Thursday, November 10, 2011

Distraction

Over the past few weeks, we have been studying worship as a congregation. We have been learning how to worship better as a community of believers. While discussing this topic amongst NewSong band members, I know that I'm not the only one who is learning from this. The idea that we need to take every moment captive for the Lord Jesus during worship on Sunday morning isn't a novel idea. It's what is expected of all of us as Christians for our Sunday morning routine. However, I have been feeling like we really need to examine that line. It's easy to say, but not so easy to do. Being focused, leaving our outside thoughts behind, and surrendering to the Spirit amongst other people is not only hard, but it's scary.
I'll let you in on a big secret. I work for weeks to get a Sunday morning service ready. I've been through the service ten times before it's Sunday morning. Being the worship leader, I come ready to praise God on Sunday morning. Jim talked about being expectant about our time with the Lord. It's my job to be expectant about that time!! But believe it or not... (here's the big secret)... sometimes I'm thinking about other things while I stand up there. Now, don't worry. Not the whole time! I worry that the electric is playing the solo, or that the drums are coming down in volume or if my battery is about to die. What I've come to know over the years is that one of the areas where the Enemy works heavily in my life is the area of distraction. For example, I love studying the Bible at night before I go to sleep. (I dream every night.. The Bible tends to help those dreams be happier! Unless, of course, I'm reading about a battle.) But sometimes, I find myself sitting in the bed filing my nails instead of reading. Or I am headed to Starbucks to study my Bible and all of the sudden, taking a run seems like a better idea.
Now to be honest, taking a run isn't my favorite thing, so you can see how powerful this distraction thing is!

It's hard for all of us to concentrate on Sunday mornings. I know some of you wonder if your kid is okay in Sunday School. Some of you are thinking, "My feet hurt. Will she let us sit down?" "That hair sticking to the shirt of the woman in front of me is driving me nuts. I wonder if she'll notice me grabbing it..."
We all struggle with this. So this Sunday, as we come together to worship, I implore you to declare to the Lord that you will not be distracted! Tell Him that He is worthy of all of our attention and that the Enemy has no power over you. "The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. May the grace of our Lord Jesus be with you" (Romans 16:20)

Thank You Lord that You are not offended by our human, wandering minds. Let our thoughts be taken captive by You! We love you and want to worship You and give You all the honor and glory that You deserve! We will not be ashamed by our worship this Sunday because You have never been, are not, and will not ever be ashamed of us.


Therefore, go forth and be not distracteth!

I promise, I'll be praying that prayer with you.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Scents

I know that this seems like an odd thing to talk about.. but I have a fantastic sense of smell. I don't have it in the way that you can blindfold me and I can name whatever you put in my face. Meaning, I don't necessarily IDENTIFY scents well, but I certainly can smell extremely well. I can smell when someone has been in a coffee shop, even if it was hours ago. I can smell when you've been to get gas, grab a drink, or when you didn't shower this morning. I tend to be extremely sensitive to smells of people around me. Just ask my boyfriend - I won't hug him even if he even so much as thinks about sweating. It drives me crazy sometimes because I don't want to be near people when I don't favor the way they smell. There are awesome people that I don't want to be around because their smell drives me nutty. There are some people that I'll instinctively scoot closer to solely because they smell good.

When I read the Bible, I find at times that I always stay in the places that smell good. I stay in the books and chapters where the Lord is doing great things. I stay in the places where my heart is captured again by the saving grace and love of the Lord for His people. I scoot closer to these books. For those books that are particularly challenging and baffling to my sense of who God is, I can stay away. They are awesome books. God-breathed Scripture. God's Word for my heart and my life. But just as I have to deal with foul smelling people at some point, I have to deal with Scriptures that I don't think smell very good. If I didn't smell bad scents, I wouldn't know how to appreciate the good scents. They are all unavoidable if I want to live a full life, and talk to and appreciate all of God's people.
The Scripture that I don't prefer to read is the same for me. I have to get over my initial problem that it doesn't appeal to me. Then I'm often surprised at the heart-changing, life-giving quality of the words once I start to read. Those books of the Law, those hard words, those hard to understand words and those long lists of names can smell bad at first, and then I learn to love the scent.
My grandmother's house always smelled funny to me. Now that she has gone on to be with the Lord, it's the most treasured smell that I find. Those obscure prophets always sounded funny to me. Now I hold many of their Scriptures deep in my heart.

The Lord doesn't always have an appealing, wonderful, baked bread smell. Sometimes it's a little stinky or funky. And that is what is perfect about Him. Once I get to know Him, I learn to love those scents too.
So dig in deep to His Word. Get over the fact that some of the parts may not smell very good to you at first. The Lord will draw you to Himself through those times and you'll learn to love, cherish and appreciate the scent of the Word.