Raising Hands (Continued)

Last time I wrote, it was about raising hands in worship (Link here). At the very end of the post I said I would challenge myself to raising my hands.

I started off in just my living room, all alone. Turned on the worship music and I raised my hands. It may have been one of the most awkward things I’ve ever done. I kept thinking to myself, this is so silly! But quickly I was reminded of that verse about King David after he was caught dancing before the Lord. David says this in 2 Samuel 6:22

I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes..

Something about that encouraged me. It brought me peace and joy. In that moment raising hands didn’t even seem like it was enough anymore, I wanted to do more! I began to embrace the silliness of it, because some how it brought me so much joy that I could worship God in that manner. I could fell God’s joy taking control of me.

I was excited to do it again, but next time not alone, but with others my age in the church.

When that time came, I was perfectly content keeping my hands in my pockets. I didn’t see the point again. I thought, maybe I will in the second half of worship. When the second half of worship came, again I was perfectly content with keeping my hands in my pocket.

I thought about worship. It bothered me that I knew exactly when a large group of people could raise their hands. I could predict on the beat when it would happen. There are certain worship cues that makes it happen. Sometimes it’s the progression of the drums beating faster, sometimes it’s the progression of the band playing louder. Sometimes it is triggered through certain words, such as “fire,” “heart,” “raised hands,” and etc.

It discouraged me.

I felt like worship time almost because a performance from the bands perspective. If we just do “this,” “this,” and “that,” than we will have people raising their hands and that will make our performance successful.

I honestly don’t think that’s the case, but in the moment, that is what I was being fed. I didn’t want to be a part of that system. I didn’t want to be manipulated to raise my hands. I didn’t want others to think I was raising my hands because of the progression of the drums, the loudness of the band, or even the stillness of the band. I didn’t want to be a part of the created experience.

Pride had set up a wall to keep me from worshipping God. A wall so high I couldn’t see what worship was really about, about praising God for who He is. To be honest, I believe we most let go of control. After all, isn’t it the worship leaders job to get us to praise God? What I learned is that I need to let go of my pride, and my control, and hand it over, in this case, hand it over to the worship leader.

Let go.

It took me to the last couple songs to be reminded why I had even wanted to raise my hands in the first place, just to pray over the people. It took me a while. I kept thinking, “I don’t want to raise my hands now because I know everyone else will be.” or, “I don’t want to raise my hands now because there’s no reason to in this point of the song and I don’t want people to think I’m dumb.” Just back and forth, back and forth. The thing is, if I were to listen to those two statements, than I would never raise my hands, I would never do anything but sit back and watch everyone else.

Something promptly, and I finally took my head out of worship and I just started praying with raised hands. At first, again it was so incredibly weird. Not to mention, it takes a lot of strength to keep holding your arms up. But I did. I embraced the silliness of it. It didn’t take long before I couldn’t imagine praying any other way. As I finished my prayer, I kept my hands raised and enjoyed the rest of worship like so.

Embrace it. God is so great, the more you can let go and just let the ‘silliness’ take over, the better. Don’t hold back, let it go.


Basic Training Excerpt: 15JUN14

15JUNE14 16:55

Dear God,

Today has been very chill and I’ve received my medication, thanks. Help me to continue to be able to take my meds at the time I’m suppose to be. I really can’t wait to feel better. As you know, tomorrow is my birthday. Thank you for being with me all these years and calling me closer to Your kingdom. Thanks for giving me You. It’s really more than I could ever ask for. Church today was really confusing. I’ve been praying about it & looking forward to it for two weeks now. But we were 40 mins later, we arrived [scribbles can’t read. Looks like ‘ter and sorry that was sorry like’] we were Southern Baptist. The sermon I fell asleep through, and that was the end. I wasn’t able to grow closer to you at all and I’m just confused on what the point was. Help me to understand. I don’t know, but help me to grow in you and bring you to the people here, especially those that use you as a ‘man card’ and not a real relationship. Help them to see you in me. I really want to be the light.

Love you,

Joshua Huffman

P.S. help make it so that I may receive my first letter tomorrow on my birthday. That would be awesome. I just want to hear from someone from home.

