Monday, 11 April 2016

#AtoZChallenge: Integrity

A.W. Tozer once said, “Christians don’t tell lies - they just go to church and sing them.”

This is so true. The easiest thing to do in worship is to lie. It’s easy to sing a bunch of songs and not really mean what you say. You offer up fake worship, you offer up fake praise, because your heart is not in it and your mind is elsewhere, but you can do it because you’re good at singing. You’re good at putting on a show. It becomes performance.

It takes integrity to be really honest about what’s going on in your life. And that’s not what we’re inclined to do Sunday after Sunday. We’d rather fake a wonderful worship session than tell the congregation, “I’ve been really dry this week so let’s sing about finding God in the desert.”

I like this post I found online that talks about Tozer’s quote. Go read it, listen to Kim Walker-Smith talk about song choices and then come back here.

I agree with Kim when she says that worship should always be directed upwards to God. I agree that you’re not living in denial when you set aside your circumstances and focus instead on God in worship — there really is power in words that you say; focusing on your problems sometimes only makes them loom larger.

But she also says, “I have to believe entirely the song that I’m singing. Every word.” And this is tricky. I do agree that you need to choose songs that you believe in, even if it’s only in your head. I mean, there are days when your head agrees and knows that God is sovereign, but your heart goes, “well, if He really was, why did [insert gripe] happen?” Or it could be your heart that is holding on and saying, “I know my God is good all the time” whilst your head goes, “Oh yeah? How about that time [insert bad thing] happened and He didn’t answer your prayers?”

The problem is that there are some very good, theologically correct songs that you should be singing, but you don’t always entirely believe in. Most of these are mission songs. You know, those that go “I will go to the ends of the earth for You” and all that. The songs that you sing and say, “Yeah, sure, but send him, not me.” This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t sing those songs. These are the songs you should sing, if only to purposefully direct your heart in the right ways. But don’t just sing it because it sounds nice and has a great melody. Approach them with the honesty that says, “God, I know this is Your word, and this is the response that You want from me, but it’s difficult. Lead me to a place where I can sing this in truth.”

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About the book:

Jane Hays has been told all her life that it’s dangerous to be out in the forest past sundown. At fifteen, she’s quite sure that it’s all old wives’ tales... yet, why does her village bar the gates every night? Why do they even have gates? When she is caught in an unexpected rainstorm on her way home, Jane ignores all the warnings and seeks shelter in a cottage in the middle of the forest. Soon, she is caught up in a world of magic and beauty – and in the storm of the Fairy Queen’s wrath.

The Fairy Queen is out for blood. There have been intruders – human intruders – in her domain and she will stop at nothing to find them and kill them. After all, it is only fair. She is only seeking retribution for the death that humans leave in their wake.

But Jane isn’t all that she seems to be. And the events of the night aren’t as innocent as they appear.

A tale of magic, fairy creatures and family, Coexist is a novella for the young and the young-at-heart.

Get Coexist on Amazon or Smashwords. Check out Book Depository or Createspace for paperbacks!

Coexist

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