Ben Ward Music
making music. diving deeper. loving olivia. oh, and trying not to be the fat husband :)

Tag archive: jesus [ 10 ]

Love Like That

worship_extravagant
Oh man…this captivated me this morning. So beautiful, so powerful…love EXACTLY LIKE HIM! Not cautious but extravagant. So awesome.

Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that. (Ephesians 5:1-2 MSG)

Photo by David Heinlein

Proper Place

proper_place_blog_blankLife: Chaotic. Crazy. Tumultuous. Full. Disorganized. Thick.

In worship, though, things begin to take their place. They find their proper place. When I place Jesus first – at the head – then all the other parts of me and my life find the place they were looking for. They say a collective, “Ahhhh, that’s it.” My heart says, “That’s what I was looking for.”

Jesus: Peace. Clarity. Hope. Things are looking up. Finally.

 

Colossians 1:15-20

We look at this Son and see the God who cannot be seen. We look at this Son and see God’s original purpose in everything created. For everything, absolutely everything, above and below, visible and invisible, rank after rank after rank of angels—everything got started in him and finds its purpose in him. He was there before any of it came into existence and holds it all together right up to this moment. And when it comes to the church, he organizes and holds it together, like a head does a body.

He was supreme in the beginning and—leading the resurrection parade—he is supreme in the end. From beginning to end he’s there, towering far above everything, everyone. So spacious is he, so roomy, that everything of God finds its proper place in him without crowding. Not only that, but all the broken and dislocated pieces of the universe—people and things, animals and atoms—get properly fixed and fit together in vibrant harmonies, all because of his death, his blood that poured down from the cross.

Photo by David Heinlein

Beloved

Olivia and I have been reading through Daniel the last couple of weeks and have been moved by his life and what God did through him and for him.  One thing that struck me was when the angels of the Lord came to him, they called him “greatly beloved” or “highly esteemed (NIV).”

To have Gabriel or Michael say this about you, to you, is mind and spirit blowing.

To hear that this is common knowledge in the heavenlies is beyond anything I could even write.

Daniel 9:23
“At the beginning of your supplications the command went out, and I have come to tell you, for you are greatly beloved; therefore consider the matter, and understand the vision…”
Daniel 10:11
And he said to me, “O Daniel, man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak to you, and stand upright, for I have now been sent to you.” While he was speaking this word to me, I stood trembling.
Daniel 10:19
And he said, “O man greatly beloved, fear not! Peace be to you; be strong, yes, be strong!” So when he spoke to me I was strengthened, and said, “Let my lord speak, for you have strengthened me.”

This word “beloved” has begun to really impact me.  I was listening to a teaching yesterday and the speaker called the listeners “beloved” several times.  How amazing it is that the Church is Jesus’ beloved (Ephesians 5:25).  His desire and whole heart of love is for the Church.  For the Church of which I am a part.

I am His beloved.

Song of Solomon 2:16
My beloved is mine, and I am his.

You and I are the beloved of God…this is so undeserved, so extravagant, that all we can do is turn to Him and praise Him, fall on our faces and worship Him.

Play, sing, worship like someone who is the beloved of the Creator of the Universe!!

Crying Out

worshipWhy are there so few opportunities to worship the Lord together?  It’s so wonderful, so amazing and makes us (hopefully) more like Jesus.  As we praise we are filled with more of the Holy Spirit.  He baptizes us anew.  We see more of His fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, and self-control.  Who wouldn’t want more of that (especially those who live with us:)?

When I was in Illinois, there were two fellow staff members and a few others at the church that loved to get together informally and worship.  Usually around the piano and sometimes with a guitar we would just begin to sing and proclaim Scripture.  There were prayers for each other and various needs we were aware of.  We would cry out for God to move in the upcoming services.  Sometimes it could be dry and just us singing a few songs before we went about our day, but often it was so much more.

Many times we would sing, “I’m falling on my knees” from the song “Hungry” and everyone would be on their knees.  It wasn’t uncommon to glance over and see someone on their face, prostrate before the Lord.  We all looked for times when we could slip away and worship…it was such a delight to get in God’s presence and focus on Him.

So many amazing things were happening at the time in the church body and I believe this was a key to that.  People crying out to God for Him to make His presence known.

Sunday morning meetings are wonderful and I’ve known the presence of the Spirit in powerful ways during these times.  But there are so many other items that must be attended to (announcements, etc.).

I miss the fellowship and power of those intimate times with a few – two or three – singing and declaring the goodness of God.

With the current change in seasons I have a renewed longing for those times.  I long for the expectancy they produced.  Anything could happen – Jesus could do anything and He was doing it.

Lord, may it be so again in greater measure.

Like a Little Kid

There are some 300,000 churches in America, and I could have picked any one to attend on Easter morning, but I liked being in this one. Especially the kids. They didn’t need Reverend Henderson’s prayer techniques, or the high-tech mantras of the Brooklyn Tabernacle. Their prayers weren’t Rabbi Gellman’s suburban Jewish prayers of Thanks! offered to whom it may concern. They didn’t pray to de-center their egos or find transcendence or to set off on a lifelong therapeutic spiritual journey. They prayed to a God with whom they were on a first-name basis, and they believed their prayers gave them power, which they used on behalf of their asthmatic sisters and infirm grandparents and a kid they knew with burns on his body. Sitting in church on Easter morning, I realized that I was probably never going to become a praying man. But if, by some miracle, I ever do, I hope my prayers will be like the prayers of the kids I met at the Love church in Berkeley Springs. Straight-up Gimme! on behalf of people who really need the help. -ZEV CHAFETS in the New York Times Magazine

This is quite an interesting article about prayer (and long if you know the Times magazine).  This last paragraph was so powerful to me.  The author is an agnostic and goes to all kinds of Churches, Synagogues, therapists, etc. to find out about prayer.

In the end the most powerful expression came just as Jesus said it would: like a child.

I want to come to God like that.  So often when I pray I’m concerned with “squeezing it in” or getting to everyone on my list rather than just coming to Jesus with my heart open to the possibility that He can do anything.  Anything for me.  Anything for those I love and care about.  All I have to do is believe.

So, this week, I’m going to lay my heart open before the Lord and be like a child.  Imperfect and full of anticipation.

Just like a little kid.