Monday, April 30, 2012

Worshipping Worship Music?

I have experienced Church music in almost every genre possible and I have seen how it can become the icon that we worship.  However, music is a means to an end; and worship is that end.  We do not have music every Sunday in whatever style fits us for our own enjoyment.  That is when it can become abused.  Our music must be for the enjoyment and praise of HIS glory. I have been an outspoken proponent of that, but I have learned recently that it does not matter whether I like the music or not from week to week in church.  I must worship and give him glory and honor because HE is worthy not because the music is worthy.  I could not sing loud enough, dance hard enough, lift my hands high enough, clap loud enough, or bow low enough to give him the honor that is due Him.  I have been convicted lately by “O clap your hands, all peoples; Shout to God with the voice of joy. For the LORD Most High is to be feared, A great King over all the earth. (emphasis mine)(Psalm 47:1, 2 NASB) If it is I who don't like clapping and shouting to God in worship and say "it's not my personality" maybe my personality needs to change, and be conformed to how scripture would have us worship (This has nothing to do with style of music).  We are commanded to kneel, lay prostrate, dance, shout, clap, raise hands, bow.  These several commands display to us that there is a definite posture of worship. It is tough to do it all on Sunday but our hearts must be willing!  If they are not willing then we need to look at our love/affection that we have for Him.  If I was never affectionate with my wife (which I do struggle with) we would have a pretty loveless relationship.  So I need to practice affection with her.  How much more then should I practice affection in worship with the Most High God! I have found when that truly, really, honestly happens it is hard not to idolize the certain musical style because you find that certain style of music helps you connect with God, and tell Him how great He is.  The Gospel should be holding us together, and worship should be gospel immersed and if that is the case we will have a posture of worship that fits and fills up the gospel in our hearts.  I am recently just noticing in my own life my tendency to withhold from the King of Kings what rightfully belongs to him, namely my bodily adoration of Him! Which I am finding is the worst type of sin. Lord help us worship you in spirit and truth with a glad heart, never ever idolizing the music that helps us find worth in you! 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


