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The Orchard Baptist Worship Ministry strives to accomplish what every church should: To lead the people of God to a place where they experience genuine worship through the Holy Spirit. Our services are a blended style of worship, praising our God with songs from both the past and the present.
 
 
Our Worship Team meets every Sunday at 4:45pm.  Come join us as we worship our Lord and Savior.
 

Getting Closer To Jesus

As many have noticed, we have had sort of a theme in our worship this month.  It revolves around wanting more and more of Jesus in our lives, both personally and corporately as the body of Christ.  This naturally led me to this question:

How do I get more and more of Jesus & how can I get closer to Him?

I have learned that the closer we get to Jesus, the stronger and happier we become. Sometimes in life we may not have that certain someone to encourage and push us forward, but when we experience radical intimacy with Jesus, every aspect of life seems to just fit in and fall into place. Getting closer to Jesus is an ongoing process that involves any number of steps.  Now, I am not claiming to be an expert on the subject by any means, but here are four simple things that the Lord put in my heart:

  1. Spend quality quiet time with Jesus. Quiet time can involve reading various gospel oriented books or listening to devotionals or even Christian music. Just taking some time off to sit and think about certain verses or passages from the Bible would also amount to quiet time. It’s frankly just isolating ourselves from this noisy world and letting God know that we are waiting on him. So quality quiet time would surely make us feel closer to Jesus.
  2. Attend church regularly. This doesn’t mean just taking up space in a pew hoping that Jesus will seep in through osmosis.  We need to be sure that we try to actively engage ourselves in the worship. When songs are being sung, sing along from the heart, when the Word is being preached, we need to listen intently and open our hearts to the message He has for us. Being engaged in church can have you leaving Spirit-filled and closer to Jesus.
  3. Read the Bible. The Bible is the inspired Word of God himself.  Consider, if you will, the following verses:
    1. John 1:1 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” KJV
    2. John 1:14 “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”
    3. Since we refer to the Bible as the Word of God, and the above verses tell us that “the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” & “The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us,” it is my humble opinion that the Bible is a manifestation of Jesus. Keep in mind that I am not a biblical scholar by any stretch.  The way I figure it is the best way to have an intimate knowledge of Jesus and to be as close as humanly possible to Him is to, not just read, but ingest, dwell on, meditate on Jesus, the Word of God.
  4. Talk to Him. The best way that I have found to get to know more about someone is to talk to them.  It is the same way with Jesus.  Jesus is our friend.  No, He is more than just a friend.  We are His family. We should talk to Him like He is in the room with us.  Jesus is always listening and will never leave us or forsake us.  Regular, meaningful conversations with Jesus are the best way to get closer to Him.


More Thoughts On Worship

What’s the first thing you think of when you hear the word “worship”?

Unfortunately, for most people that have been raised in a church, the word has become synonymous with singing or meeting together for a service. Since I have been the Interim Worship Leader here at Orchard, I have had a revelation.  I have realized that I am not concerned about what we are singing as much as I am concerned about what we are seeing. I realize that people worship at different levels. If you have not seen the One you worship, then you will always struggle in your response.

11 Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. 12 In a loud voice, they were saying: “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!” 13 Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying: “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power for ever and ever!” — Revelation 5:11-13

I love that this scripture gives us a picture of what worship is like. They are not just singing a song they were taught, but they are describing the One that they are looking at. It’s also a great description of what we should give in response to His greatness. Things like power, wealth, wisdom, strength, honor, glory and praise. That pretty much means He deserves everything we have.

I had an encounter with God at the age of 26 that changed me forever. God became more than a history book. He was no longer a God that seemed so distant and unresponsive. The God of the universe revealed Himself and everything inside of me changed. Worship was no longer something I could just do, but it was something I had to become.

The word worship can be defined as “worth-ship”. In other words, the daily activity of my life, reveals the worth of the God that I serve. This is why it is so important to be a person of character when proclaiming to be a Christian. The world is watching us and they determine who God is by the actions of His followers. We are the representatives of God on the earth. What do we want people to believe about Him? How much is His image worth to us?

