Coffee Cup Verse – 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. – 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

Sometimes in life, God calls us to do something for His glory that we feel we might not necessarily possess the skills to tackle on our own; the truth is, we don’t. So we wrestle with trying to reconcile our desire to do God’s work with our all-too-evident sense of lack—many a well-meaning Christian finds themselves stuck here and usually for much longer than intended. The issue is not our lack of skill or talent; the real issue is our lack of faith in God.

Think back to the story of Moses, whom God chose to use to deliver the Israelites out of Egypt. Moses, upon hearing God’s plan to use him, immediately points out his shortcomings and asks God to send someone else. However, the Lord reminds Moses that He was the one who gave him a mouth and tells Moses that He will help him and Moses’ brother Aaron carry out His plan.

Oftentimes, it is precisely because of our weakness that God chooses us to carry out His mission. Not because He needs us, but because He wants to do a work in us and through us. He wants to do a work in us by challenging and growing our faith in Him; to trust that He will provide and equip us for the mission He has called us to fulfill. He wants to do a work through us by utilizing our “weakness” to bring glory to Himself and His kingdom; that way we, and everyone around us, can be certain that the end result was due to His grace and His power alone.

My friends, have faith that when God calls you for a specific purpose, He will also equip you and will be with you every step of the way. Lean on Him. He won’t let you down.

 

Photo via Visual hunt


Angela Naugle currently serves as a Captain in the U.S. Air Force Reserve. She graduated from Baylor University and has her Masters in Social Work from Texas Christian University.

 

Prayer & Praise Psalms 62:5-8

5Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him. 6He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. 7My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge. 8Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge. –Psalms 62:5-8

When the storms of life roll in, where, or to whom, do you turn to for refuge? For hope in trying times? Who do you pour your heart out to? I think if most of us were completely honest with ourselves, the answers to the above questions would seldom include God. Do you find that you turn to your co-workers, Christian friends, spouse, or s for advice and encouragement? Or do you rely on your own strength or resources to get you through?

The word “refuge” when broken down into its Latin root words literally means to “turn and flee to, over and over.” God intended for our refuge to be in Him—that we might be able to put our full trust in Him and share what is on our heart and mind with Him—not only in difficult times, but all of the time. Continuously seeking God and submitting ourselves to Him is an act of genuine worship. We must be careful not to seek out others over God, or to place others in a role that God intended that only He would fill, otherwise we risk falling into the trap of idolatry—worshipping something or someone other than God. God desires and is worthy of all of our worship!

What would happen if you continually poured your heart out to God and truly sought refuge in Him? We invite you to leave your comments below.

 

Photo by Chris Lawton via VisualHunt.com


Angela Naugle currently serves as a Captain in the U.S. Air Force Reserve. She graduated from Baylor University and has her Masters in Social Work from Texas Christian University.

No Church Viewing

Sometimes we need to be on the outside of a situation or place to fully understand a different perspective. I believe that the Church is doing great works across the globe and continues to bring healing and change to the darkest parts of the world. The Church has also had her fair share of criticism from all sides. There are times when this criticism is warranted in order to produce needed change in the Church, then there are times when the Church must stand her ground in the midst of the ever-changing societal norms. This particular post is about the needed change within our Church. This is an opportunity for those in the Church to look at the message we are portraying to the world and see if it matches up to scripture.

I was blessed with the opportunity to travel to Europe this year. If there was an opportunity to hear about a historical fact or see an old church, I would take it. Most churches were gorgeous with a lot of details and splendor, but felt like stuffy libraries with countless reminders to be quiet. I get it. There are a lot of tourists and children and it could probably get loud and people are trying to pray or perhaps connect with God for the first time. I found it hard to not want to sing at the top of my lungs to my creator in such a wonderful place. The bigger the church, the more I wanted to praise God.

In Munich there was a different sign in a particular church. One that stuck with me. The sign read “No Church Viewing.” Really? In the United States we are trying everything to get people to come into our churches and this one puts up a sign to discourage anyone from watching the service.

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I get it, there are a lot of tourists. But we are the light of the world. We need to encourage these people to come in, take a seat, and feel welcome! Perhaps they would hear the message of the Gospel for the first time. Maybe this is their opportunity to make Jesus their Lord and Savior simply because they wanted to see a beautiful church and happened upon your service.

To be honest, I think anyone who stayed in that service longer than a couple of minutes might find themselves falling asleep. We need to put life back into our services. We need to put our focus back on Jesus and not our perfect idea of how a service should be conducted down to the second. We need to welcome those who would stumble upon our churches, even if by accident or because it is a beautiful historical building.

