Thursday, August 28, 2008

Loud Music, Rich Kid, and Sweat

A single drop of sweat trickled down my temple as I closed my eyes and put my hand over my heart, muscles tense, heart open, ears overwhelmed…

This is what it was like in the middle of hundreds of people with hands up, voices raised, and hearts wide open for Jesus at the Hillsong United concert I went to Tuesday night. I’ve written on this before, but worship is really hard for me, especially in corporate gatherings. The lyrics to one song called from the inside out explain it best, explain what I was feeling:

…the art of loosing myself in bringing you praise…
…I give you control, consume me from the inside out…

I often revel in what God has done with me up to this point in my life, sometimes even take pride in the things I’ve done for Him. The concert started and all these kids were really just letting loose and praising God and I stood there with my arms crossed looking around. Obviously I was impressed at this huge show of worship, but I felt myself analyzing and thinking about what everyone must be thinking about. Then I realized as I looked around that out of all the things I was willing to give up, my own pride was not one. I realized that I was so caught up in what someone would think if I sung or raised my hands that my focus was not on Christ at all, but myself. After coming to this hard reality I closed my eyes and experienced a wonderful night of worship that started with how this blog did.

We all know the story of the rich young ruler in Mark 10, the young man that went away sad from Jesus when he was told to give all he had away to the poor and follow Jesus. I’ve always thought I had a grasp on what that really looks like, what this walking away from wealth and following Jesus thing looks like. I always thought it was about money only. They played this clip of this group called compassion they are advocates for and my heart broke for Africa, it always has been soft for Africa, but this clip in the midst of all this worship really drove it home to me. As I sat there after the clip singing and praising God I started thinking about going to Africa then started thinking about how I’d meet my wife if I was in Africa, how I’d get a job if I came back to America afterwards, all these things and I realized that I was like the rich young ruler. I had kept all these things I knew the bible said, but was still holding onto my idea of wealth. My wealth is in what I think of as a family and ministry success. My wealth is in my appearance and what others perceive me as. Because of those things I see as wealth I was unable to begin my night in praise, I was so worried about everything else besides Him, Because of the wealth I let fears and what if’s impede my heart for Africa.

So what? What does all this mean? I think we all think of the wealth of the young rich ruler is tangible or always money. For me it is my mind and my dreams, my wealth is in what I think and dream about. For the first time in a long time Tuesday night I held my little hand over my huge heart and held my chin up towards the sky and prayed to God and I told Him to take it all, I told Him I wanted to get rid of all my wealth or my ideas of wealth and follow Him, meaning I’m willing to give up a family, a wife, a pastoral ship, an awesome new church, or new movement of Christ followers. Not that any of that is bad, but the fact that I hold on to them and am not willing to give them up is bad. Jesus blesses lives with many of the things I call my idea of wealth, but if I am not willing to give it up to Him I will walk away sad like the rich young ruler.

So the art of loosing myself in bringing Him praise was so real to me Tuesday night, I forgot about all the people around me, my sweaty forehead, how hot the room was, the cute girl in the back, whatever it was distracting me, I forgot about it and became lost in bringing Him praise. Oh how I long to get lost all the time like that, I pray I continue to allow myself to get lost in bringing Him praise! May you get lost in Him and loose yourself in order to bring Him praise. Being consumed from the inside out is more real to me from the inside because I can give it all up outwardly without skipping a beat, but it is my ideas of wealth in thought that I must give up and am willing to now. Consume us Lord; consume us from the inside out so we may walk away from all wealth or ideas or hopes of wealth in order that we may follow you.


  1. I don't really know what made me decide to read this post, but as soon as I saw your mention of Mark 10 I knew I needed this reminder. Long story, but this was the exact lesson I was hit with last summer and needed reminding of right now. So much was going on, but as I was working at another youth conference I knew I had to put all the distractions aside and just focus in that moment. Leeland was leading worship and it was I needed. Right after that, David Nasser spoke about the rich young ruler in the aspect that you mentioned. It was the mere fact of removing the tangible label from the story that I needed to shed light on my own hindrance. Thanks for the post.

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