Thursday, March 31, 2011

Passion and Purity

Here are some of my favorite quotes from Elisabeth Elliot's Passion and Purity.

"There is a dullness, monotony, sheer boredom in all of life when virginity and purity are no longer protected and prized."

". . . the bringing of our unruly wills and affections into order will cost us something."

"Do I want what I want, or do I want what He wants, no matter what it might cost?"

"Patient waiting is an important discipline for anyone who wants to learn to trust. . . waiting on God requires the willingness to bear uncertainty, to carry with oneself the unanswered question, lifting the heart to God about it whenever it intrudes upon one's thoughts. Waiting silently is the hardest thing of all."

"God gives us material for sacrifice. The loneliness itself is material for sacrifice. The very longings themselves can be offered to Him who understands perfectly."

"When obedience to God contradicts what I think will give me pleasure, let me ask myself if I love Him. If I can say yes to that question, can't I say yes to pleasing Him?"

"If the yearnings went away, what would we have to offer up to the Lord? Aren't they given to us to offer?"

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Coming Soon. . .

. . . thoughts from my latest reading of Passion and Purity by Elisabeth Elliot.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Who Am I?

I, Rebekah Grace Hall am. . .

-a child of God, His beloved daughter.
-big sister, little sister, and daughter
-a peacemaker, good at listening to friends who are struggling
-supportive of those I love (this might not apply to baseball)
-intelligent (my brains come from my dad - Mum still has all of hers)
-funny (see above)
-one who loves to talk through things, even hard issues, especially religious/theological, relational, and social issues. Political, not so much.
-a lover of calming music
-a big fan of mountains, pine trees, and hiking
-in love with Jesus, even when I feel like He's dropped me off in a desert and left me there alone (because I know, somewhere deep down, that He hasn't)
-more inclined towards a few close friendships than many surface friendships
-an outdoors adventurer
-a reader
-a writer
-finding comfort in the Psalms these days
-wanting what God wants for me, even when it hurts
-in love with my family. Each one of my siblings is special to me in a different way, and I love the completeness I feel when I'm at home with all of them and Dad and Mum.
-a fan of dried fruit
-burdened for those who hurt like I do
-strong in communication skills
-weak in . . . well, many areas. Emotionally, and at managing the many feelings I have. Finding my value in who God says I am, not in what other people think.
-often insecure about my weight, appearance, etc.
-a big fan of bare feet
-compassionate and kind
-attentive to the needs of others
-hard-working, especially when I know it pleases others (also a weakness . . . I'm not as self-disciplined, in areas that wouldn't impact other people positively)
-not given to anger or rash decisions
-critical thinker
-often bossy, and disrespectful to my family (both stemming from thinking more highly of myself and what I do than I should)
-an appreciative listener of piano and guitar playing
-still a little girl in many ways, but old beyond my years in other ways
-changed, from who I was last year
-grateful for Christ's sacrifice on the cross
-one who has dealt with the pain of loss and change a lot recently, especially in friendships. . . I know it's natural, but it aches to lose the closeness of relationships
-whatever the opposite of rebellious is (compliant?)
-thankful for her parents, because who they are has helped me form so much of who I am, especially in my faith
-undisciplined in many areas
-a good cook
-a bad seamstress
-one of those weird people who get satisfaction from cleaning house
-meticulous, good at paying attention to detail
-redeemed by Christ

Who are you?

Monday, March 14, 2011

My heart aches tonight.
I'm trying to be strong and do what's right.
But it's so hard.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Why Do We Worship?

I've been thinking a lot about worship lately. Both in the context of what we typically think of as worship (music in a church setting), and in the context of living lives of worship.

First, in living lives of worship: I believe that God created us to worship. It's a desire we all have. However, like usual, sin mars the story. As sinful beings, when we look around ourselves here on this earth, we see a multitude of things we could worship, and too often, we do worship those things. Lately, I've seen this in my own life mostly in relationships. God has designed us with a great capacity for loving others, and He works through those in our lives to show us His love. Relationship, however, should be based on how God is working through the relationship, as well as a mutual love/respect for each other based on who God has made you. When we start to value a person, but take God out of the equation, that can easily lead to "worship" - and like I said at the beginning, God created us to worship, not to be worshiped. Worship in relationships only leads to disappointment. Worshiping God however, leads to fulfillment.

Second, worship in the context of church: How does your church worship? There are many different "worship styles" out there, everything from heavy rock bands to a solemn organ. Last night, I experienced a very emotionally driven worship service. It got me to thinking. The purpose of our worship is for God. Yes, because of our intimacy with Him, we also benefit greatly from worship. But the number one reason we worship is because of the greatness of God - it's so that we can try, in our feeble and imperfect way, to tell Him who we've seen Him to be. Worship can often awake strong emotion in us, because it's a time of communion with the Creator. However, sometimes I think that some music styles are designed to create that emotion, rather than to worship God. Often times, the words are shallow, and about us - what we're feeling, what we're doing, etc. They repeat endlessly, causing an increasing build-up of emotion. It might sound good, but when we stop to think about the ultimate purpose of worship, it seems silly. For example, "I praise you, Jesus." What does that mean? All you're doing is saying what you are doing. If I were to want to serve someone, but instead, just stood in front of them and said "I'm serving you," that would be awfully silly, wouldn't it?

There is a flip side to this. Like I said, worship often does evoke strong emotion, even when it isn't written and performed in a way that forces that. But sometimes, worship can be so burdensome and well . . . boring. . . that it's nearly impossible to really have communion with God in that time. When you are focused on trying to figure out the melody, and wondering over what the meaning of some words are, it can be difficult to actually praise God.

In both of these settings though, I see that worship is a matter of the heart. If you worship in song because it makes you feel good, or because it's just another part of the service, you aren't worshiping "in Spirit and in truth." Our hearts have to enter worship with a right attitude towards God - who He is, and what He's done. If we start with that, I believe that the appropriate lyrical choices, musical styles, and congregational response to worship will follow.