[shoulders] SHOULDER TO SHOULDER #259 ---- 11/25/02

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From: "Bob Tolliver" <lifeunlimited@...>
Date: Sun, 24 Nov 2002 23:13:06 -0600
Standing Shoulder To Shoulder Together As We
Fight the Good Fight of Faith

A personal letter of encouragement to you, written solely to "lift up hands that hang down".

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SHOULDER TO SHOULDER #259 ---- 11/25/02

TITLE:  "Worship (part five) ---- Properly Linked"

My Dear Friend and Journey Partner:

Before I forget . . . .

Special Notice!  Effective immediately, and in keeping with our new ministry relocation, please change my personal e-mail address to lifeunlimited@.... 

What an exciting week this has been!  As you recall, Jo Ann and I led a four-day conference on reaching your city in a small northeastern Missouri town of about 1,000 residents.  Sponsored by the local ministerial association, we saw people from the Lutheran, Baptist, Christian, Catholic, Methodist, and other backgrounds meet nightly to consider the possibilities of reaching their town for Christ.  Meeting in a different church building each night, the attendance was beyond expectation and the enthusiasm with which the teachings were received was extremely encouraging.  On the final night of the conference one of the women suggested I check back a year from now and see what a change had taken place.  So, it was a good beginning to a great week.

Then my father reported Friday that the tumors were shrinking so rapidly that the doctor was baffled and, indicating that things were really ahead of schedule, gave him all this Thanksgiving week off from treatments so he could enjoy our upcoming Thanksgiving family reunion.  He is, however, experiencing some of the symptoms of radiation treatment, namely fatigue and dry mouth.  But that hasn't dampened his spirits . . . . nor his witness.

Last Thursday he had an opportunity to share his witness and the Gospel with another older man who is going through cancer treatment.  Just as Dad was preparing to invite him to accept Christ the nurses came to take him for treatment.  All that evening Dad prayed that God would give him another opportunity.  The next day the man told Dad that he had received Christ the night before.  So, Dad was excited, as you can imagine.  Just watching him tell the story reminded me that age is no excuse for sharing the Gospel; he may have retired from the pastorate, but he certainly hasn't retired from the Great Commission.

And . . . . he's now reading the Bible through every two weeks.  Yes, . . . . two weeks!  Since 1968 he's now read it through almost 150 times, plus another fifty times in the New Testament and another 100 times in the Psalms.

Finally, we had the privilege yesterday of doing special missions presentations in two churches . . . . one in Kansas City and one in Eldorado Springs not too far from us.  What a blessing it is to try to motivate people toward missions.  Every believer can either pray, go, send, give, or recruit.  And missions isn't just over in another country; it begins next door or across the street.  Next Sunday we'll be in Sedalia and Pittsburg, both in Missouri.

Now to the subject at hand.


Not everything went well last week.  I had a continuation of computer challenges as I tried to break in a new laptop.  The gist of the situation is this ---- I wanted to use an external mouse and keyboard for my new unit, so tried to install the appropriate software.  Somewhere in the process the onboard keyboard and mouse both became disabled . . . . and I was stuck.  I couldn't reboot, escape, or anything else that required key strikes or mouse movement.  The computer just sat there and stared at me with the strangest smirk on its little screen.  I could swear I saw it wink.

Since I'm not a computer genius, I may not have known of some little trick that could have solved the problem.  So, I did the only think I knew to do . . . . do a system recovery.  Well, you know what that meant . . . . I lost all the recently installed software and all my files and addresses from my Outlook Express program.  I mean, the whole thing was gone in a matter of seconds.  Fortunately I had done a recent back up, so didn't lose anything permanently.

But then the process of trying to import my address book of nearly 2,000 entries, and all my 150 OE files filled with almost 5,000 letters and articles became a major challenge.  So, I did what I do best . . . . I called my pastor friend, Bill . . . . who has come to my rescue more times than I can remember.  He gave me the appropriate instructions, and I followed them to the best of my understanding.  The addresses and all the files and letters were installed.  I know they were there because I could go to "My Computer" or to "Windows Explorer" and locate them right where they were installed.

