Calls to Worship
2008-08-22 – “Creator Shepherd”
1 Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD;
let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.
2 Let us come before him with thanksgiving
and extol him with music and song.
3 For the LORD is the great God,
the great King above all gods.
4 In his hand are the depths of the earth,
and the mountain peaks belong to him.
5 The sea is his, for he made it,
and his hands formed the dry land.
6 Come, let us bow down in worship,
let us kneel before the LORD our Maker;
7 for he is our God
and we are the people of his pasture,
the flock under his care.
In this short series I’m going to share with you some of the passages I love reading as a call to worship on a Sunday morning.
These texts call us from the humdrum to worship, from 2D to 3D, and from Black & White to Full Colour.
They urge us to “awake my soul” and look beyond our selves and WORSHIP GOD. Please enjoy them with me!
Creation is one of the ways God speaks to us and it speaks in three important ways:
1.It is a reflection of God’s greatness and creativeness. (Paul reminds us that it is a dim or poor reflection – “Now we see but a poor reflection as in a (bronze) mirror” – God’s true glory is even greater!)
2.It is a reminder of His care: God actively sustains creation. More on this later…
3.It reminds us that we are really small – vital therapy when we become so self-absorbed.
-Who has not stood beside a roaring ocean and felt small?
-Who has not faced the mountain peaks and been put into perspective?
-Who has not stood at a canyon and realised their finity?
-Who has not gazed at the deserts and recognised their frailty?
But our Creator is also our shepherd. He takes us to green pastures, He walks through the valley of the shadow of death, He nourishes and sustains us. He numbers the hairs on our heads and writes our names on His Palms.
What should our response be? Verses 1-3 can be summarised in 1 word: Exhuberance! Look at the verbs: Sing! Shout! Come! Extol!
We are so reserved when it comes to praising God?
If we keep silent, the rocks will cry out!
2008-08-26 – “Non-stop Praise”
7 The first living creature was like a lion, the second was like an ox, the third had a face like a man, the fourth was like a flying eagle. 8 Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under his wings. Day and night they never stop saying:
“Holy, holy, holy
is the Lord God Almighty,
who was, and is, and is to come.” (Revelation4:7-8)
I love starting a worship service with this passage. When we commence our worship on a Sunday morning or evening, we are not breaking the silence but joining in a never-ending cycle of praise and adoration.
This is the first of four heavenly hymns in Revelation 4&5. They are expressions of wonder, love and praise bursting forth from creatures that know and recognise the beauty and majesty of God.
The four creatures represent creation (the four “corners” of the earth). They also represent the diversity of creation and they are covered in eyes as though to say that they who see God clearly are moved to constant worship.
Their anthem or poem makes three important points: (Note the 3×3 pattern)
1. God is thrice holy – three is the number of the Trinity – it is the number of perfection and completeness – it is God’s number. This God we worship is complete and whole – perfect and lacking nothing. And He is holy – He has no blemish – no fault. He is not like us – He is set apart from evil, frailty and brokenness. He is light in whom there is no darkness at all!
2. He is the Lord God Almighty (note the 3 fold description)
- “Lord” implies Master and Ruler
- “God” implies Creator and Sustainer
- “Almighty” speaks of Power and Presence.
It speaks of Father, Son and Holy Spirit – it speaks of Omniscience, Omnipresence and Omnipotence.
3. He is the God of the past, the present and the future. This is further highlighted by the fact that this passage is so similar to Isaiah 6. The God who has been faithful in the past watches over us in the present and holds the future in his hands.
Let’s join in the cycle of Praise!!!
2008-08-28 – “Creater Sustainer”
“You are worthy, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things,
and by your will they were created
and have their being.” (Revelation4:11)
The first song in Rev 4 was by the four living creatures. The next choir to sing is the choir of 24 elders. Most scholars are agreed that they 24 represent the 12 tribes of the Old Testament and the 12 Apostles of the New. Together they represent the believing community: those who are descendants of Abraham by faith. This is Israel and the Church.
These are the representatives of the “Church Victorious.” And what occupies their attention? What is their overall focus? What are they singing about?
It’s quite incredible really… They’re just amazed at God!
Look at the words they use:
They are convinced that He is great (Glory).
They are certain of His track-record. (Honour)
They have no doubt that He can save them! (Power)
Why are they able to offer such exuberant and confident praise?
1. Because God _wanted_ to create us (“by Your Will”)
2. and He made us with a plan (In Acts 17 Paul says we were made to reach out to Him and find Him.)
3. and He sustains us – we don’t even think about the fact that the world turns while we sleep and we don’t wonder about keeping the sun’s fires lit. We just are hopefully sure that the sun will be there tomorrow morning.
Creation and Providence are at the “base-camp” of Praise Mountain. There are soaring peaks to get to, but for now, let us get the focus right. Creation is a good key to good praise. It helps us “rightsize” our perception of God.
2008-08-29 – “Worthy”
9 And they sang a new song:
“You are worthy to take the scroll
and to open its seals,
because you were slain,
and with your blood you purchased men for God
from every tribe and language
and people and nation.
10 You have made them to be a kingdom
and priests to serve our God,
and they will reign on the earth. (Revelation5:9-10)
The overall theme of Revelation is that Christ is victorious and ultimately in control – even in times of persecution and violence. One of the central features of the vision John has is of a scroll which needs to be opened.
The scroll is symbolic to the opening of the uncertain future. (See * below) The question is: Who is worthy to open it?
Christ is worthy! And as He steps forward to do it, the 4 creatures and the 24 elders burst forth in song.
The song is about why He is worthy to hold and open the future:
1. Christ allowed Himself to be slain (and then He rose again)
2. He made a sacrifice and paid a ransom in His blood (Symbol of life)
3. He did it for every human being.
4. He transforms those He rescues for service and responsibility.
So here’s the picture: The future is a sealed scroll and in the hands of the Lamb. When we face an uncertain future we can trust Him! Why? Because He was slain. He is history’s greatest Victim and history’s greatest Victor. When tough times come our way it is nail-scarred hands that open our scroll and we can trust Him to ransom and transform us.
