Monday, June 27, 2011

No Comparing...

Yesterday we heard the third message in the "Stop...Start Really Living" series at my church. 

Before the message began we had our time of praise and worship.  Generally speaking our congregation is pretty low key when it comes to singing praise songs.  Inside we're on fire for the Lord...but that doesn't usually show on the outside.  There's not usually a lot of hand raising or clapping.  But I know from experience that there are tears of thanksgiving and hearts bursting with love for the Lord. I also know from experience that my actions (or lack of actions) has something to do with "what's everyone else doing"? 
I'm ashamed to admit that, but it's the truth.

As the first song of praise and worship began our worship leader asked us to stand.  It was a beautiful song...one you could kind of lose yourself in. The music softened before the second song began and our worship leader said "You may be seated......if you'd like to".   During his pause people began to sit, some did sit. But then he continued with the "...if you'd like to" part.  Some of those starting to sit stopped, stood, and out of the corners of their eyes looked around.
What was everyone else doing?

I was standing in the fourth row. I could tell people in the row behind me were still standing....but then they sat down.  Someone to the right of me was standing....then, after a second or two, he sat.  A couple to my left stood as the next praise song began.  But then they sat as well.  As near as I could tell I was the last one standing (I found out later that I was).  

All along I didn't want to sit down. I love to sing praise songs and sitting just doesn't seem to me the best position to do that in.  I glanced at the worship leader and then.......I sat down.  Because everyone else sat down.
Praise and worship concluded and the message began.  The message this week was called:

"STOP Comparing"

~~:::~~

My point.....it doesn't matter how you want to praise the Lord if it truly comes from your heart. What does matter is that you praise Him the way you want to...without concern for the way everyone else is doing it.   (and by YOU I mean ME!)

6:00 AM on 6/25/11
Praise God for His Beautiful Creation

~~:::~~

"And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God."  Romans 12:2 

7 comments:

LDH said...

What a perfect way to illustrate the message! Oh how I know the feeling. Our church has really changed through the years as it has grown and I know our older folks try but find it hard to embrace more praise and worship (which means less hymns) and the what they perceive as loud instruments.

One of the things that totally blesses my heart is to see folks completely enjoying and praising God. We have an ever growing group of CR (Celebrate Recovery) and they sit toward the front and raise their hands and the love and thankfulness just radiates! No one is ashamed to display their joy in the Lord!

Shelley said...

As you shared this story..I could just imagine you standing before the Lord....lots of time I close my eyes in worship...as to be totally unmindful of what is going on around me and lost in his awesome presence...unfortunately,I can't stand comfortably anymore so,most of my worship to him is in sitting....but,when our worship to him is directed from our heart...I don't think the bodily position is of much importance to him...same with prayer....no longer can I kneel before the Lord either :( ...but,my heart is bowed in submission every time I go before him....Our church has a freedom to worship as we are comfortable and I am grateful for such....many hands raised in surrender to him...voices praising his marvelous works and wonder...thankful for a living Savior whom all praise is due....blessings on your week dear friend...

Jo said...

That is very interesting... and kinda cool to know that you were the only one left standing. :-)

Diane said...

Marie, this was beautiful. And isn't it wonderful that God made us all different!

Blessings,
Diane

Ann said...

It's interesting how people will only join in certain things if everyone else is.

Miss Debbie said...

We stand for praise and worship and there are a
few of us who raise our hands. But there have been times at church when the choir was singing that I have wanted to stand because it was so powerful and moving. It was hard to hear something proclaiming the majesty and glory of God and remain seated. But we are relatively new in the church and I didn't want to make a scene. The last time it happened, I told my hubby and he said he wanted to stand, too. So, we have agreed that the next time we both feel so inspired, we will do it together! :-)

Bess said...

Our church is the same way. To hear even a spontaneous "Amen" is rare. The lack of visible feeling and enthusiasm for worship might be one of the reasons our attendance is shrinking. I commend you for being the last one standing! Also, your "note" on June 30 is most excellent. Bess