Who Touched Me?

“You see the people crowding against you,” His disciples answered,

“and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me?’”

i wonder if the angels ask Him that on Sundays.

Jesus looks through this mass of believers

millions speaking

singing and seeking

a whirlwind of worship as the world spins from sun’s rise to fall.

“Who touched me?”

He asks.

And the angels watch as His gaze spans the Sunday horizon.

“Do you see the millions?”

“Yes, but who touched Me?”

“Do you hear the music and see the offerings?”

“Yes, but who touched Me?”

“Do you feel their passion?”

Yes,

but

who

touched

Me?

He is There

When the mighty winds of change shake the foundation of life, He is there.

When the storms of life flood our souls, He is there.

When the grey slush days seem to never end, He is there.

When death steals a friend, loved one, or brother, He is there.

When it’s so dark we can’t see any way out, He is there.

When we are betrayed by our closest friends, He understands and He is there.

When we grow angry and shake our fist in the air, even in times of our rebellion, He is there.

When lying lips continue to destroy without care, we remember that He does. He is there.

When we deny Him in a lost world and fail to share His love, still, relentlessly, He is there.

In every cruel circumstance, He is there.

In every wasted moment, He is there.

In every crisis, every joy, every silent midnight, every new morning, every day, every hour, every moment, every breath, He is there.

This is what God says to His family, His children, His creation, His sculpted masterpiece: I paid the price for you so stop being consumed with fear and constant worrying about the future. I’m completely aware of your unique identity. I’m not a “broad stroke” kind of God. This God truly is in the details. I know everything about you. I am aware of every tiny nook of your life- every cell, every weakness, every moment of your past, present and future. And when you are up to your ears in the whitewater rapids of tough times, I’ll be right there. The rivers will not swallow you. That’s a promise. And what about fire? I’m way ahead of you on that one. Your eternal life in Me is untouchable. The flames may come but rest in the assurance that you are completely covered by my fireproof grace. I will be there!

Isaiah 43: 1-2 (Wordspring Scriptural Rendering)

7 Things that Happen When We Worship Together

You and I came to the game late but we are invited to stay for eternity and as we worship God begins to teach us new concepts, new subtleties, new songs… What is God teaching you as you worship.? Here are a few things He’s been teaching me.

  • When we worship, life becomes a festival rather than a contest. Not a show… Never a show…
  • When we worship, it spills over into our lifestyle and our family budget. We begin to appreciate simplicity over the complexity of accumulation. It wasn’t ours in the first place, so we don’t have to fight to own it. It’s best given away. And once we do, life becomes less difficult. Fewer locks. Fewer statements. Less paperwork. Less maintenance. We can whittle life down to important things and we see that the best things in life are not found in malls.
  • When we worship, God invites us to take a step closer to him today. Worship one minute more, give one more thing away, encourage one more person. We do this not out of our desire for approval or blessing but because life will make more sense and because we need to experience Him one step closer.
  • When we worship we see more clearly. When the Church worships, His presence is palpable and mysteriously real. When silence is found in our worship, We sense can apprehend the mystery of incarnation. It grabs us and we want it more.
  • When we worship, we see that we are all in recovery. We are all broken, even the most beautiful, well-read, popular, intelligent, successful achievers are struggling today.
  • When we worship, we intentionally surround ourselves with hurting, needy people. 
The recovering drug addict, the guy who had an awful marriage and worked to make it functional, the kid who grew up in a dysfunctional family, the person who has a chronic disease, the woman who experienced sexual abuse, the guy who was unemployed for three months, the kid with Down syndrome, the family whose house was robbed while they were on vacation, the former stripper, the couple that faced infertility, the guy who went for help for his addiction to porn, the blind guy, the man who lost his wife,
the grandmother who lost connection with her grandchildren,
the child of alcoholic parents, the parents of an autistic child, 
the falsely accused. I believe everybody–even atheists, need to be around real, authentic, passionate worshipers because it’s the very best community anyone could ever imagine. And our worshippers so welcome atheists with open arms because we’ve all started out disconnected from God.
  • I look forward to Sundays. It is the highlight of my week. I’m reminded of the grace of Jesus and the worship never ends.

The Cradle and the Cross

Worship leaders start early with some creative tools to enhance your Christmas worship.  Here is a simple reading that contrasts the Christ’s Birth and Crucifixion. Works great as an introduction to a song.

Reader #1: Mankind had wrapped Him in swaddling clothes,

Reader #2: And now they stripped him.

Reader #3: Wise men had sought Him, to worship Him at His birth.

Reader #2: 
Now men of earthly wisdom sought only to kill Him.

Reader #1: And the shepherds who left their sheep in the fields that night to see Him as a baby . . .

Reader #2: Now? Now they saw Him as a man who was like a lamb led to the slaughter.

Reader #3: They had bowed to worship Him in that humble manger,

Reader #1: And now they spit upon Him and mocked Him as King of the Jews.

Reader #2: Mankind had seen the glorious presence of angels, heard our music and joy,

Reader #3: And now they turned their backs on Him.

Reader #1: This same Jesus, once lavished with gold, frankincense, and myrrh was now shamed by a crown of thorns and a wooden reed.

Reader #2: The Bethlehem star seemed to be only a distant memory as Jesus hung on that cross.

Reader #3: The angels wept to see the King of kings and the Lord of lords mocked and betrayed and unjustly slain for the sins of man. And as He said, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do,” He was looking through the hall of eternity where time is of no significance and He saw you. He came down for you.

What Happened Here?

if you asked what happened here
my reply brief and sure would be:
i tasted loneliness and found it pleasing.
i dreamed of God and washed the floors.
i listened to nothing and everything that surrounded it.
i swam at midnight and watched the moon gazing over the louisiana clouds.
i wailed and no one heard but the perplexities of the owl and possum.
i was never more alive and never more dead.
it was transcendent.
it was holy.
it was the best time of my life. 
(reflections from 1982)

Psalm 89: The song that doesn’t end

I will sing of the loving-kindness of the Lord forever. I will make known with my mouth how faithful You are to all people. 2 For I said, “Loving-kindness will be built up forever. You will make known how faithful You are in the heavens.”

 

Thanking God that the song doesn’t end. Nothing can stop the rhythm and meter of this melody. Death, separation, doubt and despondency are no match for the strong and unchained  sound of God’s grace. It has passed through ages of war, pain, oppression, bondage and unthinkable holocaust and yet the sound is steady and strong. It is tall enough to reach the heavens and powerful enough to break the bounds of oppression. It was sung as a dirge on a cruel cross on a Friday but returned as a dawn-breaking, triumphant wakeup anthem on Sunday.  Thank You God that the song never ends.