Back To School Basics for the Christian Life

•September 5, 2012 • Leave a Comment

This past week I read this blog post about good tips for kids going back to school. In the blog post the blogger talked about how we as Christians could apply these same tips to our Christian Walk. 

 

  1. Get Enough Sleep.  (Rest in the Lord)
    As parents we all know the benefits of getting our children to bed early on a school night. They need that added rest in order to get up early in the morning (and us parents need the rest too!) Resting in the Lord will also make you fit and ready for the day. God will recharge you, refuel you and revive you! “Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him…Psalm 37:7 NASB”    

 

  1. Get a Healthy Breakfast.  (Have Prayer and Bible Study)
    The experts all agree that giving a child breakfast before school helps in knowledge retention, test scores, and overall learning. As Christians we need to get a healthy breakfast of Bible study and prayer. Having some type of personal devotions will fuel you for the day. “Listen to my voice in the morning, LORD. Each morning I bring my requests to you and wait expectantly.” Psalm 5:3 NLT

 

  1. Follow The Rules. (Use the Bible as Your Guide)
    School couldn’t be productive if it weren’t for the rules. As Christians we have the best rule book of all. I have heard people say an acrostic for Bible is Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth. We need to use the bible as a guide on a daily basis.  “Even more, those who hear the word of God and keep it are blessed!”  Luke 11:28 HCSB

 

  1. Try Your Best.   (Do Your Best for Christ)
    Teaching our children to do their best will bring results and they can be proud of themselves. It’s rewarding to do your best. As Christians we need to strive to do our best in whatever we do.
     “24 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.”  Colossians 3:23,24 ESV

 

  1. Get Along With Your Classmates.  (Fellowship With Other Christians)
    When children are taught to get along together at school it causes such a good atmosphere for learning. When we as Christians get along with each other and fellowship with one another, it causes more productive lives, which helps further the cause of Christ. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.”  1 John 1:7 ESV

 

  1. Get To Know Your Teacher.  (Know Christ More)
    One of the first things a student needs to learn is what is expected of them from their teacher. How does that teacher deal with homework? With classroom rules? With grades? We need to know what Christ expects of us. Getting to know God will help us serve Him better. “And Solomon, my son, learn to know the God of your ancestors intimately. Worship and serve him with your whole heart and a willing mind. For the LORD sees every heart and knows every plan and thought. If you seek him, you will find him. But if you forsake him, he will reject you forever.”   1 Chronicles 28:9 NLT

 

As school has started back think about your Christian Walk. . .I know I’m dating myself here, but the 4Him Christian group back in the 90’s had a real popular song called Basics of Life. The chorus says “We need to get back To the basics of life. A heart that is pure and a love that is blind. A faith that is fervently grounded in Christ. The hope that endures for all times. . .” We need to get back to these basics just as our kids remember these tips for getting back to school. Let’s start changing our community for Christ starting with ourselves!

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Let’s Get Excited!

•October 30, 2011 • 1 Comment

I wrote this for our Church newsletter this month. I updated it a little bit in light of the World Series outcome. I hope it encourages you this week!

Almost everyone knows that I am a pretty big Texas Rangers Fan. It stings a little when I realize that a World Series win for the Rangers was so close! A friend of mine said this and it made me feel a little better — “The next best thing to winning the world series is losing the world series!” I am however proud of the team I root for and I will be forever grateful to the very kind people in our church that bought me and Paula-Beth tickets to last Saturday’s World Series game. If you saw that game, you know it wasn’t their best performance, but that didn’t keep me from cheering on my team! The Rangers scored 7 runs, but the Cardinals scored 16. The sound that erupted when OUR team scored was truly awesome. People got excited to cheer on the Rangers!

We have a lot of sports fans in our church, and I’ve seen this same type of excitement from them for our local football team. There is an excitement when you enter the gates of the stadium or arena. (I got goosebumps when I walked in to the Ballpark last week!)  True fans know all the players names, hits, errors, or fouls.  We all get excited and praise the work of OUR pitcher, OUR point guard, or OUR quarterback, and we all love talking about their achievements.

