The Why of Worship

How do we choose at the crossroads?
How do we choose at the crossroads?

In the message on Sunday night our visiting speaker gave an interesting insight into the devotional life of a Pastor. He shared that it is so difficult sometimes to read the Bible in a personal way because his tendency is to always be looking for the next message to share with the church. There is that constant tension also among those of us who serve in some capacity as worship leaders. We are often find ourselves, checking out the latest songs, going to another Christian concert, or even just listening to the worship team at another church, wondering as to how we can use that at home.
Somewhere in that process we find that ourselves forgetting  that we  lead worship because we love the presence of God! We have loved to linger in the moments of our own times of worship then one day we were give the opportunity to lead others. How easy it is when we are in front of others to slowly lose our most precious possession of our own worship of Jesus Christ! It was always and only for Him that we came to church in the first place. We were longing for the opportunity to enter in quietly and alone into His Holy presence. During our worship we could lay before Him all that was in our hearts and be entirely free!
Then the Pastor shared what God had shared with Him. He said God showed  that there is a hidden double blessing if we will take hold of it. God has placed along our paths all that we need in Him. When God gives us a truth, a song, or a revelation of God’s holiness for others, it is also the exact thing that we ourselves are in need of. Then on the other hand, when God personally unfolds a special blessing while we are in our time of personal devotion: that it will be just what people to whom we are called to serve are needing also.
God has not called us to plunge forward into paths to lose our way. We are first and always called simply to be His child. We can forever rest in that, and take off the heavy burden and pressure of performance that we put on our own shoulders. Yes God has called us to serve. Yes there will be the deep compassion for those He has entrusted to our care. But we can be refreshed every day as He makes us lie down in the green pastures that He has prepared. We can walk confidently by the quiet waters that He is leading us to. That is when he strengthens and prepares us for the walk through the valley of the shadow of death. There we will find that His presence shields us from every fear. There among the constant demands of service He will prepare a table for us. There is no better blessing in this world or in Heaven than the light and easy burden of God’s love for others that Jesus gives to us. His goodness and mercy are always right there following us through every twist and turn of the road ahead! We are worshiping because He loves us and He is worthy of our very best. We are leading because He has given us this temporary privilege to help others to find their places before His throne. One day the door will open as we walk into His presence. One day we will linger there with the Master and when we turn around, we will find Him closing the door behind and forever we will be with Him! What a blessing! What a grace! What a Hope!  We worship Him most truly when we remember that He is the Why of our worship. We can only be the leaders He has called us to be when we follow the road He is choosing. As we press into His presence because we will see we are leading others because we can only lead where we are going ourselves.

Not Invincible but Trusting Him

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God’s calling and promises never change but we do. Though you may not be noticing as you look into the mirror day by day you are changing. The youthful face that once looked back is now older. The strength that once was a given now is better on some days than others. The pains that used to come as odd visitors seem to pass by our neighborhoods more often. Yes, in spite of all our denials, diets and healthy lifestyle choices we are growing older!

In following Jesus we should always be faithful to the things He has put in our hands and continue to do them with all our hearts. But it is also a comfort to know that He called us, not to be invincible but trusting. In Psalm 27 we find David in full retreat, hiding from the forces of King Saul. He is out numbered, out muscled, and out smarted. His resources have been few and his options dwindling. Yet in the moment of his greatest danger he passes these  words of encouragement to us:

Psalm 27:1 The Lord is my light and my Salvation: whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life of whom should I be afraid?

How often in my own dark and lonely times have these words consoled me, strengthened me and put me back on my feet to face another day. Especially for those of us for whom the reality of aging is knocking at our doors and the whispers of our fears are growing louder. On the one hand it is alright to accept that all of life is a process of change, yet on the other, we can trust in a faithful creator who knows our fragile state. He is more real to me in my hours of difficulty and most precious as my light at the very bottom of the darkest mine shaft of life. He is my light,because it is getting darker. He is my salvation because I am surrounded by forces stronger than me. He is the strength of my life because I recognize that every day I grow weaker. But I trust more deeply every day and He is teaching me to , Wait on the Lord, be of good courage and He shall strengthen your heart. Wait I say on the Lord: Psalm 27:14