Worship

Overwhelmed for Worship

By Chad Spriggs

When was the last time you were overwhelmed?

In the Old Testament we see time and time again that God’s greatness was revealed after His people were overwhelmed by the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. God’s stubborn love and longing to draw them close and bless them with His favor was overwhelming. They worshiped, making much of God, and God healed their land.

In the New Testament we see God’s greatness revealed in and through Jesus Christ. When people opened their eyes and ears to receive forgiveness of sin they were overwhelmed. Jesus captivated their heart, mind, and soul and never let go. His followers worshiped, making much of God, and God healed their lives.

God’s people from every era and generation worship God when they recognize the true greatness of God and are overwhelmed by His love. Imagine a love so great it overwhelms you. It captivates your heart, mind, and soul. It may encourage some to become strangely still; even quiet, others fall to their knees tears flowing, many stand in awe, and a few may leap with joy. It may happen in crowds of people, alone, or in the most unexpected ways and places. Is this what worship looks like? Is this what happens when you comes face to face with the transforming truth of God’s love and redeeming power?

God wants to overwhelm you with His love.
He is only limited by your willingness to worship Him.

With all that we’ve done to replace, reinvent, and rewrite God’s love story he simple asks us…“If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
2 Chronicles 7:14 (ESV)

The original intent of this verse was for God to establish a works based relationship with his people. Their works were based on their humility toward God, focus on God’s instructions, and repentance of things that opposed God. The application is timeless, God longs to have a people that expressed their devotion to him through a life surrendered to God, desperately wanting to honor God through obedience, and daily trusting Jesus for life direction. God may not heal our land but he has and always will seek to heal lives that are overwhelmed by God. That state of mind will prompt people to humble themselves, seek Him, and repent of wickedness.

When was the last time you humbled yourself, sought his face, and repented of wickedness?

Worship is not the song we sing, the sacrifice we make, how well we represent God on social media, raising a good family, or representing our church well. All these things are good but in and of themselves are not worship. Worship is humble adoration, communion with God, seeking God with our whole body, and turning from sin while running to God. Worship elevates God and takes us off the paying field.

Humble Yourself
Humility becomes a reality for those that have come to grips with their limitations and look forward to God’s Influence. Humility begins with perspective. The humble will say, “I am nothing, but God is everything.” Their life will be one example after another of making much of God.

How is God becoming the influencer of everything you say and do?

Pray
Prayer transforms a person when they believe God hears, cares, and longs to meet their heart’s cry. Prayer is the most intimate act of trust. It helps a person recognize that God is present with them through the good and bad.  The more we pray the more we are centered on God rather that the circumstances of life. Prayer gives the intangible substance.

How is your heart’s cry met through your relationship with God?

Seek His Face
When a person seeks His face they are intentionally loosing track of the things that distract, corrupt, and rob them from knowing God. The purpose of life is found in knowing God. The Bible promises that those that seek him will find him. It doesn’t mean they wont find despair, fear, anger, and uncertainty along the way, but it promises they will find God.

How is seeking His face giving you strength for each new day?

Turn from Wickedness
Turning from wickedness takes recognizing sin has corrupt even the best, purest thoughts a person has apart from the enlightenment of the Father. Wickedness is pervasive. There is no escape apart from God’s forgiveness through Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. Sin has no dominion over Jesus. If a person is covered by Jesus’ love and sacrifice, sin has no dominion over them. Wickedness is a fading memory of a past reality. Worshiping God in his greatness becomes our clear reality.

How is wickedness fading and worship growing in you?

I recently asked my friends on Facebook and Twitter this question. Other than God, what things do you find yourself drawn to worship? Here are some of their responses.

  1. My cat
  2. Music…listening to it and making it.
  3. Doing good.
  4. Tone, melody, instrumentation, vocals…all things that drew me to music to begin with.
  5. My house, I too often worry and stress over making it perfectly organized and clean.
  6. Me – what I like, what I want, what I don’t want to do…
  7. Fly fishing
  8. Laser beams
  9. Screaming guitar shredding and R&B background singers.
  10. Sports Activity
  11. Security
  12. Contentment
  13. Convenience
  14. Anything that I’m willing to defend.

