Browsing articles in "Worship"

The Parable of the Dinner Party

Oct 15, 2012   //   by Joshua March   //   Worship  //  1 Comment

A man was very eager to celebrate a friend’s recent retirement. Knowing his friend’s love of fine cuisine, he decided to throw an extravegant dinner party for him. The man worked very hard and spared no expense to make all of the arrangements: a banquet hall at a fine hotel, a renowned professional caterer to take care of appetizers to dinner to dessert and everything in between, decorations on every door and table, and a phone call to each and every single one of the 60 guests who would attend. Feverishly he put all he had into the preparations until it was the day of the event.

He arrived very early in the afternoon even though the party wasn’t to begin until 7 pm to make sure that he could supervise every aspect of setup. After driving himself crazy as he agonized over every possible detail, the man stressfully began greeting guests as they began arriving at six thirty. And as the clock struck seven, the tables were set, the appetizers were served, and the conversation was lively. Everything was perfect. Every seat was filled.

Every seat except the one at the head table for the guest of honor.

His forehead dripping sweat, the man stepped up to the microphone and nervously announced that their retiring friend must be stuck in traffic and would arrive at any moment. Stepping away from the mic, his mind played over a number of scenarios that he repeated under his breath repeatedly: “maybe he got stuck in traffic? …maybe he had a family emergency?  ..what if something happened to him on the way here tonight?”

Seven thirty… and then eight and still the special guest had not arrived. The man once again announced that it should be any moment that the man of the hour would walk right in. Again, his mind would not let him rest, but anger replaces his concern, “…was it something I said–or didn’t say? …maybe he thinks he’s better than the rest of us now–doesn’t have time for me anymore!  Why didn’t he at least call?!”

Embarrassed, he sneaks away from the guests and angrily takes out his phone. His blood boiling, he dials his friend’s number. His friend answers the phone with a casual “Hello?”

“Where are you?! We’ve already started but you’re nowhere to be found!”

“Already started what? Where? What are you talking about?”

“Your party! Everybody’s here except for you. Why aren’t you here yet?”

“What party? You never invited me to any party.”

Ready to explode at his friend, the man’s mouth opened, but no words came out. He couldn’t speak more than a single, broken syllable as he frantically tried to recall the memory of him calling…or mailing…or texting an invitation to his friend, but none came to mind.

For all of his planning, time, and effort, he had forgotten to invite the very person he had intended to honor.


Ridiculous story, right? Think it’d be impossible not to invite someone to their own party?

Not so fast.

It may surprise you to realize that many of us occasionally do just this. And some of us do this repeatedly–every week:  just replace the ‘man’ with your name, the ‘friend’ with Jesus, and the ‘dinner party’ with ‘worship’.

Some examples may include (but are certainly not limited to):

  • The chore of getting the family ready and out the door to church in time (or late) may leave some too frustrated and frazzled to be open to the Lord’s moving.
  • The inability to dislodge from their minds distracted thoughts of family dinner, sports game, or other Sunday afternoon plans may prove to leave some with no room for what the Lord wants to give them.
  • The hard work and dedication that some put into their ministry–even arriving early Sunday morning to ensure that they are prepared and that every detail is perfect– may leave them too physically and emotionally drained from their ministry work to be able to focus on what the Lord might say to them.
  • Maybe yet for others, they think that the ritual of attending Church every Sunday is enough– but this ‘honoring’ the Lord with their presence alone leaves them unable to be vulnerable to how the Lord would touch them.

While each of our individual stories might be different, for all of our planning, time, and effort, we are, like the man in the story, left feeling hurt, confused, or angry at the Lord for not showing up at our personal or congregational worship when we didn’t invite Him to do so.

Now don’t think for a moment that I’m suggesting that, like the friend in the ‘parable’, Jesus doesn’t know we’ve come to worship Him. But what I am suggesting is that just showing up to Church at 10:45 (or whatever time) without taking even a moment to prepare our hearts and minds for a real encounter with Him is not preparing any room for the Lord at our soul’s table.

