Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. ~ Psalm 37:4 Dale and I always thought early in our married life we would have two children. In 1988, we built a new home … Continue reading
“And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.” Acts 2:2 On the final evening of our time in Haiti we experienced what would be recognized … Continue reading
How many times have you told someone your story? Sharing mine is a relatively new thing for me to do, considering I was 20 years old before I discovered the freedom and the joy it brings. When I left for … Continue reading
It’s not something you did that you can be proud of. Instead, we are God’s accomplishment, created in Christ Jesus to do good things. God planned for these good things to be the way that we live our lives. ~Ephesians … Continue reading
Wrecked is a word we’ve been hearing around Long Hollow and will continue to hear in the days ahead. What does that even mean? I vividly remember being “wrecked” on my first visit to Haiti. This particular trip was a … Continue reading
It’s often used as an adjective, as in worship service, worship music, or worship center. It’s also sometimes used as a noun: My boss gives excessive worship to his business.
I like it best as a verb. It seems to me that in its truest form, worship is action. It’s our humble engagement with and grateful connection to the God of the universe through our spirits, with our mouths, and in our minds.
Because He created us and desires a relationship with us through the blood sacrifice of His Son, Jesus, He alone is worthy of our praise, adoration, love and lives. That fact alone should move us—move us to sing, to share the gospel, to minister to and encourage others.
Romans 12:1 says, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.”
The term worship wars has been used in the past few years to describe the debate over worship styles. It just seems wrong that those two words should ever be put together in a sentence. Whether you like traditional hymns or contemporary-style music, whether you think you can sing or not—if you have been saved by the blood of Christ, you have a song to sing and worship should not only be on your lips, but moving in and through you as you become the hands and feet of Jesus to others.
I recently went on one of our church’s trips to Haiti and was so incredibly moved. Their worship was palpable, visible, tangible. For an hour, they sang. Sometimes they stood. Sometimes they sat. Sometimes they raised their hands. Sometimes they swayed to the music.
I wept at the privilege of worshiping with them, of seeing their genuine joy! I couldn’t help but be convicted by their expression of sincere gratitude. These people have so little in areas most of us would describe as absolute necessities.
Yet, despite the fact that they have virtually nothing, they have everything. They have Jesus, and He’s enough. He’s ALL they need. And they reflect that—in their mouths, in their countenance, in their expression of adoration to the One who gave it all.
During Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem before Passover, the Pharisees asked Him to rebuke His crowd of followers to be quiet.
Jesus answered, “I tell you, if they kept quiet, the stones would do it for them, shouting praise.” (Luke 19:40)
Forbid it that we be so neglectful or unmoved in our worship that an inanimate object would be commanded to do it in our place.
So, I ask you, what does your worship look like? Do you stand there with your lips closed, hands crossed, mind elsewhere? Or do you focus on Him and allow His Spirit to speak to you and connect you with the Creator of the universe who loves you beyond comprehension? It doesn’t matter whether you raise your hands, or if you can carry a tune in a bucket. What matters is that you engage with Him and WORSHIP!
He’s the only object, the only focus–just Him. He’s an audience of One.
On a recent trip to Haiti, I was struck—not most by what vast differences there were between me and the people I met, but all that I had in common with these precious folks.
Obviously, we live in very different places. Though my family would be considered mostly middle class in this country, I was incredibly wealthy compared to those I encountered. I’m Caucasian; they’re dark skinned. I have a college degree. Most of them hardly have any type of formal education.
The differences are vast, no doubt.
But…we are a LOT alike!
What do we have in common? Sin. Death. The transforming power of the gospel, of human touch, of a smile. The language of music. The joy of knowing Jesus.
We were challenged to not look on the Haitians with pity, but with the knowledge that the ground is level at the foot of the cross.
“Thank You, Lord, for the privilege of seeing You at work in the lives of people everywhere and the reminder that Your love, grace, and mercy are for everyone, everywhere!”
Called to GO! I’ll never forget meeting Emily Routh for the first time in our hotel room in Ft. Lauderdale in route to Haiti. It was in the middle of the night. I took separate flights from the team due to jumping on board this trip two weeks before departure. What an adventure we were in for during the next week. God called me a year earlier to Haiti and I had resisted. Had I been resisting to GO for Him? My sweet husband and son had been out of the country some ten times to build churches in rural parts of Brazil. Wasn’t that enough? And then on their most recent trip God worked it out so our daughter could go. Did I really need to go? Was I too closed-minded to hear His calling?
Finally in July of 2010 God knocked loudly on my heart. He had paved the way because when I called the church there was room for another person on the next trip to Haiti-and it was me! I didn’t even ask or care who was going on the trip. God said to GO! God had predestined for Em and I to meet and share a room together. Like me, she was going without anyone from her family and had been praying for someone to join the trip that she could room with and experience this journey. Emily’s husband, Jackson, had been earlier in the year to Haiti. Now it was Em’s turn. So I show up and bam-we hit it off! Em told me later that when I got up to flat iron my hair at 4:00 AM she knew we were going to get along just fine. (By the way, don’t take a flat iron to Haiti!) In fact, leave all of that girly stuff behind. I promise you won’t miss it!
From the time we met until the time we departed, it was as if we’d known each other forever. There are so many stories from our trip, but the most important one is how God unified our hearts for the Haitian people, and especially the little ones in the orphanage. Em and I wanted to bring all of them home with us. After the trip to Haiti, God worked it out for us to be in small group together. That’s when we learned that Em and Jackson were being led to adopt. My husband, David, and I were now getting to watch this unfold and unite in prayer with our small group for them as the weeks became months and the months turned into over a year. Continue reading
“Love is a verb.” -John Mayer
As I am writing this, Long Hollow has two mission teams in the air. One is in Haiti, and the other is in Uganda. Both will be the hands and feet of Jesus, loving on our beautiful children in the orphanages.
They won’t be building impressive buildings or feeding thousands, not that those are unimportant things. But, they will be spending time and loving precious children. Soaking children in their smiles and kind touches. Letting them smell their shirts and rub their faces on them tenderly. Joking with them and being a “bright spot” in an otherwise ordinary day as an orphan. Do you sometimes wonder what memories our children of the nations will have as adults—will they think back on when “those people” came and treated them kindly and told them over and over that Jesus saves and God loves them?
Oh, Lord, I pray that they will! I pray that these efforts will deposit in their emotional “banks” so the spiritual deposits can fall on good soil as they mature and grow! I pray that they will be manifested in life-change and nation-change for the purposes of His plan!
Also, Long Hollow’s leadership is listening to God’s calling concerning an unreached people group in North Africa. Unreached. People. Group. Let that sink in—UNREACHED. Where tribal languages and Muslim culture are obstacles.
I was telling our eight-year-old about UNREACHED groups, and she was surprised. She is a relatively new Christian, and watching her makes me realize how “churched” we can become, where we hear and intellectually know things without allowing them to influence our hearts with a holy burden for the lost and dying world. Seeing her face as she pondered a life without hearing the name Jesus and understanding what that means, I could see that she was truly, authentically touched. It was convicting.
So, today, let’s all partner with the Long Hollow mission projects. Let our hearts be united in prayer for our church’s teams who are going to the nations. If you don’t know what to pray, consider these verses: