We are now just over 3 months away from the Rediscover Conference and I hope you are getting as excited as we are for what God is going to refresh and release in all of us over the weekend. We have some great speakers lined up and as a worship leader I am particularly excited that we have Anchor Music leading us. My thoughts this week are from a worship perspective. I’m going to share some little things I feel God has been saying about how to prepare our hearts and be ready for the conference.
The idea of the temple in the Bible has always interested me. It gives us the clearest picture of the process of worship in the Bible. As we make our way through the temple; through the gates of thanksgiving, courts of praise, altar of sacrifice and the Holy of Holies, we are then sent out from that place of encountering him into the world and areas of influence we find ourselves in. We can follow a progression of the different temples throughout the bible, from the lightweight tabernacle of Moses; a physical space that could be moved with the people, to Solomon’s temple; a grandiose building constructed out of pride. A conquered temple broken and destroyed, and a rebuilt temple formed from a place of brokenness and knowledge of a need for God. And finally us, the people of God; the moving temple with hands and feet and hearts to continue his work on the earth. In all of these temples, the key part is the altar. Very often we can come into worship wanting the Holy of Holies experience straight off but forget that before the holy place in every temple, in every worship journey, there is always an altar, a place of sacrifice.
I have found that it’s very hard to come to worship God in the holy place of true encounter when I am carrying other things on my heart. Disappointments, distractions and disillusionments can very often creep into our lives, making our attempted time with God very much about us and less about meeting God in his glorious fullness. We all know that God has done it. He has won the victory for us. However, we also know that we have to count the cost. The cost is that God wants our whole lives. We often sing the words ‘I surrender all’ and make huge statements about living sold out for Jesus and only Jesus, but in reality we know that give it 5 minutes we can be back to our old selves. God hears our words and holds us to it, but he also knows what we are like. He knows that it will be a process but he also won’t let us off too easy when we give him our word. When we carry things into worship it is so important to let God deal with it. He frees us at the altar to fill us in the holy place, the holy space that’s left. The key part of the altar of sacrifice is that we remember what he sacrificed in order to be reunited with us. As we remember this then it draws us to lay down all our stuff to be closer to him.
When the temple was rebuilt in Ezra 3 the very first part that was rebuilt was the altar. The sacrifice, laying it all down to him first, was key. And so it is now, as God rebuilds us to be his temple, his dwelling place. The altar of sacrifice, that is our hearts and the things burdening us that can get in the way of his fullness, are brought to him. It frees us up to encounter him to be sent out for others. This conference is ultimately not about us. It is about God refreshing us and releasing us to others, to be the temple with hands and feet to reach others in our spheres of influence, as we ascend the 7 mountains of society to rebuild what God has in mind.