Magnifying God

May 30, 2006

Psalm 34:3 says, “Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together!” Yes, how worthy God is of our worship and praise. God is worthy to be magnified for His greatness and goodness. However, how we magnify God is very important. It is the difference between idolatry and true worship.

The Idolatry of Magnifying God with a Microscope – A microscope, with its powerful magnifying lens, can make the tiniest objects clearly visible to the human eye. A microscope takes something small, really small, and makes it big to the eyes. This is good for science but it is not good when it comes to the worship of God. In some worship services or Christian events I’ve been to, the praise leader or the pastor tries to stir up the crowd (congregation) to get them engaged. It’s evident that the crowd is bored or unresponsive yet after some prodding the crowd plays along and even claps and sings loudly. When this happens, I wonder if this is truly glorifying to God. Of course God deserves our loudest praise and exaltation. Yet if we focus on God in worship but we really don’t think much of him at other times, we are merely trying to make God look big when he is really small in our lives. This, my friends, is idolatry. God is not a small thing to put under the microscope to take a closer look for an hour or so, and then he goes back to being small again in our lives. A long, long time ago in my youth group days, we use to sing a silly song that was theologically terrible. It went like this: “If I had a white little box, I put Jesus in. Take him out, kiss, kiss, kiss, and put him back again.” The song continued with punching Satan in a black box. We sang this song because someone thought it was cute, however, what a terrible vision of Jesus who is put in a little box to take out to kiss when we feel like it. Thank God that there are not too many songs like this. However, I would guess that many people treat Jesus in this very way on Sunday morning. Take Jesus out for an hour and kiss him and put him back again. Is this magnifying God? There is another way to magnify God.

Magnifying God with a Telescope – A telescope, with its powerful magnifying lens, makes more visible objects that are tiny in our sight but are in fact huge. A telescope takes something huge, really huge, but is far away, and brings it “closer” to our sight through magnification. In our analogy with worship, magnifying God like a telescope would be to bring the great and awesome God closer to us so that we can marvel at his greatness and awesomeness. There are many times God seems as far away to us as the stars in the sky. Like the stars, God seems, at times, distant and even small to us. But when we are lead in worship to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to see that Lord is God, we are called to take a closer look at the God who is BIG. See him for who he really is – our Great God, worthy of our loudest praise and wholehearted/whole-life devotion. This is to magnify God with a telescope.

How is your vision of God? Do you see God in the Word? Do you see God in Christ Jesus our Lord? Is God small in your eyes? Take a look at his Word. Read passages like Isaiah 6:1-8 where the great and merciful God manifests himself to the people. Also, as I mentioned a silly praise song before, here a good one: “My God is so BIG, so STRONG and so MIGHTY, there’s nothing my God can not do…” Yes, God is BIG, STRONG, and MIGHTY… and HOLY and MERCIFUL and GOOD. SO GOOD. God is SO good.

As Psalm 34:3 says, “Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together!”


(Updated) Theologically-Minded Contemporary Hymn Writer: Dr. Gary Parrett

May 16, 2006

Gary ParrettDr. Gary Parrett, associate professor of Educational Ministry and Worship at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, is not only a great teacher but a song/hymn writer. Dr. Parrett's songs have been sung at Gordon-Conwell as well as in some churches. He has given me permission to post his hymns here: GaryParrettHymnalswithlinks.doc (updated). The file only has the words, but most of them are set to a familiar tune. This is what Dr. Parrett says in the last paragraph:

I hereby grant permission for the use of these songs, hymns and Scripture settings for any non-commercial use in congregational or personal worship. (I am a registered songwriter with CCLI, and you can report congregational use of these hymns to them, if you’d like.) The tunes that I have suggested can be heard online at www.cyberhymnal.org (click on ‘Tunes by Name’) & similar sites. If you’d like to discuss the content of these hymns, to suggest or write a contemporary tune for any of these texts, or to discuss their possible usage in any way, my e-mail is: gary.parrett@gmail.com.

SOLI DEO GLORIA!


Discussion on Worship

May 13, 2006

In the month of May, I would like to invite your participation in a discussion about Worship on my Reforming – Conversation webpage. Korean American pastors and leaders must think more clearly about how we worship God, especially in our corporate gatherings. I invite you to go to one of the links below, read the linked articles, and make comments. I know Asian Americans do not like commenting, especially in a public venue, however, for our own sharpening and, hopefully, for the good of the church, let us discuss these matters. Please feel free to raise issues pertaining to your specific context and let’s help each other toward a more biblical and God-honoring worship.

May: Worship


Teaching on Worship

May 10, 2006

At the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary website, there is an incredible resource of teaching on Worship. Here's the link:

http://www.sbts.edu/icw/lectures.php


Also, Bob Kauflin wrote excellent postings on "Idolatry on Sunday Mornings." Note: the postings are in reverse order.

Also, join in the discussion on Worship.