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.



Kingdom Manhood | Tony Evans

One kingdom man whom you may not have heard about is found in the Old Testament book of Judges. If a poll was taken of most people in church today, probably not even a quarter would recognize his name. This man didn’t get much airtime as compared to the likes of Samson, David, or Joshua. Yet the principles found in the two verses about him hold the potential to not only transform lives, but our world. Because, as you will see, it only took one real man named Shamgar to save the entire nation of Israel.

First we read in Judges 5:6,

“In the days of Shamgar the son of Anath,
In the days of Jael, the highways were deserted,
And travelers went by roundabout ways.”Judges 5:6

The reason why a nation resorts to traveling its back roads is because it has lost control of its front ones. So to be out in public was to put your life at risk. This was a day of terrorism and chaos when marauding bands of irresponsible men created havoc in the society.

But then we read in Judges 3:31,

“After him came Shamgar the son of Anath, who struck down six hundred Philistines with an oxgoad; and he also saved Israel.”Judges 3:31

Shamgar, whom we know today as the third minor judge in the history of Israel, probably came from very humble beginnings. In fact, he very likely started out as a farmer, becoming proficient at handling an oxgoad, or cattle prod, while living in an agrarian society. But what’s critical to learn from him is that he didn’t wait until he became great in order to do something great. He didn’t put off until next week what he needed to do that day.

Shamgar saved the entire nation of Israel, and he did it as a farmer! God used Shamgar because he exemplified two of the greatest principles of being a kingdom man:

  1. Start where you are
  2. Use what you have

Imagine what our homes, churches, communities, and nation would be like today if our men would take a lesson from the life of kingdom men like Shamgar. When a kingdom man steps out his door each day, heaven, earth and hell ought to take notice.



God Is So Good!

 

♫ 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



Happening This Week At OBC

This week at OBC:
Monday: 6:30 PM Vision Team Mtg.
Tuesday: 10:00 AM Crochet Class
6:00 PM Church Council Mtg.
Wednesday: 6:30 PM Prayer Service/Youth/Kids on a mission
Thursday: 7:30 AM Men of Prayer
9:00 to 11:00 AM Food Pantry
Next Sunday (6/4): 8:00 AM Men’s Breakfast
12:00 Sr. Adult Recognition Luncheon (sign up in foyer)


Happening This Week At OBC

This week at OBC:
Monday: 6:00 PM Church Council Mtg.
Tuesday: 10:00 AM Crochet Classes
6:30 PM Art & Soul
Wednesday: 6:30 PM Prayer Service/Youth/Kids on a mission
Thursday: 7:30 AM Men of Prayer
9:00 to 11:00 AM Food Pantry
Sunday: (3/5/17)
8:00 AM Men’s Breakfast
5:00 PM Deacon’s Mtg.


From The Pastor’s Pen

 
 
   I have been recently reflecting on the condition of our world.  It seems to me that people are very distraught over just about everything.  Every day there are so many conflicting stories about our new president and his cabinet.  Political arguments seem to headline every  type of social media known to man.  Ethnic divide seems to be growing larger every day.  In other words, this world is messed up.  
 
   News flash! It has been messed up since the fall of man!  The biggest difference is that there are now social media outlets that let every person that has an opinion post it world wide.  People are spending a majority of their day plugged into some form of social media or news outlet.  The media, that used to report on things that were actually news, are just as caught up in the storm of social media as the rest of the world.  People believe that anything they read on social media must be true, especially if it is reported on by the actual news media. Unfortunately, that is not the case. 
 
   So, are you looking for actual truth?  Something that is solid and has been proven throughout time?  Then unplug from social media and plug into God’s word.  That is right, the Bible! The book that has withstood the test of time and remains the greatest word every written.  God’s word is inspiring, comforting, and also convicting, all at the same time.  Don’t take my word for it! Read it for yourself and then join together with others who are also reading His word.  Yep, the largest book club ever assembled, which we call the Church.  We discover together what God has said in His word and talk about how to apply it to our lives.  I hope to see you there this Sunday.
 
God Bless You,
 
Bro. George Riek


Happening This Week At OBC

This week at OBC:
Monday: 6:30 PM Vision Team Mtg.
Tuesday: 10:00 AM Crochet Classes
No Art & Soul
Wednesday: 6:30 PM Prayer Service/Youth/Kids on a mission
Thursday: 7:30 AM Men of Prayer
9:00 to 11:00 AM Food Pantry
Friday & Saturday: Boy’s Campout