The Rhythm of Worship

Today is Friday, January 11, 2019.

Day 22,219

33 days until pitchers and catchers report for Spring Training!

“Hollywood is a place where they’ll pay you a thousand dollars for a kiss and fifty cents for your soul.”
Marilyn Monroe, U.S. actress, 1926-1962

The word of the day is syllogism. It means, “a deductive scheme of a formal argument consisting of a major and a minor premise and a conclusion.” (Merriam-Webster)

Our new table was successfully delivered and assembled yesterday afternoon. It’s quite nice, and looks exactly like the one in the store. C sent me some pictures of the ones she was considering, and we selected this one together.

We already had the cat. That’s Rocky (short for Rachmaninoff), checking out the new table. When I was moving the old one out to the garage, yesterday morning, I had moved all the chairs out, and came back to find him walking around on the table with a most concerned expression on his face. It was as if he were saying, “What on EARTH are you DOING??” I assured him that we would have new one later in the day.

I had a productive day, as well, getting music set up for Sunday, taking a look at one song that I’m supposed to play at an upcoming wedding in February, getting dishes done, AND putting away two loads of laundry!! So I did not do nothing but sit around and play Red Dead Redemption 2 all day. I did a lot of that, but I did some other things, too. Then I cooked dinner, too!

All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!
2 Corinthians 9:15

Today I am grateful:
1. For our new table and chairs.
2. For God’s “inexpressible gift,” mentioned in that verse.
3. For the songs I will be leading at our worship gathering, this Sunday.
4. That the leadership of our church trusts me enough to leave the music in my hands for Sunday.
5. For weekends.

Almighty God, Father of all mercies,
we your unworthy servants give you humble thanks
for all your goodness and loving-kindness
to us and to all whom you have made.
We bless you for our creation, preservation,
and all the blessings of this life;
but above all for your immeasurable love
in the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ;
for the means of grace, and for the hope of glory.
And, we pray, give us such an awareness of your mercies,
that with truly thankful hearts we may show forth your praise,
not only with our lips, but in our lives,
by giving up our selves to your service,
and by walking before you
in holiness and righteousness all our days;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit,
be honor glory throughout all ages. Amen.

(The Book of Common Prayer, The General Thanksgiving)

(From Every Step An Arrival, Eugene H. Peterson)

The reading for today is, “Serving God Involves Being Served by Him.”

Finally, he erected the Courtyard all around The Dwelling and the Altar, and put up the screen for the Courtyard entrance.
Moses finished the work. 
The Cloud covered the Tent of Meeting, and the Glory of GOD filled The Dwelling.

Exodus 40:33-34 (The Message)

“All the depth and profundity of worship is summarized in those last two sentences.”

First we see that “Moses finished the work.” The tabernacle, the dwelling place of God in the presence of the Children of Israel, was completed. This represents the service that man brings to God.

Then we see, “The Cloud covered the Tent of Meeting, and the Glory of GOD filled The Dwelling.” This represents “the service that God brings to man.” In this, God’s Spirit invades our hearts with His “healing, restoring, redeeming, renewing presence. Love is released, knowledge is shed abroad, peace is infused, and grace is lavished.”

All of our worship should have this kind of rhythm. When I think of rhythm in this way, I think of a pendulum swinging back and forth. On the one side is man’s service to God, and on the other side is God’s service to man. “Man builds a tent, and God fills it with his glory. Man constructs a church; God’s cloud of providence covers it.”

About a year ago, we began to think of our worship gatherings in terms of us worshiping God, but at the same time, picturing God walking among us, back and forth between the chairs, ministering to us, working in our lives. This is the kind of rhythm we are talking about. I used to think of worship as a sort of performance, man worshiping while God sat on His throne, taking it in. I no longer see it this way. I see it more in the rhythm of which Peterson speaks, here.