“Because He lives I can face tomorrow
Because He lives all fear is gone
Because I know, yes I know, He holds the future
And life is worth the living just because He lives.”
* Many people think that Revelation is only about _a_ future i.e. the couple of years before Christ returns (which would make Revelation meaningful only to those who live in that specific time-frame) It would be more accurate to say that Revelation is about _the_ future and specifically the cycles of history and particularly the times in history where the church is persecuted and Christians are victimised. That is why throughout the ages Revelation has been the favourite book of the persecuted church in communist regimes, in militant muslim countries and other historical times of persecution.
2008-09-02 – “Crescendo”
12 “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain,
to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength
and honor and glory and praise!”
13 Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, singing:
“To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb
be praise and honor and glory and power,
for ever and ever!”
14 The four living creatures said, “Amen,” and the elders fell down and worshiped.
I originally suggested that Rev4&5 had four songs – that is because I considered 5:13 to be part of the fourth song. A second consideration has led me to conclude differently !
If you look at the “singers” of the songs, then the song in v12 is sung by all the angels(v11). There are concentric circles around the throne: Inside are the four creatures, then the 24 elders, then the angels and finally all the creatures of the earth.
The fifth song is the joint chorus – all of the above are singing!
The fourth song is the song of the angels – they are amazed that their Lord would be willing to be the Slain Lamb. Their praise is sharpened by His act of grace. Look at the seven (indicates perfection) attributes they offer Him: Power, Wealth, Wisdom, Strength, Honour, Glory, Praise. These are things we as humans seek for ourselves (and often in the same order!) The angels offer it to Christ.
The Crescendo – the fifth song is directed to the Father and the Lamb-Son. The Father is depicted on the throne – He is in charge and in control. All of creation offer them four (remember four is the number of creation or universality) versions of worship: praise, honour, glory and power.
The picture we have is of complete praise and complete adoration. All of heaven and all of earth offer complete praise.
Shouldn’t we join them?
2008-09-03 – “Entering the gates”
7 Lift up your heads, O you gates;
be lifted up, you ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.
8 Who is this King of glory?
The LORD strong and mighty,
the LORD mighty in battle.
9 Lift up your heads, O you gates;
lift them up, you ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.
10 Who is he, this King of glory?
The LORD Almighty–
he is the King of glory.
I don’t use this psalm as a call to worship very often, but we often sing it! Robin Mark has put this one in song form and I really love it!
The first part of the Psalm is about going up the hill of the Lord (to Jerusalem) and lists the requirements: “He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to an idol or swear by what is false.”
The truth be told, I don’t always qualify…
I can’t enter the gates…
But there is someOne who can enter the gates.
I love the refrain and the Q&A that our text gives:
Refrain: Lift up your heads ancient gates. (Hope is renewed – change is in the air!) There is a King who will enter the gates and open them for everyone!
Question: Who is the King? (Is He able? Can He open the gates for everyone?)
Answer: The Lord strong and mighty in battle – the Lord Almighty.
The Lord is the King of Glory – He is great and holy.
He is mighty in battle – we know this – Jesus rose from the dead!
Maybe I’m strange – but I love the idea of the gates of the Holy City lifting their heads as Christ ascended victorious – His work done. I love the idea of the metaphorical gates of worship lifting their heads as we come into worship.
I love the fact that I can come to worship because the Lord is strong and mighty!
2008-09-04 – “Hardship Praise”
1 O God, you are my God,
earnestly I seek you;
my soul thirsts for you,
my body longs for you,
in a dry and weary land
where there is no water.
2 I have seen you in the sanctuary
and beheld your power and your glory.
3 Because your love is better than life,
my lips will glorify you. (Psalms63:1-3)
David wrote this psalm when his son Absalom rebelled and tried to grab power. David fled from Jerusalem into the desert regions. It was a time of intense crisis and soul-seeking.
David turns to God. This psalm is an expression of deep longing and hunger for God. One might argue that this is just another case of “there being no atheists in foxholes” – that everyone turns to God when there’s trouble – but the psalm doesn’t focus on the trouble, it centers on a longing for God.
David’s troubles have stripped away the distractions and the buzz of a busy, comfortable life and reminded him of the bottom-line-basics: Only God can sustain us.
When we have been betrayed by people close to us and when people we trust fail us, it causes us anguish that is beyond comparison. David addresses this pain by turning to God.
He could have been resentful: “What did I do to deserve this? Why me? How can You let me suffer like this Lord?” But David cuts past all of that. “Forget about the whys and wherefores – more than anything else I need God’s sustaining hand.”
David’s worship is expressed as longing. An encounter with human frailty and fickleness leads him to long for more solid ground: “God you _are_ my God – earnestly I seek You.”
This is hardship praise – it is sincere and real and it bubbles out of David because it was there all the time.
Have you been hurt and betrayed? Rip your eyes away from the person or event and turn to God. Once you begin talking to Him, you will discover that you have been _longing_ for Him and that His love _is_ better than life!
2008-09-05 – “Solid love”
35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written:
“For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans8:35-39)
I love these verses! Over the years they have come to mean more and more to me. But there was I time that I would read them and try to leave out v36 (the bit about sheep to be slaughtered) because I didn’t think that we needed to talk about such negative things when we talked about God’s love.
I’ve matured in my understanding of God’s love. My initial perspective on God’s love was that because He loved me, I would not experience trouble or hardship. I believed that God’s love was the guarantee of the absence of trouble.
It was a limited understanding of love.
The point of the passage is that Paul is writing to the church in Rome where the persecution of Christians would see them put before gladiators, sent out to face lions, or covered in pitch and set alight as “candles” in Nero’s garden.
