Serving our Generation

I am going to spend some time on a verse, more specifically a particular phrase.

36 “For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell asleep, was buried with his fathers, and saw corruption; Acts 13:36 (NKJV)

The phrase I want to focus on is, ‘served his own generation.’ Each of us live in a time period where we can offer service. There is an old expression, ‘The opportunity of a lifetime must be seized within the lifetime of the opportunity.’ David did just that. In looking at his life and history we know he came from obscurity to become king and he ruled the nation with wisdom. While he had his failings, as all of us do, he has this testimony in scripture, that he was a man after God’s own heart.

14 But now your kingdom shall not continue. The Lord has sought for Himself a man after His own heart, and the Lord has commanded him to be commander over His people, because you have not kept what the Lord commanded you.” 1 Samuel 13:14 (NKJV)

22 And when He had removed him, He raised up for them David as king, to whom also He gave testimony and said, ‘I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do all My will. Acts 13:22 (NKJV)

The interesting part is that Samuel told Saul that the Lord was replacing him with a man after His own heart while not knowing who he was to anoint as the new king. If we read the account in 1 Samuel 16 we discover that Samuel was not at that point looking the way the Lord was looking as he thought some of the other brothers would be the right one. The Lord had to tell him specifically to anoint David (1 Samuel 16:12). What we know from this is that David was described as a man after God’s own heart while still a shepherd and a youth.

Scripture does not include an explanation or commentary on what the phrase means. However, it is something we can deduce from his life. I believe a primary aspect was his heart for worship and the Lord’s presence and that it was from his heart of worship that he received the wisdom to be the warrior and administrator that built and extended the kingdom of Israel. This is because his first major act once he became king of the whole nation and captured Jerusalem was to bring the ark of the covenant to Jerusalem and set up continual worship before Yahweh’s presence (2 Samuel 6, 1 Chronicles 16). Whether by revelation, intuition or lifelong practice, David recognized the importance of worship.            

If we want to walk out our calling and serve our generation, I think the wisest investment we can make is to emulate David by becoming a passionate worshipper and in that pursuit listening for His wisdom as to our next steps.

Worship in Unexpected Places

I trust you found the title interesting. I was going to write on a different topic but felt that my recent writing on worship was not complete. While we probably expect to worship and encounter Jesus in a church service, worship event or prayer meeting, we can meet Him in other places as well.

A few days before beginning to write this I was sitting waiting at a pharmacy. While waiting I began to do what many of us do, I pulled put my phone, multipurpose device really, and began looking at things. I then felt a gentle prompting in my spirit to begin worshipping, so that is what I did. I put my phone away and I began quietly singing a worship song, and His presence came. I was having an intimate encounter with Jesus while others around me were busy shopping.

In the past I have referenced how the outdoors, particularly the mountains, draw my heart to worship. A busy store or mall is not where I would go to be inspired to worship. Yet worship is more connected to the one we worship than it is to any particular location. While a pharmacy waiting area is not all that inspiring, He is. I can encounter Jesus because of my circumstances or I can encounter Jesus in spite of my circumstances (think of Paul and Silas in prison in Acts 16). The important factor is that I can encounter Jesus.  

I have had the experience of being drawn to quietly worship in tongues while grocery shopping, an encounter with Jesus. I am retired now, but when I was working fulltime, on occasions in a meeting, sometimes one I was chairing, I would be aware of my spirit encountering Him, no words, just worship while engaged in the meeting. At times while driving, alone or with others, my heart is simply drawn to worship. I believe this is reflective of something Paul wrote.

14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen. 2 Corinthians 13:14 (NKJV)

Paul added no qualifiers. He used this sentence as a blessing in closing off a disciplinary letter. He was highlighting that we can commune with Jesus anywhere, anytime. It is not a relationship that depends on circumstances. It is a relationship that is tied to heart posture. Through His grace we can know love and communion.

I see these times as little invitations, interruptions of a ‘normal’ routine if you will. Jesus issues a gentle invitation. If we respond to His prompting then we have a time of intimacy, an encounter of heaven touching earth once again. It isn’t a call to neglect or avoid whatever responsibilities we have. It is call to know Him in the midst of them and be strengthened in our spirit. 

I confess, I don’t experience this at all times in all places, nor do I expect this to be the case. I do however experience worship in unexpected places on a regular basis. I believe it is one of His many gifts to us and is available to all who desire to know and walk with Him. If this is not a familiar experience, I encourage you to cultivate a heart habit of regularly looking to Him at various times of the day. In my life I see this as the fruit of daily time in His word and developing a habit of setting my hearts gaze upon Him.  

