Psalm

Everybody Worships…Something.

“In the end the heart longs not for any of God’s good gifts, but for God himself. To see Him and know Him and be in His presence is the soul’s final feast. Beyond this there is no quest.” – John Piper

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Over the past seven weeks, I have been teaching a class called “Worship in Spirit and Truth” at Greenwood community Church in Greenwood Village Colorado. Today’s blog post is born out of the thought, discussions, and teachings from that class. Primary to the class is the idea everybody worships where they know it or not. This is a biblical idea at its core but can also be seen from a philosophical, psychological, or sociological perspective.

Think for a moment about some of the definitions you may have heard for the word “worship.” You may have heard it defined as singing songs with the church context. You may have heard it defined is offering sacrifices to a god or gods. But, a simple, accurate, and biblical definition of worship is the offering of oneself to a person, persons, thing, or cause. Romans 12:1 says that our spiritual act of worship is to offer our very selves to Lord.

In other words, everyone gives their lives, their very selves to something. Whether is a person a thing or a cause everyone offers themselves to something. You could worship yourself for that matter. What do you give your life to? It could be a job. It could be a relationship. It could be money. It could be God. And so worship is something that every person on this earth engages in whether it is known or not.

All creation just by its very existence worships the creator. Psalm 19 says the heavens declare the glory of God. Day day after day they pour forth their speech. This is something that creation does just by its very existence. This is why Jesus said in Luke 14:40, if those are silent even the rocks will cry out. In this way there is a worship of the Creator that happens just by the very existence of creation.

In his book, The Worship Pastor, Zack Hicks talk about three circles of worship. The first is the one we’ve just described. Worship on a macro level. All of creation worships the creator. The second, smaller circle, is what happens when an individual offers themselves to Lord in worship. This is surrendering to the Spirit of God. This is following the voice of the Shepherd. This is aligning ones will to the will of the Father. And this is something that happens only by the freeing of the Spirit of truth.

A smaller circle within that circle is what we call corporate worship. This is what happens when God’s people gathered together corporate proclamation of God’s covenant. This is what happens on Sunday morning in churches all across the world. This is what happens in homes in small groups offer up praises and prayers to the Savior. It’s the meeting of God with his people, his children, his body. And what we do in singing songs of worship is just one small part of that small circle. It is only a portion of the great umbrella of worship, wherein everybody worships something whether they know it or not.

So what do you worship? What do you give your life to? How does that affect what you are doing this very moment? For this moment, and the moment after it, and a thousand moments, add up to a lifetime of worship. And I say, it’s worth knowing who we worship.

His Will, His Bill!

“Since the first three petitions of the Lord’s prayer give us the priority of Christ’s heart, we should learn that God’s top priority is the hallowing of his name in all the earth. If this is God’s top priority, it should be our top priority—that God be believed, feared, obeyed, and glorified by a ransomed people from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.” – John Piper

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I heard somebody say, “His will, His bill!” today. Meaning, if it is God’s will for something to happen, He is going to figure out a way to provide for it. I used to feel really strange about this statement, as if it turned God into some sort of Magic Fairy that grants wishes. Or, we it is as though we pray to Santa Claus God to bring us the presents we want. We know that the Creator of the universe cannot be reduced to that. But, a few points to remember today: (1) It is HIS will that we pray to be done. In other words, we are not praying for our gifts, our will, or our agendas. When we align ourselves to the will of the Father, we are saying that we would prefer that He accomplish His purposes, rather than our purposes be done. (2) He is, after all, the Creator and Sustainer of the universe. This mains that it is well within His power to accomplish His purposes. When we pray, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” we are asking for God to make our reality line up with His. Jesus Himself prayed this and instructed the disciples to do the same. Matthew 6:9-13 (NASB) says,

“Pray, then, in this way:

‘Our Father who is in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
‘Your kingdom come.
Your will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
‘Give us this day our daily bread.
‘And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
‘And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.’]

‘Your kingdom come.
Your will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.'”

“His will, His bill!” is a reminder that God, the Creator of all things, is indeed a Good, Good Father. He gives every perfect gift to his children (James 1:17) and does not withhold any good thing from those who love Him (Psalm 84:11). If we are faithful to align ourselves with His purposes, then we should not be surprised when He provides for His purposes to be accomplished here on earth as it is in heaven. God is working out a global hallowing of his name, and we have the privilege of partaking in the process.

And so we pray with renewed vigor, “Father, may your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

What Psalm 20 Has to Say About Trump and Clinton on May the Fourth

“Show me again, grandfather, and I will finish what you started.” – Kylo Ren

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Last night, we received word that Ted Cruz was suspending his campaign for President of the United States. Shortly after, we received word that John Kasich was also suspending his campaign. And then, it started. Voices on Social Media hammered out their various positions in the political spectrum, ranging anywhere from “I’ll never vote for Trump” to “Anyone But Hillary” to “Third Party!” to “I’m moving to Canada.”

Today, on May the Fourth (of all days), America has taken a hard look at itself in the mirror, through the reflection of the 2016 presidential campaign. And what it has found (Trump vs. Clinton) is that it doesn’t much like what it sees. Like Kylo Ren being forced by Rey to finally consider his own thoughts, it is as though America is a nation that has just now begun to consider its own actions.

But, how is this possible? Real voters have to have voted for these two, in order for us to be in this position Surely, some people are happy? Where can they be found?

With the vast range of threats being made now that the candidates are surely Trump and Clinton, I am reminded of a statement of confidence made in Psalm 20. Verses 6-8 of the psalm say:

“Now this I know: The LORD gives victory to his anointed. He answers him from his heavenly sanctuary with the victorious power of his right hand. Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God. They are brought to their knees and fall, but we rise up and stand firm.”

Now, over time, people have come to a wide variety of conclusions over the claims in this Psalm. Some will read these verses and conclude, “Well, God must have wanted Clinton and Trump to be the nominees.” Others will point to verse 8 and prophesy that Clinton and Trump will soon be “brought to their knees.”

I think there is another option here, and that is to say that the life placed before the Christian is neither a life of escapism nor conformity. The Christian does not seek to escape the current reality, nor does the Christian seek to conform to it. In other words, we are not moving to Canada, nor are we falling along the Trump or Clinton party lines. Instead, the Christian engages the current situation with the mind of Christ, the foundation of Scripture, and the leading of the Spirit.

John Stonestreet encourages Christians today in this pursuit of engaging culture by saying, “Maybe this could be a great moment for Christians engaged in culture because of the amount of work there is to be done and Christianity always, to any cultural dilemma—always has the best answer on the market.”

So what is to be done today, on May the 4th? There is a third option. Before you consider moving to Canada or simply falling in line with one of these candidates, consider engaging the current situation with the mind, strength, and attitude of Jesus Christ. Psalm 20 suggests that the trust of every man and every woman be put in the LORD God and that even in the midst of rulers rising and falling, one can “rise up and stand firm.” May the fourth be with you!