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To those outside the church, please know you are welcome. I encourage you to church view, I encourage you to bring your entire gaggle of children into these old historical buildings. Come and see our church history, but more importantly, see our church as it is today. Hopefully, you will find it alive and well. Most importantly I hope you find Jesus, as I hope we are displaying Christ’s love to you and your family.


Kimber Nettis is currently an active-duty Captain in the U.S. Air Force. She graduated from Baylor University and is currently pursuing a Masters in Christian Ministry through Liberty University. She and her husband Michael founded Armed to Worship Ministries, a non-profit that serves to organize, train, and equip a lifestyle of worship.

 

Worship as a Lifestyle – the Bible and Business

Our Mission is to organize, train, and equip a lifestyle of worship. This statement may lead to some necessary follow up questions: Firstly, what is worship, and secondly what is a lifestyle of worship.

The word “worship” in current culture brings up thoughts of large stages, contemporary rock, and sometimes fog machines. But in a general sense the worship portion of a church service is confined to the musical section of the service.

Worship is more than music and singing, worship is giving glory to God by our thoughts and actions.

“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.” – Romans 12:1

We see from this that worship is more than 20 minutes of music on Sunday morning. Worship is not merely the Radio station you listen to, or reserved for the people who auditioned for the “Worship Team”. We are all called to worship, every day, using all the gifts God has blessed you with.

  • If you can sing, sing joyfully to the Lord.
  • If you can write, write with truth and love giving glory to God
  • If you can draw, make beautiful artwork reflecting God’s amazing creation
  • If you are a skilled in business , establish your business with Godly principles
  • If you are a leader, use your position to build community focused on God

I want to focus on the gifts of leadership and show the act of worship through the lens of a businessman, specifically focusing on Joseph in Genesis 37-50.

Joseph was gifted with prophetic visions and interpretation of dreams. Early in his life God showed him the future for his own life, with his brothers and father bowing down to him. Yet he met many trials – first being sold as a servant by his brothers. He ended up in Egypt and used his business skill to advance his master’s estate and earned recognition. The people knew he was a man of God, and his success gave glory to God.

The Lord was with Joseph, and he became a successful man, and he was in the house of his Egyptian master. His master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord caused all that he did to succeed in his hands. So Joseph found favor in his sight and attended him, and he made him overseer of his house and put him in charge of all that he had. – Genesis 39:2-4

But Joseph was betrayed by his master’s wife and sent to prison. In prison he again displayed great administrative skill, and was put in charge of the prison management. Eventually Pharaoh heard about this prisoner who can interpret dreams and calls him out of prison. Jospeh proves his skills and works diligently in every opportunity, not living in regret nor waiting for his next position before he committed himself for the Lord. We live for today, because tomorrow is not promised – how much more so for Joseph who was witnessing prisoners being executed during his time in confinement.

Though Joseph suffered in life, he followed God and put his full effort into every station he was placed. In the end, the Lord made him master over all of Egypt, with the Pharaoh leading only in title.

38 And Pharaoh said to his servants, “Can we find a man like this, in whom is the Spirit of God?” 39 Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has shown you all this, there is none so discerning and wise as you are. 40 You shall be over my house, and all my people shall order themselves as you command. Only as regards the throne will I be greater than you.” 41 And Pharaoh said to Joseph, “See, I have set you over all the land of Egypt.” – Genesis 41:38-41

He prepared the nation of Egypt for an upcoming famine, and through his skilled administrative skills maintained food for Egypt and the surrounding nations for 7 years. In his position he was able to save his own people from starvation and relocate them to Egypt. His brother’s feared retribution from Jospeh, but in the end he offered them forgiveness, himself realizing that his trials were part of his journey, and that God had used his suffering as a blessing.

18 [Joseph’s] brothers also came and fell down before him and said, “Behold, we are your servants.” 19 But Joseph said to them, “Do not fear, for am I in the place of God?20 As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. 21 So do not fear; I will provide for you and your little ones.” Thus he comforted them and spoke kindly to them. – Genesis 50:18-21

We are called to the same blessed life – pursuing God’s call, knowing that as long as we walk in His will we cannot be defeated. Our lives our testaments to God’s love and glory.

“And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father through him.” – Colossians 3:17

“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that form the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ” – Colossians 3:23-24

Martin Luther King, Jr. put it this way:

“If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.”

