Worship, Create, Encourage


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.

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?”

Humbling yourself

Matthew 23:12 (ESV): Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.

I can somewhat understand how I can exalt myself, both inwardly and publicly, in various ways. I have exalted myself on more than one occasion. I’ve then just as often been humbled (or humiliated) in the aftermath. It’s interesting how humiliation is most often a public thing. I rarely find myself humiliated in my private thoughts…

So where does the ability to humble myself come from? How can I, being imperfect and human and stupid and insensitive, make myself humble? Is that even possible?

I love Tim Keller’s quote: “Humility, true humility, is not thinking less of yourself. It’s thinking of yourself less.”

And there may be the necessary act in humbling myself. I can’t actively, in a sense, humble myself. But I do take on the attitude and action of Christ-like humility simply by thinking of myself (about myself) less.

So today, Lord, help me to think of others more: how I can serve? how can I pray? how can I actively make the lives of others better?

Psalm for the Day – Feb. 6, 2012

 “Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4

I have always loved this verse. It speaks to me of what I call the upward spiral of delighting in the Lord. 

I think of it this way. As I delight in the Lord, He gives me more of Himself through the fellowship of the Spirit. So, I am filled with love, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. As I am encouraged and refreshed by this fellowship with Him, it awakens in me a greater desire for *more*. God delights in giving us more of Himself, so He fulfills that desire. So then, I delight in Him afresh and all the more. So I am stirred to yet more Godly desires and leanings, and I pray to Him for them. And, He gives me *more*.

So I am on an upwardly ascending spiral, ever-reaching for Him and for my heavenly home, which becomes more and more my desire…

Live your life with purpose

I just posted something to my Facebook page, a verse and a comment.
Here is the verse:
Proverbs 1:32 “For the waywardness of the simple will kill them, and the complacency of fools will destroy them;” (NIV)
Here’s the comment:
“OK, that may seem a little intense for a first verse share of the new year, but my heart (for you and me) is that we live our lives for the Lord *intentionally* in this new year. Make today count *for HIM*. There is a way you can live, today and for the year, that shows that your life is no longer yours, but *HIS*. Live your life *that way*. Today, by the power of His grace, begin to live that way. May God strengthen you for the journey.”

Have you ever gotten to the end of a day and thought, “well, that was a wasted day”? To be honest with you, I HATE it when I feel that way. Ever since becoming a follower of Christ, I have wanted every day to mean something in my walk with Him. To grow in grace, to put away a sin issue, to share the gospel with someone, to love others better…all of these and more drive me each day in my life with Him (and for Him). By God’s grace, I think I have had many days that were lived with a real kingdom purpose and mindset.

But what do I do with the day that just doesn’t “feel” that way? How do I come to God at the end of that day? Well, here are a few things that I do:
1. first and foremost, I do a heart-check. Was this day really a failure? Was there some artificial marker that I had set for myself, and, not having achieved it, feel like a failure? If the answer is “yes” to the artificical marker question, I confess my sin of works righteousness before God, and ask Him to show me how to do good works for His sake (not my own sense of self-fulfillment) and in His strength. God has prepared good works for me to do (Eph. 2:10), but I am a fool if I think that the good works that I do make me more acceptable in His eyes (Eph. 2:8-9). I breathe a prayer of confession and repentance and seek to commit the next day to Him.
2. Was there a blatant sin (of commission or omission) that I did during the day? Did that keep me from pursuing my whole-hearted service to the Lord in everything? Nothing makes me feel like more of a failure than when I sin. Jesus died to pay the price for my sin, so that by faith in Him I could be restored to a loving relationship with God the Father. When I sin, I despise the price paid for me. I take for granted that which Christ purchased with His blood: my life and my hope, now and forever. Satan wants me to wallow in the regret of the sin. God wants me to confess the sin (and therefore confess my utter dependence upon Him), accept His forgiveness, forsake the sin (turn away from it, by the power of the Spirit), close my eyes and rest in Him. I can rest and sleep a peaceful sleep by resting in the grace and mercy of God.
3. I am a physical being. Is my sense of the day being wasted just wrapped up in my tiredness? Or my sickness? One of my daughters has rheumatoid arthritis. I have a close friend who has fibromyalgia. I know others who are suffering with cancer and suffering with the treatment for cancer. If all they have to count on for a sense of purpose and peace in life is their physical sense of well-being, then they are in the most despair. God is sovereign over all things. These afflictions are His doing. I am tired or weary or sick because I am *not God*. My tiredness reminds me that He is always the one who gives strength. So, I have to pray for my spirit to rest in Him. And, if neither #1 or #2 from above are in play, then I try to recount the blessings of the day, give God the glory for them, and close my eyes in rest.

