Everything he took up, whether it had to do with worship in God’s Temple or the carrying out of God’s Law and Commandments, he did well in a spirit of prayerful worship. He was a great success. 2 Chronicles 31:11 (MSG)
I was at men’s group last night and around my table we were discussing our need to pray continually. In the midst of the discussion, I had a word picture come to mind. It fits perfectly with today’s chapter.
As a husband and a dad, it’s easy to be distracted. There are so many things running through your mind and the t0-do list is never ending. As a boy, I remember running errands on Saturday mornings with my dad. I sat next to him in the car but there were times his mind seemed a million miles away. It was as if I wasn’t even there. When my daughters were young, I know they could relate the same experience when they tagged along with me. I was preoccupied with the task in which I was engaged and ignored the relationship that was right there in the car seat next to me.
Hezekiah was focused on the task, but did it in “a spirit of prayerful worship.” He was aware of God’s presence wherever he went and whatever he did. He was in active relationship and conversation with God, even in the midst of the work at hand.
Today, I’m going to keep my conversation with God going through tasks, meetings, drive time, family time, and rehearsal.
There were a lot of people, especially those from Ephraim, Manasseh, Issachar, and Zebulun, who did not eat the Passover meal because they had not prepared themselves adequately.2 Chronicles 30:18 (MSG)
It’s football season, and as I write this I’m watching all of the television commercials prompting people to be prepared and well stocked for tailgating. I hear people talking about their weekly pre-game parties. I’ve never been into tailgating, but even Wendy and I know when the game will be on and are generally prepared to be on the couch in proper team regalia.
When I read today that the people weren’t prepared for their worship at the Passover, it leapt off the page at me. I started asking myself how “prepared” I am for worship on Sunday mornings. What do I do to make sure that my head and my heart are ready to worship God and hear what He might have to say to me?
The reality is, I give more thought to being prepared to watch a football game than I do to being prepared to worship of my Lord. Don’t get me wrong. I love football, and I love to get into the game and all the fun that surrounds it. Today, however, I’m giving thought to how I can ready myself for the event on Sunday which has eternal significance.
“Children, don’t drag your feet in this! God has chosen you to take your place before him to serve in conducting and leading worship—this is your life work; make sure you do it and do it well.” 2 Chronicles 29:11 (MSG)
I was at rehearsal last night for our community theater’s production of Annie. It felt great to be rehearsing. I love it. I’ve been involved on stage most of my life. I was trained in theater all through junior high, high school and college. Then, I didn’t step foot on stage for sixteen years.
There is something inside you that is always out of sorts when you aren’t doing what you’re gifted and called to do.
Photo by Madison Vander Well
The people Hezekiah assembled before him were the men of the tribe of Levi, who were given responsibility for overseeing the temple and leading in worship. Everything in the nation was out of sorts. They hadn’t been doing what they’d been called upon to do, and until the Levites did their appointed work, and did it well, no one was going to experience the blessing of worship.
Do what you are gifted, called and given to do. Do it well.
Wendy and I spent last week at lake. It was our last hurrah of summer. We are blessed to have a nice home on the lake to share with friends and family. After a year of hard work to make it a reality, the Playhouse is complete. Wendy painted the last two rooms this past week. We were able to sit back and enjoy the weekend with her family.
To finish the home and save some money, we decided to finish the lower level in do-it-yourself fashion. We wanted to be self-reliant and save money. I knew however, that self-reliance did not mean doing it all ourselves. I’ve screwed up enough do-it-yourself projects to know that we needed help, and we were blessed with faithful family and friends who pitched in. A hearty thanks to Dad & Mom VW, Chad & Shay, Matthew, Dave, and JP. “Do-it-yourself” would have spelled disaster were it not for each of you.
Self-reliance is a virtue in our culture, but it is wisdom to acknowledge that we are in constant need of God’s help, and the help of others. Refusal to acknowledge that we need the help of God and others is the fruit of original sin (that I can be like God) at work in our daily lives.
We had a wonderful weekend hosting the Halls this weekend. Food, conversation, and rest were the only things on the agenda. We enjoyed a beautiful, cool boat ride on Friday evening as a big, almost full moon rose over the lake.
Being morning people, Tom and Mr. Ed spent the pre-dawn hour at Daylight Donuts while the rest of the family slept in. Of course, they felt obligated to provide goodies for the crew!
There was a lot of conversation around the table, on the dock, on the deck and in the living room. There were Mario Kart races on the Wii, rides on the Waverunners, and plenty of alone time as people read, slept, and rested. And, of course, Wendy kept everyone well fed.
Can’t wait until the rest of the family can come to the Playhouse and join in the fun!
