For a few very hard years this word was my mantra.
The word means
-undismayed; not discouraged; not forced to abandon purpose or effort
-undiminished in courage or valor; not giving way to fear
But the truth is, I was often dismayed by everything that had taken place, and I did battle discouragement. I battled fear and doubts. I hurt and was angry, and sometimes "undaunted" sounded more like a mockery than a mantra, and I was determined to be real about all of it in these posts, thus the name, Undaunted Reality. More than that, though, I was determined to live undaunted, not because I'm so great or strong, but because my God is, and no matter what this world looks like, He is the only reality that matters.
I pray I live the reality of Him beautifully undaunted.

Monday, October 6, 2014

When Worship Gets Personal

I really like our church. The people who attend are beautiful, and I really enjoy them. The heart of the church is great. In fact, for the church's birthday, we are splitting up and doing community projects as a way to celebrate. Actually, this church is the most community involved church I've possibly ever attended. Seriously. This is a wonderful church.


Worship drives me a bit nuts.

I rarely know the songs, and they are a bit more...not Casting Crowns...than I'm used to. Really, it's just not my style, and I have a hard time getting into it.

In the past, this would have been a big deal for me. Like BIG deal, but I am infinitely sick and tired of listening to people whine and grip about the parts of church that offend personal opinion but are not life altering issues. I sat in a church planning meeting once and saw the leaders of the church go into banshee tantrums over whether the church needed a middle aisle or not. I've listened to too many friends who are pastors who are exhausted, not from the needs of people, but the pettiness of people who are so focused on the order of service or the number of songs or how communion should be served. I don't want to be the problem. I've been the problem, and I don't want to be anymore. But I can be. I have my preferences. I have my comfort zones. I like comfort!

And doggone it. I like worship that allows me to participate!

One morning we were in the midst of worship, and I was feeling musically lost, and I prayed simply, "God, I need you to help me with this."

Two things happened.

First, a simple thought: This is worship music. It was written for the purpose of praising God. It sets an atmosphere for connecting with Him. If you aren't connecting, it's your fault. Not the music's.

Instead of being annoyed that I didn't know the words, I just stood and read the words. They were words of praise declaring God's faithfulness, His goodness, His mercy. I still couldn't sing the words because I couldn't figure out the tune, but I could sing the my own personally way. I stood where I was and quietly began to praise God for how faithful He had been to me that week. I recalled His goodness and His mercy. I recounted them quietly, but aloud, to Him and gave thanks for the detailed way He loves my family and me. My heart was in tune, even though I didn't know the tune.

I worshipped with the music I didn't know by letting it remind me of what I do know.

I know God is good. I know I need Him desperately. I know He is generous and blesses me wildly. Sometimes I need to be reminded, and a song I didn't know did that for me.

Would a song I knew by heart that I could sing without giving it a thought do that for me? It can, but a song I had to think about made me think about the One I am singing to. That is what worship songs should do.

Second, when I stopped singing, I could hear them. The two little boys on the front row. Hands clapping. Feet moving. Pouring out pleasure...not just praise, but they worshipped their Lord. I sat diagonal from them in the back row, and above everyone in between us, I heard them, and their voices were so beautiful. That has got to be the sound of heaven. These two precious boys pouring all they are into the praise of the King. Seriously. The sound was so beautiful. I just closed my eyes and listened. I could only imagine God the Father breathing in the worship from His babies. What amazing joy He must have felt. What deep pleasure He must take in them. The Bible talks about "a pleasing aroma unto the Lord." These boys' worship has to be it.

As I watched, I realized this music that just didn't do it for me did wonders for them. This was their worship, their connecting. This was their Daddy saying, "Boys, I adore you. Come spend some time with me so we can enjoy each other." And they did. Oh my goodness. They did.

I don't remember singing anything else that day. I simply remember thanking God for how He loves each of us and makes roads into each of our lives and finds ways to meet us according to how He made us.

Raise a child in the way they should go, and when they are old, they will not depart from it. -- Proverbs 22:6

God's version: Reach a child according to the way you made them, and when they are older, they will still be reaching out for You.

I watched God reach that day.

And those boys reached right back.

Personally, I think that is as beautiful s worship gets.

2014 Copyright Jerri Kelley Phillips
All rights reserved.

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