Archives: Worship

Forward Worship. (or the Commodity of Happiness)

If there’s one treasure in life people will spend their time, energy, resources, and ultimately themselves trying to find … that commodity is happiness.
Being happy just seems to make living easier.
It’s pretty easy to love when you’re feeling happy.  I guess it’s just easier to smile and hug and do all the crap that goes along with being affectionate and giving adoration when you’re feeling great.
Happiness colors our perspective and flavors our language.  It’s a motivator and energizer.  The world seems a little more alive when we’re happy, and sometimes we let ourselves thing we’re a little bit more valuable when we’re carrying the precious cargo of happiness.
It’s easy to worship out of the context of happiness.  As a believer, I’m normally humble enough to recognize that that blessings that come in my life may be there as a result of my obedience, but that I am not orchestrator of these good things.  After all, all good gifts do originate in the Father.  This precious commodity, happiness, focuses my attention of the greatness of Jesus and normally results in a posture of praise.
But there are days when I’m not happy.
There are seasons in life when I wake up in the morning with the glass already half-empty.  Then it seems that on those days, I find a way to knock the cup over when I’m getting out of bed.  Things don’t get better for no apparent reason and my melancholy gains a momentum of it’s own.
There are times when I just feel uneasy, times when I feel lost, and some times when I just feel broken.  Maybe I’m just lost in a dream that there’s more to life than what I’ve know or experienced.  Maybe I’m just sad.   Whatever’s going on with me in those moments, sadness becomes the prevalent perspective.  It’s like wearing a coat that’s too heavy and a hat that’s too tight.
Worship is difficult when we’re not happy.
Sometimes we need to worship forward.  A forward perspective in worship knows that we’re all pretty much broken and in need of Jesus.  It knows that our current circumstances leave a lot to be desired, but that all good and perfect gifts do, indeed, come from the Father.
Some times we need to be reminded that we haven’t got it all figured out & that we have not arrived.  Some times we need to long for our rightful place in unbroken fellowship with Jesus.  Some times we need that.
I’m living through one of those seasons right now, for no particular reason.
This week, I’ve been challenged to lavish my affection upon Jesus for the simple reason that He is the only obsession I could have that will leave me full.  It’s so easy to forget that and then allow ourselves to elevate other good things to an obsession.  Those good things (our kids, our marriage, our carriers, etc) are good in the right perspective and with the right sense of priority attached to them.  When they become our obsession, though, they will leave us empty and broken.
So, this Sunday as I get to lead our church in worship, it will be with a forward perspective, obsessing over and longing for Jesus.
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Worship for Sunday, November 8, 2009
Worship Leader: Kevin Simmons
Songs to Know

Evolutionary Love.

On Monday I was in the studio with my friend Scott Moore working on a worship project we have slated for release later this year.  Needless to say I completely believe in every song we’ve selected.  More than every song, I believe in the musicians that have volunteered to play on the project.  They are exceptional musicians and great friends.
Recording an album is a beautiful process of creation.  Each song starts with a skeleton and flowers into a creation all it’s own.  Each musician adds his or her own flavor to the song as it evolves, and, in the end, it’s a remarkable representation of something completely beautiful.
Towards the end of the day Scott was working on a solo over a small part of one of our songs.  I marveled at how even his “screw ups” were amazing.  It was exciting to watch him in that environment.
I think that as Jesus watches us respond to Him His heart is moved in just the same way.  It’s not perfection that he seeks, just pure motive, and I can’t imagine how much His heart is moved by that.
Be encouraged every time you see something beautiful in some one or something else, because Jesus sees you through an even greater love.  He longs for your life to be responding to His.  Our lives are this beautiful creation of adoration for Jesus as they evolve in response to Him.  That is worship.

Die Empty (A Tarheel Football Story)

Entering week four of the college football season the University of North Carolina’s Football Program is currently undefeated, with a record of 3-0, and currently ranked #18 in the Coaches Poll.  While the Tarheels have not looked overly impressive, they’ve found ways to win several close games and enter the weekend as one of the two unbeaten teams remaining in the ACC.  I’m a huge football & UNC fan, so, thanks to Butch Davis’ leadership, I finally have a Tarheel football program to follow and be proud of.
If you’ve watched football over the last couple seasons, you’ve noticed a new phenomenon that’s being embraced on the football field: hiding messages on those eye black patches players are now wearing.
I think the most infamous of the “eye-black messages” may be on the eye-blacks of Tim Tebow, the quarterback of the University of Florida.  Each week he writes a scripture reference on them.  Tebow loves Jesus and uses these small messages as an opportunity to display his witness for Jesus.  I’ve never liked Florida much, but I have a lot of respect for Tebow, both as a man and as a football player.
This past weekend I was watching the Tarheels play East Carolina’s Pirates.  UNC and East Carolina always play each other well.   During the game I noticed most of the guys have these eye-black patches with little messages on.  At one point, a defensive back from UNC stood up and you could plainly read the message he chose for this week:
One word under each eye:  Die Empty.
Worship is the emptying of ourselves.  It’s the forsaking of our option to elevate ourselves, our things, and others to receive our affections and deepest attention.  Worship is the choice to die empty.
Jesus said that if we were to follow him, we would need to be dying daily to ourselves, our addictions, our will, our stuff, and our agenda.  To be alive in Christ is to be dead to all of that.
To worship is to choose, with a quiet resilience, to empty ourselves of anything but Jesus and die empty, filled and satisfied solely by Jesus.
So, my friends, have a worshipful day and “die empty”.
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Worship this week @ Friend Church.
Worship Leader: Kevin Simmons
Songs to know:
We Will Not Be Shaken” & “How He Loves

A Start.

This Beautiful Nose – the sermon series begins this Sunday, July 26th at Friend Church in Irmo, SC and continues for three weeks.  During the coming months, I will be writing a blog weekly on worship.  Feel free to stop by and join the conversation.

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