Monday, January 27, 2020

I have moved

I have moved! It's been years since I have posted anything. But this year I decided to start writing again. Please check out if you are keen to check it out. Thanks for reading this blog!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Worship lifestyle part two

1 Cor 10:31-33
"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God - even as I try to please everyone in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved.

Last post I discussed the first part of this scripture and something that was on my heart. This topic is still on my mind. Living for the glory of God is such a big issue, that I feel we could talk about it always. As do I feel that there are always things in my life that I need to correct before I can honestly say that I honor God with my whole life. If I would even get to that point. Big if.

As with all things, I think the state of our heart is important. Our God knows your heart and mine, and He knows our desires. Main point here is this: is He our main desire?

That questions poses a health check. We can't get to 1 Corinthians 10:32-33 if this is not the case. A desire to know Him more is where we need to start and keep coming back to. Hebrews 11 states that 'without faith it is impossible to please God', in Psalm 104 the author writes that his meditions pleases God, in 1 Timothy 2 we can read that it pleases God when we pray, give thanks and intercede for other people.

All these - and other scriptures that discuss pleasing God and giving God glory - have one theme in the middle. We actually NEED to spend time with Him. Quality time. Have you grown more hungry lately? I think in order for us to play a larger role in reaching our cities, 'so that they may be saved', it is imperative that we grow more hungry and spend more time with our Creator. We are stronger with Him.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Worship Lifestyle part one

Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
1 Corinthians 10:31

For those of you who have read posts on this blog before, you might know where I'm headed with this. If you have been in church for a long time, you might have heard this tons of times before. But bear with me and let me give you a quick reminder.

Mind you, this is not just a reminder to you, but maybe most of all to myself. This scripture reminds me of the fact that my God wants it all, not just on Sundays, youth meetings or band rehearsals. He wants the whole package, seven days of the week. Of course this might add pressure, or a sense of expectancy. I would like to switch this whole idea around: it gives endless possibilities. Every day we have so many opportunities to give glory to God in all things we do; seeking Him when wake up, reading His Word when we can and meditating on it, and handling the people around us in a loving manner. Of course from time to time we do or say something that is not completely edifying, but in those moments we can be assured that God's grace covers us. Let's at least have an attitude of worship, where what we say and do edifies the people around us and gives glory to our Father.

Being a whole-hearted worshiper is not a status set apart for musicians or ministers. It is about a devotional lifestyle that glorifies our God. You can be a great worshiper without being able to play a single note. He is after your heart. Don't know where to start? A good beginning would probably be at the start of your day, by giving Him the firsts. Handling other people the way Jesus intended us to. Proverbs 19:22 gives us a great encouragement:

"All that is desired in a man is kindness"

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Accept it

Ephesians 2:8-10
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

This is one of those scriptures that you probably have heard a gazillion times in church, or Sunday school or wherever. And probably one of the hardest verses to really accept. A scripture that I am reminded of almost daily that it is not my because of my works that I am saved and now have the privilege to serve in church and build the House.

Sometimes it's hard to accept gifts. I sometimes feel that if someone gives me big gifts, I need to give something in return. I know people that keep track of who gave them what on their birthdays, so they know how big their gift needs to be in return. For whatever reason. Praise God that He does not work that way. He deserves all glory for saving us. We are saved by grace. Ephesians 2:4 states that our God is rich in mercy. So true. And it is not through our faith that we are saved. It is not a case of 'if your faith is big enough'. It is a classic case of my God is bigger. No way you can boast in this. Boast in our Lord and Savior.

Moreover praise God that salvation is not the end goal. We are created in Jesus for good works. He thought of us before the foundation of the world, even then He had good works planned out for us. For us all; we are all His workmanship. That includes the people I like and the people I like a bit less.

Does that mean I need more of Him, so I can love more like Him? Looks like it hey.

His love never fails.


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Extravagant love

Matthew 26:50

Friend, why have you come?

Already two weeks have passed this year and for me personally the year has started on a high. I considered the first Heart of Worship meeting with me as a youth leader a success and I just accepted my first full-time job after graduating university. Now that is what I call a good start!

