JESUS

Who believes what we’ve heard and seen? Who would have thought God’s saving power would look like this?

// Isaiah 53:1 [MSG]

How do we finish out 92 days of a devotion to learning how to worship Jesus?  

I feel like after this ‘Summer of Worship’ my issue [and maybe it’s your issue as well] is not that I struggle to want to worship Jesus, but more that I want to worship Him so much and yet I don’t live up to the worship He truly deserves. So what are we to do?

The words I use to describe Jesus fall short. The songs I sing don’t fully capture everything I want to say to Him. The feelings I have don’t do justice to how I feel about Him. The actions I take don’t come close to what He has done. When we stop and meditate on His love and grace towards us, it’s difficult to know how to respond. How do I worship a God who died for me? How do I worship a God who gave me life in the first place? What do I say to you, Lord? What can I do for you, Jesus?

If we all take some time to receive His love, mercy, grace and faithfulness, I believe worship will not be an issue in our lives, but something that grows deeper and stronger in our lives. As we welcome the Holy Spirit into our lives to teach us to worship Jesus, we will discover how He wants us to live: that every breath would become worship, that every thought would begin to shift towards bringing Him glory.  

Gathering on Sundays and Wednesday nights is not difficult when we receive the Spirit of God, who is Love and draws us into community. It’s not difficult to lift our hands in adoration, it’s not difficult to honor His church and it’s not difficult to further the gospel with our giving when we realize He died for this Church. It’s not difficult to help the least of these when we see that’s what God did for us. It’s not difficult to speak up against injustice when we see that Jesus gave His life as ransom for ours. It’s not difficult.

What is difficult is surrendering to receive this amazing love – the Spirit of God – from whom a lifestyle of worship flows. It’s a daily surrender; it’s the “good fight of faith”, which we fight daily. We surrender our lives to the greatest Love, and this is why we need each other! We can’t surrender on our own; we actually learn to surrender in community and we learn to submit to the love of God by being in Church community. So may God give us, together, the grace to surrender to Him, despite the fear, the disappointments, the burdens, the excuses, the logical reasons, the temptations, the substitutes and the cheap imitations.  

May we not lower the value of our soul to anything less than the worship of Jesus Christ. May we struggle together to learn how to receive God’s love so that we can pour it out to all of New York City. May this ‘Summer of Worship’ called the TEMPLE PRØJECT be just a seed of what is to come for C3 Brooklyn, for our lives and for the many lives that are yet to be impacted by God’s love.  

Father, I pray this is just the beginning of what the worship of your son Jesus could look like in our lives individually, as a church and across NYC. That we would believe and have faith in what we have heard, read and seen in Jesus Christ through the TEMPLE PRØJECT.

We are all temples looking for someone to worship. May we say we have found who we are looking for.  

Name above all names – JESUS.

// Josh Kelsey

LOVE IS GRACE EXTENDED, LOVE IS KINDNESS RELEASED

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

So, a few days ago someone asked me if I loved “them”. I kind of hesitated for a bit before responding with my answer, as love is such a powerful word to use and say and can almost be generically used, expressed or applied at times without genuine value to it.

Of course, I sheepishly yet emphatically said “yes”. Like, duh, is that even a question to ask? Well, in the context of things, that question really had me thinking. I think that love is who we truly are. We were made to love and be loved [by God]. True Love [God Himself] dwells within us, which of course by our own choice compels us to love others relentlessly through all of the good, hurt, pain, bad and joy.

Look at what God did. He gave his only begotten Son for us all. That is crazy love, but love nonetheless! Love makes us do things which we thought that we would never ever do, which in one form is true grace [unmerited, unearned, and undeserved favor]. That is Jesus Himself personified – Grace.

Love is Grace extended. It's in how we interact with anyone. And Love is kindness released. It is shown in our actions towards everyone.

Today, let's all be genuinely intentional in how we love others, whether it's someone’s first time coming to church, or someone that you haven't seen in a while, or even someone whom you saw the other day. Let's truly be a reflection of the Jesus that we worship and behold every day!

// Amber Thomas

JESUS AND WORSHIP

"My Lord and my God!”  