Like the man in the story, we can get all dressed up and make sure that we look prepared on the outside, but are we prepared on the inside? Are we taking time Sunday morning–or any morning–to invite God into our worship? Are we casting away all other distractions and acknowledging His sovereignty in our lives? Are we giving Him permission to enter our hearts and minds to prepare us for an encounter with him? Are we acknowledging the needs that only the Lord can meet? Are we dropping the charade of ‘I’m okay, you’re okay’ so that we can be vulnerable with each other and have true fellowship in the Lord? Are we coming into our time of worship genuinely expecting the Lord to fulfill His promise and be present ‘where two or three are gathered’?

Now, I am not so naive as to suggest that this is easy. We live in an imperfect world that places ever-increasing demands on our time, energy, willpower, and other resources. It is understandable that the hurts and pains and stresses of the world cannot–and should not–just be checked at the front door. Praise be to God that He will meet us where we are! However, we also cannot yell at God, angry that He continually doesn’t show His face in our worship when we won’t take our eyes off of ourselves or reach out our hands to touch Him. You can’t gaze at the stars if you have your telescope  pointed at the ground. You can stare for as long and as hard as you want, but you’re not going to see a single star. We need to take our focus off of ourselves and allow the Lord to lift our gaze to Heaven.

May each of us accept this challenge to take the time and effort to prepare ourselves to encounter the Lord,  acknowledging our need and our depravity and inviting Him to replace them with His fullness and His love.

Let’s plan the party, let’s prepare for the party, and let’s have fun at the party, but let’s not forget to invite the Guest of Honor and then wonder why there’s an empty seat at the table.


Thank You

Jul 1, 2012   //   by Joshua March   //   Announcements & General News, Worship  //  No Comments

I just wanted to take a moment to thank everyone who has worked so hard over these past months and dreamed so big over these past years toward making our projection system a reality.

Today we celebrate what the Lord has done–what He has brought us through. And there is much to celebrate as His faithfulness is amazing!

However, He has brought us this far for a reason; He has given us this new projection system not as a trophy but as a tool for reaching our community. So, while we celebrate today, there is kingdom work to be done tomorrow!

Let’s continue forward, keeping our eyes on the prize!


Projection System Construction Updates

May 23, 2012   //   by Joshua March   //   Announcements & General News, Worship  //  2 Comments

Looking for coverage of Rosedale’s Projection System demolition and construction? You’ve come to the right place!

Check this spot for video and pictures of the whole process, giving you all the great views but with none of the dust or need to wear safety goggles!

Week of June 18

We are up and operational! You won’t want to miss Sunday Morning Worship on July 1 when we use it for first time in a service! What a great time to invite a friend!

Day 9-10

Getting really close here! Projector is up and the screen is controllable! Just the computer, the rear-of-house LCD, and a few small things and we’re ready to go! We’re hopeful to be able to bring the system online for testing next week!

Check out the Day 9-10 video tour!

Download Video

Day 8

The screen is up and the carpet is in! Projector coming on Tuesday!

Check out the Day 8 video tour!

Download Video

Day 6-7

Painting is finished and the new desk has been wired for electricity. The screeen is coming soon!

Day 5

Electrical work is done so we can plug things in again! Painting has begun, and general clean-up has taken place. Want a look?

Aw, you don’t think I was going to spoil it for you, was I? No, you’ll have to see on Sunday for yourself!

Day 4

What a day! Not only was the drywall completed, but the plastic dust covers came down, and the remaining studs and supports were removed! And best of all– the new desk is in! And rewiring has begun!

You should have seen the view–well you will on Sunday, but, oh, to be there in person! Couldn’t be there? No problem–just check the video and pictures below!

Check out the Day 4 video tour (and, yes, the cookie-muncher knew we were filming)!

Download Video

Day 3

The first coat of drywall is back up and some more of the supports are down. Aaaaand… The new desk is here!

The good news? It looks amazing! Twelve incredible feet of “Is this thing really ours? It looks so good!” The bad news? The drywall isn’t done, so it’s sitting in the foyer instead of the Sanctuary! Here’s hoping that it finds its way to its new home tomorrow–but you’ll have to check back to see for yourself!”

Check out the Day 3 video tour!

Download Video

Day 2

The LAM beam has been installed and some of the studs are down. Rumor is they had 8 people here today working to make this happen! Check back tomorrow for even more updates!

