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Category Archives: worship

Off Again, On Again

I’m not usually the stop and start kind of gal, but in this case, it happened and I’ll try not to let it happen again. After taking a break from all things online dating, I tried real dating. Sort of. Long distance is better than cyberspace, isn’t it? Things went well, he knows how to treat a lady, but in the end, we were running two very different races.

So…  I jumped back in the pond. Not that I’m expecting a catch or anything. I do it more to amuse myself. I’ve been gone a while and some changes have been made to the site during that time, not all of them good. I will not discuss them now, but rest assured that I will address those issues in a later post.

My grievance this night is that of the options available when stating ones religion. I have “Christian-Other” marked off. Some people have “Catholic” others “Sikh”. That’s alright with me. Here in Canada, we are granted the freedom of religion through our Charter of Rights and Freedoms. But one option that keeps popping up over and over is “Other Religion”.

Now, before you go off saying how many faiths there are, let me explain that I thought the list of options to be quite exhaustive. Most people just use “Not Religious” and be done with it. I don’t get this “Other Religion” thing. What other religion? What sort of far out, wacky religion do these people belong to?

Here’s my opinion: the people who fall under the category of “Other Religion” do not, in fact, belong to a religion at all, but they are merely so self-centred, self-serving that they worship only themselves. Of course, self-worship is not listed as an option, so “Other Religion” is the only viable option. Now if only these men would clarify this in their profiles, it would save a lot of women a lot of trouble and heartache.

I Am a C, I Am a C-H…

I am a Christian…. At least that’s what I’ve been saying for the last twentysomething years. It seems, though that the older I get, the more questions I have. Shouldn’t I be learning more as the years go by? Apparently not. Instead, the more time that passes by, the more I realize I don’t know.

In our church home groups, we have been working through the book Crazy Love by Francis Chan. This week we discussed chapter 5 – “Serving Leftovers to a Holy God”. Ouch. Immediately, we all assume that this could not possibly be referring to ourselves. It steps on toes and we don’t want it to be our digits crushed beneath the heavy boot of reality. I could be one of many to chose to take offense at some of the things Pastor Chan has to say, but I don’t want to be one of those.

***WARNING: Harsh Personal Opinion to Follow***

I personally know several people who “couldn’t” finish the book. I have a feeling it’s more of a “wouldn’t” finish the book. When the cover plainly states “overwhelmed by a relentless God”, who wouldn’t want to finish the book? It doesn’t matter if you agree with everything or not. In fact, if you did agree with everything, I’d wonder how sincere you truly are. So here’s the challenge to those of you who are afraid to finish or even start reading the book – do it! I dare you. I dare you to make the choice to change your life. Don’t get hung up on the little things, but get stuck on the big thing: GOD IS CHASING YOU! It’s overwhelming because it’s supposed to be! We aren’t supposed to understand it all. We aren’t supposed to know it all. To think we ever will is to deceive ourselves, but to stop trying to understand and know it all is to give up completely.

So here’s where I am… Honestly. I know that I am saved. I was bought with a price and that price was great. I know that I was fearfully and wonderfully made and my Maker has a plan for me and that plan is good. I know that He loves me more than life because He gave his up for me. But what do I do with that knowledge? I go through my life day by day and never think about it. What an insult that is to a holy God.

I walked to work today. I’d been avoiding the walk for a long time. It takes time and it takes effort. But yet, when I force myself to get up early and do it, it’s rather beneficial. I feel better (once the initial pain of long-forgotten exercise has eased), I sleep better and I get that hour and a half of fresh air every day. Here’s my added bonus: I get to spend that time with God. I have 45 minutes in the glory of God’s handiwork to meditate on Him. I’d be a fool not to take advantage of that, but again, it’s forcing myself to do it.

I leave the house with my iPod in hand. Often I’m tempted to listen to a new album, something Spanish and pop-y, some fun jazz, maybe. Instead, I put on worship. I have to force myself to walk and I have to force myself to focus on God. I’m proud to say that this morning, I did. And the amazing part of it all – God met me where I was. All we are required to do is to take that first step toward His presence and God will rush us with wide open arms. He’s waiting, go ahead, give it a try!

