Raise Your Hands

Raise your hands to the Lord,
and all that is in you.
Raise your hands to the Lord,
for He is faithful and true.
He has redeemed your life from the pit.
He has saved you from death.
The Lord is mighty to save.
So praise Him with your every breath.
In Jesus you have a new family.
In Jesus you are not cast away.
In Jesus all hope is secure.
So raise your praise on this day.
Why wait? Why wait, to praise the Lord?
For He is worthy of praise now.
Look into His Word and know,
I promise that you will say “Wow!”
Raise you hands to the Lord,
and all that is in you.
Raise your hands to the Lord,
For all praise to Him is definitely due.

My Amazing God

Your eye is upon me O God
As You reign on high.
Never distant
Never silent
On You I can always rely.

You hear my cries all day and night
Not turning a deaf ear.
Always listening
Always caring
I love that You are always near.

Your grace receives this sin-filled life
Washing me white as snow.
Always forgiving
Always restoring
Through Jesus You’ll never let me go.

Praise will always be lifted high
Raising my hands to You.
Always worshipping
Always glorifying
For to You all honor is due.

Worship, Part 2

The following article is was published in The News Tribune (Tacoma) on Sunday, June 20. It is part two of my two-part series about worship in a post-pandemic era. To God be the glory!


Does a Christian have to go to worship? In my June 6 article, I posed this question and then two inferred questions from it, (1) Does a Christian have to worship (which I answered on June 6), and now today, (2) Does a Christian have to go to worship.

Wait a second pastor, it sounds like you are just repeating the question. Yes and no. The difference today is whether a Christian has to go somewhere, to a particular place, and worship corporately with other Christians, in-person. So that is what I am going to address today.

For over a year now, the pandemic has forced churches to get creative and to step outside the box (i.e online worship). It has forced pastors and leaders to learn new skills (i.e how to live stream). It has forced congregations to invest in new technologies (i.e. video cameras). And now, as we appear to be on the back side of this pandemic, we are asking the question, “What now?” How do we do church in a post-pandemic period? What is the new normal? As more and more people get vaccinated, I am seeing more and more people begin to return to in-person worship, but not everyone. Some are still leery which I respect. Some still have questions.

There was no question that at the beginning of this pandemic stepping away from in-person activities was prudent, for a time, but it was never supposed to be the norm, nor should it. As creatures, God designed us to be in communion with one another. We are relational and online cannot satisfy the communal nature God gifted us with. There are indeed exceptions to the rule (i.e. health, distance), but online should never be the norm if you are able to be present. You see, it is within the body of believers that one another’s praises are heard and compounded with ours. It is with others that sins are confessed, and absolution is received. It is with brothers and sisters in Christ that we are held accountable. Separated by distance and protected by a computer screen, it is too easy to hide and thus conceal sins.

We are not made to be apart. As the body of Christ, we are made to be together, building each other up. When you are separated from the body of believers, the body of believers no longer benefit from the Spiritual gifts God has given you. Your gifts were meant to be used and expressed with others. Your love for God is meant to be shared and meant to be seen by others. Yes, I get that this pandemic is scary, but our God is bigger. It is time for the Church to reunite and get to know one another again. It is time to face these challenges together. It is time to exert ourselves and march into battle together, carrying the banner of victory that God won through Jesus Christ.

Does a Christian have to GO TO worship? My prayer for you is that (if you are physically able) you will want to in order to magnify God’s glory in this world. To God be the glory, always and forever, Amen.

Worship ~ part 1

The following is the article I submitted to The News Tribune (Tacoma) for Sunday, June 6. It is part one of two focusing on worship in what looks to be a post-pandemic period. Part two will be published on June 20 so keep your eyes peeled. To God be the glory!


A question was posted on social media recently; a question that harvested a number of responses. Mine was not one of them, but I was tempted. I held off to carefully consider my response and not risk a full-scale social media debate that rarely produces anything constructive. Rather, I am choosing to share my response with you as a way to discern what is next for the church in what looks like a post-pandemic world. So first the question:

Does a Christian have to go to worship?

There are a couple things being inferred in this question, intentional or not – both of which are beyond the scope of a 500-word article I am allotted each time in this paper. So, consider this article part one, with part two coming on June 20. I realize the suspense may be difficult but please hang with me. I believe it will be worth your time.

The two inferences to the above question are, (1) Does a Christian have to worship, and (2) Does a Christian have to go to worship? I propose these two inferences because “going to worship” can imply the act of worship or a place where others gather for worship.  And both of these questions are important to consider in a post-pandemic world.

The first inference question, “Do I have to worship?”, has two responses from me. The first is that everyone worships whether you admit it or not. Worship is simply whatever or whomever you give utmost importance and attention. The second response is this, the question is un-Christian. What I mean, is that a Christian, one who has the Spirit of God living in them, bearing witness to their spirit that they are a child of God (Romans 8:12-17), does not ask this question. Why? Because worship of God the Father is a natural outflow because of what you know of God and what He has done for you. Through Jesus Christ, you are made righteous and thus are no longer under condemnation. God condemned sin in Jesus, that you may live. And when the sinner realizes this through the gift of faith, one’s heart explodes in worship. Worship takes many forms, but however it looks, it is done joyfully and without asking, “Do I have to?”. For a saved sinner, worship is as natural as breathing.

