a SACRIFICE of praise! Praising God therefore has nothing to do with our convenience. Praising God has nothing to do with the volume of the sound system or how many lights are on stage; whether it’s acoustic or electric or whether your worship leader is a hipster with a v-neck.

Praise is sacrificial. We do it out of obedience and to honor our Savior.

So next time you are in church and the worship starts…think about Hebrews 13:15. Next time the worship team plays that song AGAINNN…remember it’s not about us. It’s not about the song, the series, the lights, or the set design…

It is about Jesus and choosing to praise his name.

 

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its the little things… http://www.johnrwallace.com/2014/05/07/its-the-little-things/ http://www.johnrwallace.com/2014/05/07/its-the-little-things/#comments Wed, 07 May 2014 11:29:34 +0000 http://www.johnrwallace.com/?p=4803

 “If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities.”       Luke 16:10

I’ve been circling back to this verse a lot lately. I can get in a trap so often where I just want to fast forward to the big. I’ll be working on my day to day and have thoughts like, “when’s my big break?” “When will my time come?” “I wish I was here by now.” I wish I made…” etc. I’m sure we have all had those thoughts. But if we just stay in those thoughts, we are really missing out.

The truth is, it is all about the small things. This verse isn’t talking about occupations, or even necessarily what you are doing…It’s not saying, “put your time in as a janitor and pretty soon you’ll be CEO.” What this verse is really getting at is character development. Whenever I’m reading Scripture, I ask myself, what is God after? Knowing that God is after our hearts can help shape how we receive some of these verses.

God wants us to be faithful in the little things because He knows that the little things actually are the big things. And as we journey in this life and are faithful with what God has given us and called us too, our platform can expand and increase. We can be handed greater responsibilities. God will give us greater things to be faithful with.

Today, think about the little things in your life. Think about the things that God has called you to and what He has given you. How is your attitude in your job? How much time are you investing in your relationships? Do you honor your leaders and bosses? It’s easy to make this a verse about doing things, but it’s not. It’s about our character…our hearts.

Be faithful in the little…those are the big things.

Be blessed.

 

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10 Ways To Improve Your Worship Leading… http://www.johnrwallace.com/2014/02/07/10-ways-to-improve-your-worship-leading/ http://www.johnrwallace.com/2014/02/07/10-ways-to-improve-your-worship-leading/#comments Fri, 07 Feb 2014 09:00:09 +0000 http://www.johnrwallace.com/?p=3872

1. Make sure you are worshipping as well.

If you aren’t into the song, it’s going to be really hard for the people you are leading to be into it as well. They take their cue from you…so lead them.

2. Silence doesn’t have to be awkward.

Scripture asks us sometimes to just be still. When we talk, we can’t hear God speak. Sometimes we need to not talk and let the music speak louder than our words.

3. Be just as good if not a better musician as you are a singer.

There may be some disagreement with this point, however, you don’t want to be a distraction when you lead worship…and if you can’t play well and sing at the same time, it will be a distraction. Psalm 33:3 says, “Sing to him a new song; play skillfully, and shout for joy.”

4. Know your instrument.

This goes along with #3 but, the truth is, people look at you just as much as they look at the words on the screen. With that in mind, if you are looking back and forth between them and your instrument for every chord change…chances are, you are distracting them. Be skillful so you disappear and they can focus on connecting with God.

5. Don’t force people to worship in ways they aren’t comfortable with.

A big part of our job is to create and cultivate an atmosphere where our congregation can connect with God. Not everybody is ready or comfortable with raising their hands, jumping, clapping, etc. Don’t focus on getting people to worship a certain way, but focus on bringing them into the presence of God and He will take care of the rest.

6. Be careful how often you repeat or don’t repeat songs.

We all know how the radio seems to kill really great songs by playing them to death…well that can easily happen in our churches as well. Be careful not to play a new song that you are excited about to death. (i.e. Blessed Be Your Name, How Great Is Our God, Desert Song, Revelation Song, etc.) On the flip side, don’t play a new song every week and never repeat them. It will usually take a few weeks for a congregation to really grasp and pick-up on a new song. So repeat them for a few weeks then put them into a rotation.

7. Understand the different components to your worship team.

You don’t need to be able to play every instrument, but you should have a general sense of how everything fits together. Try to learn the general terminology and major components of each instrument. It’s easier to say, “hit your snare louder” versus “hit that big, white, round thing in front of you louder.”

