Worship in the Middle of Crisis

One of the great challenges during crisis is to worship, but we must worship anyway! But, what happens often is that we find it hard to worship in crisis.

Isaiah 1:1 indicates that Isaiah preached these prophetic messages contained in the book during the reigns of Uzziah (also called Azariah), Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah. Even though Isaiah’s prophecy is focused on Judah in the South, the fall of the Northern Kingdom would have happened during his ministry.

Added to the ongoing sin problem of Judah is the more immediate problem of the death of King Uzziah. Uzziah had reigned as king for 52 years. Uzziah’s reign, for the most part, had been a good reign. He had led the country well. As a result, there had been relative calm and peace in the kingdom. His death brought about this sort of national panic of “What now?” (We are not the first generation to worry about how bad things are in a nation.)

I think if you were to ask Isaiah about this time in his life, he would have confessed that he had depended upon the good reign of King Uzziah rather than depended completely upon King Jehovah. In this atmosphere of national and personal panic, Isaiah is in desperate need of a fresh encounter with God. That is exactly what he gets as is recorded in Isaiah 6.

Even though we might find it difficult to worship in the middle of crisis, we must worship because giving ourselves to worship helps us to see . . .

The Glory of God

This was a fearful time for Isaiah. The King had died. The Assyrians were coming. In the midst of these fears, while in the temple, Isaiah meets God. In this encounter, Isaiah recognizes…

God’s Sovereignty—The first thing that Isaiah saw about God was His being seated on the throne and His robe. This description is a regal scene showing the absolute reign of the King of Kings. King Uzziah is dead, but Jehovah God, the one true God is very much alive and in control. This is how worship calms our fears. We seem to need that regular reminder that God is on His throne.

God’s Holiness—Next, Isaiah saw God’s holiness. To say that we have worshipped, but not be led to see God’s holiness is foreign to true worship. True worship always ends in seeing God’s holiness.

God’s Presence—The key term of these first four verses is the idea of filling. His robe filled the temple in verse 1. In verse 2, His glory filled the whole earth. In verse 3, the Temple was filled with smoke. The idea of filling reveals that God’s presence is everywhere.

I think what we discover in this text is that when we give ourselves to worship, God calms our fears. As I remind you often, “You cannot worry and worship at the same time.”

(This post is based on the message “The Challenge to Worship” which you can watch at fbclaf.org/video)

We Certainly Owe our Veterans Respect and Honor

Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor. (Romans 13:7)

As you know, Sunday is Veterans Day. This year’s observance is special in that this is the 100th anniversary of the ending of World War I.

Thursday, I had the awesome privilege to attend a ceremony and offer prayer at the send-off of veterans from our area to Washington, D.C. Brookshire’s Store (Super One) is the sponsor of this wonderful program called Honor Air which brings veterans to Washington.

This morning (Friday), I attended our Christian School’s Veterans Day program.

I am thankful for both of these opportunities to pray for veterans and teach our children to honor our veterans.

Romans 13:7 has certainly been at the forefront of our minds this week. Here is likely the clearest word in the Bible on the relationship between the Christian and government. While Paul likely had the governing authorities in mind when he instructed to honor those we owe honor, certainly our Veterans are extensions of the implications of this text. I think it is fitting that we voted this week. We ought never to cast a vote without thinking about and thanking veterans.

So, what are you going to be doing this Veterans Day? Let me offer 4 ideas of how to spend this Veterans Day.

1. Thank God for calling men and women to military service and instilling in them the courage to protect our country at their own peril. The thanksgiving prayers of the Bible come to mind. For example, as recorded in Philippians 1:3, Paul prayed, “I thank my God every time I remember you.”

2. Thank a veteran. Buy a meal, make a phone call, or reach out in some personal way to a veteran in your community.

3. Teach the Children—Make an intentional effort to talk to a child or teenager about the sacrifices of veterans.

4. Talk to God about our country. Pray today that we might be the kind of nation worthy of the sacrifices of our veterans.

What’s Happening This Week at FBC?

Hopefully, by now, you have heard about the changes that are coming to our Sunday School and Worship schedule beginning in January 2019. I want to say again how thankful I am for your acceptance and in most cases enthusiasm about these changes. If you were able to be with us last Sunday in the 9:45 service, we would suggest that the worship style last week is a good example of the new 8:15 service. If you missed last week, you might want to go online and watch.

This Sunday morning, in both the 9:45 and 11:11 services, we have prepared to lead in a way that will illustrate the new 10:45 service. We have done this purposefully to help you to prayerfully decide which service will be best for you. Please keep in mind that, above all things, we seek to lead you in the authentic worship of God, not in a style of worship.

Finally, please remember that your Operation Christmas Child Boxes are due this Sunday!

We hope to see you Sunday!