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Mary & Martha — God Focused Worship

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My friend and pastor, Bill Dogterom, just wrote a blog about a re-discovery he made concerning the 2 main words used for worship in the Old Testament.  I would highly suggest you read it (click here).  Bill has a gift for explaining deep concepts in a succinct and approachable way.  However, for our purposes right now I’ll summarize it.

There are basically 2 words in the Old Testament, each echoed in the New Testament, that blend together our understanding of worship.  The first word captures the deep, visceral, heart-felt response to encounter with God.  The way we experience his presence and are moved to respond to him. i.e. clapping, singing, shouting, dancing, silence, hands raising, bowing down.  

The second word prepares for the response described by the first word.  i.e. setting up the equipment, learning and leading the rituals, writing and singing the songs, weaving the textiles, making the tapestries, building and playing the instruments, and so on.  It is often translated “serve” and regularly links to the work of the Levites.  

Again, Bill goes in a little more detail and I recommend you read his blog.

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My Goal for 2014

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It’s been years since I have intentionally set goals or made resolutions for the New Year.  Usually, I find them a waste.  I mean…well intentioned, but we usually struggle to follow through with our resolutions, don’t we?  By April, the late night comedians are making jokes about failed resolutions.

Recently, I was at lunch with some guys from my small group and we were talking about goals for 2013 (and how we didn’t reach them).  Even though the odds are against me, this year I’ve decided that I want to set a goal for 2014.  It’s just one goal, but I’ll admit it’s a hard one.  This isn’t the first time I’ve tried to accomplish this goal.  I’ve tried before and failed.  However, with God’s help, I’m determined that this year I WILL NOT FAIL.

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The Mystery of God’s Love

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Genesis 41

Joseph’s life seems to be the quintessential example of how ironic God’s love can seem at times.  First, Joseph is sold into slavery and God gives him favor in Potiphar’s house (as a slave).  Potiphar sees how the Lord blesses Joseph in everything he does so he puts him in charge of everything he owns.  But then, Potiphar’s wife accuses Joseph of attempting to sleep with her and he is sent to Jail.

As if being sold into slavery wasn’t bad enough, Joseph finds himself a prisoner.  And keep in mind, this is not a 21st century jail.  However, the same thing happens to Joseph again. God gives him favor with the prison warden and the warden put him in charge of all the prisoners and the prison.

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Abraham’s Journey of Faith

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Genesis 22

Abraham is known as the Father of Our Faith.  When reading Genesis 22 you begin to see why.  It is an amazing example of trusting in God’s promise, no matter the circumstances.  This story is filled with “faith one-liners”, such as in verse 5, when Abraham says to his servants just before sacrificing his only son, Isaac, “We will worship there, and then we will come right back.”  Or in verse 8 when Isaac notices they have fire and wood, but no sacrifice. Abraham replies, “God will provide a lamb.”

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