 

Think it Through
Read Isaiah 6

Before Isaiah saw God his answer to my question would be similar to ours. Contextually appropriate, but the same. When He saw God… all of God… the love of God… he was overwhelmed. His response, his next step, was a life of devoted worship.

Imagine a love so great it overwhelms you. It captivates your heart, mind, and soul. Now stop imagining it. Humble yourself, pray, seek His face, and turn from wickedness…say here I am…send me! Worship God.

How are you and the church drawing closer to God through worship?

Preparing for the Lord’s Supper

By Karen Polich

The new covenant is final. Gone are the old ways of ceremony and sacrificial offerings. Through Jesus Christ we are no longer bound to this. Jesus came as the fulfillment of God’s plan to reconcile His people. He served as the ultimate sacrifice.

And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. Hebrews 10:10

Sunday, Albuquerque’s First Baptist Church will spend time together honoring our Lord and Savior through the Lord’s Supper.

The Lord’s Supper represents what Jesus offered. We live in complete forgiveness of sin, once and for all, through Christ. We should approach the observance of the Lord’s Supper with reverence and worship. What greater gift than the gift of salvation? To be truly reconciled with God through Jesus Christ is the ultimate picture of grace.

It is a time of reflection. Where is your heart with God? Take an honest look at your relationship with your Lord. Are there things you need to lay at Christ’s feet? Forgiveness is free. There are no strings attached and no need to “earn” your way. Christ is there with outstretched arms, waiting for you.

I am the way, truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6

It is a time of worship. We serve a mighty God! Hidden in Christ, we stand before Him in perfection. (Colossians 3:1-4)  Having examined your heart, it is time to focus on what Christ has done for us and give Him the glory He deserves. Let your heart give thanks and praise to the One who sits at God’s right hand. Jesus is worthy of our praise.

The Lord’s Supper is a time for all believers to worship together, forgiven and free from the bondage of sin. In preparation for Sunday, spend time in prayer and read Hebrews 10:1-10.

For more information about worship service times, visit our website, www.fbcabq.com.

 

Never Too Old

By Gerry Wakeland
This week the seniors of Albuquerque’s First Baptist Church have enjoyed Senior Vacation Bible School. And all week as I have talked with colleagues around the country they have asked the same question…”What is Senior Vacation Bible School? Aren’t seniors too old for Vacation Bible School?

When Pastor Michael Cook accepted the call to Albuquerque’s First Baptist church in 2006 he had a number of ideas that would revitalize our fellowship. They weren’t all about buildings and locations. Many of them were about people.

One of those ideas revealed his passion for seniors and their health and welfare. This idea has turned into one of the most popular programs for the seniors of our church. We call it Senior Vacation Bible School and yes, it is patterned after the same named program for our children.

Four days every August seniors gather at AFBC to relive a most precious time in their youth, VBS. The week is full of songs and games, laughter and tears, creativity and crafts and grounded in great Bible teaching,

The morning starts off with breakfast. Anything from biscuits and sausage gravy to homemade granola and fresh fruit might appear on the breakfast buffet.

Worship Pastor Matt Snook opens our worship time with music. This year Dr. John Hatch, former Senior Pastor at FBC Lake Jackson, TX, taught lessons on the importance of the family in today’s society. His lovely wife, Alice enhanced the morning study with song.

Our seniors love games. The most popular game of the week was the AFBC rendition of Family Feud in which the Kolle Family faced off against the French Family. Amidst a lot of laughter and coaching from the audience, the Kolle Family won. Another popular game shared secrets from our church staff. You’ll never guess who broke his finger washing his hand. And just for the record, Pastor Trey is not the only daredevil on our staff.