Do we get that excited about being in God’s presence?  Do we enjoy entering His gates with praise? Do we know all about Him?   Do we shout for joy and praise Him for who He is and what He has done?  Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t wrong to shout for a team, to support them, and to talk about how great they are.  However, we are called to give the same, if not more, devotion and dedication to the Lord as we do for our favorite team.  Look at what the psalmist writes in Psalm 100:1-5:

1 Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth! 2 Serve the LORD with gladness! Come into His presence with singing! 3 Know that the LORD, He is God! It is He who made us, and we are His; we are His people, and the sheep of His pasture.4 Enter His gates with thanksgiving, and His courts with praise! Give thanks to Him; bless His name! 5 For the LORD is good; His steadfast love endures forever, and His faithfulness to all generations.

In this passage, we can see five ways we are to worship God and four reasons that we worship God.

1. We are to worship God with a joyful noise together. Corporate worship is very important. If we can come together and get excited about our favorite sports team, we can come together and worship together.

2. We we are to worship by serving the Lord. This isn’t just doing things for the church cause we feel like we have to. This is committing to serve and being happy (glad) about it!

3 and 4. We are to worship by coming into His presence singing, and to know or recognize that HE is God. The psalmist doesn’t say “Come into His presence and stand there if you don’t know the song!”  The psalmist says, “Sing to the Lord a NEW song!” We eagerly learn new things about our favorite sport team’s stats, but when it comes to learning something new in worship we get a little skiddish.  We need to make an effort to sing in HIS presence, and to intimately know HIM above everything else in our lives.

5. We are to worship God by entering His gates with thanksgiving, and His courts with praise!   Just as I entered The Ballpark excited and ready for the game last weekend, we need to enter His gates with excitement, ready to give thanks to Him for who He is and what he has done.

The psalmist also tells us four of the reason we are to worship God.  (There are countless things we could tell the world why we worship, but the psalmist focuses on these four):

1. We worship Him because He made us, and He guides us like a shepherd guides His sheep.

2. We worship Him because He is a good God and wants what is good in our life.

3. We worship Him because His love is forever. No matter what we do He will love us to the end.

4. We worship Him because His faithfulness will be given to all generations. That means our grandkids, great grandkids, and so on will see Gods faithfulness in their lives.

Those are certainly some great reasons to worship!  I hope they will encourage you to get excited as you come to worship as it has encouraged me to come and lead worship.

Selah – Pause and Reflect

•October 25, 2011 • Leave a Comment

So Yeah, it’s been a long time since I’ve posted anything to the blog. I know I haven’t been very consistent with the blog, but for those that have checked it out please give me your comments. My goal from here on out is to try to post at least one blog each week. I would like to give a Sunday Setlist and talk about how the worship service on Sunday morning go. So please check it out each week when you can. And please comment. I want to hear from you!!

The following is an article I wrote for our newsletter last week. It’s about just taking the time to think on what God is doing in our lives. I’ve been trying to do  that more lately, in light of all the changes at FBC over the past few months. Two things that continue to be evident every time I think about every thing that is going on is 1. God is good, and 2. He is ALWAYS in control. We just have to pause and reflect on what He is doing around us, and to meet Him where He is.

If you are musician, you know the importance of taking notes on your music during rehearsal – get louder on this measure, don’t play at this spot, remember the key change, etc. As a worship pastor and choir director, I like it when you do that because it means that you’re paying attention.

The writer of the Psalms, put the same kind of “reminder” notes in to a few of the chapters.These notes are in the form of a word “selah”. You have probably seen this word in the middle or at the end of a psalm and wondered what does that word mean?

Here is an example taken from Psalm 62 7-8:  

On God rests my salvation and my glory; my mighty rock, my refuge is God.
Trust in him at all times, O people; 
pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us.   Selah

Well, I am so glad that I have this opportunity to tell you. It’s such a great word! The word selah was an instruction to the music leader to have the song (remember, psalms are songs not poems) stop for a moment to let the people think about what they just sung or heard. The musicians would sing a couple of lines and then selah – pause and reflect!