“This is no quid pro quo, this rhythm of our service to God and God’s service to us. it is not a matter of his rewarding our worthiness or our hard work. It is rather the rhythm of life in God’s system. He gives, we give, he gives more, and we respond in gratitude. This is part of the beauty that God brings to our lives.”

Father, I am grateful for the beauty of this rhythm in worship. I look forward to practicing and observing this on Sunday morning.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler. Psalm 91:4

Soli Deo Gloria!


Curses Into Blessings

Today is Monday, February 27, 2017. Eleven days until our Glen Rose weekend!

Quote of the Day

“Hollywood is a place where they’ll pay you a thousand dollars for a kiss and fifty cents for your soul.” ~ Marilyn Monroe

Word of the Day

Shunpike ~ a side road used to avoid the toll on or the speed and traffic of a superhighway.

Today is Kahlua Day. I learned something today. Kahlua was invented in 1936 by Pedro Domecq. It is a mixture of rum, vanilla, corn syrup, and coffee. I’ve never drunk it straight, but I know I love it in the fudge that C makes every Christmas.

There aren’t enough words to tell you how much fun we had in The Secret Chambers Escape Room yesterday! As noted yesterday, we did the Cthulhu Chamber room, where our objective was to find five idols and the Necrinomicon, thereby stopping the arrival of Cthulhu and his wrath. We had 60 minutes to do this. We completed the challenge with nine minutes and twenty-four seconds remaining, with a minimum amount of help from the room attendant, who was playing a role in the mystery, as well (albeit from outside our locked room). We were also complimented by the staff on our “energy” as we worked the challenge. There were at least five different boxes that we had to unlock, some with up to three locks on them, some combination, some keyed. There was also a fireplace that we had to open, as well as a secret upstairs chamber that had to be unlocked. Drawers had to be opened, phone and typewriter puzzles solved, and a crazy skill game involving a clock. The clock game and the upstairs chamber both required at least two participants. We all worked together very well to solve all the puzzles. We will definitely go back soon for the Pirate Chamber.

After the escape room, we decided on Riscky’s BBQ on Camp Bowie for lunch. It was a scrumptious conclusion to our outing for the day. We even got some bread pudding to take home for dessert, which we at as we watched a couple of TV shows that R & J like. It was a wonderful day.

Today, of course, it’s back to the “grind.” And I will, unless providentially hindered, finally make it back to band practice.

Oh! I almost forgot! Here’s a picture that a staff member of The Secret Chamber took after we finished.

Thirty-five days until Opening Day!


Bless the LORD, O you his angels, you mighty ones who do his word, obeying the voice of his word! 
Bless the LORD, all his hosts, his ministers, who do his will! 
Bless the LORD, all his works, in all places of his dominion. Bless the LORD, O my soul!

Psalm 103:20-22
May all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you! May those who love your salvation say evermore, “God is great!” 
Psalm 70:4
that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks to you forever!
Psalm 30:12
Praise the LORD! I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart, in the company of the upright, in the congregation. 
Great are the works of the LORD, studied by all who delight in them. 
Full of splendor and majesty is his work, and his righteousness endures forever. 
He has caused his wondrous works to be remembered; the LORD is gracious and merciful.
The works of his hands are faithful and just; all his precepts are trustworthy; 
they are established forever and ever, to be performed with faithfulness and uprightness. 
He sent redemption to his people; he has commanded his covenant forever. Holy and awesome is his name!

Psalm 111:1-4, 7-9

(From The President’s Devotional)

“No Ammonite or Moabite may enter the assembly of the LORD. Even to the tenth generation, none of them may enter the assembly of the LORD forever, because they did not meet you with bread and with water on the way, when you came out of Egypt, and because they hired against you Balaam the son of Beor from Pethor of Mesopotamia, to curse you. But the LORD your God would not listen to Balaam; instead the LORD your God turned the curse into a blessing for you, because the LORD your God loved you.”
Deuteronomy 23:3-5

“Our God can turn curses into blessings.”
Habits that we have learned from others, in some cases even parents or other family members, negative character traits, can, in the hands of our God, “be molded for our good.” Evil spoken against us, lies, attacks from enemies, can become our weapons, when shaped by the hands of our Father.

