It’s been far too long since I posted one of these. Not that anyone reads blogs anymore in general. Maybe I should just type everything in facebook notes…meh, writing out my thoughts here saves paper, at least.
It’s amazing how quickly one can lose sight of their goals if no action is taken toward making them a reality. It’s so easy to get sidetracked, distrac-“SQUIRREL!!”-ted, and otherwise apathetic (Couldn’t think of another “track” word. Whatever.). These are common, natural dangers, but they are the worst progress-killers ever, and if we hope to honor the Lord and better ourselves and those around us, they have no place in our lives.
This past weekend at Acquire the Fire was AWESOME! Aside from a few…interesting situations which branched off from me driving one of the vans and not knowing the area around the center AT ALL, that is. God really rocked the house (as He always does), and His presence was so tangible, I could almost physically feel His embrace. It was such an enriching, freeing experience to just be able to sit back and worship without having to worry about hitting the right notes on a guitar or the right harmonies in the mic. Many experienced love, refreshment, deliverance, and healing. Some met Dad for the first time. In my case, it re-centered my focus and carried over into the church service on Sunday. I even picked up some great new songs to use in my own personal worship and in my leadership at church. I made a few commitments. I abandoned a few skeletons. I finally turned away from my vomit for one brief and shining moment.
Come Monday, however, I was already back into a few of the things I swore to leave behind. Call it addiction, call it unfaithfulness, call it what you will, but the reality is I need to just lay them down once and for all. They’re just not worth pursuing, but they are “comfortable” (until the guilt sets in). They are “familiar.” And I’m sick of it. I’m sick of crumbling at the first hint of temptation; I’m sick of allowing my life to be ruled by these petty gods. I’m wholly disgusted with the unholy desires of my heart. I’m totally dissatisfied with my poor self-image, paltry commitments, and pitiable disposition toward sin.
I need more. I CRAVE more. More of the Word. More ministry. More time spent worshiping. More of GOD. So many people are content to allow Him to clean up their mess like a butler, then to ignore Him like He doesn’t exist when things are going well. So many treat the Author and Sustainer of the UNIVERSE like some kind of cosmic Genie who is bound to granting us every selfish impulse of our hearts. I’m tired of being one of those people. I’m tired of grieving the Spirit. I’m tired of living for temporary things. I need an eternal mindset.
God, far be it from me that I should push You to the back burner!! I BEG You, don’t allow me to live another day consumed by such meaningless things! Don’t allow me to fall back into the normal “routine.” Take what’s left of my life. Use me how You see fit. I’m tired of living for my own pursuits. I’m tired of rehashing old and worn out posts like this one. You are SO much better than ANY of this. I pray the passion I have now would continue to flood my soul and banish my internal darkness. You removed all the filth from me once and for all on the cross, yet I treat Your sacrifice as a trifling thing. It’s despicable. Yet, You forgive. You love. You hold me close when I’m broken. You lift me up above my curse. Even when I spit in Your face, You just wipe it off and extend Your hand once again. Please forgive me. Please strengthen this feeble heart. Please refresh my life, remove me from the exalted place that belongs to You, and empower me to exhaust my life for Your cause.
To You, and You alone, be every OUNCE of glory.
Why is it always late at night when I get into “worship mode?” I just wanna cry out at the top of my lungs and proclaim His greatness, but I’ll wake everyone up who lives around me. Then again, maybe that’s just what they need more than anything: A blast of truth to wipe away their darkness, a shout of victory in the midst of their chaos.
The Lord is so amazing. What’s almost more amazing, however, is my frequent forgetfulness of that fact. I get so caught up in everything except the one thing I should be caught up in. Then, at the most inconvenient times, I get broadsided by a glimpse of the splendor of God Almighty and just lose it. My emotions swirl out of control. I can’t keep the tears from flowing. My heart comes alive and I lose all concept of the passage of time. I can’t sit still. I lose track of the other people around me. In the depths of my soul, I feel His awesome weight of glory; His commanding presence. Then, the moment passes, and I’m left reeling in the wake.
The worst part? I don’t want it to end. But it MUST end eventually. There is still work to be done here. There are still souls crying out in their darkness and despair, seeking a Savior. I’m no great speaker, that I should command the respect of my audience. Nor am I an expert scholar, that I should know all there is to know about a particular field. Heck, I’m not even the greatest musician to ever walk the earth. I haven’t sold millions of records, I haven’t gone platinum, nor have I become known the world over. But, my testimony is true. My hope is sure. My message MUST be heard.
God, I don’t ask to become famous. I don’t seek money or power. I just seek You. I just need You. I love You. Even if I lose everything. Even if the floor falls out from under me and the very earth itself threatens to swallow me whole, I want to live the rest of my life in such a way that it screams to the world that there IS something more than what this life can offer, and it’s more beautiful than even the greatest painting, the most striking landscape, or the grandest new contraption that money can buy.
