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We Live Inside Out - A Heart of Worship - III



During our recent trip to South Africa, soon after we’d arrived, I went to a local supermarket with a friend, who knows God but who doesn’t go to church, to pick up some groceries. While standing in the checkout line, the lady in front of us was just about to pay for her basket of food, when my friend leaned over and paid the bill on her behalf.


Later in the trip Daph and I were in Mugg ‘n Bean, one of our favourite SA coffee shops, where Daph met a lady whom, during their brief conversation, she discovered to also be a churched Christian. This lady was busy planning her Christmas party, and was adamant, however, that she would only be inviting fully vaccinated friends.


These two stories are by no means judgements of each person’s character, nor are they indications of their individual lives being otherwise right or wrong, nor good or bad; but each stood out to me as a perfect example of a dichotomy within our christian faith today, and in our worship of the God who says of Himself, I am One God.


No, He’s not expecting us to be perfect, He knows that we can’t be - but amidst our individual broken pieces are deeper down conditions which are reflected in our everyday lives.


We Live Inside Out


A few years ago our family took in a young adult drug addict, a guy who had spent much of his life on the streets. For months, I spent every waking moment with him, showing him the traditions and patterns of our family, our lives, and our home, and trying to help him create forms of his own; ones which would, theoretically, lead to his own change. But our Clark traditions, patterns, and forms, weren’t enough to heal his heart, and they never did.


Paul talks about a form of Godliness which denies the power of God. The laws were good, sometimes, for keeping the Israelites in that form, but they were never capable of transforming the hearts of the people; because the power of God is not found in traditions, academia, or doctrines, but in simple and personal intimacy with God alone.


Solomon said that a man is what he thinks in his heart; and Jesus said that it’s from the overflow of a man’s heart, that a man speaks and lives. In other words, everything starts in the heart, and what my heart aligns with is evidenced in my walk.


We will get to talk about transformational grace one day, it’s a crucial topic, but right now it’s sufficient to say, on our subject of worship, that Paul’s, Solomon’s, and Jesus’ words have significant importance.


Specifically in light of today’s political and spiritual climates, other than my two starting stories, here are just a few more notable conditions of our broken humanity within our modern christianity.

  • Some pastors are persecuted for standing up for their spiritual beliefs, while others are willingly falling in line with political demands.

  • Some people secretly engage in natural and God designed, basic human needs; physical touch, close companionship, and compassion, while others retreat in fear and obedience into the doldrums of isolation, as their christian duty.

  • In some places people can’t even sing anymore and the gathering of the saints is permitted only with a human approved pass. Many get the pass, while others don’t, and still meet, and still sing.

  • Christian Families are being divided and friendships are being broken, as people stand rigidly, often angrily, on opposite sides of the evil fence.

  • Many people live under the fear of death and sickness, while others live free from those fears.


When my car doesn’t work I figure out what’s broken, and then I fix it. These dichotomies, as I see them, are evidences that something is broken, and there’s a reason why He wants to dine with us, and show us a window.


As dutiful as we have been in our modern christian worship, we are, evidently, divided, and that doesn’t bode well for the church. Or, does it?

Enough Already! Get to the Point!


The Unveiling


Two posts ago I alluded to an unveiling which took place in New York City, which, by now, I’m sure you’ve all heard about. It’s now vitally important for us to note it in light of worship, and as we see the leaves grow on the fig trees.


John, while on the Island of Patmos, describes what he saw in his vision as a form of a beast, and this what he says; “The beast looked like a leopard, with feet like a bear's feet and a mouth like a lion's mouth.”


Recently the United Nations organization unveiled a statue which now stands in front of their head quarters in New York City, and guess what the statue looks like? Yes, like the one in John’s vision.


And guess what they called it? The same thing that Paul prophesied they would be talking about in these days, when he wrote to the Thessalonian believers; “While they are saying, 'Peace and safety!' then destruction will come upon them suddenly like labor pains upon a woman with child, and they will not escape.”


Yes, they called the statue, the “Guardian of International Peace and Security.”


Let’s consolidate that. The Guardian of Peace and Security is the name of the image which now stands in New York City, which is akin to the beast prophesied about by John and Paul almost two-thousand years ago. We are living in the days of which they spoke!


But this unveiling is doing so much more than just showing us the time of history that we are living in; most importantly, it’s bringing each of us to make a decision about who has our hearts, and in turn, who has our true worship.


Learning from History


The highest mark I ever got in history class at school, was 24% - I really couldn’t care what happened in the world before I come into it. Plus, my brain isn’t wired to parrot-fashion remember dates and facts about kings or empires of the past, which, I felt, were irrelevant to me.


