Posts Tagged ‘worship’

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WORSHIP WEDNESDAY (Chris Tomlin)

February 24, 2016

Christian faith is ever to be growing and transforming to the end of life for those who are in Christ Jesus.  Transforming faith reaches the depths of the heart, untangles the tentacles of affection, and reforms the very form of a child of God’s soul.  The maturation of faith awakens early and often under the clear understanding and belief that the God of the Universe, the God of Creation, the Great I Am, is the Best Father of those who are His. The essence of Christian faith is not the general adoration of the unknowable.  The child daily abides with the Father whom he knows and loves.  Within that relationship, the divine power of Spirit transforming faith is released.

If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to our children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!  Luke 11:11

I worshiped this morning to this reminder from Chris Tomlin to the reality of who God is – a good, good, Father.

“The child asks of the Father whom he knows.
Thus, the essence of Christian prayer
is not general adoration, but definite, concrete petition.
The right way to approach God is to stretch out
our hands and ask of One who we know has the heart of a Father.”
Dietrich Bonhoeffer

 

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WORSHIP WEDNESDAY (Rend Collective) – Jan. 13

January 13, 2016

Then he said to them, “Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.  Nehemiah 8:10

A joyless spirit saps our strength.  Our joy in the Lord extends beyond superficial feelings of happiness.  Joy produces strength, and strength produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to same.

We must never lose our joy.

If you are not feeling the joy of the Lord, then you may need to go back to the Word.

And all the people went their way to eat and drink and to send portions and to make great rejoicing because they had understood the words that were declared to them.  Nehemiah 8:12

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WORSHIP WEDNESDAY (Kristene DiMarco)

December 30, 2015

The first step of a child of God is to follow Jesus.
The last step of a child of God is to follow Jesus.
Every intermediate step a decision to follow and not stray.

I worshiped this morning to this reminder from Kristene DiMarco to be resolute and decisive in ever one of our intermediate steps of faith.  The lyrics of the song are:

My heart is steadfast oh God, and I won’t be led astray
by the things that, simply will fade before Your face Oh,
And I will follow You, I’m wrapped up in You, I belong to You

I was made for this, one thing is to see and to seek Your goodness
Take me by the hand and lead me

And I will follow You, I wrapped up in You, I belong to You

I have decided, and I have resolved in my heart
that I will go anywhere, anywhere just to see Your face
I have decided, and I have resolved in my heart
that I will go anywhere, anywhere, anywhere
just to see Your face

I will follow You, I wrapped up in You, I belong to You

Moments may come when I feel so afraid but
I rest in the promise you made that You will remain forever faithful and

I will follow You, I wrapped up in You, I belong to You

I belong to You

~ Kristene DiMarco, I will Follow You

 “I claim no right to myself, no right to this understanding,
this will, these affections that are in me.
Neither do I have any right to this body or its members,
no right to this tongue, to these hands, feet, ears or eyes.
I have given myself clear away and
not retained anything of my own.”
Jonathan Edwards

 

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WORSHIPLESS WEDNESDAY – Dec. 9

December 9, 2015

I tapped my foot to an engaging new song while commuting to work.  My mind wandered aimlessly until the words, “Pastor got a look and said, “Ya’ll had better hurry“; Send her off to a little bible college in Missouri”, brought me back to what had so engaged my foot.  The song continued with my full attention as I listened to the song “Getting Ready to Get Down” by John Ritter.

Objection after objection formed in my mind to nearly every stanza of this song.  I turned the radio off with a mixture of anger and sadness.   I was once again confronted with the familiar lie buried into the artistic fabric of our society.

I know this lie all too well.  I believed these lies for long enough to know the truth of their destructive nature.  The Story of JD chronicles my swallowing of the same old lie packaged anew in this John Ritter song.  Consider the gospel that Ritter is proclaiming:

  • There are no consequences to giving your love to whomever you please;
  • There is more to this world than the promises in the Bible;
  • Don’t let anyone, even God, tell you who you should be;
  • The God of the Bible is dry, but the world is exciting;
  • You don’t need to worry about your morality and saving yourself for marriage.
  • It is good to pursue the forbidden sweets of the world.
  • You know what you need more than God.
  • You shouldn’t let God keep you from getting what you need.