Check out the Day 2 video tour!

Download Video

Day 1

The drywall has been removed and we’re down to bare studs. Even after just one day of (de)construction, the Sanctuary feels so open! We’ll keep bringing you the latest!

Check out the Day 1 video tour!

Download Video

Rosedale’s Projection System — Coming Sooner Than You Think!

May 4, 2012   //   by Joshua March   //   Announcements & General News, Worship  //  No Comments

Two weeks.

Two weeks?

Two weeks!

Yes! We’re delighted to announce that major construction for our Video Projection System is due to begin the week of May 21! Construction should be completed by the end of the work week. In the time leading up to the 20th, the screen, projectors, and cabling will be installed; but this will have minimal impact on service activities at Rosedale.

We hope you share in our excitement on this project and understand that we want to do a kick-off with as many people present! As such, we’ll be officially ‘launching’ the system on Sunday, July 1. You won’t want to miss it!

So, if you have any love for the current ‘sound room’, I suggest you give it a great big hug some time between now and when you leave service on the 20th–because its days are literally numbered (12 as of this writing, not that I’m counting).

Stay focused on the Lord and excited for what He’s doing at Rosedale!


Grumbling Bellies and Hearts: a Story of Real Faith in the Raw

Apr 18, 2012   //   by Joshua March   //   Worship  //  1 Comment

So, I’m finishing up today’s lunch of leftover salmon and bread, and I can’t help but be reminded of the miracle of Jesus feeding the four thousand through ‘fish and loaves’. The account from Mark 8:1-9a is included below. Take a quick read and I’ll catch up with you on the other side.

During those days another large crowd gathered. Since they had nothing to eat, Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat. If I send them home hungry, they will collapse on the way, because some of them have come a long distance.”

His disciples answered, “But where in this remote place can anyone get enough bread to feed them?”

“How many loaves do you have?”Jesus asked.

“Seven,” they replied.

He told the crowd to sit down on the ground. When he had taken the seven loaves and given thanks, he broke them and gave them to his disciples to distribute to the people, and they did so. They had a few small fish as well; he gave thanks for them also and told the disciples to distribute them. The people ate and were satisfied. Afterward the disciples picked up seven basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. About four thousand were present.

Yes, you’ve read the story before. Yes, you’re familiar with all of the usual themes: feeding the hungry, thanksgiving, Jesus meeting our needs, etc. I’m not discounting any of them; it’s just that I know that you’ve heard them before.

Today, I want to talk about something else: the amazing faith victories in this story. What’s that? You don’t see any? After all, if faith, as the writer of Hebrews tells us, is “being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see”, where is faith necessary in this story? The loaves and the fish aren’t exactly immaterial here. We’re not talking metaphysical bread and meat; this isn’t the passage in John describing ‘living water’. Jesus provided real, hunger-satisfying nourishment.

And if you focus on the food and the hungry horde of people on that hill, you’ll probably miss the tremendous faith story here. With four thousand people present, I would even think it to be probable that no more than those seated closest to Jesus really saw Jesus using such a small quantity of food to feed the masses; those in the back probably just assumed the disciples brought the party with them. So it’s quite possible that the crowd may have mostly been unaware of the miracle that happened right in their midst. (There’s a sermon here.)

So that leaves us with whom? Ah, yes, that ragtag band of unlikely brothers: the disciples. It was these twelve that saw Jesus give thanks for the food and then ask them to distribute the food to the chorus of rumbling bellies behind them. I can only imagine the disciples standing there dumbfounded, silently questioning Jesus’ sanity–or at least His math skills– as he directs them to begin using just a few meager morsels to feed the thousands. After all, just a few moments prior, was it not the disciples that had asked, “But where in this remote place can anyone get enough bread to feed them?”

