It gets hot in the South in the summertime-real hot! And when you don’t have air conditioning it gives new meaning to hot. We didn’t have air conditioning, but we had a huge and I mean huge, loud, and I mean really loud, window fan. Even with our huge, loud fan, it was cooler on […]
I got my socks blown off last week (I lose more socks that way!) and it wasn’t even my fault. I was cleaning the kitchen, Praise the Lord! Might as well do some praising, it doesn’t do any good to grumble about dirty dishes, especially since the food was good and it wasn’t even burned this time. Beside that, praising God makes everything better, but I digressed.
You know me. I’ve got to do more than one thing at a time, that’s why I burn everything. So, while I washed dishes I was listening to Bryan Jarrett. I love that man. Listening to him is like trying to drink from a fire hydrant! Honestly, in the first five minutes of that sermon my faith was ignited and my socks went missing. Most of the time I skip the introduction and go right for the meat of the sermon. But even his first five minutes was riveting. I had to listen again and again.
If you have my Prayer Object Lesson Kit for Kids you know I love the verse in Psalms 34:3 KJV “O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together.” If you’ve ever played with a magnifying glass you understand that it allows you to focus and analyze more clearly what you are seeing. Worship causes us to stop and focus on the nature and wonders of God. It is a powerful way to move into God’s presence to experience the wonder of who He is.
Pastor Jarrett expounded on this verse. Magnify means make bigger. Yet our worship cannot make God bigger. God is already big, really BIG. So big in fact that it take a universe that spans the distance of billions of light years to reflect His glory. God is immeasurable. God is unfathomable. But if we can’t make God bigger, why does the Psalms tell us to magnify God.
Listen to his explanation: “Our worship does not change the nature of God. Worship changes the perspective of the worshiper. When the Psalmist says come magnify the Lord, He was not saying ‘Come make God bigger’. He was inviting you into a mind shift, a perspective shift where you right size your God, and in the process of right sizing your God you right size your mountain. You right size your difficulty. You right size your perspective.”
Wow! When our perspective is right, we understand God is big and our problems are little. That’s the kind of perspective that turns a youth into a giant killer. It turns a fiery furnace into a revival center where you dance and praise God. It turns a lion’s den into a place to catch up on your rest.
Bro. Jarrett explains there are two methods of magnification:
1.A microscope takes something small and make it bigger, so we can see what it looks like and examine it more closely.
2. A telescope takes something enormous, but because it is so far away we can’t see what it looks little. So the telescope makes it look bigger so we can see what it looks like; so we can be awed by its splendor and beauty. Like the pictures taken from the Hubble Telescope.
Bro. Jarret explains that God is not little. And because God is so big, our praise is like a telescope. The church is like a magnificent observatory filled with telescopes. When we begin to praise God, it gives us a lens to focus on God and see more clearly what He is like. Our praise focuses our attention on Him and brings Him into our view so we can see more clearly what He is like.
Magnify enables us to take something big, like a star that is much bigger than the Earth, pull it closer, so we can analyse it and see it in all its glory for what it really is. Our worship magnifies Him by bringing his presence near. Our worship gives us the opportunity to study, feel and experience and know God for Who He is. Worship is the lens that allows us to see how wonderful, powerful and glorious He really is. Worship brings His presence near.
He also quoted from the classic sermon of Dr. S.M. Lockridge. It is one of the most powerful sermons ever given. I’ve listened to it dozens of times, and every time I am moved to tears and worship! He paints a graphic word picture of Christ our King, Redeemer and Savior. Here’s the link to the audio with slides of this amazing sermon entitled That’s My King
Listen to Bro. Jarrett’s sermon. Even if you only have 10 minutes, you’ll be blessed. https://northplacechurch.com/resources/watch/ Select Incomparable/Magnify Don’t forget to take off your sock first though.
And if you haven’t read his book, Extravagant, run, better yet, take the car and get to the Bible book store or Christian Book Distributors online and get his book! It will bless you. Great book!!!