// John 20:28

One of the more shocking things that happened when Jesus walked this earth, was the unashamed worship of him by Thomas, and the disciples, the leper, the Magi, and many others.  Shocking not only in that people worshipped the man Christ Jesus, but also that he accepted it, as if it were both natural and expected.

Last time I read of a man who accepted worship was Herod and that didn’t end well – worms consumed him from within.  In fact C. S. Lewis is quoted as saying something to the effect that a man that accepted worship is either mad, a cynical pretender (liar), or somehow worthy of it because he is God (in the flesh).

What is even more interesting is that Jesus was worshipped as a man when He, for all intents and purposes, was far from the God-like conquering figure that we normally associate and prefer with worship - a picture scripture also presents with every knee bowing and every tongue confessing that He is Lord.

But with Jesus, this isn’t the first or even the primary picture we see.  Strangely, He was worshipped in the form of a slain lamb.  Few pictures are as deliberate in vivid depiction of sacrifice, apparent powerlessness, innocence, and tenderness as this.    

In Revelation 5, John speaks of the one worthy to open the great seals and immediately pictures a lion, but then amazingly changes the ‘perspective angle’ by speaking of Him from then on as a slain lamb.

We are worshipping a being, Jesus, who is innocent, sacrificial by nature, and whom has been slain.  The glorious Christ is indeed to be worshipped and will be as such, but He is introduced to us firstly as a lamb.  He did not use brute force – always the default of men and lions.

God as a lamb – we never thought of this.  But this is whom we worship, and Jesus is indeed worthy of our worship.

“My Lord and my God!”

// Simon McIntyre

WHAT'S IN A NAME?

“And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him, and bestowed on him the name that is above every name.”

// Philippians 2:8-9

I love names and I love the meaning of names. My husband's name “Mark” means “Warlike.” True to his name, he has fought many battles as a husband & father. Over the last 34 years he has led our family through many and various challenges. Fighting for each of us in prayer; standing firm in faith; securing a future in Christ for each of us.

The naming of our three children was both a creative and spirit led event for us. “Joshua” means “Jehovah saves” - true to his name he stepped into a youthful salvation at the age of 4, and has not relented in the call to lead others into the saving grace of Jesus Christ. “Amee” means “beloved” or “loved one” - true to her name, she has a beautiful loving nature pouring out that love to all that come into contact with her in beauty & creativity. “Sasha” means “helper of mankind” - a big call, but she lives this out every day by displaying kindness and gentleness to all she meets. “Bernie” - my name (actually short for Bernadette), meaning “brave as a little bear”. Mark always asks me: “How brave is a little bear?” "Really brave!" is my reply.

Now, if you have just looked up the meaning of your name and you don't like it, let me assure you that you do not have to be defined by your name. But there is a name that is above all names, Jesus. This is the name that has changed my life, given me new life, eternal life; it has redeemed and healed my life. The name of Jesus has all my devotion, all my praise, all my focus and attention, and it's in that name that I live. The beautiful awesome name of Jesus is my everything! Without this name my life and my family's life would be lost.

But thankfully we are not lost. We are found - found in the most loving, all powerful, majestic, creative, dynamic name of Jesus.

// Ps Bernie Kelsey

MY KIND OF WORSHIP & JESUS

“I appeal to you therefore, brothers (and sisters), by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.”

// Romans 12:1

Generally we think that worship is the singing at the commencement of church. True worship though is reverence and adoration of God. Singing to God is the starting point and is just one expression of worship.

Worship has always been one of my favorite parts of the service. My first glimpse of my husband, Dean, was when he was leading worship. I was impressed by his talent then and continue to be impressed by his gifts of leadership and preaching today. Those who have the talent to lead worship and preach, inspire me to worship God with greater understanding. For me, worship is a catalyst to display my own unique love and reverence for God.

We all have God-given abilities that we can utilize as a form of worship. Mother Teresa’s work as a missionary is a wonderful depiction of worship through her personal talents. Her compassion was a gift that she used to worship God through her life. She oversaw children’s homes, hospices, soup kitchens, counseling programs and much more in India. She had no intentions for fame, but she became famous for the way she lived and by these words: “I can do things you cannot, you can do things I cannot; together we can do great things.”

