August 3, 2022 - Heart of Worship
"Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness." (Ps. 29:2 NIV)
First of all, my apologies for being inconsistent in my writing; it's summer. I should just stop at the end of May and start after Labor Day like many of my church members 😎.
A few weeks ago, Deb and I had the privilege of attending Billy Graham's Evangelistic Training Center in Ashville, North Carolina. A beautiful facility in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Twelve hundred acres of holiness and serenity. I needed it.
It has been...whew...I honestly can't remember when I have had an opportunity for a ministry break to be ministered to. A common hazard for those of us in full-time ministry and the cause of many a burnout. I was desperately in need of something/someone.
I had always wanted to go to the Cove. With Covid, Deb and I have agreed, with the exception of seeing our parents in Florida, that we would keep our travels to driving and to an eight-to-nine-hour journey. The Cove fit the parameters.
I am also not a person that goes to "pastor's conferences." I find them boring and usually a one-up exercise. "So how big is your church?" "How many staff members do you have?" "Is your wife blond and does she play the piano, lead VBS, head up the Women's Missionary Society, and always participate in bake sales and funeral dinners?" "Now tell me again, what school you graduated from?" "Hmmmm...never heard of it?"
I sometimes tell them that I am from the Celestial Universalist Unitarian Non-Conformist, Non-Religious Church of the None's. They only hear the last part and think I'm Roman Catholic. They move on. Leper! Leper! Unclean! Unclean! Humorous.
As I was looking at the Cove schedule, I noticed that Dr. R. T. Kendall was speaking. Dr. Kendall was the pastor of Westminster Chapel in London, England, the successor to the great Dr. Martin Lloyd Jones. Amazing...since I thought he was dead. He turned 87 the week we were there.
I heard him speak in the 1990's when he was going through a very pivotal change in his ministry and in his walk with the Holy Spirit. It captivated me. Like listening to Leonard Ravenhill or Duncan Campbell. Riveting. Convicting. Motivating.
I did my early registration and looked forward to the time away with my bride sitting at the feet of a Christian great.
Double blessing. Speaking of Elisha...but for me it was having Marty Goetz lead us in worship before every session. Three times a day he brought us into the presence of the Lord.
I didn't realize how lacking this aspect of my life was. I knew it mentally. Most of the churches I had been in since my days at Word of Life have been... no offense intended...ones that have just sung songs. It has been a long, long time since I have truly worshipped. Oh...how I missed it. How I was reminded that this is what I was created for. Most of the time I couldn't sing for my spirit welled up inside of me and the tears flowed. Tears of joy. Tears of sorrow. Tears of future hope.
I wonder how many churches suffer from the same malady - a good song service.
Marty Goetz does a home worship service with his wife and sometimes his daughter Misha on Tuesday and Friday nights at 8 eastern (MartyGoetz.com). He invites us into his home but more importantly, he invites us into the presence of God through our worship.
Sometimes our heroes, we find, are just men like us. It might sound a bit prideful, but I didn't learn much, and the Q and A I could have handled easily. There were nuggets I gathered, but I think my time away was to remind me that for all of the "brain" time I put in, my heart needs just as much attention. Probably, more so...
A heart of worship.
May I encourage you to do the same.