Worship, Create, Encourage

Purposes

Hi, I’m Brad. I write this on a clear summer morning in August of 2019. I am compelled to write to you because I have a life purpose. Well, 3 purposes in 1. Because of my new life in Christ, I live to

  • worship
  • create
  • encourage

(Might I add that I love to worship, create and encourage…)

1 Corinthians 10:31 says, “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God.” From that, I have understood that my life purpose is to “do everything for the glory of God.” Everything.

Seriously, everything?

Now, I confess immediately that I don’t do everything all the time for the glory of God. I’m not proud of that. It’s just a fact of my humanity, even in my redemption from “my empty way of life” (1 Pet. 1:18). I sin. I stumble. I fall. It’s just there as a reality of life. (This doesn’t mean that I am helpless…oh, no, far from helpless. But more on that at another time.)

But, even though I fail, I can say with Paul that I make it my aim (2 Cor. 5:9) to do everything for the glory of God. And in that one central purpose, I have discerned 3 particular ways that I strive to fulfill. And in my effort to live out those 3 purposes, one result is this communication with you, dear reader.

My life and your life and the intersection

I will be developing these themes over the next few posts. But let me sum up my central reason for writing to you. I want to help you to worship the living God. Therefore, my writing will aim to advance these themes.

  • help – my ongoing prayer is that I will write something helpful to you. I’m not a deep theologian, but I am a theologian (as are you…). So, my writing will not be profound or revolutionary. But I pray it is helpful in that you will be able to understand it and in some way apply it
  • you – I have taken the writing form of a personal address to you, my dear reader. Some of you I will know personally, and some not. But I will strive to maintain a personal address to you as though you are a dear friend for whom I want the very best in life.
  • worship – I have taken in my life a central purpose of worship. I will encourage you to do the same. I will attempt to do so creatively. There are those three words again. For you, I hope you find your key words for life.
  • living – these are written that you may live a God-glorifying, others-helping life NOW. You are living now. I am living now. I seek to help you (and me) live a life of meaning NOW, because in doing so, we are preparing for an eternity of enjoying a fuller experience of joy in Christ. We can only do so perfectly in His presence as we strive to do so now imperfectly.
  • God – There is one God and one Mediator between God and man, Jesus Christ (1 Tim. 2:5). My ultimate aim is that you and I would know Him and love Him and live for Him above all and at all cost, forsaking all else for the supreme joy of knowing him (Phil. 3:7-8). We come to know God the Father through Jesus the Son by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Join me on the journey

I make only the promise of weekly posts. This may increase at times. Because I am a pastor with a full rich life, there may be times when the frequency may be less. There may be times when I will explode with several in the course of a few days. But, I’d rather under-promise and over-deliver.

You can subscribe to this through WordPress. You can follow me on Twitter @oh_magnify. I’ll also cross-post notices on Facebook at shbcspokane. And, I’ll post notices on my Instagram account thgmusic. Feel free to follow where you like.

I do moderate the comments on my posts. I enjoy civil discourse, but reserve the right to not allow verbally abusive posts.

I’ll see you next time.

Power and Faith

God’s power, your faith.

1 Peter 1:5

And through your faith, God is protecting you by his power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see.

How high is high?

Psalm 103:11-12

For as high as the heavens are above the earth,

so great is His faithful love

toward those who fear Him.

As far as the east is from the west,

so far has He removed

our transgressions from us.

Can you see beyond the stars with your naked eye? Can we see the farthest reaches of the galaxy, the universe?

Even if you could see that far, God’s love and forgiveness would still exceed it.

That is why our poor measure of sight and comprehension cannot cope with His grace. We cannot believe in an extension of compassion so vast and magnificent.

Ancient man could not comprehend a universe greater than what he could see. We now can see farther into the once-unknown than ever. And with that, we believe we can see it all. Our own God-given wisdom leads us to think we can fully know the breadth of God.

Oh, save us from our “wisdom”, Lord! Let us cast ourselves upon you and receive with childlike wonder and awe your blessing of grace.

A new command

John 13:34-35

“So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”

The real question here for us is not “what is new about this command?” No, the real question is “how will I obey this command today?”

