Tag Archives: freedom

Your Life, God’s Canvas (part 1)

“He brought them out of darkness and the deepest gloom and broke away their chains.  Let them give thanks to the Lord for His unfailing love and His wonderful deeds for men, for He breaks down the gates of bronze and cuts the bars of iron.”  Psalm 10:14-15

Worship leads to freedom (http://bit.ly/ke4TQN); freedom leads to worship.  That from which we have been set free will provide a point of reference for both our freedom and our worship.  The gospel is true regardless of our experience, scripture is inerrant in spite of our feelings and the Bible is the foundation of God’s word to mankind, but our experience is what we use to decorate it…to make it uniquely ours.  The testimony that God has given us by making us a brand new creation in Jesus is what makes our story unique and attractive to those around us; those to whom God has called us to minister.

In one of the worship teams that Jennifer and I led there was a young woman who would well up with tears each and every time she sang.  Her voice was wonderful and she always worshipped with excellence, but occasionally she would be so overcome with the emotion from what God had done, and was continuing to do, in her life that she couldn’t finish the solo.

One day she came and asked that we not call on her to sing solos anymore.  When asked why she said, “nobody wants to see me cry; it must be so awkward for everyone whenever I sing because I’m so emotional.  Why to you keep asking me when it must be disappointing to you that I can’t even finish the song because I’m so emotional.”

“On the contrary,” I said.  “It’s specifically because you are so emotional that we ask you to sing.  If anything, people need to be more passionate about what God has done for them.”

As we spoke I assured her that God had appointed her to be who He had made her to be specifically because someone, many someones, would identify with her.  The individuality of her testimony was that very thing God had given her to decorate the framework of His gospel in her life.  Sure enough she continued to sing, she continued to cry and people continued to come to Jesus because of her obedience in telling His story through her life.

What is your experience?  What story has God given you to decorate the framework of His gospel in you?  Let your worship reflect what He has freed you from.  If your release is big and boisterous, let your worship be big and boisterous.  If your freedom is quiet and reflective, let your worship be also.  And it may be different for different seasons of freedom, but decorate God’s framework of your life with what He has made you to be.  Let your worship be a reflection of who you are in Christ.  Let your worship be an authentic picture of who He has made you to be.

~part 2 tomorrow~

The Law of Conservation of (Spiritual) Energy

“At midnight the Lord struck down all the firstborn in Egypt…”, “…Pharoah summoned Moses and Aaron and said, ‘Up! Leave my people, you and the Israelites! Go, worship the Lord as you have requested.'” Exodus 12:29 & 31

Ten plagues it took for Pharaoh to change his mind: blood, frogs, gnats, flies, dead livestock, boils, hail, locusts, darkness, death of the firstborn.

A few days ago I wrote that the reason Moses asked for the people of Israel to be let go was to go in the desert to worship (“Worship in the Desert“). Repeatedly God told Moses to make that request of Pharaoh. Repeatedly God let Moses in on the fact that He would harden Pharaoh’s heart and that the request would be denied. But, Moses dutifullyconfronted Pharaoh knowing full well that it was a fool’s errand.

For those of you that follow my blog you know that I have a category of posts about scripture passages that are confusing to me or, frankly, I just “don’t get.” It doesn’t meanthat I don’t accept them as the inerrant word of God, but I just don’t understand why God put them there…yet.

This is one of them. Ihave a hard time figuring out why God would purposely harden someone’s heart. I canconsider it in my head, but my heart doesn’t quite wrap all the way around it. I understand, intellectually, that God used all of the plagues and the deliverance of the Hebrews from them for His glory, but my heart feels there must have been a better way. Obviously, there wasn’t a better waybecause if there was God would have done it that way. But,something nags at me that there must be more. I want justa glimpse of God’s thinking. I echo the words of Einstein, “I want to know God’s thoughts, the rest are mere details.”

And then, there it is. Einstein…physics…a piece of the puzzle. Particularly, the law of conservation of energy. Itstates that energy may neither be created nor destroyed. It simply becomes a different form of energy: kinetic may become potential or heat become light, but energy cannot be created from nothing or annihilated to nothing.

God wanted the Hebrews to be free. While some biblical scholars don’t believe they were slaves in the traditional sense of being owned by individual slave owners, the Hebrew words used to describe them and their forced labor certainly implies a sub-human status in Egyptian society. Based on the Egyptians’ treatment of the Hebrews it’s not difficult to imagine them being regarded as possessions or tools as oppossed to living, breathing beings.

In short, the Egyptiansregarded God’s chosen people equallyuseful either alive as forced-laborers or dead as fertilizer for their crops. Let’s go with the latter, for now.

