do we limit the action to a Sunday morning event? I hope not because that is not what worship
is. It is about being a follower of
Christ and letting Christ show us how each day to be a better follower.
an email I just received from one of my choir members who has recently been
deployed to Kuwait. He shares his heart about meeting God in
worship, his hunger to be closer to God and his observations about person’s
willingness to use the gifts they have to help others worship. It is a little long but it is worth the read.
Sunday I went to the post chapel for morning service. I had seen a poster
in the barracks that advertised “ChapelNext” a contemporary worship
service. Most of my experience in military chapels has been a bit lack
luster to say the least. Don’t get me wrong, there are some great
chaplains who do a real work for God in the military. But with the
constant change of personnel and in a “desert place” many times there is no
music or musicians, etc.
this past Sunday I really met with God in an unusual way. I feel like I
really worshiped with my focus on God and God alone. It wasn’t one of
those things you can plan or prepare for. It wasn’t a result of what
anybody did to “make it happen,” or the result of a certain style of music that
can “create worship” any better than any other.
service began with group (congregational) singing. There was a praise
team of five voices, a rhythm guitar, bass guitar, keyboard, and drummer.
None of these musicians would be “good enough” to play or sing from the
platform of our church back in Tennessee .
Further, the sound system was a bit inferior, and I am used to fantastic sound
and even the latest in special effects lighting in my church. The five
singers consisted of a female soprano, a female alto, two men who sang the
melody, and one man who sang the melody an octave low. The group was
racially mixed. Nobody had on the latest “cutting edge” clothing.
Shoot, they all had on combat uniforms. They introduced a young fellow
named Mike who, for the first time, was running the computer PowerPoint which
had the words projected on the wall. Poor Mike had trouble keeping the
words on the wall that they were singing, but he gave it a good effort.
Finally, the group of singers did not stand out on the stage in front.
They stood along the back wall beside the band, very unnoticed.
began singing, I was introduced to a new song. Then we sang a familiar
song. We sang, “Open the eyes of my heart Lord,” and I began to feel like
God and I were having a one-on-one moment together. Nothing like I had
ever had before. We sang “Holy, Holy, Holy.” I just closed my eyes
and lifted my voice upward. The tears began to flow. I wanted to
reach upward to God. I have never been a hand-raiser. I don’t even
clap a lot to the songs. But Sunday I wanted to reach to the heavens and
touch God. I never saw the musicians, never analyzed the chord
structures, never gave it a thought that the harmonies weren’t even
there. I just got in touch with God. I really didn’t want to
stop. We sang several songs. When I would look at the singers, they
had such a servant’s spirit. I didn’t get the feeling they wanted to be
the “sage on the stage.” They were just humble soldiers, black and white,
who would never get the chance to sing in most of our American evangelical
churches because they weren’t “good enough.” But they were engaged in
worship and somehow I got there too. I can’t explain it. I didn’t
feel the least bit of a critic, even when the wrong words were projected.
It was just alright.
sermon was great. It was about Holy Spirit Power…. I don’t know how to describe what happened, but I met
with God in an unusual way…
Tuesday night, I attended a group Bible Study. There were
nine of us in attendance. The group was racially mixed, two females,
seven males, officers and enlisted. Everybody was from different parts of
the country. I and one other were the only southerners there. The
study was lead by a layman/soldier from New York. He was well versed in the scripture and did a great job leading us through Matthew 14. It was obvious that (1) many of the attendees were young in faith and in the
Word, and (2) hungry to learn more about God’s word. At the end, we
had a chance to share our joys, praises, and prayer requests.
Remember Mike, the
young soldier who worked the PowerPoint for the music? Well he was
there. He spoke and said something like this, “I have been saved six
years and I’ve always wanted to give something in the service. I’ve
always wanted to participate somehow.” Then with tears in his eyes he
said, “Last Sunday they let me run the computer and the words to the
songs. It was the greatest thing I have ever done. I didn’t think
God would ever let me do something like that.” WOW! What a
ministry. This young soldier, far from home, was overjoyed that he got to
run the computer during the time of praise and worship. Isn’t God
great?! When I think about this group, the word “humble” comes to the
front. Nobody gets paid, nobody gets fame.
deployment over here does nothing more for me than to have a new and refreshing
walk with God, then this deployment is worth it…
don’t know how to conclude this except to ask you to pray for this little band
of believers. Every week there are new people and every week people
re-deploy back to the states. They are literally spread all over the
world before it is over.
honor to serve my country and my God,
will be praying for Rodney