BASE CAMP : Direction for those in Despair

A few weeks ago I had the honor of serving the Norwood family through leading the memorial service for Taylor Norwood.  That day, in the midst of tragedy and loss, 25 people made a public confession of faith in Jesus Christ.

You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.” – Genesis 50

After a number of conversations days after the service, I felt the prompting to share excerpts from that message …

“The camp of WHAT IF & the camp of WHAT NOW”

We’ve attended memorial services just like this and I’ve witnessed two camps or schools of thought conveyed in the time of despair.  These camps are worlds apart and operate under different mandates.

The camp of WHAT IF

The camp of WHAT IF breeds remorse, regret, guilt, shame and chaos. We may have daily feelings of it, but it’s magnified in moments like these and in times of loss.
This camp begs the question WHAT IF’ …
What if I did something different?
What if I said something?
What if I intervened?
What if I hadn’t said what I said?
What if I hadn’t gone to this place?
What if I hadn’t made that introduction?
What if? What if? What if?
That’s how that camp operates. This camp keeps you in a perpetual cycle of rehearsing and reliving the past as well keeping you in a spin cycle of chaos.
In contrast there is …

The camp of WHAT NOW

This camp breeds love, joy, peace, comfort, identity and purpose.
Now THIS camp begs the question, WHAT NOW? That’s how THIS camp operates. It keeps us looking ahead and actually encourages to forget the bad and focus on the good.
Although these two camps are worlds apart they have a certain similarity. Both camps actively and relentlessly pursue you.
One camp is run by Satan, the enemy, the defeated, the created.
One camp is run by Jesus … the way, the truth, the life, the Creator.

A dose of TRUTH

At a moment in time, you were conceived and you breathed your first breath. Even before you were conceived, He (God) had you in mind.
How blessed is God! And what a blessing he is! He’s the Father of our Master, Jesus Christ, and takes us to the high places of blessing in him. Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son. -Ephesians 1
Remember the two camps? The camp of WHAT IF and the camp of WHAT NOW?
The moment you were conceived you became a threat. What.  If.  The enemy asks the very question of the nature of his camp.
What if you got wind of the truth?
What if you caught wind of your purpose?
What if you got wind of God’s plan for your life?
What if what if what if and the very nature of the camp rolls into existence over your life.
So they enemy keeps us in fear, he keeps us insecure, he keeps us defeated, he keeps us defeated, he keeps us weak, he keeps us in chaos. He’s bent on stealing, killing and destroying your life.

A second dose of TRUTH

As of the result of our sin nature, when we start of in this life, our propensity to defy God is already in us because of what happened at the beginning of time.   Adam and Eve messed this up. God had a plan, we messed it up. But as we are introduced to the truth, we are introduced to the question of the camp that says What now”.
If the characteristics of that camp are true … there is purpose, there is life, there is a plan, there is peace, there is joy and it’s not only preparing our lives for eternity in heaven, but also living what the Bible calls abundant life” here on Earth.
The Bible actually says …
This is what God says,
    the God who builds a road right through the ocean,
    who carves a path through pounding waves,
The God who summons horses and chariots and armies—
    they lie down and then can’t get up;
    they’re snuffed out like so many candles:
“Forget about what’s happened;
    don’t keep going over old history.
Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new. – Isaiah 43
So, you are presented with a choice. What if? What now?
At a moment in my life I recognized that I needed this Jesus. I needed to leave my sin, my shame, my regret, my addiction, my past and embrace the WHAT NOW.  I had to embrace that God has a plan and I was going to walk in the camp of the what now.
Like I said when we started, a mom and a dad aren’t supposed to bury their child. What are we going to do now. We are going to depend on a God who has made His peace and comfort available to us.
In just a moment, I’m going to pray and ask for anyone who wants to be included in that prayer. Pastor Andrew what’s going to happen if I try and I fail?
Again, that’s the WHAT IF … Let’s embrace the WHAT NOW.
He’s a God of forgiveness and unconditional love. What now? We are going to stand back up and grow from it. What if I fail again? Not what if … we are saying what now. We will stand up again.
We need a starting point in the midst of despair.  There is hope.  Base Camp is where it starts.  Base Camp has a name.  That name is the camp of WHAT NOW.  That camp has one person in charge.  That person is Jesus.  Let me know if you need to return to Base Camp.  There’s room for one more.

[Vision] :: Fired Up

What exactly sets you off? 