In spite of these circumstances, they could rest secure in God’s love. The church grew and spread in spite of these circumstances and the incredible love of God so filled His children that people like Paul, considering his imminent martyrdom, could boldly say “for me to live is Christ and to die is gain.”
God’s love is tough enough to endure the toughest of circumstances. It will hold us together in the biggest storms and carry us through the darkest valleys.
There is no-thing that can separate us from God’s love:
- Not our mortality
- Not spiritual forces
- Not uncertainty
- Not complexity or overwhelming challenges
Because God’s love, revealed in Christ is enduring love and sustains us through suffering. We can trust Him!
2008-10-14 – “Satisfied”
25 Whom have I in heaven but you?
And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
26 My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever. (Psalms73:25-26)
This psalm documents the struggle of someone who is experiencing hardship (although he has tried to live righteously) and he is incensed that the wicked prosper and have no worries.
The first half of the psalm records his struggle: “It’s just not fair!!!”
Then, after the arguments and (self-righteous) indignation, comes the turning-point: he goes to worship in the sanctuary and there he gains two incredible insights:
Firstly comes the gift of perspective: Life is more than just the here and now. He realises that the wicked will ultimately answer for their evil, that the scales will be balanced and that righteousness will have been worth it.
Secondly he realises that he has the incredible privilege of a relationship with God. He can know God! He can pray to and praise the Almighty and Ever-living God of the Universe. He realises that even when his own heart and flesh fails, he is resourced and carried by an awesome God.
When we come to church we come as people for whom life is hard and we are battle-worn and struggle-weary. We have been hard done by, badly treated and cruelly taken for granted and yet there is the wonderful truth: We belong to God and when we seem Him clearly then the rest of life falls into perspective.
As the chorus puts it:
Turn your eyes upon Jesus
look full in His wonderful face
and the things of the earth will grow strangely dim
in the light of His glory and grace.
2008-10-15 – “Waited”
1 I waited patiently for the LORD;
he turned to me and heard my cry.
2 He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.
3 He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear
and put their trust in the LORD. (Psalms40:1-3)
This is a lovely psalm. It deals with God’s character and reveals His nature. In the psalm God is described as a rescuer, a song-giver, a provider, a too-many-to-adequately-declare wonder-worker, a God who who desires hearts more than sacrifices and a God who is a righteous deliverer. (But you will have to read the whole psalm to get all that… (see below))
The first three verses form an expression of praise that is based on what God has done. It is this past that enables the psalmist to trust Him again in the present and the future.
“I waited patiently…” David understood that God sometimes makes us wait. He doesn’t jump when we snap our fingers or tinkle a bell. He cultivates patience, long-suffering and trust in us as we learn to wait for Him. But the waiting is not interminable – He hears and He turns!
“He lifted me….” Our God is able to pull us up out of the messes we get ourselves into. He is also able to make our lives new and give us firm places to stand.
“He put a new song…” It is interesting that the parallel line is “Many will see and fear.” (Remember that Hebrew poetry works with parallel couplets where one line echoes or contrasts the other.) God does not only rescue us for our good and glory, he rescues us that we may praise Him and in doing so we reach others.
This is a nice declaration to begin public worship with!
For the director of music. Of David. A psalm.
PS 40:1 I waited patiently for the LORD;
he turned to me and heard my cry.
PS 40:2 He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.
PS 40:3 He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear
and put their trust in the LORD.
PS 40:4 Blessed is the man
who makes the LORD his trust,
who does not look to the proud,
to those who turn aside to false gods.
PS 40:5 Many, O LORD my God,
are the wonders you have done.
The things you planned for us
no one can recount to you;
were I to speak and tell of them,
they would be too many to declare.
PS 40:6 Sacrifice and offering you did not desire,
but my ears you have pierced;
burnt offerings and sin offerings
you did not require.
PS 40:7 Then I said, “Here I am, I have come–
it is written about me in the scroll.
PS 40:8 I desire to do your will, O my God;
your law is within my heart.”
PS 40:9 I proclaim righteousness in the great assembly;
I do not seal my lips,
as you know, O LORD.
PS 40:10 I do not hide your righteousness in my heart;
I speak of your faithfulness and salvation.
I do not conceal your love and your truth
from the great assembly.
PS 40:11 Do not withhold your mercy from me, O LORD;
may your love and your truth always protect me.
PS 40:12 For troubles without number surround me;
my sins have overtaken me, and I cannot see.
They are more than the hairs of my head,
and my heart fails within me.
PS 40:13 Be pleased, O LORD, to save me;
O LORD, come quickly to help me.
PS 40:14 May all who seek to take my life
be put to shame and confusion;
may all who desire my ruin
be turned back in disgrace.
PS 40:15 May those who say to me, “Aha! Aha!”
be appalled at their own shame.
PS 40:16 But may all who seek you
rejoice and be glad in you;
may those who love your salvation always say,
“The LORD be exalted!”
PS 40:17 Yet I am poor and needy;
may the Lord think of me.
You are my help and my deliverer;
O my God, do not delay.
2008-10-16 – “Mind-blowing”
16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may STRENGTHEN you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the saints, to GRASP how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to KNOW this love that surpasses knowledge–that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Short and sweet today:
God’s love for us is so awesome and incredible that we need His help (strengthening) so that we can grasp and know God’s love. His love for us is so incredible that we can’t get a grip on it – so He helps us!
Go into today and know that you are loved beyond your own human ability to grasp and know it and that you are SO LOVED that God sees our weakness and helps us in it! He helps us know His love.
2008-10-17 – “Thunderstorm”
1 Ascribe to the LORD, O mighty ones,
ascribe to the LORD glory and strength.
2 Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name;
worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness.
3 The voice of the LORD is over the waters;
the God of glory thunders,
the LORD thunders over the mighty waters.
4 The voice of the LORD is powerful;
the voice of the LORD is majestic.
