Note: On Thursday, February 11, 2016, from 4:00 to 4:30 p.m. I will be discussing my book “The Isaiah Encounter” with Paul Ridgeway on his radio program “On the Way.” I invite you to listen to am 980 The Mission or online at http://www.am980themission.com

We live in a culture that encourages and points us to “easy” ways of living. Every day we are bombarded with messages about easy pay, easy living, easy dinners, making easy money, and more. I’m not saying that doing things the easy way is always a bad thing, but there are times when taking shortcuts can actually cost us time, money, and even spiritual integrity.

downloadIn the arena of worship, one common thread appears in Scripture: Worshiping God on this earthly plain requires a personal cost. There are no easy shortcuts.

At one point in the Old Testament, King David followed God’s order to build and altar and offer a sacrifice to the LORD. One man came to David with a freebie: the gift of his oxen and wood for the sacrifice.  David’s reply to the man was profound as he told him,

“No, I insist on paying you for it. I will not sacrifice to the Lord my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing.”
2 Samuel 24:24

Authentic worship is meant to spring out of Christ-followers like water because its source within us is God Himself, in the Person of the Holy Spirit. But that doesn’t mean it’s always easy to worship God in all our circumstances. There is a personal cost to worshiping God, whether it’s our time, our resources, or even our future. Worship that costs us nothing is feeble at best.

Kay is a friend of ours who has had profound hearing loss since she was a child.  Somewhat aided by hearing aids, Kay became a master of lip reading and has always been an outgoing, joy-filled person of faith. I have always been impressed by the authentic expression of worship that Kay and her husband Scott have given to God through her circumstances. It would have been easy for Kay to retreat into her challenges and turn away from God. Instead, she chose to acknowledge and praise God through her life, and raised three amazing and faith-filled daughters— including Lindsey, who is married to our son Greg!

This past month God opened the door for Kay to have cochlear implants surgically placed in her ears.  After the surgery, she had to endure weeks of utter silence. Her blog posts during this time have been filled with expressions of trust in God through the waiting, uncertainties, and pain.  Kay is now beginning the process of therapy—re-acclimating and training her brain to convert the beeps and noises she hears into recognizable speech and sounds.  Though still in the midst of challenges and tremendous personal cost, Kay’s worship of God, is authentic and inspiring.

There will be times when worship flows out of times of refreshment and peace. At other occasions, worship is the choice we make to hang onto God in worship as we endure difficult and challenging circumstances. The cost of worship is never small. But the benefit of worshiping God—His very presence living in us—is beyond the worth of anything we bring to Him.

Blessings to you, my friends!

Chris