Thursday, July 23, 2009

This Big

From the highest of heights to the depths of the sea
Creation’s revealing Your majesty
From the colors of fall to the fragrance of spring
Every creature unique in the song that it sings
All exclaiming

Indescribable, uncontainable,
You placed the stars in the sky and You know them by name.
You are amazing God
All powerful, untamable,
Awestruck we fall to our knees as we humbly proclaim
You are amazing God

Who has told every lightning bolt where it should go
Or seen heavenly storehouses laden with snow
Who imagined the sun and gives source to its light
Yet conceals it to bring us the coolness of night
None can fathom

Indescribable, uncontainable,
You placed the stars in the sky and You know them by name
You are amazing God
All powerful, untamable,
Awestruck we fall to our knees as we humbly proclaim
You are amazing God

You are amazing God

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Weak Worship

(An excert from The Thinklings blog).

The true diagnosis of weak worship is not that our people are coming to get and not to give. Not a few pastors scold their people that the worship services would be lively if people came to give instead of to get.

There is a better diagnosis. People ought to come to corporate worship services to get. They ought to come starved for God. They ought to come saying, "As the deer pants for the water brooks, so my soul pants for You, O God" (Psalm 42:1). God is profoundly honored when people know that they will die of hunger and thirst unless they have God. And it is my job as a preacher to spread a banquet for them. I must show them from Scripture what they are really starving for -- God -- and then feed them well until they say, "Ahhh." That is worship.

-- John Piper, The Dangerous Duty of Delight

Monday, July 6, 2009

A Really Big God

Scientists have learned more about the expanding universe, thanks to many things, including Hubble. They have come to the conclusion that the universe is indeed expanding, as Einstein has proved, and at an ever increasing speed. In fact, the galaxies out at the edges of the universe have now passed the speed of light. We will never see them, we just know they are there. And what's so wonderfully magnificent, is that it is only the space between galaxies that is expanding. Any object that is interacting with another object through gravity is completely excused from the very principal of an expanding universe. Our planets are not expanding from the sun, our stars in our galaxy are not expanding away from each other in anyway other then the normal centrifugal or gravitation forces which are called for in the normal realm of science. If galaxies are being attracted to or repelled from each other in clusters, as many are, those normal laws of physics still apply. But as the universe expands, in galaxies that are no longer interacting with each other, the space between them expands. And at an ever increasing speed.

So here on earth we know that if a spaceship is racing ever faster towards another star, time slows as it approaches the speed of light, and Einstein has concluded that at the speed of light, time stops, and the craft will cease to exist; therefore faster then light travel is impossible. But on the galaxies at the fringes of the universe that travel faster than the speed of light, as if in a wave, were an astronaut to have hopped on a planet before it were across the light speed barrier, he would find on that planet that everything was normal. Time would be normal, apples would still fall to ground, the sun would still rise and set, there would be no notice that one was speeding through the universe beyond the speed of light, an unfathomable speed. Total and complete empty space moving it along, pushing it, pulling it, safely guiding it along through the fabrics of space, at a speed we can't even comprehend. It's happening right now out there in the universe, and it's the "still accelerating" that blows my mind.

I've no doubt scientists will zero in on the physics and mathematical formulas that make this possible, and try to replicate faster than light travel. They are trying now, even as we speak, and don't seemed to notice the enormity of what is happening. I'm sure the formula will read something like: G=O=D. The big bang theory brought them closer, but "the God" notion in that theory really irked Einstein. Maybe this next new equation will make it obvious even to a scientific thinker.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Thursday, July 2, 2009

God's Grace In All It's Truth

In Paul's greeting to the Colossians he tells them (from vs 3-5) that he thanks God for them, and thanks God that the gospel is spreading; and among them too, ( from vs 6) "since the day you heard it and understood God's grace in all it's truth."

I will remember forever my first encounter with God's grace, five children and 25 years ago. I'd been churched as a kid, but like so many, carried teenage rebellion to the sinful max, finally settling down to married life. I debated several years about going to church, even after my wife had begun taking our firstborn on a weekly pilgrimage to the local evangelical establishment. I enjoyed the quiet of them gone on Sundays, too. After limited involvement, including pot-lucks, singing in the cantata, etc., I responded to the repeated invitation (and prayers, I later found out) of a fellow I now love, and I began attending.

A year or so passed. I certainly felt "churched" again. If believing in Jesus meant he had paid for my sins so I could go to heaven, I was all for it. I like plans, and this seemed like a real good plan. He does all the work, and I get all the gain. Plus I really felt it was good for the kids, and we were becoming a respectable part of the community. Life made sense, and things were going pretty good for me.

Well, one day at church, we were singing a kind of simple song, but a tear fell from my eye, and it surprised me! And for about 30 seconds I was actually crying! I composed myself, rather embarrassed that I was attracting attention, but only a few people noticed.

After we got home, I told my wife that a felt really weird, and I was going to go back in the bedroom for a while and sit down. I went and picked up my bible, which had been a gift, and opened it up to Matthew, intent on taking a look at it. But I couldn't. The tears were falling all over the pages, as I cried my heart out. What a fool I'd been! The Lord of the universe was pouring his grace all over me, opening my eyes. The only real exact words I remember thinking were, "O my God, I can't believe you chose me." I had never known humility until that moment, I knew there was so much more to learn, but now I saw the world upside down the way Christ saw it, knew he would help me change my life and my way of thinking, and I knew I would never be the same again. I was awake reading my bible for nearly 2 nights in a row, too excited to sleep, knowing that the God of the universe had touched me in such an awesome way.

The pastor and associate pastor had invited me to stop by the church on Wednesday, wanted to "check-in with me, they do that," they had said. I was so glad! I wanted to tell someone who would understand what had happened to me! I was like a kid after a winning a home game as I told them all about it. It was an incredible story and they were so happy for me! I know I was in tears through some of it, too. We laughed and prayed together, I real "pastoral" moment. And when I asked them what they wanted to talk about, having invited me in the first place, they said that they were starting up a worship team, and actually just wanted to make sure I was a born-again believer before they invited me! We laughed some more... God was in control.