We have no reason to fear any “curses” spoken against us by anyone. Our God is more powerful than any words spoken against us. “He alone can turn curses into blessings.”

“Dear God, I hand over to you all the things spoken against me. I know that you know what to do. Amen.” ~ Joshua DuBois

Father, I confess that I have experienced anxiety over words spoken at work. I confess the sin of not trusting in you to make things right, to vindicate me. I know that you are in control of all things. As I continue to do the job you have placed me in, give me the strength and faith to do it to the best of my ability for your glory and your glory only.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.

The Supper

Good morning. It is Sunday, June 1, 2014. 20 more days until the first day of Summer.

Today is Say Something Nice Day. So everybody try to only say nice things today. I’ll see how long I can go. . .

Yesterday was a pretty good day. Christi made breakfast for lunch, which was, as always, delicious. We relaxed until church time, then went up to where our church meets, got things set up, then had our prayer gathering. The worship service was very nice last night. I think it all was very good. As the music was going on, I was thinking how nice the simplistic setting was (two acoustic guitars, a leader, and one background vocalist–three people). No, it wasn’t what you might consider to be “dynamic,” by any stretch. Most of the songs had the same feel and tempo. But that’s not what it’s about. It’s about directing our attention to God, and worshiping him, and that’s what happened. The sermon was an overview of the second chapter of Ruth, and was very good. It centered on Ruth’s actions and attitude, after losing everything she had and moving to a totally foreign country. Instead of sitting around, feeling sorry for herself and demanding something from God (entitlement), she went to work, confident and expectant that someone would take notice and show favor to her and her mother-in-law, Naomi. Sure enough, she “just happened” to find herself in the fields of Boaz, a distant relative, who did, in fact, show favor to her. At that point, she was very humble. So the points of the message were that there are three responses that we should have when tough times strike us. We should 1) walk confidently, 2) walk humbly, and 3) walk expectantly.

Today, I believe Stephanie has an outing to the horse farm planned with her friend, Summer. While that’s going on, we will probably do grocery shopping, and who knows what else. The rest of the day will be resting up for the week ahead. Christi should start the process for the new job sometime this week. She’ll have to do another background check and drug test. Unfortunately, they can’t just share the one from the other job.


On this date in 1967, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was released by The Beatles. Upon the initial hearing the new album, Bob Dylan is reported to have said, “Oh I get it, you don’t want to be cute any more.” Here is a You Tube clip of “Being For the Benefit of Mr. Kite.”

Oh, my. I just realized that this was forty-seven years ago.

I feel old.

Today is the birthday of Brigham Young, Nelson Riddle, Andy Griffith, Pat Boone, Reverend Ike, Morgan Freeman, Rene Auberjonois, Ron Wood, Derek Lowe, Heidi Klum, Alanis Morisette, and Brandi Carlile. It is also the birthday of Norma Jean Mortenson, born on this date in 1926. After a short and torrid career, Marilyn Monroe took her life in 1962. Here is a very well-made montage to Elton John’s “Candle In the Wind.”


(From The Divine Hours)

The LORD is God, and he has made his light to shine upon us. Bind the festal sacrifice with cords, up to the horns of the altar!
Psalm 118:27
O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise.
Psalm 51:15
May all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you! May those who love your salvation say evermore, “God is great!”
Psalm 70:4
his God—his way is perfect; the word of the LORD proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.
Psalm 18:30
And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.
Colossians 2:13-15
The LORD is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
The LORD is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made.
All your works shall give thanks to you, O LORD, and all your saints shall bless you!
They shall speak of the glory of your kingdom and tell of your power,
to make known to the children of man your mighty deeds, and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures throughout all generations. [The LORD is faithful in all his words and kind in all his works.]

