Category Archives: Worship

Start with “thank you”

It’s common practice to teach your kids to say ‘please’ and then ‘thank you’ when they have requests. But with God, things are a little bit different. God has already lavished on us more than we could ever fully comprehend.

  • New life. ~ John 10:10
  • Freedom from condemnation. ~ Romans 8:1
  • The Holy Spirit to dwell in us. ~ John 14:15-17
  • Transformation to become like Jesus. – 2 Corinthians 3:18
  • The promise of eternity with Him. ~ Revelation 21:1-7

So instead of approaching God with a “please”, let’s begin with a “thank you!”

Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations. ~ Psalm 100:4-5

With God, ‘thank you’ should always come before ‘please.’ The first thing out of my mouth in prayer and worship needs to be praise for who God is and what He has done.

As Steven Furtick puts it: “If you thank God for everything before you ask Him for anything, it makes you realize you deserve nothing.”

Look again at the model prayer in Matthew 6. Jesus teaches us to first address God and then offer up our request. This serves to remind us that life does NOT revolve around us but around God.

It’s impossible to be self-absorbed and God-conscious at the same time.

So whether its gathering with other believers in larger worship services or fellowshipping with God on your own…

… start with “thank you.”

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Filed under Gratitude, intimacy with the Lord, Praise, Prayer, Worship

Giving God what only you can give!

I remember waiting what seemed like an eternity to have kids. We had been trying for six years and the specialists gave us only a 5% chance of being able to have children. Yep, they were wrong!

And when Susan was pregnant with our second child I sincerely wondered how I could possibly love another one like I loved the first one. God mysteriously enlarges a parent’s heart!

Now with six of them I’m amazed at God’s grace and amused by how different six kids from one set of parents can be!

Different shapes, different sizes, different personalities, different likes and dislikes, different interests and different abilities.

One of the most enjoyable things about watching them grow up is how they come to express love in different ways. And when that love is directed towards me it is a unique and precious gift because they express it in ways that reflect the unique nature of my relationship with each of them.

The very same unique gift of love is what each of us can offer to God.

We bring God joy simply by responding to Him, by taking time with Him as His loved one, His fair one, to sit at His feet and let Him speak to us His words of love.

How easily we forget what an honored privilege it is to offer our personal worship to God. When you go before Him and worship Him, you give Him what no one else in the universe can give: your own personal love, your own personal adoration, your own personal response to Him. Joy comes when you respond to your heavenly Father with your unique personality, which He created—when you take to heart His Word and tell Him your feelings and your love.

God uniquely fashioned each one of us for Himself…. Each of us is individually precious to Him and will be for all eternity. Each of us can give Him the intimacy He longs for, the intense pleasure and satisfaction of our unique ways of relating to Him.
~ Excerpted from 31 Days of Drawing Near to God by Ruth Myers

 How will we respond to God today?

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If you have the time, leave a comment about how you most enjoy responding to God.

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Filed under Children of God, Family, intimacy with the Lord, Joy, Loving God, Worship

Called to a bigger adventure

We worship a Lord who is both fierce and beautiful—fierce in the way He hates injustice and sin and fights on our behalf; beautiful in who He is and the way He shows us grace, mercy, and love. As believers, we’re called to reflect Him and become fierce and beautiful as well. We were created to serve an eternal purpose—not to follow our mortal desires while wearing a crown of our making, but to follow the One who wears a crown of thorns. We were not made to live on the outskirts of a kingdom but to worship in awe at the throne of our King. We were not designed to be princesses of entitlement but warriors of encouragement, fighting to bring love and hope to the world.

Our calling is to let go of our crown of gems (our puny personal ambitions, desires, and agendas) in order to pursue our true destiny: His crown of thorns (the will of our King). By doing so, we discover the value, joy, and fulfillment He always intended for those who call Him Lord. Even now the King is beckoning. May He strengthen you in your endeavor to serve less of yourself…and more of Him.
~ Excerpted from Fierce Beauty by Kim Meeder

Do your life dreams revolve around your wants and desires or God’s? What do you imagine that God might accomplish through you if you gave yourself to fully participate in His bigger adventure?

Whatever it might be, God imagines doing even more!

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Filed under Christianity, God's Will, Grace, influence with the world, Justice, Kingdom of God, Love of God, Mercy, Sin, Worship

What it looks like to magnify God

Yesterday I blogged about the greatest Christmas song ever written – The Magnificat – and how Mary burst forth in praise when she met up with her relative Elizabeth.

“Oh, how my soul praises the Lord. How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior!” ~ Luke 1:46-47

We explored what it means when our soul praises and our spirit rejoices – a celebration that involves every fiber of our being. And I explained that the name The Magnificat comes from the Latin translation meaning “magnify my soul, magnify the Lord.”

We all know that to magnify something is to enlarge it, to make it more visible. But what exactly does it look like to magnify God? This much is for certain:

To magnify or glorify God is not just something we do with our lips or when we gather on Sunday mornings; it’s what we do with our whole life.

Dallas Willard gives what I think is the best definition of what it means to magnify or glorify God when he says:

“It means to live in such a way that when people look at your life, they say, ‘What a good God God must be to think up somebody like you.'”

When others look at us, does what they see magnify God and draw attention to Him; or do they see just another human being doing life like most of the world – focused on their own concerns and comfort?

John Ortberg tells the story of their church hosting a Christmas party for their leaders. They contacted a vendor, a business guy, to help them with the desserts. One staff person called this guy and said:

“I work at Menlo Park Presbyterian Church. We are going to have a party for our Elders and there’s a man at our church who recommended you to us. Can you help us with a dessert deal?”

