What do You Own?

Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

It is an important idea to take ownership over those things which we direct. Our actions are our own and the consequences are things we can point at as our product. Sometimes it is good. Often times, it is bad. But it is so important to make certain we give credit where it is due.

If I made an award winning tenth episode of the Star Wars franchise and did not reveal that I had some old geezer named George Lucas consulting every day of shooting, I would not only be doing a disservice to the work he contributed, but inflating the expectation and value of my own. People would trust my work, but only if it was enhanced by George Lucas.

I mean, unless there are Gungans.

It’s important for us to know what we own and what we don’t. It’s important to understand where the byline needs to go and what names need to occupy it.

In worship, we must begin with the idea that God does not force His way into any setting. He awaits invitation. For a worship setting, then, the first act we must execute, invitation, begins with the recognition that we have authority over who is welcome into our hearts and minds. When we sing,

Holy Spirit, You are welcome here

Come flood this place and fill the atmosphere

Your glory, God is what our hearts long for

To be overcome by Your presence, Lord [1]

what we are proclaiming is that the invitation is real. It is strong. It is immediate.

By the way, one should never lightly invite the God of the universe into any setting. It’s not like bringing a puppy home. God does not obey the command of “Sit” or “Stay.” As Hillsong wrote, “Your ways are higher, Your thoughts are wilder.” [2]

Don’t treat God like a puppy.

Invite God into your setting knowing that the more we bow to His will, the more He will do, and the more He does, the more of His presence we enjoy. It is a statement, in fact, of the Church, that we were made to enjoy that very thing.

When Fanny Crosby once wrote

Blessed assurance! Jesus is mine!

Oh, what a foretaste of glory divine! [3]

She was probably as excited as she seemed to so often be. Many of the hymns with her name on the credits are overrun with exclamation points.

The very thing that filled the blind hymnista with excitement in this song was the idea of calling Jesus her own. He is mine! I don’t have a simple association with him. I don’t have a mental understanding of His existence.

I have a savior.

And having that savior is a part of a dynamic story in my life. This IS my story. This IS my song.

In the worship I offer, I offer from the experienced with which He has blessed me and from that testimony my heart is attuned to levels of gratitude as yet unexplored.

As we approach that great God, we are eventually overwhelmed by how much bigger He is than us. His experience far outpaces our own. He has heard every excuse we can offer in every language ever muttered, and yet, and yet, and very yet, He desires us at a degree we can only understand as need. And yet, He doesn’t need us. He wants us.

That truth is absolutely pivotal to understand what was done on Calvary. “You didn’t want Heaven without us, so Jesus You brought Heaven down.” The absolute scandal of God’s sacrifice is that He was already complete without us. But he wanted us. And He had the exact payment for the bill ready. He paid so extraordinary a price so that we could belong to Him.

Up until now, we’ve talked about what is ours.

But we revel in the fact that we can be defined as His. The King has so much that He does not waste time with garbage. He does not fill up His halls with second-hand people. Our God, the great Creator redeems us, completes us, and then owns us.

The vehicle through which He strives to make us so is the tree planted into the posts on Calvary’s hill. He bled, He walked, He forgave, He died.

And there in such a terrible place, which stands forever as the price for the failure of mankind to keep His laws, we cling to that horrible moment when Love suffered and died on our behalf.

On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross
The emblem of suffering and shame
And I love that old cross where the dearest and best
For a world of lost sinners was slain
So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross
Till my trophies at last I lay down
And I will cling to the old rugged cross
And exchange it some day for a crown

Own this coming Sunday and be owned. Bear the cross and be born up on its freedom. Cling to the old rugged cross and feels the embrace of a never-quitting God holding onto us with untiring strength and love.

  1. Brian Torwalt and Katie Torwalt, “Holy Spirit,” Capital CMG Music, Jesus Culture Music, 2011. CCLI# 6087919
  2. Joel Houston and Michael Guy Chislett, “Here Now (Madness),” Hillsong Music Publishing, 2015. CCLI# 7037919
  3. Fanny Jane Crosby, “Blessed Assurance,” Public Domain. CCLI# 22324
  4. Ben Fielding and Brooke Ligertwood, “What a Beautiful Name,” Hillsong Music Publishing, 2016. CCLI# 7068424
  5. George Bennard, “Old Rugged Cross,” Public Domain. CCLI# 19722.

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