What is the thing that when you see it unfold before your eyes, The more and more I talk with 20 and 30 somethings, the more and more I’m hearing of a stirring in the hearts of this generation of what keeps them up a night.  

What precedes vision?

What happens inside a leader that is so powerful that is gives birth to vision?

What keeps you up at night?

What invokes your emotions?

What stirs you to action?

For me? Walmart. Starbucks. Driving through the club district during the morning hours.

I see dead people. People who are broken. People without hope. People searching for something that never satisfies.

Yet their pursuit of happiness, life and liberty is driven by an appetite.  If the soul is meant to be satisfied but Jesus alone, then the satisfaction of the appetite begins with the presentation of the Bread of Life. 

Richmond, VA is our mission field. My wife and I were called here without much more than burden for this city.

We are living in a time where our window of opportunity to not only make an impact but change the course of someone’s trajectory is critical.

What bothers you in your city?

What bothers you around the world?

Has it ever occurred to you, the Lord has placed that burden in you for a reason?

Let’s go to work. Let’s pull the dreams off the shelves of dormancy. 

“Then the LORD answered me and said, “Write the vision And engrave it plainly on [clay] tablets So that the one who reads it will run.”

‭‭HABAKKUK‬ ‭2:2‬ 

True Confessions of an Associate Pastor : Your Body

My Worship Pastor and good friend, Trevor Walker shared this message last Wednesday and gave me the ok to share with you in case you missed it.

Pastor Trevor has been instrumental in my life in helping me learn, understand and become more free to worship.  I’m grateful for the anointing on his life.  Have a quick read … here are his notes:

God Wants your BODY!

This talk is on using our bodies as a living sacrifice of praise!

If you grew up like me, you thought weirdoes worship God with their hands and feet, and everyone else is uncomfortable when they are doing it.

I was raised in a Pentecostal church, but it was a congregation of senior saints, and they were not expressive in their worship at all.

There was a granny on an organ and lacked any life or passion.

When I started to attend a different Pentecostal church as a teenager, it went to the other extreme. Folks would literally run around the sanctuary.

Once a lady ran into the drum set and knocked it all down!

So I have seen in my life the two extremes of expressions of praise.

What we tend to do is those who have seen abuses of expressions are extra cautious because we don’t want to let the “flesh in” or we just down right didn’t like the strangeness of the expression.

For others you have no reference for expression of praise so you may just keep it at arms length.

I want us to take an honest look tonight at PRAISE and how the bible commands us to do it.

A few things about our bodies:

#1 Your Body is not your own–

1 cor 6:19 Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself

The message 1 cor 6  don’t you realize that your body is a sacred place, the place of the Holy Spirit? Don’t you see that you can’t live however you please, squandering what God paid such a high price for? The physical part of you is not some piece of property belonging to the spiritual part of you. God owns the whole works. So let people see God in and through your body

#2 our bodies were made for the lord

1 cor 6:13-17 They were made for the Lord, and the Lord cares about our bodies. 14 And God will raise us from the dead by his power, just as he raised our Lord from the dead. 15 Don’t you realize that your bodies are actually parts of Christ?

#3 These bodies are temporary

2 cor 5:1-10 1 For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that is, when we die and leave this earthly body), we will have a house in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands. 2 We grow weary in our present bodies, and we long to put on our heavenly bodies like new clothing. 3 For we will put on heavenly bodies; we will not be spirits without bodies.[a] 4 While we live in these earthly bodies, we groan and sigh, but it’s not that we want to die and get rid of these bodies that clothe us. Rather, we want to put on our new bodies so that these dying bodies will be swallowed up by life. 5 God himself has prepared us for this, and as a guarantee he has given us his Holy Spirit.

6 So we are always confident, even though we know that as long as we live in these bodies we are not at home with the Lord. 7 For we live by believing and not by seeing. 8 Yes, we are fully confident, and we would rather be away from these earthly bodies, for then we will be at home with the Lord. 9 So whether we are here in this body or away from this body, our goal is to please him. 10 For we must all stand before Christ to be judged. We will each receive whatever we deserve for the good or evil we have done in this earthly body.

Here’s the Foundation:

Luke 10:27 Love the lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength

As Christians who love God, its easier to love God with our heart, soul, and mind, but for some reason its most difficult to love God with our strength or our bodies

My hope for this church is that we allow your body to agree with your heart and your mouth

We can say all day long that we LOVE GOD, but our bodies speak louder than our words

#4 Gods desires don’t necessarily jive with our personalities

People think I move in worship because I’m outgoing, this is not correct.