Are you working half or full heartedly where you are today? Know that if you are following God, He has placed you in your current position for a reason. You may not receive additional blessings until you’ve made use of the ones God has already given you. (Matthew 25:14-30)

  1. Everyday we are called to Worship God
    • How are you living today to give glory to Jesus?
  2. God puts us in positions to give Glory to Him and help change the world
    • Do you divide your business identity from your Church identity?
  3. Focus on serving God Now, rather than serving God Next
    • Are you putting off serving God and waiting for the “right time”?
  4. God has created you as a unique individual and blessed you with talents to serve Him.
    • What gifts do you have that you can use to serve God and help others?

Michael is a servant of Jesus Christ and is currently an officer in the U.S. Air Force. He is a techy by trade, but a worshiper at heart. He founded Armed to Worship with his wife, Kimber, to equip the world for worship.

The Folly of Universalism: The Identity of Jesus

I overheard this conversation the other day: ”I feel like Christianity, Judaism, and Islam basically worship the same God.”

We are now in the “I feel” generation – where reference to truth and facts don’t matter as much as your emotional response to them. If you want to understand the difference between the major 3 monotheistic religions – the defining trait that distinguishes and separates Judaism, Christianity, and Islam  – look to how each addresses the character and nature of Jesus Christ.

The appeasing lie that “we all believe in the same God” is the general rallying cry of universalists who want to accept all beliefs instead of choosing one. The challenge is that Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are all mutually exclusive in their nature. A basic understanding of these faiths will highlight the glaring contradictions that do not allow for a logical acceptance of a universalist outlook.

If someone asks you what differentiates Christians from the other major religions the answer is: Jesus.

Identity of Jesus

Jesus as the good teacher

  • a Jew can say Jesus was a moral teacher, but can’t call Jesus a prophet or Lord

Jesus as the prophet

  • a Muslim can say Jesus was a teacher, and a prophet, but can’t call Jesus Lord

Jesus as the Lord and Savior

  • Christians say Jesus is Lord and Savior. He is the Son of God who sacrificed His life to redeem us from Sin and offer us the gift of Grace and eternal life.

But who does Jesus say that he is?

“Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.” John 8:58

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

”I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” John 10:11

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16-17

“Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him. Truly, truly I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He doesn’t come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.” John 5:23

“For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” John 6:40

“Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.” John 10:7-9

CS Lewis sums up the discussion up in Mere Christianity stating that Jesus can either be one of three things – liar, lunatic, or Lord.

I’ll give a recap of what he captured in his explanation.

Liar: Jesus made a lot of claims about being divine that he knew were not true.

Lunatic: Jesus made a lot of claims about being divine that he believed were true, but they are not true.

Lord: Jesus made a lot of claims about being divine that he knew were true, because those claims are true.

First chose one of these characterizations for Jesus – then revisit the earlier roles: teacher, prophet, Lord.

If he was a liar then he is not a credible teacher because the majority of his claims and basis for his teachings are lies.

If he was a lunatic then he is not a prophet. Prophets speak the true words of God. You cannot claim he spoke the inspired word of God, yet also claim he spoke falsely. A false prophet is not a prophet.

If Jesus is Lord then all holds true. He spoke the Word of God in truth because He was God.

Any attempts to celebrate Jesus without identifying and accepting his nature as holy, divine, and triune with the Father and Holy Spirit suffers an internal contradiction.

This brings us back to the God we worship. God revealed to us that Jesus is the Son of God, begotten not made, one in being with the Father, and that Jesus gave his life as a perfect sacrifice for our sins.

We’ve seen Jesus claim his identity, but who does God the Father say Jesus is?

At Jesus’s baptism in the Jordan river by John the Baptist, God the Father revealed the identity of Jesus:

And behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” Matthew 5:17

And a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” Mark 1:11

Now when all people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heavens were opened, and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form, like a dove; and a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” Luke 3:21-22

At the transfiguration of Jesus, when Moses and Elijah appeared before the 3 apostles gathered with Jesus, God the Father revealed the true identity and nature of Jesus:

[Peter] was still speaking when, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them and a voice from the could said, “This is my beloved Son, with who I am well pleased; listen to him.” Matthew 17:5-6

And a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the cloud , “This is my beloved Son; listen to him.” Mark 9:7

And a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, my Chosen One; listens to him!” Luke 9:35

After God revealed more of His true nature to us, denying his Word and still attempting to Worship Him would not be true recognition of God, but instead worship focused on our own creation. He spoke through the prophets to prepare the people for the of the coming Messiah. God says I am the living God. Jesus is my Son who I sent as a sacrifice for the forgiveness of your sins. He conquered death and now I send the Holy Spirit to those who believe and follow Me.