The men spent the week building Crayola trucks which will be given to children at the Baptist Children’s Home. Some of the women helped the men by painting the trucks. Other women created some helpful gifts such as magnets, notepads and bookmarks that will be shared with the teachers at Petroglyph Elementary and carried with the Senior Choir when they sing at nursing homes.

And of course, we ended every morning with lunch prepared by the church staff. Pastor Kevin and Pastor Michael grilled. Pastor Trey smoked pot roast and Ms. Kristi made homemade chicken and dumplings. And Susan Rasinski made her very first peach cobbler just for our seniors, and it was yummy!

Friday ended with a special treat as Matt introduced our very own Senior Gospel Quartet comprised of Jim French, Carolyn Manuelito, Gail Kirby and Matt. They shared some old favorites as everyone clapped and sang along.

It was a great week. Everyone left edified by the Word of God, encouraged by the fellowship with other believers and excitedly looking forward to next year!

It just goes to prove that you’re never too old for Vacation Bible School.

We Are…Striving for Impacting Worship

By Karen Polich

What is worship?

It’s easier to talk about what worship is not. Worship is not music. It is not a program and it is not a feeling. Pastor Michael Cook continued his We Are… sermon series teaching why it matters to strive for impacting worship. Listen to the podcast here.

While music can be part of worship, it is a language of its own.We like different styles. Traditional or contemporary it doesn’t matter. Music itself is not worship. Music can be a great tool used in our worship.

Worship is not a slot of time on Sunday mornings. What we bring on Sundays should be an outpouring of our life. Worship does not have a specific start time and stop time based on events.

We worship because He Is good, not because we feel good. Our worship should be greater than how we feel. God is greater than how our day is going. He is unchanging.

Worship is the response of your heart to an amazing God!

The expression of your heart in worship is your language. God sees that. He is focused on what you bring. We are not the audience, He is. Our worship is something we bring to God.

Romans 12:1 (NIV)
A Living Sacrifice
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.

Three anchors come out of this verse, demonstrating what worship should be. God’s mercies touch everything in our lives. Our bodies should be a living sacrifice. We should strive to be holy and pleasing in what we offer to God.
God does not want pieces or parts. He wants ALL of you. He is not looking for us to make a sacrifice, He wants us to be the sacrifice.

Worship is the believer’s response to all He is and to all He has done. It is an outpouring of our hearts to who God is.

Is worship overflowing in your life? An incredible God deserves worship that spills out of everything we do.

A Time for Excellence

By Karen Polich

Excellence is a choice.

God didn’t create us to be average. He didn’t make us to barely get by; we were created to excel. – Unknown

Defined as the quality of being outstanding or good, excellence is something of beauty. Choosing excellence brings us to a place where our integrity is pure and we are giving our very best. It requires discipline and commitment. Excellence brings focus and is free of distractions. Just reading the word, excellence, can evoke a desire to pursue a higher purpose.

Excellence doesn’t have room for complacency or mediocrity. It cannot be half done or involve only part of a heart and mind. When we are bringing our very best to God, we are bringing Him the essence of who we are and who He made us to be. Excellence involves doing what is right, regardless of who is watching. It is striving to always make things better, even if things are already good. It is a choice that involves the details.

We are called to bring excellence in worship. in Exodus 34:26, we are called to bring our first fruits, Bring the best of the first fruits of your soil to the house of the Lord your God. God wants our attention, our focus; He desires that we bring Him excellence in what we offer. A sharpened sense of belonging comes with excellence in our worship. It brings a deeper intimacy with our Creator.

Perfection is not a requirement since we are made perfect in Christ. God wants us; our whole self and everything we have to offer. For God did not give you a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7

We can choose to bring excellence in our worship. We can choose to open our hearts with complete abandon. We can choose to give with excellence and trust God. What might we see God do when we bring Him our very best?

What do you choose? Are you ready to bring excellence in worshiping our Holy God?

