Monday, November 24, 2014

The Center of my Heart: Where Worship Should Be

Music drifted through the air, weaving into my dreams and lifting me awake.  It is the morning wake-up call streaming from my old clock radio, Chris Tomlin's heart-felt rendition, "Amazing Grace, My Chains are Gone".  Me and God been having some conversations lately on areas I have gotten lazy comfortable in my faith.  This comfort has led to a void I am desperate to see re-filled with His presence.  Not a complete void.... but this little spot right close to the center of my heart.

As always, when you pray for answers and help and you will receive... often the unexpected.

The repeated message has been WORSHIP.  He has spoke this to me through songs on the radio, through books I read (not even on worship) and conversations.  God has been reminding me of a need to worship with my WHOLE heart in prayer and music.

....It is in the measures of my morning prayer to prep my heart for study.

....It is in the music coming through the speakers of my radio and appreciating what the station plays instead of pushing through a surf fest of what fits my mood in the moment while neglecting the needed words for all moments.

....It is in my attitude of worship as we sing Sunday morning.

....It is in my meal-time prayers and whether I am wanting to just get to the food... or simply rest in his presence for a moment before enjoying the food He has so graciously provided.

....It is in every moment I breathe and walk... living a life of living sacrifice in an attitude of gratefulness and worship to the One who called me and loved me even in the moments I was unlovable.

So Amazing Grace washes over me and I lay there pondering all these things, all these message he has so lovingly sent my way the last few weeks.  I thought of how my husband often says worship is the most important part of a church service...of how the HEART of worship is often missing at many churches.

Then I rose to prepare for my day.  Russling through drawers for items to wear, the hum of my thoughts blending with the final notes of  the music which woke me.  Radio commentators banter, then, a caller.  A woman who leads worship at her church.  Recently the station had played the amazing sound of a comet.... this woman's young son heard it and asked innocently, "Mommy, isn't there a passage in the Bible that says if people don't worship, the rocks will?"  She was taken a-back and felt moved to share the sound byte with her congregation, through tears she poured out her heart to all in attendance, oh, that the rocks wouldn't HAVE TO worship because we're not.

Oh, that they wouldn't have to because I'M not.

Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, "Teacher, order your disciples to stop." [they were praising and calling Jesus the son of God and the Pharisees considered this blaspheme] He answered, "I tell you , if these were silent, the stones would shout out."
- Luke 19:39-40

So what IS worship?  What does it look like?  How do I obtain the worship needed to fill that tiny little place right next to the center of my heart?

God is Spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.
- John 4:24

More than JUST that.... God is seeking those who are worshiping him like this...

But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such as these to worship him.
- John 4:23

In this John 4 account, Jesus is talking with the Samaritan woman by the well.  We see how worship isn't JUST music, it was also praying and inclining our hearts... they did it on a hill... Jesus was saying the time is coming when you can worship God right-where-you-are.

What is spiritual worship?

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.
-Romans 12:1

For here we have no lasting city, but we are looking for the city that is to come.  Through him, then, let us continually offer a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that confess his name.
-Hebrews 12:14-15

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us give thanks, by which we offer to God an acceptable worship with reverence and awe.
-Hebrews 12:28

Oh, that we wouldn't come to our King with a lax-a-daisy heart.  He has done so much for us.  Our Lord Jesus was beaten and crucified that we might have hope and joy and peace.  He prepares a place to us, our home is not HERE and as we look at a broken and failing world, the hope of an eternity waiting should be the greatest news, worthy of our continual praise and worship.

O come, let us sing to the Lord;
let us make a joyful noise
to the rock of our salvation!
Let us come into his presence
with thanksgiving; let us
make a joyful noise to him with
songs of praise! For the
Lord is a great God, and
a great King above all gods
- Psalm 95:1-3

As we look towards Thanksgiving and the Christmas season, I pray you would remember the heart of worship and enter into His presence with Thanksgiving with so much exuberance that the rocks would not need to cry out because our praises would be more than enough!


Sunday, November 9, 2014

The Presense of Season

It's that time of year again.... the time of year when a whole season seems to fit like a warm glove. 

The scent drifts on the breezes of September... and linger with the chill of October.  But oh, November, the air is just teaming with the sensations of warm yesterdays and sweet tomorrows.  The memories of family... friends.... years drifted by.  The hope of what the future will hold.  It is a season which begins with crunchy leaves and color filled trees and peeks with the crunch of snow and colored filled trees aglow.

But this year... this year is slightly different in my household.  I  no longer have small hands carrying the sweet little picture books with frantic turkeys or talking leaves filling the pages.  Little voices singing "over the river" and giggling frantically as Mr Gobbles, our plush turkey, lets out his seasonal gobble.

Yet, even as these little things change, others stay the same.... the endearing call to continue our contest of annual turkey disguise.... and everyone gathering around to watch Charlie Brown try to kick that football one more time!  We dream and speculate of Christmastime coming.  We talk more excitedly this year because big brother will be along to visit.... a treat 3 long years in the waiting.

Such are the seasons of life though... like those of a year all tattered and worn.  The last frays of joy before the clock clicks over to start all over again  Life too has its ebbs and flows.  The waitings, the wanderings, the plannings, the rejoicings.  Oh sweet life which gives such variety to living.... oh sweet Lord Who walks us along.

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:..... [God] has made everything suitable for its time; moreover he has put a sense of past and future into their minds, yet they cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. 
- Ecclesiastes 3:1,11

I pray you are wrapped in His presence as this exhilarating season comes into full swing.