I must say, Day 13 (The Purpose Driven Life – by Rick Warren… for those of you just popping in for a read of my blog) was definitely my favourite so far. J
I’m might get a bit transparent with you in tonight’s blog. Partly cuz I’m over-tired, and partly cuz I’ve just had a good talk with Jesus and my heart is full of Him.
So much in this chapter mirrors my life so far.
God has really taken me on a journey in worship.
I used to think the word “worship” was just a type of song… a slow-ish song. And “praise” was a faster song. Both sung at church, without much thought that went in to the words.
Part of me thought that, anyways. But there was another part of me that disagreed with myself and what I saw displayed in church life around me.
Perhaps it was because my roots were from a church unlike the one I had found myself in. Kids always, for some reason, seem to get back to their roots at some point. This is why – often – a child who is raised in Sunday-school, and then grows away from that as an adult, is more likely to return to church later on in life, than a child who wasn’t raised in church.
I was definitely a church girl all the way through… but the kind of churches displayed different characteristics. Not wrong, just different.
Now back to worship… I remember one of the first times I started waking up in regards to what worship really was.
It was at a youth retreat when I was 18.
I had laryngitis… yup. Couldn’t speak a single word above a whisper!
Not the best way to go to youth camp with all your friends you wish you could talk to.
That was the fall God started shaking my world up a little. You know, those times when you feel like God is trying to blow all the stale rituals away and bring you in to that uncomfortable area of surrender?
Our guest speaker came up to me and introduced himself and his wife (I didn’t know that they were to become some of my favourite people in the world, awesome role models, and great friends who would pray me thru some hard times)
I managed to croak out something about having laryngitis and how I was sad because I loved singing the new songs we always learned for camp.
He laughed and said, “you don’t have to sing to worship God!”
So profound… and I wonder if he knows that moment changed my perspective and set the stage for the years to come.
Fast forward a few years to the painful times…
A heart’s cry from a place where I didn’t know which way He wanted me to go. Just knew life had to change because it wasn’t going in God’s direction at the time.
A desperate cry from a dark crevice of my life… God, what do you WANT from me??
Came the whispered reply.
He picked me up in His loving arms that day and literally carried me to an oasis in my desert.
A home I didn’t know could exist.
A place to sink my dry and brittle roots deep into and find life.
A life filled with worship.
I don’t just mean music.
I mean an entire life of obedient, life-giving, worship to a God so powerful that He deserves so much more than just my Sunday morning congregational expressions.
The thing about true worship is that it must remain longer than just the 20-30 minutes of splendour on a Sunday morning.
It must consume your life.
Whether it means you giving of your time, energy, and resources… or even just flipping on that favourite CD and getting lost in His presence.
He literally wants EVERYTHING!
Is there a space in your heart that’s locked up or hidden from sight that He’s asking for?
So many times I’ve had to open up all over again and give God more.
Worship, a life of spirit-filled, and truthful worship means we give more… out of love for Him.
God gets the most pleasure out of the little things you choose to sacrifice.
It will come at the most inconvenient times… the times you don’t feel like praising God.
The times when life seems too hard to bear.
That’s when He’ll show up and ask for more.
It’s like the little girl who adored her cheap, dollar-store pearl necklace so much that she didn’t want to give it up.
Her daddy had to ask and ask and ask… until finally she gave her daddy the fake pearls that she loved so much. With tears in her eyes she gave them up… for him.
Her daddy smiled through his own tears and said “thank-you”… then he pulled out of his pocket a velvet jewelry box.
He had just been waiting for his daughter to give up her fake pearls, so he could give her the real thing!
Inside the box was a string of gorgeous, authentic pearls.
What are your fake pearls?
Are you withholding true worship from God?
Don’t waste another second!
His love surpasses everything we can imagine and He’s just waiting for you to give up the temporary loves you’re clinging to… so He can reward you with the real, gorgeous, authentic pearl of His peace and love.
Romans 12:1-2 (MSG)
So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.