When we choose to love instead of hate, to be patient instead of reacting, to be joyful in times of trials, or to be strong in the face of fear, then our response is an act of worship. Our response reveals His worth.

Challenge Question:

In what ways have your daily responses revealed your own worth instead of God’s? Write down 3 ways you might reveal God’s worth in your daily life.



Thoughts About Worship

Thoughts About Worship

Question: “What is the difference between Praise and Worship?  Aren’t they the same?”

Answer: Understanding the difference between praise and worship can bring a new depth to the way we honor the Lord. Throughout the Bible, the commands to “praise the Lord” are too numerous to mention. Angels and the heavenly hosts are commanded to praise the Lord (Psalm 89:5103:20148:2). All inhabitants of the earth are instructed to praise the Lord (Psalm 138:4Romans 15:11). We can praise Him with singing (Isaiah 12:5Psalm 9:11), with shouting (Psalm 33:198:4), with the dance (Psalm 150:4), and with musical instruments (1 Chronicles 13:8Psalm 108:2150:3-5).

Worship, however, comes from a different place within our spirits. Worship should be reserved for God alone (Luke 4:8). Worship is the art of losing self in the adoration of another. Praise can be a part of worship, but worship goes beyond praise. Praise is easy; worship is not. Worship gets to the heart of who we are. To truly worship God, we must let go of our self-worship. We must be willing to humble ourselves before God, surrender every part of our lives to His control, and adore Him for who He is, not just what He has done. Worship is a lifestyle, not just an occasional activity. Jesus said the Father is seeking those who will worship Him “in spirit and in truth” (John 4:23).

In Scripture, praise is usually presented as boisterous, joyful, and uninhibited. God invites praise of all kinds from His creation. Jesus said that if people don’t praise God, even the “stones will cry out” (Luke 19:40). The tone changes when the Bible mentions worship. We read verses like; “Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness” (Psalm 96:9). And, “Come let us worship and bow down” (Psalm 95:6). Often, worship is coupled with the act of bowing or kneeling, which shows humility and contrition (2 Chronicles 29:28Hebrews 11:21Revelation 19:10). It is through true worship that we invite the Holy Spirit to speak to us, convict us, and comfort us. Through worship, we realign our priorities with God’s and acknowledge Him once more as the rightful Lord of our lives.

Just as praise is intertwined with thanksgiving, worship is intertwined with surrender. It is impossible to worship God and anything else at the same time (Luke 4:8). The physical acts often associated with worship—bowing, kneeling, lifting hands—help to create the necessary attitude of humility required for real worship. Wise worship leaders know how to structure a worship service to allow participants to both praise and worship the Lord. Often, services begin with joyous praise songs and transition to a quieter, more introspective opportunity for worship.

Worship is an attitude of the heart. A person can go through the outward motions and not be worshiping (Psalm 51:16-17Matthew 6:5-6). God sees the heart, and He desires and deserves sincere, heartfelt praise and worship.



Thoughts About Praise

Thoughts about praise:

When we praise God, He is both the object and the audience for our praises.  He hears our praise, even though we don’t see Him visually.  We are speaking or singing directly to God as well as about Him.  Because of this fact, words of praise to God are some of the most important words that will ever come out of our mouths.  Praise is not something to ever take lightly.  When our praise for God is genuine, we are expressing the overflow of our hearts and sharing good things about our God.  We are telling or writing or in some other way (music, dance, art) expressing a clear message about who God is and what He has done.  Our praise can be part of a testimony of what God has done, and is doing in our lives.  Praise can be one brief statement, or it can be a more lengthy expression.  We are sharing with others the news that God is good and at the same time telling Him that we know He is good.  We do need to be careful about expressing praise only when something happens that we are happy about.  “God is good all the time and all the time God is good.”  He is worthy of our praise!