5 The voice of the LORD breaks the cedars;
the LORD breaks in pieces the cedars of Lebanon.
6 He makes Lebanon skip like a calf,
Sirion like a young wild ox.
7 The voice of the LORD strikes
with flashes of lightning.
8 The voice of the LORD shakes the desert;
the LORD shakes the Desert of Kadesh.
9 The voice of the LORD twists the oaks
and strips the forests bare.
And in his temple all cry, “Glory!”
10 The LORD sits enthroned over the flood;
the LORD is enthroned as King forever.
11 The LORD gives strength to his people;
the LORD blesses his people with peace. (Psalms29:1-11)
This amazing Psalm is David’s description of a thunderstorm. The thunderstorm moves in from over the Mediterranean, moves East towards Lebanon, and comes South to Jerusalem. There are three parts to the Psalm:
1. A call to worship, awe, reverence and wonder. (Before any mention of the thunderstorm)
2. A description of the storm, with particular reference to God’s voice, the seas, the trees, and the desert.
3. The conclusions that are drawn from all of this.
Parts 2 and 3 need more explanation…
The power, majesty, and wonder of the thunderstorm are not worshipped but put in perspective: `That huge scary thunderstorm? The one that made you hide under your bed? Oh that’s just God’s voice!`
The Hebrews were scared of the sea – which is why they never became a great sea-faring nation. In the Old Testament the Cedars of Lebanon represented stability and strength. The Desert of Kadesh represented an unshakeable barrier. The storm thunders over the waters, splits the cedars, and shakes the desert. God is always greater and more powerful than the things we fear, than the false securities we put our trust in, and the barriers we think are uncrossable.
The last two lines are vital to understanding the whole psalm. The thunderstorm is a picture of God’s awe and majesty. It reminds us of the disciples in the boat, when even the fisherman in the group were afraid. The
last two lines remind us that Jesus is in the boat too… Just when we think that the God of the thunderstorm is scary and terrifying we realise that the God of the thunderstorm is the God of peace.
(This one repeated from a series on the Psalms in 2006….)
2008-10-21 – “From, through, to”
33 Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
How unsearchable his judgments,
and his paths beyond tracing out!
34 “Who has known the mind of the Lord?
Or who has been his counselor?”
35 “Who has ever given to God,
that God should repay him?”
36 For from him and through him and to him are all things.
To him be the glory forever! Amen. (Romans11:33-36)
Romans is Paul’s theological masterpiece. Many scholars agree that Paul wanted to do mission work in Spain and he wanted the church in Rome to sponsor and support his journey. Instead of sending them a CV, he sent them an overview of his theology.
This theological overview consists of the first 11 awesome chapters of his letter. He paints pictures of a world lost in sin, Jews and Gentiles alike saved by a Gracious Saviour and powerfully transformed by the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit and, when he gets to the end of this masterpiece, he bursts into poetry (or maybe even song!).
He uses the format of Hebrew poetry (parallel lines saying similar things in different ways) He has a heading, three parallel statements and a conclusion.
So, a quick analysis:
God’s wisdom and knowledge are richly deep
- We can’t even scratch the surface of ALL His ways
- We can’t give Him advice or even understand Him fully
- We can’t give Him anything – He owes us nothing
He is the Source, Sustenance and Destination of everything and so He deserves eternal praise (and we won’t get tired of doing it!)
I love starting a worship service like this!!!!
2008-10-22 – “Daily Office”
1 O God, you are my God,
earnestly I seek you;
my soul thirsts for you,
my body longs for you,
in a dry and weary land
where there is no water.
2 I have seen you in the sanctuary
and beheld your power and your glory.
3 Because your love is better than life,
my lips will glorify you.
4 I will praise you as long as I live,
and in your name I will lift up my hands. (Psalms63:1-4)
This psalm is ascribed to David and probably comes out of one of the darkest times in his life – when his son Absalom tried to take the kingdom from him, forcing David to flee from Jerusalem to the desert of Judah.
There are three phases to this call to worship that I love:
* “my soul thirsts”: The truth is that all who come to worship are thirsty. David’s trouble has made him more aware of his thirst. The scary thing is that comfort, complacency and complexity mask our thirst and we don’t realise how much we need God. David has become aware again of his need for God. When we read this psalm at the beginning of worship, we affirm a basic truth: We _really_ _need_ God!
* “I have seen You in the sanctuary”: Coming to worship is not a hit and miss business. We can look back on years and centuries of God meeting His people when they come to worship. Most especially we draw on the holy moments when we have been moved and touched by a God who is holy, holy, holy and yet “transformingly” intimate.
* “Your love is better than life…”: Life is a fickle thing – it has its ups and downs and unpredictabilities… and we cling to it so!?! David is able to transcend the vagaries of life and rest his feet on more solid ground – God’s love.
So we come to worship saying: “Lord I recognise my thirst, I know You to be a personal God, and I know your love is better than life and so I open my heart (do a “hands-up” in surrender) to You.”
The NIV Study Bible notes that “This psalm was prescribed for daily public prayers of the early church.”
Why am I not surprised???
2008-10-23 – “Eagle’s wings”
28 Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
29 He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint. (Isaiah40:28-31)
These words of Isaiah come to Israel at a bad time. They’re by the rivers of Babylon in exile. Their temple is destroyed, their enemies are jubilant, their hope is crushed and the future looks bleak. This has caused a serious faith-crisis and the people are pretty cynical. Look at v27 (the one just before our reading)
Why do you say, O Jacob,
and complain, O Israel,
“My way is hidden from the LORD;
my cause is disregarded by my God”?
Isaiah concludes this most beautiful chapter with an incredible affirmation of hope:
1. Our faith is not in our circumstances, but God’s nature. He is the inexhaustible and omnipotent Creator and Sustainer God.
2. His ways are beyond fathoming. We will not always understand the whys and wherefores of our troubles, but He sees more clearly than we do.
