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Posts from the ‘Worship’ Category

Lord, please

So, it’s the end of the year, and I wish I had a brilliant conclusion, a top ten, an inspiring word to kick you into the first of the year, but I don’t.  Usually, when I’m looking for words of wisdom or something funny to say, I look to my kids.  Fortunately, they never run out of material.

On Christmas Eve, Chris and I had a great day with our kids.  We spent the day playing games, reading the Christmas story (focusing on the shepherds and angels this year), and praying together.  We love the stage our kids are in because they are now fully capable of playing games like UNO and Mexican Train.  They are also capable of engaging in discussion and offering their own prayers.

While we were praying, though, Cooper, only uttered “Lord, please…” then he trailed off.  He mumbled something else to let us know he was finished, then we moved on.

We’re still not quite sure what was going on with him that morning.  Maybe he was embarrassed.  Maybe he was uncomfortable.  Maybe he couldn’t communicate what was going on in his mind.  Maybe he was just being five.

But it doesn’t really matter.

Because the magnitude of those two words

LORD

Please

Shows that he gets it.

He was showing reverence and gratitude and acknowledgment of sovereignty.

He knows who is LORD.

He knows who is able.

It’s great when simple words from a child cause us to worship.  And, maybe when we’re speechless, their words can remind us that little is needed to call out.  Sometimes, only two words.

 

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Brought Near By Christmas

A friend presented a beautiful depiction of the gospel recently, and I want to attempt it in my words.

Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” (Matthew 2:1-2)

The Wise Men were far away and were brought near by the star.

When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet:
“‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for from you shall come a ruler
who will shepherd my people Israel.'” (Matthew 2:3-6)

The religious men were near (in proximity) but their hearts were far away.

But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ (Ephesians 2:13). Read Ephesians 2 in its entirety here.

THIS is what should cause us to fall on our faces during this season.  That God came in flesh to bring us near.  We were far away in our sin and filth, not desiring him, not wanting anything to do with goodness, standing at a distance from peace on earth, wrapped in dissension, mocking righteousness, turning our backs on good will toward men, laughing at the thought of joy in the world.

The ruler humbled himself to bring sinners near.

Wise men still seek him?  Certainly.  But, for myself it seems to be more the other way around.  He still seeks me.  I am prone to forget my name, and he gently reminds.  I am capable of turning my back, standing at a distance, mocking.  And, he is faithful to continue the work he started the first Christmas.

He came to bring men near.

He has brought us near.

He will continue his work in bringing us near.

Jesus Wept

I’m not sure if I’ll be able to convey the thoughts I’ve been having since Sunday’s sermon.

But, the question I have in my mind is:  Would it be easier to “be removed” and die or “get involved” and die?

The only example I have been able to think of in human terms is having friends move. We recently have had friends move into our city, then into our church, then into our small group.  They are only passing through, on their way to another country.  I have a choice to make:  to withhold myself from them or give myself to them.

When we stay removed from a situation, we are able to somewhat guard our hearts, protect our feelings, spare our emotions.

When we get involved, our feelings can’t be spared, the protection is removed from our hearts, emotions are unguarded.

So, when I think about Jesus coming to earth and making friends, I just think about the alternative —

What if he came and died for sins but was somehow removed from the pain that the involvement of true friendship can bring?

He wasn’t.

Jesus was sad and angered by the death of Lazarus because he loved him (John 11).

He wasn’t removed, and he didn’t withhold human feelings but got involved.  He had relationships with real people, enough to hurt over them.  He didn’t just appear from heaven — to a cross — then back.

When I think about my sinful self, I think of how willing I am to get involved.  Maybe I’ll “do” for people, maybe I’ll even invite you into my small group, but if I know it will result in hurt or even seeing your sinfulness, I should probably stay somewhat removed.  I know it’s Christ and not me, but if it were me, I might do better dying if I were removed.  If I were involved, it would be hard to see the depth of sin.  It may be even harder to be friends.  It would just be easier to stay removed than get in the mess.

Jesus knew he would hurt.  

He knew they would hurt him.

He knew he would see the depths of their sinfulness.

He got involved.

Beyond the involvement of any other man.

“The miracle of the incarnation is that we don’t have a distant God who treats our sin, suffering and death like an impersonal business transaction.  Since  sin and suffering are personal, Jesus is personal.  He’s the God who feels our pain, weeps over suffering, and involves himself in our mess, in order to identify with us and rescue us.” Greg Gibson

For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:7-8)