Wednesday, June 21, 2006

A Proper Response

The staff at my church is currently going through a book entitled “The Bible in 90 Days.” A bit daunting I might say! I had to catch my breath when Chuck laid it on the table in front of me and said, “We’ll be doing this over the next few months.” At the stage of life I’m in right now (2 year old girl and 2 month old girl), it was a bit overwhelming. Needless to say…I have since invented the “Bible in 180ish days” reading plan. And I’m right on track…

So, I’m plowing through Genesis and come across a rather insignificant character in the story. So insignificant was he that scripture doesn’t even tell his name. However, his role was huge…He was the senior servant under Abraham. After Sarah had passed away, Abraham was trying to find a wife for his son Isaac. He sent this “senior servant” with specific orders about finding a wife for his son.

Upon arriving to his destination, the servant immediately began to pray. “God, I need you to be really clear about this one. This is something I don’t want to mess up” …he then begins to outline a very detailed series of events that this girl would do/say in order that he would know that she’s the one God is providing. The scriptures say in Genesis 24 that he had barely finished getting the words out of his mouth and there the girl was. Her name was Rebekah and she fulfilled all the “conditions” this servant had asked God for.

Now, here’s where the story really began to grab me…I noticed that twice in the story, God came through for this servant in a big way. First, He immediately showed Rebekah to the servant as soon as he finished praying. Then he put it in the hearts of her and her parents to let her go with him to be with Isaac. When both of these events were finished, there is a line in the passage that I love. It says “At this, the man bowed down in worship before God.”

It was then that I began to feel this overwhelming sense that I have been missing God in worship. So many times I see God move in my midst and I refuse to respond. This “senior servant” couldn’t help but respond…so much so that he bowed and worshiped. It’s kind of hard for me to put my arms around that thought that he would just drop to his knees right there before Rebekah’s parents because they said yes. But that was his response, and outward expression of an inward reality.

So why is it that we are so prone to pitiful responses to the work of God? Have we become so dull and calloused that when he does something in our midst we’re hardly moved? Is it that we live life with a sense of entitlement? As if He owes us something? “Well it’s about time God…don’t understand what took you so long.” I want deeply to be in a place where I see God moving all around me. Not only Him moving, but my heart moving in response to Him. My physical posture should be affected by an inward reality that my life is in the hands of Almighty God. My family should see a dad and a husband that notices the work of God and then responds appropriately. My church should have confidence that Sunday morning worship times are a response to a magnificent God and not just a mere musical tip of the hat.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Turn it all off...

I find myself in this place on a regular basis…how do I train myself to be in a place to “hear” God? I want to be the kind of man that knows the sound of His voice. What I have been learning lately is that the more I am familiar with His voice in times of silence and solitude, the more I am able to recognize his voice when things in the world are screaming all around me. When both of my girls that are in diapers are crying…I can still hear his voice. When I’m in the midst of an argument with my wife and I’m fighting to get my way…I can hear His voice reminding me that our relationship is an illustration and that I am to love her as Christ loves the church. On the church worship side of things…the more I can hear Him speak in the midst of a worship set, telling me “say this…sing this…encourage them to worship me…don’t say anything…let them sit still for a second and soak Me in…

As I read one of Mark Driscoll’s articles on addictions to noise , I was reminded of just how important it is to find time to be in silence. Being a worship pastor, I am always listening to music…from secular to Christian and Broadway to Jazz…I love it all. Ok…I’m really not a fan of rap, but I do like the Fresh Prince of Bellaire. (Should have kept that one to myself!)

I am so prone to turn music on for the sake of “learning” what could be incorporated into the Sunday morning experience. But over the past few months, I have found my soul is thirsty for the chance to turn it all off. When I get in the car…it’s my little escape from all the noise and my chance to tune into God.

What more could we as Pastors have to offer our people than an intimate relationship with Christ? My pastor Chuck says he likes to come each Sunday with “fresh bread.” If I can’t hear God, I’ll have no fresh bread to offer our people…it will be stale worship that is based on past experiences watered down with time. But when I shut it all off…His voice becomes clearer and clearer. However, it is an act of the will for me to be obedient and put myself in environments where I can be quiet before the Lord. It won’t just happen.