8. Be mindful of how you direct your team as you lead during service.

Some worship leaders look like Richard Simmons in the middle of a workout when trying to communicate to their team to repeat a chorus or head to the bridge…let this not be you! Basically, be aware of your movements. Let your teams know during practices how you will communicate with them when playing live; this way there is no confusion and everyone will be on the same page.

9. Know the abilities and the skill level of your worship team.

Don’t get your team into situations where they are all in uncharted territory. This is setting your team up to fail and be a major distraction in worship. Meaning, if you discover a great worship tune on Saturday, don’t rehearse it and play it during the Sunday morning service unless your team is ABSOLUTELY capable of doing it. Practice makes perfect. So practice, practice, practice, then bring it to a Sunday morning service.

10.  Keep it simple. (This one is a repeat from Los’ blog.)

You aren’t on American Idol. Your job isn’t to sing TO people and have them go “WOW”. Your job is to get the people to SING with you and TO God.

 

Please let’s keep the conversation going…if there are more that you want to add, leave a comment below.

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what is your soul worth? http://www.johnrwallace.com/2013/10/31/what-is-your-soul-worth/ http://www.johnrwallace.com/2013/10/31/what-is-your-soul-worth/#comments Thu, 31 Oct 2013 13:15:05 +0000 http://www.johnrwallace.com/?p=4790

“If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?” Mark 8:35-37

This verse helps put in perspective what truly is of importance in this world. Jesus share, really, the reason for living. At the end of the day, this life and the things in it are temporal…they will fade away and won’t ever be able to truly satisfy us.

So what’s the point if we gain the whole world but lose our soul?

It is about our souls. Our bodies won’t last. Our souls, however, last forever. Knowing with absolute certainty the state of your soul and where you will spend eternity can give you unbelievable peace of mind. There is no fear of death or of what comes next. You already know…and it’s really good. So essentially we need to protect our hearts because the real question is:

Is anything worth more than your soul?

This life puts so much emphasis on its “things”. It’s about what your status is, who you’re voting for, how much money you have, what car you drive, the stores you shop in, how many things you have. But what really does that do for you after this life? You can’t take any of it with you. And from what I’ve heard, the wealthiest people in the world, are also some of the most unhappy people. So “things” don’t equal happiness. Things will fade, break, and let you down.

But God asks us to lose our lives for his sake…And in that, we’ll gain it back for eternity with him.

Worth it.

So, is your soul worth just things? Or is it worth eternity?

“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” Proverbs 4:23

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God Won’t Quit On You… http://www.johnrwallace.com/2013/09/12/god-wont-quit-on-you/ http://www.johnrwallace.com/2013/09/12/god-wont-quit-on-you/#comments Thu, 12 Sep 2013 11:36:11 +0000 http://www.johnrwallace.com/?p=4778

“Praise the Lord! He is good. God’s love never fails. Praise the God of all gods. God’s love never fails. Praise the Lord of lords. God’s love never fails.” Psalm 136:1-3

Thank God for His love this morning. It is easy to forget how much he loves us. It’s a love that we can hardly fathom. Sometimes the hard thing about Christ’s love is that fact that we don’t deserve it. We live in a culture where you have to do something to deserve something. Everything is based on our performance. But not with Christ. We will always fall short, never measure up, and forever miss our mark. And when we compare that type of “performance” to the earthly standards of love… well no wonder we feel like throwing in the towel. We would be an outcast.

But that’s the beauty of God’s love. His love for us isn’t based on what we do, it’s based on what He has already done! His perfect love won’t change or run out because He is perfect. He won’t fail us because he simply can’t.

Be encouraged today that NOTHING can separate you from God’s love.

Nothing.

Because it is not based on your efforts but Gods. He will never give up or quit on you. Never.

Jud Wilhite in his book, Pursued, puts it like this:

When you doubt and struggle, when you falter, when you fail and fall into sin, when you lose your temper and say things you deeply regret, when you give up on yourself, when you do the same sin for the 337th time, when you quit rejoicing in God, when you fail to love your family, when your friends give up on you, when your family gives up on you, when you fail to see how your life will make a difference, when you feel worse now than when you first came to faith, when you’ve quit…God won’t quit on you. 

Today, think about Christ love. Focus not on your faults and failures but on his deep affection for you. When you get your focus off yourself and on Christ, that’s when change can happen…that when healing can come.

God won’t quit on you. He pursuing you today.

“Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:35-39

“Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.” Psalm 23:6

 

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christianity is relationship not rules… http://www.johnrwallace.com/2013/08/29/christianity-is-relationship-not-rules/ http://www.johnrwallace.com/2013/08/29/christianity-is-relationship-not-rules/#comments Thu, 29 Aug 2013 12:06:55 +0000 http://www.johnrwallace.com/?p=4772

Here is a quick reminder to us all to remember that our faith, our belief in Jesus Christ, is about our relationship with him. It isn’t about a book of rules that we have to follow in order to win a prize.

We have been saved by grace through faith, and God even gave us the faith to believe so we can’t say that any of our works saved us. Don’t fall into the trap of making Christianity into a bunch of do’s and don’ts. Christ brings freedom, joy and peace…not oppression. (Of course, as we begin to know and understand who God is, we will naturally become more like him, resulting in doing and not-doing certain things.)

Here is a nice little quote from Jud Wilhite’s book, Pursued: “The religion approach to Christianity says, ‘Read the Bible so that you know what to do.’ The relationship approach says, ‘Read the Bible so that you know who God is.’”

“God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” Ephesians 2:8-10

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faith breeds joy… http://www.johnrwallace.com/2013/08/28/faith-breeds-joy/ http://www.johnrwallace.com/2013/08/28/faith-breeds-joy/#comments Wed, 28 Aug 2013 12:51:49 +0000 http://www.johnrwallace.com/?p=4770

“Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory. We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.” Romans 5: 2-5

I love this passage of Scripture. Our faith breeds joy! From joy comes confidence and trust and endurance. God wants us to be so confident in his love for us, and so confident in the hope of our salvation, that we can rejoice even in the midst of storms…that we can have joy in the middle of life’s trials.

The truth is, this life will have storms. (Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows…John 16) So I think we need a bit of a shift in our thinking. I think we need to stop tiring ourselves out trying to always avoid storms or ignore them when they are around. (Not that we should be looking to set ourselves up for them either) There will be storms, we know that, so we might as well learn how to not only endure through them, but flourish in them.

This only happens we can put our hope, our trust, and our confidence in Jesus. We can rejoice in our trials because of the confident hope and trust we have in Him. He gave us his Holy Spirit to prove how much He loves us and to fill our hearts with that love.

Amen.

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Trust His Instructions… http://www.johnrwallace.com/2013/08/19/trust-his-instructions/ http://www.johnrwallace.com/2013/08/19/trust-his-instructions/#comments Mon, 19 Aug 2013 15:20:32 +0000 http://www.johnrwallace.com/?p=4767

“Every part of this plan,” David told Solomon, “was given to me in writing from the hand of the Lord.” 1 Chronicles 28:19

In 1 Chronicles 28, we have the story of when God gave David the instructions to build the temple. The plans, of course, were to be handed down to Solomon, who would actually be the one to build the temple. As he was explaining to Solomon the instructions in great detail, he said that every part of the plan was given to him from the Lord.

That’s a great little sentence.

That led me to the thought  that God gives us specific plans for our situations. And upon further consideration, I think the better stated truth is that, God gives us the exact instructions we need.

Think about that.

When God talks to us and tells us something, it may not always seem very specific in the sense of being overly detailed. However, it is specific in the sense that God specifically gives us exactly what we need to hear from Him.

I love that.

God knows our needs. He knows the areas in which we need to grow and develop trust in.

This gives me confidence in following the plans and callings on my life. I can trust that God gave me those instructions and that, since they are His, I will be successful in them.

So today be encouraged. Whatever God is saying to you, you can trust that he is giving you exactly what you need and that your victory rests in the Lord.

 

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Victory Through Song… http://www.johnrwallace.com/2013/08/01/victory-through-song/ http://www.johnrwallace.com/2013/08/01/victory-through-song/#comments Thu, 01 Aug 2013 12:27:40 +0000 http://www.johnrwallace.com/?p=4764

“The Lord is my strength and my song; he has given me victory.” Psalm 118:14

Take that to heart today.

Whatever you are facing, whatever trial is at hand, start to lift up praises to God. Allow his strength and peace to fall on you and your situation. Give control back to God, and trust that he will deliver you.

Start singing…find your strength and your victory!

Amen.