So, what do these things have to do with the verse quoted from Proverbs? Even as a Christian, it is all too possible for me to live like a fool. It is all to practicable for me to be complacent in my life. (Complacency = “satisfaction or *self-satisfaction* accompanied by unawareness of actual dangers or deficiencies”). I want my life to be the *opposite* of those qualities. I want to be wise in my living. I want to be intentional in the life that I live. I don’t want to be wayward, directionless, in my life in Christ. I don’t want to be complacent. I want to be satisfied in Him (not self-satisfied). I want to be aware of the dangers around me (the world, the flesh, the devil). I want to be aware of my deficiencies (so that I would glory all the more in the *sufficiencies* of Christ.)

O Sovereign Lord, help me in 2012 to live a life that is purposeful. Help me to make the most of each day, each opportunity to love You and to serve You, as well as loving others and serving them. Help me to focus the energy and grace of the day You have given so that it resonates with Your strength and joy and hope. Help me to be aware of the dangers of complacency. Help me at the end of each day to confess my sins, count my blessings, and rejoice in the glorious hope of the Gospel.

Our Purpose Here on Earth

I just read this encouraging devotional thought from Spurgeon’s “Morning and Evening”:

If God had willed it, each of us might have entered heaven at the moment of conversion. It was not absolutely necessary for our preparation for immortality that we should tarry here. It is possible for a man to be taken to heaven, and to be found meet to be a partaker of the inheritance of the saints in light, though he has but just believed in Jesus. It is true that our sanctification is a long and continued process, and we shall not be perfected till we lay aside our bodies and enter within the veil; but nevertheless, had the Lord so willed it, he might have changed us from imperfection to perfection, and have taken us to heaven at once. Why then are we here? Would God keep his children out of paradise a single moment longer than was necessary? Why is the army of the living God still on the battle-field when one charge might give them the victory? Why are his children still wandering hither and thither through a maze, when a solitary word from his lips would bring them into the centre of their hopes in heaven? The answer is—they are here that they may “live unto the Lord,” and may bring others to know his love. We remain on earth as sowers to scatter good seed; as ploughmen to break up the fallow ground; as heralds publishing salvation. We are here as the “salt of the earth,” to be a blessing to the world. We are here to glorify Christ in our daily life. We are here as workers for him, and as “workers together with him.” Let us see that our life answereth its end. Let us live earnest, useful, holy lives, to “the praise of the glory of his grace.” Meanwhile we long to be with him, and daily sing—

“My heart is with him on his throne,
And ill can brook delay;
Each moment listening for the voice,
‘Rise up, and come away.’ ”

I Must Tell Jesus

Some Sundays I get the privilege to play a brief instrumental “meditation” after the message. For me, it’s a time of prayer and reflection that is expressed through music. It quiets my heart and helps me reflect on the truth just preached in the message. It is worship, plain and simple.

I don’t plan what I’m going to play. I do this for a couple of reasons.

First, I like the musical challenge of making something up on the spot. It helps me stay sharp as a musician/arranger/composer. I don’t ever mean to do it from a prideful standpoint. Some people serve and minister in ways that I could never dream of. This is something that I can do, so I just try to offer it to the Lord from a grateful heart.

The second reason I don’t plan what I’m going to play is that I like for the Holy Spirit to move in me, leading me to a song that might be appropriate for the morning. Sometimes, that song is an old hymn. Sometimes the song is a contemporary song. Sometimes, I just improvise something new, in the moment…playing a “new song”, as it were.

I listen to the sermon like everyone does. I am challenged and encouraged as I trust everyone is as God’s Word is preached and proclaimed. I then respond, in that moment, with worship of a song. My prayer for the body is that you will respond with worship according to the way God has gifted you. Serve, speak, encourage, exhort, teach and lead according to the way God has gifted you, as an act of worship to Him.


This morning’s song (Oct. 31) was an old hymn, called “I Must Tell Jesus”. Several of you asked about it after the service. The words are printed below. I trust they will be an encouragement to you…

I Must Tell Jesus

by Elisha A. Hoffman

I must tell Jesus all of my trials;
I cannot bear these burdens alone;
In my distress He kindly will help me;
He ever loves and cares for His own.


I must tell Jesus! I must tell Jesus!
I cannot bear my burdens alone;
I must tell Jesus! I must tell Jesus!
Jesus can help me, Jesus alone.

I must tell Jesus all of my troubles;
He is a kind, compassionate friend;
If I but ask Him, He will deliver,
Make of my troubles quickly an end.


Tempted and tried, I need a great Savior;
One Who can help my burdens to bear;
I must tell Jesus, I must tell Jesus;
He all my cares and sorrows will share.


O how the world to evil allures me!
O how my heart is tempted to sin!
I must tell Jesus, and He will help me
Over the world the victory to win.

Hebrews 2:18 “For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.” (ESV)

Hebrews 4:15-16 “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need”

Joining with you in prayer,