I wrote a song in college that I titled Selah after studying about this often overlooked word in the psalms. The first verse goes: “Start of my day, always the same, everything seems to be rushed. Where is my time? It’s so hard to find a simple hush.” Sometimes it is so hard to find the time in our busy days to just to be still, be quiet, and reflect on what God is doing. It seems that life never slows down either. We are always going to be busy with something. Don’t get me wrong, being busy isn’t necessarily wrong either. Let’s just make sure that we take the time today to Selah every once in a while. To pause and reflect on what God is doing in our lives and around us.

Let me know your thoughts! Hope you all have a wonderful rest of the week!

In Christ,

Michael

 

BTW:  GO RANGERS! BEAT ST. LOUIS!!

Worship Wars

•February 12, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Kenny Lamm from North Carolina has an interesting first post in a new series on choosing a worship style in your church. Try to guess what the writer of this article was talking about before you get to the end of the article:

Take a look at this excerpt from an U.S newspaper objecting to the new trends in church music:

There are several reasons for opposing it.
One, it’s too new.
Two, it’s often worldly, even blasphemous.
The new Christian music is not as pleasant as the more established style.
Because there are so many songs, you can’t learn them all.
It puts too much emphasis on instrumental music rather than Godly lyrics.
This new music creates disturbances making people act indecently and disorderly.
The preceding generation got along without it.
It’s a money making scene and some of these new music upstarts are lewd and loose.

Does this sound like some of the “fan” mail you receive the week after you have pushed the envelope in worship with some new worship songs?

This was written by a pastor in 1723 attacking Isaac Watts, the writer of great hymns like When I Survey the Wondrous Cross, Joy to the World, and O God, Our Help in Ages Past.

You see, “worship wars” are nothing new to our decade. As long as we have had organized church and people with personal preferences, there has been conflict. As James 4:1 says, “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle with you?”

– Excerpted from the Renewing Worship blog.

WOW! Pretty enlightening huh? We have come a long way in our worship service haven’t we? Why is the one thing that is supposed to be entirely for God. . .the one thing that tears us apart?

My Prayer is this–

“O Lord, Please allow me to lead in worship in a way that is not uplifting myself, a style, a preference, or a song; but that it will be all about you!  I want to come back to the heart of worship where it’s all about You Jesus. Not about me, not about my likes, dislikes, what people like or dislike. I want to lead worship, AND worship with freedom. I want to come into your presence with no agenda, no motives. . .JUST WORSHIP! to close my prayer I sing this song to you Lord. . .let it be my heart. Forgive me when I fail you, allow me to be transparent and allow you to lead through me at First Baptist Church Hamlin, Tx.

When the music fades And all is stripped away And I simply come. Longing just to bring Something that’s of worth That will bless your heart. King of endless worth no one could express how much You deserve. Though I’m weak and poor all I have is Yours every single breath. I’ll bring You more than a song for a song in itself is not what You have required. You search much deeper within through the ways things appear You’re looking into my heart! I’m coming back to the heart of worship And it’s all about You All about You, Jesus  I’m sorry Lord for the thing I’ve made it When it’s all about You It’s all about You Jesus!

AMEN!

Hope everyone has a wonderful worship service tomorrow. Allow God to move in you and move you to follow his direction for your life!

In Christ,

Michael

It’s been a long time. . . .

•February 2, 2011 • Leave a Comment

WOW! So much for trying to blog more. Yeah, I’ve pretty much failed on that. I see that a few of you have checked back periodically. I hope I haven’t let you down to much. I do want to blog more, and I would like to try to post something at least once a week.

