Rehearsal

Rocks

One of my hobbies is collecting rocks; I’ve been doing it since I was 7 years old.  My dad would humor me on vacation by stopping along the side of the road to let me pick-up rocks.  I couldn’t convince him that you had to go to special places to find special rocks!  When Kathy and I got married, we spent our honeymoon camping in Colorado, collecting rocks.  Most vacations we take are spent collecting .  I’ve written many articles on rocks and I have put together many rock collections for kids and teachers – some of those ‘kids’ are now adults and still have their collection!

When I look at all the rocks in my collection – the beauty; the crystal symmetry; the order; the awesomeness of their variety and form, I am reminded of their Creator – the ultimate ‘Rock’.  David says in 2 Samuel 22:  “The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge.’  Isaiah 26 says this:  Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD, the LORD, is the Rock eternal.’  It’s a common misconception that the rocks of the earth are solid and enduring.  The truth is that sun, rain and wind will reduce every rock to rubble over time; but Isaiah says that the Lord is the eternal Rock!  Recall the words of Psalm 78:  ‘They remembered that God was their Rock, that God Most High was their Redeemer.’  And the words of Matthew 7:  ‘The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.’

So, the next time you go rock-collecting; remember that our Lord is the Rock eternal; that our Lord, the Rock is also our Redeemer and when we build our house with Him as our foundation, the storms of life cannot destroy us.  ‘Rock of Ages, Cleft for me…..let me hide myself in Thee.’

Rehearsal

Spectator Sports

Do you know what spectator sports are?  They are sports that generally have people watching them being played.  Spectator sports usually require a venue in which the watchers can view the event.  Many times the venue is a stadium.  Baseball is a spectator sport, NASCAR is a spectator sport.  If television is involved, it is a spectator sport.

Worship is not a spectator sport, and yet, all too often, we attend services in the capacity of a spectator, not a participant.  What is worship – it’s an ‘act’ of religious devotion -it means to do somethingWorship is a participant-event  that requires us to act!  What are act’s of worship?  Here are some I can think of:  Confession/contrition/repentance; prayer; singing/praising; giving; hearing/active listening to the Word; testifying .  The following are not my words, but are worth repeating:  ‘Too often worship has become a place of safety and complacency, a narrowly private experience in which solitary individuals only express their personal adoration. Even when we gather corporately, we often close our eyes (and our voices) to those around us, focusing on God but ignoring our neighbor. But true biblical worship does not merely point us upward–it should turn us outward as well.  Psalm 100: ‘Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands. Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing.’

In our world today, too many people are not singing God’s praises, but only sitting on His premises!  Remember that idea the next time you are at worship, inspire those around you!   II Samuel 6:  ‘David…danced before the LORD with all his might…’  I Chronicles 16:  Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done.  Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of all his wonderful acts.  Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice.’  II Chronicles 5:  The trumpeters and singers joined in unison, as with one voice, to give praise and thanks to the LORD. Accompanied by trumpets, cymbals and other instruments, they raised their voices in praise to the LORD and sang:  “He is good; his love endures forever.”

Rehearsal

This is a time of joy, of laughter and good cheer; but for many it is a darker time too.

I always enjoy thinking about all those Christmas’ past and all the presents I got.  I remember when the delivery man came to the door with that toy that I was just dying to get; only to have my mother tell me it was delivered to the wrong address!  I was devastated; but learned on Christmas morning, my Mother didn’t always tell the truth!  Or the times my brother and I would sneak peeks at our wrapped presents when mom and dad weren’t around!  Or the time my uncle yelled at us kids because we were playing with the big box the toy came in – not the toy!  But in all that, it really wasn’t about the toys, it was-and still is- about the people – about kids; about parents and grandparents, aunts, uncles and family friends.  They were-and are- what make our Christmas traditions – not the ‘stuff’ we got.

This is a time of joy, of laughter and good cheer; but for many it is a darker time too.  Jobs at risk; bills to pay; sickness; friends and family missing from the table – whether out-of-town, or home with the Lord.  This is a good time to pick up the phone or send a card to someone and remind them how much they mean to you.  There is no better gift you can give someone than yourself. Take the time to tell them how they enrich your life.  1 John 4:7  ‘Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.’  Reflect God’s love this season!

This is also a good time to open the best present of all – the gift of Emmanuel – God with Us!  As they say, ‘He is the Reason for the Season’.  Luke 2:10-11   ‘And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.’  Remember to give Him the gift of ‘yourself’ – by your worship – and by your service!  Romans 11:36: ‘For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things.  To Him be the glory forever! Amen.’