Worship in Heaven

The main prayer I’ve been praying for myself this year is that I would be a true worshiper.

Music wars

Worship in HeavenVerbal praise and singing is only one aspect of worship, though it’s a very important one. It also seems (to me at least) to be a confusing one.

The Bible doesn’t give us a clear description of what music meets His standard and what doesn’t. What is a matter of preference and taste and what has to conform to His will. What mix of instruments is glorifying, and whether there are styles He does not accept.
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How I Got Married

Even though I’d never met my future wife and she lived 8,500 miles away.

A year ago today, I got a friend request from a girl I’d never heard of.

Now we’ve been married for four months.

How to get married, ChristianPretty much everything about our love story is different from what I had imagined, and I’m so thankful for that.

The verse, “A man’s heart devises his way, but the Lord directs his steps,” is so true. (Proverbs 16:9)

The wife God had for me is so much more wonderful than I could have ever hoped for.

My plans don’t match God’s plans

I have hardly ever added someone on Facebook that I haven’t met, and never added anyone that I hadn’t been introduced to.

So on this day a year ago when a friend request popped up, I ignored it. A couple of hours later a message came through. Rachel was saying she lived way over in Virginia, talked about our mutual friends and connections and said she’d like to friend me. Her picture was pretty cute too.

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I’m What’s Wrong

A theologian was once asked, “Why did Jesus choose Judas Iscariot to be his disciple?” The teacher replied, “I don’t know, but here’s an even harder question: Why did Jesus choose me?” (From our Bible study this week.)

We easily focus on the condition of others and not on our own. It’s easy to be outraged at the lack of justice dished out to somebody else, and not think about what justice would have meant for ourselves.

It reminded me of an old story. A newspaper asked the question, “What is wrong with the world?”

Of course they got plenty of answers blaming society’s ills on various causes.

But they got one answer that said this:

“I’m what’s wrong.

“I’m a sinner.”

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Disregard Previous Advice

It’s come to my attention I may not have the perfect view of theology. ;o)

You know how we often ask each other what has God been showing you lately?

Well to sum up the main point from my last year or so, the answer would be: to stop being so hard headed!

I knew I was wrong about some of my beliefs. (Chances that I had the perfect view of theology were pretty slim! And there was always plenty that plain confused me.) But I didn’t have much time for people who varied very far from my view point.

God used someone else’s error to show me mine. When I got upset with someone else being divisive I realised how restrictive my view of Christianity was.

Regulations v. Treasures

I used to wish that the Bible was an instruction manual/rule book. Then we wouldn’t be confused about anything, we wouldn’t debate different viewpoints, and we wouldn’t have to wrestle with it.

While it would make life simple, it obviously wasn’t the best for us. God could have written the Bible any way He wanted. And He wanted it just how it is. Detailed and nuanced and sometimes confusing. But also deep and rich and full of treasure that we would need the Holy Spirit to understand.

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God’s Extravagance

The Crater Lake on Mount Ruapehu

Yesterday was the most jaw dropping amazing day ever, for me.

We climbed Mount Ruapehu (one of the “world’s most active volcanos” and the highest mountain on New Zealand’s North Island), and explored the peaks and glaciers around the crater lake.

I can’t describe how epic it was, and the photos and video we took don’t do it any justice.

On top of the mountain I was almost sad that most people wouldn’t get to see the sights I was seeing, but so grateful that I got to see God’s handiwork.

Isn’t it amazing the things God makes that will never be seen?

Mount Ruapehu in winter. (Photo by Antoine Hubert / flickr.)

The other day my little brothers were watching Bear Grylls, and I saw a bit where he came across a beautiful flower in the jungle. He called it nature’s extravagance and talked about how God places beautiful things out there that no one will ever see.

There’s no scarcity with God. He can make beautiful things out in the wild that no one will ever know about, and it doesn’t deplete His supplies at all.

In church today it helped me worship God when I thought about the mountain. It was majestic, and awe inspiring, and in a way powerful. Yet God made it so easily. He spoke it into existence. Its complexity pales compared to some things He’s made and the things He’s done.

Some cultures worship mountains. But we worship the mountain breather.1

God didn’t need to make the mountain, but He loves to show us His glory. And in days to come He’s going to show us much more.

Thank you Lord for amazing us!

  1. To rephrase Louie Giglio. []

Giving God Advice

I’m currently reading The Joy of Fearing God by Jerry Bridges, and it’s a great book so far.

At the moment he’s talking about how awesome God is. He quoted these verses…

Who has understood the mind of the Lord, or instructed Him as His counselor?

Whom did the Lord consult to enlighten Him, and who taught Him the right way?

Who was it that taught Him knowledge, or showed Him the path of understanding?

– Isaiah 40:13-14

He points out how amazing things are that God has done. Look at the incredible things He has made. Could we have helped God out as a consultant? Could we have given advice on how to make things better?

Duh, no!

Yet we continually want to give God advice on the providential working of things.

I guess we would never actually say it, but we seem to think God could use a bit of our wisdom to better plan things that are going wrong in our lives.

Those thoughts woke me up. It’s so easy to think about how things could be better managed.  But to think we could run things better than God is the dumbest idea going.

He is wise and loving. And we can trust in that.

Getting Humble

Humility by Andrew Murray

Sometimes it’s a scary thought that our love for God is measured by how we relate to other people.

“If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.

“And this command we have from Him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.”

1 John 4:20-21

I recently finished reading Humility by Andrew Murray. Not that I needed to, I’ve already got humble.

(Just kidding.)

The thing about humility, as the author points out, is that it’s not so hard to assume a posture of humility before God, the hard thing is keeping an attitude of humility with all the people. Humility isn’t just a train of thought, it’s part of your nature. Or not, as the case may be.

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Encouraging Christian young people to get serious about serving the Lord.