(This week I’ve asked my good friend, Krista Westfall, to be our guest blogger on WholeLifeWorship. I’ve known Krista since she was a child. She became one of my key worship leaders for many years at CBC, before becoming the Worship Director at North Hill Church, Rancho Cucamonga, CA. Now she serves as the Worship Director at GracePoint Church, near Portland, OR. Krista has a great message that encourages us to translate our praise and worship of God into ministry that touches our world for Christ. -DL)
Let it begin with a hallelujah…
As worshipers of God, our lips need to start with praising Him always, praising Him no matter where we are at in life, whether we are in a storm or in a good place, or anywhere in-between. The first step in the life of a WholeLifeWorshiper is to focus on our King: adoring His name, singing his praises fully, and directing our gaze on Him. When we take the time to focus and redirect our gaze on Him it lifts us up out of the situation that we are in and gives us a heavenly perspective.
This approach has absolutely changed my life. While I don’t always do it perfectly and there are times I forget to do this right away, I find that this is my “go-to” in getting my life on the right path. When I go off-course, I redirect and fix my gaze back on the King. He is the only one that can change it all. I can then begin to lift my voice in praise and watch Him change the atmosphere. I have found that this is a great place to start.
But this is just a beginning that leads to something greater. From this posture of praise, the Lord calls us to become His “forerunners.” This word reminds us of John the Baptist who was the forerunner of Christ. While he boldly proclaimed the Messiah to come, he also did the work of ministry. As we look at Luke 3:8-14, we see John calling God-seekers to repent from their sins, to be compassionate and just to others, and to set their hearts right before God. This ministry work was done in faith and expectation of something that was promised but had not yet come to pass.
It dawned on me: in the same way as John, we are now forerunners. We are the forerunners to Christ’s return and it is our privilege to participate with Him in the same type of ministry. Are our lives bearing lovely fruit? When somebody thinks of you would they say, “Wow, that person is so kind, so generous, so loving, so patient.” Are people coming to Christ as a result of the fruit in our life?
As well, are we known for our love to others? Jesus said in John 13:35 that we will be identified as His followers by our love for one another. This should include our love for each other (the Church), our love for our neighbor, and our love for God. As forerunners for Christ’s return how well are we loving God and others? The God who raises people from the dead, restores broken families, heals people from all addictions, calms anger in one’s soul, brings perfect peace, and who works all miracles, wants us to join Him in bringing these works of love to our world.
We worship a God that is so much greater and so far beyond anything we could ever comprehend or imagine, yet we treat Him like He is just something in our back pocket and we only pull Him out when we need Him. What would happen if we lived out our praise of Him (and not just speak it – which is the start) in our everyday ordinary lives? He has called us to partner with him in transforming our world for good, to be part of the greatest story ever told. I want to be a part of that and I’m sure you do, too!
So, let’s ask ourselves some questions:
1. How can we start off our day in praise to God? What are some next steps we can take to begin all things with praise?
2. What are we really living for today? Do we live as “forerunners” who live and love in the Name of our Lord? Are we living lives of worship, pressing in deeper, giving up more of ourselves, dying to things that we don’t need and surrendering all for the sake of His glory?
Father God, I want to pray for those that are reading this. I pray you would help us to choose to take up your mantle and run the race that you’ve set before us. Jesus, may we fix our gaze on you and never look back. I pray for my brothers and sisters all around the world, that we would repent from living for ourselves, so that you would be truly glorified. Holy Spirit, make us willing to lay down our lives for the sake of your glory, for the sake of your Kingdom. Help us to know how to love those who are lost, as well as to give hope to a world that is in darkness. May we be a people that bear lovely fruit! We love you so much, Lord. I pray this all in Jesus’ name, Amen.
(Thank you, Krista, for your words, exhortations and prayer. The endgame of true WholeLifeWorship is to know and do the “will of God”; meaning our purposeful mission to bless others in Jesus’ name. We can’t leave our worship with just the praise of our lips. Our worship becomes complete when we praise Him with the fruit of our lives, especially as it positively impacts others and our world. I appreciate Krista’s perspective of how our ministry to the world prepares the next, ultimate Coming of the Lord. We are, in a very real sense “forerunners” to the Second Coming of Christ. So, let us live into that – not by worshiping with our lips and isolating, but by worshiping God with our God-given ministry to the world. – DL)
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