The last couple of messages had love and meeting each other as a topic and I think this is an extension of those, or rather it is at the base of those messages. In our church the main focus for the start of the year is 'seeking first the kingdom' (Matthew 6:33), which is great. It is always good to reset the focus to Jesus at the start of a new year. In light of community and friendships, Jesus is the best focus and the best example there is.

One thing that is certain for the coming year, is that we will be offended at some point this year, to varying measures within our community. Maybe one of your best friends will say something that offends you or someone in your connect group does something that hurts you. In Matthew 18:22 Jesus answers Peter when he asks Jesus how many times he should forgive a brother that sins against him. Jesus answers with 'seventy times seven.' Jesus tells us to forgive every time somebody sins against us. It is okay to be angry, as Paul writes to the church in Ephesus in Ephesians 4:26, but don't stay angry. Forgiving someone is as much helpful to the person needing forgiveness as to the person needing to forgive.

As more often, Jesus leads by example. Jesus already knows that Judas will betray him, yet still accepts him. Moreover, Judas was there at the Last Supper. Judas was always welcome. Matthew 26:50 shows the full extent of the largeness of His love. Even at the moment of betrayal, Jesus calls Judas 'friend', and he does not judge Judas at this point. That is what I call extravagant love. That is setting the bar high for us in our relationships. Who do we call friends? Let this be a year where we worship passionately, forgive quickly and love extravagantly.

His love never fails.

Monday, December 31, 2012

Meeting each other

Hebrews 10:24-25

Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another...

Now 2012 is coming to a close, and what a year it has been. So much has happened and I am very excited for the next year. In the last post I mentioned I have been away on a big trip and since I came back I mainly had something on my heart that might be best described as 'community'. In the broader sense of the word. 

Hebrews 10:24-25 is probably one of the most used scriptures when considering community. So there's nothing new here. I do think this is a great scripture to have on your heart when entering the new year, as in my opinion, you can't do life on your own. This has two simple reasons: you need others, and others need you. Do not undervalue that last reason. 

Furthermore I think sometimes we take community, or simple social activities with other people/Christians as add-ons in our life. Whilst this translation (NLT) makes this a 'mild suggestion' or an encouragement, the author uses more aggressive language. I don't always check out the Greek, but sometimes I like to know exactly what something means. The word 'motivate' in v24 is paroksysmos in Greek, which translates to provoke or stir up. So it has a much more compulsory or pushing edge to it. The author here is motivating us to push each other to do acts of love and good works. 

The next part is my focal point. Again the author uses strong language. The Greek for neglect here is egkataleipo, which is stronger than neglect, it translates into forsaking, or leaving behind. It is not talking about missing a meeting, or not having a coffee with friends in a week. But the author is emphasizing the importance of meeting up with - in this case - Christian friends. You need other people to push you to keep loving and doing good and vice versa. 

And to be really honest, we could have worse obligations. To have lunch with some friends and to speak into each others lives is probably one of the best and most fun things to do. I would like to end this final 2012 blogpost with an encouragement for next year:

Make allowance for each other's faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful. (Col. 3:13-15)

Have a great New Year's and be blessed in 2013. His love never fails.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Loving each other

1 Peter 4:8

And above all things have fervent love for one another, for "love will cover a multitude of sins."

Yes it has been a long time! A lot has changed since the last post in June. I graduated university, traveled to Australia and New Zealand and I came back a different guy. A lot has changed and is about to change in our church in Amsterdam, but our God stays the same.

More and more this verse lives in my heart. This has such a huge impact. To me it is a game changer. The point is very simple. We are no saviors. Jesus is the Savior alone. If that is the case, this verse points exactly to what we are supposed to do. We are to show the world how much Jesus loves them. How much we love them.

We know that the Bible mentions different types of love. The word for love in this context is a form of philos, meaning brotherly love. This is exactly what it means: the way we love people and to what extent can actually cover a multitude of sins. This is radical. We do not take away sins, because that is not something we can do. But this is something that is bigger than most of us know. Your love is powerful!

In verse 10 Peter mentions something else that seems very critical to me, because this how we show love to each other. Loving others is not just something verbal, it requires physical action. "As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another." Ministering each other sounds great, other translations mention it as - and the meaning of minister in this context is - serving. Serve each other with the gift you received from God. This is how we show love to each other.

Love never fails.