Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Isaiah 6

I've been thinking about Isaiah 6 today. It's one of the pivotal detailed worship experiences recorded in the Bible. Read for yourself:

In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another: "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory."

At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.

"Woe to me!" I cried. "I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty."

Then one of the seraphs flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. With it he touched my mouth and said, "See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for."

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?" And I said, "Here am I. Send me!"

Yes, worship is a lifestyle. It's something we live out day to day. But there are also clearly defined moments of worship in our lives. Sundays, for instance. In these moments, God reveals Himself to us, and we as His children naturally respond. We shouldn't have to "drum up" a response. Our act of worship should never be contrived or strained.

I think that the major reason that our Sunday experiences often don't mirror Isaiah's is because we fail to see the Lord. Isaiah "saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted." Everything else just flowed from there. He was overwhelmed with a sense of God's splendor and majesty. He couldn't help but humble himself in worship of the Almighty.

This Sunday, try reading Isaiah 6 when you first wake up and then meditate on the power of God leading up to worship. See if that doesn't jump start an authentic encounter with God in worship.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

My Actual Birthday

Wow. The last time I made an entry was on my spiritual birthday on March 11. Funny that my next entry would be on my real birthday. I'm 33 years old. I'm a third of the way to 100!

A lot has happened in the past two weeks.

First, my sister, Beth, and her husband, Perry, had their first child. Little Everett was born on Monday, March 16. I'm so proud of all my precious nieces and nephews. Here's a cool photo:

I had a great time in Phoenix last week with my two brothers and my dad. My brother is the Associate Pastor at Palm Vista Baptist Church in Surprise, AZ. He decided to do an old-fashioned tent revival and asked my dad to preach and me to lead the music. It was fun and highly nostalgic. For the first time in eight years, the Celoria Brothers Trio sang for a live audience. A good time was had by all, but we've decided to retire again. Along with the tent revival, Palm Vista had a worship event. Basically, they just did Hillsong's CD "Blessed." I've done it before, so I sang with them. It was a memorable night.

While in Phoenix, we made sure to catch a few Spring Training games. We all love baseball. It was cool seeing my friend, John Hudgins, who hopes to make his MLB debut in 2009.

The whole time I was in AZ, Tangie and the girls were in Mississippi with her family. Last Friday, I was driving from Plano to Shreveport to pick them up. My father-in-law was driving them to Shreveport where we would take the rental car to return to Jackson. I was in Tyler, TX when Tangie called me in a panic. Isabelle (our 14-month-old) was having uncontrollable seizures and they were taking her to the hospital in Rayville which is just east of Monroe. So I turned on my hazards and did my best to get there. I've never prayed so hard in my life.

Praise God, little Isabelle is okay. From what we've discovered, it's quite common for children to experience seizures when their temperature suddenly spikes. And that's what had happened. Her temp had risen to 104.4 in a matters of 2 hours. I'm grateful to God she's okay.

Lastly, Tangie had a HIDA Scan yesterday to check on her gall bladder. She's had extremely low B12 levels and has experienced pain in her abdomen. We're hoping this test will shed light on what is wrong. Please pray for us as we wait to hear the results.

Other than all that, my life is extremely normal.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

My Spiritual Birthday

Today is my birthday. My spiritual birthday. At the age of eight I "walked the aisle" in tears. I had heard a sermon on hell and definitely did not want to go there. I knew it was a place to be avoided at all cost. But for the next eight years I lived in fear that if I died I would not spend eternity in heaven with Christ. I would pray, "Jesus, if You're not in my heart, come and save me now." The fear never went away.

Then on March 11, 1991, at the age of sixteen, while driving from Memphis to Oklahoma City I confessed to my mother that I was overcome with fear over my standing with Christ. I told her that I couldn't remember my experience from when I was eight. If I could only have a time and place firm in my mind, then I would know for certain. That's when my mother told me that what 1 John 4:17-19 says.

"In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because he first loved us."

I remember thinking two things. First, I realized that I hadn't been made perfect in love because what lived in my heart was fear and not confidence. So either I needed perfect love or the enemy was causing me to doubt. Second, I realized with clarity that my decision as an eight year old was made based on fear. That would never do because "he one who fears is not made perfect in love." And "we love because he first loved us." We don't love Christ simply to avoid hell. We love Him and have fellowship with Him. I told my mom that I would be quiet for a while because I wanted to ask Jesus in my heart. So in the back seat of our truck I asked Jesus to fill me with His perfect love.

After I said my prayer, I immediately looked at my watch. 11:35 PM on Wednesday, March 11, 1991. Since then I've doubted, but God took away the fear.

That's my testimony.