Well, we’ve arrived in Visakhapatnam, which I’ve learned is Visag (why-zag) for short.
The conference starts tomorrow, and Yesupadam, the leader of Love-N-Care is expecting around 200 pastors and worship leaders. Probably a little over half will know English to some degree. Fortunately, someone will be translating what I say into Telugu, the native language.
I stopped by a prayer meeting shortly after we arrived and got my first taste of Indian corporate worship with about 25 young men who are in a training school. I had no idea what they were singing but it was loud, it was enthusiastic, and it was accompanied by loud drums. I learned later that they have also translated a few English songs into Telugu.
You might be wondering how a 51 year old white guy from Maryland is going to connect with a group of Christian pastors in India. You know, I’ve had the same question. Only through the power of the Holy Spirit, working through His Word.
I plan to start tomorrow talking about What is Worship. It doesn’t matter what country we’re from, we need to understand what worship is from God’s perspective. From there I plan to talk about Why Do We Sing, What Do We Sing, and How Do We Sing. In the last message I hope to work out practical ways that these pastors, many from poor and remote rural areas, can use music to encourage their people in exalting God and to bring much glory to our Savior in their daily lives. Tha’ts the plan, anyway. I’ll let you know how it goes.
Another quote before I go. This is from The Cross He Bore, by Frederick S. Leahy, published by Banner of Truth Trust.
There is an error to avoid, the danger of seeing the loving obedience of Christ as primarily and exclusively for the sake of man, when, in fact, it was primarily out of love for God that he accepted the cross (Heb. 10:7). Dr. Geerhardus Vos stresses that our Lord’s Messiahship was "absolutely God-centered." "Jesus," says Vos, "accepted the cross out of a motive of love for God even more than, and before He accepted it because of His love for man…In dying, as in all else He did, He hallowed God’s name." This is a truth too often overlooked, and it in no way detracts from the wonder that Christ loves each one of his people with all of his love.
I’ve heard it said that Jesus died on the cross because he would "rather die than live without us," and that the cross shows how much we’re worth to God. While I can understand the motive behind these and similar thoughts (that the cross demonstrates God’s profound love for us, which it does), they tend to obscure where our focus should be. If thinking about the cross leads me to think more about myself, I’ve missed the point. Jesus died to uphold His Father’s justice and righteousness (Rom. 3:21-26). My sins alone required the death of the Son of God. The reason Jesus confidently endured the cross was not ultimately because of His love for US, but because of His love for His Father and His zeal to uphold His glory. The cross sets us free from constant self-love to passionately love the One Who created, sustains, and redeemed us.
May the cross of Christ amaze you, astound you, and continually awaken your soul to the infinite mercies of our great God.