The Gift of Worship-II

I’ve always loved the Christmas carol, “In the Bleak Midwinter”.  First of all, it has such a haunting melody that fits an Advent state of mind.  But secondly, “bleak” is such a great word.  I could walk around, just saying that word.

“Bleak.  Bleak.  Bleak. Bleak”

Thirdly, the carol’s lyric takes us from Jesus’ first coming as a baby to his second coming complete with angels, arch-angels, cherubim and seraphim.  After all of that majesty, the song circles back around to us and our own lives.  The song asks,

Yet what I can I give Him
Give my heart.

This is the gift that God is looking for at Christmas.  After he gives us the gift of worship, he is looking for one gift in return.  He wants our heart.  The question is, how do we give him our hearts?  Let me suggest three ways…

We give him our faith…

We come to Jesus in faith for salvation, but for the believer, faith is also how we see our lives now and in the future.  Through faith, we live believing that God is who he says he is.  Through faith, we believe that all his promises are true.  As author and worship leader, Bob Kauflin writes,

“Faith reaches out to God with open hands, believing that he will fill them because of his character and promises.” (57)

One of the promises we hold onto in this season of the year is his presence.  The prophets even called the coming messiah “Emmanuel”, which means “God with us”.  We give our hearts to God when we give him our faith..faith in his constant, loving presence.

We give him our gratefulness…

Everybody is giving gifts this time of year, right?  And yet in this season of gift giving, I find it even easier to be ungrateful!  It find it even easier to compare what I DON’T have with what my neighbors have.  How is that possible?  Isn’t that a terrible irony?  The more we have, the more we are tempted to be jealous and ungrateful.  So when God tells us to be grateful over and over again, he’s trying to tell us something.

“God is rooting our hearts in reality.” (58),

What God is trying to tell us is that he is giver of all good and perfect gifts.  He knows what we need.  That is reality.  When we give God a grateful heart, we highlight all his good gifts to us.

We give him our longing…

Christmas is a time of year when all our emotions get amplified.  Our joy is amplified, but our suffering and pain are amplified too.  Jesus came as a baby, but he hasn’t taken away all our tears and pain yet.  People are still in pain.  Mothers loose children.  Girls are sold into slavery.  Relationships fall apart.  Disease strikes.  And in the midst of all that mess, we give God our longing for all things to be made right.  We trust that God is the only one strong enough, just enough and loving enough to fix this broken world.  During Advent, we look back to the baby in the manger, but we also look forward to the second coming of our King.
Until then, what can we give him?
Give him your faith.
Give him your gratefulness.
Give him your longing.
Give him your heart.
This post is the 3rd part in a series on worship.  Here is the prequel and 1st installment!

___________________________

Thanks to Bob Kauflin for his book, “True Worshipers:  Seeking What Matters to God“.  The quotes and three points came from his book.  I will also be teaching a class in January from this book as we try to connect our weekend worship with the rest of our lives!

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