Take my life and let it be – Consecrated Lord to Thee… Francis Havergal 1873
Hebrews 12:28 Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe
As a worship leader myself I recognize my own tendency to push people. Sometimes I begin with a fast peppy song just to try and get people focused on church. I press people to clap, raise their hands or to say Amen, yet rarely have I paused to hush myself in the awesome presence of a Holy God. Rarely have I waited quietly till God sent the wind and the fire of the Holy Spirit. Francis Havergal had it exactly right when she began her now famous hymn with the words, “Take my life” Our worship is not just about having Jesus in our life, but it is about finding our life in Him. Until we offer our life, our worship will remain pretty superficial most of the time. When we ask God not only to take our life, but to ” let it be consecrated Lord to thee”, then He will truly begin to operate as both Lord and Savior of our life.
For those of you who haven’t read our about page, let me begin by saying that my wife and I serve as assistant pastors in a local Brazilian church. As Americans we find many things uniquely refreshing about some of the older customs from Brazil in our worship services. Though our Brazilian brothers and sisters are less than timely about when they enter the service, they retain the wonderful custom of pausing to kneel and dedicate themselves to the Lord upon their arrival. That kind of a sense of reverence and awe is also the very life and breath of our worship. From the times of Abraham to the Apostle John, the manifestation of the Holiness of God left them on their faces listening to what God had to say.
God wants us to be quick to hear and slow to speak. He does love to hear the voice of His children, but do we love to hear Him speak? Do we just rush to church, sing our three songs and go home checking our calendars for what new event we have to remember to include in our busy schedule? God is unchanging. God will not hurry to try and catch up with us as we run in circles. If we truthfully long to worship, we will discover that God is still truly seeking for us to fully yield in reverence and awe to Him!
Last night we went to the premiere in Scranton of the Hillsongs movie, “Hope Rising”. Though it was supposed to be a women’s group night out I tagged along with my wife because I love many of the worship songs from Hillsongs United. It was great film, but really hard to describe. It was like being at a christian concert but it was more a concert. The presentations of Oceans as well as Mighty to Save were awesome! It was a bit of a promotional video for Hillsongs church but it rose far above that. The film shared some very intimate moments and details from the lives of the singing group Hillsong United as well as from pastors Brian and Bobbie Houston. I think they have in some ways defined a new type of christian film. It was powerful and practical and overall a real blessing to my wife and I. Here is the trailer to give you a sneak preview for yourself. Be blessed
Awesome song shared in a way that encourages people to do more than listen.
All who are victorious will become pillars in the Temple of my God, and they will never have to leave it. And I will write on them the name of my God… Revelation 3:12
When we begin the worship portion of our service we often say that “Now let’s go to before the throne” or “I can feel the presence of the Lord right now…” We worship leaders often treat those moments of singing together in the sanctuary as worship, and the rest of life as of minor importance. But according to the Bible God is far more interested in what we consider the mundane moment of our lives.
He sees us when we lie down and when we wake. God is so intimate with us that he knows the words we will say before they leave our mouth. He knew us when we were still in our mother’s womb. To God, there is no moment that is more holy than any other. In the time of the prophet Amos God became angry with His people at exactly the times when they imagined they were the closest to Him.
Amos 5:23-24 Away with the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the music of your harps. But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!
Yes it is beautiful for us to raise our hands together and sing. Yes, it is a wonderful time when we can come to the altar with all the church and lift up the name of Jesus. But God never dismisses our service to Him. He walks out the sanctuary door with us and into our homes. God hears the words we speak as we are driving to work and He notices how we treat our neighbors. So what we think of as first in importance in worship may be the very last in God’s eyes. That set of worship songs which we planned, practiced and prayed over, means far less to God at than the rest of our life.
The beauty of God’s heart is that when we begin to treat the “little things, the little moments and the little people” as special then God entirely changes our perspective of the “big moments” in front of the church. The most simple song becomes a tool in His hands to open hearts to His working. The most shaky rendition of our current favorite worship song will take on the power to transform our own hearts and the hearts of those who begin to hear from heaven the sounds of a mighty rushing wind!
Till now my favorite song with Misty. I need to try this one again for worship!
Not only is this an awesome song it is instructive to watch Michael let the church worship. For hose of us trying to be worship leaders it’s a great lesson to not dominate but draw your people to the presence of Jesus!
On Wednesdays I have the blessing of singing with some special folks at a local Nursing home. Syd is one of my favorite people there. He normally sings along with any of the older traditional hymns with his strong baritone voice. This week he was still singing, but his voice was a little weak. He asked me to pray for him to find his voice again. (Did I mention that Syd was born in 1914)
In November of that year the Great War was ending and Ford’s assembly line wages zoomed up to 62 cents an hour ($5/day) Somewhere between then and now Syd found Christ and followed Him faithfully till today. His friends and family have all joined the pages of history books but Syd is still here to remind me every week of God’s great goodness and faithfulness. His favorite Hymn is
“How Great Thou Art” and his favorite verse is the last:
When Christ shall come with shout of acclamation
And Take us Home what joy shall fill my heart
Then I shall bow in humble adoration
And there proclaim, my God how great Thou art!
God has honored us by leaving behind a remnant of his true worshipers. They are here to remind us of what really matters and who is listening when we sing. Here on earth he sits in his wheel chair, but one day I know that my friend Syd will be directing heavenly choirs. I know that there he will find his voice and I hope to be singing along to his lead!