These past couple of months God has been teaching me a lot. I have had some of those moments where i step back and am like… “so this is what it was supposed to be like.”
Being here in Africa, going to church where the worship is in another language, has caused me to enter into God’s presence in a different way. Where as, before, in America, it was easy to sing the words and enjoy the sound of the music. Here, God has brought me to a place of truly seeking His face, not just entering into a good feeling, but truly coming before His throne in worship. Coming before Him, without words, without comfortable songs that we enjoy, and just signing from your heart. This isn’t to say that i don’t enjoy the Swahili songs… i really love it, but i don’t always understand 100% of what the songs are saying. Regardless, it has drawn me to a place of meeting with God in a different way. I am not sure if that makes sense to anyone else… but it has made all the difference in me.
In this same aspect, i have learned to give to the church in a different way. Tithing is a biblical principle and i believe that it is very important. But i guess i just never got the fullness of its meaning until i began giving to the church here. My reasons for giving have not been because i know that I am supposed to tithe. I give my tithe to my home church in America. I give to the church here, because i have been blessed by being apart of their worship and by the word of the Lord that is brought forth each week. I give, praying that God will multiply it in order to enable them to do what He is calling them to do as a church. This should have been my heart in giving for years while in America, but it has taken God bringing me to Africa to get it. 🙂 In giving back to God for what He has blessed us with, we enable the men and women of God, whom God has placed in our lives to encourage and bless us, to do what God has called them to do. The church leadership here have an amazing heart for church planting and evangelism. I believe in what they are doing am blessed to be apart of whatever it is that God is leading them in. In giving, we act in obedience to God’s word, and are used by Him to support His work within the body of Christ. In the old testament the tithes and offerings that were brought to the temple helped for the upkeep of the temple and supported the preists that ministered there. This is what we are doing as we give to the churches that we are committed to.
Another area, also in regards to church, is coming with an expectation to receive. In the past it had been easy for me to go away from church not having really received the message that was brought forth. Even here in Tanzania, sometimes it has been difficult to understand what was being said, even though it was being translated into English. The issue was that it didn’t bother me if i didn’t get it. Lately though, God has been putting an expectation within me, that each Sunday when the message comes forth, that He has something in it for me. Not only for me, but for everyone there. God doesn’t give a word to a minister just for one or two people, there is something in it for everyone. As an encouragement, come to church each Sunday with a heart expectant to receive from the Lord. It is said that you usually get what you expect… so if you come expecting not to get anything, then there is a very good chance that you won’t. 🙂
I don’t look at church the same way anymore. It isn’t a religious activity that i attend to feel good about myself. It is a time where i get to be with other believers, worshiping the creator of the universe, being able to minister to Him through worship, and being able to receive from Him through the word that is brought forth.
Another thing, is learning to worship God because He is worthy. Not because of what we get from Him, but soley becauce He is worthy. I was listening to a audio clip from Leonard Ravenhill and he said something to the effect of… even if we die and go to hell, will we serve God because He is worthy? This thought really challenged me. Do we serve God for all of the benefits that we receive? There are many benefits for sure, but is this our purpose in living for Him? I want to get to a place, and i believe that God desires for us to get to a place, where i love God, serve God, and live for Him soley because He is worthy. He is the creator of the entire universe. The angelic beings that are ever before His throne can’t even look at Him (Isaiah 6:2) He is all Holy, Just, Powerful, Good, True and some. He is worthy of all our praise, honor, glory. Lord, bring me to this place.