The Lord made the heavens

For all the gods of the peoples are worthless idols, but the LORD made the heavens. Psalm 96:5 (ESV)

I’ve been thinking about this verse for a couple of days. There are many places in Scripture where we are reminded of the utter helplessness and impotence of man-made objects of worship. These are “idols” that become “gods” to us. These are objects that we fashion ourselves, as in Psalm 115:4-8:

Their idols are silver and gold,

the work of human hands.

They have mouths, but do not speak;

eyes, but do not see.

They have ears, but do not hear;

noses, but do not smell.

They have hands, but do not feel;

feet, but do not walk;

and they do not make a sound in their throat.

Those who make them become like them;

so do all who trust in them.

Impotent, powerless, insensitive, empty. Made of precious materials, but of no value whatsoever.

But why in the immediate context, does the psalmist compare the “gods” to the Lord as the maker of “the heavens”?

This is what I’ve been thinking about. The Lord of my life “made the heavens.” This echoes Genesis 1:1, In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. Out of nothing, God created everything. What has an idol created? It had to be fashioned, either as a physical object, as with the “worthless idols” referred to in the psalm, or as an object in my mind, such as my sense of self-worth, pride, desire, passion, or self-confidence.

“But the LORD made the heavens.”

Oh, foolish heart! Why do I continue to trust in myself? Why do I continue to put myself as the greatest idol of my life? All worthless idols are just means to an end: self-exaltation. I don’t even want the idols or want to worship the idols for what they are. I want what they can give me, make me–how they can satisfy my never-ending need for what I want: glory.

And I resist God’s glorious call to me because I know that God will not serve me. I must come to him and worship him for who he is, and that alone. Though the phrase, “who he is”, is full of everything that was, is and is to come. He will not be confined by my limited knowledge of him.

I want to be known! “But the LORD made the heavens.”

I want fame! “But the LORD made the heavens.”

I want to be esteemed and revered! “But the LORD made the heavens.”

I want to be loved on my terms! “But the LORD made the heavens.”

I want my desires to be fulfilled! “But the LORD made the heavens.”

“But the LORD made the heavens.”

“But the LORD made the heavens.”

“But the LORD made the heavens.”

I am crushed into surrendered sweetness by the weight of his glory.

In the morning you hear my voice…

O Lord, in the morning you hear my voice; in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you and watch. Psalm 5:3 (ESV)

O Lord – the first person I speak to in the morning is you, Lord. For only you hear me in the truest, deepest sense of hearing.

in the morning – at the beginning of the day, I need you. I need you to hear me. I need you to answer me.

you hear my voice – you do hear me, Lord. You hear me to the depths of my soul, whether in joy or despair, faith or hopelessness

in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you – what is my sacrifice for you today, Father? I sacrifice my self-assurance, my self-confidence, my confidence in my own wisdom and strength.

and watch – I watch for your answer! You answer prayer all the time, faithful God, and I miss it too often because I’m looking for my answer, the answer I want. Help me to look for your answer.

“I shall again praise him…”

Why are you cast down, o my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God. Psalm 42:11

The longing to praise God doesn’t go away when I am in the depths of despair. I wrestle within my soul because I know the truth: God is my salvation and my hope, my only surety, the only one in whom I can fully trust. I know these things!

So, why I am struggling so? Why am I so sad?

Oh, God, is my wrestling with these thoughts worship? I am trying to work these things out before you. Am I giving you praise in the midst of it? And by that I mean am I looking to you alone for the answers? Praise is recognizing God, recognizing you, Father, for all you are. All of your majesty, all of your holiness, all of your love, all of your grace, all of your justice, all of your faithfulness, all of your steadfastness, all of your power.

As I cry out to you from the depths of my despair I am seeing through the tears, through the dimness of the dark day, that you are the only one I can turn to. You are the only one I can cry out to. So, I am praising you. I am worshiping you, even in the pain. I praise you in the dark as I seek your light.

There is a dawn coming. And in the light of that dawn, I will see you anew and afresh. I shall again praise you in the light of day.