Now, we can’t be sure how much food four thousand people would consume, but let’s be conservative and assume that it could have been done with 1/4 loaf and 1/2 a fish per person. That gives us about 1,000 loaves and 2,000 fish. This is an important detail! For if the story instead described Jesus either multiplying the loaves and fish before the disciples’ eyes or creating the needed nourishment ex nihilo, thereby allowing the disciples to begin distributing it to the crowd out of this newly-created storehouse, there would have been no victory of faith here. Sure, they would have ooooh’d and aaaah’d. They would have clapped their hands and cheered! Praise would be on their lips and thanksgiving in their hearts… but no faith would have been required as they would have seen the abundance before them and known instantly with their minds that there was enough to feed the crowd.

And this is the first stop on our faith trip today. Most of the time (except when the disciples were out fishing), the Lord doesn’t answer our prayers by dumping a ton of fish on us (can I get an ‘amen’ or a ‘praise the Lord’?). Often, He just ensures that we have enough— that our baskets do not run empty. Had he given us the whole ‘kettle of fish’, we’d be thankful, but there’d be no room for faith. No, it’s by trusting that He’ll continue to supply our needs and not let our baskets be emptied that we please the Lord with our faithfulness and He gets the glory! Amen.

Now, back to our story…

As mentioned, the Lord did not just create nets full of fish and ovens full of bread. No, in the story we read that the Jesus instructed the disciples to feed the crowd by distributing the food in the baskets–not from the storehouse: just the seven loaves and couple of fish. And, yet, upon hearing Jesus’ seemingly-impossible request, every single one of the disciples begins to do as he was told.

And here the second stop on our faith journey today.

I’m sure that it wouldn’t surprise you if I stated that it certainly pleases the Lord when we answer “yes, Lord, yes” and immediately begin to follow His instruction with our hearts full of joy, our heads held high, and a spring in our step as we trust Him implicitly to go before us and light our way! But the lesson here is not to fool yourself into thinking that it’s always that easy. No, in fact…

Wait for it…

Faith is hard.

I’m allowed to say that, right? It’s not as if you weren’t already thinking it.

No, if each of us were honest, the number of times that the Lord tells us to do something impossible and we respond with an unthinking, unwavering “okie dokie!” is far and few between– at best. Now, I’m not saying that none of the disciples were able to just bounce away from the Lord’s instruction and begin passing out the food without questioning the holy insanity of the entire situation; but I am saying that I think it’s highly likely that at least some of them weren’t. At least this disciple wouldn’t have, in all honesty.

No, this is where we can allow our victory, confidence, and self-esteem to be eroded by believing the lies that it’s not okay to doubt or to question the Lord in difficult or impossible times. Go ahead. You’re not fooling anyone– especially the Lord– if you pretend you’re happy or settled about something when you’re not.

Really, go on. He can handle it.

I promise.

No, and you may feel free to disagree with me on this part, but I think it’s highly likely that at least one of those disciples heard the Lord speak and thought something to the effect of, “Come again–You want me to do what, Lord? It’s not that I don’t trust You, Lord, but that’s just not a lot of food and that’s a whole lot of people! I mean, You can see them all, right? You got the ones in the back there? And on the sides too? And surely You know that, well it’s just that… it’s just not a lot of food and– oh, right, I said that already…”

And while we can’t know exactly what each of the disciples was thinking in that moment, we do read that every single one of them turned and obeyed–each of them stepped out in faith in spite of their doubts! And this is the victory. This is what pleases the Lord! I believe firmly, in our own lives, that when we hear the Lord speak and we then turn, baskets in our hands and questions and doubt in our hearts, grumbling under our breath, “Okay, Lord, I don’t see how this is going to work, but I’m going to step out in obedience do as You have asked”, even then we worship and glorify the Lord with our faithfulness. It is in that moment that we are literally and explicitly stating that there is no way that we can accomplish the task before us except through the Lord’s moving. And this is why we must remember that faithfulness isn’t about how we feel–it’s about our response to the Lord because of Who He is–in spite of how we feel! Amen.

And this brings us to our final point.

Let’s think about how the story ends. After the food had been distributed, “the people had a few bites to eat and their stomachs continued to rumble.” Oh, that wasn’t it? Right, it was “most of the people had enough to eat while those at the very back were left dreaming of dinner.”