And this vendor said, “You mean this guy goes to your church and he recommended me?”

The staff person said, “Yeah, do you know that guy?”

The vendor said, “Know him? I’ll tell you what. Not only do I know him. He is such a good guy. He has been so kind to me and the people that I work with that if you’re his church, I will provide my part of the dessert for free. You are not paying me anything. I will give the dessert away to a church that produces a person like that.”

How amazing is that?!

Lord, be magnified in me today and in Your church always!

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Filed under Christmas, Glory of God, influence with the world, involvement with the church, Praise, Worship

The greatest Christmas song ever!

The mere title of this blog made some of you grind your teeth because the unending stream of Christmas songs has become like the incessant drip… drip… drip of a leaky faucet.

But others of you are reading with curiosity to see if I’m right. In other words, to see if my opinion agrees with yours. Fasten your seatbelt because it probably won’t. But perhaps your opinion will change by the time I’m done.

Rest assured I did not consult any recent surveys or sales records or top ten lists. My pick for best Christmas song ever comes from a little Jewish girl probably no more than 14 or 15 years old and is recorded in chapter one of Luke’s Gospel.

Mary has been visited by an angel who announces that she has found favor with God and will bear a son who she is to name Jesus. The angel also mentions that her relative Elizabeth is already six months pregnant though she was barren – because nothing is impossible with God.

Upon arriving at Elizabeth’s home and hearing Elizabeth – “filled with the Holy Spirit” – proclaim what is about to happen to her – even though she had not heard it from Mary – Mary is so awestruck that she bursts forth in praise.

“Oh, how my soul praises the Lord. How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior!” ~ Luke 1:46b-47

It’s called the Magnificat because in Latin the first phrase means “magnify my soul, magnify the Lord.” We know what it means to magnify. To enlarge, to focus attention on, to make bigger. But what does it look like when a “soul praises” or a “spirit rejoices?”

This kind of thing happens when a wedding proposal is made or a new child is born, when we share special moments with loved ones or the doctor’s report is good news. Every fiber of our being is focused on celebrating what is happening in that moment.

If Christmas really is all about Jesus then surely the greatest Christmas song ever is the one that magnifies our Lord!

Does this kind of celebration – praise from the core of our being – describe how you worship God on a regular basis or how you are approaching this Christmas season?

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Filed under Christmas, Praise, Worship

A one-man band

Josh Wilson uses a loop pedal to play an instrumental version of Amazing Grace that is simply amazing!

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Filed under Grace, Inspiration, Music Video, Worship

Amazing Grace like you’ve never heard it!

I’m sure you’re familiar with this song but I’m guessing you’ve never heard it done like this before! This is Angela Sheik using just her voice and a loop pedal.

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Filed under Grace, Praise, Worship

Praise You in This Storm by Casting Crowns

Every day is a divine opportunity to praise God but Sunday tends to be the day we gather as communities of faith to offer up collective worship.

Sometimes praising God flows easily because life is basically going well for us. But at other times praise is much more challenging because of difficulties that seem to have us surrounded and feeling the weight of the world. Those difficult moments are when praise can be real and deep and truly meaningful.

To praise God even when circumstances are unbearably hard requires faith and courage and a relentless trust in God. This video is a few years old (2007) but delivers a powerful and timely message. Whether you’ve heard this song or not you’ll be blessed and challenged by the story that precedes it!

If this video does not load or play properly click here.

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Filed under Authenticity, Christianity, Courage, Faith, Inspiration, Praise, Suffering, Trusting God, Worship

Waiting Here for You

Yesterday I blogged about waiting on God. We do that primarily through prayer and praise. Here’s a video of Christy Nockels singing a great song entitled Waiting Here for You. May it encourage you as you wait on God!

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Filed under Divine presence, Praise, Surrender, Trusting God, Worship

Don’t give in to shallow praise!

A week ago last Friday our family car got totalled by a rogue deer. We were on our way home from the movie theatre at about 11:30 at night and traveling rather briskly on Highway 70 when a doe ran into the driver’s side of the car near the side mirror.

Being dark I never saw it coming except for a brief glimpse just in time to grip the steering wheel. Thankfully we were not pushed into the next lane which was occupied by a semi and none of us was hurt – except for the deer.

The car is mostly fixable but we’ve been using a rental for several days now. It’s a no-frills Chevy Aveo but it is new – less than 300 miles. Given that our newest vehicle is 14 years old, even this most basic of cars is a real treat.

One of the newer features that we are unaccustomed to is automatic headlights whenever you turn on the car. It’s suppose to make driving safer even during the daylight hours. Makes sense to me.

Last night I jumped in it around 11:00 pm to go pick the girls up from working at the Wayne County Fair and when I pulled out of the drive I moved the switch to bump my lights up to hi-beam… but nothing happened. When I glanced down at the dashboard I realized it was black because I hadn’t turned on the headlights. I hadn’t noticed because of the automatic ones that come on every time you start the car.

After only a few days of driving this new rental car I’d somehow forgotten to think of turning on the headlights. I wasn’t engaging in the basics of driving a car. If it can happen that easily with something as simple as headlights, imagine how fast it can happen when we offer our praise to God.

We go to church most weekends and engage in largely the same routine each time. We even sing familiar songs. How often do we mouth the words without engaging our heads or hearts in the process? Do you suppose that God is honored or pleased when we offer praise to Him out of habit?

Jesus offered a stern rebuke in Matthew 15:7-8 when He said:

“You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you: ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.'”

Whenever it is that you gather with a fellowship of Christ followers… don’t give in to shallow praise!

To read more about making our gatherings meaningful check out PointMan.

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Filed under Authenticity, Praise, Worship