Worship as a Way of Life

Paul says it explicitly in his letter to the Romans. It's a theme repeated often in the Scriptures.  

Worship is not about our church attendance, or other signs people might think about when they hear the word "religious."

 

Worship is about lives that are integrated; lives that demonstrate faith and love during the week as much as on Sundays, in the unnoticed tasks as much as the glorious ones.

 

When we are people who rest, because we know the fate of the universe does not rest in our hands, we worship.

 

When we are faithful with the nitty gritty tasks of life, because of the way they care for those God has put in our paths, we worship.

 

When we pursue the dreams God has placed on our hearts, because we audaciously believe He could accomplish them through us, we worship.

 

When we love those who are difficult to love, because we model ourselves after the way Christ lived on earth, we worship.

 

When we notice the beauty of nature, because we can see the way it reflects a marvelous Creator, we worship.

 

When we live like God is big, God is good, God is trustworthy, and God is loving, we worship.

 

Worship is not singing. Worship is a way of life.

worship is a way of life

 

Five Minute FridayThis post is linking up with Lisa Jo Baker’s Five Minute Friday. A weekly prompt with strict instructions: write for 5 minutes and post. No over-editing. No do-overs. An practice of freedom. A way to let go of perfectionism. An exercise for some not often used writing muscles. Read more posts or link up over there. Today’s prompt was: WORSHIP.

Learning Life Rhythms

There is a certain level of instinct that exists about how to handle ourselves in the water.  

But most of us need more than instinct: we need lessons.

 

We need someone to hold our shoulders, and tilt our heads back, and tell us to point our belly buttons in the air so we can float.

 

Our techniques need to improve beyond our instincts if we want to swim well. We need to learn the rhythm.

 

Stroke… breathe… kick. With time and help, we learn to glide through the water, and do more than just flail ourselves to survival.

 

This is true about more than just swimming, isn’t it?

 

rhythms for lifeWe need to learn the rhythms that help us glide through the waters of life.

 

It takes time and help and patience to learn how to bring the pieces together: our thoughts, our calendars, our faith, our emotions, our friends, our family.

 

Without intention, we end up flailing in the water, hanging on for life, but not gliding, not enjoying, not making it to the other side with air still in our lungs.

 

We find our rhythms by patience and practice. It takes time. We make mistakes. We learn new things.

 

And along the way, we receive the help of others willing to hold our shoulders, and remind us to keep facing up.

 

Five Minute FridayThis post is linking up with Lisa Jo Baker’s Five Minute Friday. A weekly prompt with strict instructions: write for 5 minutes and post. No over-editing. No do-overs. An practice of freedom. A way to let go of perfectionism. An exercise for some not often used writing muscles. Read more posts or link up over there. Today’s prompt was: RHYTHM. (Full disclosure: I write the post in 5 minutes, but I take a little extra time to create a graphic to go with it. I think that's still okay according to the rules...)

The Hazardous Call of an Integrated Life

I have never been to Disneyland. Or the Hollywood sign. Or the Griffith Observatory. When I got on the plane to spend the summer in Los Angeles, those were all places I assumed I would see. Yet, I left never having visited them.

That summer I spent serving in inner city neighborhoods of L.A. was different than I expected in many ways.

When I applied for the team, I figured it would require a lot of me. I knew that I would encounter hurting people and assumed God would move me to help.

But, I also anticipated it would be fun.

I was excited to meet other college students from around the country. I assumed the daytimes would be draining, but the evenings and weekends would be spent refilling my tank.

In short, I expected to segregate ministry from the rest of my life.

This is how many of us approach ministry opportunities, I think. We hope to go and do our good deed, then come home and kick up our feet, feeling pleased about what we accomplished. We long for ministry and service to have the clarity of tasks we check off our list.

But that summer, I learned something about the life-altering nature of the ministry Jesus calls us to.

Service is not something we do. It is something we live.

Because that summer, I encountered a surprising amount of hurt. Not in the people I was ministering to, but among the people I was ministering with.

One girl had an abusive childhood. She questioned her worth every day. Another girl grew up cycling through the foster care system in L.A. She moved to another state when she was a teenager, and this was her first time back in the place that reminded her of her abandonment. Another girl spent the beginning of her college days doing drugs and living hard. God had rescued her in numerous ways, but she bore a heavy burden of guilt on her shoulders.

That’s not everything. By any means. Everyone on the team carried hurts.

And so, I tried to help. Not because I wanted to. No. I was frustrated and tired. I just wanted to join the others going out to the movies. But I could not ignore the Holy Spirit telling me to walk alongside those in pain.

So when one group went to the Observatory, I went with the girl aimlessly wandering her old neighborhood looking for her former foster home and maybe some sort of redemption of her past. When another group went to Disneyland, I hung out with the girl who couldn’t spend the money, and even if she could, needed to spend time talking instead. When one group was playing card games I met with two team members and helped mediate a dispute between them.

I spent a large portion of the summer frustrated that I couldn’t do what I wanted to do.

And, I left without good stories. God hadn’t used me to rescue someone from poverty. Or release someone from prison. Or feed someone who was hungry.

It seems my role was more about meeting the needs of my team members. The problems without clear resolution. The struggles that interfered with my life. The everyday pain of those around me.

This is why discipleship is so hazardous. Jesus asks us to do something difficult: live an integrated life. A life where ministry and kindness and service and sharing are not things we do, but things we live.

Even when it means being inconvenienced.

I’m sharing My Hazardous Faith Story as part of a synchroblog connected with the release of Ed Cyzewski and Derek Cooper’s new book Hazardous: Committing to the Cost of Following Jesus. Learn more here.