 

 

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Praising God Through Trials http://www.johnrwallace.com/2013/07/24/praising-god-through-trials/ http://www.johnrwallace.com/2013/07/24/praising-god-through-trials/#comments Wed, 24 Jul 2013 10:25:23 +0000 http://www.johnrwallace.com/?p=4755

Praising God is an essential aspect of our Christian walk, it is something that we should do out of obedience to Christ and out of the overflow in our hearts. In the good times, on the mountain tops, praising God seems easy and effortless. But what about when the storms are all around you? When you are facing trials, do you find it more difficult to worship and praise God? Sure. I do too. But the truth is, amazing things can happen when we are obedient and praise God through our trials. It is a major faith builder to praise God through storms…let’s look at some.

The story of Paul and Silas is a great example. One day they were out preaching the gospel and on this particular day they were in a marketplace and met a fortune-teller who was essentially taunting them. Finally, Paul had enough, and cast out the spirit. However, this did not go over well with the fortune tellers bosses since they wouldn’t be able to make any more money off of her. And this is where we pick up the story:

 

A mob quickly formed against Paul and Silas, and the city officials ordered them stripped and beaten with wooden rods. They were severely beaten, and then they were thrown into prison. The jailer was ordered to make sure they didn’t escape. So the jailer put them into the inner dungeon and clamped their feet in the stocks.

Around midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening. Suddenly, there was a massive earthquake, and the prison was shaken to its foundations. All the doors immediately flew open, and the chains of every prisoner fell off! The jailer woke up to see the prison doors wide open. He assumed the prisoners had escaped, so he drew his sword to kill himself. But Paul shouted to him, “Stop! Don’t kill yourself! We are all here!”

The jailer called for lights and ran to the dungeon and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. Then he brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, along with everyone in your household.” And they shared the word of the Lord with him and with all who lived in his household. Even at that hour of the night, the jailer cared for them and washed their wounds. Then he and everyone in his household were immediately baptized. He brought them into his house and set a meal before them, and he and his entire household rejoiced because they all believed in God. Acts 16:22-34 [emphasis mine]

 

Wow, what a story! Makes you rethink your issues and realize that we don’t always have it all that bad. Now, I would suggest to go back and read on the lines that I made bold. There is a reason why I wanted those to stand out. There is an incredible thing that happens when you praise God through trials. Think of these men. They were severely beaten, falsely accused, and imprisoned for no good reason. Yet, while in prison, they prayed and worshipped God! They were obedient and worshipped God through their storm…and what happened?

Their chains broke off!

Apply that to your life. :) When you praise God through your trials, your chains will fall off. Praise God.

But there is something else that is unbelievable. If I ended this post here. It would be good enough but Re-read what I made bold, “the chains of every prisoner fell off!” Wait, what?!

When you praise God through your trials, not only will you experience freedom, but so will those around you!

This puts a whole new perspective on going through trials and storms. Maybe God allows us to go through certain seasons not just for us, but so we can help others experience the freedom they need.

Whatever you need freedom or deliverance from today, praise God through it. Watch your chains fall off and then listen for those around you who find freedom as well.

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God is… http://www.johnrwallace.com/2013/06/24/god-is/ http://www.johnrwallace.com/2013/06/24/god-is/#comments Mon, 24 Jun 2013 19:21:14 +0000 http://www.johnrwallace.com/?p=4731

Life has a way of repeatedly making us aware of the fact that we are not in control and that no matter how great of people we try to be…sometimes when it rains, it pours.

So how is life for you right now?

Are you tired? weary? Do you have some anxiety? Do you need a breakthrough?

We will all experience and be in those places at some point in our lives. As Christians, however, although we don’t experience emotion any differently than any one else, we are able to have a much different perspective on our situations.

My perspective has shifted lately on what it means to bring my “requests” to God. And by that I mean the type of prayers that we often pray sound like, “Lord, please give me peace. Lord please, I need hope.” Or, “Lord, I need you to heal my body. Lord I need a breakthrough.” Do any of those sound familiar?

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think there is anything necessarily wrong with praying those prayers, but ultimately it’s about where our focus is. I’ve realized that prayers like that for me were about this “thing” that God was giving me. Like, “Lord please give me healing.” Almost like give me this ethereal object/concept called healing. But I feel like God has showed me to not pray for some object or concept that I think he is laying on me, but instead to be praying to a God who IS healing.

We pray and worship a God who doesn’t just give hope or peace, but a God who IS hope and peace.

Do you see the difference?