No, the scripture tells us that “the people ate and were satisfied.” Not ‘partially satisfied’. Not ‘some of the people’.  No, ‘the people were satisfied.” And what’s more was there were leftovers! Seven basketfuls! We don’t know how big these baskets were, but no one would argue that ‘seven basketfuls’ isn’t more food than the ‘seven loaves’ and a ‘few fish’ with which they started. I imagine the conversation between the disciples while returning to Jesus upon completing their task was more than a little different than the conversation betwen them when Jesus initially gave them the instruction! The Lord had taken the disciple’s impossibly-insignificant offering of food and had reached thousands with it–and the excess was even more than the original offering! And here you were, thinking that New Math started in the sixties.


And so what we have learned today about faith?

We were reminded that the Lord answers our prayers in His way and His timing. And when this is enough for us–that we don’t have to see the whole pile of fish when a basket of bread is enough, we are glorifying the Lord through our faithfulness.

We were reminded that it is our actions that define our faith and that we are not bound by passing doubting thoughts. And when we do not fool ourselves into thinking that questioning the Lord is somehow forbidden or even sin, and when we allow ourselves to step out in obedience even when we don’t have total comfort, we are glorifying the Lord through our faithfulness.

And while I’d be compelled to call it a day after establishing that indeed we are glorifying the Lord through our faithfulness even when all we have to give is a few woefully-insufficient crumbs and that we can’t even give them with a smile on our faces, let us not forget the lesson of the seven baskets of ‘leftovers’. Not only is the Lord able to use our meager offerings and sacrifices to further His kingdom, but He’s also able to return to us more than we gave in the first place!

As Pastor often says, you can’t out-give the Lord! So, go on and try.

Really, go on. He can handle it.

I promise.

Moreover, He promises.

Taste and see that the LORD is good;
blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.  — Psalm 34:8

Let each of us step out in faith, even in seemingly-impossible situations, giving whatever we can for the Lord’s use and let’s just see what He won’t do!


A Little Musical Perspective

Apr 12, 2012   //   by Joshua March   //   Worship  //  1 Comment

Greetings, Church!

Recently, I stumbled upon this little gem of an illustration and I wanted to share it with you all. Unfortunately, the author is unknown to me so I cannot credit him or her properly.

Still, I hope it gives you both a chuckle and an appreciation for the importance of seeing things from others’ perspectives!


Not long ago a farmer went to the city one weekend and attended the big city church. He came home and his wife asked him how it was. “Well,” said the farmer, “It was good. They did something different, however. They sang praise choruses instead of hymns.”

“Praise choruses?” said his wife, “What are those?”

“Oh, they’re okay. They’re sort of like hymns, only different,” said the farmer.

“”Well, what’s the difference?” asked his wife.

The farmer said, “Well it’s like this – If I were to say to you:

`Martha, the cows are in the corn,’ well that would be a hymn. If, on the other hand, I were to say to you:

`Martha Martha, Martha, Oh, Martha, Martha, Martha, Martha
the cows, the big cows, the brown cows, the black cows,
the white cows, the black and white cows,
the cows, cows, cows are in the corn,
are in the corn, are in the corn, are in the corn,
the corn, corn, corn.’

Then, if I were to repeat the whole thing two or three times, well that would be a praise chorus.”

A young, new Christian from the big city attended the small town church one weekend. He came home and his wife asked him how it was.

“Well,” said the young man, “It was good. They did something different, however. They sang hymns instead of regular songs.”

“Hymns?” said his wife, “What are those?”

“Oh, they’re okay. They’re sort of like regular songs, only different,” said the young man.

“Well, what’s the difference?” asked his wife.

The young man said, “Well it’s like this – If I were to say to you, `Martha, the cows are in the corn,’ well that would be a regular song. If, on the other hand, I were to say to you:

Oh Martha, dear Martha, hear thou my cry
Inclinest thine ear to the words of my mouth.
Turn thou thy whole wondrous ear by and by
To the righteous, inimitable, glorious truth.

For the way of the animals who can explain
There in their heads is no shadow of sense,
Hearkenest they in God’s sun or his rain
Unless from the mild, tempting corn they are fenced.

Yea those cows in glad bovine, rebellious delight,
Have broke free their shackles, their warm pens eschewed.
Then goaded by minions of darkness and night
They all my mild Chilliwack sweet corn have chewed.

