Tag Archives: Praise

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

The best of 2011 and a “Thank You”

There goes another year! Mom was right, “the older you get the faster time flies.” As my second year of blogging wraps up I’m grateful for everyone who has shared the journey and humbled that my audience has nearly tripled.

The adventure of blogging is still a bit strange and mysterious to me. For example, of the Top Ten blogs from 2011, listed below, the number one blog is actually from last year! Go figure! Anyway, here they are in case you missed them the first time around.

1. My issue with Christmas cards – click here

2. Hannah’s socks – click here

3. Neighbors sign peace deal to end feud – click here

4. Friday Funny! 😉 – click here

5. What does your billboard say? – click here

6. Don’t give in to shallow praise! – click here

7. Black Friday advice from Maxine – click here

8. The Real Jesus – click here

9. Uniquely You – click here

10. Why is it called “Good Friday?” – click here

Thanks for sharing the journey and Happy New Year!

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Filed under Best of, Blogging, Christmas, Good Friday, Gratitude, Humor, Jesus, Just for fun, Loving others, Peace, Praise, Serving

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

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

Don’t play church at church!

The Lego Church

Time to build: 18 months
Number of pieces: 75,000 plus
Size of the model: 7 feet by 5 1/2 feet by 30 inches
Number of Lego people it seats: 1,372
Number of windows: 3,976

It features a balcony, a lobby, stairs to the balcony, restrooms, coat rooms, several mosaics, a baptistery, an altar, a crucifix, a pulpit and an elaborate pipe organ.

This Lego model is truly amazing and provides the opportunity to play church. But let’s not make the mistake of playing church when we gather with our church family. May our praise, prayer, fellowship and teaching from God’s Word be sincere and authentic!

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Filed under Authenticity, involvement with the church, Praise, Prayer

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

It’s all about Him!

For a couple of year now I’ve needed to use reading glasses – one of the downsides of aging eyes. While it can at times be annoying – like not having them with me at a restaurant – it usually doesn’t present any real problems.

But last Sunday as I was leading worship at church and using my glasses to be able to read the words I had a problem. While I could clearly see the words I could not see the faces of the people gathered with me.

I like to be able to see people’s faces during our worship time but it does present a challenge of sorts. When other folks are really into it and expressing their delight on their faces it lifts my spirit; but the opposite effect happens with those who have a zombie-like appearance.

Since I couldn’t see people’s faces well enough to tell if they were into it or not the only thing I could do was focus on God… and that’s exactly what God wants each of us to do anyway – because it’s all about Him!

When you gather today or the next time enjoy those that God has brought into your church family; but…

give your best attention to God.

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Filed under Loving God, Praise, Worship

God uses ordinary people!

In case you haven’t heard, the NFL is facing a possible players strike. I won’t get into the details because quite frankly I’m neither aware nor interested in them. But it does bring to mind the players strike of 1987 when scabs played the first six games of the year.

These guys were not the 2nd or 3rd string players. They were the guys who got cut from the roster or never even got invited to try out. They certainly gave it their all, but… let’s just say it wasn’t pretty!

Their stats were abysmal. The few NFL players that crossed the picket lines certainly stood out playing against these guys. In a way they sort of remind me of Jesus’ 12 disciples turned Apostles. Consider just a few of the Apostle’s stats:

  • They were available to follow Jesus ONLY because they were not considered good enough by any other rabbi’s!
  • They were constantly bickering about which of them was the greatest!
  • When Jesus needed them the most – while praying in the garden – they fell asleep
  • When Jesus was arrested – they ran like scared rabbits!
  • After Jesus’ resurrection – they were hiding from the Jewish leaders because they were afraid!

Let’s be honest. Had these guys been contestants on the TV show The Apprentice they would have all heard the Donald say – “You’re fired!” But not Jesus! Jesus turns them loose to take the world by storm and spread the word about God’s grace and truth!

Read the book of Acts for yourself. There is nothing extraordinary or special about any of the people God uses. In fact, when Peter and John were brought before the Sanhedrin – the Jewish religious leaders – this is what was said of them:

When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. ~ Acts 4:13

“…unschooled, ordinary men…” I don’t know who all is reading this blog but chances are you’re no more special than Peter or John. Neither am I. But that’s OK because God uses ordinary people empowered by the Holy Spirit when they choose to abide in His presence through praise and prayer!

Are you willing to be used by God today?

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Filed under Divine presence, Encouragement, Evangelism, Holy Spirit, influence with the world, Jesus, Praise, Prayer