Claim

I can lay no claim to the riches of this world.  There are treasures here: people, places and things.  But not one of them compares to the glory and richness of knowing God.

What is the wealth of this world worth?  Only the eternal relationships we develop with it(Luke 16:9).  For every earthly thing will pass away(James 1:10-11, 1 John 2:17).  James even told the rich to boast in their humiliation.  That’s the difference between the generally perceived value of worldly wealth and the real value.  It’s something to boast about!

We have things that God has entrusted to us, and He expects us to steward them well.  When we think of them as our own, there is a greater tendency to hoard them, hold on to them tightly.  But the exact opposite should be true of our Christian life.  We should pour ourselves out like a drink offering every day and be glad!  Because we know that even the smallest act of devotion reaps eternal rewards.

We may know, intellectually, that we can store up treasures in Heaven, but the distractions of the world are deceptive and numerous.  Still, only one thing is necessary.  He has opened up the floor for us to sit as His feet and hear His teaching.  He says, “Love.”  Abide in the Love of Christ, for only in Him will we be fulfilled.  Only in Him will we bear fruit that lasts forever.

Jim Elliot said it well: “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.”  Everything belongs to God!  It was all designed to give Him glory!  Our greatest claim(which happens to be infinitely greater than worldly riches) is our right to become sons of God, paid for by the blood of Christ.  Can we daily give Him exactly what He deserves from us?  Or will we slip into blindness again?

“Has this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, I myself have seen it, declares the LORD.”–Jeremiah 7:11

Childlike

I gave my heart to Jesus when I was four years old.  Over the years, though, I’ve had my struggles and failings.  Four years ago, I was in a dark place.  I believed in God and was trying to do the church thing, but in reality, I’d put my agenda first: my life, my pleasure, my way.  Looking back on that time in recent years, I wondered if I was even saved.  The depths of hypocrisy were real in that time, but God’s grace towards me was greater.  He mercifully pulled me out of a lifestyle of sin, filled me with His Holy Spirit and set me on the path of righteousness again.

For the last three and a half years, I’ve grown so in love with God.  He’s taken me to incredible places, showed me wonderful things and filled me with joy.  The new things are good, and they will continue.  The question arises then, who will I be in the coming days?  What type of person am I?  What things does a person like me do?  For those answers, the Lord brought my attention to history.

This past week, for some reason I kept remembering a time when, at four years old, a small tragedy hit my life.  My favorite stuffed animal fell under my bed where I couldn’t reach it!  In that moment, instead of crying or complaining, I sang about the love of God.  I created a song right then, in the moment of weakness and helplessness.  I was joyful in the presence of my Father.

This is the mindset to which I am returning and in which I must remain.  No matter what happens, I must sing.  Because my God is good, I must sing.  It’s in my DNA.  It’s who I am.  I’m a singer and a writer and a carrier of joy!  Far be it from me to ever assume that my intellectual maturity level prohibits me from enjoying my Daddy and resting in His love.  I am a son of the Most High God.  I became His son when I was four years old, when I was born again as a worshiper of Him.

“But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God.  They are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God.”–John 1:12-13

Our Answer

A priestly call goes forth: “Lift up your hearts.”
Our Answer: “We lift them up unto the Lord.”
Another call: “Let us give thanks unto our Lord God.”
Our Answer: “It is meet and right so to do.”

These quotes are from the Book of Common Prayer in the section on Holy Communion.  I was led to them after reading about the Lord’s supper in Mark 14.  I started thinking about Jesus.

There is a blood covenant in which we take part, and it was paid for by the body and blood of Jesus Christ.  Christian Churches worldwide honor this act by the taking of the Eucharist or Communion.  This is usually done by the ingestion of some form of bread and some form of wine, and the saying of a reverent prayer of thanks to God.

Is there more to it than that?  Of course.  The outward act should be a manifestation of what’s going on in our hearts: the giving of ourselves to God.  While there is mystical power in the Eucharist, it only exists because God is involved.  And since God is involved, we are impacted.  We are compelled to answer Him.

Communion means intimacy with God.  When we remember His love, we come close to Him.  This is why some people died when they took the Lord’s Supper in an unworthy way.  What Christ has done captures our very lives.

Whether we eat unleavened bread and wine or any other thing, Jesus has paid for our lives.  He is our true sustenance.  The one reason God came to earth was to get us!  He deserves all our heart and all our praise.  May we live and breathe in a manner worthy of His name.  We will give everything.