Noli Me Tongere by Alexander Ivanov 1835 (After Jesus' Resurrection)
"Now on the first  day of the week Mary Magdalene came early to the tomb, while it was still dark, and saw the stone already taken away from the tomb. So she ran and came to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and said to them, "They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him." So Peter and the other disciple went forth, and they were going to the tomb. The two were running together; and the other disciple ran ahead faster than Peter and came to the tomb first; and stooping and looking in, he saw the linen wrappings lying there; but he did not go in. And so Simon Peter also came, following him, and entered the tomb; and he saw the linen wrappings lying there, and the face-cloth which had been on His head, not lying with the linen wrappings, but rolled up in a place by itself. So the other disciple who had first come to the tomb then also entered, and he saw and believed. For as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead. So the disciples went away again to their own homes. But Mary was standing outside the tomb weeping; and so, as she wept, she stooped and looked into the tomb; and she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and one at the feet, where the body of Jesus had been lying. And they said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping?" She said to them, "Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him." When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing  there, and did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?" Supposing Him to be the gardener, she said to Him, "Sir, if you have carried Him away, tell me where you have laid Him, and I will take Him away." Jesus said to her, "Mary!" She turned and said to Him in Hebrew, "Rabboni!" (which means, Teacher). Jesus said to her, "Stop clinging to Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, 'I ascend to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God.'" Mary Magdalene came, announcing to the disciples, "I have seen the Lord," and  that  He had said these things to her." (John 20:1-18 NASB)
Mary was a woman that Jesus had encountered and cast seven demons out of her and from that point on she began to follow him along with a group of women who supported the disciples...
"Soon afterwards, He (Jesus) began going around from one city and village to another, proclaiming and preaching the kingdom of God. The twelve were with Him, and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and sicknesses: Mary who was called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna the wife of Chuza, Herod's steward, and Susanna, and many others who were contributing to their support out of their private means." (Luke 8:1-3 NASB)
Mary was a person of whom we can say that she had truly repented.  The Lord had delivered her from seven Demons and she had taken hold of that deliverance by faith and lived as we see here a life of complete change.  She was the only one at the tomb weeping that her Lord and Master that she had followed was not there to pay homage to.  She was a broken woman that she could not do homage her Lord.  This is a signal that she was a woman of repentance that she could not worship and care for the Lord's body showed her obeisance. She had taken to heart what Jesus had said, "go and sin no more".
"Jesus said to her, "Mary!" She turned and said to Him in Hebrew, "Rabboni!" (which means, Teacher). Jesus said to her, "Stop clinging to Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father" (John 20:16-17)
Mary recognized that it was Jesus probably when He said her name.  How many times had He called her, "Mary" and again this time as the risen Lord He reveals Himself to her.  This is a special moment in which  Jesus reveals Himself to her and she is the first person recorded in scripture to see the risen Lord! She honors Him and the first words Jesus hears from another human after he is raised is "My Teacher" not "My Lord" or "My King" or anything else, but "My Teacher".  If we cling to Jesus as the Rabbi or teacher of our lives we will find great joy and hope because if the risen Lord is our teacher we can never go astray.
Notice how Jesus left the grave clothes neatly folded and in another place, because living people don't need grave clothes (DUH). He did it because he has a new set of clothes they are heavenly glorified clothes, only dead people wear grave clothes anyways (DUH). He has put off the snares of death, and this is a small token to us that he left us, of his victory over death. Just in case anyone would say that Jesus body was stolen by the disciples or anyone else, a robber doesn't steal a body and then take off the clothes and set then aside neatly folded. It would also be a bit awkward to carry a dead naked body anywhere. I could just see it; guys in bandits costumes carrying around a dead naked body, weird! For a Jew that would also be the ultimate defilement anyways. It is obvious Jesus has set these grave clothes aside and folded them neatly as a sign to us of his VICTORY. And so we should proclaim that VICTORY just like we would any other great VICTORY. The San Francisco Giants won the World Series two years ago. In the city they celebrated with a parade. They said maybe up to a million people were there in the city that day for the parade.
San Francisco Giants Victory Parade
Abe Kuhn went to the celebration and he said all he saw there was people everywhere, singing songs, and partying that the S.F. Giants had won.  As is with any victory there should be announcements of victory. In the same way we should announce the victory of Jesus over death. Jesus is raised from the dead! The cross of Jesus Christ, and his miraculous resurrection from the dead on the third day has to be the greatest single event in human history, and should be announced proclaimed and celebrated in all the world.  It is definitely greater than the San Francisco Giants winning the world series! So Mary goes to the Apostles and proclaims the news, and here is what message Jesus sends her with...
"but go to My brethren and say to them, 'I ascend to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God.'" Mary Magdalene came, announcing to the disciples, "I have seen the Lord," and that He had said these things to her."(John 20:18)
We see in this passage that Jesus is the 'firstborn from among the dead' and the proclamation is that JESUS IS OUR BROTHER!  He has called them friends, disciples, and followers, but now he calls them BROTHERS!  Jesus is our brother! that has to be the best news from the Resurrection.  The Scripture also show us in Hebrews 2:11 our brotherhood with Jesus...
"For both He who sanctifies (God) and those who are sanctified (Believers) are all from one father; for which reason He (Jesus) is not ashamed to call them brethren,"
We must proclaim Jesus crucified, risen and coming again with all joy and exuberance of any other great victory, and all the while explaining to people the great brotherhood that we now can share with Jesus!  Maybe today you have pain and scars that sin has left in your life.  Know that our scars are healed through his scars.  And we will know Him by His scars. Have a look at this video and let it be a reminder to you that the Great High Priest our brother has gone to heaven to present his scars to God in our place!