That was the message that I absent-mindedly followed with the tap of my foot; A message based on a lie.

I am tired of the same scheming falsehood.
I am tired of the same sneaky deceit.
I am tired of the same hidden distortion.
I am tired of the same crafty fabrication.
I am tired of the same lie of this world.

I want to shout, “You don’t know my God.” 

  • My God is infinitely more valuable than a one night stand;
  • My God’s promises surpass anything the world can offer;
  • My God will make me into the most complete me possible;
  • My God is the most incredible and interesting entity in the universe;
  • My God has given me everything and I give it all back because I love Him;
  • My God created all the sweetness of this world & I’ll follow his tasting instructions;
  • My God gives me all that I need, exactly when I need it;
  • My God knows what I need better than I do.

This world has nothing for me!

If you don’t feel strong desires for the manifestation of the glory of God, it is not because you have drunk deeply and are satisfied. It is because you have nibbled so long at the table of the world. Your soul is stuffed with small things, and there is no room for the great.
~ John Piper

We are all enticed to nibble at the table of the world.  A smorgasbord of the same lie confronts us in a myriad of ways from the moment we awake to the moment we go to bed:

Songs harmonizing a lie.
Movies glamorizing a lie.
Academics retorting a lie.
Politicians legislating a lie.

It is a sad reality that many who profess Christ will go to bed tonight stuffed with small morsels cut from the same lie.  We must fight this reality.  We must not mindlessly tap our foot to the latest musical rendition of the same lie.  We must not be shaken from the Truth that God is better than anything this world can offer and the source of our everlasting joy.

That is the wonderful Truth for our minds to be set upon.

 Christ did not die to forgive sinners who go on treasuring anything above seeing and savoring God. And people who would be happy in heaven if Christ were not there, will not be there. The gospel is not a way to get people to heaven; it is a way to get people to God. It’s a way of overcoming every obstacle to everlasting joy in God. If we don’t want God above all things, we have not been converted by the gospel.
~ John Piper

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SUNDAY MORNING WORSHIP (Casting Crown & TKF)

December 6, 2015

 

The favorite Christmas song poll made the round in our mini-van as we traveled to my in-law’s family Christmas celebration.  We had to name our favorite song and artist.  I have two favorite – one serious and one not so much.  My favorite (traditional) Christmas song is  “I heard the Bells on Christmas Day” by Casting Crowns.

One only needs to read the news headlines to know the truth of the lyrics from “I heard the Bells on Christmas Day”:

“And in despair I bowed my head
There is no peace on earth I said
For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to me”

Those lyrics reminds me of this quote by Sinclair Ferguson:

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The world, all of mankind, desperately needs the only one who can bring true and lasting “Peace on earth, Good will to men” – Jesus Christ.  That is worth celebrating.

My non-traditional, non-serious favorite Christmas song is “Heat Miser” by Thousand Foot Krutch.

Heat Miser is my anthem as I’m confined in my basement pedaling to nowhere on the trainer.  Maybe, it’s a secret prayer for the Heat Miser to warm things up so I can escape the trainer and get back on the road.

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WORSHIP WEDNESDAY (Pentatonix)

November 25, 2015

I consider it a grave sin to listen to Christmas music prior to Thanksgiving.  However, the link to Joy to the World by Pentatonix was a temptation that I could not resist.

I confess a degree of self-righteousness as I listened to Pentatonix’s performance.  I piously wondered if they really believed what they were singing.  Consider the lyrics:

Joy to The world! the Lord is come
Let earth receive her King
Let ev’ry heart prepare him room
And heaven and nature sing
And heaven and nature sing
And heaven and nature sing

Joy to the world! the Savior reigns
Let men their songs employ
While fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains
Repeat the sounding joy
Repeat the sounding joy
Repeat the sounding joy

He rules the world with truth and grace
And makes the nations prove The glories of His righteousness
And wonders of His love
And wonders of His love
And wonder wonders of His love

I don’t know what the members of Pentatonix believe.  I hope they believe that the Savior, the King, the Lord has come.  I hope they believe that He rules the world with truth and grace and that their hearts have prepared room for Christ.

