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.
I can remember when my wife and I were dating. Many times when we would go out to eat, we hardly talked. We spent much of our time just looking at each other. The unspoken words said a lot about our feelings for each other. Of course the words came in time, but it was during those times of gazing that our hearts and souls began to knit together. Those times of gazing have grown into a wonderful intimate relationship.
Have you ever felt the excitement of being chosen for something? I can vividly remember the process of choosing softball or football team for physical education class at school. The two best athletes were chosen as team captains. They would flip a coin to see who chose first. The rest of us would wait anxiously hoping to be chosen in the first round by the better of two athletes. Though sometimes a captain might choose his best friend first, most of the time he would choose the “best of the rest” first in order to obtain the superior team.
Most of us are familiar with the life of King David. God called him a man after His own heart yet, we know David made some big time mistakes that cost him and others a great deal of pain. One of those grave mistakes was his adultery with Bathsheba and the murder of her husband Uriah.
We don’t know exactly how much time elapsed from the time David committed those sins until the prophet Nathan paid him a visit. I read in one commentary that it could have been as much as one year. Can you image the guilt David must have lived with for that year? After Nathan rebuked David and brought his sin into the open David penned the words to Psalm 51.
When I played football in high school, my dad and I would frequently talk about my games. To my knowledge he never missed a game and usually had an observation or two to share with me. Occasionally he would share with me some of the highlights of his football playing days in high school. My dad played tackle on his high school football team. Though he was strong, he wasn’t a large man like the tackles you see playing high school football today. They didn’t grow’em as big in the 1950s.
I recently received an e-mail from a young man who lives in Paraguay, South America. There seemed to be desperation in his words as he wrote, “I believe that God wants his church to worship him. I also believe that worship songs are a good tool to do that. Unfortunately the majority, including the elders of the church, don’t think so. They say that there is too much based on feelings (lifting hand’s, clapping, closing eyes while singing etc.). Now we have started a praise and worship program that goes on once a month. Many people say that we are charismatic and lost. Pastors have gone as far as to preach against it. Some of our friends have lost their jobs because they participate with us. The pressure is enormous at times.”
I recently underwent open heart surgery to replace an aortic valve which had been defective since birth. The entire ordeal took our family quite by surprise as I was not initially aware of any symptoms of a heart problem. Here is how the events unfolded.
A few years ago I attended a worship conference with some friends. As we entered for the initial service I noticed above the sanctuary entrance a sign that read “Enter to Worship.” That simple sign spoke volumes to me about the attitude and seriousness in which the church approached worship. First, it said that beyond those doors worship would be taking place. Secondly, it projected the idea that you were expected to worship if you came inside. Third, and maybe the most important, it conveyed to me that what was happening in that place of worship was holy and should be approached with reverence.
Often in our quest to define certain types of worship we will use terms such as Mosaic Worship, Davidic Worship, Lifestyle Worship, Evangelistic Worship, Messianic Worship and others. We often associate worship with music, singing, dancing, shouting, banners and preaching. Certainly these terms and expressions of worship are valid as we attempt to put into words how we should respond to the God we love, however there may be yet another aspect of worship that is easily overlooked.
I have thought for some time that no one but me can cook a steak exactly the way I like them. I know how long I want to tenderize the meat and what ingredients I want to put on the steak while it cooks. I know just how long to leave them on the grill to achieve my desired taste; medium rare. There is also the pleasure of smelling the aroma of that steak while it cooks. The anticipation of eating that steak heightens as the aroma of the smoke causes my stomach to rumble. Finally, it’s ready! The hunger pains begin to subside as I enjoy a meal prepared just the way I like it.