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’.


1 Comment

  • Josh, I look forward to reading and/or at times listening to your devotional. This was a great remember of putting priorities right and maintaining a worshipful heart.
    Great Job!


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