Pretend Worship

Worship to GodI’ve used the phrase: “Fake it till you make it”. I confess that I’ve pretended to worship before, because I was supposed to worship. I’ve pretended because others were watching. It’s been several years, but I have since learned the value of being genuine before the Lord. I have learned that He knows my heart and “pretend worship” doesn’t really help things. I have also learned that the Lord really hates hypocrisy. Pretend worship is really hypocrisy. I’m at a place in my journey that the more I learn about the Lord the more I’m drawn to genuine worship, wonder and awe of Who He is and I’m humbled that He would love someone like me.

One of the more disturbing passages in scripture is when Jesus is taken before the Jewish leaders in the wee hours of the morning for a “pretend trial”. He is then taken to Pilate, who was governor, but also a “push over”. Pilate releases a murderer and turns Jesus over to the Roman soldiers for execution via crucifixion. This scene disturbed me. Check this out…

16 The soldiers took Jesus into the courtyard of the governor’s headquarters (called the Praetorium) and called out the entire regiment. 17 They dressed him in a purple robe, and they wove thorn branches into a crown and put it on his head.18 Then they saluted him and taunted, “Hail! King of the Jews!” 19 And they struck him on the head with a reed stick, spit on him, and dropped to their knees in mock worship. 20 When they were finally tired of mocking him, they took off the purple robe and put his own clothes on him again. Then they led him away to be crucified. (Mark 5:15-20 NLT)

This mock worship really nailed my heart. These soldiers didn’t know that the One and Only Son of God was the object of their mockery. They went the extra distance to put on a good show. They were clearly sarcastic and playful, but this scene really disturbed me. I felt convicted of my pretend worship. I remember times of being angry and hurt at God. I felt like He could have protected my loved ones from sickness and suffering. I now realize that I was looking at my circumstances in light of honoring me instead of trying to honor God regardless of my circumstances. My genuine worship should happen because of Who He is NOT BECAUSE of what He does for me. Pretend worship is really self-worship. Pretend worship reveals a diseased & corrupt heart.

I want to come before the Lord in Awe & Wonder for all that He is and all that He is doing in me and in others. I can’t make my worship about music or anything to do with me. It is ALL ABOUT HIM! I believe genuine, true worship is about surrendering my heart before Him to be used by Him.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

To Be A Child Again

ChildrenI sometimes think about what it might be like to return to my childhood and experience some of those events that are simply memories. I remember Christmas as a child, the anticipation and excitement. I remember birthdays. I remember toys. I remember building a tree house. I remember working in the garden. (Some memories are not as positive!) I remember going to my grandparents’ house to hang out and play. I didn’t have much to worry about as a child. I didn’t have responsibilities like I have now. I didn’t have other people counting on me. I could just enjoy my life within the guidelines of my parents. There is still a big place in my heart for children. I spent 20 years of my life in student ministry and I enjoyed pouring into students. Now that I’m old, I want to be young again!

Jesus was always teaching and speaking with purpose with His disciples. They were all celebrities because they were part of Jesus entourage. They felt important – they were important. Sometimes, they got a little “out of bounds”.  Check this out…

13 One day some parents brought their children to Jesus so he could touch and bless them. But the disciples scolded the parents for bothering him.

14 When Jesus saw what was happening, he was angry with his disciples. He said to them, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children. 15 I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.” 16 Then he took the children in his arms and placed his hands on their heads and blessed them. (Mark 10:14-16 NLT)

Children are all in.

Children are filled with wonder.

Children are light-hearted.

Children are pure-hearted.

Children are innocent.

Children love to be loved.

Children are humble.

Jesus made it crystal clear that I must receive His Kingdom as a child. I need to let Him love me. I need to love Him with an “all in” spirit of gratitude. I need to trust Him. I need to live within the guidelines of His Protection. I need to love like He loves. I need to be humble before Him and everyone else as well. I need to be pure hearted. I need to be filled with wonder.

As I celebrate Christmas with my family, it’s a joy to see how my children have grown into adults. It’s still a joy to see their faces when giving and receiving gifts. It’s a joy to see the innocence of my grandchildren. I want to be a child again today before the Lord. I want to see His Kingdom through child-like wonder.

Pressing On!

Dwayne