Wendy and I are excited to have Wendy’s family visiting us at the Playhouse this weekend. It’s taken an entire summer of scheduling and coordinating to make this happen, but it’s finally happening. The festivities began with Heidi and Sophia arriving last night. We enjoyed grilling burgers and a quiet evening of catching up.
This morning we took Sophia for a boat ride. It was a little chilly. The sun was warm, but you can feel autumn on the wind. We went slow and enjoyed a nice cruise around the lake. Sophia loved helping Uncle Tom drive the boat.
When I was a kid, Saturday morning meant one thing and one thing only: cartoons. Before cable television, when your television had four channels, there was a limit of shows for kids and the networks reserved Saturday morning for children’s programming. I was there in front of the television every Saturday morning at 7:00 a.m. in my blue pajamas with the red cuffs (onto which mom had sewn on an “S” so I could be Superman).
The first and most important cartoon of the morning was “Superfriends” which told stories of the “Justice League” of Superheroes: Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and the Wonder Twins. Each hero had their own unique powers. Each character seemed to have an interesting story about the source of their special strength and power.
Along life’s journey, we each walk through stretches when we need to draw upon supernatural strength. For those who walk the narrow path of obedience, like Jotham, there is comfort in knowing that an unlimited supply of strength is available at the Source.
I came across this picture of my Grandma Vander Well (as I was awake at 3:30 a.m. this morning). It taken when she was about the age my daughters are right now. She was known as “Toots.” Interestingly enough, my Grandpa was known as “Hump.” Together, they were known as (I’m not making this up) “Hump-n-Toots.”
My grandma died in a tragic accident when I was 11, but I still have vivid memories of her. Mostly, I remember her laugh. She would throw her head back, just like in this photograph, and her whole body would shake. She would laugh so hard she literally peed her pants.
But then the strength and success went to his head. Arrogant and proud, he fell. One day, contemptuous of God, he walked into The Temple of God like he owned it and took over, burning incense on the Incense Altar. 2 Chronicles 26:16 (MSG)
There is an order to things. God is a God of detail and order. It’s one of the reasons I really like Bach, Handel, and other baroque music. There is a symmetry and order to the music. It reminds me of God’s left brain in the midst of the chaos we make of His creation.
There was an order to things. It’s back to the archetypes I mentioned a few chapters back. Kings and Priests had different functions. They each performed a unique role. Kings aren’t Priests and Priests aren’t Kings. When Uzziah broke rank and tried to take the priestly role by force bad things happened.
I look back over my life and see so much of myself in Uzziah’s actions: Refusing to rest in the order God created; Discontent; Wanting to be what I’m not created to be. Snubbing the role God’s given me on life’s stage because I want someone else’s spotlight.
Today, I’m seeking to rest in that natural order of things. I’m celebrating the role God’s given me in this life and place He’s given me. I’m enjoying God’s left-brain.
It was a gorgeous, full moon last night. The cool evening was calm and the lake was like a sheet of glass. After a wonderful, late dinner Wendy and I got in the boat, set the throttle to just above idle speed and took a slow moonlight cruise around the lake. We were the only boat on the lake. The moonlight illuminated the hills and the hundreds of dock lights decorated the shoreline in a romantic, blue string.
The seasons they are turnin’ and my sad heart is yearnin’
To hear again the songbird’s sweet melodious tone
Won’t you meet me out in the moonlight alone?The dusky light, the day is losing, Orchids, Poppies, Black-eyed Susan
The earth and sky that melts with flesh and bone
Won’t you meet me out in the moonlight alone?The air is thick and heavy all along the levy
Where the geese into the countryside have flown
Won’t you meet me out in the moonlight alone?Well, I’m preachin’ peace and harmony
The blessings of tranquility
Yet I know when the time is right to strike
I’ll take you cross the river dear
You’ve no need to linger here
I know the kinds of things you likeThe clouds are turnin’ crimson–the leaves fall from the limbs an’
The branches cast their shadows over stone
Won’t you meet me out in the moonlight alone?The boulevards of cypress trees, the masquerades of birds and bees
The petals, pink and white, the wind has blown
Won’t you meet me out in the moonlight alone?The trailing moss and mystic glow
Purple blossoms soft as snow
My tears keep flowing to the sea
Doctor, lawyer, Indian chief
It takes a thief to catch a thief
For whom does the bell toll for, love? It tolls for you and me
My pulse is runnin’ through my palm–the sharp hills are rising from
The yellow fields with twisted oaks that groan
Won’t you meet me out in the moonlight alone?
– “Moonlight” by Bob Dylan
Photo by Tom Vander Well