Burning Hearts

  I hope you had a meaningful Holy Week and a powerful and celebrative Resurrection Sunday!  It was surely a glorious time for my family and me.  Ebbie and I had the privilege Friday evening of worshiping with Grace Community Church, a Southern Baptist church that is just a couple of blocks from our TBC offices. Thanks to Pastor Scott Patty and Worship Pastor, Jeff Bourque for worship planning that places Gospel power in its rightful position to speak to our hearts.

On Sunday we worshiped at First Baptist Nashville with our family.  We looked like “pack a pew night” at a revival service.  It was a glorious day of worship and celebration of the Resurrection.  Frank Lewis’ message focused on the experience of two disciples who were traveling on the road to Emmaus.  The story is a familiar one found in Luke 24:13-49.  Its spiritual meaning and life application have intrigued me for sometime.  It is  rich with meaning for worshipers.  I want to focus on these verses and invite your reflection on the core of our worship planning motivation and challenge you to serving with greatest integrity as one who seeks to help facilitate worship.  Here are verses 30-32 from the NIV:

When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. 32 They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”

This is only the second sighting of Jesus after His resurrection, so Cleopas and his traveling companion, in their depressed state of mind, do not have much pragmatic reason to expect to see their Teacher.  The conversation that takes place as they walk along includes the two men telling this “stranger” the events of recent days in Jerusalem.  Jesus, in turn, places the events of the entire Old Testament into proper perspective whereby it points to Himself, the Messiah.  Inside their house, Jesus, the house guest, becomes the host, and breaks the bread for them and then vanishes.  These verses have been interpreted from several spiritual perspectives, from those who focus on how Jesus broke the bread, connecting it to the Last Supper, to those who draw remembrance to the feeding of the 5000.  The Spirit must illuminate the words to help us grasp the message for our lives, our ministries, and for His Kingdom.  I would offer a thought relative to worship, however, which I believe can apply regardless of more detail interpretation and application.  That is the truth that it is only Jesus among us that can ignite the kind of spiritual ferver our people and our churches so desperately need.  What’s more, when it is truly Jesus’ presence that causes our hearts to burn within us, the simplest remembrance of Him will stir that same burning sensation once again.  (quite different from trying to whip up a little enthusiasm from hearts and voices that have gone stone cold awaiting our latest attempts at reviving spirit – small “s”)

The thought that only Jesus’ presence can ignite our hearts again may sound like a “no-brainer,” something that “goes without saying.”  Brothers and sisters, the problem is not in the saying, the problem is in the believing-trusting!  As worship leaders serving in our culture of pizazz, it can be hard to resist the strong temptation toward overdoing dramatic crescendos and dazzling effects as means of producing a thrill, rather than trusting the Lord to make His presence known through the power of His Word.  Worse yet, we may struggle to convince pastors, choir members, or other church leaders, that care must always be taken not to be about “conforming to the pattern of this world, but to be transformed by the renewing of our minds.” (Rom 12:2)  It is hard to admit, but I know full well that there is something in me as one who performs music, that hungers for a hardy applause and would relish in “oohs” and “ahs” in response to something I had designed and planned.  If I am not careful I can justify that trajectory by baptizing it in good intentions of capturing people’s attention so that Gospel can then be presented.  Upon deeper reflection I am convicted again that the medium is the message – they are inseparable.  What’s more, I don’t fool anybody.  People know whether my intention is to “show my stuff” or to get out of the way that they might see Jesus.

When we have been with Jesus, there is something about it that we know it was Him.  I believe it is the Holy Spirit at work pointing us to Him.  The mere remembrance of those moments when we have known He is with us causes our hearts to burn within us.  Worship includes remembrance.  Trusting His desire to “be with us always, even to the end of the age” is a crucial aspect of worship.  We must make sure we do not allow any lesser truth take “center stage” in worship.

Seeking to see Him,        

Paul

Explore posts in the same categories: Choir Ministry, Church keyboard players, Church Music, Leading Worship, Private Worship, Singing Worship, Spiritual formation through singing, Worship Leaders, Worship Pastors, Worship Reminders, Worship theology, Worship thoughts, Youth Worship

2 Comments on “Burning Hearts”

  1. bourquejeff Says:

    I wholeheartedly agree and struggle with the same fleshly tendencies that I must always keep in check! May God graciously use us and do His work among us.


  2. Good site by Julee Gambler


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