Monday, December 22, 2008

Shenandoah Sunday! (Worship)

The last month and a half has been filled with worship. I have so much still to learn, but I do know that I was made to worship my God. Many of us just think of "worship" as what we do on Sunday morning, all together, as we sing, praise, and remember our God. If that is all we see of worship, we are missing so much of what God has made us for.
What is worship? I feel the most important thing we can recognize with worship is that we do not have to beg for God to appear. God is everywhere. David understood this:
7 Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? 8 If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there. 9 If I take the wings of the morning, And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, 10 Even there Your hand shall lead me, And Your right hand shall hold me. Psalms 139:7-10 (NKJV)
Jesus taught this also:
21 Jesus said to her, "Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. 22 "You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. 23 "But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. 24 "God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth." John 4:21-24 (NKJV)
Also Psalm 50:12 ,"The world is mine," declares the Lord, "and all that is in it." When we get a grasp on the ways we have made God small, decided to label things as good or bad, and even put limitations on where we feel we can acknowledge God's presence. Mark Buchanan in his book "Your God is Too Safe" calls this "practicing the presence of God." There is true joy in the Christian life as we learn to worship God in each moment.
I have had some special worship times in the last few weeks in some truly unbelievable places:
  1. Holding Chris' hand in a hospital bed and praising God as we asked for grace for 1 more day
  2. Watching my grandson climb over all obstacles to sit in Pops' lap to read cards.
  3. Sitting on our bed with Kathy Clark on a Sunday, questioning God and then praising Him.
  4. Listening to Chris Tomlin sing "All the Way My Savior Leads Me" and remembering He is.
Have you ever seen the movie "Shenandoah?" If not, you need to watch it. Throughout the movie you see the main character, played by James Stewart, struggle with his concept of God and a God's role in his life. In a scene at the end of the movie you see a reunion with a lost son in their local church during "worship service." You finally see this man worship God. This last Sunday, December 21st, Chris and I were able to attend worship with our church family. I have missed my brothers and sisters so much. Worship time together was incredible. I joined my weakened voice with the voices of those who have been praying for and ministering to me and my family to sing, "Here I Am To Worship." Worship does not have to happen at church from 11:00 to 11:59 (I am Baptist and worship stops before noon-HA), BUT IT DID!
Thank you, God, for my church family. Thank you for the strength to be with them for a short while. Thank you for the people (Steve & Lynn Arthur, Rex Jackson) who have stood in the gap for Chris and I during this time. Thank you for a body of believers who pray and love.


Mark said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mark said...

Isaiah 40:31 but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

This morning as I thought of and prayed for you I was reminded of this verse. Yes, I know it's very common and probably one of the most over-used and misused verses in the Bible, but still it came to mind as I thought of the race you run now. Clearly I'm no marathon runner (the trip to the refrigerator leaves me winded sometimes) but as I thought about the long race you now run I was reminded of some of the images I've seen of marathons- most of the time people run, sometimes they walk, and when they've given all they have, sometimes they're carried.

If you continue to hope in the Lord you'll do all those things- you'll run, and not grow weary, you'll walk and not faint, and sometimes you'll be carried on the wings of others. I find it interesting that Isaiah didn't say you wouldn't get tired. He said you'd not be weary. He didn't say you'd not slow down. He said you'd not faint. That, I think is because of the hope in the Lord.

If your hope is in you- in what you can do; in what you can't do; in the wisdom of your own heart, you'll find your soul weary and your will passed out from exhaustion. However, if your hope is in the Lord your spirit will not be weary, though your body may be tired. Your heart will not faint, though your humor may be at it's end. Then, perhaps when your own body is at its weakest and your own wisdom has no idea how you'll take another step, you'll be carried on the wings of the angels in your life- your wife, your children, your friends, your doctors, maybe even people you don't yet know. The promise is there- if your hope is in the Lord you cannot fall because He will give you strength when needed, stamina when required, and will lift you above it all and teach you to soar when you can't take another step.

Kevin said...

Thanks for the words, you use them well, as always. The blog has been a great idea, tech! Treatment is going well? I am a rookie so I just do what they say. I am going to try to go to practice today. Say a prayer. Don't want the kids to see me in pain but I miss them.
Thanks again for reminding me of the promise as I head to treatment.

Dustin said...

Yeah we do miss you coach. I hope you can come to more so I can see you, I won't be there today because I have an ortho appointment.