Archive for the ‘Lent…Actively Worship’ Category

Once upon a time, I was asked to help lead in worship at a church service.  With three solid years of elementary piano under my belt, I was a little (a lot) hesitant but they were desperate so I gave it my best shot.  At the end of that service, not surprisingly, I came to the realization that I don’t belong leading worship from a piano bench on a regular basis.  For that matter, it isn’t likely I will be found on a stage or behind a podium.  But there is a lot more to leading worship than a Sunday morning experience with a piano and a pulpit in front of a crowd of people.

Worship is a day-to-day, moment by moment opportunity to turn my attention to the Lord and give Him His due.  I can lead my own family and maybe even others around me in active worship by my very lifestyle.

Joshua 24:15 says this, “But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”

Action Point: Review your day and your past week.  In what ways have you worshipped the Lord giving Him His due?  Think about those who fall under your responsibility and leadership.  How can you humbly lead them, starting right now, in actively worshipping the Lord by your own worship?

Read Full Post »

On Sunday’s blog at Given the Time, we looked at a definition for worship and acknowledged how we all worship something, whether it is ourselves, things, or the One True God.  Today we are running back through the pages of Scripture to the book of Daniel to get a glimpse of a real life worship decision for three people named Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. (Daniel 1-3)

For background, these three men were Israelites who had been taken away from their homeland to work for the King of Babylon.  Though far from their own culture, their religious settings, their families and friends, these three men were honored as top officials in Babylon and held political positions of power.  Not a bad job situation for an exile!  But there was trouble brewing in this work-place and it took form of a statue, jealousy and active obedient faith.

The statue was a replica of the King, his pet project to inspire worship of himself from his loyal subjects.  The jealousy was manifested by Babylonian co-workers.  And the active obedient faith?  You guessed it, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.

When the command came down for all to bow down and worship the statue, the jealous co-workers made sure King Nebuchadnezzar was aware of three Jewish men standing up, refusing to worship a false god.  The three Jewish men knew Who truly deserved their worship and they knew that no power on earth would bend their knees, turning them from active obedient faith to the One True God.  They stood up!  They actively and obediently worshipped God even while their punishment for not bowing down, the fiery furnace, roared and sparked in the background.

“Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the King, ‘O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter.  If we are thrown into the blazing furnace , the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O King.  But even if he does not, we want you to know, O King, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.'” (Daniel 3: 16-18)

By refusing to worship the statue, they actively worshipped God.  They proclaimed to all who saw and to all who could hear that their God had their whole heart of worship.

Take Action: Stand up!  Refuse to bow to the fakes in this world that clamor for our hearts, those golden idols of self, career, security, people, fun times, material things that can never satisfy.  Stand up, and let’s actively worship through obedience to the One True God.

Read Full Post »

“Remain in me, and I will remain in you.  No branch can bear fruit by itself;  it must remain in the vine.  Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.  I am the vine; you are the branches.  If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you do nothing.”

John 15:4,5

Jesus’ words in this passage compare us to plants in a garden with God cast as the Gardener (vs 1) and Jesus Himself as the life-giving Vine to whom we are connected.  In this imagery, our role as the branch is not one of inactivity and uselessness.  Rather, the picture of a successful plant is one that actively grows and eventually provides beautiful and pleasing fruit.

Spring will be here in just a couple months and soon it will be time to plant in my own little garden.  From past experience, there are a variety of reasons my poor little plants might struggle and wither beyond the fact that my thumb is not very green.  Poor soil, lack of water, too much water, bugs…

Bugs are a biggy!  And we have “bugs” in our own life that distract us from actively worshiping the Lord daily.

This Lent season, I want to flourish and bear fruit unhindered by the “bugs” in my life.  The days seem to fly by with a buzz of activities, the flutter of responsibilities, the swarm of little challenges…but I want to actively worship the Lord through personal growth in Him despite these sometimes annoying but certainly real life distractions.  And so I need to purposefully “remain in Him” through it all.  I need to consciously stay connected to Jesus, my Vine.

Take Action:  Take a few minutes to identify some “bugs” in your life that hinder your ability to remain in the Vine, growing and worshiping.  Now brainstorm ways that you can respond to these “bugs” allowing  you to stay connected to Jesus and actively worship through growth, even amidst the distractions.  Pray and ask God to enable you in this.

How does this look in real life for you?  Leave a comment and share with us what you have found helpful.

Read Full Post »

Yesterday we met the woman at the well, and we heard Jesus say to her, “true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:23)

How do we worship in truth?

Jesus answers that question later in John 17:17 saying, God’s Word is truth.

In Psalm 119:160, this is written to the Lord,“All Your words are true; all Your righteous laws are eternal.”

In the early church, there was a group called the Bereans. (Acts 17:11)   When presented with teaching by the apostle Paul they would eagerly examine Scripture to verify that what he taught them was Truth.  They took action to confirm what was True. While some might have labelled them as skeptical or cynical, they were given the honor of being recorded as noble in character.

God doesn’t ask us to worship Him in “spirit and uncertainty” or in “spirit and personal preferences.”   He has given us His perfect Word to allow us to worship Him in “spirit and truth.”

Take Action: Commit to read the Scripture daily so you can more actively worship our Lord in Truth.  Start today!

Read Full Post »

Picture in your mind a woman past her prime, clothed head to toe in long robes, with a face lined with loneliness and hardship.  By outward appearances, this woman has very little motivation to actively believe in anything.  Life has been bitter and her personal choices a train wreck.  Her lifestyle would never lead one to believe she has any interest in spiritual matters, let alone “true” worship.  Yet like us, this woman has more substance than is obvious.  She is often referred to as “the woman at the well” and her story is recorded in Scripture in John 4:4-42.

Our Samaritan woman went to the well to fill her water jar alone in the heat of the day in a possible effort to avoid catty remarks from the other women in town.  Her lifestyle was not considered “nice” and other woman can be mean.  She was probably surprised to find Jesus sitting by the well and certainly shocked that a Jewish man would speak to her asking for a drink of water.  As the conversation progressed from the practical to the spiritual realm, she didn’t turn her back and walk away from the talkative Jew.  Instead she engaged with him intellectually.  She was spiritually thirsty.  She was interested in the truth and this man had answers.

Jesus told her, “God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.” And her response was, “I know that Messiah (called Christ) is coming.  When he comes, he will explain everything to us.” Jesus then confirmed to her, “I…am he.” (John 4:24-26)

The Samaritan woman needed someone to actively believe in beyond herself and the men in her life. She needed someone who was worthy to be on the throne of her life because pursuit of other gods (self, relationships, false religion) had not worked out well thus far.  Jesus highlighted her great need for a Savior (John 4:17-18) and promptly identified himself as the Messiah and she believed.  She immediately acted out on her belief by leaving her water jar and running back in to town.  Listen to what happened next:

“Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, ‘He told me everything I ever did’.  So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days.  And because of his words many more became believers.  They said to the woman, “we no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.” John 4:39-42

This woman’s active belief overflowed to those around her as she actively shared the good news that Messiah had come.

Take Action: Worship God today by acting on your belief …tell someone about God and what He has done for you.  Comment about Him on this blog.  Write about Him on your Facebook.  Send an email to an old friend.  Talk to your co-worker.  And may God be glorified!

Read Full Post »