Saturday, September 22, 2007

Alright! The music just ended, we haven’t missed anything yet….

Our pastor spoke this oft heard quote that echoes the halls of our church as the praise music ends and the announcements and message are about to begin. Busted I was. My wife and I regularly show up during the first half hour of our service during the praise portion, reasoning, its just music we have not missed the message. How infinitely wrong we have been in this behavior.

Our pastor continued to teach us this Tuesday evening about the meaning of the greatest commandment

Love the Lord thy God with all your heart mind and soul Mark 12:30

When Jesus uttered these prophetic words to the Pharisees all those years ago, what he was saying that we need to worship at the feet of our heavenly father. Praise him, worship him, love him.

These words were a revolution inside my heart. In my stoic world of maintaining appearances I often consider my surroundings before I ever lift my hands in worship. Why is it so hard for a man of God to praise his heavenly father? Our pastor continued. As he wrapped up this message he shared a stance he had personally taken. He said he would rather be judged a fool by men then a fool by God. With that as a backdrop I considered my own behaviors. Truly I needed to be bolder in my own faith, to worship like David not caring what man said or thought. What a place to be left, resolute in finding my own voice of authentic worship.

The next day I found myself looking clearly toward my afternoon bike ride into the mountains. I knew what was coming. I was not just going to pray this day I would WORSHIP my Lord and Savior. At the peak of my ride I prayed earnestly for revelation, for courage, for peace. I interceded on behalf of some many people I love who are broken and hurting. Today my prayers were from my knees, where I belong. (The Lord had conveniently blown a piece of cardboard into the location where I pray each day, almost as if to welcome me and say I know what you need today). At the end of my prayer in abject humility I tried to cry out in song my worship of the Lord. Did I mention that I suck at singing. Not only that but no words came to mind from any of the worship songs I love.

Well the Lord will provide! (Remember a few posts back where the Lord told me to listen to my Ipod? He did so again. After all there are only about 300 Christian songs on the thing!)

I choose deliberately. Mercy Me came immediately to mind. Their music so soulful, the lyrics pull on my heart. I started “I can only imagine”. Yes imagine a grown man standing on the side of a mountain belting out, way out of tune, the lyrics of a song. No one else can hear the music; no one else knows what this crazy guy is singing about, just God and me. It was awesome, tears streamed down my face as I soaked in the lyrics (and yelled them out) of this beautiful song and for a brief moment could conceive of what it meant to really love God.

The ride down the mountain and back to my house was even more powerful for me. My poor bike strained under the continuous blows of rocks sticking above the trail. The chain rattled off the frame as I sped onward, downward fully engulfed in my own powerful, private worship session. I hit the bottom of the trail at full speed and attempted to make a gravelly high speed turn as Mercy Me pounded into my ears. The tires bit then slipped bit then slipped, over the top of the bike I went landing standing up. With a triumphant yell of praise I hooted and hollered to my savior. This wipe out is for you, you are my rock, my savior PRAISE YOUR NAME!!!

The ride continued onto city streets, the music even louder to drown out the sound of the wind whipping past my ears. 20 miles per hour 25, I was on fire. I could not go fast enough, sing loud enough. As I made the turn west to head home the wind was fully against me slowing me to a crawl. I labored to catch my breath, the fire of worship was now in my thighs. (I was tired, my muscles were burning). Each time I caught my breath I would rejoin the chorus of the latest song. I would run out of breath and stop singing long enough to start again. By the time I was within a mile of my house, everyone must of wondered who the crazy bikin singin guy was. What a powerful experience. I am left to ponder what my next worship experience will be and whether I will scare the kids in the neighborhood…

"I Can Only Imagine"

I can only imagine
What it will be like
When I walk
By your side

I can only imagine
What my eyes will see
When your face
Is before me
I can only imagine

Surrounded by Your glory, what will my heart feel
Will I dance for you Jesus or in awe of you be still
Will I stand in your presence or to my knees will I fall
Will I sing hallelujah, will I be able to speak at all
I can only imagine

I can only imagine
When that day comes
And I find myself
Standing in the Son

I can only imagine
When all I will do
Is forever
Forever worship You
I can only imagine


I can only imagine [x2]

I can only imagine
When all I will do
Is forever, forever worship you

Father I praise your Holy name


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