Lift Up Your Hands

Worship to GodI remember the first time I saw someone raise their hands in worship. I was a bit freaked out by that. After I moved past the sarcastic thoughts about them having a question or thinking that they were drawing attention to themselves – I then ignored them.  I can remember where I was when I heard a worship leader challenge us to lift our hands to our Heavenly Dad like a toddler asking to be picked up by his parent. I began to grow a little bit in my understanding about posture in worship and physical presence as well as spiritual presence. I grew up in a church where the lifting of hands never happened. You might even have been asked to leave if you did that. As a student minister, I went to a lot of youth conferences and the kids were not bothered by feeling weird by lifting their hands in worship. The music was incredibly moving for me in my heart. It took a few years of my journey to get comfortable in raising my hands in worship. Now I see the Lord as my Heavenly Dad and I love honoring Him and submitting to Him with my hands held high and open before Him.  I’m not sure if this is what the Psalmist meant when he spoke of lifting hands, but I enjoy the freedom that comes when I surrender my heart before the Lord in worship. Check this out…

Praise the Lord, all you servants of the Lord
    who minister by night in the house of the Lord.
Lift up your hands in the sanctuary
    and praise the Lord.

May the Lord bless you from Zion,
    he who is the Maker of heaven and earth. (Psalm 134:1-3 NIV)

I do believe my outward posture should reflect my heart posture. I don’t think I should lift my hands just because others are. I realize that I get a little animated when I go to a baseball game or a college basketball – I cheer for people I don’t even know because I’ve chosen to root for them. I cheer at concerts because the music moves me. I have come to a place in my journey with the Lord where He moves my heart in all sorts of ways. My God loves me and He loves it when I lay down my pride and come before Him in worship. There are songs that make me want to sing loud. There are other songs that I feel prompted to bow down. There are other songs where I want to empty my soul before Him in surrender. When I sing “Here’s My Heart Lord”, I lift my hands in surrender and worship. I am not trying to draw attention to me, I simply get lost in His Presence and I try to focus only on Him and not others around me.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Creative

creativeI used to think that I wasn’t creative. Don’t mishear that comment as I’m not super creative, but I can come up with ideas or suggestions that might work in each situation. I also have an opinion on most everything, but I try hard not to share without invitation. I love to be around creative people, they are fun and crazy. They seem so full of life. Creative people see how things could be not necessarily how they are. They seem to have different views of boundaries too.

This morning I read a Psalm that speaks to the creative nature of God. These few verses really blew me away as I thought about all the God has done on this earth to sustain life here. Check this out…

19 He made the moon to mark the seasons,
    and the sun knows when to go down.
20 You bring darkness, it becomes night,
    and all the beasts of the forest prowl.
21 The lions roar for their prey
    and seek their food from God.
22 The sun rises, and they steal away;
    they return and lie down in their dens.
23 Then people go out to their work,
    to their labor until evening.

24 How many are your works, Lord!
    In wisdom you made them all;
    the earth is full of your creatures.

31 May the glory of the Lord endure forever;
    may the Lord rejoice in his works—
32 he who looks at the earth, and it trembles,
    who touches the mountains, and they smoke.

33 I will sing to the Lord all my life;
    I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.
34 May my meditation be pleasing to him,
    as I rejoice in the Lord. (Psalm 104:19-24; 31-34 NIV)

As I think about the science, chemistry and math involved in God’s creation – my mind is blown. I love how He created. I love what He created. I love how He sustains and maintains His creation. I am humbled to know Him. I am humbled that He created me. I humbled that He loves it when I talk or sing to Him. God’s creative nature is everywhere in everything. There is nothing that I have or know about that doesn’t trace back to His creation. I want to continue to pursue His heart with my everyday activities and bring honor to Him with all of me.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Music Then & Now

 

169 Vk0gMDA1XzIwMTIgLSAwMTAuanBnI think music has been a part of my life since I was very young. I remember bringing my grandmother out to our house with her guitar. Our neighbor up the road played the fiddle. I was just learning to play and we sat in the living room and played Appalachian music until late in the evening. I believe music moves the heart and soul of a person like no other medium. It evokes passion, memory and all sorts of emotion. I can remember the season of my life when I hear a certain song from the 70’s or 80’s! Certain music used to reveal a person’s age, but it’s cool that young people today are rediscovering music from years ago.

Church music has changed a lot in the past 30 years for sure. I remember singing from an old red hymnal and my heart was moved. Fast forward today and I hear a song like “You Are Worthy” that was just recently written and performed and it moves my soul now more than singing that same hymn again today. There are exceptions though – I love the remakes of the old hymns. I remember moved to near tears as Karrie Underwood and Vince Gill played “How Great Thou Art”. I believe music can move my heart toward God or away from Him. I need to be very aware of the songs I sing.  Check this out…

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth,
    burst into jubilant song with music;
make music to the Lord with the harp,
    with the harp and the sound of singing,
with trumpets and the blast of the ram’s horn—
    shout for joy before the Lord, the King.

Let the sea resound, and everything in it,
    the world, and all who live in it.
Let the rivers clap their hands,
    let the mountains sing together for joy;
let them sing before the Lord,
    for he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness
    and the peoples with equity. (Psalm 98:4-9 NIV)

The creation of God makes beautiful music to His ears. He loves it when my life makes music to Him. I believe the Lord is fair and equitable in all His actions. He has made the brokenness of my life into a beautiful mosaic that brings honor to Him. He is beyond describing or possibly giving proper thanks too. I want the activity of my life to bring honor to Him.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Worship

God's mercy at the CrossI believe that worship is all around me. People worship fame. People worship fortune. People worship success. People worship other gods besides the Lord God. I also believe that this grieves His heart. He has made a way for us to get to him, yet we ignore his overtures and His pursuit of our hearts. “Worship is the activity of the human soul.” (Louie Giglio) I believe that everyone worships someone or something. I believe if you spent the day with me, you could figure out if I really worship God or not.

