Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. – Mark 12:30
This article was originally published on February 2016 and in honor of the season I thought it appropriate to re-publish it here.
Do you remember celebrating Valentine’s Day at school? Perhaps you were given a list of all the names of your fellow classmates and encouraged to purchase or make valentines for each of them. Maybe your class was like ours and you were given a paper bag to decorate in order to receive your “valentines.” And if you were anything like me, especially in the fact that you were a member of the male gene pool, you really did not enjoy this day (aside from the free cupcakes).
I can remember going and buying a cardboard box filled with valentines themed around my favorite cartoon (HeMan, Transformers, G.I. Joe) and then going through the painstaking process of selecting who would get what card, since each card had its own, rather lame, pre-printed message, i.e. “You Have the Power to Be My Valentine”, “Friends Like You Save the Day”, and “Knowing You’re My Friend is Half the Battle” Inevitably, I would end up running out of one type of card and would have to give someone a card with a message I wasn’t entirely comfortable sending. Then on the dreaded day when we would actually open our bags and read our valentine’s cards, I would wonder to myself, “Will he/she get the wrong idea?” “Will they think I actually meant what was on that card?”
See, that’s the problem with valentine’s cards. You can easily hand them out and not really mean any of the sentiment behind them. But that’s not only true with elementary kids-- it’s true with adults as well. Many people will buy flowers, chocolates, balloons, cards, etc. in an effort to demonstrate their love towards their significant other, but if all they offer are empty gifts and they don’t mean what’s written on the cards, then those gifts will be worthless. The card you purchase your spouse might read “Spending time with you is the best part of my day,” but if you actually never carve out any time to be with them and instead spend your time working, watching TV, and hanging out with others, then that card means nothing.
It is the same with our worship of God. In fact Jesus warns His disciples against this tendency saying, “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.” (Matt. 15:8) It is easy to give out half-hearted valentines to God on a Sunday morning. It’s easy to sing words of praise and adoration to Him. We can tell him how much we love Him, how much we want to be with Him, and how we need no other, but unless we really mean it with our hearts we are only offering empty words. It is our hearts and not our valentines that God desires.
Ask yourself, “Are you offering God mere valentines or are you careful to say/sing only what you mean?” “How often do you come to worship and merely go through the motions, half-heartedly?” As your worship pastor it’s my job to not only demonstrate to you what it looks like to worship with all your heart, but to lead you to do the same. In what ways can our worship team help you to learn to worship whole-heartedly? Let me know your thoughts.
NEWS AND NOTES:
Our annual Worship Advance is currently scheduled for February 10th. Everyone currently on, or considering joining our Worship Team is welcome to attend as we reminisce on the past year and dream of what God might do through us in the coming year. Sandwiches and drinks will be provided and you are encouraged to bring appetizers and desserts.
Don’t forget that our Kid’s Praise group is once again meeting. We have a great time singing and moving to some exciting praise and worship tunes each Wednesday evening at 6:15 in the Element Kid’s room.
Also, if you, or someone you know, is musically inclined and would like to join our adult praise team we are an open group and would welcome your participation. Our praise band rehearses each Sunday morning at 8:00 am and Wednesday evening at 6:30, and our vocal team practices on Wed. evenings at 7:30 pm. See me to find out where you might contribute best.
Finally, mark your calendars now for our Easter Week events. On Sunday evening March 25th we will host Jews for Jesus as they demonstrate Christ in the Passover for Rose of Sharon. We will have tasting platters for everyone as we participate in a model Seder. Then on Friday evening, March 30th we will gather for our annual Worship at the Cross service, as we reflect upon the Passion of Christ through music, narration, and powerful visuals. Make plans now to attend both of these services and invite someone to come along with you.
Thank you all for making it such a blessing to lead worship here at Rose of Sharon!
In His Service,