The river rocks that I stopped to gather were smooth in my hand. I’m sure they started out jagged and rough. But the swift current of the cool mountain stream changed that. The strong current, relentlessly shoved the rocks downstream, pushing and tumbling them up and down, around and around, bumping and scraping them against each other until their rough edges were ground smooth. The stones that lay all around my feet had experienced the power of the water, had been shaped and honed by its prodding, pushing and shoving. Now–the water was gone. All that remained of the stream that had once coursed through this valley was a dry river bed of smooth, dry rocks and gravel. The stream was gone. And so were the raccoons, and the deer.. the bears and …the skunks and the coyotes. They were all gone. Oh, they all came when there was water, but when the water dried up, they quit coming.
And so did the human visitors. A few like Wayne and I, all non-residents, that didn’t know the stream was gone, came looking for water. Only an occasional visitor crunched down the path on the way to somewhere else. We and a few birds, flittering from tree to tree, were the only visitors that day.
When the water was depleted everyone left, everyone except the stone stackers, they stayed. They had memories of way back when, of when there was water. It’s both surprising and amazing how quickly you get used to things. They missed the water at first, but then there were so many stones to stack. And the stacked stones were beautiful. All the colors, and sizes and shapes. Beautiful stones, not that they were valuable, but they were fascinating. Stacking stones is captivating you know. I had to stop and stack a few myself. Amused and interested, I found just the right color and size to stack one on top of the other until it was sufficiently tall to stand impressive without tottering and tumbling to the ground.
The stone stackers, didn’t start out as stone stackers. They came for the water. They came thirsty. They started out as water drinkers, but when the river dried up they stayed. At first they longed for the water, they even prayed for rain, but after a while they got so busy stacking stones, they hardly missed the water at all. The stone stackers didn’t nourish life, they only left one more stack of stones. The stone stackers didn’t give water. They didn’t nourish life, they just left stacks of stones that dotted the dry river bed.
How like stone stackers the traditional Christian has become. They’ve allowed the stream to dry up in their lives because of sin, rebellion, disobedience and unbelief. It’s not that the stream was never there, it flows from the well of salvation, but neglect has damned the flow of relationship with Him into their lives. I don’t want you to miss this, indifference, neglect and sin stops the flow of the waters of relationship with God into our lives.
It’s a gradual thing. At first, the change is hardly noticeable. It happens when a believer ignores the still, small voice calling them to surrender their will to His. They hardly notice that the sin that once grieved their hearts, doesn’t really bother them anymore. Modern Christian culture has bought into the lie that conviction makes me “feel” bad, so I will ignore it. They turn up the volume knob on their entertainments. They ignore the warnings and invitations of their loving Father to spend time with Him, to read the Bible, and to obey what it says, with excuses and complaints. The water level gets lower, but they don’t notice cause they are so busy. They are doing beautiful things, churchy things, stacking stones is spiritual you know. Meanwhile, the water of God’s presence in their lives dries up—and they continue to stay where they are spiritually. At first they missed the refreshing, cleansing life-giving waters. But, they got so busy building a church and doing good stuff–stacking stones, that they forgot all about the water. They forget they were called to be water drinkers and water carries– and become satisfied just stacking stones.
Stacking stones is exhausting.
Oh, but there’s hope for dry riverbeds and stone stackers.
Elijah was a stone stacker in a time of terrible physical and spiritual drought. There’s a place for stone stackers. But the important issue here is, he didn’t stop with stacking stones. His stone stacking was an altar, a place of repentance…a place of surrender to God. A place where God responded to Elijah’s obedience with fire. It’s important that we notice Elijah didn’t stop when the fire came. He persisted until God sent the rain. Elijah was a stone stacker and a water drinker. He drank from God’s supply. Because he drank from God’s supply, because he wasn’t content to stop with stacking stones, he became a water carrier. His obedience and prayers brought water to a nation. You can read the story in 1 Kings 17.
I’m committed to be a water drinker and a water carrier that stacks a few stones when necessary! How about you? I’d love to hear from you.
Think MISSIONAL. If you know someone that would enjoy this blog, please pass it on!
Additional Link: Experiencing the Glory