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.
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 showing no symptoms of heart problems. Here is how the events unfolded.
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.
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.
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.
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.