3.God is inclined toward the tired, the weak, and those who stumble.
4. He gives strength – this means that we still push through our problems – He doesn’t always make the problem disappear…
5. The images of v31 are poetic images that speak of perspective, perseverance and power.
Sometimes we come to worship feeling like v27: disregarded and off God’s radar. The truth is that He is awesome and able (that’s what 40:1-26) are about. He is the inexhaustible and omnipotent Creator and Sustainer God who gives us perspective, perseverance and power.
And we can and must put our hope in Him!
2008-10-24 – “Though the waters roar…”
1 God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
3 though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.
Some people throw their hands in the air whenever trouble comes their way and complain “Where is God!???” Unfortunately their theology is too shallow: their picture of God is that His job in life is to make our lives easy and keep trouble at bay.
Not the Psalmist! He has experienced trouble: Foundation-shaking, mountain-sinking and wave-swamping trouble. He has experienced the dark night of the soul, the panic of nations in uproar and the horrors of war and yet he is completely convinced that God will see him through.
This trouble has not overwhelmed him. His faith is in God. His strength comes from above. If we read the whole psalm we find the psalmist recognising the following Divine Attributes:
- God is a Refuge and Fortress: When the storms rage, we can find peace.
- God is our Strength: We don’t have to face the troubles on our own.
- God has a plan and a promise: In the Psalm this is Jerusalem, maybe in our context it is the Church.
- God is at work, He will ultimately judge and balance the scales. He will ultimately be glorified.
But how can we know and experience this? The psalm gives us a clue in verse 10: “Be Still and Know that I am God.”
The trouble with trouble is that it troubles us! Experiencing God as our Refuge and Fortress takes courageous trust on our parts. We cannot allow our circumstances to dominate our thoughts and faith. We must quieten our hearts, put things in perspective and remember God.
2008-10-28 – “Forget NOT His benefits…”
1 Praise the LORD, O my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
2 Praise the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits–
3 who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
4 who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
5 who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
6 The LORD works righteousness
and justice for all the oppressed.
7 He made known his ways to Moses,
his deeds to the people of Israel:
8 The LORD is compassionate and gracious,
slow to anger, abounding in love.
9 He will not always accuse,
nor will he harbor his anger forever;
10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve
or repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
13 As a father has compassion on his children,
so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him;
(Long call – short comment)
The glory of creation, the majesty of the heavens, the beauty of the earth are all signposts toward a great and awesome God, but in Psalm 103 the Psalmist grasps an incredible truth:
Though we are fallen and broken God loves us.
Though we have sinned again and again God forgives us.
Though our track record is repeated failure, God removes our sin.
Though we rush into iniquity, He is slow to anger.
Though we stumble into the pit regularly, He gives us good things.
Though we are jaded by our mileage in brokenness, He renews our youth.
Though we specialise at oppression, He works justice on our behalf.
This is incredible, unfathomable Love: intimidating in its magnitude and incredible in its forbearance and it should fill us with awe and reverence.
2008-10-30 – “Outcome-based”
8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the LORD.
9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
10 As the rain and the snow
come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
12 You will go out in joy
and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and hills
will burst into song before you,
and all the trees of the field
will clap their hands. (Isaiah55:8-12)
Outcomes based education is the current trend.
This call to worship sets a clear outcome too…
We come to worship a God who is way more awesome than we can think or imagine: His ways and thoughts are beyond us and unfathomable.
Yet, He meets us in worship and nourishes us with His Word. His Word will guide us, challenge us, rebuke us, and nourish us. We will be transformed as we encounter His Word…
And we will go out with joy! Holy, awesome, creation-echoed joy!
Imagine starting worship with such an expectation!!!
2008-10-31 – “Comfort”
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. 5 For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. (2Corinthians1:3-5)
We would prefer a life without trouble. A life without trouble would mean that we never need to be comforted. God chooses another way: He gives us freedom and when our freedom causes pain to ourselves or others He COMFORTS.
What is God’s Comfort like?
1. It comes from a Father whose Son suffered on the cross. Sometimes it’s harder to watch someone you love suffer than to suffer yourself. God understands pain and suffering through a suffering we cannot imagine – the Cross.
2. It comes from a God who is the source of all compassion. Whenever we see true compassion in the world, it is just a fingerprint or echo of God’s abiding and pervading compassion.
3. It is comfort that can survive trouble – it doesn’t come in our easy times, it comes in our hard times.
4. It is comfort that is so effective that not only will we be comforted, but we will be able to comfort others.
5. Whatever we go through, Christ encapsulated it on the cross. It is not trite when we say “Christ knows what we are going through.” He experienced the depth and intensity of our pain on Calvary. Our comfort is that we are _not_ alone.
Is your heart broken? Are you in the grip of great sadness? Are you weighed down by the suffering you see around you? We are not alone, abandoned or misunderstood. Praise be to our Comforting God!
2008-11-04 – “Raising the bar”
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For by him all things were created: things in heaven and
on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. (Colossians1:15-17)
More often than not, our picture of God is too small.
We limit our picture of Jesus to manger, dusty Jerusalem and basin and towel.
Paul sets our sights higher:
Christ is fully God,
He is the Chief Architect of Creation,
He is the timeless Source and Destination of all creation.
And then, to top it all, He holds all creation together.
This IS more than “Gentle Jesus meek and mild!!!!”
2008-11-05 – “Mind-blowing Faith”
16 Without question, this is the great mystery of our faith:
Christ appeared in the flesh
and was shown righteous by the Spirit
He was seen by angels
and was announced to the nations
He was believed on in the world
and was taken up into heaven. (NLT) (1Timothy3:16)
Our faith is simple enough for a child to grasp and yet has a depth that takes our breath away.
Paul, now on “death-row” (awaiting martyrdom in Rome) writes to Timothy, his young protege’ about the “great mystery of our faith.”