All of us have to be intentional about praise.  We have to choose to become people who make a commitment to express praise to God and to others about God.  We have to choose to be both vulnerable and strong in expressing praise to God within the congregation.  We lay aside any concerns about what other people are thinking or doing, and we simply focus on praising God with all of our hearts.  Praise opens our hearts to God as we focus on Him alone.  He inhabits (dwells within, or manifests His presence within) the praise of His people.  It’s so amazing that God chooses to meet us and transform us with His presence when we make the choice to praise Him!

Praise is also necessary for the heart of every Christian even when we are feeling down, disappointed, or crushed by grief.  In the midst of our deepest valleys, we still recognize that God’s goodness and faithfulness are praiseworthy.  Because our praise opens the courts of the Lord, He will meet us there.  When we are willing to give to God the sacrifice of praise, knowing that He is good and merciful even in the midst of our trials or suffering, we give Him an opportunity to minister peace and comfort to our hurting hearts.  No matter what is happening in our lives, our God is worthy of praise!


Singing Can Help Us Express Our Unity

Singing Can Help Us Express Our Unity

People sing together in the strangest places. At sporting events, fans sing enthusiastically about their desire to crush the opponent. People sing at New Year’s Eve parties, Christmas time, rock concerts, weddings, and even funerals. When eating out we often have to endure well-meaning but musically challenged servers in restaurants attempt to sing some form of “Happy Birthday” to an embarrassed individual. I always ask myself, “Why do we do this?” It’s not as though anyone thinks this is enjoyable. Do they?

While these events aren’t equally significant, something similar is happening. Our singing tends to bind us together. It’s more effective than simply reciting or shouting words in unison. Singing enables us to spend extended periods of time communicating the same thoughts, the same passions, and the same intentions. That process can actually have a physical effect on our bodies. Scientists have found that singing corporately produces a chemical change in our bodies that contributes to a sense of bonding.

When it comes to the church, this characteristic of singing has significant implications, all of which require great wisdom and discernment. To be clear, Scripture doesn’t talk only about congregational singing. God is honored when we sing alone, when a musically gifted individual leads out in a solo, when a choir sings, or when different segments of a church sing to one another, taking turns. The Bible isn’t specific about exactly who sings when.

But the predominant emphasis of Scripture is believers confessing their common beliefs together. The book of Revelation doesn’t give the impression that Jesus died for independent soloists, people who would sing on their own clouds or in different sections of the renewed earth by themselves. He died to redeem a universal choir.

That means every voice in the church matters. We’re not called simply to listen to others sing — as we are prone to do increasingly in our iPod, Internet-downloading culture — or to sing by ourselves. We are called to sing with others, especially in the context of our local church. The question isn’t, Do you have a voice? The question is, Do you have a song? If you’ve turned from your sins and trusted in Christ, if you’re forgiven and reconciled to God, then you have a song. It’s a song of the redeemed, of those who have been rescued from the righteous wrath of God through the cross of Jesus Christ and are now called his friends. Once we were not a people, but now we are the people of God, and our singing together, every voice contributing, is one way we express that truth.



Christ Is Risen! He Is Risen INDEED!!!

Christ Is Risen! He Is Risen INDEED!!!

The celebration of Easter is absolutely central to the life of the church and to faithful Christians. Why? Without the new life of Christ touching every aspect of who we are and what we do, we are simply going through the religious motions, playing religious games, and buffing a religious veneer that we place over our lives.

To live lives touched by the Resurrection means many things, but I’d like you to think about these two:

 It means that we live unafraid of death. Many live in such a way that they will do ANYTHING to avoid pain, aging, illness and death. They go to extraordinary lengths to deny the inevitability of it, fooling only themselves and a few select others who are in on the game. We use drugs to lessen the impact of what’s coming, or we choose inappropriate and (ultimately) damaging lifestyles, or we try to fool ourselves into acting or looking much younger than we are, or we are simply paralyzed by fear into a kind of stupor that keeps us from doing or being anything.

 It also means that we live free from sin’s power. Has someone done something to you that still controls your heart and mind? Have you done something that has clouded or affected your whole life? Have you taken a road of temptation that leads only to damage to you and others? Have you allowed prejudice or fear to warp your heart so that you cannot love and forgive?

