This song is my prayer for people who struggle with drug and/or alcohol addiction: that one day they would exalt the Lord Jesus with their lives. I pray that the Father would intervene into their lives and release grace to them and pull them from their addictions. I firmly believe that without God’s direct intervention addicts and alcoholics will be hopelessly bound by their addiction. Sure, I believe that to some degree people can manage their addiction for awhile, even a long while. But, for true freedom from addictions, this only comes through the grace and power of God. So join the 420 Prayer Movement today and begin praying for the many people who struggle with addictions!
Lately I’ve been realizing that I am just getting this idea of living a life in worship to the Father. Though I’ve been saved almost 10 years now, have experienced many supernatural moves of God in my life, been through Seminary, actively involved in mentoring, discipleship and being on mission for Jesus, been in ministry leadership as well as starting a prayer movement, what I am realizing is that I am really only just grasping the concept of living a life of worship to the Father. More and more, Holy Spirit has been reminding me of Jesus’ words, “But the time is coming – indeed it’s here now – when true worshippers will worship the Father in Spirit and in Truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way”(John 4:23 NLT). The more I meditate on what it means to be a worshipper of Spirit and Truth, the more I am convinced that there’s a huge difference between doing worship and being a worshipper. I believe that everyone is capable of worship. If we realize it or not we are actively engaged in worship everyday. You don’t have to be a prophet to see how the world revolves around the worship of people and things. The worship of celebrities and political figures is nothing new, nor is the idolization of technology. Add to this equation the rising tides of addiction in the world and you have a recipe for even greater degrees of misdirected and distorted worship. It’s funny though worship is inherent to who we are because we have a Creator, why is it so difficult to live a life of worship to our Creator? The simple answer is sin. Sin has a way of perverting and distorting everything that we do. It’s not that sin makes us all as evil as we could ever be, but sin does have a way of twisting even our best intentions. Sin entangles us and keeps us from embracing being the true worshippers of Spirit and Truth that God desires.
Currently, I am in a unique season. The Lord is teaching me what is means to be His missionary. Over the last five years, I have been heavily involved in church ministry and leadership and have loved every moment. But, earlier this year the Lord impressed on me His desire for me to learn what it means for me to always be His missionary first and foremost. This transition has taken about a year and has meant stepping down from all church leadership, even relocating to another church. Embracing this new season, has inspired this current reflection on worship and service to the Lord. To be honest, this transition has been harder than I had expected. Always being God’s missionary has meant seeing life through a different lens. For the last five years I’ve looked at life through the lens of a shepherd caring for the flock that God has entrusted to my care. Now that this flock has been entrusted to others, I am feeling a bit lost. What I am realizing is that working in the barn is a bit different than working in the fields. When I was working in the barn (church), it was easier to discern the line between what was worship to the Lord and what was not. Learning to work in the fields (world) has meant redefining what worship to the Lord looks like. Working in the field has also meant having to be more intentional about making what I am doing as an act of worship to the Lord. Being in church ministry and leadership made it easier to see my service as a form of worship to God. It was easy to see what I was doing as “working for the Lord” (Colossians 3:23 NIV). Now that I am not actively involved in church leadership it’s like I now have to relearn what it means to be “working for the Lord.
I know I am still in the process of walking this out, but where I am leaning towards is rather than trying to make everything I do an act of worship to God I need to simply embrace more fully the reality that through Jesus I simply am a worshipper of the living God. If I try to make everything I do an act of worship to God, worship can very easily become reduced to a bunch of tasks to be checked off a list. I would end up doing worship all day, rather than being a worshipper where worship is inherent to who I am. On the surface, they may look simliar, but underneath is a world of difference. When worship is inherent to who I am, everything that I do becomes an act of worship because it is born out of love and devotion for the Father. Jesus fully understood this. His whole life was lived in worship to the Father because He understood who He was to the Father and who the Father was to Him. It must be no different with us. Our worship must come from a place of intimacy with the Father. The Pharisees lacked this intimacy with the Father and their lives where reduced to a bunch of external actions strung together with the guise of worship. But, their offerings of worship lacked the inward motivation that the Father desired. Everything they did had the external motivation of being seen and praised by men. They were continually projecting image, rather than pursuing intimacy. When worship comes from a place of intimacy with the Father, then a worshipper that the Father desires is born. And here’s the Good News: as believers in Christ we already have this intimacy with the Father, we just need to lean in and embrace this intimacy.
Jesus tells us that “God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24 NIV). Now this isn’t a suggestion that Jesus makes, but more of a non-negotiable declaration. If we are to be worshipping in the presence of God, we must be filled with His Spirit and Truth. I’ve often heard this statement, “The only way to approach a holy God is to do it His way” which is true. Now if the Father desires true worshippers, who will worship Him in Spirit and Truth (John 4:23), who are we to deny the Creator and Giver of life by worshipping Him in our own way. Do you think that He will accept our worship? Probably not. I mean that’s why there are so many religions in the world because people are deciding for themselves who, how and why they worship. But, Jesus is adamant about Him being the only way to the Father (John 14:6). It’s interesting that Jesus says “the Father” and not God. Because Jesus isn’t inviting us into some objectively impersonal notion here, but rather a subjectively intimate familial relationship.
