Going Deeper with the Message:

Because of Who He Is
by: Andrew Archer

When I think about worship, questions comes to mind: why do we worship? What drives our worship? Or better yet, what is our worship defined by? Oftentimes, our worship is defined by our situation. To help explain what I mean, think about it in regard to sports. 

When your favorite sports team is doing well, the coach is making good decisions, players are executing, and they are winning; it’s effortless to sing their praise. Week in and week out, it’s natural to sing praises after wins. But as soon as things go astray—when the coach starts making decisions you don’t agree with, when the players aren’t playing well, as soon as the losses start—the praise stops.

Unfortunately, I think we do the same thing with God. When our situation is good—when we are happy with it and things are going well for us— it’s effortless to praise Him. However, when things become difficult—when we are in a valley and we feel like He is far away—we tend to stop singing. But the incredible thing about God is that, even when our situation changes, He never does. He stays the same no matter what. 

Psalm 100 says this:
Let the whole earth shout triumphantly to the Lord!
Serve the Lord with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
Acknowledge that the Lord is God.
He made us, and we are his—
his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise.
Give thanks to him and bless his name.
For the Lord is good, and his faithful love endures forever;
his faithfulness, through all generations.

We should not let our worship be defined by our situation, whether good or bad. Our worship should be defined by who God is. He is good. His faithful love endures forever. He never changes. He is faithful to all generations. He is the same God in the valley that He was on the mountaintop. 

I know that some of us are doing really well and that’s awesome. Praise God for that! However, some of us are not, and I’m sorry that things are difficult for you right now. But my encouragement to you, no matter your situation, is this: stop. Let’s stop defining our worship by our circumstances, our surroundings, our situation and let’s begin defining our worship by who our God is. 

When we sing, let’s sing joyfully for who He is. Because He is good. He is faithful. His love endures forever. He is the Creator. He is the Lord of Lords. He is the King of Kings. He is the One who gave it all by sending His son to bring us from death into new and abundant life. He is worthy of our praise whether we are on the mountaintop or in the valley.

Living out the Message:

“Meh-fib-o-sheth”
By Michelle Lemley, Nursery Coordinator

While driving around the parking lot at Target, my six year old son asked about the parking spaces up front. He asked, “Mommy, why are those blue pictures on the ground?” He was referring to the handicapped-accessible spots, which began a discussion about saving those spaces for people with special needs. We talked about taking care of those who need help, and how God wants us to always be looking for ways to help others.

Our bedtime devotional that evening was from 2 Samuel, and featured David and Mephibosheth. (By the way, if you ever need a laugh, ask a kid to try to pronounce “Meh-fib-o-sheth” really fast.) In this passage, David was thinking about his friend Jonathan, wishing that he could do something for his friend’s family. David found Jonathan’s son, Mephibosheth, who was “lame in both feet” (2 Samuel 9:3).  David made sure that Mephibosheth received his inheritance from his grandfather King Saul, and told him, “I will surely show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan.” (2 Samuel 9:7)

Isn’t it beautiful the way God works to bring these experiences together to remind us of His expectations for us? David helped Mephibosheth because of his relationship with Jonathan, much as God has blessed us because of His covenant with His Son, Jesus. It is through a relationship with Jesus that we are able to receive our royal inheritance in Heaven. And so it follows that we are called to care for those in need because of our relationship with Jesus. As we see in Jeremiah 22:16:

“He judged the cause of the poor and needy; then it was well. Is not this to know me? declares the Lord.”

To know Him, to truly seek to emulate the time of Jesus on Earth, is to care for others. I would like to think that I am always seeking opportunities to serve others, but in truth I often avoid situations that might be difficult or uncomfortable in favor of something more convenient. And when I do something to help, am I doing it to honor God, or in deference to all that He has done for me? Not always.  Many times I find myself looking for “atta-boys” from those around me, watching to see who will acknowledge my good works.

This week, join me in seeking to be more like David, to serve others and especially those in need. And not because of Earthly rewards, or even for the opportunity to receive Heavenly rewards, but because we have a relationship with Jesus and love Him, and want to pass that love on to those whom He has called His brothers (Matthew 25:40).