Thursday, December 9, 2010

Too Busy

Everyone is busy. It doesn't really matter what time of year, there is always some seasonal rush. It is either Christmas season with it's parties, shopping, family trips etc, or it is the season of summer with yards to keep up, home improvements to accomplish etc. Spring and Fall do not escape unscathed either. Easter, gardening, Thanksgiving, and a myriad of other 'to-do's' certainly press the schedule.

There are other seasons too. The seasons of life contribute their demands on life. In youth, the social scene is always calling to the next movie, next get-together, next church event. Young adult life adds the realization that money doesn't grow on trees and so education and jobs start their encroachments on our time budget.

Soon marriage leads to the phase of family. It is difficult to place into words the time stress that occurs during the family phase for the simple reason that children cause us to blend a variety of schedules. Little Johnny has ball practice on Saturday and band rehearsal on Tuesday and an appointment with the doctor on Thursday and a Sunday School outing on Monday, and a Cub Scout cookout on Friday. Get the picture? That doesn't include your personal schedule and the need to keep marriage flourishing by giving that one...all-valuable gift...time!

Mid-life, the transition of all transitions, leads to the moving children into their own lives...their own families, whilst balancing the main portion of one's career. This is the season of using wisdom to volunteer, to lend a hand and hope not play all your 'hand' in the process.

The 'Silver Season', the one you thought would be relaxed by the fishing hole...may be has busy as any of them. More and more, grandparents lend a hand in the needs of their children and their families. And just when you thought you had gone to your last recital, or band contest, or football game. Your grandkids compel you to fill the squares on the planner with times, events and another hectic season of life.

Yes, life is busy. One has to find a way to say 'no' to the unimportant items of life and shield your time from erosion by non-important things. I noted some advice given to a person assigned to prison for an extended period of time, "Do the time, don't let the time do you!" That may be some good advice for those of us living in the prison of busy-ness.

In all of your planning, plan for some down time...some time to regroup, refocus, and relax. Just don't get too busy!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

True Worshipers!

The word 'Truth' evokes mental images of some authoritative figure declaring they have all the understanding of God. Jesus, God in flesh stated unequivocally, "I am the Truth." If one could boast of knowing all the truth, they would have to boast of knowing all of God.

The Bible tells us that God's ways are unsearchable and beyond our comprehension. Paul writes of the depths of the riches of the knowledge of God and His ways are unfathomable. I heard on the news this morning that someone is actually trying to count the stars! I had to laugh. They haven't even found all the galaxies yet. Last I heard there were more than 90 billion galaxies with more than 90 billion stars in each galaxy! The point is, man cannot comprehend the number of stars much less count them. And while there is much of God we can know, there is so much that we will not know until we get to see Him face to face. This dark glass of humanity, prohibits the complete view.

With that said, may I turn your attention to John 4:15-24? Especially the part that says, true worshipers will worship in spirit and in truth. We can easily understand that to worship in spirit means worship is more than lip service. Jesus bemoaned the fact that some make noise with their lips but their heart is far from me. Spirited worship is the kind that emanates from our souls on Tuesday as well as Sunday. Worship is a lifestyle. If we are in love with God, that fact spills from our mouths and oozes from the pores of our skin. I believe God accepts worship from those who have never even seen a bible...but reach to Him with the limited knowledge and inner tug they feel within their souls. This is 'spirit' worship. Whether in silence or at the top of your lungs, worship needs to be spirited. Know that the word spirit here is not a capital S, but a small s...meaning our human spirit. You can then stop waiting on the Holy Spirit to shake you like a ragdoll. Spirited worship is from the human spirit.

The second vital factor for a true worshiper is they must worship in truth. I want to drill down on this point. What truth exactly is the writer talking about? You know as well as I do, that every church on the street claims to preach the truth...the whole truth and nothing but the truth!!! They thump their pulpits and declare that their way is the right way and everyone else is in darkness and the rapture will settle the score! It is so pompous of man to even make such a boast. In truth, there is so little difference between brand A and brand B that it is ridiculous. Yet we draw our denominational lines and refuse to fellowship with the church down the street because they don't see it as we do. Often it is pure semantics, or the way we say things, that separates men. One says, "I'm Oneness," the other says, "I'm trinitarian" and both of them are monotheists! Both of them believe Jesus is Lord, Messiah. By majoring on minors, pretending to have the 'truth' we push one another away and forbid the answer to Christ's prayer in John 17..."That they may be one!"

Look closely at the passage in John 4. The Samaritan woman was told by Christ of her past. She made a bold proclamation, "You are a prophet!" Well, she was wrong! Jesus was not a prophet, He was the Messiah! But Jesus didn't rebuke her because she was wrong. Further, the woman tried to play the religious heritage card on Him. "Our fathers worshiped in this mountain!" Again Jesus was not rattled by her religion. He simply stated, you worship what you do not know! I have to tell you there is a bit of that involved in all of our worship. There are parts about God that I do not know....but I worship anyway. This, ladies and gentlemen, is the truth part of a true worshiper. Like the Samaritan woman, we all have our mountains. We like to express the way we were taught....the way we think it should be....the way we were explained the scripture. This to us is 'truth'. Reality says, truth is much bigger than the mountain your father's worshiped around. Truth involves admitting questions.

If you can still worship with are a true worshiper. If exalting God becomes greater than exalting your religious stance, then you are a true worshiper. If you can accept God's will for your life, even when it hurts, even when it is not convenient, even when it brings tears...then you are a true worshiper. Hebrews states, "Jacob worshiped, leaning on the top of his staff." No healing, no answered prayer, lots of pain....but true worship. Get it? The Father seeks those who worship in spirit and truth.

At last Jesus said, "There will come a day when you will not worship me in this mountain or in Jerusalem." What He was saying is, there will be a day when your personal religious mountains will fall down and we will worship God for who He is...questions and all!! When we all get to heaven, as the old hymn poses, there will be a good deal of reconciliation to be had. When the Baptist walks in beside the Pentecostal, and the Methodist enters with the Presbyterian...and suddenly we realize God was not looking to save a denomination, but to save and win for Himself a bride! The bride will be those who love their Lord and in truth admit they do not have all the answers. This is true worship.