Paul has preached the gospel for years and still can’t get over the incredible wonders of the faith:
1. That Christ would become one of us. As our God and Creator, He didn’t have to, but He embraced our frailty and createdness.
2. That He managed to be fully human and yet fully God: shown 100% righteous by the Spirit’s working in Him. This may also be a reference to the resurrection – i.e. in Ephesians Paul attributes resurrection power to the Holy Spirit.
3. That the angels worshipped at the manger, ministered to Him in the wilderness and at Gethsemane and stood watch at the tomb. It gives further validity to His deity.
4. That He was announced in the nations (by the Bethlehem star and later by the Apostles) and believed on in the world (that the Gospel should spread the way it did.)
5. That Christ took our humanity up into heaven – incredible love. Our humanity has been completely redeemed.
It is interesting that Paul makes no reference to the cross here. I don’t think he considered the cross and resurrection unimportant. I think he would say “Ah, that is just the next chapter in this great book of praise!”
2008-11-06 – “Mighty to Save”
17 The LORD your God is with you,
he is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you,
he will quiet you with his love,
he will rejoice over you with singing.” (Zepheniah3:17)
Zepheniah was a contemporary of Jeremiah. To best understand their ministries, think of Sir Winston Churchill warning England of the growing danger in Hitler’s Germany and nobody wanted to listen.
While Zepheniah does paint a landscape of doom and judgement, there is a glimmer of hope and it lies, not in Israel’s innate goodness that will eventually prevail, but rather in Israel’s God.
This beautiful verse paints an incredible picture of our God: He _is_ holy and righteous, but He also longs for us to know His love. The picture painted is of a proud Dad who picks up a troubled infant with gentleness and rocks it to sleep while singing a low rumbling song of love.
Trouble may come…. but
- He _is_ with us (in our midst)
- He _is_ mighty to save
- He delights in us: quietening us with His love and singing over us.
2008-11-07 – “Sure-footed”
17 Though the fig tree does not bud
and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls,
18 yet I will rejoice in the LORD,
I will be joyful in God my Saviour.
19 The Sovereign LORD is my strength;
he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
he enables me to go on the heights. (Habbakuk3:17-19)
Habakkuk is another contemporary of Jeremiah. His work as a prophet was to write up a dialogue between himself (representing the Godly remnant in Israel) and God. The dialogue is about the reality of suffering and the presence of God in the midst of suffering.
While there is not room here to explore the argument fully, we can look at the last three verses which conclude the book.
The reality is that life is not always easy – sometimes the fig-tree does not bud and crops fail. We are not always prosperous and suffering and loss find their ways into our lives.
The presence of trouble is not a show-stopper for faith. Faith can survive trouble. Not because faith is strong in itself, but because our faith is in God and God is by nature a Saviour.
Habakkuk was confident that Israel would be saved from exile. He was hopeful that the exile was not the end of the line. He knew that it is God’s nature to save.
But Habakkuk also believed that when we have to make the perilous mountain-crossings over trouble and hardship, we can trust God to give us strength and sure-footedness.
I like this as a call to worship because on any given Sunday there are people in the congregation who have experienced the crop-failures and stable-emptiness of sadness and pain. These verses acknowledge that reality but point toward a saving and strengthening God.
To His name be the praise and glory!
2008-11-12 – “Too big for my boots?”
5 My ears had heard of you
but now my eyes have seen you.
6 Therefore I despise myself
and repent in dust and ashes.” (Job42:5-6)
I can’t use this as a call to worship too often because it requires a fair bit of explanation: The book of Job is all about the fact that bad things _do_ happen to good people and God does not always reveal all the why’s and wherefore’s.
Job is a devout and righteous man. When trouble comes, he handles it well initially, but as the reality of his pain festers in his soul and as those around him insist that he must have done _something_ to deserve it, Job becomes indignant and demands that he has his “day in court” with God.
God’s response is incredible: He takes Job on a “tour” of the His Divine Splendour and the fingerprints of this in creation: sunrises to sunsets, all creatures great and small, the wonder of the act of creation, and much more (Chapters 38-42 are breath-taking reading!)
It’s a fierce “tour.” God is revealing His holy omnipotence:
“Brace yourself like a man;
I will question you, and you shall answer me.
8 “Would you discredit my justice?
Would you condemn me to justify yourself?
9 Do you have an arm like God’s,
and can your voice thunder like his? (40:7-9)”
But the fierceness is not only in the intensity of greatness, but also in the love revealed by this Holy God who would take the trouble to reveal Himself like this to Job.
Our devotion verses sum up Job’s response: “I thought I knew You and I thought You were a ‘tame’ God. Now I realise that my picture of You was far too small and I bow my (once irate and arrogant) knees to worship You.”
2008-11-13 – “Unexpected Righteousness”
I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. 17 For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.” (Romans1:16-17)
A worship-leader/musician I knew would often start a time of Praise and Worship by saying: “Okay you Saved Sinners, let’s praise our God!”
Paul is a master at coming up with unexpected insights: He says that the Gospel reveals God’s Righteousness.
When we think of Righteousness, we tend to think of crimes being punished, not sins being forgiven. Righteousness means holy, perfect and sinless.
The Gospel (means “Good News”) is about being saved. It is about receiving mercy. It’s about not being righteous and yet receiving the benefits of righteousness.
Gospel and Righteousness are not normally compatible, and one would think that the only way to make it so would be a compromise where either Righteousness is watered down or Gospel benefits are limited.
But God manages to bring Gospel and Righteousness together. This is because He brings His Righteous Son to the sacrifice-atonement of the cross to deal with our Unrighteousness. We are given His Righteousness.
Now Gospel and Righteousness are compatible!
We begin each service of worship as “Saved Sinners.”
We come to worship a God who gave His very best so that we can be delivered from our very worst!
And so like Paul, we are not ashamed – we are “Saved Sinners” with a Gospel-given Righteousness.