Psalm 145:8-13

“Almighty and merciful God, in your goodness keep me, I pray, from all things that may
hurt me, that I, being ready both in mind and body, may accomplish with a free heart
those things which belong to your purpose; through Jesus Christ my Lord, who lives and
reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.”

Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”
Matthew 26:26-29

In recent weeks, the part of our worship service that has become most meaningful to me is The Supper. Some call it Communion, some call it The Lord’s Supper. For our little community of faith, it is a time of response in each week’s worship service. And yes, we have it every week. Our pastor decided that this should be done, a few months ago. There is much discussion on how often we should observe The Supper, but it is all pure conjecture, because Jesus did not instruct us as to the frequency, only that we were to do it in remembrance of him.

But during our observance of The Supper, we are admonished to think about several things. First, we are to, as Jesus instructed, remember the sacrifice that Jesus made for us. Then, we are admonished to, as Paul stated, discern the body. Our pastor’s interpretation of this is that we must, before taking The Supper, consider our relationships within the body. If we have anything against anyone who is there, we are admonished to take care of this and make it right before partaking of the bread and wine (or grape juice, depending on the individual’s preference). I have had some very meaningful moments over the past few weeks, as I have spiritually and emotionally prepared myself for the act. It has most definitely been the high point of the last several worship services.

Whatever your church’s practice in this matter, I encourage you to consider these things the next time you partake of The Supper. Reflect upon the sacrifice made for us, and then consider your relationships within the body. I dare say, your experience with The Supper will be heightened.

The Supper
The Supper

Father, I thank you for the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. I thank you for the weekly observance of The Supper, and what it means in the lives of believers everywhere. I am encouraged by the thought of believers in many cities and countries, taking Communion “together,” whenever they observe it. As we partake of the body and blood of Jesus Christ, in whatever tradition we profess, I pray that we would also partake of his righteousness and holiness, these attributes that you have imputed unto us through his sacrifice. It is a beautiful observance, and I praise you for this.

I thank you for this day of rest, and pray that we would be well-rested for the week ahead. I thank you for this new job offer for Christi, and what it will mean for our family. Help us to be responsible with this blessing and to be generous with the resources you have given us. I pray that Stephanie will have a good time with Summer as she goes to see two new baby horses, and then to have lunch with them. Terry and Summer, not the horses.

Your grace is sufficient.

Grace and peace, friends.

Let Them Thank the Lord for His Steadfast Love!

Good morning. It’s Saturday, September 15, 2012. Gotta hurry this morning. Going to do setup for The Exchange at 800am. Or, should I say, we’re going to do setup for God? Because, truthfully, that’s who we’re serving.

Today is “National Felt Hat Day.” And I just happen to have one of those! Perhaps I’ll wear it (if I can get all the dust off of it).

On this date in 1954, this famous picture was made.
Marilyn Monroe Seven Year Itch
It was made during the filming of The Seven Year Itch.
On this date in 1890, Mary Clarissa Agatha Miller was born. Of course, most of us know her as Agatha Christie, possibly the most famous of all mystery authors.
On this date in 1962, Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons earned their first number one hit with this song:

Father, I pray that you teach me something in the little time I have this morning.

Today, I’m reading Psalm 107. This lengthy psalm speaks of the troubles and redemption of the Lord’s people, and begins with a rather famous line.

Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!
Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom he has redeemed from trouble
and gathered in from the lands, from the east and from the west, from the north and from the south.

“Let the redeemed of the LORD say so.” NOT, “Let the redeemed of the LORD say, ‘So!'” I always thought that was a silly song. If we are redeemed, let us proclaim it!
The first passage of trouble and redemption ends with this:
Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man!
For he satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul he fills with good things.
This section dealt with people wandering in the wilderness.
The second section deals with people in the darkness and in prison. It ends with this statement of thanksgiving:
Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man!
For he shatters the doors of bronze and cuts in two the bars of iron.