So look to that bright shining day by and by,
Where all foul corruptions of earth are reborn.
Where no vicious animal makes my soul cry
And I no longer see those foul cows in the corn.

Then, if I were to do only verses one, three, and four and do a key change on the last verse, well that would be a hymn.”

Praise the Lord for our unity as we successfully embrace both styles (but I do promise no new songs– in either style–about cows or corn)!


Full Speed Ahead!

Apr 3, 2012   //   by Joshua March   //   Announcements & General News, Worship  //  No Comments

Rosedale’s Projection System (and related remodel) is on the way!

We’ve just signed the paperwork yesterday and the equipment is being ordered. We expect to see the actual installation start in just 5-6 weeks. The installation might be so fast that it’s completely done between Sundays–so what a change we’ll all be in for when we come in on that first Sunday after it being completed!

We’re all very much looking forward to just how the Lord will use this project to minister to both us and our community. If you’re interested in supporting the project financially, remember that you can mark your donation as “projection” or “multimedia’ and include it in your Sunday morning offering.

And if you’re interested in supporting the new system with your time and energy, please consider becoming part of the new Worship Media Ministry!

Stay excited–and in prayer–for Rosedale as we move forward!


Announcing the New Worship Media Ministry Team!

Feb 4, 2012   //   by Joshua March   //   Announcements & General News, Worship  //  No Comments

Rosedale’s Video Projection System is on the way!

…but wait– there’s more!

While the Video Projection System promises to give Rosedale many exciting new ways to minister, the System itself brings several new ministry opportunities to Rosedale as well! These new ministry impacts are such that we’re reorganizing how we do both video and audio tasks! Yes, together they make up the new Worship Media Ministry!

The following are Worship Media Ministry areas that will need addressed as we move into this new chapter in our Church’s life. Interested in several areas? No problem! Only able to help every other week? No problem! We’ll work together to find the participation level that’s right for you.


  • Critcal Need: Creating video presentations for worship songs.
  • Critcal Need: Creating weekly video “announcement loops” for display before Sunday services (would include birthdays and anniversaries).
  • Critcal Need: Creating themed video presentations for holidays and special services.
  • Creating video Scipture and Responsive Reading ‘”slides” as needed by service requirements.
  • Creating graphics, logos, or other copy as needed.
  • Develop new ways to  use media within worship services., within the Church building, and for events.
  • Develop new ways to use media on Rosedale’s website.


  • Critcal Need: Running video presentation software and related video equipment during Sunday Morning Worship and other activities.
  • Running sound board and related audio equipment during Sunday Morning Worship and other activities.
  • Photography of people, Church building, and events.
  • Videography and interview of people and events.
  • Administration of Rosedale’s website’s media content: video, pictures, and sound.

Now don’t fool yourself into thinking you have to be an artist, graphic designer, or computer tech to help in these areas (though those things certainly won’t hurt)! The Media Ministry Team will work together to best utilize our God-given gifts for His glory in creative and technical ways! If you feel God has given you a gift related to anything creative or technical in a presentation environment, then the Worship Media Ministry Team just may be for you! See Josh for details or to sign up!


A Thank-You or Three

Oct 19, 2011   //   by Joshua March   //   Worship  //  No Comments

You may have noticed that I wasn’t at the keyboard this past Sunday and was singing instead (I assure you that this was not some kind of silent demonstration to coincide with all the protests that 2011 has seen!). This may happen throughout the next few weeks and months as more of my time is required to care for my mother’s health. 

Therefore, I just wanted to say a big thank you to Mr. Marty for stepping up and taking care of 100% of all of the worship planning and preparation himself this week. Marty has done this countless times before over the years it means an extra something special this time around for certain.

Marty, I heard from more than one person that the music meant a lot to them this week and that it helped them to feel the Lord’s presence, so it’s obvious that the Lord was working through you. It sure gives me peace to know that as useful as I might be at times, you can get along just fine without me!

Also a big thanks to everyone who has been praying for my mother, me, and my family. She’s had some really good days lately and we really can’t attribute them to anything other than your prayers. So, please, keep up the great work! : )

Thanks again to everyone!