I believe worship is defined more by my walk than my words. I can talk a lot – “talk is cheap”, but to live out what I believe looks like worship.  Worship is much more than a song or Psalm, it is deep desire of my soul that is hidden from view of everyone but the Lord. Check this out…

Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord;

let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come before him with thanksgiving
and extol him with music and song.

For the Lord is the great God,
the great King above all gods.
In his hand are the depths of the earth,
and the mountain peaks belong to him.
The sea is his, for he made it,
and his hands formed the dry land.

Come, let us bow down in worship,
let us kneel before the Lord our Maker;
for he is our God
and we are the people of his pasture,
the flock under his care. (Psalm 95:1-7a NIV)

Our worship of self gets us into a big huge mess. Our worship of self leads us far away from the God Who made us. The Lord loves it when I put Him first. My Pastor said last week, “we worship our way into sin and we worship our way out of sin”.  We worship self which leads into sin and we worship the King of Kings to get out of sin. I believe if I come before the Lord with a grateful heart that He draws me close to Himself. This position doesn’t keep me from sin, but it certainly keeps me further away than normal. I want to worship the Lord God, Creator of the world and the One Who saved my soul. I want to keep everything else and everyone else in their proper place and that include myself.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Here I Am To Worship by Tim Hughes

Music Messages

 

169 Vk0gMDA1XzIwMTIgLSAwMTAuanBnI believe you can say things with music that are nearly impossible to say any other way. Music captures emotion, energy, deep thoughts and somehow communicates these in a song accompanied by music. I’ve written some pretty funny songs when I look back on them. There are some songs that are classic and stand the test of time. I used to think that every country song ever written was about someone who cheated on their spouse and their dog died and the truck was a must have some mention in the song for it to be successful. I’ve now learned that often country songs tell a life story.

Praise and worship music has replaced some of the Hymns of old. These worship songs cry out to God acknowledging Who He is and all that He is doing. I must confess that I like doing “remakes” of old hymns. I really love using music of scripture to praise the Lord in a personal way even though there’s a bunch of people there. Check this out….

It is good to praise the Lord
    and make music to your name, O Most High,
proclaiming your love in the morning
    and your faithfulness at night,
to the music of the ten-stringed lyre
    and the melody of the harp.

For you make me glad by your deeds, Lord;
    I sing for joy at what your hands have done.
How great are your works, Lord,
    how profound your thoughts! (Psalm 92:1-5 NIV)

I want the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart to be pleasing to God. I want to speak words that He’s speaking into me. I want to be kind hearted but firm if needed. I want to be gentle, but strong. So much of my journey with the Lord got it’s fuel from worship music. I’m thankful to have been introduced to music. I’m thankful to the gentlemen who showed great patience as he taught me to play.  The song on my heart when I woke up this morning was by Phil Wickham. “Your Love Awakens Me”

There were walls between us
And by the cross you came
And broke them down You broke them down
And there were chains around us
And by Your grace we are
No longer bound  No longer bound
You called me out of the grave
You called me into the light
You called my name and then my heart came alive
Your love is greater Your love is stronger
Your love awakens Awakens Awakens me
Your love is greater Your love is stronger
Your love awakens Awakens Awakens me

Feel the darkness shaking
All the dead are coming
Back to life back to life
Hear the song awaken
All creation singing
We’re alive Cause You’re alive
You called me out of the grave
You called me into the light
You called my name and then my heart came alive
Your love is greater Your love is stronger
Your love awakens Awakens  Awakens me
Your love is greater Your love is stronger
Your love awakens Awakens  Awakens me

And what a love we found
Death can’t hold us down
We shout it out
We’re alive Cause you’re alive
And what a love we found
Death can’t hold us down
We shout it out
We’re alive Cause you’re alive
And what a love we found
Death can’t hold us down
We shout it out
We’re alive Cause you’re alive

____________________

Pressing On!

Dwayne

 

Morning Song

Performance at Creation NW 2006I love mornings. I guess you could call me a morning person. It’s because I choose to be. I have found that if I’m going to be a morning person, I must go to bed in time to allow for enough rest. This morning fell on a weekend, so I could sleep in a bit. I awoke just in time to see a gorgeous sunrise and enjoy a good cup of freshly ground coffee with the Word of God.

I came across a passage that King David had penned when he was early on the run from Saul. Saul had just sent men to his house to kill him and he was confused as to why. I feel like I relate to David, because I move from faith to fear and back to faith in a very short time frame. Check this out….

16But I will sing of your strength,

in the morning, I will sing of your love;

for you are my fortress,

my refuge in times of trouble.

17You are my strength, I sing praise to you;

you, God, are my fortress,

my God on whom I can rely. (Psalm 59:16-17 NIV)

I love singing to the Lord. It refreshes my soul. I find strength when I sing to the Lord. Some of the songs I like to sing affirm my faith and trust in the Lord. When I sing of my love and trust in God, my struggles fade into the background.

One of current favorite songs to declare before the Lord is: “Here’s My Heart” recorded by Crowder & written by Jason Ingram, Chris Tomlin & Louie Giglio. Here are the lyrics that also make a great morning prayer…

Here’s my heart Lord
Here’s my heart Lord
Here’s my heart Lord
Speak what is true

‘Cause I am found, I am Yours
I am loved, I’m made pure
I have life, I can breathe

‘Cause You are strong, You are sure
You are life, You endure
You are good, always true
You are light breaking through

You are more than enough
You are here, You are love
You are hope, You are grace
You’re all I have, You’re everything

________________________

Pressing On!

Dwayne