The third section speaks of people lost in the foolishness of their sins. It ends thusly:
Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man!
And let them offer sacrifices of thanksgiving, and tell of his deeds in songs of joy!

The final section of troubles speaks of those in ships, whose courage melts in the face of the storm and winds. After their deliverance, it says,
Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man!
Let them extol him in the congregation of the people, and praise him in the assembly of the elders.

The psalm closes out with verses 33-43.
He turns rivers into a desert, springs of water into thirsty ground,
a fruitful land into a salty waste, because of the evil of its inhabitants.
He turns a desert into pools of water, a parched land into springs of water.
And there he lets the hungry dwell, and they establish a city to live in;
they sow fields and plant vineyards and get a fruitful yield.
By his blessing they multiply greatly, and he does not let their livestock diminish.
When they are diminished and brought low through oppression, evil, and sorrow,
he pours contempt on princes and makes them wander in trackless wastes;
but he raises up the needy out of affliction and makes their families like flocks.
The upright see it and are glad, and all wickedness shuts its mouth.
Whoever is wise, let him attend to these things; let them consider the steadfast love of the LORD.

Let us give thanks to the Lord for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to us!

Father, I’m out of time this morning. I give you thanks and praise for the wonderful works that you have done in the life of my family and me, and those surrounding us in your church. You have delivered us out of many troubles, just as your Word tells us you will do. You are a God who keeps his promises and does what he says he will do. I will praise you for the rest of my days with all of my breath. Let everything that has breath praise you for your mighty deeds, O Lord!

I apologize for the brevity of today’s entry. Or perhaps you like that better. In which case, you’re welcome. 🙂 I hope you find a reason to give thanks to the Lord today!

Grace and peace, friends.

God Is Working His Purpose Out

Good morning. It’s Sunday, August 5, 2012. My Hallmark Ultimate Holiday app says that today is “Work Like A Dog Day.” I’m not sure I like that, considering it’s Sunday. However, their suggestions include things like begging for treats and burying your favorite toy. That kind of “work,” I can approve. Could someone throw me a cookie or something?

On this date in 1914, the first electric traffic signal was installed at the corner of Euclid Avenue and East 105th St in Cleveland, Ohio. Traffic has been getting worse ever since. On this date in 1962, Marilyn Monroe was found dead in her L.A. home. There were multiple empty pill bottles surrounding her. Goodbye, Norma Jean…

On this date in 1981, Ronald Reagan began the process of firing 11,359 air traffic controllers because they refused his order to return to work from a strike. I bet that “trickled down…”
On this date in 1983, the movie Risky Business debuted, launching Tom Cruise to stardom. On this date in 1957, American Bandstand began broadcasting nationally. And on this date in 1944, Polish insurgents freed 348 Jewish prisoners from a German forced-labor camp in Warsaw. They joined together in an uprising against the German occupiers in the city.
(All of my history bits come from This Day In History. There are quite a few more headlines there. I choose the ones that interest me the most.)

We had a blast at Hawaiian Falls yesterday afternoon. Armed with 100+SPF sunblock, we went down several slides and made about five runs around their “lazy river” (they call it something else, but we all call it “lazy river”). The best slide is one that has a two-seater tube and launches from two different entrances at once. Both sets of people wind up sliding around this large bowl in the middle and there are two different exit holes at the bottom of the bowl. Christi and I went around the large bowl at least four times. It was great fun. Some of the other kids latched onto Stephanie while we were waiting in line for the first slide, and she spent most of the afternoon with them. I was glad to see that. We only stayed about three hours, but were exhausted afterward. Thanks to the leadership of The Exchange for organizing this event!

This morning, we get to serve by running tech back stage for the worship celebration. But we don’t have to be there quite as early today, because there is no band, just an acoustic guitar. Since we had “Extreme Nights” this week (our version of VBS), they kids will be singing some songs during worship time. I believe Stephanie’s boyfriend Scottie will be coming to church with us.

Father, please give me a glimpse of your face as I read and pray this morning.