Often, we use our abilities but do not regard them as much, because they do not receive recognition. They are however, a path through which we can display our love and reverence for our God. Embarrassingly, I once took a few singing lessons in hopes of becoming a worship leader. I made a great discovery. I was not gifted to be a worship leader. Though I still worship from my seat in service, I also worship God by honoring the gifts He gave me personally. Those gifts are, at times, speaking on a stage or, more often, sitting with someone in pain and providing comfort.

The gifts and talents of each person are different. By using your gifts and talents you are worshiping God. In the faithfulness of staying true to yourself, God receives what He desires – our reverence, our adoration, our worship.

// Jill Sweetman

ALL IN

The man answered, “ ‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.’ And, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ ”

// Luke 10:27 [NLT]

According to the latest edition of American Girl Doll magazine, “Mackena is a determined girl who uses her strengths to turn challenges into triumphs.” Clearly, this is why she is my favorite of all the American Girl Dolls.

Now, before you revoke my man card, understand that I know more about dolls, princesses and ponies than any male is meant to, and for good reason… I have 3 daughters. You see, being a dad of 3 girls means I had to become invested in everything pink. And let me tell you, I can 'tea party' with the best of them. You could say that as a dad, my position of ALL IN is shown in the way I go ALL OUT for them.

In Luke 10, we find a story where an expert in religious law is trying to trap Jesus, as they did any chance they could. He asks Jesus a loaded question around what he must do to inherit eternal life. Jesus uses the bait of the religious leader to reveal a deeper condition, a condition of the heart.  

Jesus responds to his question with a question:

[Luke 10:26-27]

26 Jesus replied, “What does the law of Moses say? How do you read it?”

27 The man answered, “ ‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.’ And, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ ”

The emphasis of this command is in the pronoun ‘ALL’ which is, in fact, the key component of the command. This single word reveals the religious leaders' focus on minimum requirement. Religion is rooted in requirement and is reflected in reluctance. It looks at the outward performance whereas Jesus looks at the heart of man. This is where relationship contrasts religion. It’s a 'get to', not a 'got to’. It's a ‘want to’, not a ‘have to’, and Jesus is the ultimate model for this.You see, grace isn’t measured in just enough, its measurement is abundance. Grace covers, abounds and overflows. Jesus went ALL IN for us, holding nothing back in order to restore us to right relationship with him. His ALL IN was displayed in going ALL OUT.

This is what it means to have a heart abandoned and to hold nothing back. He has not given us a burdensome task, but called us to a position of privilege. Consider this, Jesus Christ, the Creator and Savior, desires to be in relationship with you… ALL of you… why not be ALL IN.

Then, as a follower of Jesus, when we are truly ALL in, we will be willing to go ALL out.

// Adam Smallcombe

WHO IS JESUS?

For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell,

// Colossians 1:19

Jesus...He is an incredible synthesis of strength and grace. He never backed down from a confrontation when it was needed. He could dress down the most discerningly critical Pharisee without flinching and then in the next moment pour out grace, mercy, and healing to anyone who asked for it!

He had the amazing ability to communicate huge pieces of truth and yet still be aware of the smallest detail. He delivered life-changing principles in the Sermon on the Mount, and yet He would notice when someone had touched Him or what a widow was giving sacrificially in an offering.

He spent three years pouring out His life to twelve men. There were moments where He “guided” them in their lives as He discipled them, sometimes with a direct and forthright manner. Yet they had no doubt of His love for them. Even after being crucified and then being raised from the dead, He didn’t leave them wondering, worried or stressed as to His purpose or their future. In fact, the risen Christ appeared to them on the beach and cooked them fish for breakfast!

The night before He died, he spent the evening eating with His disciples, who were now His friends. He knew what was about to happen and He would have been under immense pressure, yet He once again poured into them life, truth, encouragement and prayer. He then served them by washing their feet.

Jesus is amazing. Not only did He save the world, He lived a life that represented the life we are saved to: grace-filled, strong, loving, and impacting! Who is Jesus to me? He is all this and He is my savior, my friend, and the glory and the lifter of my head. He is my holy transformer!

// Ps Mark Kelsey

TRUE WORSHIP

Bless the Lord, O my soul! And all that is within me, bless His holy name!