Easter isn’t just about eggs, bunnies, jelly beans and hollow chocolate Easter bunnies, and dressing up. It’s about the new life we have in Christ, in which we are set free to love, forgive and serve, and thereby find a sense of peace and joy in all that we do. By grabbing hold of the cross, we share in Jesus’ victory over sin, death and all that would destroy us.

Singing For His Glory,

Bro. Don



Does Singing Really Matter?

Have you ever wondered “does singing really matter? What role should singing play in the life of a Christian? What is it about worshiping through song that is so important to God?”

You may not know it, but God has already answered these questions in the Bible.

Seven Biblical Reasons Why Singing Matters

The seven reasons below answer these questions and unpack more important truth about singing in the life of an individual Christian and the church.

1. When you sing, you obey.

Singing isn’t an option in Scripture. It’s a command:

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. (Colossians 3:16)

And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart… (Ephesians 5:18-19)

God’s people are more than just invited to sing; we are commanded to sing. When we sing, we’re doing what God asks of us!

2. When you sing, you dig deep roots in the Word.

Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly…singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs… (Colossians 3:16)

The Apostle Paul lays out this plea to let God’s Word dwell in us richly, and then, he tells us how to live out that command. The first, of course, is teaching. But the second, is singing!

Singing is one of the two chief ways in which God’s Word dwells in us richly.
 
Singing is a command. But this command comes with a promise: As we sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs together, we are promised that the Word of Christ will dwell in us richly, which is what we should crave as believers!

Our singing is more than a warm-up for the sermon or a filler in the service. Colossians 3:16 is clearly laying out for us that: Singing stands alongside of preaching as one of the two great ways that God has ordained for his Word to dwell richly in each one of us!

C.J. Mahaney calls church singing “Take Home Theology” because the best songs we sing together serve as a 3-minute, easily memorizable, deeply biblical summary of important truths from Scripture. Take for example, “In Christ Alone.” There, in an easily memorizable form, you’ve got a thorough theology of the cross of Jesus Christ with clear and practical applications that you can use for your life this week!

3. When you sing, you build up others.

First, you build up fellow believers when you sing:

Note specifically here in Ephesians 5:19 that it says: “Addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs…”

We see the same thing in Colossians 3:13-16: the exhortation to sing comes on the heels of bearing with one another (v. 13a), forgiving one another (v. 13b), putting on love (v. 14), being at peace as one united body of Christ (v. 15), and teaching God’s Word to one another (v. 16).

When we do what the Bible says and sing together as a church family, we are hearing confessions of faith all around! We are hearing others join with us and sing, “In Christ alone, my hope is found!” We are hearing many testimonies of faith all around us!

Also know that as you sing, you’re helping unbelievers. In Psalm 105:1-2, the Lord is calling the Israelites to be a light unto the nations, and to do this he tells them: “Sing to Him, sing praises to Him; tell of all His wondrous works!”

Think of the impact on someone who doesn’t know Christ to hear those testimonies, those confessions of faith as we sing together! This is why Pastor Tim Keller says in his book Worship by the Book:  “Good corporate worship will naturally be evangelistic” (219).

4. When you sing, you make war.

Chances are you didn’t connect singing and warfare together, but it’s a theme visible in Scripture. In Colossians 3, Paul is challenging the Colossians to literally put sin to death in their lives, to kill sin. So all the commands to love and peace and forgiveness and teaching and singing are attitudes and habits of the believer that will kill sin!

We see the same thing in Ephesians 5, the command to address one another in song comes right on the heels of “[make] the best use of the time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:16).

 And the more you think about this, it makes total sense: What posture must be more hated by the evil one than the posture of a believer who is singing? I can’t think of many stances you can take that identifies you with Christ and against Satan more than eyes, heart, mind, and voice lifted to heaven in song!

It’s very hard to lie, be greedy or to look at something inappropriate when, you’re “singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart” (Ephesians 5:19). Simply, a heart that’s doing that will not easily give in to temptation.

