Posts Tagged 'Mission'

Trust-Worthy Worship

By drewApril 20th, 2011Blog, Leadership, Mission/Justice, The Church, Worship1 Comment
Trust Worthy Worship Pic

I started in ministry as a youth pastor, not so much because I was trained in it or prepared for it, but mainly because I was a student myself.  My first job in ministry was the summer of my freshman year in college.  I was 18, optimistic and clueless, but loved kids and loved Jesus. At the time it didn’t seem like it would be that hard to imagine introducing them to each other and caring for them for a summer.  I’ll never forget in those earlier years of youth ministry trying to teach on trust.  I had my whole group of kids at a “ropes course” and we were about to do the trust fall.  I’d seen this done in my own youth group and remembered it being a powerful way to teach kids how to care for each other and to build trust in our group.  Thinking this would be a great lesson for our kids, I was standing toward the back waiting for the learning to begin when the guide says “Drew why don’t you come up and be first to fall and show these kids there’s nothing to be afraid of.” I was terrified, but had no choice.  I began to climb a ladder against a tree that led to an 8 or 9 foot platform.  He told me to cross my arms and to wait for the signal to fall backwards into the arms of my group.  I remember turning around to see the kids and noticing that the group was made up of mostly Junior High girls.  I was 6’3” and 250, and my faith in this exercise was waning by the minute.  The guide had the kids shout “Do you trust us?” and I shouted back, “I trust you!”. Without thinking too much more I let my weigh fall back and my heart race. In that moment my action proved my words, that I really did trust those kids.  They caught me, though they took me to the ground.  One by one they couldn’t wait to climb the ladder and fall themselves.

Our lives of worship are much the same.  It’s imperative that we not just say words, we must follow through with the fall, we have to trust God in the action as well. To worship and not trust, is to not worship at all.  When we live our lives as offerings to God, giving Him all that we are and believing He will use our mountain tops as well as our valleys, we’re trusting His sovereignty.  It’s one thing to stand and sing of God’s faithfulness, yet quite another to experience it.  It’s easy to form words and even muster passion in our hearts about what we believe and our commitment to Christ but still so much more to live lives of action, sacrifice, and obedience. God is more pleased when we obey Him over our liturgy as we “serve” him. (I Sam. 15:22).  God is blessed with our promise of trust, but we’re not trusting until we actually exercise it. Our songs and service to God are good but it’s not until we put our hands to the serving of those who are in need or put our feet to the journey of sharing Jesus with the world that our words, songs and worship have the substance of meaning, the proof in the pudding as it were. Missionaries worship as they build relationships and serve the poor, pastors worship as they shepherd the sick, families worship as they eat dinner together, reminded of God’s provision. The broken heart is full of worship as it hopes in the Lord, mourns authentically, yet trusts completely. Is your worship grounded in trust.  Don’t just yell out “God I trust you” without being willing to fall.

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Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind

By drewJanuary 13th, 2011Leadership, Mission/Justice, The Church, Worship1 Comment
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This past Christmas season I was so overwhelmed with the joy of family, the warmth of nostalgia, and even the perfect “white” Christmas.  We didn’t see a lot of snow, but it was enough to make Norman Rockwell feel inspired.  I am a blessed man, that was the thought that kept playing in my mind as tears rolled down my face after watching my favorite movie “It’s A Wonderful Life”.  My heart recounted a list of all the things wonderful in my life.  At the top were my beautiful little girls, my loving wife, my amazing family, my church and all the community around us.  Just as I was having this moment “counting my blessings” as it were, I heard myself sobbing and realized that there was more to my tears than thankfulness.  Deep in my soul I was weeping for all the children around the world without a warm place to lay, a meal to eat, a family to love or a God to plead to.  My wife asked me if I was ok, noticing that I had gone from a simple crooked smile and occasional tear to out right water works.  In one split second I went from thankfulness to brokenness for those in need.  I felt convicted that because of all the blessings God had given us, I had been blinded to the great need around the world.  Only a few months back I had spent 10 days in Haiti, surrounded by beautiful children, some orphans with joy in their hearts because of the hope they’d been given by their caretakers and others with a vacant stare of numb loss.  My heart had made a quick leap from my two girls to all of those children.  These weren’t kids on a charity card or fundraising television broadcast, but faces and names and personalities I’d been blessed to hold, play with, and care for.  It’s amazingly sad how quickly we can forget the world of need around us, or at least put it out of our minds and return to our American nirvana.

As I type, as you read, children, men and women eek out meager lives of survival.  Even in booming economies or bustling international cities, people of all nations seek to survive.  If not physically from malnutrition or the crisis of natural disaster, from the emptiness of life without a Savior.  I found myself weeping over their needs physical and spiritual – feeling hopeless my sadness changed to prayers for them and giving them to the only One who can truly meet those needs.  As much as I loved being with those children and caring for them, it is nothing to the love that God has for them, for me.  It’s not enough to pray, we must go, we must do all that we can, but our mission doesn’t begin looking at a map, instead it may be weeping over their need and seeking the Father for next steps.  This Christmas season, I wept and remembered those in need. Next year I may be there in person, don’t know. My prayer however, is that I remember that Jesus came to be “God with us” and until the world has heard of his life, death and resurrection, and we as believers have loved the least of these as “unto Christ”, I’ll continue to weep for those in need and obey the Lord’s command to “go and make disciples, baptizing them in the name of Jesus and teaching them all that He has taught us”.

* The photo above is one I took in the Sister’s Of Mercy Orphanage in Jacmel, Haiti.  She never smiled or showed any reaction or emotion at all. Her perfect face and lack of response made me think she looked like a little baby doll.  I can’t look at this picture without feeling the weight of that place and the needs so great every where you look.

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