Until now, that is.


In the Old Testament we read the fascinating story of king Nebuchadnezzar, when he built an image which everyone had to bow down before. But when he did that, what was Nebuchadnezzar actually wanting? Was it for the people to bow to the image? Or, was it, in doing so, that they would be surrendering their hearts and worship to him?


It was the latter, acknowledged by the Chaldeans who snitched, and said, “Oh king, they pay no attention to you, …”. Nebuchadnezzar took it personally when Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, didn’t bow down to the image. He became offended, and so furious that, … well, you know the story.


The true worship of these three men was already established long beforehand; their heart allegiance was with Yahweh, so, when they were challenged by the presentation of the image, or something other, they could not be shaken nor shifted. We know the next and best part of this story, well, and we will know it again for ourselves.


Let’s fast-forward to John, again, to what he continues to say about the beast and the dragon; “The whole earth was amazed and followed the beast. Everyone worshiped the dragon because he had given his authority to the beast. They worshiped the beast also, saying, “Who is like the beast? Who can fight against it?”


They, some humans, worshipped the whole system.


What John envisioned while on Patmos, has now, behind the smoke screen of a purported global health condition, manifest in New York City. And, like Nebuchadnezzar’s statue, it’s not the object that demands our worship, but rather the system, the ones, the one, behind the image, who are looking for the submission of the hearts of humanity.


I said, a few posts back, that worship only has one expression. Well this is it:


- Our worship is our heart’s willful submission to the deity of our choosing! -


There, I said it, finally, and it only took three posts to get here - but that’s the simplicity of worship, and it’s only expression.


Unshaken, In His Worship He Stood His Ground


“You cannot serve two masters.” When Jesus said this, the word He used for serve, was douleuō, and it’s linked with giving one’s self up to another’s will, to submit to, to obey; and it all starts in the heart, as a choice.


Apply this, and the definition above, to the three men in the fiery furnace, and it all makes perfect sense. Go ahead, do it!


Now apply this to the system behind the Guardian of Peace and Safety, and it still makes perfect sense - the only difference being the time in history. This is where they want you to go.


But we can only douleuō one, so we must choose, God, or not God. But we can’t submit to both, we can’t worship both.


When the music fades and all is stripped away, who really has our worship?


I worship I AM, and in my pursuit of obedience, I sometimes do variety of other things, which may include a song, or not; but all those are just that, other things.


On satan’s second attempt to coerce Jesus submission, he took Jesus up to a high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of this world, and said, “Jesus, I will give you all of these, and all of their glory, if you worship me.”


Unshaken, in His worship He stood His ground. “Get behind me, satan!” was Jesus response, “as it is written, you shall worship the Lord God, and Him only shall you serve.”


In the end, Jesus forcefully took back what satan tried to offer in return for Jesus’ passive submission. “…[Jesus] for the joy that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”


This all ends well, and the journey is beautiful! In my next post we’ll look at at two other history stories; one of a friend, and one a lover - I love history!


Where was all this when I was at school? : )

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Anna K
Anna K
Jan 06, 2022

Powerful writing, Darrin. It rang so many bells.

only be inviting fully vaccinated friends

Ritual cleanliness. Painful to see that traditions of Pharisees are alive and well everywhere.


Who would have thought that in order to participate in some church services and partake the Eucharist a person first needs to receive communion of another kind, an injected one?


Healthiism (a branch of scientism) in a new religion of choice.

Saints and deities? - Sure. Top doctors, medical professionals and "philanthropists".

Sacred texts - plenty, by WHO, CDC, FDA, etc. Some of them can only be fully revealed in 75 or so years. For our own good, of course.

Rituals? - Standing 6 feet apart with solemn faces while saving the…


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Darrin Clark
Darrin Clark
Jan 13, 2022
Replying to

Anna, thank you for your response, and I'm sorry or the delayed reply.

Daph and I have decided, again, that we are going to try and sell our house, so I’ve been spending a lot of time getting it ready to go on the market. Emails and admin have taken third place on the priority list, right now! :) Blogs #1, house preparations #2, and then other emails and admin. :)


Yes, there is so much happening undercurrent, and life truly is not what we see of it on the outside. But God is still in control and on the flip side, there are some really great things which He is doing among His people - we keep watching th…


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daphneclark
daphneclark
Jan 04, 2022

Awesome writing Darrin 😘

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Darrin Clark
Darrin Clark
Jan 13, 2022
Replying to

Love you, D! ❤️

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With you there on history at school...

And now love to listen about history 😉

A

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Darrin Clark
Darrin Clark
Jan 13, 2022
Replying to

🤣

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