They may believe or it may just be a song that will make them money during the Christmas season.

My self-righteousness was confronted with my hypocrisy.  I wondered how many times that I have sung Joy to the World without meaning it; how many times has a worship song emanated from my lungs and not my heart; how many times have I nodded along with a secular song, glorifying vileness…and meant it.

This Christmas season there will be an array of motivations that will not glorify God.  We will get the opportunity to see them in the market and pew.  I suggest that before we rant against those who are missing the “reason for the season”, we check to be sure that we truly mean what is coming out of our own mouths.

May this Christmas season be a personal season of worship to the glory of God – it is a matter of infinite importance.

“The Great God values not the service of men, if the heart be not in it: The Lord sees and judges the heart; he has no regard to outward forms of worship, if there be no inward adoration, if no devout affection be employed therein. It is therefore a matter of infinite importance, to have the whole heart engaged steadfastly to God.”
Isaac Watts, (wrote Joy to the World in 1719)

 

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WORSHIP WEDNESDAY (NewSong)

November 18, 2015

I recently saw NewSong perform at WinterJam in Boise, Idaho and bought their new album Faithful.  I have worshiped to their rendition of the Matt Redman song, This Beating Heart during the last  couple commutes.   The lyrics of the song are:

“Something inside of me
Knows there is surely more then this
Echoes of eternity all around us

Something inside of me
Knows there is surely more then this
Echoes of eternity all around us

There’s music within my soul
I’m more than these flesh and bones I know
Whispers of a destiny deep inside us

[Chorus:]
This beating heart
Like a drum it will beat for You
This heart like a drum it will beat
My soul, my soul sings for You

This beating heart
I was made I was made for You
My God evermore evermore
My soul, my soul sings for You

We’re marked by Your fingerprints
There’s evidence running through these veins
That we are a masterpiece with a Maker
Formed in the secret place
A mystery born of a love and grace
You had a name for me and a purpose.”

As I sing along, I know it is not true.
I sing statements that aren’t reality.
My heart doesn’t always beat like a drum for God.

Too often, my heart beats to nourish flesh and bone.
It beats to earn a wage rather than whisper of destiny.
It thumps to demands forgetting to pulse in praise.

My heart may not always beat like a drum for God but I want it to.
As I sing along with this song, it is not a declaration of where I’m at.
It is a prayer of what I want my heart to be.

“Because God has made us for Himself,
our hearts are restless until they rest in Him.”
~Augustine

 

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TALENTLESS GLORY – Sept 10

September 10, 2014

“You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” 1 Corinthians 6:19b-20

 The other morning, I once again watched this video as I ate my breakfast.

The emotions elicited from Carrie Underwood’s exaltation of our God’s greatness caused me to linger upon God’s glory. I am always encouraged to see God-given talent directed back toward our Creator.

Musicians using their talents to lead me in worship of God;
Teachers whose charisma encourages me to follow Jesus;
The intellect of pastors drawing me deeper into the mysteries of the divine;
Authors explaining difficult truths that ease my understanding;
Poets whose words plow fresh soil in my soul;
Artists who create works that raise my eyes beyond this world.

I can easily acknowledge and join in the praise that the talented present to the Lord through the works of their bodies.

I am equally tempted, in darker moments, to think that the glory potential of my body is significantly lower than that of the talented. I know that the price paid for my salvation is the same as that paid for Carrie Underwood or C.S. Lewis or Spurgeon or Milton or any number of talented people who love or have love our Lord Jesus Christ.

Therefore, it seems that the Lord might have gotten a poor bargain when he saved me. When I consider what I have to offer God, I am inclined to place myself on the clearance rack.

I don’t want to diminish my talents, but I also recognize that they are not “world class”.  However, there are billions of people just like me.

