Tag Archives: boast in the cross of Jesus Christ

Paradox: Strength & Weakness

17 Aug

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Worshiping God with anything less than excellence gets my hackles up. I’m really passionate about glorifying God with my best. Since you are reading this, you probably have similar tendencies.

Those of us on worship teams – vocalists, instrumentalists, techs – operate out of our God-given talents and strengths. In Psalm 33:3 the word skillful means with excellence:

Sing to him a new song;
    play skillfully on the strings, with loud shouts.

You’ve heard me say this before. Many times. Nothing new here.

PARADOX

Except it’s not that simple.

Paul goes on a rant at the end of 2 Corinthians (Ch 11-13) responding to the Corinthians’ apostasy in believing false teachers – teachers who seemed to have more on the ball than he did. But rather than give a list of credentials and successes, he shares his weaknesses (2 Cor 11:30). He even boasts about a man who was caught up to paradise and saw wonderful things (2 Cor 12:1-5), but he doesn’t even mention that the SON of GOD appeared to him and the events of the next few days (Acts 9) that solidified his calling. Not even the tiniest hint.

Why??

Power.

The power that Paul lived in was the same power that raised Christ from the dead.

Think about that for awhile.

Christ was crucified in weakness, but raised to life by the power of God (2 Cor 13:4).

Paul had the choice to talk about himself and how God was using him. Or he could share his weaknesses so God would be glorified and “Christ’s power may rest on [him]” (2 Cor 12:9). Paul chose wisely.

PARADOX RESOLUTION

God has gifted us, and every time we lead worship we have the privilege and responsibility to lead his church with excellence in praising him.

Do we chuck all that in order to boast about our weakness?

Of course, the answer is a resounding and emphatic: NO!

Because God’s power works through weakness does not mean it can’t also work through strength. Remember Samson? God made him strong and used his great strength to liberate Israel from the Philistines (Judges 15:14-17). God uses the gifts he gives his people… until we begin to trust in the gift. Samson lost it all when he became proud (Judges 16).

Paul knew what had happened to Samson–  and he had seen the glorified, resurrected Son of God.

After his vision on the road to Damascus, Paul worked with a single focus– to serve and glorify his Savior:

  • In strength – God used Paul’s intellect to pen more of the New Testament than any other writer’s
  • And in weakness – the suffering for the Gospel, the thorn in his flesh, his less-than-stellar speaking ability – all turned attention off Paul and on Christ

God calls us to turn all the attention on him. He promises to direct us (Prov 3:5-6) as we rely on him whether we are working in our strengths or weaknesses.

Here’s what God has been showing me this week: When I am weak, I have access to resurrection power. However, because God has given me talents and abilities, I am almost always using them… and almost never operating in my weaknesses.

It’s counter-intuitive. Run into my weaknesses? Seriously?

God doesn’t call me to use my intuition. He calls me to follow him. My weaknesses are part of that – so others will see him and the power that raised Jesus from the dead.

This is what the world needs.

His power, not mine.

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READY FOR SUNDAY

Have I been deluded by an either/or instead of a both/and philosophy regarded strengths and weaknesses? Why?

What is holding me back from being vulnerable and letting God work through my weakness?

How can I balance using my gifts with operating in my weaknesses?

Oh that I would walk so closely with God I could hear his call toward a weakness instead of going to a default strength! That I would glory only in the cross of Jesus and let his power flow through me into those I lead and into the world! That he will receive all the glory, forever and ever… may it be so. Yes and amen.

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God-Boasting

6 Oct

But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.  Galatians 6:14

Our TV is old.  When the entire visual world went HD, it went bye-bye.  Even without a TV, however, I still hear a whole lot of boasting as the presidential election draws near.  (Actually, I prefer boasting to bashing.)  There are two problems with this self-focused look-at-me-I’m-wonderful obsession:

  1. Self-aggrandizement, drawing attention to oneself and one’s accomplishments, is repulsive. Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips.  (Proverbs 27:2)
  2. The only one truly worthy of our boasting is God.

Reading all the Bible verses that include the word boast is a very interesting  and worthwhile study.  As I read through the verses another pair of observations emerged:

  1. I am humbled as I remember my boasting and how insignificant my accomplishments are.
  2. The only one truly worthy of my boasting is God.

I’m not campaigning for president, but I’m no less guilty than the candidates of boasting in myself and stealing God’s glory.

As I read through the verses, my focus shifted from myself to my God.  And my heart filled with the worthiness of God!  I began ticking off his accomplishments, making a list-prayer of who he is – boasting in him and giving him all the glory!

That’s My King is my favorite* list of God-boasting.  Take six minutes to listen and boast in him.

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Ready for Sunday

I’m making a list of who God is.  All day today, I’ve been thinking about who he is relating to my day.  As I eat – He is Provider.  As I look at the beautiful sunshine and changing leaves outside – He is artful Creator.  As I read news blogs – He is the All-wise Alpha and Omega.  As I hear more election jargon – He is the King of kings.

My King was born King.
The Bible says He’s a Seven Way King.
He’s the King of the Jews – that’s an Ethnic King.
He’s the King of Israel – that’s a National King.
He’s the King of righteousness. He’s the King of the ages.
He’s the King of Heaven.
He’s the King of glory.
He’s the King of kings and He is the Lord of lords.
Now that’s my King.

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*There are other versions of this video on-line that are more visually interesting, but I like this one the best because the crowd’s response is included in the audio.  Additionally, the full sermon is an hour well-spent!  “That’s My King” is near the end at the 55 minute mark.

Pastor S. M. Lockridge  (1913 – 2000) was  very appropriately named Shadrach Meshach after two of the three Hebrew captives who would worship only God even when faced with being thrown into a furnace of fire.  Lockridge was the pastor of Calvary Baptist Church, in San Diego, CA from 1953 to 1993.

Special thanks to Brandi Germana for the art above.  She has a wonderful artistic gift!  Check out her work.

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