Sunday, August 7, 2011


For the first time in my 37 years as a Christian, I raised my hands when we were singing during church this morning!  I've raised my hands before at home by myself, just not in public.

People have raised their hands in all the Baptist churches I've attended since leaving home after high school.  I've just sort of ignored it.  That was great for them, not for me.

Then, our in-your-face preacher, Matt, began to challenge us about a year ago to really be involved in the worship services...he wasn't specific though I know he wanted us to really praise God from the bottom of our hearts.  So, I did, looking just the same as always, and it was genuine.

As time passed I re-noticed some women I really respect and consider mentors and close friends, Clara, Valerie, Sonia, Amber, and others raising their hands as they sang, usually with their eyes closed, swaying slightly sometimes.  This time, instead of just noticing them, I wondered how they did it without worrying about the people around them seeing them.  My justification was, "I certainly don't want to distract people!  I don't want to draw attention to myself."

At the beginning of the summer, my sweet friend, Shelbi loaned me some books that I took to be light, mindless reading called the Yada Yada Prayer Group series.  The first one convicted me further.  

On page 49, After a verse or two of "Lift Him Up!" the cream-suited worship leader had stopped the musicians...and talked about a verse in Hebrews 13, about offering a "sacrifice of praise" to God. "Have you ever stopped to think what a sacrifice of praise is?" she'd asked... "If it comes easy, if it doesn't cost you's not a sacrifice!....Some of you other folks see women dancing and shouting and weeping, and you're thinking, uh-uh.  No way am I going to make a fool of myself."
     I squirmed a little.  Now she was stepping on my toes.
The worship leader stopped at the podium, leaned across it, and lowered her voice...
"I want you to close your eyes and start thinking about what Jesus has done for YOU.  Some of you were on drugs, your mind so muddled you had no idea what day it was, much less how many kids you had....some of you have thought of suicide...maybe even tried it, but God stopped you....And some of you thought you were pretty good.  You kept all the major commandments and managed to avoid the big mistakes.  But let me tell you--you were still going to hell until Jesus saved you!"

You HAVE to read the book to see what happens, but the book was speaking to me.  Maybe I am too worried about what people will think, or too ego-centric thinking they actually think anything!!

One thing about it, I hope practice will make perfect.  Twice I accidentally made contact with the elderly couple sitting in front of me.  I bonked the man in the head when I brought my hands down one time, and brushed up against the lady's hair one time on the way up.  The bit of hair stayed sticking up, but I didn't want to alarm her by smoothing it down.  Sorry, sweet lady, please be patient with this baby praiser.

Hopefully it will go a little more smoothly next time.


  1. Haha! I'm sure the little couple thought it was the Holy Spirit! I can't help thinking about Stephen when being martyred, in Acts 7:55 "But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God." When I look a fool to others when praising Him, He is pleased.
    I also imagine Heaven as a Gigantic worship service. I close my eyes to envision my Savior before the crowd. I raise my hand to prove to Him that I want to be counted!

  2. Awesome comment. I hadn't thought about Steven in a long time!