This recently played out in my life when my wife and I were getting ready to move back home from Nashville. We were both hitting a lot of dead-ends and wondering if we had heard correctly on moving back at all. But during my quiet time with the Lord one morning, I was praying for a particular outcome to happen for my wife and me. The Lord gently told me, “Stop focusing my prayers and attention on outcomes or a particular path. He said, “You just wholly focus on me and I will worry about your outcomes!” I decided to listen and made a distinct shift in my relationship with Him. Literally within about a week period after that, Abby and I both had doors opened to us that ultimately led to each of the jobs that we have now. God is faithful.

So today, if you a breakthrough, healing, hope, etc. Know that God doesn’t just give those things. He is those things. So focus on and worship Him. He is worthy. He is faithful.

God is…

“Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” Phil 4:7

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13

“Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.” 3 John 1:2

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:28-30 

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Made To Reflect… http://www.johnrwallace.com/2013/05/30/made-to-reflect/ http://www.johnrwallace.com/2013/05/30/made-to-reflect/#comments Thu, 30 May 2013 12:41:10 +0000 http://www.johnrwallace.com/?p=4724

“God has made humans to reflect Him, but if they do not commit themselves to Him, they will not reflect Him but something else in creation. At the core of our being we are imaging creatures. It is not possible to be neutral on this issue: we either reflect the Creator or something in creation.” Greg Beale

We are God’s masterpieces! We are created in His image and were designed to reflect Him and bring glory and honor to His name. But, unfortunately, it is not always like that.

Sometimes we let other things in life hold a higher value than God. God has blessed us immensely and instead of purely thanking God for those blessings, we start to focus on the blessings and make those the ultimate instead of God himself. We will all worship something, we have to choose what. (or who)

“And instead of worshiping the glorious, ever-living God, they worshiped idols made to look like mere people and birds and animals and reptiles…They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen.” Romans 1:23-25

We are not the first group of people to struggle with keeping our focus on God and not what he can give us. Paul revealed to the Romans that they struggled with this as well. The truth is, we all have a God-sized hole in our hearts and if we don’t fill it with Him, we will naturally fill it with something. Maybe it is money, possessions, relationships, fame, addictions, etc. When we aren’t filling out our identity with Christ and who He says we are, we will look to something else to identity who we are.

When we look to man-made things or things of this world or even the blessings that God has given us to fill the identity hole in our lives, we stop reflecting God.

So maybe today you are feeling unfulfilled. Maybe today you are having some sort of identity crisis and left feeling a little empty at the end of the day. It might be time to search yourself and analyze who or what you are giving most of your time and attention to. What are your pursuits? Where do you spend most of your money or time in?

Answering these questions will give you a good idea of what you may be trying to fill your life with instead of God. This will not be a one time decision. Everyday we have a choice to either keep God in the center of our lives or allow temporal substitutes creep in.

Keep God first. It will help everything else make sense.

“Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.” Matthew 6:33 

Allowing our lives to reflect God is worth it. When we reflect God, we know who we are. We are filled with hope, peace, and joy. We can walk through life with confidence.

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Called To Generosity… http://www.johnrwallace.com/2013/05/15/called-to-generosity/ http://www.johnrwallace.com/2013/05/15/called-to-generosity/#comments Wed, 15 May 2013 12:54:35 +0000 http://www.johnrwallace.com/?p=4713 generosity

You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ Acts 20:35b We have all heard that verse or phrase that is better to give than to receive. And truthfully, as a child, I had very little understanding of this…most kids don’t. But as an adult and as […]]]>
generosity

generosity

You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ Acts 20:35b

We have all heard that verse or phrase that is better to give than to receive. And truthfully, as a child, I had very little understanding of this…most kids don’t. But as an adult and as a hopefully, ever-growing Christian, I see the power in this verse.

Lately, more than ever, I feel the Lord is cultivating my heart to be more generous. I can see it in my own life as well as my wife’s. Giving, however, doesn’t come naturally. I have to fight urges all the time to hold tightly to my “things”. That is not what God wants from us. Here’s the truth:

It’s all Gods.

Everything we have, own, want, need…it’s all his. It all belongs to Him. All our money, all our possessions, all our gifts and talents, and all our relationships are His. He created everything and therefore we don’t have actual ownership over anything. That is why I believe God wants us to hold loosely to our “things”. He wants a generous heart in all of us.

“Give freely and become more wealthy; be stingy and lose everything. The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.” Proverbs 11:24-25

God does give us incentives in order to give, but it really isn’t about the incentive, it’s just about developing a generous and more Christ-like heart towards others. Here’s a lie people buy into: “I’ll be generous once I make just a little bit more money.” Ever heard that? Ever said that?