Confession #8

Twitter Name: @Marky_Mark2013
State: Missouri
Age: 19

Ive lived a lie for 6 years now… I show up at church on Wednesday and sunday acting like i have it all together and i know everything when truely M, T,Tr, F, S I dont do anything spiritual i fill my time looking at porn and masturbating and cursing and just living a bitter life…I feell like God has given up on me and cant forgive me.. Even reminding myself of Gods forgiveness seems impossible. I am too afraid to let go because I dont know anything else Please pray Im including my twitter handle as my name because there is no use in hiding it I need help and support Thanks everyone, God Bless

Confess your own confession at communionwithjesus.wordpress.com/confessions/

Confession #1

State: Tennessee
Age: 20

I lied to my Parents about getting upset with a woman at my church. They asked me if I’d cussed at her, I said no but I did. I also have been talking to a man who’s been pressuring me to do sexual things I know goes against my conscious but I won’t let him go. I have been stuck in one place for a while and it’s because I’m holding onto this relationship that bears no good fruit

Confess your own confession at communionwithjesus.wordpress.com/confessions/

Christian Hypocrisy

I have been leaving some small bait to my coworkers, just waiting for one to bite. Last night at work, one of my favorite coworkers finally took the bite, but what he said really threw me off. I guess I’ve known what he said to be true for a while now, but to actually hear somebody say it was really disheartening.

Here is how our conversation went:

Him: So are you like (bleep)ing religious?

Me: Yeah I am pretty religious.

Him: Wow, I am surprised we get along so well then.

People from the outside assume us Christians can’t be friends to those who aren’t Christian. What did we do to put ourselves in a place to make it seem as if we hate the rest of the world? That isn’t Christian at all! Christ calls us to love others. But the way we are doing things right now, people don’t always even want to be Christian because we have a bad reputation associated to our name.

Imagine a world where people who are broken first think to go to the Church for help instead of avoiding the Church for being judged. A world where when people think of Christians they think of loving and caring individuals instead of judging hypocrites.

We all know the story of when Christ ate with the tax collectors because it is the sick who need the doctor. In fact I am sure we all cite it from time to time, but when was the last time you actually reached out to someone that society looked down upon? In the story of Jesus, you have to remember the tax collectors weren’t just your average sinner, they were hated upon by everyone! But Jesus put his reputation aside to eat with them. When was the last time any one of us reached out to the sick, to the hurt, to the hated, to that annoying person, to anyone outside of your comfort area of people?

What kind of world would we live in, if more Christians did our job? We are not individual denominations fighting to see who can get more people in our own Church than our neighbors. We are made to be one body.

To The Church and To The Broken

I’m going to try to get straight to the point on this one. This message goes out to all us christians who have been inside the Church our whole life. Lets quit dissing other churches, start living for the Church, and start acting like Christians! We have to quit dissing one another, and start being humble and showing forgiveness to one other.

No more telling Catholics, you guys aren’t christians because you pray to Mary, worship the Pope, and think you’re saved through your actions. No more making fun of Lutherans because they believe we are saved by grace alone. No more making fun of Baptists because they like to jump around and sing. No more making fun of non-denominationals because they preach Christ’s love so heavily and have no set doctrine. Just no more. I’m tired of these labels that are suppose to define us to some certain way. (I know I’m missing a lot of the different christian religions, I don’t know enough to add them all)

The sad thing is, most christian religions have the same core belief on how we are saved, but we are just misunderstood between each other. Through this misunderstanding we start pointing figures saying “You’re wrong here, here and here!”

Catholics are just saying if you really have given your heart to God, you are going to want to do good works and will do them. Lutherans are just saying there is nothing you can do to earn forgiveness. Baptists just love the Lord so much they want to dance (so did David). Non-denominationals just want the focus of the message on Christs love for us (after all, isn’t that all that matters?).

There are others outside of the Church that want to be a part of the Church, but when they see us Church members arguing all the time over all the small differences, they don’t see what their heart desires. All over the internet you can see christians arguing with other christians over what is truly christian and what isn’t. Who wants to be a part of something that is always in disagreement with one another? Lets first take the plank out of our own eye…

Be humble. Treat each other with Love. Arguing only makes you look like a fool.

To those outside of the Church, who want to get in and just be accepted for who you are, I’m sorry for the way we act. We’re not perfect either. No body is. That is why we are in Church, so we can seek the One who truly is perfect and who loves us so much He died for us. He accepts you, and me, for who we really are. He doesn’t care what we wear, He doesn’t care what you look like, He doesn’t care if you are gay or not, He doesn’t care if you don’t have a lot of money, He doesn’t care if everyone in your life has turned on you, what He does care about is you! No matter where you are in life, there is always hope. No matter how broken you are, no matter how much you have been rejected by others, even the Church, Christ still wants you. He is ready to transform you and make you new.

So Church, lets take a step down from our pedestal, and help someone out in need. Go to that ‘sinner’ that no one likes, that no body wants to be seen with and invite them over! Show them love. Take a step out of your comfort zone and befriend someone you’ve looked down on.

We want to show others the way to Heaven, not the way to Hell. And with that, I would like to send this with a video. Start it at 11:09, and you can end it at 12:40. If you really don’t have time, start it at 12:20 then. But I believe this hits an important truth within the Church.