God Presides Over Worship Through His Presence


GodReflection: Is Worship for God or for Me?
God presides in the great assembly; he renders judgment among the “gods” (Psalms 82:1). A gift opens the way and ushers the giver into the presence of the great (Proverbs 18:16.

gary portraitIn the 1980’s when forming church planting teams for Brazil we hit a brick wall. The Brazilian government closed entry visas for all church workers.

My colleague, Dr. Ellis Long would call upon all of his creative juices to select the exact right gift to take with him when he was allowed an audience with the President or the Vice-President of the nation.

At each encounter it was the President or Vice-President who presided over the meeting. Each presided with his presence.

presence3Through months of dialogue—with input into the nation’s constitution—we were gifted with visas for all church workers.

That gift was greater than the value of all entry gifts presented throughout the process.

Anytime I make an attempt to worship I do so as an act of submission to Creator God. It is recognition that I take a step closer to the Holy. It should always be a “take off your shoes for you are on Holy ground” moment. I should never arrive without the gifts of humility and submission.

presence5I come into the court of Holy God, bow in surrender as He presides over my gift of worship. God-worship can only take place in His presence.

Once I move myself into worship mode it is as if in a holy nanosecond God’s presence seems more intense. He stands ready to preside in a Holy Ceremony of gift reception.

Then, as Holy Presider, He accepts my gift, transforms it and returns it to me as yet a greater gift than I gave. It becomes another beautiful mosaic tile gifted by the Holy to enable my own image to reflect some of Jesus’ presence7likeness—who is the image of God—to those who cross my path.

Truth is, I notice along my way I am not very good as a reflector. I am in need of more God-mosaic tiles to increase His reflection from my life. The good news is there is a limitless tile supply where God presides. He is always ready to preside and to gift His children with reciprocal gifts.

What are gifts other than humility and submission that we bring into the presence of God as He presides over worship?

Stay tuned.

Dr. Gary J. Sorrells
A GodReflection: God Presides Over Worship Through His Presence.

Gary@Godreflection.org

http://www.GodReflection.org
http://www.MakeYourVisionGoViral.com

I Take Him at His Word


GodReflection: Does God Care Specifically About Me?

gary portraitI don’t think it is selective memory—but I can’t remember a failure on my dad’s part to keep a promise. Ok, He was as human as I am so I suspect there were times when he made a promised to give me x if I did y and then for whatever reason he didn’t come through.

However, I never doubted that I could take him at his word. I haven’t given it much thought but I suspect my dad’s character made it easier for me to trust God as a Heavenly Father who keeps His word.

God’s record in the promise department is unblemished. The best my finite mind can tell, He’s never broken a promise. Not bad for an eternity to eternity timeframe don’t you think?

word4When I read Scripture, I find a common descriptive storyline developed by each writer over thousands of years.

God keeps EVERY promise.

God promises Adam and Eve consequences, Cain a life on the run, Noah salvation from a flood, Abraham a son and descendants from all nations, Moses a promise land, and David a line of family kings that would stretch to eternity.

Each time God introduces a new player on the scene of history He gives a promise. On many occasions Father God gives the same person promise after promise. As each recipient obeys one promise after the other their life is described as a life of faith.

word7Such a God inspires the Psalmist to declare in the midst of life’s reality, “My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life” (Psalms 119:50).

My guess is the author’s experience who wrote those lines wasn’t anything out of the ordinary. His affirmation was an attempt to make sense of life.

Throughout past centuries Father God promised a Savior. Father God promised to give me His Holy Spirit through Jesus Christ. Father God promised me life in Jesus Christ. Father God promised eternal life to those who love Him. Father God promised to restore heaven and earth free of evil where only good and right will dwell.  Father God promised eternal rest with an eternal inheritance. Father God promised a restored body freed from pain and suffering. I take Him at His word.

I read of a God who is trustworthy in all he promises and faithful in all He does(Psalms 145:13).word8  I read of a God who has power to do what He had promised (Romans 4:21). I read no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ (2 Corinthians 1:20). I read He who promised is faithful (Hebrews 10:23). And I read of His promise that when I align my heart to His I will receive what He has promised (Hebrews 10:36). I take Him at His word.

I follow the Good Shepherd who knows my name, sounds a recognizable voice, (John 10:3) and asks me to walk in love (2 John 6). I take Him at His word.

bricks1So here is brick number eleven of twelve: I take Him at His word. Like the former ten, I lay this brick in gratitude and humility seeking God’s power to help me become less of an “earthoholic” and more addicted to the Holy as I seek God’s reassurance that He care specifically about me.

Stay tuned.

Dr. Gary J. Sorrells
P.S. Fortunately, I don’t have an exclusive claim. He also cares specifically about you and has given His promises to you. You, too can take Him at His word.

