Unconditional Love Deserves Unconditional Worship
This website is read predominantly by believers; we are children of God, we know Jesus as our Savior and we repent of our copious sins. God loves us unconditionally.
If you had an abortion somewhere in your past; take heart, God forgives you and He loves you enough to have died for you.
If you are in jail for a heinous crime; take heart, God loves you and forgives your sins and removes them as far as the east is from the west.
God has boatloads of Amazon-sized unconditional love for you.
How do we acknowledge Him for this unconditional love, mercy, forgiveness and grace? Often, with conditional worship.
• I will only sing hymns, no contemporary music.
• I will only praise him with a rock band accompaniment.
• I will not worship in a church that has “coffee and couches.”
• I will not worship in a church that has a video screen.
• When our new hymnal committee asks for feedback, we say things like “Go back to the blue hymnal!”
If you can only worship with one book or one style of music; then your idea of worship is limited and shallow. We need to be able to worship God in all circumstances – even if your church loses power on Sunday morning, worship goes on!
That one horrible sin that haunts you…
That one nagging sin that you keep perpetuating…
Those hurtful words that you wish you could take back…
That email that you should never have sent…
Take heart, Jesus can fix you.
The struggles in your life…
Always being bullied…
Betrayed by a close friend…
All of the unjust persecution…
Jesus is fixing you.
That chronic pain that you are suffering…
That diagnosis that crushed you…
Jesus will fix you.
One day, He will put all of your broken pieces back together.
Jesus is the ultimate healer.
Though your sins are red as scarlet they will be made white as snow.
As far as the east is from the west.
Jesus can, He is, and He will always fix you.
You are a fixer upper.
But one who is loved.
For more devotional writings, see Steve’s book here Lifestyle Worship
“Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. “
I forgive you, do you forgive me? Those are healing words; for the giver and receiver.
In the spring of the the year 0,033 (plus or minus a year) a young, innocent, peace-loving man was brutally beaten, mocked, robbed, humiliated, whipped, insulted and ultimately murdered by a band of unbelieving, ruthless thugs, scoundrels, robbers and murders. Somehow between numerous thunderous blows to his head, he found the strength to mutter these words:
“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” – Jesus (Luke 23:34) … And He meant it. Deep within His hurting heart, He meant it.
That, right there, is our shining example.
M: We should not have a vengeful heart. For God says:
C: Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. – Romans 12:19
M: We should never repay with evil. For God says:
C: Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. – Romans 12:17
M: We should want God’s blessings for those who do wrong to us. For God says:
C: Bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. – Luke 6:28
M: We should not rejoice when calamities fall on those who do wrong to us. For God says:
C: Do not gloat when your enemy falls; when they stumble, do not let your heart rejoice – Proverbs 24:17
M: We should not hate those who do wrong against us. For God says:
C: But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you – Matthew 5:44
M: We should seek reconciliation. For God says:
C: If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. – Romans 12:18
M: We should never treat those who have done wrong to us poorly. For God says:
C: If you come across your enemy’s ox or donkey wandering off, be sure to return it. If you see the donkey of someone who hates you fallen down under its load, do not leave it there; be sure you help them with it. – Exodus 23:4-5
Here is forgiveness: when you feel that someone is your enemy or when you simply feel that you or someone you care about has been wronged, forgiveness means:
not returning evil for evil
wishing them well
grieving at their calamities
praying for their welfare
seeking reconciliation so far as it depends on you
and coming to their aid in distress.
All these point to a forgiving heart. And the heart is all important. Read Matthew 18:21-35 if you don’t believe me and ruminate on that last verse for awhile.
“To forgive, is to give up your right to be angry.” – Pastor Timothy Ehlers
Forgiveness of Sins for Easter
The following is a “Forgiveness of Sins” written for Easter, but also containing references for “Good Shepherd Sunday.” It is in a responsive format and is the result of a collaborative effort between Steve Brown (Worship Coordinator of Messiah Lutheran Church – South Windsor, CT and Pastor Michael Zarling – Epiphany Lutheran Church located in Racine, WI).
Minister: May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever.
C: Amen. (Hebrews 13:20-21)
M: I will place shepherds over them who will tend them, and they will no longer be afraid or terrified, nor will any be missing, declares the LORD. (Jeremiah 23:4)
C: I have strayed like a lost sheep. Seek your servant, for I have not forgotten your commands. (Psalm 119:176)
M: I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. I know my sheep and my sheep know me. (John 10:11, 14)
C: We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. (Isaiah 53:6)
Silence for confession for how we have strayed and wandered as God’s lambs and sheep.
M: He will stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God. And they will live securely, for then his greatness will reach to the ends of the earth. (Micah 5:4)
C: The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. (Psalm 23:1)
M: And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away. (1 Peter 5:4)
C: Then we your people, the sheep of your pasture, will praise you forever; from generation to generation we will recount your praise. (Psalm 79:13)
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version, Copyright© 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of International Bible Society