Monday, March 28, 2011

The Kindness of Conviction

Yesterday morning I led worship at Redeemer. It's one of my favorite things to do while existing on this planet...definitely on my top 5 list. It was a great morning. Our congregation is such a family. It is feeling more and more that our weekly gatherings our cozy times in God's living room.

Today I've been reflecting back on what happened yesterday as I often do on Mondays. I was looking at our time of worship, seeing the faces and different outward expressions of worship that were displayed. Yesterday morning was one of those days I felt completely scattered in thought and focus. It's mornings like that I am aware and thankful that His presence comes out of His love for His people...not based on my perfection or performance.

As a worship leader/musician, there is this inward struggle that takes place of keeping my eyes on Him and what is on His heart vs. looking for instant gratification from the outward expression of worship from people to make me feel good in my role. In other words, because God has more work to do in my heart, I still struggle sometimes with gauging how I am doing as worship leader on how vibrantly people express praise outwardly (raising hands, yelling, dancing, kneeling, etc). If people are yelling and creating a raucous, I MUST be doing a good job! This is so dangerous because then it becomes all about me and my need to feel good. I realize yesterday that my thoughts were centered on looking for personal affirmation more than they were centered on magnifying (making bigger) my Father. Now...because God loves me and loves our people so much He did not withhold Himself yesterday because of my stupid mindset! Thank You, Jesus! It's because His presence isn't founded on my successful or failed performance. He just Is.

I am so thankful and needy of God's kind conviction. He only brought this to my mind to make me more like Him. He only brought this to my mind to make me a better daughter and leader. He only brought this to my mind out of love for His church. What if I served a God who left me in my current condition, with no hope of reform? I feel that I've had a few weeks now of being in a state of God's discipline. The Book of Hebrews says it is proof that He loves me. So, today I'm excited about His discipline...I'm excited about His gentle reminder that leading worship is not a job task for personal gain. And, I'm excited for His mercy that allows me the privilege to live my life to magnify Him. Today I get to start over and do it better.

God is good.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A Fun Game...

I tend to take Jesus admonition to come to Him like a little child seriously! I love that I follow a God who loves child-likeness. I find that He loves to play more than we serious hard-working humans dare to imagine. God and I like to play games together. He is often the initiator, or instigator!

At Redeemer, we are currently studying as a church body the letter of 1 Corinthians. I am really excited about this. It is challenging my heart and my understanding of the real Jesus. For me, the letters of Paul have always been a fight to fully understand...I think it's because of his crazy long run-on sentences. This week, we're looking at 1 Corinthians 1:26-31 and while studying this afternoon, God was in the mood to play a game. The game was to look for what these verses declare about His character. Read the verses below and then you'll see the treasures that I found. Feel free to add others that you may find.

26 Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28 God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29 so that no one may boast before him. 30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 31 Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”

*God delights in working outside of human wisdom and boxes.
*Within God's wisdom are 3 components - righteousness, holiness and redemption. His wisdom isn't just knowledge, but salvation for those who believe. 
*God chose me to agree with His values far before I actually agreed with His values.
*He is grace.
*He is patience.
*He knew what I was, yet chose me because He saw what I would become. 
*God has deliberately yielded Himself to partnership with weak, growing people. There is hope for me in Him that I can do great things.
*God is a good Father who separates (makes holy) His children to shame the wise and weaken the strong. 
*God has humbled Himself to partner with someone like me. 
(Is anyone getting thankful yet???!)
*God desires me to boast about other words, He finds my mouthpiece worthy to speak of Him! WOW! He trusts what I would say about Him to others!
*God is a good Father who gives the despised, wounded and rejected ones a home and value. 

What do you see?