Can you see how this is an un-Christian question? Therefore, the only proper response to the question is this: NO! A Christian does not HAVE to worship. A Christian GETS to worship this awesome God. But the issue is definitely not settled because the next inference is this, which I will deal with on June 20, Does a Christian have to “go to” worship?” Is corporate worship – worshiping with others – important?

This is my response to part one of this question. More can be said, but that is enough for now. Prayerfully consider this question: Do you have to or do you get to worship? So there you have it. I’ll see you on the 20th. To God be the glory, Amen.

Worship Prayers ~ Hear My Prayer

Father God,
Lord of heaven and earth,
King of all creation,
Redeemer and Sustainer,
I praise Your great name.
You are worthy of all worship and then infinitely more.
Your great name is holy and therefore I seek honor it.
Your majesty is awesome, it leaves me speechless.
You reign on high and know every last star,
every grain of sand,
and every hair on my head.
You know all of this and yet You know the desires, joys and sorrows of my heart,
and not only know them
but deeply care about every last one.
O God,
I give You thanks and come before You with my prayer,
knowing that You hear me and give according to Your perfect and holy will.
You give me daily bread
and sustain me for Your glory.
And so here I am, O God in the name of Jesus.
Lord in You mercy,
Hear my prayer…

Worship Prayers ~ Your Church

Creator God,
through Your Holy Spirit
You knit Your people together,
and thus I take great comfort that Jesus is the head of the Church
and not sinful people.
You raise up leaders and provide for the Church
that we may glorify You in this dark world.
No one person is indispensable.
No one person carries the Body of believers on their own.
It is You and only You.
And since this is true,
create in Your Church a greater faith and confidence that,
though things may change over time,
You are always in control.
It is about Your will being done.
It is all about You.
O God,
hear my prayer in the name of Jesus my Lord and Savior,
Amen.

Worship Prayers ~ Pandemic

Sovereign God,
so many people have been impacted by this ongoing pandemic.
Families are stressed.
People are out of work.
Small businesses are fighting to stay open.
Students are struggling with the uncertainties surrounding
school,
sports,
and extra-curricular activities.
All of this take a toll, not just on those individuals, but on all people.
O God,
bring healing and restoration to this world
on such a scale that people have no choice but
to attribute it to your mighty and gracious hand,
thus giving You the glory.
Give hope to the hopeless.
Give strength to the weak.
Give resources to the depleted.
Give healing to the broken.
Give Life to Your people.
O God, hear my prayer in the name of Jesus my Lord,
Amen.

Worship Prayers ~ Redeemed

Father God,
You have redeemed me through the blood of the Lamb,
Jesus Christ Your dear Son.
You have set me free from the grip of sin and death.
You have given me the hope of the resurrection unto eternal life.
And thus,
You have given me a new story.
The old one has been done away with – crucified with the old Adam.
I have much in which to be thankful.
May this story be the one I joyfully live and share.
May it radiate from my very pores.
May it ooze out of every nook and cranny of my life,
so much so,
that people may see You in my good works, words and deeds
and give glory to You through Christ Jesus my Lord.
May the hope You have given me continue to draw me closer and closer to You;
transforming me more and more
into the likeness of Your dear Son;
my Savior.
O God,
hear my prayer in the name of Jesus,
Amen.

In the Here and Now

Father God, You are mighty in power. Your love knows no bounds. Your grace is absolutely amazing, and Your mercies are new every morning – great is Your faithfulness. My worship of You, in the here and now, is never enough and therefore You have created me for eternity through Jesus my Savior. In the here and now I cannot sing Your praises enough, therefore I look forward to shouting Your praises with all the saints in Your holy courts. In the here and now my words are insufficient to speak of Your greatness, therefore I look forward to seeing You face to face and seeing the fullness of Your glory. Oh God, through Jesus Christ, Your Son and my Lord, I long for nothing but You, in the here and now. Amen.

COVID-19 Prayer

Sovereign God, I acknowledge that there is nothing above you. I acknowledge that there is nothing outside Your power. And, I acknowledge that You are in perfect control. I do not understand this virus. I do not understand why it is persisting this long. People are dying and suffering. Lives have been turned upside down. So much frustration. So much confusion. But through it all, You are my constant. You reign on high. You are the giver of life. You are my God. So, I boldly ask that you destroy this virus – I know You can, but thy will be done. But whatever Your will may be, mold and shape me through this time. I do not want 2020 to be a bad number that passes my lips, but may 20/20 be the vision that I have of You in the midst of this pandemic. You have never left me and never will. Heal and strengthen my faith that I may always look to You through Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.