If we refuse to accept God as He has revealed Himself to us, then we refuse to w orship Him. That is a denial and redefinition of God, not based in His Word. As much as we want to be open and accepting of all people – we can’t compromise our faith. Denying God to please the world is not a sacrifice we should be willing to make as Christians.

Internship Opportunity

We are looking for one full time intern for Armed to Worship Ministries. Our mission is to organize, train, and equip a lifestyle of worship. We work with military chapels, churches, and individuals to promote growth spiritually and musically through training, mentorship, clinics, conferences, and equipment procurement. We are a new and growing nonprofit and need a dedicated full time intern to help grow us into our global vision

Location: Honolulu Hawaii
Time Period: Feb-May 2017

Responsibilities would include but not be limited to:

– Fundraising activities

– Event Planning

– Community Relationship Building

– Ministry Coordinator

– Management of social media platforms

One full time position would include:

– Room and board (stipend for food $50/wk)

– Limited private transportation

– Full availability of public transportation

– Hiking and beaches minutes away from house

– Expenses beyond room and board not covered

– Looking for intern for Feb- May 2017, dates are negotiable

– Seeking applicants with strong admin and social media skills

Intern Application Form

* approved applications will require background check, credit check, and housing application for our landlord.

* Applicants must be prepared to cover any living costs and food above the stipend

3 Checks for Sound Team Leaders

3 Critical Checks for Sound Team Leaders

We are called to grow in our spiritual gifts. This includes those with technical skills who are serving in the church. As a Sound Team Lead here are some practical checks you can regularly make that will have a lasting impact on your personal growth and also on those you disciple.

1. Check with your team.

As a sound lead your goal is to build a ministry team. It’s too common for the Sound Board area to become a walled castle, where a single sound tech stands alone running the production for the service. As a lead you want to disciple and grow more servants who have gifts in technology and sound. Every week you need to check with your team and see how they are doing. You want to know them personally. If someone is stressed at work or at home you need to know because that can impact their ability to run the sound system. This also helps you remain aware of any signs of servant burnout – an all too common symptom of servants who are over stressed yet unwilling to step back from serving out of guilt, resulting in frustration and in the end, a hardened heart against their calling, or the church as a whole. All this to say, treat your team as a family and keep engaged with them.

2. Check with the Worship Leader

You and your worship leader need to be in sync. It’s a bad sign if the Worship Leader still refers to you as “Sound Guy”, or “Hey, Buddy”. You can create that relationship if it doesn’t already exist by checking in with them before every practice, rehearsal, and service. Let them know you are part of the team and are supporting them. It’s also a good time to reaffirm your mutual role in serving the congregation. The Worship Leader can provide you with any last minute updates on the set list, or specific direction for the service.

3. Check with your Pastor

The Pastor is responsible for shepherding the congregation and leading the church. In a sense he is your boss as the Sound Team Lead – even more so if it’s a paid position instead of a volunteer position. Seek his input before service on the overall atmosphere of the service and look for feedback after each service. In addition to his personal preference for the feel of the sound in the church – he also gets more direct feedback from the congregation if someone doesn’t like the way the service sounds. Give him an opportunity to pass that along to you for immediate resolution. Remember to remain humble and approachable.


By Michael Nettis

Michael is a servant of Jesus Christ and is currently an officer in the U.S. Air Force. He is a techy by trade, but a worshiper at heart. He founded Armed to Worship with his wife, Kimber, to equip the world for worship.

Creating a Worship Atmosphere – Horizontal and Vertical Songs

We come together as a body of Christ to sing praise and worship. We do this as an act of adoration – recognizing that God is creator of all, father and provider, an Jesus Christ has saved us from death with his gift of grace.

It’s easy to build a Worship set on Sunday mornings that are fun, catchy, and gets the crowd singing. However; as a Worship leader your calling is to do more than pick fun music. It’s to create an environment that lets people connect with Jesus and invites the presence of the Holy Spirit into the room.

When you start picking your songs you can use a song selection based on horizontal and vertical focus.

Horizontal worship songs convey a message about God. We proclaim who He is and what He has done for us. It’s a reaffirmation of our faith and an expression of our recognition and gratitude for His blessings. We sing these songs as a congregation to testify on our faith and share our personal testimony.

Vertical worship songs are a direct conversation with God. Instead of singing ABOUT God, vertical worship are sung TO God. It’s a heartfelt prayer expressed in music.