Pre-Praise Devotional, 09/25/11

Sep 26, 2011   //   by Joshua March   //   Worship  //  1 Comment

Each Sunday morning, our Worship Team spends some time in devotions and prayer after preparing for the morning’s worship service. As we are able, we will share our devotional material with you. The below is from this past Sunday:


I’d like to begin by sharing with you part of an article that I read this week from USA Today ( The emphasis in bold is my own:

HONG KONG – Apple Inc. opened its long-awaited first store in Hong Kong on Saturday, with thousands of fans of the computer and gadget maker pouring in on the first day.

The store is located on two floors linked by a glass spiral staircase in Hong Kong’s upscale International Financial Center Mall, in the city’s central business district.

The Cupertino, California-based company’s products are wildly popular in mainland China. The Hong Kong store follows the opening of a third Shanghai store on Friday as the company boosts its presence in a key market. It also has two stores in Beijing.

I’ve always wanted to participate in this kind of event, to enjoy the atmosphere. It’s cool,” said 17-year-old Liu Jia-rong, a high school student from Shenzhen, across the border from Hong Kong in mainland China. Liu said he had been waiting for the day that an Apple store would open near his home. He was one of the first to enter the store after joining the line at about 4 p.m. Friday.

The first person in line arrived sometime on Thursday evening, according to security guards.

Store staff handed out free T-shirts to the first 5,000 people in line, which snaked out the mall and over a long footbridge to nearby ferry piers. Some 300 people have been hired to staff the store, one of 30 that the company plans to open in the current quarter.

I don’t want to buy anything, I actually have everything already. I just want to feel the experience,” said Henry Men Youngfan, a 27-year-old doctoral student who owns an iPhone, a Macbook Pro, an iPod Shuffle and an iPad. He traveled from his home in Beijing for the event, the fourth opening of an Apple store he has attended.

It’s easy to chuckle a bit as you read the above article. As innovative as Apple products are and as die-hard as some of thier fans can be, most of us wouldn’t even consider waiting in line for 2 days just to be one of the first to walk into a store (at least Black Friday campers are waiting for a deal, right?), nor can I fathom travelling 1,500 miles to attend (the distance that Henry from the article travelled between his home in Beijing and the store in Hong Kong).

Allow me to share with you from Exodus 20:1-6.

And God spoke all these words:

“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.

“You shall have no other gods before me.

“You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.”

Now, when reading this article and this scripture back to back, yes, it seems all too easy to judge these young Chinese for their excitement over the opening of a store in their area as they chase after things as if the high-tech objects were life-sustaining. However, I would advise caution here. While some might be chasing after the latest techological gadget, we are all chasing something, devoting a disproportionate amount of our energy, time, and resources to it. Perhaps we’re chasing money or a career; perhaps it’s a relationship or another person; maybe we’re after fame or recognition; it could be that we spend our energy on a sports team, a TV show, a computer game, or a hobby.

While these things and activities aren’t bad in and of themselves, if they receive our worship, then they are sin to us. We are made to worship; we will worship something. While there are many things in this world that all vie for our time and attention, many of which are deserving of a portion, there is only One who is deserves our worship, and that is Christ Jesus, our Lord. The Word of the Lord promises us that Jesus will never break, go out of warranty, or become obsolete when the next version is released. The love of Jesus never goes out of style, gets out-dated, or needs an upgrade. Jesus endures forever.

What if we had the same attitude about the Lord as we sometimes have about the things we chase? What if we had that above attitude of “I’m not coming because I want something; I just want to feel the experience” when coming into the presence of the Lord?

So my challenge to each of you this week is to take a step back and evaluate where your time, energy, and resources are being spent. And if the Lord isn’t getting the largest portion of it, I would invite you to spend some time in prayer and ask Him to help you reprioritize. Often times, it can feel as if there just isn’t enough of us, or time, or money, or energy to cover all areas of our lives, but allow me to leave you with Matthew 6:25-33.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?

“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

There is a God-shaped hole within each  of us and we can try to fill it with things, distractions, and other people. And while this might help us to feel a little less empty for a time, only God can truly fill the void and make us whole. We will worship something. Let us seek the Lord first and He’ll take care of  ‘all these things’.




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