Why do we allow ourselves to squander hours watching television when the LORD is such a grander sight? Why do we find it easy to spend hours browsing the Internet, but find it to be of the utmost difficulty to spend hours with our Creator? What drives us to update our Facebook status every minute of every day when we barely speak our minds to our FATHER? Did He not give us the eyes with which we watch that computer screen? Why do we settle for prophets who “tickle our ears” when those same ears were given to us to allow us to hear the very voice of GOD? Why do we settle for “crumbs from the Master’s table” when He desires to let us feast until we burst upon the Bread of Life? Why do we consider reading the Word a necessary evil when it truly is the highest of privileges? What is it that causes us to innately be able to distract ourselves with petty pleasures when the Richest of Fare longs to speak into our lives? The LORD sits enthroned above the sphere of the heavens, yet we act as though our own sphere of influence is the only thing which exists in this universe. WHY DO WE WASTE OUR LIVES ON THINGS THAT DO NOT MATTER IN THE GRAND SCHEME OF ETERNITY? Many claim to “live for Jesus,” but few actually allow Him to lead their lives and have total dominion. All too often in churches today, the message of the gospel and the very pursuit of God are lost in fancy light shows, state-of-the-art “Worship Centers,” shallow worship, and the pursuit of the “almighty dollar.” When we follow this pattern, we’re merely building castles of sand. The pride I see in the hearts of those around me, whether it be the redeemed or the ones who claim to be, absolutely breaks me. The pride I see in my own heart all to often overshadows my boasting in the LORD, and for this I am ashamed. Where is the fierce longing after YHWH that the fathers of our faith possessed? Where has the fire that filled the bellies of the great evangelists gone today? Where is the deep, sincere WORSHIP, and where are the broken worshipers who bring it? This nation, though founded upon the Rock, has given up its first love in the name of “tolerance,” a desire not to offend, and the task of stockpiling wealth. We need to fall on our faces and beg for mercy from the throne. We are ripe for judgment, not only for the hearty approval we give to godlessness, but even more than that, for the complacency that has settled within our pews. If you claim to be a child of GOD, start acting like it!! Stop making excuses, stop pursuing worldly gain and impure lusts, stop wasting your life, and turn to GOD!! Call on His Name, fall on your face, give Him control, and worship in spirit and truth. Then, get out there and preach the gospel to everything that moves!! That is our mandate. Seek God with every fiber of your being, then share His love with everyone around you. ONLY GOD is worthy to be praised, ONLY GOD is worthy of our worship, ONLY GOD is ALPHA AND OMEGA, ONLY GOD IS GOD!! Seek HIS face, seek HIS face, seek HIS face!! Cry out to HIM!! Fall on your faces and worship!! JESUS, JESUS, JESUS, I LOVE YOU!! CHRIST, CHRIST, CHRIST I NEED YOU!! ABBA, ABBA, ABBA FATHER, HAVE MERCY ON MY SOUL, FOR I AM UNCLEAN!! I AM UNWORTHY!! I AM A SINNER!! HAVE MERCY, HAVE MERCY, HAVE MERCY!! I AM UNWORTHY, YET YOU HAVE REDEEMED ME, YOU HAVE CHOSEN ME, YOU LOVE ME!! PRAISE YOU, PRAISE YOU, PRAISE YOU!!! JESUS, JESUS, JESUS!! Oh how I love that name!! JESUS, JESUS, JESUS!! Oh, my LORD, CONSUME ME, CONSUME ME, CONSUME ME!! May I decrease, so that YOU may increase. I am YOURS, I am YOURS, I am YOURS!! HOLY, HOLY, HOLY, ARE YOU, OH LORD GOD ALMIGHTY!! HOLY, HOLY, HOLY!! The whole earth is FILLED with YOUR GLORY!!! My heart cries HOLY, HOLY, HOLY, ARE YOU AND YOU ALONE!!! LORD, HAVE MERCY! LORD, HAVE MERCY! LORD, HAVE MERCY!! CONSUME ME, MY GOD!! KEEP ME FROM HALF-HEARTED WORSHIP!! KEEP MY FEET FROM WALKING IN THE PATHS OF THE WICKED!! KEEP MY HEART FROM BECOMING CONSUMED WITH THE THINGS OF THIS WORLD, OH LORD, MY GOD!!! CONSUME ME, CONSUME ME, CONSUME ME!! I AM YOURS!! ABBA, ABBA, ABBA FATHER, LEAD ME INTO YOUR THRONE ROOM!! JESUS, JESUS, JESUS, COVER ME WITH YOUR BLOOD!! HOLY SPIRIT, HOLY SPIRIT, HOLY SPIRIT, GUIDE ME INTO ALL TRUTH!! OH GOD, MY GOD, CONSUME ME, CONSUME ME, CONSUME ME!! I LOVE YOU, I LOVE YOU, I LOVE YOU!!! YOU ARE MOST HIGH OVER ALL THE EARTH!! YOUR VOICE SHAKES THE HEAVENS!! YOUR FACE OUTSHINES THE SUN!! YOU