Worship as a Prelude?

            The purpose of worship. I know the pattern in many churches is to use worship to prepare the worshippers to hear the message from the pulpit. Worship helps prepare our hearts to receive, and in general I think we get more from the message if our hearts have been engaged in worship. However, I think we also need to consider worship in and of itself not as a means to an end in terms of message preparation but because of the value it inherently holds. We see that in scripture.

1 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. 2 Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. 3 And one cried to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; The whole earth is full of His glory!” Isaiah 6:1–3 (NKJV)

8 The four living creatures, each having six wings, were full of eyes around and within. And they do not rest day or night, saying: “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come!” 9 Whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, who lives forever and ever, 10 the twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying: 11 “You are worthy, O Lord, To receive glory and honor and power; For You created all things, And by Your will they exist and were created.” Revelation 4:8–11 (NKJV)

 Worship is the pattern of heaven. The living creatures and elders are worshipping for one reason and one reason only. It is captured in one short phrase in Revelation 4:11 – ‘You are worthy, O Lord.’ Our calling to worship is not so that we can gain access to or receive something. Our calling to worship is to worship because He is worthy! David, the man after God’s heart put it this way.

4 One thing I have desired of the Lord, That will I seek: That I may dwell in the house of the Lord All the days of my life, To behold the beauty of the Lord, And to inquire in His temple. Psalm 27:4 (NKJV)

David captured the heart of heaven.

            Scripture from Genesis to Revelation informs us that we were created for communion, worship and fellowship. In essence the whole of scripture is about what Milton titled his famous works, Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained. The human journey began with fellowship with Yahweh in a garden fed by a river and it will end with the redeemed before His throne in worship in a garden with living water flowing from the throne. The river of the water of life.  

            Worship can prepare us to receive and worship can change our heart and perspective. Most importantly, worship can draw us into an intimate encounter with the one who is worthy. If we engage in worship from this perspective, I think we will find that worship can fuel our life. Let us worship the one who is worthy and be changed in the presence of a holy God. Let us worship and commune with His heart in the process.   

14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen. 2 Corinthians 13:14 (NKJV)

NOTE: I recently completed writing a book. It is in the final formatting process and I intend to post it on Amazon as a Kindle book. Below is the cover, table of contents and first few pages. I will post the link when it is available.


I think what is often missed in discussing freedom is the distinction between ‘freedom to’ and ‘freedom from.’ I may be free to engage in illegal activities, I am not free from the physical consequences if caught and in God’s economy I am never free from the moral consequences. A further example, I am free to jump off a very high cliff, I am not free from the sudden stop at the bottom, unless of course I have a parachute, glider or squirrel suit! Any of these additions enhance my freedom to overcome my freedom from.

Romans 8 encapsulates how Jesus provides freedom from when we exercise our freedom to embrace the gospel.

1 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, 4 that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. Romans 8:1–4 (NKJV)

The law of the Spirit of life in Jesus provides freedom from the penalty of the law, I overcome the law of sin and death when I walk according to the Spirit. Given the freedom to that is found in following the Spirit let us turn to prayer and apply the concept.  

I don’t know about you, I do know about me, I don’t always find prayer a delight, in fact often it can be difficult. I know that I always have freedom to pray. I also know that I am not free from the things that hinder prayer, things that include distractions, time pressures or just a feeling of trying to slog through spiritual mud. The reality is that prayer works, which is why it is so opposed in the spiritual realm. This leads to a question of how we incorporate freedom from into our prayer lives, something that would provide the ability to overcome the hinderances in our freedom to. 

            To go back to my analogy of needing a parachute or something similar as freedom from the restrictions of gravity, in prayer my freedom from is anchored in a verse He spoke to me over 30 years ago. I have never forgotten it.

13 A fire shall always be burning on the altar; it shall never go out. (Leviticus 6:13 NKJV)

The original version of the NKJV said, “There shall be a perpetual fire on the altar; It shall never go out.” What stood out for me all those years ago was the phrase “perpetual fire.”

            A fire needs fuel, without fire the sacrifice would simply lay on the altar and without fuel a fire cannot be sustained. In my experience I find that worship is the fuel that feeds the fire of intercession. Whether worshipping in a corporate setting or hiking in the mountains and quietly worshipping as I walk, I find prayer rising up from my spirit. There are other occasions in any given day that I am drawn to pray for someone or something but the regular fuel is worship. When I choose to worship intercession is released. The next time you find prayer a challenge try adding some fuel to your fire. Engage in worship, become from restrictions and let the incense ascend.  

            Here is a good song to kickstart the process. Jason Upton, Freedom Reigns