A singing heart is a heart at war with the work of the evil one and the power of sin.

5. When you sing, you are spiritually strengthened for trial.

Often times, we think only of singing when we’re happy and times are good, but singing bringing strength for trial comes out in Acts 16. Paul and Silas are unjustly imprisoned for the sake of the Gospel, and what do they do while they’re in prison? Sing! (Acts 16:25)

And this truth is confirmed in the lives of persecuted believers throughout history. Hear the words of one pastor recently imprisoned for his faith:

…When we were in prison we sang almost every day because Christ was alive in us…they put chains on our hands and feet. They chained us to add to our grief. Yet we discovered that chains are splendid musical instruments!When we clanged them together in rhythm, we could sing, ‘This is the day (clink, clank), this is the day (clink, clank), which the Lord has made (clink, clank), which the Lord has made (clink, clank). (persecutionblog.com)

Our persecuted brothers are showing us the truth we see in Acts 16 with Paul and Silas. Singing strengthens you and helps you persevere in the face of trial. If it can strengthen them in the face of these trials, what can it do for you?

Even in suffering, sing!

6. When you sing, you walk a God-designed pathway to joy.

Here is a sample of what the Psalms say about singing:

  • Psalms 5:11: “Let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy, and spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may exult in you.”
  • Psalms 9:2: “I will be glad and exult in you; I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.”
  • Psalms 51:14: “Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, O God of my salvation, and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness.”
  • Psalms 59:16: “I will sing of your strength; I will sing aloud of your steadfast love in the morning. For you have been to me a fortress and a refuge in the day of my distress.”
  • Psalms 63:7: “For you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy.”

If you still don’t believe me, here’s a clincher from James 5:13: “Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise.”

As you study Scripture on this point, you’ll notice that sometimes singing gives birth to joy and sometimes joy gives birth to singing. But persistently in Scripture, joy, and singing are bound together. You can’t study one of those two biblical themes without encountering the other.

If you struggle for joy…sing! If you are joyful…sing! In God’s perfect design and understanding of the human condition, he has bound joy and singing together for his people.

The first six reasons get summed up with this:

7. When you sing, you glorify God.

True obedience, deep roots in the Word, building up others, making war against Satan and sin, persevering, finding joy in God: All these things bring glory to God, which is each person’s chief goal and purpose.

Colossians 3 and Ephesians 5 bring this out simply but powerfully, telling us to sing “to God” and “to the Lord” because he is the object of our praise. Ephesians 5:19 says, “singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart.” It is to Him and about Him that we sing!

Singing has such a unique way of bringing your heart, soul, mind, and strength together to focus entirely and completely on God. In an age of distraction, singing grabs the attention of all our senses and focuses us on God.

In Revelation 7:9-10, the Apostle John describes a glimpse of eternity with a great multitude of people from every tribe, peoples, and languages singing before the Lamb, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”

Eternity awaits.

On that day, will you be one of the great multitude that no one can number, singing the song of the Lamb, singing his praises? I hope you’ll be there, singing the song of our Savior, Jesus Christ.



Notes From Bro. Don

♫ God is so good ♫ God is so good ♫

♫ He’s so good to me ♫

What a WONDERFUL God we serve! 

He is so faithful and true to us even when we might lack in our faithfulness to Him.  Aren’t you thankful that He doesn’t give us what we deserve or earn?  I’m afraid I wouldn’t get very much on “merit” and I SURELY don’t deserve Jesus’ love or His death for me!  NOTHING could ever merit such  love, yet, He did it out of His desire for us all to ultimately be with Him. 

I get so overwhelmed sometimes, and, each day, as I try to practice His presence, I can see His hand more clearly on my life and the lives of others around me as He weaves our lives like a tapestry.  I am totally aware of HOW BIG GOD IS and how much I NEED Him!  I pray that the evidence of His presence and love can be seen in the reflection of my daily life and I am so THANKFUL for my Orchard Baptist Family and the opportunity you give me to serve Him and grow in His mercy & grace!

Wishing you all a very Happy Valentine’s!

Bro. Don