Life is going great here in Hamlin! God is doing some amazing things at First Baptist Church, and I am so thankful that He is allowing me to be a part of it. This past weekend our church had a Solemn Assembly service. We began on Saturday night with a time of worship and prayer, and concluded on Sunday Night. In between people were able to sign up for hour time slots to have someone praying for 24 hours! This was really an awesome thing to see! The theme verse for the weekend was 2n Chronicles 7:14. I created a little video promo for the weekend. . check it out—

http://www.facebook.com/v/545067743533

God moved mightly in the hearts of His people during the course of the weekend. On Sunday, morning we had a special service of praise, prayer, and scripture reading. We had several prayer stations around the sanctuary that people could go to and focus on God. We had large tablets and sharpies positioned at the front of the sanctuary with the phrase “God, Thank You for. . . .” and “God You Are. . .” and people could come up at any point during the worship time and write their end of the phrase. It was a “fresh” time of worship! We also had a sealed carboard box with just a slit in the sides for people to insert “confessions to God” (I’ll tell you more about that in a second). The last part of the Sunday morning service Bro. Donny and Bro. Russ read scripture that talked about specific corporate sins that bring the church down. As we looked at each sin the people in the congregation got into small groups to pray specifically about these sins. It was truly awesome to see God move people to their knees and to the alter to lay down things that are keeping them from being fully committed to Christ!

Back to the sealed cardboard box. On Sunday night we met out in the parking lot and burned the box with all the confession cards in it. What an amazing sight to see those confessions, sins, struggles burn up as a symbol of committing our lives to Christ. We then met back in the sanctuary and had a great time of worship and observed the Lord’s Supper.

All in all, the weekend was great. God moved among His people! It is my prayer that our lives, our church, and our community will feel the after affects of this weekend for years to come!

New Town, New Home, New Church!

•June 3, 2010 • Leave a Comment

WOW! So I haven’t updated since CHRISTMAS! I am really sorry for those that have checked my blog for updates. I do want to blog more and I’m wanting to try to put something up each monday (and maybe more).

This will just be a quick post as it has been a long week and I am pretty behind on things.

First of all if you didn’t know yet, we have moved! PB, Lucy, and I (and Anna our beagle) moved to Hamlin, Texas. I am now the Worship/Media Pastor at First Baptist Hamlin. I love it here! I am still getting into the swing of things of a new position and learning the new dynamics of this church body, and the staff. Last week we went to my sister’s high school graduation in Illinois so it has been a whirlwind of a month for us. We moved, we settled in, then we left for illinois for a week, and now we are back and trying to settle in again!

for now I will leave you with some pictures of our new house!

Lucy looking out the window of our NEW HOME!

kitchen

View from the kitchen to living room

living room

Master Bedroom

Lucy’s Room

and our sweet Lucy helping mom water the flowers! (well the concrete. . haha!)

Keep checking the blog and keep me accountable to post more. Like I said I really want to put a post up each monday.

Hope everyone has a great week!

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!

•December 26, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Hello Everyone! I hope you have had a very Merry Christmas. It has been a white Christmas for us here in Texas! That’s right. it’s beginning to look a lot like . . . . .Illinois! This was probably the worst snow storm I have ever driven through, but it was so beautiful coming down. Here are some pics I took. . .(the one in the car was taken and posted by my wife, cause it would have been too dangerous to post while driving!)

You can't see it in the picture but the flakes were huge!

This was literally the worst snow storm I've ever driven in! BTW. . I didn't post this while driving my beautiful wife did.

We woke up Christmas morning to a beautiful White Christmas

We had a great Christmas with family. I am taking a little vacation for the rest of the year. . . .at least for the rest of 2009! I am excited about just spending some time with our family and resting, and relaxing a little.

Sorry I haven’t posted the past few weeks. I am going to be more diligent about posting. In fact it is on my calendar each week to post. I want this blog not only to be a source of communication to friends and family, but also for our church family and others to get a little insight in who I am as a worship leader and who I strive to be in my Christian walk. So please feel free to “keep me accountable” in blogging more!

Before I leave I want to share one thing that I’m the most thankful for this Holiday season. . . MY FAMILY. I have a beautiful (both inside and out) wife, and a what a blessing I have in my daughter Lucy. Both of these wonderful women in my life make me a better person. I’m so thankful for them! I hope you all have a great time with your families over this Holiday season. Don’t take for granted the time you have with them and make every moment with them! So that being said here is our family Christmas portrait that we had taken a few weeks ago.

MERRY CHRISTMAS

from the Tollers!