It’s defintely true that I can struggle with the right spelling of words from time to time. But in this situation, the title for my blog isn’t a misspelling. Instead, it’s an intentional play on words to catch your attention & maybe challenge you to some ongoing generosity with Jesus.
How so? What Jesus likes more than your words, money, service, clothing, church attendance, etc. is your self. When we give all of ourselves to Jesus, it seems to me that this gives Jesus the greatest pleasure! So here are some wrapping ideas for your presence with Jesus:
time: we can give Jesus time in all kinds of ways – as we drive, in those unexpected moments of pause with a cancelled appointment and in the morning / night to be present
words: it’s always good to give thanks to Jesus (for daily things, miracles, unexpected blessings, rich conversations, etc ), as well as some worship for who Jesus is
attention: let’s ask the Holy Spirit to increase our awareness of Jesus’ presence, since He said He’d never leave nor forsake us. I ask, throughout the day, for help with my focus and attention to sense Jesus
Be sure to wrap your presence with time, words and attention, to give your self wholly to Jesus!
This morning I read about how Jesus went into the temple in Jerusalem & totally flipped everything upside down. He upended the money changers tables & chairs, he compromised the pigeon sales for sacrifices, He made a whip & angrily confronted the religious leaders & all the while, little kids ran around the temple yelling out, “Hosanna to the son of David!” On top of all this chaos, that enraged the temple leaders, Jesus had the audacity to heal the blind & lame in the temple. As I read these verses in Matt 21 this morning, I began to picture the pandemonium that Jesus made & how He “broke” everything that the religious leaders had organized to “facilitate worship & connecting with God”. Jesus’ actions condemned their efforts & He broke what was already dysfunctional.
Sometimes in our lives, we’ve come to accept as normal that which is broken & dysfunctional. Let’s be open to Jesus breaking what is already broken to help us live in greater health & deeper intimacy with Him. Broken needs fixing 🙂
Someone famous once said that the highest form of praise is imitation so when Paul says in 1Cor 11 that we should follow him as he follow him as he follows Christ, he uses the Greek word for “imitate” rather than the word “follow”. I see this whole idea play out in a really sweet & awesome way with my son & husband. Many years ago, I was a pretty central priority in my kids lives & my husband was important for sure but maybe not quite as central. Over time, this has kind of shifted the other way, particularly with one of my sons. The other night at dinner, my husband was teasing my daughter & my son completely followed in his steps & started reading his sister in the same way. This particular son thinks that my husband almost walks on water at this time so whatever my husband does, my son does to imitate him – it’s usually a really sweet thing to watch, usually 🙂
With all of that being said, let’s be sure that the hero we most worship & imitate is Jesus! Let’s be copies of Christ 🙂
Yesterday, I had the honor of attending a church service in Ethiopia & I had an incredible experience during part of their worship – off the chain! Ok, here’s the deal: I LOVE praise & worship and I’ve been extremely blessed to join in fantastic worship services literally around the world for more than 3decades & what I experienced yesterday was nothing less than OUTRAGEOUS.
There was a really large group that had traditional instruments & dressed in the traditional orthodox attire, starting off with what seemed like a nice cultural presentation & just when I was settling in to enjoy some nice historical Ethiopian tradition, I lost the plot because I could sense the Holy Spirit in such intensity that I still can’t find adequate words, almost 24 hours later.
Yesterday’s experience was completely inundated with God’s presence & it had nothing about it that is modernly familiar or “normal”: no guitars, keyboards or synthesizers. There was 1 ancient calfskin drum played by a girl, no microphones or anyone addressing the audience. Instead, there were probably 50 or so men & women completely & passionately focused on giving praise to God, the Community of love. They sang & danced with 100% commitment no matter what the people watching were doing. As a result, I found myself totally dialed into focusing on God, joining with them to exalt & honor God.
Let me just say that there are many ways & expressions to worshipping God. Don’t fall into the trap that you need lights, cool music, trendy dressed leaders, mixes that appeal to your music preferences, perfectly regulated temperatures & a comfortable seat / environment to exalt our Creator. While these things can be very nice, let’s keep our focus, passion & intent purely devoted to lifting up the Lover of our soul. Clean, pure, intense & totally devoted worship, full stop
Holy Cow! That was Jeroboam’s solution to help him stay in power as the king of Israel, even though God had obviously put him in this position. I was reading this morning (1 Kings 7) about how God spoke to Jeroboam through a prophet & told him that he was going to be the king of Israel. When Jeroboam became the king, he got really jittery about keeping his power & decided that his kingdom needed it’s own set of gods, festival days, worship routines, etc that would exclude anything from the Temple in Jerusalem or the worship of the true God, as outlined by Moses.
Jeroboam was put in the position of king by God’s power but he didn’t stay long because he decided to trust in his own methods & efforts rather than trusting in God. In my thinking, there’s no staying power of any lasting value that doesn’t include trusting in our Triune God 🙂
I was reading this morning about how Solomon build God’s temple and I was particularly impressed with all of the gold stuff. If I read correctly, I think Solomon had the Holy of Holy entirely covered in gold, including the floor. If this is true, the room was the definition of glitter, sparkle, beauty and extravagance. Solomon was beyond extravagant with building God’s temple – his worship to God might even be considered by excessive by some, if that could ever be possible.
As my friend Darlene Zschech embodies, lets worship God with abandoned extravagance, no matter what we may be going through or what’s happening around us 🙂
Last night was one of the coolest evenings I’ve had in several years. Our church joined with 2 other churches to have a worship might with all 3 congregations. There were lots of things I thoroughly loved about the evening & probably my top favorite things are:
*unity – Jesus prayed when He was on earth that our Father would make us one like He & the Father are one. Experiencing some of the unity that Jesus prayed for was magnificent!
*worship versus performance – I totally loved getting to participate with my heart, soul, body & emotions to lift up Jesus, rather than sitting & watching excellent & skilled musicians make beautiful music
*fellowship – there’s nothing that can compete with genuine spiritual fellowship & communion with brothers & sisters in Christ – such rich heart food
What a great honor to lift up Jesus with other whole hearted believers!!
Just my opinion here, but I don’t think you can separate genuine Christmas from worship – they’re more than mutually compatible. I think they’re interdependant. If you give it much thought, it seems pretty impossible to separate the two when you consider that God took on human flesh, humbled Himself to be born into a dark & sinful world, spending His 1st night in a feeding trough for an animal, to an unwed mother. Add to the mix that some wisemen who studied the stars & who were considered to be the philosophers of their day show up with some really nice gifts & fall on their knees to worship this baby, along w some smelly shepherds who had an angelic enounter & were EXTREMELY excited.
Here are some reasons to worship:
God came to earth to live in human skin
an angelic announcement got the shepherds all stirred up!
God warned Joseph about Herod trying to kill baby boys & Joseph protected Jesus by moving to Egypt
Jesus didn’t “lay low” during His human experience – He was completely & thoroughly engaged w humanity
Jesus loves us as much today as He did the day He died on the cross
What are some other reasons that cause you to worship Jesus?
I’m giddy excited, thrilled, ecstatic, delighted, . . . . . . pick an adjective of your favorite liking & insert here! The fantastic mark thomas wrote a song & has posted it – prepare to have your eyebrows blown back. Go to http://denverintranslation.com/ and listen to, “its your love”. I can’t tell you how excited I am about God’s presence on this song!