A GodReflection: I Take Him at His Word.

Gary@Godreflection.org
http://www.GodReflection.org
http://www.MakeYourVisionGoViral.com

He Invites Me to Join with Him to Work Together


GodReflection: Does God Care Specifically About Me?

gary portraitIt was an invitation that set the direction of my life.

There are non-consequential invites and invitations that change the course of one’s walk. Seldom does an invitation to a party, a meal or a friendly outing redirect one’s life.

Consequential invitations are game changers.

Most of us would be rather surprised how few invitations are the biggies. Morality, education, career, and family direction are set by a handful of consequential decisions.

inviteHalf way through my junior year at the university I received a personal invitation to join a work that was to become a major game changer. The uniqueness of the opportunity caught my attention. I sensed God call and felt His selection tap on my shoulder.

The invitation came from sixteen families who moved to Sao Paulo, Brazil after their own college graduation to plant churches. The story I chronicle in the book, Make Your Vision Go Viral, arguably places my acceptance of their invitation as one of two most consequential invites of my life.

As significant as was that invite it wasn’t the most consequential.

The biggest one took place when Creator God invited me at an early age to trust Him and place my life under His direction. He invited me to join with Him as we work together. I’ll admit, that is quite a claim on my part. Such an invitation could only come from a God who overflows with grace and seems to relish invite2His role as Father.

In essence when I accepted His invitation through faith and baptismal water I did no less than sign up to join in the work of the God of the Universe.

Without a doubt that was the most consequential invitation I’ve every accepted.

In Paul’s first letter to the church in the city of Corinth (1 Corinthians 12) he goes to great lengths to describe the variety of gifts God distributes with diversity among believers. Paul specifically makes the point that in each of our gifts “it is the same God at work” (1 Corinthians 12:6).

Is it too bold to think that God looks forward to the day when any of His created ones accept His invitation to join with Him in His work?

invite5In concise language the apostle Paul paints a portrait of God’s invitation to join his work:

And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do (Ephesians 2: 6-10).

So here I am, “created to do good works.” Throughout my daily walk I use my God-issued skillset with full confidence that He is at work with me as I deploy each bricks2gift.

With this, I set brick number ten of twelve.  He Invites Me to Join His Work.

Like the previous nine, I lay this brick with a sense of awe and humility to help me become less of an “earthoholic” and more addicted to the Holy as I seek God’s reassurance that He care specifically about me.

Have you ever thought about your earth-walk in terms of a joint venture with the God of the Universe?

Stay tuned.

Dr. Gary J. Sorrells
A GodReflection: He Invites Me To Join With Him to Work Together.

Gary@Godreflection.org

http://www.GodReflection.org

http://www.MakeYourVisionGoViral.com

 

He Knows My Name and Desires My Company


GodReflection: Does God Care Specifically About Me?

gary portraitLife in the Pecos Valley of New Mexico’s Chihuahuan Desert was rather informal.

Mostly, we were on a first name basis. Although, at school we addressed the teachers and our principal as Mr., Mrs., or Miss—dependent upon marital status—and we prefaced those who practiced medicine or dentistry with Doctor.

name4On the street and in the church, we went by a person’s given name. Theron was our song leader, A.C. our Bible teacher, Bob worked with our teens, and Robert or Ray preached from the pulpit.

There was not a lot of sophistication in the desert. There was respect but little pretense. Regardless of age we knew each other by name.

Holy Scripture paints the portrait of God as the Almighty who knew by name each person of His creation.

name5From a bush consumed with fire the name “Moses, Moses” rang out. Surely, there is more to that scene than the text shares. There stood Moses. I can only imagine the quiver of his lips and the lack of stability that must have shook his legs as he responds to a plant on fire.

His “Here I Am,” began a four decade-plus relationship between Father God and one of His beloved human creation.

At the end of his walk across life and the desert his epitaph reads: Since then, no prophet has risen in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face (Deuteronomy 34:10).

Over a millennium later Jesus reveals a newsflash. Creator God is His Father who not only knows my name but also desires my company.

Jesus raised the curtain on his identity with his declaration to Philip, “If you really know me, you will know my Father also.”  He did no less than opened the door I needed for reciprocal companionship with Creator God.

When I see Jesus for who he is I actually see Father God.

pain14So, I read of God who knows Mary, Martha and Lazarus. I see Creator God as He loves them, dines with them, and cries with them (John 11-12).

In Luke’s gospel I read of Martha who opened her home to Jesus. He is the embodiment of God who “loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus” (John 11:5).

Companionship is what happens when hearts link together. Through Jesus I see God who always knows precisely what is on people’s heart.

