“doing” church – because worship must be connected to mission

From now on, brothers and sisters, if anything is excellent and if anything is admirable, focus your thoughts on these things: all that is true, all that is holy, all that is just, all that is pure, all that is lovely, and all that is worthy of praise. Practice these things: whatever you learned, received, heard, or saw in us. The God of peace will be with you. – Philippians 4:8-9

1-IMG_3674There is such a lot to cover from Sunday. Lots of activity, lots of blessing, lots of joy.

Rebekah and I truly are in a remarkable church; it’s a place where so many people live as intentional disciples, worshiping, learning, serving, and reaching out in mission. I guess you could say that we are a large association of smaller, overlapping, missional communities who come together as often as possible for fellowship and worship.

We are a body of many parts. Sometimes we do things – like Walk Through Bethlehem or Vacation Bible School – that benefit from the pooled resources and talents of literally hundreds of people; sometimes the mission is an effort rooted in one Bible-class (like the ongoing feed the hungry initiative that served 100 Sunday evening in downtown Raleigh); sometimes it is the work of the whole body played out one-on-one via our trained cadre of Stephen Ministers; sometimes it is a ministry like Backpack Buddies, a team of dedicated disciples who are occasionally by representatives of other groups such as my Wednesday evening men’s Bible-study….

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Regardless, the work of the church is worship and mission, mission that emerges from worship and is fine-tuned via literally scores of classes, studies, teams, and covenant groups built around the principles of discipleship. As Rebekah has been saying for years, “Making disciples to be disciples to make disciples to do the work of being disciples…”

Rock and bluesy roll:

I have to begin with the most fun I’ve had with a guitar in a long time. Long story short my friend David shared a recording, The Up Song, that – while a raw blues tune from a wonderful secular performer (Doug MacLeod) – was crying out to be played in church.

You have to understand that doing a song like this is way far out from my comfort zone. It’s a great tune but it’s more visceral than musical. It required singing not just from my soul but out of my gut. But the more I listened to The Up Song the more I wanted to share it with our congregation.

So Hans from the Praise Band loaned me his resonator guitar and joined me on bass. Brett added drums and there it was, simple and raw and bluesy and a little edgy. And I stood there on the stage, vulnerable, and tried to channel some of the joy and the hope and the optimism of this song and connect with the people in worship.

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What a blast! You can listen to it right after Rebekah’s sermon at around the 38-minute mark. Here’s the link to the video. I can’t say anything about my musicality but I can say I reached all the way in and pulled out something authentic. Really, in worship, that’s exactly where it’s at.

Tough Subject Matter from Rebekah:

As you know, we’ve been going through the Seven Deadly Sins. Each week I have tried to respond to the message a little via one of my posts.

This Sunday – “Lust” – was the one most people squirm about and many pastors would rather not touch but instead sweep it under the rug. Well I have to tell you the underside of the rug is getting a little nasty by now and it needs to see the light of day.

The sermon begins 13-minutes in to the video and I’d strongly recommend a listen. Maybe the sermon subtitle is the best thing I can say about how lust is so deadly: “Lust – Craving for salt while dying of thirst.”

Mostly, and tragically, lust destroys relationships. Rebekah quoted some statistics about the pornography industry that just about blew my mind. The billions-upon-billions of dollars of profit made at the expense and exploitation of so many people is staggering. As is the complicity of so many regular people. Take a listen. There is a lot there that is important and timely.

Feeding the Hungry:


Finally, Sunday involved another trip downtown where men’s ministry participants worked alongside the Women of the Word Bible-study who have made this vital ministry one of their ongoing commitments.

I had the opportunity to share a devotion and I understood immediately that the words of the song I had shared in the morning were a great message for our guests. So I’ll finish by sharing them here. Also, I think you would enjoy listening to the song, live, at 9:00 worship.

There’s a time to:
Step Up
Stand Up
Speak Up
Pay Up
But there ain’t never a time to Give Up…
There’s a time to:
Grow Up
Heal Up
Let Up
Rise Up
But there ain’t never a time to Give Up…
There’s a time to:
Show Up
Shut Up
Loosen Up
Wise Up
But there ain’t never a time to Give Up.

“Amen!” – Derek


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