Let Us Adore!
“Let us adore the ever-living God and render praise unto Him!” Our voices ring from the cloud-covered mountaintop as we sing the iconic LIFT song, “Let Us Adore.” This is our third day at El Refugio, the camp ministry where we are helping with daily work projects. My lungs are still screaming from the steep incline of this morning’s “perimeter hike”, but this view—the sun peeping over the horizon, the clouds streaming along distant mountain ranges, Ecuador’s lush jungles stretched out before us—makes the hike more than worth it.
For me, this view provided a vivid glimpse of the glory of the Christian God. After all, if creation awes us so deeply, then what of the Creator? Indeed, I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say that this entire missions trip revolves around God’s glory—the exaltation of His name and character.
In these first few days at El Refugio, I have already witnessed the Lord’s beauty in many ways. One example is my work project, which involves clearing heavily overgrown trails using hoes and machetes. The Ecuadorean jungle points to an awesome Creator—from the intricacy of a bring pink flower to the majesty of the thundering rain. Besides hacking through the many species of plants, bushes and trees, I’ve also learned to focus on God’s glory through a devotional packet given to us by the El Refugio staff. The packet’s theme focuses on people as the “clay” and God as the “Potter,” reminding us that He created us for a specific purpose, namely to glorify Him in all that we do. As 1 Corinthians 10:31 says, “And whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all to the glory of God.”
Delighting in God’s glory involves so much more than just personal learning; it also means proclaiming His excellencies to those have not yet heard. As our LIFT team eventually heads to El Chaco (on Friday) and then to Oyacachi (next Wednesday), our focus will be on exalting Christ as we share our messages and testimonies, as we dance, act out dramas, and lead worship in church, and even as we play soccer and group games with the youth. The Apostle Paul said it best: “But far be it from me to boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me and I to the world.” Indeed, what power do we have apart from the cross of Christ? If we share a message other than this, our efforts will be futile. But if we proclaim only Christ and Him crucified, I am confident that the word of God will not return void. I love how one of my LIFT friends, Noah Henkel, prays: “Lord, hide your servant behind the cross of Christ so that only He may be glorified.” This is also our prayer as we head to El Chaco this weekend.
Before El Chaco, however, we still have another full day here at El Refugio. Yesterday morning, after the perimeter hike, we gathered in a semicircle in the dining hall. Sunlight filtered through the large rectangular windows, and the smell of baked oatmeal wafted from the kitchen. We opened our Bibles to Isaiah 40, where the prophet describes the majesty of God: “To whom then will you compare me, that I should be like him?” says the Holy One. Lift up your eyes on high and see: who created these? He who brings out their host by number, calling them all by name; by the greatness of his might and because he is strong in power, not one is missing” (Isaiah 40:26).
As we read this passage, I realized that we so often try compartmentalize God in an attempt to reduce Him to our level. We get so lost in our postmodern world that we forget how great He is: He roars and the mountains quake (literally – we had three small earthquake tremors shake our beds around 11 pm last night); He knows every star by name and every hair on our heads; and, perhaps most miraculous of all, as He speaks, dead hearts come alive.
I believe that this is the essence of why we are here in Ecuador: both to deeply experience His glory in our own lives and to declare His glory to others. But I know that both of these lessons need to remain with us as we eventually return to the U.S. Whether we are in an Ecuadoran jungle or an urban, American one, we need to live solely for Him, because it’s not about us—it never was. Life is too short to be lived half-heartedly, twiddling our thumbs, while millions continue to perish without knowing Him.
God, give us a passion for your Name until your glory fills the earth as water covers the sea. Make us radical for you! So then, let us choose today to die to ourselves. Let us seek until we find. Let us surrender. Let us worship. And above all, let us adore.
Pray for us that God may open the door for our message and that we may proclaim it clearly as we should. (Colossians 4: 3 & 4)
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