Here’s a family legacy that I think most worship leaders would be proud to leave behind.
Donald S. Whitney on family worship and what your kids remember most:
Many times after family worship, I wondered if anything good had been accomplished. Almost nightly I had to remind myself to trust in the Lord to do his work through his Word, and not in my perceptions or feelings about what had or had not occurred.
Often came the nights when I perceived no enthusiasm to gather for family worship, and frankly, many times I had very little myself. In many such cases I knew we needed to proceed with at least a brief time of family worship out of sheer discipline and a resolve that refused to cave in to plausible excuses of everyone’s fatigue or busyness. Sometimes I sensed that to mandate family worship on that occasion would be received as harsh and legalistic, so we settled for simply singing the Doxology or offering a brief prayer. And I second-guessed myself just about every time I had to make such a call.
Click here to read the whole thing.
Today is Epiphany, so I thought it appropriate to share this reflection on the Magi, worship, and how encountering Christ changes us.
Brian Zahnd shares TS Eliot’s “The Journey Of The Magi” and follows it with his own, as he puts it, “quasi-interpretation”:
An old Magi remembers his hard journey from long ago.
A hard time we had of it
He doesn’t regret it. He says—
I would do it again
Finding the King of the Jews came with a price.
To be a witness of this Birth was to also experience a particular Death.
(The Magi had thought birth and death were different, but came find out otherwise.)
Once you get even an inkling of what it really means that Jesus is King—
Nothing is ever quite the same. Some things will die. For sure.
Brian’s post is a powerful reminder that recognizing Jesus as King carries a cost – but it’s worth it. Read it here.
Footnote: As a certified English teacher, I am of course legally obligated to be a fan of TS Eliot.
Mike O’Brien shares some great examples of personal goals and ministry goals that worship leaders should check out:
We so easily discount these goal making sessions as RESOLUTION PLANS that will only fail. But let me say this: You will inevitably begin and restart cycles of sin this year without a list or a plan. I promise. Knowing that the one who comes to steal and destroy is always working, we need to take the time to listen to what God has for us. There are more tools today to help us succeed than ever before.
Heads Up. It’s important that the goals for your family and home take precedence for growth BEFORE your ministry. Use these ministry examples to inspire the same discipline for your home life as well.
Overall, these are great goals, but one of them was frankly terrifying:
Lead ONE song this year from the piano
Unless “Chopsticks” has become a congregational worship song, I’m not sure I could pull that off. But maybe that’s the point…
Check out Mike’s full post here.
Pamela Haddix on new beginnings, looking backward, and praising God:
Entering a new year can make my head spin for a little bit. You? I find myself contemplating what the past year brought me (good and difficult) as well as what I hope the year ahead might look like. And that’s good to do. But how about using our New Year’s transition to fuel our worship?
Good thoughts on reflecting on the past year to remember how much God deserves our worship. Check it out here.
Our worship should never depend on our circumstances. God is always good and always deserves our praise. But when things are falling apart all around us, it can be hard to remember that.
Here’s Casey Lewis on difficult times, triumph, and an unchanging God:
So Habakkuk vows to thank the Lord, even during times of hardship. In fact, he promised not to allow anything to get in his way of praising and rejoicing in the Lord. How can Habakkuk make that promise? How can he promise ahead of time to rejoice in the Lord when everything around him comes crashing down? When he is facing hardship and suffering loss, what is it that allows him to take joy in God?
What is it that allows us to be thankful when things are difficult? I believe Habakkuk clues us into four truths in these three verses that allow us to thank God even in the difficult times.
Casey draws four lessons about worship from the third chapter of Habakkuk. Check it out here.
New Year’s Resolutions are, statistically speaking, not worth making. Last I heard, the average resolution lasts for about nine days. Those aren’t great odds. So instead of setting resolutions you won’t keep, here’s my advice for the coming year.
Imagine that it’s the end of 2016. Christmas is over and in you’re that quiet stretch before New Year’s Eve where you can rest and catch up a bit. You’re reflecting on 2016. If you asked yourself these questions, how would you hope to be able to answer them?
What was the greatest thing I did with or for my family this year?
Where would my family say I messed up the most?
What was the most important thing I accomplished in my ministry?
What was my biggest ministry failure this year?
Which non-essentials used up most of the time I wasted this year?
Which important projects should I have invested in more?
Rather than come up with a trite resolution like get more sleep or lose weight, use the questions above to guide your decisions in the coming year about where and how you invest your time and resources.
Pamela Haddix on waiting, worshipping, and wasting time:
It didn’t take me long to figure out that not only do I wait for other things more hours of the day than I wait for God, but I often wait more thought-consuming, emotion-driven hours of the day for them – only to be let down 99% of the immediate time. (That’s a lot of wasteful waiting!) And frankly, waiting on the wrong things just makes me so weary.
God expects me to wait for Him “more” than all these other things that so consume me. After all, He’s promised He will accomplish what concerns me as I wait on Him (Psalm 138:3, 8). He never overlooks my requests – though I may get a no or keep waiting.
I obviously can’t spend the most hours of my day on my knees waiting on God, but my most earnest, heart- and mind-invested waiting needs to be on Him. This is the tough part and essential part of what He wants to do in and through me.
Good thoughts about how we spend our time and energy. Read the whole thing here.
Pamela Haddix asks how desperate we really are to find and worship God:
I was reminded of these crazy dreams last week when I read Paul’s sermon on Mars Hill where he said,
“And He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, . . . that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and exist” (Acts 17:26-28a).
I feel like Paul at first said we should “seek God” and then decided to kick it up an notch and said, “No, grope for Him!”
When I stop to think about what groping for God might look like, I wonder if He sees me passionately grope for Him like I did for my baby girl in the night. Whether it’s in those moments that are so dark I can’t see my hand in front of my face, or when there’s so much clutter my view is blocked, or the rest of the time when He’s promised me that there’s so much more to be found – do I get on my hands and knees and grope for God until I find Him? The Acts’ verse says He’s “not far”!
As Pamela points out, we’re all on our hands and knees, groping desperately for God. Or at least we should be. Read the whole post here.
Daniel Ross lists some of the idols that can sneak up on us and take our worship away from God:
Everyone is a worshiper. We all have people or things that we love, sacrifice for, and are our number one affection. The main question each person should answer is this: Do you worship created things or the Creator? We will look at the many idols that we are completely oblivious to, and show that every problem in life is, at its core, a worship problem.
Even good things can become idols, so we need to be constantly aware.
Check out Daniel’s full post here.
Aaron Flores on the struggle to worship God alone when we’re away from the church service:
If I can be honest – the challenge for me is not necessarily for a church service to be Christ centered but for my life to be Christ centered. Getting off the throne of my life and putting God back on it every minute of the day. It’s pretty easy to worship when the music is great and the message is inspiring and you’re around people you like but the challenge is during the week. The challenge is during the “grey days” of your week, the “ordinary” moments.
How will you center your worship on God out in the world after Sunday?
Read Aaron’s full post here.