Ascribe to the Lord the glory due His name; worship the Lord in the splendor of His holiness. Psalm 29:2

Kid’s Klub – Get in the Game

By: Karen Polich with Kasimira Polich

Looking for a game changer? Look no further than the children around you.

Sunday was special. Parents had the opportunity to join their children during Kid’s Klub as the leaders wrapped up the series, ‘Get in the Game’.  It was a time of worship and praise. Games, Bible stories and music revealed how these children seek God. Small voices poured out Bible verses and explained stories from God’s Word. It was beautiful.

I was reminded of the words Jesus spoke in Matthew 18:1-5. At the time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” He called a little child and had him stand among them. And he said, ‘I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me.’

I saw joyous faces and humble hearts, so ready to answer the next question. God’s Word, hidden in the hearts of children, was shining brightly.

I asked my 8 year old daughter to explain Kid’s Klub to me. What does it mean to her? Why is it important? She told me that she enjoys the games. She loves spending the time with her friends and with the adults who are so willing to teach. Then she started talking about what it means when it comes to God.

Praising God – It’s like He is right in front of you. You are giving glory to Him. We do cool moves when we sing to praise Him while having fun. It feels like He is there and He is going to give us the crown of righteousness. It is almost like being in heaven and He is shining bright right there. He’s just going to hug you and keep you in His arms the whole time. When we praise God and play games, it’s all for God, not just for ourselves. It brings us closer to Him.

Bible Stories – They teach me a lesson. We should try not to do what some of the people in the Bible did, but there are others we should copy. They all had consequences. Some of those consequences I don’t want. There’s always something to learn from Bible stories. It feels like God is right there telling us the story.

Review Time – Knowing answers and verses is like God is telling me, ‘You can do this’. Jesus is right there guiding me in His Word. It helps me to know God more.

Get in the Game – It was full of great lessons. If you are in sports or anything else, take time for God. He deserves your best and should be your first priority in life. If He isn’t, you aren’t really living a Godly life.

Attitudes – A bad attitude tries to get you to stop praising God, but a good attitude helps you praise God even more. With a good attitude you don’t talk badly to your friends, your parents, or other people. It helps you to live a better life, the life that God wants for you. Attitudes matter.

I was reminded of the immense value of Kid’s Klub and what it means to build a new generation full of hearts that seek Him. I couldn’t help but examine my own heart. How about you?

Intimacy in the Lord’s Supper

By: Karen Polich

Experiencing the Lord’s Supper always astounds me. Knowing that we have the opportunity to partake in the intimate worship of our Lord Jesus Christ through something that He did with His disciples deepens the moment. It is an honor that comes with responsibility. An extraordinary gift bestowed upon us because of God’s grace.

The Lord’s Supper brings me to a place where I can experience Christ in the past, the present and the future. It is time for reflection within my own heart. Have I given everything to God? My sins, fears and failures, hopes and desires? I can rejoice in His glory as we await His return.

My worship is deepened knowing that God might do something in me that only He can do.

There is beauty in the intimacy of communion with Him through the Lord’s Supper, remembering His broken body and the blood He shed.

What awaits my eager heart as I worship Him with sincerity?  Do I seek Him boldly? Do I hesitate? He who makes each day new seeks me. All that is required of me is that I bring myself to Him with a pure heart. Not a perfect heart, but a forgiven one.

His presence is unmistakable. Lavishly He reveals Himself. Jesus gave us the ultimate gift of salvation, reconciling us with God. We read the words of John the Baptist, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” John 1:29. Jesus was without sin, but about to take on the world’s sin as He sat with His disciples celebrating the Passover meal. In those moments He was still teaching. Honoring Him through the Lord’s Supper, I too have the opportunity to put my trust in Him and learn, seeking Him with gratitude and a heart of worship. His love, forgiveness and grace are waiting to be received.

What about you? What intimate moments do you experience through the Lord’s Supper? We would love to hear from you in the comments section.

The Lord’s Supper is recorded in Matthew 26:17-30, Mark 14:12-26 and Luke 22:7-20.