We have never been at the top of the class.
We have never been invited to an audition.
We have never been courted for the corner office.
We have never won a race.
We have never had a best-seller.
We have never even been close to a platform.

As a result, the glory that God receives from my body and those like me comes quietly, without ovation, from a heart that fumbles with rudimentary talents in simple love for our Savior.

I wonder if this glory from the simple is not the glory highly esteemed by our Lord.

Consider the fact that He has created more “unexceptional” people than the world class variant.  There is rarely a question of motivation for the under-gifted. The gifted will always have to struggle against their love for the praise of men.

I have never made melody with my voice in praise to our Lord with the secret hope of a compliment. I am not musical. Therefore, I have only one motivation when I worship our Lord through singing – love. I sing praises to the glory of God because I love him. I believe that the glory from my body, at that moment, is purest and most undefiled by my love of self, primarily because I lack talent.

I believe God relishes that glory – pure glory coming from a heart that is loving Him first and foremost.

However, I have preached with a secret hope of being complimented. I have written with a desire to be liked. I have used my talents in assorted ministries for God’s glory and gotten a little boost in my self-love. This self-love complicates the purity of my worship. It contaminates the motivation of my praise. As a result, the glory to God from those who were blessed by the use of my talents was probably purer than the direct glory from my conflicted motives.

Those with unexceptional talents should be encouraged when we consider the primary purpose of man – to glorify God and enjoy him forever. God has created us perfectly. He has given everyone some gifts, but He has not given those gifts equally. He was not random. He was not arbitrary.

Consider for a moment that God has not given you talent so that you can better serve your God-given purpose, which is to glorify Him with your untalented body.

The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. (1 Timothy 1:5)

Let us use our under-talented bodies to glorify God; motivated by a love for Him from a pure heart, good conscience and a sincere faith. We are the one who can do that the best – we were created for it.

PRAYER: Father, thank you for the gifts that you have given me. Help me to use them to glorify you. Forgive me for using the talents that you have given me to seek the praise of men. Teach me how to use the talents that I have with a pure heart, good conscience and a sincere faith. Lord, thank you for the gifts that I don’t have. Thank you for depriving me of world class talent. Thank you for obscurity. Thank you for anonymity. Thank you for creating me just as I am so that I can better fulfill my purpose with all that I am, in purity and sincerity.  I pray this in the precious name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen

 

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“SPONSORED BLOG!” – Dec 4

December 4, 2013

“Rejoice in the Lord always, again I will say, Rejoice.” Philippians 4:4

There are some bloggers that get really good stuff.  I have read runner’s blogs who have been sent free shoes to review.  I have read bloggers who write reviews of the free books that they have been sent.  I have read triathlete blogs reviewing a variety of free stuff that they have been sent to try.

I like free stuff and I have a lot of opinions so I have always thought it would be fun to receive something to review.

Therefore, you probably can imagine my surprise and anticipation upon receiving an email entitled “Blog Sponsorship – We Want You!”.  My mind raced through the possibilities.  I had recently written a blog about my new Cervelo tri-bike.  Maybe, it was Cervelo wanting to sponsor some bike gear.  Maybe, it was Mizuno.  I had blogged about getting my running shoes.  I had recently emailed Tim Challies at Challies.com, a big-time blogger, maybe he had hooked me up.

I opened the email with great expectations.  The sender of the email was very complimentary of this blog, always encouraging, and thought that the voice and energy of this blog were perfectly in line with the kind of people they’re looking to attract to their brand.

It was their brand that caused me some confusion – bowling.

Full disclosure: I am not a bowler.  I have never blogged about bowling.  I take my kids bowling once or twice a year.  I don’t own any bowling equipment.  I have never owned bowling equipment.  I don’t even know how to keep score.  I let the bowling machine do that.

I am not the ideal person to review bowling equipment.

I explained this to the good people at BowlingShoes.com.  They understood and were still willing to send me some shoes.  My wife was not as understanding when she asked, “Are you going to sell out for bowling shoes”.  I was hurt.  I looked at her, arms extended with palms to the sky, and with a slight shrug, asked her if she even knew me.  If she knew me, she would know that I absolutely will sell out for free bowling shoes.