// Ps 103:1

In Psalm 103, the word ‘all’ appears four times in the first 3 verses. ALL that is within me bless the Lord because He provides ALL my benefits, forgives ALL my sins and heals ALL my diseases.

These verses remind me that there is no benefit I have, that has not come from Jesus. There is no sin I’ve committed that He has not forgiven, or is unable to forgive. There is no disease that He has not healed, or is unable to heal. Therefore, from having a fully-forgiven life and from being a fully-healed person, I am called to bless Jesus with ALL that is within me.

And this is what God calls us all to do. He is seeking true worshippers (John 4:23) - people who worship Him with everything within them.

But what is true worship?

One of the greatest things I’ve learnt is that true worship should cost us. We live in an age of convenience, and we avoid anything that inconveniences us, but worship should be inconvenient. If there is no price to worship, it is valueless. True worship pays the price, joyfully.

Secondly, true worship magnifies who Jesus is – it blesses His holy name. For He is the Almighty God (Rev. 1:8), the Alpha and Omega (Rev. 1:8), the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2), the bread of life (John 6:48), the Captain of the Lord's host (Joshua 5:14), the Chief Shepherd (1 Peter 5:4), the head of the Church (Eph 5:23), the Lamb of God (John 1:29), the Prince of Peace (Isa 9:6), the resurrection and life (John 11:25). He is the Way, the Truth and the Life (John 14:6) and our bright and morning star (Rev 22:16). He is Jesus Christ, the Lord of the entire Universe, and all Creation. And because of who He is and what He has done, He is the beginning and ending of all our worship.

Put simply, true worship is about giving our ‘ALL’, because we know the one who gave it all for us: Jesus. True worship is never half hearted, reserved or hesitant. True worship is ‘all in’. My prayer is that we would be committed to the inconvenient price; committed to blessing His holy name; committed to living a life of true worship. For He is worthy.

// Ps Phil Pringle

INTRODUCTION TO WEEK 13 // JESUS

to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

// Ephesians 3:21

Paul the Apostle is ending a huge prayer and section of devotion, in this the letter to the church of Ephesus, with big praise to Christ Jesus, which is the rightful way to end all prayer and anything we do in the name of Jesus. How fitting that we end the last week of The Temple Prøject with a focus on Jesus Christ!

This week we want everyone reading from across many churches and everyone in C3 Brooklyn “to go all out” in their praise and worship of Jesus. Heaven is paying attention to the praises of their King Jesus and the Earth is groaning for the sons and daughters of God to lift up massive thanksgiving and praise to the only One who deserves it -- the One who our heart was designed to worship!

 Let’s just break every chain with praise, let’s break every evil thought with praise, let’s change the atmosphere in our lives with the praise of Jesus. It never depends on circumstance, for the harder the situation we are facing, the richer the praise. So let’s all unify our hearts, as Paul commends the church to do in this verse, and unite for one cause: to bring glory to Christ Jesus. He deserves it, we were born for it, and the world needs to hear, see it and experience it.

Praise Jesus. We are all Temples looking for something to worship.

The Temple Prøject

// Josh Kelsey

THE CHURCH IS HIS BODY

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven."

// Matthew 5:14-16

“The church,” being the body of Christ, is made up of people. Us. We are the church and the body of Christ. Worship through the body takes many different outlets. Today when we say "worship," we think of music and songs of devotion or praise. This is just one form of many that we, as worshippers, express to our God. Worship is and has been expressed through the arts, music, painting, dancing, etc. As we gather as a church body and worship together, we build community through these things

As a church, as a body, as individuals living lives day to day, we worship our God by being a light in the darkness. We live our lives as Jesus would have lived. We have to be a church whose life is centered on being Jesus' hands and feet in our communities. If we are people willing to make the sacrifice when needed, to put generosity before self, to carry the broken through the wilderness; to mirror a life that Jesus lived, then we will be a church that truly lives a life of worship.

As we continue building this thing we call church, as we pour out what we have, as we support our leaders and pastors, and continue to be lights in our communities, work places, and social settings, we can expect that lives will be changed, strongholds broken, salvation will come, and the name of Jesus will be lifted high.

// Jeremy Ortiz