“Who serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard without eating any of its fruit? Or who tends a flock without getting some of the milk?”–1 Corinthians 9:7

I Can’t Help Falling in Love With You

Is love the greatest truth of all?  I believe so.  In past months, I’ve felt this love growing in me.  It’s not by my own merit or effort.  It’s not by the shallow depths of my knowledge. The Word was spoken to me, the seed was planted, and by His grace I was found to be good soil.

I want to love and not be afraid.  If that verse, “perfect love casts out fear,” is true, then it’s only a matter of time.  As I grow in love, fear must leave.  I see it going even now.

What can I do but worship?  Worship is not the striving or reaching towards some unknown universal entity.  Worship is my heart’s response to the revelation of the true Spirit of God.  As He reveals His heart to me, my heart is purified and strengthened.  Joy comes, no matter what my external circumstance.  What can I give but all of me?

So I’m not going to care if I look weird.  I won’t fear.  I will sing, dance, shout, scream, write, pray, preach, heal, give, serve or just sit very still.  I honestly don’t know everything I’m going to do.  I won’t be prideful enough to think I know better than God.  I will go where He leads and feast on His goodness along the way.

“The LORD passed before him and proclaimed, ‘The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.'”–Exodus 34:6-7

Relentless: the Luke 18 Internship

Today, I start an internship with the International House of Prayer Tallahassee.  I’m doing it because I believe God is calling me to it, which is really the best reason to do anything, I think.  I’m not sure I even fully understand why I’m doing it, but I’m going to step out in faith regardless.  I haven’t been doing much of that lately; I think this is a great place to start.

To give you a little idea of what I’ll be doing, it’s a forty hour per week commitment, plus a little extra sometimes.  I’m taking four classes: Eschatology, Developing a Heart After God, the Heart of the Nazarite and the Lost Art of Intercession.  In addition to that, I’ll be in the prayer room for the most part, and I’ll probably be doing a good bit of worship leading.

My heart for this internship is really just to meet God and receive His love.  I’m devoting the next three months specifically for that purpose.  Maybe I’ll find something significant to run with.  Maybe I’ll get the guts to embrace the call of God on my life.  Will I change?  I don’t doubt it.  Will the world change around me?  I hope so.  So I will make my requests.  And God will be faithful.

“And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night?  Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”
–Luke 18:7-8

Altogether Insufficiant

Have you ever tried to describe something you really loved?  It’s pretty difficult, I think.  No words really seem capable of describing that love.  This is the way I’m starting to feel about worship music.

I guess it started last week, when I decided I wanted to find some new worship music to listen to.  The songs I’d been singing just didn’t seem good enough.  So I asked around, listened to some new songs which were great, but that emptiness was still there.  Then I started to ask myself: what was I really looking for?  Was it beautiful music?  There was plenty of that out there.  Moving lyrics?  A little harder to find, but still attainable.  No, what I was really looking for was passion.  It was heart.

Here’s what I realized: the kind of passion we all need to have in worship can never be recorded.  Words can never describe the greatness of God.  Sure, we can say “awesome,” “beautiful,” “holy” and “great,” but God is so much more than that.  Our music should be the most amazing thing on earth(it’s what He deserves), but our own meager efforts at musicality could never approach the beauty of God.

We can’t even dream of getting close to God through some nice song.  It just won’t happen.  All we can do is pour out our heart, our every fiber of existence, humbly at His feet.  He’ll take care of the rest.

I think I want to write some worship music that is hard to listen to.  Something unsettling.  I hope some people will hate it; I think that’s the point.  It won’t be clean, but it will be from my heart.  That’s what counts.

“Then the man bowed low and worshiped the LORD.”–Genesis 24:26

A Fire In His Eyes

Why is God jealous for us?  We didn’t do anything to deserve it.  In fact, I think we did quite the opposite.  If anything, we should be receiving a good dose of His wrath right about now.  That’s what we really deserve.  We’ve cursed Him, rebelled against Him, denied His very existence.  And yet, He loves us more deeply than we could ever imagine.

You know, God really does love us, not for “who we will become,” as if He’s waiting for us to be perfect before He can really love us.  He really does love us, right now.  That’s why He’s jealous.

It was prophesied over me at the One Thing conference that God wanted me to know that jealousy, that fire in His eyes for me.  And yeah, I think I want to know it too.  I want to feel it, and I want to live it out.

He is who He is, and He is Love.  Real love doesn’t care if you love back.  Real love wants the best for the precious.  And God knows that the best place for us is right there with Him.  We need Him.  So I worship Him for his never-ending love.  With everything I have I pursue Him, because He has never stopped loving me.

“Blessed be God, because he has not rejected my prayer or removed his steadfast love from me!”–Psalm 66:20