2008-11-14 – “Near”
26 From one man he made every nation, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. 27 God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. For in Him we live and move and have our being. (Acts17:26-28)
I love this verse – it reveals the very heart of God.
We are created to know Him and experience His greatness.
All of Creation – roses, lilies, mountains, oceans, suns, moons, nebulas, and dna – is geared to glorify the Creator and point toward Him.
All of Providence – the way history works, my history and my genes and how things fall together (in spite of the blight of sin) – is geared towards me coming to a place of knowing God.
God longs for us to seek Him and find Him.
And here’s the incredible truth: He is not far off
– through His Omniscience and Omnipresence He is aware of all
– through Christ’s incarnation He has identified with our humanity
– through the outpouring of His Spirit He is closer than a heartbeat
Eugene Peterson translates these verses as follows:
“Starting from scratch, he made the entire human race and made the earth hospitable, with plenty of time and space for living so we could seek after God, and not just grope around in the dark but actually find him. He doesn’t play hide-and-seek with us. He’s not remote, he’s near. We live and move in him, can’t get away from him!”
This is our God!
2008-11-19 – “Allies”
And Elisha prayed, “O LORD, open his eyes so he may see.” Then the LORD opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. (2Kings6:17)
I love this Old Testament account of the Prophet Elisha. The Arameans were conducting regular raids into Israel but were being frustrated because God would tell Elisha where they were going to attack and then Elisha would warn the king who would have his troops ready wherever the Arameans where trying to sneak in.
The Aramean King heard that Elisha was Israel’s secret weapon and sent his troops to arrest him. (Like Elisha wouldn’t know they were coming!!!)
The Arameans surrounded Elisha’s home in the early hours. When Elisha’s “butler” went outside, he saw the Aramean army and he was terrified. But Elisha prayed that the servant could see beyond the physical boundaries of his sight – that he could see more than the present circumstances. The Lord opened the servants eyes to the spiritual reality of His powerful presence.
The story goes on to explain how Elisha asks God to blind the Arameans, and after they are blinded Elisha leads them into the middle of the city where they are surrounded by Israelite troops with “itchy trigger-fingers.” But Elisha has other plans – he convinces the Israelites to show hospitality. And the Aramean troops get their sight back for a feast instead of a fight.
They go home and don’t hassle the Israelites again!
As a call to worship this verse does two things:
- It reminds us that “if God is for us – who can be against us.” Although we look like “meek and mild” churchgoers, we are surrounded by fiery troops!
- It reminds us that we are called to do things differently – we combat injustice with kindness, we are here to learn the ways of an “alternative” kingdom where we feast instead of fight.
2008-11-20 – “Signpost”
3 When I look up at the heavens, which your fingers made, and see the moon and the stars, which you set in place, 4 I think, Of what importance is the human race, that you should notice them? Of what importance is mankind, that you should pay attention to them? (Psalms8:3-4)
Many congregations that use data-projectors for their songs are putting beautiful photos of sunsets, waterfalls and mountains as the backdrops for the song-lyrics. I believe that one of the reasons that stress levels are higher in the cities is that we do not have enough contact with the splendour of creation.
David takes time to absorb and be gripped by the awesome beauty of creation. It washes over him and fills him with awe and praise. He examines the heavens, reflects on the diversity of flocks, herds, beasts, fish, and birds, and he realises his smallness in comparison to all that he sees.
He also realises that all of creation brings forth praise and that praise is a powerful weapon. Even the praise of an infant is enough to silence the enemy and the avenger. An attitude of gratitude and a spirit of praise can powerfully transform life. His song-meditation begins and ends with the conclusion that all that he sees brings only one conclusion: God is awesome and majestic.
We don’t worship creation, but it is a powerful signpost. It orientates us and simplifies us. It humbles us and restores a sense of wonder. Just when I think I have God all sewn up in my neat theological concepts and principles, I get profoundly shaken up by a thunderstorm, a sunset, or a mountain-pass and I realise that He is God and I am not…
When next you come to church and find it difficult to adopt an attitude of praise and worship, sit down and imagine yourself to be standing and looking at your favourite scenic spot. I have a couple: The thundering waves crashing over the rocks, the view from our upstairs window of the storm thundering, and the breakneck speed of the mountain pass on my bicycle. It brings an irrepressible “How Great Thou art” to my heart and lips.
(By the way, the whole psalm is worth reading)
2008-11-21 – “Drop the heaviness”
16 Don’t be deceived my dear brothers. 17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the Heavenly Lights who does not change like shifting shadows. (James1:16-17)
Sometimes we come into church with the weight of the world on our shoulders. I’m not talking about the times when we are really going through times of pain, grief, or loss, but rather about the times when we carry the cynicism and negativity of society and the media too close to our hearts.
So James warns us: Don’t be deceived! Don’t be sucked into cycnicism and negativity. There is a lot of good and beauty in life and it is not accidental! It is not random or circumstantial – it comes from an unchangingly gracious and good God!
The heavenly lights – sun, moon, and stars – are amongst the few certainties in life! They represent stability and rhythm. God is the Father of these comforting symbols. It is _He_ who gave the sun its warmth, the moon its beauty, and the stars their comforting quantity and sparkle.
Greek Philosophers said that life on earth was a flickering shadow on a cave wall where a small fire was burning. God is not a shadow, He is not even a small flickering fire! He is the Father of the heavenly lights and He does not change like the fire and the shadows!
So don’t be deceived! In the midst of the struggles of life there is the distinct presence of that which is beautiful and precious. This is not accidental but deliberate fingerprints of a good God who wants to make us and life beautiful.
The deception is to stop really living – verse 17 urges us to embrace the good gifts of life and worship the Giver!
2008-11-25 – “Sunrise”
22 Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning;
great is Your faithfulness.
24 I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him.” (Lamentations3:22-24)
The book of Lamentations, written by Jeremiah in aftermath of the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians, is a gut-wrenching exploration of pain. It consists of 5 poems that have been composed with each stanza starting with successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet.