Just one problem . . . . they never showed up in Outlook Express (OE)!  I tried and tried.  copied, pasted, deleted, copied, pasted, deleted . . . . all to no avail.

So, back to Bill I went.

In his great mercy and patience, Bill explained the problem.  In a nutshell, I think it consisted of three simple errors on my part.
    1.  I was looking in the wrong place.
    2.  I was using complicated file names.
    3.  I was using an incomplete linkage.

In my efforts to do it correctly, I was looking in the wrong folders for my files.  They weren't where I thought they should have been, and they certainly weren't where I was looking.  In attempting to set up correct folders I was trying to use the sophisticated numeric folder names that got totally confusing instead of creating simple easy-to-recognize-and-understand names.  And, I was trying to get them to show up on the OE screen without having entered basic information the computer would recognize.

This past Friday as I finally got things worked out, I thought of how those struggles seemed to parallel some of my worship struggles.  So, while I won't be very profound and I won't take very long today in writing you, I'd like to share some encouragement about how important proper linkage is to genuine worship.

1.  Too often we look in the wrong place.  We look to the great cathedral of form and ritual; we look to the excitement of inspiration and emotional titillation; we look to the artistry of professionalism; we look to the polish of performance ---- but we never find worship.  We may find form, function, shape, and sound, but no real worship.


Because we're looking in the wrong place.  True worship is never found in the externals; it's always discovered deep within.  Once discovered, however, it may embrace some of the other as just a little extra blessing.  And, as long as we keep looking in the wrong places for worship, we'll never be properly linked to the Father so genuine worship can take place.  We'll spend all our time like the woman of Samaria, drawing quenchless water and debating meaningless religion.

2.  Also, we use complicated names.  In so doing, we turn God into an enormous, vague, unreachable entity that is too distant for intimacy and simplicity.  When we use complicated names, we assume He requires impressive performance and elegant sounds.  Neither is necessary, nor are they preferred.  I personally believe God's favorite name of Himself is "Father".  While He indeed is Jehovah, The Almighty, the Lord God, the Creator, and all the rest, I think He loves to be called "Father" best . . . . actually, "Abba, Father" . . . . "Papa" or "Daddy".

When we look in the wrong place, and we use complicated names, we never get properly linked.  Just as the computer, complex though it may be, is looking for the simplicity of things, so God, though highly complex and beyond description or understanding, prefers the simplicity of a child-like faith and the innocence of an unassuming heart that recognizes there is no need for impressing or performing . . . . just being is enough.  Being who you are . . . . and being . . . . there.  There with Him.

3.  Finally, we use incomplete linkage.  By that I mean that, just as with my exercise in futility with the computer last week, you have to establish a command that says, "this is where it is, and this is how to get there."  One of my main problems was that I was telling the computer to look in the right place, but I was using the wrong directions.

That's so true with us in worship, isn't it!  We know where worship is, and we even know how to get there.  We just don't instruct our spirits with the correct directions.  As a result, our spirits go begging elsewhere, and we end up settling for some vain soulish exercise that leaves us unsatisfied enough to never return and deceived enough to continue searching in the wrong places.  As a result, we simply proceed on a meaningless continuum of religious performance, disguised by our sincerity as an occasion of genuine worship when in reality it's as phony as the proverbial "three dollar bill".


There is only one place for worship, and that's in the Holy of Holies which became fully accessible through the finished work of the cross of Christ.  There are only simple and uncomplicated names which the Father desires, so there is no need to try to impress.  And there is only access to Him in worship on His terms alone, straight to the point and straight to the place.

So, if you've been having some frustrating experiences of late in your worship relationship with the Father, consider the possibility that you may be looking in the wrong place, using wrong complicated names and terminologies, or failing to set up appropriate commands and disciplines that assure you instantaneous access into His presence.

Just a thought.

I hope neither of us go through the battles in our worship that I went through last week with trying to access files and folders on my computer.  No wonder some Christians just give up and pretend!  The only thing . . . . pretending in the world of worship is as fruitless and frustrating as it is in the world of computers.

I think it's time to make necessary corrections . . . . and re-boot.

In His Bond,

Bob Tolliver -- Rom 1:11-12
Copyright November, 2002
Life Unlimited Ministries

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