I am challenging myself to step out even more with expressions or “postures of praise”

Do you think it was Jesus’ personality to be tortured and murdered brutally?

Jesus is the best example of loving with his body. HE LITTERALLY GAVE his BODY for us!

I am challenging you to Shoulder your cross and Die to self

I have seen people at the football game, or at Chucke Cheese, you cant use the personality thing with me.

This argument to me is invalid and unjustified, yet it is the most used in regarding praising God

Lack of expression comes from familiarity

I NEVER WANT TO COME SOME FAMILIAR WITH GOD THAT I APPROACH HIM CASUALLY!

For some, they view expressions of praise as lack of reverence or respect.

I will say this, we have a generation who do not understand respect. Who have not been taught respect.

But stifling expressions of praise will not fix this.

Jesus said come to me like a little child. You ever watched a few kids before?

Its foolish, it’s unorthodox, its even humiliating.

Yet Jesus said to imitate them, NOT the pious religious people!

Tonight I am challenging you to Give your body to God

Romans 12:1-2 1 And so, dear brothers and sisters,[a] I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.[b] 2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

make your body a living sacrifice of Praise

See American Christians want a comfortable Christianity. Im here to tell you it is anything BUT comfortable!

For many worshipping God is uncomfortable, but that isn’t what makes it a sacrifice…its giving ourselves to God without taking it back.


The rewards for offering ourselves to God are incredible!

 

  1. a.     Worship with your body keeps your heart tender
  2. b.     Worship with your body keeps you ears tuned to Gods voice
  3. c.      Worship with your body keeps your flesh humble
  4. d.     Worship with your body keeps you from physical sin

 

A few weeks back, I sensed the lord asking me to kneel. I was on stage leading worship, and it was at a point where I could do it technically, and the team wouldn’t miss a beat.

I refused. I told the lord every reason why I cant. (people are watching, I don’t normally do that, these are my good jeans, the band might mess up, its weird)

I didn’t do it, and felt strongly convicted that I missed an opportunity to grow closer to the lord.

The next week, I heard it again in my heart… kneel! Buddy I dropped to the floor so quick, and it was such an expression of humility for me, and worship that impacted me greatly.

NO MORE EXCUSES

  1. a.     that’s not my personality
  2. b.     IM free to worship however I feel (wrong, is there anything else like this)
  3. c.      Who are you to tell people how to worship? (God says it, lines in the road)
  4. d.     I don’t want to be thought of as a freak – (1 cor 1 foolish things to confound the wise)
  5. e.     I wasn’t raised that way (your in a new family now) Eph 1 says God has adopted us
  6. f.      Not a good dancer – were you a good anything before you practiced?
  7. g.     God is a God of order – 1cor 14:33 For God is not a God of disorder but of peace (out of context. Its referring to too many trying to talk at the same time)
  8. h.     What if it gets out of control – don’t throw the baby out with the bath water. If something gets out of control well grow and learn from it
  9. i.       What will unbelievers think?  (They are longing to do something godly with their bodies)
  10. j.       What if its my flesh.

(Dancing in the spirit, well what does that mean?)

Folks have always been so concerned with operating in the flesh.      Were nowhere near this, were at the point were our flesh DOESN’T want to do any of it.

Guess what it will be your flesh! Your flesh is connected, you are in your body, if we are to worship God the way he prescribes, our flesh will be included!

 

Try it in your private worship first

So where do we get these postures of praise?

Our English translations really do a disservice to Gods word sometimes. For example you may have heard that the word love in English is translated from 4 different words in Greek – agape Gods perfect love, phileo brotherly love, storge family love, and eros sexual love

In the same way when we read the word PRAISE, we don’t really get the depth of what is being commanded in the bible.

These are postures of praise – Everywhere in the bible where we are told to praise or worship, there is ALWAYS a physical response or action involved!


Barak – to kneel to bow, to lay prostrate, to fall down, to salute

This is sometimes translated as “bless”

Ps 34:1 I will praise the Lord at all times

Ps 95:6 Come, let us worship and bow down.
Let us kneel before the Lord our maker,

Regarding salutes:

In countries with recognized social classes, bowing to nobility and royalty is customary. In western countries where equality is recognized, it is not accepted

I know one thing, we are NOT equal with God.  We’re heirs, and his children but not equal.

