Worship

Business people

It’s a Martian word, so you probably don’t hear it a lot down here, unless you move in some hipster or techie circles. It’s a darkly guttural word that sounds something like a bullfrog in a fight with a cat, so it lacks a certain sense of poetry.

But it’s an important word to describe a unique and powerful ability that can separate:

  • leaders from posers,
  • successful marketers from annoying advertisers,
  • elected officials from also-rans,
  • spiritual shepherds from obnoxious preachers,
  • faithful, lifelong friends or marriage partners from relational flame-outs,
  • Oprah from, well, anybody (okay, just kidding… a little).

I’m referring, of course, to grokking. [click to continue…]

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Why Chariots of Fire Remains One of My Favorite Movies

Chariots-Of-Fire

Bring me my Bow of burning gold:
Bring me my arrows of desire:
Bring me my Spear: O clouds unfold!
Bring me my Chariot of fire!
-William Blake, “Jerusalem”

I was a single seminary student in 1981 when I passed a bulletin board poster for the film Chariots of Fire. Rex Reed called it “A masterpiece.” Vincent Canby described it as “an exceptional film. Unashamedly rousing, invigorating.”

I figured it was on the seminary bulletin board for a reason, so I bit.

I’ve been smitten ever since. Through 32 years of marriage, three kids, 8 grandchildren, and various twists through life, that movie with its iconic 80s soundtrack and cast of young dreamers still captures my imagination. But only recently have I stopped to consider, at the urging of counselor and life coach Dwight Bain why this film still resonates nearly 35 years later.

I don’t care whether you love it, hate it, or have never even seen it. Behind the partly-fictionalized story of Great Britain’s 1924 Olympic team lies the epic question that challenges anybody who ever aspired to anything:

Why do you do it?

I won’t rehash the details of the plot which you can easily find here or here. I’ll just say that four characters in the film reflect four driving motivations. At any given time, any of these characters can represent my driving force for what I do, and each has its place. These motive checks allow me to consider whether my “why” is useful to my life purpose and goals.

In other words, I may be doing the right things, but for impotent reasons.

Why do you do what you do? [click to continue…]

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Woman Sitting Down in Prayer Silhouette

If you ask God to do something and he doesn’t – or hasn’t yet – what’s your next move?

Assume the answer is a permanent “no”?

Ask again, but stop at that magical number of three?

Give up praying altogether because you’re disappointed? Maybe there’s another way. [click to continue…]

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Dusk shilouette

The promise is so simple, so straightforward and true, it’s easy to dismiss it.

“Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you” (James 4:8).

What if He meant just what He said? What if the circumstances and signals all around you were echoing the same refrain? Maybe it’s time to take Him up on His promise…

When it seems as though you’re arguing with everybody in sight, it’s time to draw near.

When you’re lost in a war of wills, and it feels as though the whole world is pushing against you, it’s time to draw near.

When you life is a continuous array of unacceptable disappointments, it’s time to draw near.

When divorce or disowning is not an option, but murder is looking pretty good, it’s time to draw near. [click to continue…]

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You live in what feels like a constant state of tension. Even your “good stress” is, well, stress. You check the news at least each day to make sure you’re on top of the latest thing to worry about. Your time is stretched so thin that any interruption or change of plans sends you reeling emotionally.

Your credit cards are loaded to the max, and your life feels a lot like your email inbox – loaded with clutter, junk, and unfinished business – some of which is actually important.

Your best sleep comes after 2:00 in the morning. You avoid those medical checkups because you already know what they’re going to say. Unless, of course, you need to get that prescription refilled.

And then…

…then, somebody comes along, usually on a Sunday, and says…

“Let’s worship Jesus!”

And honestly, it just feels like another reason to feel anxious.

What if I were to tell you that if you’re harried and helpless, stressed out or fried emotionally, the Bible actually gets where you’re coming from? If I could show you a way to magnificently worship the Lord Jesus, even when you’re at the end of your rope, would you be interested?

This is an Offering for the Overworked, overstressed, overeating, over-fill-in-your-blank.

Ready? Here it is: [click to continue…]

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A Dance of Delight with Your Creator

by Andy Wood on June 3, 2015

in Prayers

Sunset Worship 4

A Prayer for You…

Wherever you may be, and in whatever capacity, my prayer for you today is that you would live, serve, and worship in an ongoing dance of delight with your Creator.  Specifically I pray:

That the Hands that gave sight to the blind would touch you with new capacity to see, to perceive, to recognize opportunity and danger, even as they present themselves at that same open door…

That the Arms that hold the universe would hold you in peace and safety, bringing security and safety to every thought of fear, trouble, or loneliness… [click to continue…]

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Lattice

In his book, Rekindled Flame, Steve Fry tells of moving to Nashville and talking to some Christian recording executives about a potential project.  When asked what he was working on, he told them about wanting to write a worship musical that focused on the character of God.  To his surprise, they were very cool to the idea.

Frankly, they said, most believers wouldn’t buy an album about God.

Seriously?

Yep.

According to their demographic studies, that kind of project wouldn’t appeal to most Christians.

Later he met with a book editor that he knew had his finger on the pulse of the Christian marketplace.

“I want to write about God!” he said. “I want to take snapshots of the many wonders of His character and just focus on Him.”

“I’d like to help you write that kind of a book,” he replied. “In fact, the Christian market desperately needs that kind of book. But honestly, the average Christian is not going to buy a book about God.” The editor added:  “The only way you can get the average believer to read a book about God is to somehow show them how God benefits them.”

I want to say I’m surprised, but I’m not.

I want to say I’m offended, but I’m not.

I want to say I’m the exception… [click to continue…]

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Spider

All Your works shall give thanks to You, O Lord… Psalm 145:10

This is a work of God.

This little guy has lived at my house longer than I have.

Throughout the summer he’s maintained this exquisite work of art, despite several collisions with humans.

He’s not alone.

He joins with all creation, using their gifts and design, worshipping their Creator.

And on days like this, I get to have a front-row seat.

Blue jays, cardinals and mockingbirds call to each other nearby. [click to continue…]

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Praying at sunrise

Cesar Malan was a famous minister from Geneva.  He showed genuine interest in the spiritual welfare of anyone he met. And get this!  He would actually ask them about it!

Once Malan asked a woman he had just met about her relationship with God.  Caught off guard, and somewhat annoyed by his question, she curtly said she didn’t care to discuss the matter.

Apparently this wasn’t the first time Cesar had faced such a response.  The minister kindly assured her that he would be praying for her salvation.

It wasn’t long before circumstances brought the two together again.  As they talked, it became apparent to Pastor Malan that the Lord was responding to his prayers.  The once-antagonistic woman had recognized her spiritual need.  Now she was asking him what was required to become a follower of Christ.

The preacher replied, “Come to Him just as you are.” [click to continue…]

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stained glass 2

How was church today?

That’s a pretty common question in my family.  With four households all involved in some sort of ministry, all living and attending four different worship venues, it’s not unusual for me to ask.

But it’s also important for me to remember that I’m asking a consumer question.

I’m basically asking somebody in my family to evaluate their experience.  To interpret an event.  Yes, to tell me what they got out of it or whether they liked the goings-on down at the church house.

Is that wrong?  Not necessarily.  But it’s a pitifully limited – and limiting – question. [click to continue…]

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