Saturday, 31 October 2015

No excuses...

I had a strange and very vivid dream the other night, which God used to speak to me in quite an impacting way.

It involved myself, an orange Land Cruiser ute, an underground carpark and some senseless and careless driving on my part.  As I was talking to and explaining myself to the people whose cars I had damaged, I was making excuses about a fault in the ute's clutch, and engine and giving reasons why this truck had lurched into their cars.  I was very apologetic, but as I dreamt I knew I was lying about the malfunctioning truck, however, the people were believing me.  As the dream continued though, there was another damaged car and my story just didn't match up with the damage on this vehicle. I tried my story but it was just plain that only my own carelessness could have caused this damage.  I could feel my excuses and lies falling apart and at a point I just had to confess - it was just me... my senselessness had caused all the damage. I was at fault.

I actually woke myself up because my mind started rejecting this dream... why was I bothering playing out this stupid story in my mind. I was now awake in the early morning and the vividness of this dream was turning in my head and I remember asking God why my mind would produce such a strange, depressing, and seemingly meaningless story for me to dream about so realistically.

And immediately I was reminded of my sin.  Not just of my sin, but of my continuous attempts to excuse away my sin... 'it wasn't that bad', or 'I am not sinning as bad as I could', or 'if I'd had a better day I wouldn't have felt the need'... and so many others.  I realised that even that day I had fallen into a sin that I had consciously chosen... it wasn't that I had been tempted by circumstance, or been lead astray by someone else. There was no one to blame but myself, though in my subconscious I had just taken for granted the seriousness of it.  But here, in the dark and with the reflection of this dream, I realised that I couldn't make any excuses. God can clearly see through any stories or lies I use to convince myself I am a good person.  Just like my senselessness and carelessness was laid bare in front of everyone in that dream, that is how I stand before God when it comes to my sin.

I spent the next bit of time confessing and praying and grieving the hurt I had caused God.  I thanked Him for sending Jesus, because as much as I have no excuse for my sin, Jesus came to stand in my place for the punishment for that very sin. I asked for forgiveness, and received the gift of His grace once again.

What an amazing outcome from a dream about a ute I will never own...

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Worship; familiar and new.

I love this place in the world where I live.  I went into Brisbane city today, and I walked along the river, through my old university, through the Botanical Gardens and just spent time soaking up the atmosphere of a place I really enjoy being.  Every time I go into the city I do similar things, sit and watch life at similar places - go and have a coffee at the same cafe - check out the same stores that I don't see anywhere else.  I enjoy the place so much that I enjoy doing those same things when I get the chance.

In some ways I find worship the same.  I don't mind singing the same songs, or going to the same place, or playing the same instrument, because I enjoy praising Jesus.  I love Jesus, and praising Him in worship, through music and church, is the place I love to be.

I understand for some people they want to be creative and experience something new... and I enjoy that as well, I remember a few years back going to New York, and Washington D.C - they were completely new places and I loved extending my experience of life by exploring those cities as well. Over the past few weeks I have been experiencing different worship experiences as I visit different churches... it has been refreshing too and I have found times of deep and thoughtful worship, even if it is not the familiar routine of what I've been use to.

I think we need to have a balance though, because I do enjoy the familiar, and I get something meaningful from it.

So let's not be afraid of the familiar when it comes to worship, but let's also not dissuade the ability to experience something new as well.  Our heart of worship comes from our love of Jesus, and that focus allows us to worship no matter where we are, and we can use whatever experience, familiar or not, to encourage our heart to worship Him all the more.
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