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Centering Down – Battlefield Baptism

Focusing on GodKey Bible Verse: “Away with your hymns of praise! They are only noise to my ears. I will not listen to your music, no matter how lovely it is.”  – Amos 5:23

Bonus Reading: Amos 5:21-24

At chapel yesterday with my friends from around the battalion, I eagerly anticipated the baptism of SSG Falcon, the soldier I’ve been discipling. I wanted this new beginning experience for him to be just right.

We began the service with a hymn. This being Iraq, we get no guitar, keyboard, or drums. We have the chaplain standing in front singing.  That’s it.

As we sang, I noticed the dirt on the concrete floor, and that just about everyone was singing off-key.  This isn’t how baptisms are supposed to go, I thought.

But then I felt God’s gentle vise-grip of conviction on my heart as I began to see the service from His perspective.  These 20 or so men weren’t concerned about making a show of worship or impressing people with their voices.  They were here to be impressed with God, and to give Him their hearts.

God isn’t into the song if the singer’s heart isn’t in tune with Him.  He’s not pleased with a church’s “high-techness” if the focus isn’t His glory.  He’s tired of people “worshiping” just to feel good, or to display their own abilities or creativity.  God is serious about His people’s hearts.

—Chris Plekenpol in Faith in the Fog of War

My Response: How reliant is my worship on program elements and surroundings?

Thought to Apply: Many of us are not thirsty for God because we have quenched our thirst at other fountains.—Erwin Lutzer (Illinois pastor)

Adapted from Faith in the Fog of War (Multnomah, 2006)

Prayer for the Week: When I feel driven and distracted, Your voice gets drowned out. Help me, Lord, to discover how to focus on Your presence in my life.


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