Inspiring Awe with Your Passions

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Worshipping the Lord is a lifestyle.

Yes, music plays a key role, as does our response to it. Like it or not, the biggest book in the Bible is a compilation of song lyrics from an elite group of writers. Like a 4,000 year old version of ASCAP/CCLI.

But recognizing all the various ways we bring him glory is paramount in understanding the value of using our passions to bring him glory.

Glory is better defined as “things that summon awe” than the proverbial appearance of a mystic cloud of his presence (though there is Biblical precedent for the later).

Everything you see in this shot was constructed by extremely passionate people. To my knowledge, none of them are of a quality to perform a memorable singing solo, nor would they prefer the limelight to even attempt it.

But this stage set has inspired to many compliments – so much awe – that it’s assisted people in a very direct way of connecting with the beauty and majesty of God.

It’s awe-some.

Not awe-a-lot. That would be Jesus himself.

But our passions + “some awe” = a worship experience that points others to Jesus. That’s ultimately one of the greatest rolls you can play in life.

My heartfelt thanks to Megan Buckles for being Project Manager on this one; and to her husband Dave, as well as Zach, Trey, and Faith. Thank you for inspiring wonder in those who worship at New Life. ch:

On The Brink

What’s one tip for amping the passion you have for people? For what you do? For living?

Recognize you’re only ever one breath away from eternity.

I watched through the window as this truck driver tried moving the SUV on his rig, only to find out the vehicle wouldn’t shift into gear, and had no breaks. The only thing that kept him from going over was that it bottomed out at the last second.

When he climbed down I ran over and patted him on the shoulder. “Jesus totally had your back on that one, bro.”

“Yeah,” he said nervously. “Yeah, he did.”

Wrestling with the subject of our own finite mortality – while sometimes sobering – can also be the source of incredible inspiration.

A fish-fry dinner says he hugged his wife a little tighter when he got home that night.

So ask yourself.

What if this was the last time I cleaned the house?

What if this was the last set of data I entered?

What if this was the last customer I helped?

But go further.

What if this was the last time I hugged my wife?

Kissed my children?

High-fived a friend?

One of the secrets to living passionately in the moments we’re given is coming to grips with the fact we may never get the next one.

Don’t shy away from your mortality. It will only make you fearful. Embrace it. You’ll live for others unlike ever before. ch:

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The Last This Side of Heaven

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This morning, I twittered, “Sing today as if it’s your last opportunity this side of heaven.” Of course, it was in the context of Sunday morning church worship services. But really, it applies to so many other valuable things in life, especially those pertaining to our outward displays of affection toward God…and toward other people.

Very often we relegate our emotional responses toward relationships to controlled, cerebral thought patterns, shared with few, if anyone at all. We tend to internalize feelings, making excuses for why they should not or can not be communicated outwardly, much less overtly. Insecurity. Shame. Fear. Or simply ignorance. Yet the practice of making excuses has many faults, the least of which is that it most often comes from a sense of false humility, which, oddly enough, is an offensive form of pride. Granted, there are plenty of cases where one might cite that they were never instructed to be verbose in emotions, or that it was not the standard of the day. My father’s generation, for example, rarely–if ever–heard, “I love you, son,” from their World War II era parents. While these excuses certainly have merit, for the Christian they must be reconciled with the fact that Jesus was extremely verbose in his lifestyle of love. And in His ultimate display if the emotion: death in exchange for life. Thus why it’s referred to as The Passion.

This side of heaven, you may not have another chance to tell your spouse how much you really love them. You may not have another night to tuck in your children and tell them they are the greatest. You may not have a chance to anonymously put some cash in someone’s pocket, hug a friend just because you can, or–like today–go up to a total stranger in McDonald’s and encourage them about how great a dad they are. Because today might be your last time this side of heaven to do anything. So what will you do? ch:

Photos by Jennifer Hopper | www.jenniferhopperphoto.com