Look what I read from Psalm 47. Note the highlighted words and then use your imagination to set the stage. What does this look like?
This is loud, screaming, clapping, foot stomping, proclamation that our champion is the best.
Now I get that not all churches have the same worship traditions, cultures, and tones. Some are more somber while others are simply out-of-control. (I mean that in a bad way). Yet, here is a biblical call from a leader of worship, to God’s people, to raise praise for their Champion. And, all churches need this on some regular basis.
- Theological reason– fanatic praise is a fitting response to God’s work. Big God should get big praise, right?!
- Emotional reason– fanatic praise counters weekly set-backs in our lives.
- Social reason– fanatic praise unites strangers. It is the power of common cause.
- Mental reason– fanatic praise reminds us of past victories and future hope.
- Evangelical reason– fanatic praise is inviting to people with no champion.
- Discipleship reason– fanatic praise lets internal truths become external expressions. (You “worshiping”, “in your heart” does nothing for me who is watching the outside, just saying)
Find ways during your weekly gatherings to cultivate a social identity around our victory in Christ. Help people see themselves as loved and saved and chosen. Call them to clap, and shout, and sing, and sound off…to be fanatical. We need reminded that we are going to win. We need to surround ourselves with like-minded losers-made-winners-in-Christ.
Honestly, I’m not a sports fanatic. I’m not a music fanatic. And, reading Psalm 47, I’m not much of a God fanatic. It is hard for me to be that expressive. It’s my introversion. Self-consciousness. Pride. Hosts of things. Maybe there are church leaders that will go slow and take the time to help people like me experience greater intimacy with God and guide me toward a more fanatical faith in a Champion that has never lost a battle!
The civil servants in your context influence the climate you and your church minister in. They help or hinder your ability to proclaim the gospel, serve the community, even build an addition on your facility. They directly effect what you do and how easily you do it. Civil servants are the sails that move your ship. Their openness to the wind and will of God controls how fast you are able go, how far you can get, how easily you work. No wonder God commanded Timothy to teach the local church to pray for government leaders.
Make prayer for leaders a regular part of your church’s ministry. Pray for them by name; the President and his Cabinet, federal and state representatives, county commissioners and municipal authorities. Pray for their wisdom and their families. Pray for their influencers and decisions. It pleases God and unfurls the sails that push your ship where you are sure to find better fishing.
Download this free resource to help guide you and your church in praying for our leaders: How To Pray For Our Leaders
I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. – The Apostle Paul (I Tim 2:1-2)
Some one must see the whole road ahead. Someone must see with a wide angle lens all that God commands and expects. Covering our gaze to the more difficult parts of the path is easy and common. But, it leads to missed opportunities and broken lives. Just because a path is challenging does not mean it is not the right road, the path that must be taken! Some one in the church family must be the one to see. Oh, sure, there may be more than one but there must be at least one. Who ever is navigating must see out a clean windshield but they must also see out of the whole windshield.
- Check your sides. Full knowledge of God’s commands lets you see what might be coming from the left and right.
- Note your mirrors. Full knowledge of God’s commands lets you know how to read the past.
- Mind your map. Full of knowledge of God’s commands lets you navigate the better course for you and your passengers.
- Limit distractions. Full of knowledge of God’s commands enables you to cut out the clatter that might pull your attention off course.
A note to seers and leaders, prophets and kings: Rely on the gifts around you. It is one thing to see where to go and it is another to get people there. Both roles are important and both are full time responsibilities. It is hard to turn the wheel and read the map at the same time.
Don’t be a city dog. Quick to dart out the door, run off, escape, flee your Master’s care. The only way you come home is by leash and lead digging your paws in the ground, whining and whimpering as you return.
Don’t be a young country dog. Trouncing in the mud. Bounding through the briers and brambles. Searching out skunks and chasing squirrels. You return to your Master eventually but only muddied and bloodied and exhausted.
Learn the life of the old country dog. Sure, you ran the marshes and chased the vermin once but have found the best place is near your Master where an affectionate rub behind the ear and occasional biscuit is best. You can run; you are free. However, why would you ever leave Your Master’s side?
But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge… – Psalm 73:28
Some books are hard because the words are big and sentences complex and chapters long. Other books are hard because they are so simple to read but incredibly confrontational to your heart and soul. A colleague and friend encouraged me to read A Tale of Three Kings a year ago. Its simplicity and truth untied deep knots in my heart and melted into my mind. It has been a book that God has brought back to me again and again. A quick read but one you want to take slow. Read it for transformation and not information! Warning- God will use this book to break you, to bring you brokenness, and then He will heal you.
Saul had a spear in his hand and he hurled it, saying to himself, “I’ll pin David to the wall.” But David eluded him twice. – I Samuel 18:10-11
Hear an audio book review at youtube.com
Yesterday was Veterans Day. I am thankful for the men and women who, like my grandfather, signed up to serve this country. I started to reflect on what the Church could learn from our country’s veterans. Here is the beginning of my list. I’m sure you could add a few more. They are not in any order and I am no soldier just a preacher;
- Once a soldier always a soldier
- Dying for your King and kingdom isn’t suggested but expected
- Preparation and training aren’t just “basic” but foundational for victory
- Experience on the field of battle saves lives and wins battles
- A soldier does what others cannot do for everyone to be free
- Authority demands respect
- Wearing the uniform is merely the outside proof of one’s inner commitment.
- Don’t fight alone
- Orders are to be followed
- An enemy at the gate demands soldiers at the ready
What truths do you see lived out by our veterans that the Church should learn from?
Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Jesus Christ. – II Timothy 2:3