Rick Lee James On This Week’s Episode of Under The Radar

I can’t tell you how honored I am to be featured again on this weeks episode of the radio show, Under The Radar along with Jars of Clay, Ellie Holcomb, Phil Keaggy, and many other incredible artists who have written and recorded songs about the Psalms. Under the Radar is a nationally syndicated radio program based out of Chicago Illinois and is hosted by the Dave Trout. Check out their page at http://www.RadarRadio.Net and become a part of some of the amazing things God is doing through UTR’s ministry.

Blessings,

Rick Lee James

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Does Worship Have an Audience?

For too long in our worship services we have seen the congregation as the audience. In recent years a new emphasis has directed us away from that kind of thinking by helping us to see God as the audience and the congregation as performers for Him. While this metaphor has changed the course of the conversation and helped us to use new language, like referring to the stage as a platform, I don’t think the metaphor has been carried far enough.

The more I reflect on worship in the house of God, the more I want to completely abandon that idea that there is an audience at all. When it comes to worship, maybe there is no audience. Audiences tend to be spectators but they don’t usually contribute to the what is happening in the show they are watching. If it’s a movie, the audience pays their money then they sit back and let the performers on screen do the work. At church we often plunk down our tithe and let the people on the platform do the work.

While I believe the metaphor of seeing God as the audience and His people as the performers is better for helping congregational members to engage more in worship, I still think we can do better. A passive spectator is the furthest thing from what Christianity means when it uses the word God.  God is not a passive spectator and neither should His people be, after all, liturgy is the work of the people.

The Christian faith has always affirmed a Creator God who is active in His creation, all of His creation.  God is not an academic pursuit for us, God is our source of life who draws near to us, reveals Himself to us, intervenes in our lives, changes us, disrupts our days, dies for us, resurrects for us, and just won’t leave us alone even if we want Him to. You can run from yourself but you can’t run from God.

In worship we remember together, we retell the story, we share a meal, and we commune with God. He isn’t an outsider to our worship, He is the host who is drawing us in, welcoming us, and has the table prepared for His family to dine together. Even outsiders, non-believers, are active participants in worship because we believe God is present to them as well, calling them and drawing them to Himself, weaving them into His story, usually against their will and often against their long held beliefs.
Even so, God is a relentless pursuer who loves us too much to leave us alone. Worship is not meant to be  judged by what type of an emotional experience we had anymore than a family dinner gathering should be judged by the emotional experience it evokes. We gather together because we are family and God is having us over to His house for a meal.
Family gatherings can be rough. We don’t always see eye to eye. Sometimes we are an embarrassment to our family and they are an embarrassment to us but often they are the only strength we have and are a great source of life. Say what you want about family, good, bad, or ugly, they will always be your family. The Father is calling us to the table and I think this may be a more helpful way for us to see Him in our worship than to see Him as a grand spectator.
Worship is not a show as much as it is a family gathering. Come to worship this Sunday and participate in the story of God, with God, and with the congregation. Come worship this active God who is even more present than we are as we gather together. He is the Father, the host, and we are His children called into His home to dine.

The heresy of worshiptainment

Rick Lee James:

Good thoughts from Mike Livingstone on The Heresy if Worshiptainment.

Originally posted on Mike Livingstone:

The great heresy of the church today is that we think we’re in the entertainment business. A.W. Tozer believed this to be true back in the 1950s and 60s. Church members “want to be entertained while they are edified.” He said that in 1962. Tozer grieved, even then, that it was “scarcely possible in most places to get anyone to attend a meeting where the only attraction was God.”*

More recently, David Platt has asked: “What if we take away the cool music and the cushioned chairs? What if the screens are gone and the stage is no longer decorated? What if the air conditioning is off and the comforts are removed? Would His Word still be enough for his people to come together?” (Radical)

Would it be enough?

Tozer got it right: “Heresy of method may be as deadly as heresy of message.”

HALLOWEDNESS, NOT SHALLOWNESS

Like Tozer, we…

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Generation Gap

Rick Lee James:

A great response to several of the things the Nazarene Church is facing from Brian Powell. A Gracious way of looking at the generation gap.

Originally posted on Brian L Powell:

Generaion Gap

People like to put us down… Talkin’ bout my generation!  The WHO began screaming those words in 1965 as young people were trying to find their place in society.  Every generation since has continued the quest to find their footing.  These lyrics resonated with the Baby Boomer generation.  Baby Boomers (born 1946-1964) are people who are characterized as being questioners of authority, eager to put their own stamp on institutions, and extremely optimistic.  They were the first generation to be shaped by sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll.

The Baby Boomers protested against a nation governed by Traditionalists, who were seen as “The Man” of their day.  The Traditionalists (born prior to 1946) were the people in authority, they were the voice of the country in a time before social media and the internet enabled anyone to speak to a broad audience.  Traditionalists survived the Great Depression and World War II. …

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Podcast Episode #139: KHK

POdcast Logo 2015

LISTEN NOW

Since 2010, KHK (Kids Helping Kids) has performed in over 80 events! They were blessed to open for such well known Christian artists and some Dove award recipients such as The Newsboys, FFH, Jason Gray, John G. Elliott, Jo Vogels, flyfaith, and yours truly, Rick Lee James. God has big plans for these kids and it was my privilege to have them, as well as their founders John and Karen Flaugher, on the Voices In My Head Podcast This week. KHK’s new record, Keep Him King, is available everywhere online including CDBABY.

Rick Lee James Tour Schedule 2015

Tour Schedule

A Letter from the People of the Cross to ISIS

This is such a profound Christian response to violence that I really felt compelled to share it. This is the message of the followers of Christ to any who would make themselves enemies, in this case ISIS.

Email: community@mighty.la
Website: mighty.la (coming soon)
Facebook/Twitter/Instagram: @teammightyla

As the world responds to the Islamic State with hatred, revenge, and shock, there is one group that is responding differently. They are not allies with ISIS but enemies. And they have been slain by the thousands in the hands of ISIS. ISIS calls them The Nation of the Cross – The ones they have killed are bringing a message of forgiveness and hope. Declaring a love that they do not know – A love that reconciles even the worst of us and can make enemies into brothers.

We worked with several Arab Christians and Middle East Refugees to get their feedback. Also had it translated by an Arab Christian from Egypt.

Mighty is a new company based in LA with the vision that one day Christians would have a powerful and consistent voice in online media.

Shot on a GoPro Hero 4 Black in 4k with a DJI Phantom 2. And a Panasonic GH4 with Zeiss 35mm lenses.Shot around the Big Sur region in CA.

Music is ‘Rise’ from The Music Bed.