Tag Archives: Worship

Uncertainty and a Call for Action

Some people thrive on uncertainty. People like me, planners, call those people daredevils. What do you mean unplanned events, pending results, or even undecided outfits don’t keep you up at night?

Oh, how it seems life would be so leisurely if only I would be more comfortable with uncertainty, but I am my mother’s (and father’s) daughter and therefore I am destined to be tortured by the pending, the “to be continued”, and the dreaded “what ifs”. But do I really have to accept that I will forever obsess over the uncertain? Or is it my “hidden” distrust in God, my worry that keeps my mind reeling with the risk of what’s around the corner?

This morning, on my way to work, I listened to a worship song playlist on my smart phone. The song “Oceans” by Hillsong came on as I prayed silently to God. It’s amazing how many ways this song has spoken into different situations in my life. As I was driving along, the lyric “my soul will rest in your embrace” drew tears to my eyes. It was in that moment I realized it’s not that God isn’t embracing me. It’s that I’m not resting in his embrace. All this fretting, it’s not allowing him to embrace me. I’m just shrugging him off by trying to carry a burden I’m not meant to carry.

As I sang along with the rest of the song, God revealed to me exactly what he wanted me to do about the uncertain situation for which I was obsessing. It’s as if he said, “You think because you care, but what is care without action?” Thinking is not enough, caring is not enough. When God calls you into action and you respond, that’s when your soul can rest in his embrace. It can rest because God stirred it up for action, not for obessing over what might be, not for worrying.

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Further from the Edge of your Seat

It’s the night before the concert I’ve been waiting months to see. I can’t wait. While getting ready for bed I think of what I will wear. ‘Will that blue skirt fit in with the style of the other fans?’ During work today my mind kept wandering. All important information escaped me. I likely won’t sleep a wink, mind spinning.

When I look forward to something different, new, exciting, a pivotal moment, I just can’t sit still. I’m sometimes literally at the edge of my seat. I remember my first day of work at the hospital almost nine years ago. It was nice and warm. I got on the train to arrive on time, but even though everything seemed to be going well I was still nervously pacing and perspiring. I arrived at my stop and exited the train to find that it was pouring rain. Don’t worry, the rain can’t kill this anxious anticipation. I arrive after a six-block dash at the front desk to check in for my first day on the job soaking wet from head to toe. But, you know what? Everyday I work at the same place, and ever since about my first week I don’t pace, or look forward to something new each morning. I know what and who to expect when I walk through the doors in the morning and walk out at night.

So, what is (or should be) the difference between my work routine and my walk with God? Our relationship with God is intended to be extraordinary, therefore sparking a new edge-of-your-seat feeling each day. While God is always the same He constantly surprises us because we could never completely understand everything about Him and His plan for our lives. On the same note, after nine years at my job, I still love it, but I probably know way more than my job description calls me to know. Unlike a simple job description, God is complex and perfect, something us imperfect humans will never grasp until He allows us to when we reach Heaven. Even the thought of that should put us at the edge of our seats.

Several years ago I visited a young adult group at my friend’s church. The speaker held up a glass of milk and pointed out it was white; it was just milk. Then he poured in some chocolate syrup. Again, he pointed out it was white. Then he took a spoon and stirred it until the milk turned a deep shade of brown. Putting the glass of now chocolate milk on the table he continued his message. At the end he lifted the glass to show that the milk was again white. He explained that when we accept Christ into our lives the Holy Spirit lives within us. This is the same Spirit that keeps us at the edge of our seat, but he can’t keep us there unless we keep stirring the Spirit through worship (worship can take on many forms). If we don’t continue to stir up the Spirit it will settle in us like the chocolate syrup in the milk. It doesn’t mean it’s gone, it just means that we haven’t tried to connect with Him.

In order to stay at the edge of your seat you first have to recognize why it is important. Think about the last time the Spirit was stirred in you. Do you long for that feeling again? What gave you that feeling? As you reflect on this it will be revealed to you, and not only will you have the joy of marveling at God’s beauty, but He will delight in you!

Thirsty for More

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Millennium Park, Chicago, IL 2009

As the deer pants for the water brooks,
So pants my soul for You, O God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.

– Psalm 42:1-2a

After observing Holy Communion yesterday I watched one of my young Sunday School students licking the last drop of grape juice from the bottom of the tiny juice cup. She is not baptized yet, and therefore is not served Holy Communion, so I’m sure it seemed quite special to her to try to get the last drop of this holy juice. I looked down at her struggling to reach her tongue to the very bottom. She looked up at me with big brown eyes, smiling as she slurped it completely dry.

As I saw this smiling innocent child I thought, ‘Why don’t I thirst for God like that?’ A child experiences things with more brilliance, more excitement than an adult because they have not experienced as much hardship, heartbreak, and failure. Oh, to return to that innocence would be so delightful, to experience God’s goodness for the first tasty time. We cannot concentrate on what is no longer. I may not have the innocence I had when I was Annie’s age, but God gives me His Holy Spirit, which causes my soul to thirst for more of his goodness and love. That thirst returned that morning even for a moment, for a day when I saw the youngest members of our congregation hopping and clapping to worship music, young and old in celebration together. It’s the kind of joy and thirst that only comes from the cup that overflows, the love of Christ.

Let us pray:

Heavenly Father, I want to want you more. I do not always recognize my hunger for you when I go through my daily activities, but it’s always there. Bring it to the forefront, that I might thirst for you day and night, never being satisfied but wanting more. Thank you Lord that you sent your Holy Spirit down to fill me, that I may experience your joy and want more of you. Make my soul to crave your goodness so much that I would be willing to reach for every last drop of your unending love. Amen.

 

Open your Mouth

But I will sing of your might; I will sing aloud of your steadfast love in the morning. For you have been a fortress for me and a refuge in the day of my distress. – Psalm 59:16

This weekend I had the pleasure of hearing Christina Reynolds of International House of Prayer, Kansas City sing at my church. I have always wished I had a better singing voice, and often feel inadequate when praising God in song. Hearing Christina’s beautifully written and vocalized songs of praise made me wish even more that I could be proud of my singing voice before the Lord. But a worship song is more than a beautiful voice. It is the meaning of the words, the attitude of the heart, and the openness to receive and freely give. While I am sure God is beaming when he hears Christina sing because he gave her that spiritual gift, He also beams when He hears me sing in my untrained pitch-y voice.

The Bible says our prayers are like a sweet incense. A worship song is a prayer put to music. How much more does God see even a poorly sung worship song as a sweet smelling incense? He enjoys, savors, and begs us not to stop even when everyone else in the room is plugging their ears.

2 Samuel 6 tells us David danced before the Lord wearing only a linen ephod (like an apron). You would wonder how pleased the Lord was when He was likely staring at David’s bare behind, but the Bible says God punished David’s wife, making her barren, because she made fun of her husband’s praise. So we see that God is pleased with all kinds of wild and seemingly inappropriate worship.

Do not fear what God or anyone else thinks when you are praising Him. You may praise quietly, loudly, expressively, prayerfully. Whatever you do, do it for Him and He will delight in the sweet smelling incense that is your praise.

Dance and sing along even if you don’t know the words…