  1. First things first, as a worship leader you need to communicate with your pastor – learn the message for that Sunday and the themes the pastor wants to convey.
  2. Start your worship sets with Horizontal songs – reaffirming your faith and fundamental theology of who God the Father is, the gift of grace from his Son Jesus Christ, and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit we receive.
  3. As you create an atmosphere of worship and people open themselves up to the Holy Spirit you usher them to a more intimate connection with Jesus through Vertical Worship songs
  4. Don’t be afraid of stillness- or an opportunity for people to have spontaneous worship. This is not silence, but rather just a brief moment in your vertical song for people to sing what is on their heart.
  5. Practice transitions. Leading the congregation in a prayer in between your horizontal and vertical songs can help the congregation focus. It is also a good opportunity to focus on the song’s theme or the theme of the message. This does not have to be an elaborate or “super spiritual” prayer. You can also say a verse that supports the theme of the song as well.

Continue to grow and challenge yourself as a worship leader. Look for new ways to engage the congregation to encourage them to freely and fully participate in worship.


By Kimber and Michael Nettis

Armed to Worship serving at Christmas Breakfast for military families

For the third year in a row we will be providing live music and entertainment at the Navy Lodge on Ford Island, HI. Last year over 400 service members and family members attended the pancake breakfast. It is our joy to support the military community and help displaced families experience the love of Christ on Christmas.

Every year  on Christmas morning the Chapel community and Homeport Hospitality House host pancake breakfasts at military hotels around Honolulu, Hawaii. The breakfasts are an opportunity to bring Christmas cheer to families who are in transition during the holiday season.

If you are interested in being part of the worship team please email us at armedtoworship@gmail.com.

Finding God’s Miracles through Worship

The Holy Spirit is present and working today, just as the time of Acts. Have you seen the Holy Spirit at work? Have you felt the Spirit’s presence? Have you called on the Spirit and opened yourself to receive it. The first step to experiencing the Power of the Holy Spirit is to read the Bible and get to know the Holy Spirit through God’s Word. By understanding the Spirit through the Word we know what the Power of the Spirit can and will look like.

If you are set that the age of miracles have passed, and that the Holy Spirit is not moving in the present age as in the past, you have already closed yourself off to receiving the Spirit, and more so, you have defined God through your own bias than through His Word.

The Holy Spirit manifests through healing, through speaking in tongues, and  visions. I encourage you to reread the story of Pentecost and the rise of the early church empowered through the Holy Spirit. When people received Jesus as their Savior, there was an experience of Baptism in the Holy Spirit. After this experience they produced gifts of the Spirit in amazing ways.

1 When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.

– Acts 2:1-4

How then do we welcome the Holy Spirit into our lives? How can we experience being in the presence of the Holy Spirit? Worship serves as a powerful means to invite the Holy Spirit to be with us. Especially corporate worship – coming together as a group of believers opening ourselves up to praise God and dedicating time to grow our relationships with Him. Jesus says when two or more believers are present He is there among us. And when his time is specifically set aside for Jesus we can enter into his presence.

Worship starts through a willing heart. We must remove all barriers between us and Jesus – we cannot be distracted, we cannot be hard-hearted, we cannot feel burdened to worship. Let your guard down and let Jesus into your heart. Approach worship excited with the opportunity to praise God, to recognize His blessings, and to exclaim His involvement in your life. You’ve been made new, reborn – share your testimony in every word you sing proclaiming Jesus as your Lord and Savior.

As you pour out your energy and your Love through worship you empty the built up burdens of life and open an area for Jesus to enter in and fill you with His Love. This is the opportunity to experience the Holy Spirit. Pour out yourself and let the Holy Spirit pour into you. Deliberately invite the Holy Spirit into the worship experience.

Worship is unique in its fully body engagement. You use your mind, your voice, and your body. What does all out worship look like? Look at at King David when he returned the Tabernacle to Jerusalem – he jumped, danced, and sang without restraint.

16 As the ark of the Lord came into the city of David, Michal the daughter of Saul looked out of the window and saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord, and she despised him in her heart.

– 2 Samuel 6:16

We are called to fully commit all of our being to praising God. More and more, devoted worship will lead you into the presence of the Holy Spirit. You will deepen in your relationship with Jesus. You will begin to witness miracles in your life. God wants to take an active role in your life – use worship to open yourself to His call.


Michael is a servant of Jesus Christ and is currently an officer in the U.S. Air Force. He is a techy by trade, but a worshiper at heart. He founded Armed to Worship with his wife, Kimber, to equip the world for worship.