Categories
Christian Blog worship

Strike Up the Band!

My best friend in college went to a large high school who had a major cross-town rival. Each fall, the annual football game between the two schools was an epic event.

Game day at my friend’s alma mater was a sight to behold! The whole school shut down after lunch to hold a huge pep rally for the game. After a boisterous cheer fest in the gymnasium, all 1000+ students lined the hallways in anticipation.

“What’s going on?” I asked my friend. “Just wait,” he said. Sure enough, in a few minutes I heard the 85-member marching band coming down the main hallway blasting the school fight song. Everyone was chanting and cheering and shouting at the top of their lungs!

Yet amid such pandemonium, I heard God’s still small voice. As the band came into view, the Holy Spirit whispered, “I wish someone would do this for me.” And like the prophet Isaiah, I heard myself saying, “Here I am, Lord. I’ll do it!” (Isaiah 6:8)

At the time, I was the 19-year-old music minister at the little Baptist church where I grew up. It was a wonderful, loving congregation. But most of our worship services started at 11 o’clock sharp and ended at 12 o’clock dull.

I had no idea how to translate the atmosphere at the school into a church environment. We didn’t have a band. The only shouting was when one of the deacons called out an occasional, “AMEN!”

Over time I realized you don’t need to recreate the ambience of a raucous school pep rally to honor God. You just have to want to. True worship is a “pedal to the metal” reality—whatever form it takes. God seeks authentic, heartfelt praise. THAT’s what He wanted me to know.

“Shout with joy to God, all the earth! Sing the glory of His name; make His praise glorious! Say to God, “How awesome are Your deeds!” – Psalm 66:1-3 (NIV)

“O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together.” – Psalm 34:3 (NKJV)

Strike up the band!


Photo by u0410u043bu0435u043au0441u0430u043du0434u0440 on Pexels.com

This piece originally appeared on Devotional Treasures as a guest post. If you don’t already follow Alan Kearn’s excellent blog, please check it out!

Categories
Christian Blog love

Just Because

This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.

1 John 4:10

When our oldest son was about 8, we were on a road trip and pulled in to a popular travel stop on the interstate. Fellow Okies, Tom and Judy Love, own a chain of stores in 41 states, but our little guy didn’t know that. As I filled up the minivan with gas, he said, “Dad, why do they call it Love’s?” Without missing a beat I said, “Because unconditional positive regard wouldn’t fit on the sign.”

It got me thinking, though. If God owned a chain of travel stops He’d probably call it Love’s too. After all, unconditional positive regard is HIS thing. The Bible doesn’t mince words; it just comes right and says it: “God is Love.”❤️ – 1 John 4:8

Wait just a minute! God DOES own a chain of travel stops. They’re called churches. These are places where groups of believers meet often to “fill their tanks” and feed their hungry souls with God’s Word. And each and every sanctuary ought to have a giant neon sign out front with one word on it: Love’s

Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

1 John 4:11

If you glean one thought from this post, please let it be this: God loves you. Period! You don’t need to do anything to EARN His love. He love’s you just because.

Define yourself radically as one beloved by God. This is the true self. Every other identity is an illusion.

Brennan Mannin

🙏❤️ prayers and love.

Categories
Christian Blog

The “answer”

Photo by Stefan Steinbauer on Unsplash

I couldn’t sleep the other night. So I turned on the living room television, but found mostly infomercials. Some guy with a mullet and a bow tie hoped to sell me, “The Answer.”

“Yes! For just two easy payments of $39.95, you can possess the greatest wealth building secrets of all time–conveniently printed on three laminated cards.”

The huckster claimed he carried these cards in his back pocket at all times; they allowed him to make thousands of dollars while he slept.

“Your pajamas have pockets? There’s not an app for that?”

There’s nothing like talking back to a TV at 2 a.m.😉

After about 30 minutes, I returned to dreamland. But something from that silly infomercial stuck in my head: the idea of making money in your sleep. There’s a passage in the Bible about God working while we sleep, I thought. Sure enough, I found it over breakfast.

It is vain for you to rise up early, to retire late, to eat the bread of painful labors; for He gives to His beloved even in his sleep.

Psalm 127:2 (NIV)

What strikes me about this verse is the fact that God GIVES. One of the cross references is Isaiah 55:1–where the Lord invites everyone to “Come to the waters and drink at NO COST.”

Inspired, I dug deeper into the Bible to find more things that God gives us. Here’s a sampling:

  • God gives us songs in the night (Job 35:10).
  • He gives food to every creature (Psalm 136:25).
  • The Lord gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness to those who please Him. (Ecc. 6:22).
  • God gives strength to the weary (Isaiah 42.29).
  • Jesus gives us peace that’s not like the world’s (John 14:27).
  • He gives us life and breath and everything else (Acts 17:25).

Of course, all these things aren’t REALLY without cost; they are free to us because Christ already paid for them. That could be a discussion in itself.

In the meantime, isn’t it wonderful that God freely offers His best to us?

You don’t need the “answer” to anything if you know the God of everything!