forget yourself in worship

Last week, I smiled with eyes closed at the woman sing-shouting several rows behind me and across the aisle at church. Her honest, lung-filled offering grated on me at first – silently wishing she would find her place in the worship chord and slide in a little less loudly.

Then, I smiled. Her sharp, wide-mouthed notes didn’t irritate me less (growing up a musician’s daughter has its drawbacks), but with eyes closed I imagined a different worship setting.

I imagined a crowd of people of all shapes and sizes and colors and tongues flooding a throne with an uproarious and joyful noise. I imagined new chords and instruments and I imagined that no individual voice could be identified. Every noise jumping out to make the song got swallowed up in the glory of the sound and there was a distinct awareness on the faces of the worshippers that the sound wouldn’t be as beautiful if every single person was not singing.

I smiled because that prideful irritation got planted in me but Christ, in His grace, could uproot it and He did.

This morning as I was reading this reflection by Tony Reinke, my thoughts drifted back to that moment. Why do I guard the Sunday morning experience as if the music is for me? Not that the offering should not be excellent (like I said, I am a musician’s daughter and it is not intolerant to say good music sounds different than bad music), because we should strive to make the best, most beautiful and joyful noise unto the Lord. Our praise offerings should be excellent.

But the Sunday morning experience, the behind the steering wheel radio experience, the living room stage experience and the robed choir experience should all make bold proclamation that the music is for a King seated on a throne. It might, but it doesn’t have to please me.

I’ll admit there are times when I have no audience but the cold air in my Civic, but I’m secretly more interested in my rendition of the Gungor song than I am in its object.

After showing several places in Scripture where Jesus sings, Reinke writes,

God is worshipped around the globe as a result of the all-sufficient work of the resurrected Christ. In this way, Jesus is the Perfect Worshipper of his Father. And from heaven he fulfills the role of Chief Worship Leader of the global church.

We are led in worship in the auditoriums and living rooms and driver’s seats of cars by Christ who directed all praise to the Father.

What song is in your soul today?
How is Christ leading you to join with Him in song?
How can you forget yourself in worship?

let LOVE fly like cRaZy

the reason the world exists

“The magnifying of Christ in the white-hot worship of all nations is the reason the world exists.” from Good News of Great Joy Advent Devotional, day 9

I keep thinking about this statement that rounded out day 9 in the Advent reading. To propose a reason for the world’s existence is a claim worth considering. Westminster Catechism says the purpose of man is to love God and enjoy Him forever, but what is the purpose of the world as a whole?

The magnifying of Christ in the white-hot worship of all nations…

What is it about all nations that is so important? Why did the star lead foreigners across miles to an unlikely destination where Jesus had been born with the title “King of the Jews”?

Because God’s heart is not divided by national lines or allocated to allied forces. God desires that all nations would know about the gift of salvation through Christ.

Many things had to work just right – from the Roman Empire calling for a census precisely when Mary was ready to pop to a brilliant star trotting across the sky in a way that led the Magi to follow.

These things worked just right because God ordained them to be just so.

Now, if I am going to participate in the magnifying of Christ, I must understand how I am both singing in the white-hot worship and inviting others to join me.

What a beautiful thing to stretch out an invitation to worship the Savior of the world with every nation and tribe and tongue.

let LOVE fly like cRaZy


making plans to waste my life

I’m making plans, friends. And why shouldn’t I get swept up in the wave of everyone making plans for the future (some full of hope and others full of dread)? I’m making plans, but they sometimes come out of an undignified and broken down place.

Have you ever been there?

It’s a place of exposure and pain, but it’s a place where desperation reaches for solid ground… and the reaching is revelry because the solid ground is so firm that it can be built upon.

The blueprints are looking like this and it’s feeling like beautiful.

Breaking Down by John Mark McMillan

I’m making plans to waste my life on You
I’m making plans to waste my life on You
Cause New York City and Hollywood combined
They ain’t got enough lights
To make me want change my mind about You

Cause I’m breaking down
I don’t even care if there’s anyone else around
Cause I’m breaking down
I always fall to pieces whenever You’re around

I’m Mary Magdalene and tonight is a bottle of perfume
I’m Mary Magdalene and tonight is a bottle of perfume
There’s not enough dignity to hold me now
When I know You’re going to meet me here
There’s not enough gravity
To keep me away from You

Cause I’m breaking down
I don’t even care if there’s anyone else around
Cause I’m breaking down
I always fall to pieces whenever You’re around

So, meet me here
Where we shine like gold
Like the light beneath the embers
Of the burning coals
And I will spill my bottle
Like in days of old
On the song that bleeds from the breaking down