Martha, Mary and Lazarus linked hearts with Jesus. Frequently, He came and went from their home. Companionship was real. Jesus’ presence in their home was no less than the reality that God enjoyed the company of Martha, her sister Mary and Lazarus her brother.

Ok, what does all of this have to do with me?

Immediately, I’m drawn to Jesus’ words as he addressed a crowd of multiple thousands in Luke chapter twelve:

name6“Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”

Should there be any doubt that a God who knows every sparrow and numbers each hair on my head would also know my name? And, Father God wants me to know I am valued.

I think of one other incident from Luke chapter ten that took place in the home of the two sisters and their brother. It too is a reminder of God who knows my name and desires my companionship:

Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

name8“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

There are times in my life when I find myself “worried and upset about many things.” I too need to hear companion God call my name. “Gary, Gary,” (God uses given names) “few things are needed—or indeed only one,” that is to keep company with the One who knows your name.”

So here is the ninth brick of twelve, He knows my name and desires my bricks4company. I lay brick number nine to help me become less of an “earthoholic” and more addicted to the Holy as I seek God’s reassurance that He care specifically about me.

God also knows your name and desires your company. How do you respond?

Stay tuned. 

 

Dr. Gary J. Sorrells

A GodReflection: He Knows My Name and Desires My Company. 

Gary@Godreflection.org  www.GodReflection.org

www.MakeYourVisionGoViral.com

 

He Sees Me with Grace Eyes


GodReflection: Does God Care Specifically About Me?

gary portraitAt the ripe old age of eight I was introduced to the world of optometry. I climbed into the big chair as the doc with his headband-spotlight challenged me with the eyecharts on the opposite wall.

grace3“Are the letters lighter or darker?” he questioned as he clicked and moved the lens in a large contraption strapped to my head. “Are the letters fuzzy or clear?” Which one do you like better, this one or that one?”

The exam’s climax with the verdict and a question. “You need glasses.” “Will you wear them?”

Just out of the second grade I had not seen classmates with glasses and for sure, I wasn’t about to show up at school with the humongous lens container like the one in the exam room tied to my head. 

grace1Now in my seventh decade I continue to use glasses to see my world with greater accuracy. They make the fuzzy clear.

I learn from Scripture when God looks at me, He too uses a special lens tinted with Grace. He sees with clarity through my fuzzy sinful self. He sees a perfect me as I will appear in the next reality.

The tint in the lens of His grace eyes is due to blood.

The blood hue allows Father God to look past my imperfections and love me in spite of them. It was blood given as a gift for all humanity and was obtainable from a cross that displayed the grace gift of the one and only Holy Son of God.

Julia H. Johnson (1849-1919) penned over 500 hymns. I think of the words to one of her songs sung by Christ’s followers across the globe:

Marvelous grace of our loving Lord, grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt. Yonder on Calvary’s mount outpoured, there where the blood of the Lamb was spilled.

Grace, grace, God’s grace, Grace that will pardon and cleanse within; grace, grace, God’s grace, grace that is greater that all our sin.

Sin and despair like the sea waves cold, threaten the soul with infinite loss; Grace that is greater, yes, grace untold, points to the refuge, the mighty cross.

Dark is the stain that we cannot hide. What can avail to wash it away?
Look. There is flowing a crimson tide, brighter than snow you may be today.

Marvelous, infinite, matchless grace, freely bestowed on all who believe.
You that are longing to see His face, will you this moment His grace receive?

Grace, grace, God’s grace, grace that will pardon and cleanse within; Grace, grace, God’s grace, grace that is greater that all our sin.

grace10We human types are all too aware of our constant imperfection. I don’t have to be overly honest to see how often I disappoint myself. Nor do I have to be overly honest to see how often I fail to live in the perfection of Holy God.

If I add  up my sin over a lifetime, the idea of grace that is greater that all our sin, is hardly credible.

So here is brick number six of twelve to help me become less of an “earthoholic” and more addicted to the Holy as I seek God’s grace12reassurance that He care specifically about me.

As I lay my brick I do so with awe in humble acceptance of the gift given me through Jesus: my God see me with grace eyes.

Will you join me in acceptance of the Marvelous grace of our loving Lord, grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt?

Stay tuned.

Dr. Gary J. Sorrells

A GodReflection: He See Me with Grace Eyes

Gary@Godreflection.org  

www.GodReflection.org

www.MakeYourVisionGoViral.com

 

I Cause Him Pain and He Never Leaves


GodReflection: Does God Care Specifically About Me?

gary portraitTo begin this post, I must return to Jesus’ wayward sons story and its focus upon the ever-present father and the noncompliant boys.

