A True Worship Experience – 11/8

OK – so where were we? Sorry for the delay between posts but I promise to finish out this series this week.

After sleeping just an hour I was expecting to be in for a long day but as Jimmie and I made our way over to Empire Cafe, I was feeling really good and wide awake. I mentioned it before but it’s worth repeating – Empire Cafe is one of the bests cafe’s I have ever been in and it provided the perfect start to our mornings in Cape Town. As we ordered our drinks, we revisited our discussion from the night before and discussed our anticipation of what they day would bring.

For me, I had an expectation that this trip was going to be a special time for me – in what capacity, I had no clue but I was geeked up for this trip for well over a month. So, as I was drinking my 2nd cup of coffee americano, I found myself praying that I would just be open to experience the day with no preconceptions but simply enjoy the moment and allow it to be whatever it was to be. The plan was for us to leave our place by 8:30 so we could be at Beautiful Gate by 9:00am. That was the plan anyway..

We were unable to take the short route do to a road closing and what should have taken 20 minutes or so, ended up taking almost an hour for us to arrive. Typically, being 5 minutes late to anywhere really drives me nuts and here we were, almost 30 minutes late but everything was cool. Just excited to get the day rolling. As we made our way through the complex, we were just talking about this and that as we entered the building where we would be meeting with the Epic students. There is no way to describe what we heard as we begun ascending the stairs to the classroom, except it  sounded heavenly.

The students start their mornings with  a time of worship, to give thanks and honor God with song, prayer and yes, a little dancing. As we approached, the building was filled with music – soulful, straight to the heart type of music and as I entered the room and looked around, I was amazed to find that there were no instruments. The beautiful singing by these young people was so incredible, that really, it sounded like music but no, it was just their voices creating this wonderful experience.

What really got me, as we took part in this experience is how freely they expressed their worship. Outside of the three or four folks we had met the day before, we had not yet met any of the other students. It was so refreshing to see a group of people fully engaged and enjoying a truly marvelous time of worship. No one was concerned with what anyone else was doing, they were giving themselves over to the moment; this moment, this opportunity to offer their praise and worship back to their creator, their savior. This was the first of what would be two days of life changing events that took place within me.

Joy – it’s definition – the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires. This time in worship was nothing short of pure joy as all of us gave ourselves over to the moment – giving thanks, through prayer, singing and dancing. I had to ask myself in that moment, how often had I cheated myself out of this feeling before, because I was more concerned about what others might think, instead of focusing on worshiping my creator, my savior?

I will cover more about Wednesday in the next post but I will end with this – as soon as we got back to the lodge where were staying, I went and grabbed my Ipod shuffle, put on my headphones and pulled up my worship playlist and Matt Redman’s “10,000 Reasons” was the first song I heard. You can listen to it here. May I never again allow my worship to be influenced by what’s around me!!

Peace and thanks for reading!!

Too Much to Do

So this time next week, we will be deboarding our plane about to begin our journey. I am feeling overwhelmed at the moment. Everything seems amplified at the moment: family life is hectic, work is hectic and I now have 4 days left to get ready for my trip to South Africa. It’s easy to get caught up in the busyness of everything and forget to keep first things first!

It’s amazing how easy I tend to let life overwhelm me instead of just taking a deep breath and relaxing a little bit. Being a type A personality doesn’t help in this regard as my natural tendency is to have everything planned out and accounted for – knowing exactly how things are going to unfold, including any potential problems and if the problems do come up, knowing exactly how to handle them. And typically I find that the things that usually send me into a tailspin are things that when I really look at the importance of them – aren’t really that important.

Funny huh? Not really, at least while your in the midst of sorting through everything. So today, as I was sensing that feeling of impending doom coming over me, I was able to pause, take a breath and seek solace in God’s word. For me, I find solace as I listen to various praise and worship songs.

Anytime I hear MercyMe singing  – I can only imagine, I have to stop, if only for a minute and let the words wash over me – “surrounded by glory, what will my heart feel, will I dance for you Jesus, or in awe of you be still. Will I stand in your presence, to my knees will I fall? Will I sing hallelujah or will I be able to speak at all? Or maybe Kari Jobe singing “Revelation Song” as she sings – “Worthy is the lamb who was slain, holy, holy, holy is He! Sing a new song, to Him who sits on heaven’s mercy seat! Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty who was and is and is to come!! With all creation I sing praise to the King of Kings, you are my everything and I will adore you!!”

Or another MercyMe song – Word of God Speak – the opening lyrics serve as a reminder for me, to what – first things first ought to be. “I’m finding myself, at a loss for words, And the funny thing is, it’s okay. The last thing I need is to be heard but to hear what you would say. Word of God speak, would you pour down like rain, washing my eyes to see Your majesty. To be still and know that You’re in this place. Please let me stay and rest in Your Holiness.”

Another one that helps me keep things in perspective is Chris Tomlin’s – Jesus Messiah!! All of these songs serve as a reminder of Christ’s love for me and in Him, I can find peace, joy, and hope!  Other songs remind me of what it is, that above everything else, I am called to do – Lifesong by Casting Crowns is just one of these. Still others remind me of what God has already brought me through – one such song is Decemberadio’s – Find You Waiting!

These are just some of the songs that bring comfort to me when I find myself in need of refreshing my spirit. Ultimately, the Bible is the place to find solace but sometimes you are just not able to take time to read – that’s when I am so thankful to have these songs to get me through until I can read His Word again.

Would love to hear what songs you all like to listen to or what things help to bring solace back to your world.

Peace and thanks for reading!!