How do you Worship?

Worship is…

Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace. (Matthew 6:6, The Message)

 

Lord, I have shut the door,
Speak now the word
Which in the din and throng
Could not be heard;
Hushed now my inner heart,
Whisper Thy will,
While I have come apart,
While all is still.

Lord, I have shut the door,
Here do I bow;
Speak, for my soul intent
Turns to Thee now.
Rebuke Thou what is vain,
Counsel my soul,
Thy holy will reveal,
My will control.

In this blest quietness
Clamorings cease;
Here in Thy presence dwells
Infinite peace;
Yonder, the strife and cry,
Yonder, the sin:
Lord, I have shut the door,
Thou art within!

Lord, I have shut the door,
Strengthen my heart;
Yonder awaits the task—
I share a part.
Only through grace bestowed
May I be true;
Here, while alone with Thee,
My strength renew.

© 1923, Ren. 1951 Hope Publishing Company , Carol Stream, IL 60188.
All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Near Dead Experiences?

I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago—whether in the body I do not know, or whether out of the body I do not know, God knows—such a one was caught up to the third heaven. And I know such a man—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows— how he was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter. (2 Co 12:2-4)

I probably first heard of the phenomenon of Near Dead Experiences from the Reader’s Digest decades ago. A doctor ran into enough of them experienced by patients who almost died that he set out to study it. This was from a secular perspective. Then I heard the talk of a man from a Mennonite church who had “died” and seen a scene from the final judgment, then came back. This one was from a Christian perspective.

I’m not here to make a judgment call on this kind of experience. Maybe they are visions, like one person stated recently. Or maybe they are real. It seems that Paul experienced this, in the passage I quoted above. He stated that he didn’t know if he was dead or if he wasn’t.

That isn’t my point. I want to share an experience that a close friend went through. His father was on his death bed, but wasn’t a Christian. This was at least partly because of his lack of understanding, rather than because of rebellion on his part. However, one day he came very close to dying, but was resuscitated.

But later, he talked about what happened to him. He was able to see down a corridor to where some people were gathered and watching him. One of these looked very much like his daughter. Since he had a daughter who died at three years old, he thought that maybe this was her.

He couldn’t forget this. He badly wanted to meet his daughter. It seemed that God gave him this “vision” to show him the reality of the hereafter, and to give him a push in the right direction. Anyway it was what he needed. A day or so later, my friend was able to lead him to God. Shortly afterward he died, a saved man.

You may see some weaknesses in this picture. We think that people die looking forward to seeing Christ. But we can’t put God in a box. I think this is a clear picture of how much God cares for people. He knew my friend’s father had a soft heart but didn’t understand. So, in His mercy, He gave him a vision that helped to open his heart’s door, then took him home.

That is the kind of God we serve—a God who will go the second mile for us if that is what it takes.

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Enter into the joy of your Lord!

What Does the Resurrection Mean to You?

Is Easter a chance to go to church and show off your latest wardrobe? A chance for your worship team to show off its talents? A time for your pastor to use his greatest oratorical skills to impress the crowd? Maybe even the opportunity to fill the offering baskets to overflowing!

Most of us would say a hearty NO to the paragraph above. This is a day for us to think about what Jesus did for us. Good Friday is past, and this morning the tomb is empty. The work is finished, and Evil has received its death blow. Hallelujah!

Most Christians will agree with the latter paragraph in general terms. The thoughts may stir us and we may resolve to allow the risen Savior to be our King. But unfortunately, by the end of the week, too many of us will have forgotten all about it. Life will go on as normal.

Is that why Jesus died? And why He rose from the tomb? So that you and I can have an emotional high once a year? I wonder how often our Savior weeps at the callousness of those who claim to be His bride?

I think part of the problem is that we misunderstand why Jesus came in the first place. Did Jesus ever state that His main reason for coming to earth was so that I can escape hell fire? Isn’t that somewhat of a selfish reason for me to serve Him? Just because of pexels-photo-415571.jpegwhat I get out of it?

I think this concept is one of the keys to the fact that so many of us do such a poor job of serving Christ in our everyday life. It is great that He loved us and died for us. But Jesus said that He came to establish the Kingdom of Heaven. He is our King as well as our Savior. So I like to think of Easter as coronation day. Jesus rose to receive His crown. His kingdom has come, not for our benefit, but for His! We love Him and serve Him for who He is, not just for what we get out of it.

Its true that we still live in the shadowlands, as CS Lewis would have said. This is our apprenticeship. Someday, the clouds will roll back like a scroll and He will return to us. Then His Kingdom will take on a new reality. But in the meantime we need to show the world that the Kingdom is real, right now, and that we are serving a new King. The resurrection is the key to this new life of fellowship with our King and His servants.

We need to realize this every morning and through every day of our life. I am a servant of the King. On Easter we rejoice that our King rose, and that this is His day. But every day is a day to rejoice that He has saved us and made us worthy to serve Him.

JESUS: My Savior and my KING!

God, Who are You?

Someone challenged me recently to prove that God exists. He couldn’t find any reason to believe that there is a God. He felt that we are just a collection of atoms.

The concept of god just contradicts everything I know about science. The scientific method, atoms, biology, etc. all seem to prove otherwise. I have a hard time understanding why anyone believes in god.

It is difficult for me to understand this because the more that I learn about the intricacies of the natural world around me, the harder it is for me to understand why anyone would NOT believe in God. Just look at the beauty of the sky and the snow in the featured image with this post. So could a collection of atoms just accidentally reproduce a scene like this?

The universe is filled with intricate design. And it is all the result of an explosion once upon a time. Would you expect an accident to produce a John Deere tractor? If not, how can you possible believe that DNA is the product of an accident?

Henry Morris said, in an old book of his, that there is far more chance of a hundred monkeys with typewriters reproducing the Encyclopedia Britanicca by accident without a spelling mistake than there is of an mindless, meaningless process producing the universe.

I feel that the biggest evidence of a God, however, is the change that I see taking place in the lives of people who give themselves to serving Him. I met a man who was a multiple murderer before he became a Christian. The change in his life was phenomenal. Only God can do this kind of work in the heart of a man.

Do you know Him? Have you seen his handiwork? I have.

“For the choir director: A psalm of David. The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship. Day after day they continue to speak; night after night they make him known. They speak without a sound or word; their voice is never heard. Yet their message has gone throughout the earth, and their words to all the world. God has made a home in the heavens for the sun. It bursts forth like a radiant bridegroom after his wedding. It rejoices like a great athlete eager to run the race. The sun rises at one end of the heavens and follows its course to the other end. Nothing can hide from its heat.”  (Psa 19:1-6)