It was Timothy Keller in his book The Prodigal God, who first help me see there were two wayward sons in Luke’s account of Jesus’ three stories on lost treasure—the lamb, the coin, and the sons (Luke 15).

pain1The younger son did not want to be in fellowship with the father so he left and in a “far country” broke all of the rules and squandered his portion of the father’s inheritance.

The older son in his self-righteous refusal to attend the restoration party broke fellowship with both his brother and his father. He followed the rules but lacked heart connection with his father.

The father’s eyes had searched the earth’s horizon for an absent son and had witnessed the closed and pouting horizon of another son who in self-rightness shut him out.

Pained by both sons the father couldn’t help himself—he could only love. He loved them both beyond anyone’s comprehension.

pain13His automatic response was to fling his arms wide open and invite them in—even though they had caused him pain. The father never left. He was always there in wait of hopeful return.

Somewhere along the way I was introduced to Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s Portuguese Sonnet 43: How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

It occurs to me that with a small play on words that wouldn’t be a bad title for a confession: How have I caused Thee pain? Let me count the ways.

pain8Filled with blood and genes from Papa Adam and Mama Eve and from my kinship to the Father’s two sons in Jesus’ story, I wouldn’t have to be overly creative to make long lists of ways I’ve cause my Father God pain along my life walk.

pain14But regardless of my omissions and commissions He never leaves. As long as I turn my heart toward His, He is there.God is the Father whose heart fills with pain (Genesis 6:6) over sin.

He is also the God who is the very definition of love. He hurts at the sight of human frailness.

I can hardly believe it but it is true. As long as I remain soaked in the blood of Jesus—Father God can’t see my sin through the thick blood.

The greatest pain I caused Him was the fact that my sin resulted in the death of His Son. Because of that death He is always present in the blood and never leaves me.

pain16So here is brick number five of twelve to help me become less of an “earthoholic” and more addicted to the Holy as I seek God’s reassurance that He cares specifically about me.

As I lay my brick I lament and rejoice, “I cause Him pain and He never leaves.”

I don’t know about you, but I don’t always remember this brick. Will you join with me and help me stack it where I can see it more often? What do you think? Do you also have a hard time keeping this brick in view?

Stay tuned.

Dr. Gary J. Sorrells
A GodReflection: I Cause Him Pain and He Never Leaves.

Gary@Godreflection.org
http://www.GodReflection.org
http://www.MakeYourVisionGoViral.com

 

I Am His Prized Possession


GodReflection: Does God Care Specifically About Me?

gary portraitMy baseball card collection from the 1950’s Topp’s Chewing Gum Company of New York had them all.

The rookie cards of the New York Yankees’ Mickey Mantle and Yogi Berra, the St. Louis Cardinals’ Stan Musial, the Giants’ Willie Mays, the prized1Cubs’ Ernie Banks and the Braves’ Hank Aaron.

It was my prized collection. The picture cards of the very best baseball players during the 1950’s decade composed my treasure.

In hindsight, I was posed to experience riches.

Collected from five cent packs of bubblegum with the prize insert of a half-dozen heroes, my prized possession was securely guarded in a cigar box carefully selected from the discards at our corner grocer.

prized3My mistake was to leave my treasure stored in the home garage when I departed for college and later discover it didn’t accompany the family move.

I lost my prized possession. I would never be rich.

Unlike me God never abandons His prize possession. God moves across the face of His globe and His glowing galaxies while He always keeps me—His prized possession—within His loving embrace.

It’s rather audacious to claim to be a prized possession of God, isn’t it?

Care1The neat thing is that Creator God who created an endless universe has a heart equally endless in its capacity to contain every child who gives a heart to Him. Each becomes a distinct prize possession of the Holy.

As I write this it’s the time of the year when I find myself in the Psalms. I am impressed again with the freedom the writers feel to praise, complain and lament. They do so out of deep felt relationship to Holy God. They know Whose they are. They are prized by Creator God.

New Testament writers live on this side of cross. They fully understand what God has done through Jesus, the cross, the resurrection, and the ascension.

prized5The tenor of their message to each individual is simple. Anyone who has placed their heart, their trust, and their hand into the hand of Jesus, receives individual prize possession coverage summarized by Peter the apostle:

You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light (1 Peter 2:9).

prized6.jpgAs I seek God’s reassurance that He cares specifically about me, I add to the first brick—God placed me on earth for this time and this place—this one: I am His prized possession.

So it is my second of twelve steps to become less of an “earthoholic” and more addicted to the Holy.

That not too hard of a buy-in, is it?

Stay tuned.

Dr. Gary J. Sorrells

A GodReflection: I Am His Prized Possession

Gary@Godreflection.org
http://www.GodReflection.org
http://www.MakeYourVisionGoViral.com