Tag Archives: praise

“People Filled With Genuine Praise”

Reverend Barry Dawson, the new RCA Pastor at PCO, spoke on Psalm 96 last Sunday evening in Ruwi Church.  The secondary reading was from Revelation 5:6-14.

Pastor Barry started his sermon mentioning how each sport has their loyal followers.  Stadiums seat up to 70,000 spectators and we all know who the spectators are and who are the players.  The same notion may incorrectly be applied to church when people mistakenly see the pastor, worship-leader, choir members and others on stage as “actors” while those seated in the pews are “spectators”.

In worship, it’s upside down.  We’re the actors and God is the audience.  As we are “acting out our love for God”, He is taking it in.  God is indeed the most important “audience”.  Worship is not for us-but God!  The focus should always be on God, not us.

In our consumer driven world, we think all things resolve around us.  We approach service with a consumer’s point of view than than a “producer’s”.

Was God pleased with my heart and mind during the singing and sermon?  We need to develop a God-centred attitude which would change our expectations drastically when we come.

Pastor Barry shared a story that Max Lucado wrote about during one of his experiences of being on an airplane.  People on a plane and people in a pew have a lot in common.  Both are on a journey and most are satisfied with a predictable flight.  “It was a nice flight.” “It was a nice worship service.”  A few, however, are not content with just “a nice predictable event” and long for more.  He compared it to an excited boy on a plane ride who got to see the pilot in the cockpit.  “Wow! I am so glad to be on this airplane!” No other faces showed such wonder as the boy on the flight.  Other passengers were content with an uneventful flight.  The same with those at services.  Few come with a childlike enthusiasm like the boy on the plane in wonder.

God protects and comforts but is also the One who causes us to tremble out of honor and reverence and who calms us by His mere presence.  We realize how small and insignificant and ungodlike we are.  We get a glimpse of the true reason we need to worship.  It is in God alone where there is mystery, beauty and truth.

God had the power to create the universe and He has the power to raise the dead!  Instinctively, we worship because we need to.  We need to bow down before Our Maker.  Jesus Christ is the Lamb who was Slain; worthy of all honor and praise as we read from Revelation 5:6-14.

There are moments, if our eyes and ears are open, known as “Halleluia moments” when the awesome holy nature of God has taken our breath away.  Moments like when a surgeon comes out of the operating room and says, “She’s going to be okay!” (AMEN! I remember that moment!  🙂 )  At moments like these, what else can we do but worship God!?

All of the universe is worshipping and so are His saints.  When we encounter the magnificent wonders out there in the world where we live, all we can do is worship.  May these moments draw us into a deeper union with Christ.

What Can We Give to God?!

  Another wonderful banner from the PCO banner team!  “What can we give to God” who has so richly given us all things and above all has given Himself on the cross for our sins (Galatians 1:4).  The banner provides a few answers to this deep question: money (tithes), praise/thanksgiving (represented by the music note!) and skills/talents/gifts/good deeds represented by what I think are sewing thread).  Let’s break  this down: 

One of the least preached on subjects in many churches is the biblical concept of tithing.  God owns everything and He has declared that we are to give Him 10% (even though He owns 100%!) as a sign of trust/reverence/dependence.  It’s a way for us to remember His sovereignty and to remember to trust in Him and not in our bank accounts.  “Will a man rob God?  Yet ye have robbed me.  But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee?  In tithes and offerings.  Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation.  Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in mine house, and test me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.” (Malachi 3:8-10)                                               “Whoever offers praise, glorifies Me (God).” (Psalm 50:23)  Psalm 50:23 is obviously referring to the God of the Bible.  To give thanks to any “other god” (false gods) is blasphemy of course.  Contrary to popular belief, all religions do not “follow the same God just under a different name”.

   “Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Ephesians 5:19-20)  There is power in praise!  An ungrateful Christian who is “not into praise” is no Christian at all!                                               

Another thing we can give (back) to God is to use our talents, skills and gifts (which God has given us!) for His glory.  A lady named Dorcas in the New Testament is a good example of such generous giving.  “In Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (which, when translated, is Dorcas), who was always doing good and helping the poor.”  (Acts 9:36)

We know that she used her seamstress skills for the glory of God as it is written, “All the widows stood around him, crying and showing him the robes and other clothing that Dorcas had made while she was still with them.” (Acts 9:39)  One thing that must be made clear is that we do not give to God in order to earn his merit/grace/favor.  We do it as an act of worship/praise/thankfulness for all that God is, had done, is doing and will do.  The primary thing we are thankful for is God’s taking the place of our sins on the cross.  God does not need anything from us! 

“And He (God) is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else.” Acts 17:25)  But we have the privilege of being able to give.  Many Christian songs have lyrics about coming before God “empty handed” but this is not necessarily true.  One repeating verse/concept over and over again in the Bible says, “No one is to appear before the LORD empty handed.” (Exodus 34:20, Deuteronomy 16:16, Exodus 23:15, )  Each believer is to give as he is able and as God has blessed him (1 Corinthians 16:2, 2 Corinthians 8:12, 9:7-8)  We can bring thanks, praise, a contrite and thankful heart, humbleness, respect/awe for our Creator as well as use our gifts and talents for His glory.  If God has provided everything in our lives, how can we then say we come before Him empty handed?!  We bring our very bodies and soul as living sacrifices!  The greatest thing we can “give God” is trust/faith, knowing Him to be a faithful Creator. (1 Peter 4:19) (Hebrews 11:6)

Playing the Part of the Tourist in Al Ain, UAE

Oh that men would praise (or”give thanks to”) the LORD for His goodness (or “loving-kindness”), and for His wonderful works to the children of men!” (Psalm 107, verses 8, 15, 21 and 31)