Can we ever get it ALL right?

In my quest for new worship songs – new to our church, that is – I found a list of the most popular songs in the country. Topping this list are songs like “How Great is Our God”, “Here I Am to Worship” and “Open the Eyes of My Heart”. There is, however, one song on this list that I am disturbed by: “Blessed be the Name of the Lord”.

By title, most would wonder what my issue is with such a heartfelt and biblical statement. It is not the title of the song I am disturbed with, nor the majority of the song in fact. What disturbs me is one simple line that most people pay very little attention to: “You give and take away, You give and take away”.

I myself have been swept up in the moment and the glory of this song, seen congregation unashamedly lifting their hands in worship crying out, “you give and take away, you give and take away”. Wait a minute here… Didn’t we just sing “Open the Eyes of My Heart”? My eyes were opened. I don’t know about you, but I serve a God who gives life and life abundantly at that (John 10:10). If I recall the verse correctly, it is the devil who has come to kill, steal and destroy. Correct me if I’m wrong here, but isn’t it a contradiction for God to say at one time that He gives abundant life and in the next breath say He takes away?

“But it’s biblical!”. I’ve heard this argument more times than I care to admit. Let’s do a little research before we open our big mouths, here. Job 1:21 says, “…the LORD gave and the LORD has taken away…” Yes! This is in the Bible, surely it is something we can sing about! You can sing about whatever you want to, but I refuse in a time of worship to tell my loving, giving, nuturing God that he has taken away from me!

In four years of Bible school attendance (perfect attendance might I brag!) I learned many things, one of which is to look at the context in which things are said before we make it gospel truth. (Yes, yes, I know that the whole of the Bible is Gospel Truth, but hear me out.) Let’s take a look at what’s been going on in Jobs life up to this point:

– all but one of Job’s servants in a field were slain by the Sabeans, who also took all his oxen and donkeys
– again, all but one of the servants in another field were burned up along with all his sheep
– yet again, all but one of the servants were killed by the Chaldeans who also took all the camels
– once more, all but one of the servants were killed when a strong wind came causing the house to collapse. All his children were killed as well.

So in a matter of minutes it seems, Job has lost everything he had in the world. It is at this point where he shaves his head, tears his robe and cried out, “…the LORD gave and the LORD has taken away…” The next verse says, “In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.” Here is where most people would say that they have made their argument and rest their case.

Let’s back the Mack truck up. In Job 1:6 Satan comes along to have a chat with God. Job’s name comes into the conversation. God tells Satan how loyal Job is. Satan asks God to strike everything Job has. Satan’s goal: to get Job to curse God. God gives in and tells Satan that everything Job has is in his (Satan’s) hands, but he cannot lay a finger on Job. Satan then takes his leave of God’s presence.

It is after this conversation that Job loses everything he has. Hmm… coincidence? I think not. God allowed Satan to do his thing to make a point. (Let’s remember that when Adam sinned in the garden that Satan was given dominion on the earth, he does have the rite if we let him…) It was Satan who took the cattle and killed the servants and children. Job cried out in his anguish.

So here is what we know. It was a mere man who spoke the words, “the LORD gave and the LORD has taken away”, this man had just lost everything he owned and God and Satan had already had a discussion about Job’s earthly belongings. It was God who gave, but not God who had taken away.

All of this just to explain my beef with a song. I cannot justify raising my hands while crying out the lyrics “you give and take away, you give and take away”. The God I worship is a God who provides, the God of complete wholeness, the God who is more than enough. God is love and wants us to love Him. What kind of person, when seeking the love of others, takes something from them?

Sing what you want, but remember to take the time and think about the words that leave your lips. Who are you praising and why? Do your words reflect the one you worship?

Stay tuned for another beef with another commonly misquoted verse…