If we regard the captive Hebrews as lifeless possessions exploited at the whim of the Egyptians, then freedom for them toworship inthe desertmeant “life” to them. In fact, inExodus 6:6 God says, “…I will also redeem you with an outstretched arm…” Redeemed here is “ga^al” which could be translated as”to redeem individualsfrom death.”

Are you still with me? Life is free…life ispassionate…life is energy. Life without freedom…life without passion…life without energy is, at the risk ofbeing obvious, dead. According to the law of conservation of energyif the Hebrews were to be set free from captivity, to come “alive”, then someone had to die. In this case, it was the firstborn of the Egyptians; in particular the firstborn of the King or Pharaoh that had to die.

Now, I know that this doesn’t answer my initial question of why the first nineplagues were necessary, but it does help with why the last one was. In order forsomeone to be free to live (spiritually), someonemustdie (spiritually).

If we jump into Mr. Peabody’s Wayback Machine and speedfrom the Old Testamentto the New Testament we find the same law of physics applies. Only now it’s God’sSon, the Firstborn ofThe King,thatdiedso that others could be free to live. And, Jesus’ passionate love for us was so full of”infinite energy” that His death was more than enough in exchangefor the life of every man, woman and child in the world! But, He had to die so that wecould live. And, we get to die to ourselves so that He can live through us. Jesus didn’t come to make people better, He came to bring dead people to life (please see earlier”Worship in the Desert“regarding “have to” and “get to”) .

And, “Jesus-life” is freedom. Before He brings us to life we’re just dead, possessions being exploited by some slavemaster: lust, drugs, porn, money, power, status, control…whatever it is it keeps us dead, it keeps us captive so that we can’t “go to the desert to worship the Lord.” Someone had to die so that I could live. Jesus was that someone. He died so that I could be free to worship.

That’s “why worship.” Worship isn’t to set me free; it’s because I amfree. “If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” Free to worship!

Worship in the Desert

“…Let My people go, so that they may worship Me in the desert.” Exodus 7:6

You might think that I’m going to pick up where I left off in “Stressed Spelled Backwards…” and you would be right! When I wrote that one I had no intention of it being a two part post, but here it is.

Before this morning I had never noticed why God wants Pharaoh to let His people go. Well, I knew the other reason…the one He gave Moses at the burning bush about a land of milk and honey, but I had never seen this one: “so that they may worship.” He sayssome variation of itseveral times during the Exodus story: Ex. 5:3, 8:1, etc.

Well, that certainly puts a new twist on the Israelites time wandering in the desert, doesn’t it? They were there to worship. What? Huh?

Don’t argue with me about it. It’s right there in the “Great BigBook of Everything”. Read it for yourself,”so that they may worship.”

Yeh, I know that they started out in the desertbecause they had been set free (look for an upcoming post about being set free to worship) and that theywandered around for forty yearsbecause of their disobedience. But, those are causes (because). Causes are seperate from purpose. They were in the desert to worship, but just because God, or our own behavior (read: disobedience) puts us in a particular situation doesn’t mean we fulfill our purpose while there.

The Israelites’ misery was a result of their attitude not their circumstances. God had sent them to worship. They decided to whine, instead. And,their whining was just self-imposed bondage. From God’s perspective the desert was a place for them to be free to worship in their circumstances.What God intended as wide open spaces of His boundless provision, the Israelites turned into a death march. Too often our short-sightedness holds us captive inspite of God’s freedom.

In our conferences and training sessions at Worship Concepts Network we emphasize the difference between “have to” and “get to”. When doing Kingdom work we don’t “have to” we “get to”. We don’t have to spend extra time rehearsing our part…we get to; we don’t have to get to church early to set up mics…we get to…; we don’t have to visit the shut-ins…we get to; we don’t have to work at the soup kitchen…we get to.

Moving from the sublime to the ridiculous; we don’t have to clean the toilets…we get to. Get the idea?

Think I’ve gone over the edge on that last one? Even after their disobedience, and I recognize that it was a punishement, the “children of God” didn’t have to wander in the desert for forty years…you guessed it, “they didn’t have to…they got to!”

What isn’t going your way? What are the unbearable consequences of your actions? What weight are you carrying? What overwhelming circumstances are you sloggin through? What toilets are you cleaning when you wish you could be doing anything else? What bricks are you making without straw? What desert are you wandering in?

You don’t have to…you get to. Regardless of where we are we have one purpose…to worship…to be worship. Worship isn’t the result of where we are. It’s the result of who we are…children of God.

We don’t have to be His children…we get to!