ESTABLISHED THE EARTH, AND ONLY BY YOUR GRACE DOES IT STAND!! YOU ARE THE GIVER OF LIFE, AND YOU KNOW THE NUMBER OF OUR DAYS!! YOU WILL NEVER DIMINISH, YOU WILL NEVER BE FAR FROM YOUR PEOPLE, OH GOD!! YOU ALONE ARE HOLY!! YOU ALONE ARE WORTHY!! I SURRENDER TO YOU!! TAKE ME, BREAK ME, USE ME FOR YOUR GLORY!! CONSUME ME, CONSUME ME, CONSUME ME!! MESS ME UP FOR YOUR GLORY!! MESS ME UP FOR YOUR GLORY!!! JESUS, JESUS, JESUS!! ABBA FATHER, JEHOVAH JIREH, MY ROCK AND MY SALVATION, I SURRENDER TO YOUR WILL!! USE ME, LORD!! USE ME, LORD!! USE ME, LORD!!! I cannot praise YOU enough!!! I love YOU, I love YOU, I love YOU!!! Ever shall YOUR NAME be on my lips!! FATHER, HAVE MERCY!! DO NOT ALLOW ME TO WASTE ANY MORE OF MY LIFE!! DO NOT LET ME SETTLE FOR THE CRUMBS FROM YOUR TABLE!! MAY MY HUNGER FOR YOU NEVER BE SATISFIED, MAY MY THIRST FOR YOU NEVER BE QUENCHED!! CONSUME ME, MY LORD!! HOLY, HOLY, HOLY, ARE YOU, OH LORD GOD ALMIGHTY!!! ONLY YOU ARE HOLY, OH LORD GOD ALMIGHTY!!
So tonight on my way home I was listening to Chris Tomlin’s Live at Austin Music Hall CD. I’m not sure what it was, but tonight that CD and all the songs on it struck me particularly hard. It’s like the Lord breathed new life into them for me, which is not an unusual thing after a long hiatus from listening to them. It seems that every time I take a long break from listening to a worship CD, the next time I pop it into my CD player, I realize how wonderful the messages in all the songs are and am moved to tears 9 times out of 10 (contrary to popular belief, crying is not a sign of weakness because even Jesus Himself cried, and He’s one of the strongest people who ever lived if not the strongest).
One song that particularly struck a chord was “How Great is Our God.” If we only knew just how great He truly is, our lives would be completely different. Moses merely saw God’s back, and his face still glowed so brightly that He had to wear a veil to keep from blinding the people of Israel. Ezekiel saw a vision of the Lord in the sky in all His glory and was so blown away by what he saw that he just sat astonished beside a river FOR A FULL 7 DAYS. THIS is the greatness that song talks about. If we were to see even a small fraction of Who God truly is, we would be absolutely wrecked by the realization of how sinful and unclean we truly are, much in the same way as Isaiah was after he saw the Lord seated on His throne.
We sing all these wonderful “praise and worship songs” in our churches and youth groups, but do we really take to heart the power and truthfulness of the lyrics? Do we just sing them because they are good songs, or do the lyrics reflect our true attitudes? Do we just sing them because we can, or do we truly allow the lyrics to penetrate our lives and change us? I’d venture a guess and say that 9 times out of 10 (I really like that phrase tonight, haha) we are just giving God lip service. Sure He loves to hear His children sing about Him, but He loves it even more if they truly sing to Him from the depths of their hearts. It says in the Bible that “God inhabits the praises of His people.” Do we realize just what it is that we’re singing?
Furthermore, worship is not merely an act that we do every time we sing songs, but it is an attitude that should permeate every area of our lives. It’s an awful misconception to think that worship simply means singing songs in church every Sunday and Wednesday. Singing is just one of the ways we express the attitude of worship that is in our hearts. Other acts of worship are prayer, reading your Bible, sharing the Gospel, or even just encouraging someone who’s having a bad day. There is no one right way to express the attitude of worship. This can be clearly seen in the way people act during the “worship service.” Some people raise their hands, others clap and jump around, others stand still, some fall to their knees, some sit silently, some have their eyes open the whole time, others barely open their eyes, and so on. Every person has a different way of expressing their gratitude and praise to the Lord, and the Lord loves every bit of it.
The next time you go into a “worship service,” be sure to not only focus on hitting the right notes, but focus on the lyrics themselves and come before the Lord with an attitude of worship. God desires us to worship Him in Spirit and in truth. Let us strive to do so. Until next time, Godspeed and God bless!!