The poem explores the terribly sad circumstances as thoroughly as possible. It is as though Jeremiah needed to document the horror of what had happened. It is in the middle poem, where the stanzas are longer that we find the bottom line: God’s love cannot be defeated by pain.
There is no denying the reality of the pain. The thorough “documentation” of this pain in Lamentation in no way tries to belittle the extent of the pain and loss, but Jeremiah discovers that pain does not have the last say.
God’s love is stronger than pain – our problems don’t disappear, but we are carried through our loss and sustained in our struggle, we are sustained in our journey even if we can’t see the end of the shadowy valley.
The powerful image he connects to is that of a new morning. Sometimes the new morning comes with a stunning sunrise, sometimes it comes in a fairly bland way, other times we can’t even see it behind the mist and the rain – but it comes!
In the midst of our pain and loss, let us wait for the Lord!
2008-11-26 – “Talking to our souls…”
1 Praise the LORD, O my soul.
O LORD my God, you are very great;
you are clothed with splendour and majesty.
2 He wraps himself in light as with a garment;
he stretches out the heavens like a tent
3 and lays the beams of his upper chambers on their waters.
He makes the clouds his chariot
and rides on the wings of the wind.
27 These all look to you to give them their food at the proper time.
28 When you give it to them, they gather it up;
when you open your hand, they are satisfied with good things.
29 When you hide your face, they are terrified;
when you take away their breath, they die and return to the dust.
30 When you send your Spirit, they are created,
and you renew the face of the earth. (Psalms104:1-3)
Fernando Ortega is a singer who I enjoy a lot. When I read this psalm it makes me think of the song he wrote that is based on the words of this beautiful psalm of praise.
The Psalm is a thorough exploration of the majesty of God revealed in creation, but it also conveys God’s active enjoyment of the world He has made and His ongoing sustenance of creation.
There are powerful thoughts:
- He sustains creation
- Creation is terrified when God hides His face (we really _need_ Him!)
- He still has the final authority on life (breath and dust)
- The Spirit is the agent of creation.
I’m not able to adequately express the beauty of the poetry and imagery here – I can only hope to draw attention to the fact that creation has its complete existence in His benevolent providence, and, while creation recognises this and rejoices, we human beings are a bit slow to recognise Him.
Maybe it’s time to have a little conversation with our souls:
(See the last verse of the psalm:
“Praise the LORD, O my soul.
Praise the LORD.”
2008-11-27 – “Overcome”
4 You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. (1John4:4)
The Christian Life is often portrayed as a battle. The choice to follow Christ is one that has us swimming upstream against society and against the basic desires of our sinful nature.
John wrote to a church that experienced resistance in the form of false teaching. The false teachers were punting philosophies that were tempting many away from true faith.
It can be daunting and discouraging on the journey of faith. Often resistance and persecution can intimidate us and cause us to waver on the journey of faith.
Jesus regularly reminded the disciples that the Kingdom was “in” them. The world on the “outside” where we buy our bread and do our jobs is _another_ kingdom. Christ’s kingdom starts in us and must be lived outward.
When the pressures and agendas of the other kingdom squeeze us, we should take note: There is One _IN_ us who greater than the temptations, persecutions and pressures of the world on our doorsteps.
In the light of terrorist attacks, economic pressures and resistance to our work for Christ we should turn inward to the Holy Spirit who will give us the strength to persevere and overcome.
The strength we draw on is not the strength of political power or economic muscle – it is the power of Christ to transform our lives and our hearts so that we can be overcomers.
2008-12-03 – “Known”
1 O LORD, you have searched me and you know me. (Psalms139:1)
To most people this is an intimidating call to worship.
There is a story (I can’t remember all the details, but here’s the gist of it…) of a well-known English Nobleman who, as a prank, had anonymous letters delivered to ten of his nobleman friends. The letters consisted of one sentence: “Alas! All is revealed.”
Within a day nine out of the ten friends had left the country!
While our own secrets may not be as bad as all that, it is quite something to think about coming to worship a God who knows it all: Our unkind thoughts, our schemes, our dark desires, our pride, greed and fake fronts…
The psalmist reminds us that God really does know us completely: our words and thoughts, our comings and goings, and our motives and masks.
But this is not the end of the story! The rest of the Psalm reminds us that God pursues us, that He created us with utmost love, and that He wants to shine His light into us and lead us in the way everlasting.
When we come to God we don’t have to posture or pretend: He is willing to go to the depths to rescue us (Jesus came from heaven to earth and the cross to save us!) He takes us “voetstoots” (as is) but doesn’t plan to leave us this way – He wants to shine His light into us!
This is the God we worship!
2008-12-05 – “Final Word”
1 In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. (Hebrews1:1-2)
During Advent and Christmas we recall this incredible truth: The Word became flesh. The writer of the letter to the Hebrews puts it very nicely – “In these last days God has spoken by His Son.”
Jesus is God’s ultimate message to us. He is not just a messenger, He is the message.
The incarnation of Christ is the complete and ultimate Word from God. There is nothing that speaks more eloquently of the Father’s love. He came. He died. He rose and took our humanity up in ascension and He will return.
Not a distant God, not an aloof God, not an unknowing God, but God-with-us!! This is what we believe and this is why we worship!!
It is my prayer that this holiday period will be a time of rest and recreation, but my deepest prayer is that it will be a time of worship!
May we hear what God has said through the costly and sacrificial Word of Word-made-flesh and may we bow our hearts and knees as we sing of a Holy Night and a Bethlehem manger and Shepherds and Wise Men and may we find ourselves among them bringing the gifts of ourselves in His service.
This brings us to the end of the “Calls to worship” series and to the end of the edevs for the year. I am sorry that they have been a bit sporadic over the last few weeks. I will resume in the new year once the schools start. Have a blessed Christ-mass!
With much love!