On Worship

God is Sprouting Praise

When I was a boy growing up I spent a few summers helping my dad plant his crops. I watched him plow the fields then cut them to prepare for planting. Once the fields were ready to plant, we would load the seed and fertilizer in the planter hoppers then bury them in the soil in neat rows. At that point nature took its course and the seed became a sprout that later became a crop which helped to feed many people. 

Isaiah wrote, For as the earth brings forth its sprouts, and as a garden causes what is sown in it to sprout up, so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to sprout up before all the nations. (Isaiah 61:11 ESV) God will have a righteous people in all nations that will praise him before all nations. He will cause it to be so. He is sovereign over all things and that is certainly the case when it comes to his righteous people and his praise. 

In 1 Kings 19 after Elijah had killed the prophets of Baal, he fled the wrath of King Ahab’s wife Jezebel. After traveling forty days and nights he came to Mount Horeb and lodged in a cave. The Lord came and spoke to Elijah in a low whisper and asked “What are you doing here, Elijah?” Elijah replied, “I have been very jealous for the Lord, the God of hosts. For the people of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword, and I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life, to take it away.” God later replied, “Yet I will leave seven thousand in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him.” God reserved a righteous remnant for himself. 

Near the end of his ministry as Jesus, mounted of a dinkey, rode into Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives. Luke records that as Jesus entered the city a multitude of his disciples began shouting praises in honor of him. A group of Pharisees admonished Jesus to rebuke his disciples to which he responded, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out” (Luke 19:36-40 ESV). Knowing the scriptures, Jesus attested to the fact that one way or another God would sprout praise from the earth. 

The writer of Hebrews wrote, Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. (Hebrews 13:15 ESV) God said through Isaiah that it is he who creates the fruit of the lips (Isaiah 57:19). God creates the very praise he has called and predestined his righteous people to offer in acknowledgement of his name. 

Twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb and sang, Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe andlanguage and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth. (Revelation 5:9-10 ESV) God sent the Lamb, his son Jesus Christ, to ransom a people for him. 

God said that he formed a people for himself that they would declare his praise (Isaiah 41:21). In other words; God didn’t just create a people knowing that one day they would declare his praise, he created and predestined them for the express purpose of declaring his praise. Peter reflected that sentiment by writing, But you are a chosen (select, elected, favorite) race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. (1 Peter 2:9-10 ESV) God’s people were purchased for a purpose; to make much of him before all nations. 

God is sprouting praise. He will see to it that his purchased people fulfill their purpose, for it is he that works in them both to will and to do of his good pleasure (Philippians 2:13). 

The Fountain of Satisfaction

All of us at some point in time have been really thirsty. You probably don’t have any problem recalling how a cold drink of water feels going down your dry throat. I can remember as a child my brother and me spending some time with our Pop and Granny Coker during the summer when school was out. We would run and play outside, get hot, the sweat just pouring off us and work up a big thirst.

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Rejoice and Be Glad

Though it gives me much joy to see what my children have become now that they are grown, I must admit that there are times when I miss certain experiences of their childhood. Some of those “magical” moments would have to include birthdays and Christmas.

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The Glory of God

Early one morning around 5:00 o’clock I was sitting on the love seat in our living room having a time worship and prayer. During my prayer time I was intensely praying for God to show me his glory. Just as I got the words out of my mouth the room lit up with a bright light. My heart felt like it would explode from the force of the pressure. I could feel it beating rapidly in my throat. Fear gripped me as I sat frozen to the love seat. Never in my life have I been so afraid. It is almost indescribable.

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Name Above All

When my wife and I were deciding on what names to give our children, we determined that at least one of each of their names would be the name of one of their relatives. We thought it would be good for each of those names to be carried on to the next generation. Little did we know that each of their names would correspond with either a physical or character trait that each of them would possess. We named our first born daughter Amber. We used the name Amber because of the description Ezekiel gives of the brightness in which God appeared to him (Ezekiel 1:4, 27, 8:2). Imagine the surprise when she was born with amber colored hair. No one in either of our families has that color of hair.

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The Restoration of David’s Tabernacle

Prophetic voices all across the world agree that we are in the last days before the coming of the Lord Jesus. In Acts Peter is recorded as saying, For he (Messiah, Jesus) must remain in heaven until the time of the final restoration of all things, as God promised long ago through his prophets. (Acts 3: 21 NLT) In other words Jesus is literally held hostage in heaven until all things are restored. So, in these last days, God is about the business of restoration. I believe he is revealing and restoring the biblical concepts of worship, evangelism and the Kingdom of God to a temple of people whose one desire is to see his will done on earth as it is in heaven.

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Worship is a Love Thing

In his gospel, Luke records a story of a woman who was not ashamed to display her affection toward Jesus.

One of the Pharisees asked him to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee’s house and took his place at the table. And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was reclining at table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment, and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment. Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner.

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Why Do We Worship?

I have been leading worship in small groups and corporate settings for many years. No one loves worship leading more than I. The rush that comes when the band starts playing and the audience begins to respond can only be described by those who have experienced it. While leading worship in small groups I have seen the floors of dens and living rooms covered with people on their faces in the presence of God. On many occasions I believe we could have sung Mary had a Little Lamb and God would have shown up.

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Abandoned Worship

I began playing football when I was in the third grade. Year after year I suited up in the spring for spring drills and again in July to prepare for the season. For ten years (that’s a professional career for some folks) I banged heads with my fellow team mates vying for a starting position. The off season was spent running and lifting weights to stay in shape in hopes of gaining an advantage when the season started. All the benefits of that hard work were realized on the opening kick off of the first game.

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The Praise of His Grace

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. (Ephesians 1:3-6 ESV)

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