What I find interesting in today’s churches (without getting too ecclesial) are the two extremes of friendship with God and reverence for God. On the one hand, there are churches that solely emphasize that through Jesus people are now friends with God, while on the other hand, there are churches that only emphasize having reverence for God. Both are true, but what my heart longs to see a great blending of the two. To see the people of God in a vibrantly deep and intimate familial relationship with the Father while they stand in awe of His majestic glory. After talking this over with some friends over lunch yesterday, we concluded that it’s through our friendship with God that should draw us into a deeper and more vibrant worship of God in which we experience a greater depth and magnitude of His majesty, beauty and glory. But, something is getting lost in the translation.
I can only imagine what it would be like to be in the throne room of God. What comes to mind is Ezekiel 1 where the heavens open and Ezekiel sees visions of God. Without going into the details of the vision (I recommend reading through the chapter yourself), what seems to stand out is the sheer magnificence of God and the glory that radiates from Him which moves Ezekiel uncontrollably facedown (Ezekiel 1:28). All this is pretty amazing, but it’s the next verses that have drawn my attention: the Lord says to Ezekiel, “‘Son of man, stand up on your feet and I will speak to you.’ As he spoke, the Spirit came into me and raised me to my feet, and I heard him speaking to me” (Ezekiel 2:1, 2 NIV). The only way that Ezekiel was able to stand in the presence of God was by His Word (command) and Spirit.
Through Jesus, believers today do have the Spirit of God living within them (1 Corinthians 6:19) and are hopefully filling themselves with the Word of God. So, we are able to stand in the presence of God. And as the writer of Hebrews tells us because Jesus is our High Priest, “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Hebrews 4:16 NIV). Maybe what needs to happen is more of God’s people need to be meditating on the the throne of grace where Jesus, the spotless Lamb of God, sits (Revelation 5). I believe the more we envision this, the greater we will see Jesus not only as our beloved Savior and Friend, but also as the Lord of Lords and King of Kings (Revelation 19:16).
I ran across this poem by Kathleen Wheeler called “A New Leaf” which really ministered and spoke to my heart about the Father’s love and grace towards his children.
He came to my desk with quivering lip –
The lesson was done.
“Dear Teacher, I want a new leaf,” he said,
“I have spoiled this one.”
I took the old leaf, stained and blotted,
And gave him a new one all unspotted,
And into his sad eyes smiled,
Do better, now, my child.”
I went to the throne with a quivering soul –
The old year was done.
“Dear Father, hast Thou a new leaf for me?
I have spoiled this one.”
He took the old leaf, stained and blotted,
And gave me a new one all unspotted
And into my sad heart smiled,
“Do better, now, my child.”
I needed this reminder: that no matter what I’ve done I can go to our Father in Heaven and ask for a fresh start, a new beginning. Every day if need be and He will redeem the time. I know it sounds so unbelievable, but that’s grace – undeserved favor. Whenever I encounter God’s love and grace it always moves me to worship because I am floored that the God of the universe desires to be with me. Even now as I sit and write this, I am so grateful for such a loving and merciful God and a Savior who died so that all of this could happen. Thank you Jesus.
Do you need a new leaf? Get a fresh start in life from God by inviting Jesus into your heart and surrendering the control of your life to God. If you already know Jesus than ask the Father to redeem the time.
Music plays a big part in how my heart sings to the Lord in worship. I love to sing and dance for the Lord. I am always so amazed at the diversity of cultures and peoples in the world. Of course, all cultures and peoples need to be redeemed by the blood of the Lamb. But, I imagine heaven to be one huge celebration around the throne of God where the Lamb sits. God loves celebration. When I read Revelation 7:9, 10: “After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice: ‘Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.'” What comes to mind is celebration. Celebration from every culture and language in reverence and worship to the Lamb of God.
I long to be fully united with all my brothers and sisters. When everything that separates and divides us will be forever removed and we will all worship God together as one. So, when I heard Richard Twiss say: “no one language could ever capture the fullness of who God is or no one music style could ever echo the sounds of heaven.” This stirred something inside of me. His words made the Holy Spirit leap within me with joy. I long to sing and dance before the throne of God where people from every nation and tribe will lead us in worship to God, our Creator, Savior and Redeemer. This song “Hina Na Ho” by Susan Aglukark I believe reflects a glimmer of this. It also makes me happy to see all the children singing, dancing and celebrating their Native American and Inuit heritages. I believe in heaven people will know and love all cultures and languages as much as their own, where celebration becomes not about style, but solely about Jesus. The joy it must bring the Father when His redeemed children come together as one to sing, dance and celebrate in their many diversities around His throne as they praise Him for all of eternity. I can’t wait. Come Lord Jesus Come!
This song touched my heart in exactly the way that I needed. I love when the Holy Spirit leads me serendipitously to a person, a book, a website, in this case a song (at a website) because He knows just what I need to draw me into the presence of God and what needs to happen in order to tenderize my heart towards Jesus. The lyrics of this song released the words that were trapped in my heart – they helped give wings to the longing in my heart to be near my Lord and King. Listening and singing these words (repeatedly) have brought sweet conviction to me by reminding me that to not share and lavish people with God’s amazingly perfect love is truly tragic. I wept when this revelation washed over me, breaking my heart all over again for Jesus. He is so good to me. I can feel the smoldering embers beginning to stir within my heart, igniting within me a renewed passion to love and chase after my Savior and to love people with wild abandon.
I am so grateful for all the members of the Body of Christ that use their gifts and talents to edify the People of God while in worship to King Jesus.