Here is the hard truth that a pastor friend used to say: “If you can’t be generous with $21,000, you won’t be generous when you have $41,000. And you can’t be generous with $41,000, you certainly won’t be generous when you make $141,000.”

We have to choose to be generous now with what we have now.

It’s amazing when you ask God to help you be more generous, how there are all of a sudden a bunch of random opportunities for you to be generous in. (By the way, this spirit of generosity isn’t just with money. A lot of times it is your time or a service, or a gifting or product that you offer.)

God has been definitely moving in my and my wife’s heart lately towards being more generous and more giving of our resources…cause the truth is, we are called to generosity.

How about you?

“Remember: A stingy planter gets a stingy crop; a lavish planter gets a lavish crop. I want each of you to take plenty of time to think it over, and make up your own mind what you will give. That will protect you against sob stories and arm-twisting. God loves it when the giver delights in the giving.” 2 Corinthians 9:6

 

Has God been calling you to be more generous?

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God Wants To Bless You… http://www.johnrwallace.com/2013/05/13/god-wants-to-bless-you/ http://www.johnrwallace.com/2013/05/13/god-wants-to-bless-you/#comments Mon, 13 May 2013 13:45:22 +0000 http://www.johnrwallace.com/?p=4711

“Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.” Psalm 37:5-6

God wants to bless you!

He is not a cosmic cop waiting for you to screw up so that he can zap you. He is not a cranky old man that you should feel like you are always bothering. He is friend, loving father, protector, Savior.

He is faithful and also unchanging. And being that he is unchanging, he has a perfect track record with keeping his word. He will make your righteousness shine… You may be thinking, “well that’s great, but, I don’t feel very righteous…I’m not good enough to be lifted up.” Thankfully, that is not the truth. The truth is, because of what Christ did on the cross, we are all counted as righteous!

As Christians, our works don’t determine whether or not we receive blessings. We can not earn any of that. Our belief in Christ, makes us children of God and like any parent wanting to bless their own children, God wants to bless us. It brings him joy.

So trust him. Because he is worthy.

Matthew Henry’s Commentary for these verse adds that, God wants to take care of your reputation, and bring you out of your difficulties. Not only with comfort, but with credit and honor.

“Open up before God, keep nothing back; he’ll do whatever needs to be done: He’ll validate your life in the clear light of day and stamp you with approval at high noon.” Psalm 37:5-6 MSG

 

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Are You Giving God Your Best… http://www.johnrwallace.com/2013/04/18/are-you-giving-god-your-best/ http://www.johnrwallace.com/2013/04/18/are-you-giving-god-your-best/#comments Thu, 18 Apr 2013 12:39:56 +0000 http://www.johnrwallace.com/?p=4681

“When you bring blind animals for sacrifice, is that not wrong? When you sacrifice crippled or diseased animals, is that not wrong? Try offering them to your governor! Would he be pleased with you? Would he accept you?” says the Lord Almighty. Malachi 1:8

Ask yourself this question: Do I give God my best.

Honestly, I don’t always give my God my best. In fact, sometimes it is just scraps. Thank God for his grace and his love.

The verse above points to a powerful comparison. Now we are under a new covenant and so we are no longer sacrificing animals. Jesus become our ultimate sacrifice and forever covered our sins. But God does still ask us to offer our best to Him.

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God — this is your spiritual act of worship.” Romans 12:1

The truth is, we care so much more about giving our best to others than we do God. I know sometimes I do. We all try to make a great impression with people. We will put on the perfect outfit, a great smile, totally clean our houses (don’t look in the closets), go out of our way to be hospitable and make sure everything is in place. We want the person to feel loved, warm and welcomed. To show them respect, we want them to feel like they are getting our best.

But do we do that with our relationship with Christ?

I’m not sure if groggily reading the same line over and over again in our Bibles and try to pray to Him while slipping in and out of sleep is really our best. But sometimes that’s all I offer.

God deserves better. He deserves more.

If I’m going to give God my best, then maybe it means waking up a few minutes earlier in the morning so that I’m fully present in my time with Him. Maybe it means carving out specific times in the day and protecting those moments with Him like we would if it were any other person, appointment or meeting.

I can tell you that God will totally honor us giving Him our best. He loves blessing His children.

So today, think about what you’re giving God. Is it really your best or is it far from it. We are in no way ever going to be perfect with this but it is something worthy to strive for.

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” Matthew 22:37

Are you giving God your best?

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