I am cheap; they are free.  What more is there to consider?

Bowling shoes 003I got my brand new Dexter Jack bowling shoes from BowlingShoes.com a couple weeks ago.  My experience with bowling shoes has been the clown shoes you rent at the bowling alley.  What I received are not those kinds of shoes – they did not have a strange chemical / sweat odor and I had no apprehension about putting my feet into them.  These shoes are actually comfortable.  I wore them around the house, sliding across the kitchen floor, to the general annoyance of my household.  The shoe has really good arch support, a nice stable base and rather stylish (another disclosure: I am an engineer by profession and my wife dresses me).

Bowling shoes 017However, a bowling shoe is not about looking stylish at home.  It should be good for bowling.  So, my kids and I took my new shoes bowling over the weekend.  Unfortunately, the shoes made no improvement on my game.  I was satisfied with breaking triple digits in all of our games, the same as usual.  However, the shoes were so comfortable that I did not think about them.  They did not even feel like they needed breaking in.  I was freed to focus on all the other aspects of my bowling technique that were leaving so many pins unadulterated.

These shoes are a quantum leap above what you can rent.  Even as person who doesn’t know much about bowling shoes, I can tell that they are good shoes.  So, I now have good shoes dedicated for an activity that I rarely do.

It does not make much sense to let dust accumulate on them.  So, I am going to wear them despite my wife’s objections.  People wear basketball shoes and running shoes to the grocery store.  Why can’t I wear my bowling shoes?  It might be fun to go sliding through the aisles of Wal-Mart.  I realize that the bowlers of the world might be aghast at using my bowling shoes for casual wear.  I realize that I will probably ruin the soles for bowling but I don’t bowl.

Bowling shoes 020These shoes are shoes that can be used for bowling but that doesn’t mean they can’t be used for anything else.  I might get some strange looks at the grocery store.  There might be some folks that question what I am doing.  I got a free gift from the nice people at BowlingShoes.com.  I think the best way I can show my appreciation is to actually use their product in whatever manner I can.  I am going to take my Dexter’s out on a regular basis.

I think a lot of people view their spiritual lives like bowling shoes.  They have a misconception that there is a separation between the spiritual and secular lives.  They confine their appreciation of what Christ has given them to the activities of their Church and designated worship times.

We should not have to put our worship on to go to Church and take it off to go to work.  Our worship is the continual garment of who we are.  It is a product of a grateful heart.

There will be folks who won’t get your worshipful attitude.  They may look at you like you’re wearing bowling shoes in a grocery store but your attitude is not for them.  Our worship is in the Lord and Him alone.  He does not change.  He is with us always, so our rejoicing should not change based on what we are doing.

Don’t be afraid to wear your worship everywhere you go – even if it feels like wearing bowling shoes.

PRAYER: O Lord, break down all notions that I have created as excuses not to worship you.  Forgive me for forgetting the grace that you have shown me.  Forgive me for getting so preoccupied with the monotony of my daily life.  Lord, I want to live in constant worship.  I want to be the same person throughout the business day as I am on Sunday morning.  I want to be the same person living with my family as I am in my quiet times with you.  Father, help be to be consistently aware of your Spirit with my eyes focused on you.  I pray this in the precious name of your Son,  Jesus Christ.   Amen.

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QUOTE (Richard Baxter) – Nov 19

November 19, 2013

English: Richard Baxter (1615-1691)

“Remember the perfections of that God whom you worship, that he is a Spirit, and therefore to be worshipped in spirit and truth; and that he is most great and terrible, and therefore to be worshipped with seriousness and reverence, and not to be dallied with, or served with toys or lifeless lip-service; and that he is most holy, pure, and jealous, and therefore to be purely worshipped; and that he is still present with you, and all things are naked and open to him with whom we have to do. The knowledge of God, and the remembrance of his all-seeing presence, are the most powerful means against hypocrisy.”
~ Richard Baxter

In honor of Richard Baxter, who defied the English law forbidding him to preach on this date in 1672.

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