We cannot allow our American liberties and customs to dictate how we approach God.

Yadah – Thankful expression of praise with hands (clapping, wringing, lifting, extending)

Ps 67:5 May the nations praise you, O God.
Yes, may all the nations praise you

How do you respond to someone with a gun to your back? Our hands go up, yet its so hard at church!

Towdah – Thanks and praise with the hands for what GOD IS GOING to do,

a procession of worshippers , an offering with expectation

Ps 50:23 But giving thanks is a sacrifice that truly honors me.

Ps 100:4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise.
Give thanks to him and praise his name.

Zamar – Instrumental worship praise with instruments

ps 27:6 Then I will hold my head high
above my enemies who surround me.
At his sanctuary I will offer sacrifices with shouts of joy,
singing and praising the Lord with music

Ps 108:1 My heart is confident in you, O God;
no wonder I can sing your praises with all my heart!

Shabach – to command or shout

Ps 63:3 Your unfailing love is better than life itself;
how I praise you!

ps 145:4 Let each generation tell its children of your mighty acts;
let them proclaim your power

Halal – root of hallelujah to boast, celebrate, sing, act clamorously foolish, dance

ps 35:18 Then I will thank you in front of the great assembly.
I will praise you before all the people

22:26  All who seek the Lord will praise him.
Their hearts will rejoice with everlasting joy.

149:3 Praise his name with dancing,
accompanied by tambourine and harp

Halleluia is a Hebrew word which means to be clamorously foolish for God.

Zeph. 3:17 – The LORD your God is with you,
the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
but will rejoice over you with singing.”

“rejoice over you” – – literally dance, skip, leap, spin around in joy. God dances with shouts of joy over us! How much more should we dance with joy since He is in our midst?

Tehillah – to sing with songs, spontaneous songs

Specifically spontaneous singing:

Tehiliah praise:

 is the praise that God inhabits! Ps 22:3 Yet you are holy,
enthroned on the praises of Israel

Is battle 2 cron 20:22 Jehoshaphoat At the very moment they began to sing and give praise,

the Lord caused the armies of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir to start fighting among themselves

Is evangelism ps 40:3 He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see what he has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the Lord

Lifts a heavy spirit Is 61:1-3 The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me,
for the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted
and to proclaim that captives will be released
and prisoners will be freed.[a]
2 He has sent me to tell those who mourn
that the time of the Lord’s favor has come,[b]
and with it, the day of God’s anger against their enemies.
3 To all who mourn in Israel,[c]
he will give a crown of beauty for ashes,
a joyous blessing instead of mourning,
festive praise instead of despair.
In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks
that the Lord has planted for his own glory.

David vs Michal who will you be like 2 sam 6

David = man after gods own heart Michal = Barren

Your flesh is at war with your spirit for control of your soul

The reason expressive praise is uncomfortable is because our focus is not on God it’s on idols!

THE IDOL IS: SELF, and PRIDE

Don’t let preference get in the way of your praise


For every person who says its too loud, I have a person that says its too quiet

For every person says more hymns, I have a person that says  too many hymns

For every person who says its to outward and expressive,  I have a person that says were dead

I am already at 31 feeling the tension of the next generation rejecting my style of worship

3 things lead to my lack of expression: Fear pride insecurity

Satan is repulsed by praise accompanied by freedom

This might be a step by step learning process, for some raising one hand in worship is just as hard as doing the holy ghost shuffle

Its hard to manufacture praise, but it’s a natural response to Gods goodness and power!

I’m not challenging you to do anything except NOT TO GET COMFORTABLE IN YOUR PRAISE! Always press the boundaries.

[VIDEO] : No Regrets

“A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy. I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.”  – John 10:10 (The Message)

Here’s a brief recap:

1. Understand the Difference

The priorities in the Kingdom of “Me” and the Kingdom of Heaven are worlds apart.  Understand the Difference!

2. Understand the Fight

There is an ongoing battle between Jesus and the Enemy for your life.  Understand the Fight!

3. Make the Decision

Knowing the difference and knowing the fight goes on … Make the Decision!

4. Fuel the Decision

Whether you pursue the priorities of the world or the Kingdom of Heaven, Fuel the Decision!  My prayer is you would fuel the decision to know Jesus more passionately.