Sunday, September 22, 2013

A Hope Beyond Measure!

Steve Yamaguchi, Los Ranchos Presbytery
Thursday, invited by our presbytery pastor to help him lead the worship at the Presbytery Gathering as liturgist, I had a fantastic worship experience. I LOVE to worship God - lead people in prayer - and I will be honest and admit that I am mesmerized by the diversity of his creation,  feeling at home and sensing him in every kind of music and worship style, traditional, contemporary, eclectic, ethnic, alternative, you name it! As I've written elsewhere on God's Immanence, spiritual patriotism, and the tie that binds, worship with his people never fails to point me to our true home and the reality of his power and presence in our world. But I will also admit that I was a little intimidated by the thought of leading so many elders and saints. One of my best friends, a pastor's kid (I hadn't told her about my day), happened to text me just before we were to start and I got to spend some time in preparatory prayer! I felt the Holy Spirit's presence on many counts, then, not least of which was Steve's teaching based on Philippians 2: 1-11. Crazy Imagination: An Investment in Hope is all about surrender that becomes a win, using an intimate and moving illustration of Steve's "ojiisan." I love how the Holy Spirit is working through Steve to lead Jesus' followers faithfully. In just my own case, I already knew that the next book I would be writing was going to be on joy, based on Philippians, but this just cinched the deal, if one can use such prosaic terms when speaking of our awesome God! More about this later. For now, let's get back to Steve's modern day illustration of discernment as crazy imagination, the mind of Christ, and the values of the Kingdom.

Here is the video of Steve, embedded below, 16:45 mins in length and I promise, you will not regret starting, closing or spending any time of your day watching it. Two quotes popped into  my mind as Steve came to a close and they are: "Oh what a hope beyond measure" (poem); "in your light is our light." (Psalm 36: 9). I pray Steve's teaching will inspire us to discern and imitate God's crazy, wild imagination, and invest in hope, in all the people, places, things, and circumstances, of our lives. May His kingdom come!

Godsend, the band from Canyon Hills Presbyterian were the music worship leaders who led us in a couple of well-loved songs from the heart: Blessed be the Name of the Lord (opening) and closing us with Wonderful, Merciful Counselor. "Here in our weakness you find us, falling before your Throne. You are the One that we praise, You are the one that we adore, You give the healing and the grace, Our hearts always hunger for more."  (the video below has Kari Jobe singing Counselor and Godsend on Blessed).

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