Today, I’m reading Psalm 66. In this psalm, the unnamed psalmist calls upon all to “come and see” the great works of God.
Shout for joy to God, all the earth;
sing the glory of his name; give to him glorious praise!
Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds! So great is your power that your enemies come cringing to you.
All the earth worships you and sings praises to you; they sing praises to your name.”
Come and see what God has done: he is awesome in his deeds toward the children of man.

The psalmist then names some of these works, including the time when he turned the sea into dry land so that his people could walk across. In verses 13-15, he speaks of the offerings he will make to the Lord. Then, beginning in verse 16:
Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will tell what he has done for my soul.
I cried to him with my mouth, and high praise was on my tongue.
If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.
But truly God has listened; he has attended to the voice of my prayer.
Blessed be God, because he has not rejected my prayer or removed his steadfast love from me!

A lot of people interpret verse 18 to say that if you have “unconfessed sin” in your life, God will not hear your prayers. I do not believe this. For one thing, there’s a good chance that I always have “unconfessed sin” in my life, as I may have committed a sin an not realized it. Not all sin is intentional, right? I believe the key word in verse 18 is “cherished.” “If I had cherished iniquity in my heart…” If I love sin, God won’t hear my prayers. That makes sense. Because if I’m loving sin, I’m not loving God.

Blessed be God, because he has not rejected my prayer or removed his steadfast love from me!

My Utmost For His Highest

…everything that is written about the Son of Man by the prophets will be accomplished. … But they understood none of these things. Luke 18:31, 34

“God called Jesus Christ to what seemed unmitigated disaster. Jesus Christ called His disciples to see Him put to death; He led every one of them to the place where their hearts were broken.” On the surface, that is quite depressing. From man’s standpoint, the life of Jesus was an absolute failure. But man’s standpoint doesn’t matter, does it? It was a “tremendous triumph” from God’s point of view; “God’s purpose is never man’s purpose.”
Sometimes, God’s call on our lives is equally baffling. It’s like the call of the sea…no one but the one called can hear it. Those who cannot hear my call are sometimes baffled by my response to that call. And, it can rarely be stated explicitly, as the main call on my life is to be “in comradeship” with God. There is a test on my life to see that I believe that “God knows what He is after. The things that happen do not happen by chance, they happen entirely by the decree of God. God is working out His purposes.”
Here’s a good point. If I am in communion with God, recognizing that he is taking me into his own purpose, I need not try to find out what that purpose is. But that drives me crazy! Right? I need to know what’s going on! This is the true test of faith, and believe you me, I have failed it many times. I don’t need to know, I simply need to trust. “God! What are you doing??” “Don’t worry about it, child. I’ve got this.” There is the test of faith, right there. “A Christian is one who trusts the wits and the wisdom of God, and not his own wits.”

Father, help me to trust. We addressed this yesterday. I don’t need to know what is going on in my life. I simply need to trust that you have it under control, and that you are working your purpose out in me. And with me. The desire of my heart is that I be useful to you. I bring you nothing of my own that is of any value. All that I have, you have given me. Any talent that exists is a gift from you. I pray that your Spirit will help me use those talents to your glory. I confess…I’ve been sitting on them for a while. They’ve been buried in the ground, so to speak. Not out of fear, though, more out of complacency. Or just waiting, perhaps. But while I’m waiting, I need to be prepared, don’t I? So I will start preparing for something, even though I know not what.
Keep me praying. I believe that this is part of your purpose for me, and daily, new prayers are coming in. I will be faithful to pray for these things as you bring them to my mind.

As I leave the house, now and head to church, I pray for our worship celebration this morning. May we worship you in spirit and in truth. May the words spoken by our pastor be words from your Spirit. Open our ears to hear what the Spirit has to say to us. May we glorify you in all things.

What is God’s purpose for you? Trick question…you don’t need to know. Just know and trust that he is working it out.

Grace and peace, friends.