Rapturous

My oldest daughter and I recently went to Atlanta for our second adventure at the Warped Tour. Back in 2016, I did not want to go.  I have been to hundreds of concerts but never to any of the other 22 warped tours. I went only because my daughter wanted me to go. So, I did my due diligence, listened to some bands ahead of time, and went and had a blast. I was introduced to a type of music that I had never given a chance and now had some new favorite bands in Real Friends, The Maine, Waterparks, State Champs, and Knuckle Puck.

Fast forward a couple of months and my daughter and I were going to see Real Friends again. The joke with her and I is there was one point during the show when she looked over at me and I was out of my mind with joy.

jumping up and down…
singing at the top of my lungs…
bouncing around with the crowd…
arms up…
rapturous.

At that moment, my problems and worries completely gone.

Have you ever had that kind of experience? When the compassion
and love of another person helps you deal with your suffering?
When an encounter with beauty seemed to neutralize your anxiety and give you hope?
How are you going to get more of that kind of approval,
that kind of encouragement, that kind of love?
The answer for us as it was for the disciples, is worship.
-Timothy Keller, Jesus the King

Now pick any Sunday morning at 10:30 a.m. On that stage in Lee-Scott’s gym.  The opening chords as we file in for service. The music pulls you in immediately and the lyrics are always full of hope, praise, and encouragement about all that a walk with Jesus can offer. And here I am singing along, closing my eyes, taking it in, even crying, but it stops there. It was obvious to my daughter and any random fan that I was having an amazing time at the Real Friends concert but what about you on Sunday?  Can you tell how moved I am?

 

Therefore, let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot
be shaken, and us let us offer to God acceptable worship,
with reverence and awe, for Our God is a consuming fire.
-Hebrews 12:28-29.

 

In February, I went to the Abbey of Gethsemane.  We went on a short hike through the woods to see the statues that depict Jesus and the three disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane the night before Jesus was crucified.  There is one statue of Jesus on His knees, face pointed to the sky, His hands covering His face.

He is in despair…In agony.

I cried as you would think that one would, but not for the reasons that you would assume.  It was not the beauty of the statues, not the serenity of the location, not the gravity of seeing Jesus’ despair so accurately predicted.  The tears came because I heard the damaging words of the enemy.  Four words and he had me.

‘You are being stupid.’

And then it all rushed in…

I was embarrassed.

I felt inferior.

I could see people laughing at me.

I was ashamed.

The enemy did not want me at such a powerful place.  The enemy does not like all the changes that God has made in me lately.  The enemy used his favorite weapon that he likes to use on me…

Shame.

It is that same weapon that keeps me from raising up my arms on Sunday.  That weapon keeps me from showing you the transformational power those four or five songs a week have had in my life.  That weapon that reserves my enthusiastic celebration for pop punk concerts only.  That weapon keeps me from showing you the love that I feel inside.  The love of God our Father.

So, I am going to do it.  I am going to offer God an acceptable worship.  He is telling me to and I am finally going to listen.  I will be obedient.  It won’t be easy for me.  The enemy wants me to be nervous.  The enemy wants me to be embarrassed.  But I promise that I am going to work on it.  I owe this to God. 
 

It is the very least that I can do.

Take me anywhere…I am a nervous passenger.
-Knuckle Puck

 

Dear Lord, help me to be more obedient.  I pray that I will learn to listen less to the enemy and his tools and more to You and Your wishes.  God, this will take more strength than I presently have.  I pray for strength.  I pray for you to reach out and whisper in my ear that there is no reason to be embarrassed.

I pray that I accept how proud you are of me.