14 September 2010

I Don't Know Allen Iverson, but I Do Know THE REAL ANSWER!!

I grew up in an untra-conservative church.  Hymns were the norm.  I remember we sang a Gaither song on a Sunday night, and 3 families left the church over the radical, pagan, devil-music we were playing.  I was 13 or so.  I didn't care.

Needless to say, there was no way anyone in our church would DARE raise hands in praise.  That was for those crazzzzy Pentecostals!!!

I raise my hands now.  Am not ashamed.  I don't do it for show, and I don't care what anyone thinks.  And I don't do the "lift them to my shoulder height" stuff.  I mean, I go big!  I am committed.  Arms fully extended toward the sky!  I do not get cheated in this department!  Whether the guy behind me can see the screens or not...that's his problem!

So why do I do this?

At our church, Centerpoint Fellowship, we recently had a night of praise where the couple that lead us in worship, Tommy and Shelley Green, showed us several places in scripture (mainly Psalms) where the English word "praise" actually had several different meanings in the Hebrew.  One of these simply meant to lift hands in praise.  Like at a sporting event, or after a great test score, or almost any celebration, a person throws up their hands and says "YES!!!"  that is how scripture put it.

For me, I am not 100% sure if the "YES!!!" celebratory motion is why I lift my hands. 

One time we were in our former church (not the ultra-conservative IndyFundy) singing, and I was raising my hands... Our niece, who does go to a more conservative church, asked me later why I was raising my hands.  I was trying to be a smart alec and said "Because I know the answer!" 

Then it hit me.

I do, indeed, raise my hands because I know The Answer!!!

And I am not talking about Allen Iverson.  (for those who aren't into sports, that is his nickname)

When we arrived at church Sunday, I had BB and Peach all to myself.  I got Peach out first, because she rides on my side of the van...then I went around and unloaded BB.  While scurrying around, trying to bet cups and the right bags, Bibles, etc. out of the car, and making sure Thomas the Train stayed in, I lost sight of Peach. 

She had worked her way to the curb and was trying to get up on the sidewalk, but she was too small.  BB was fine, and at this point had run to the front of where we meet and was playing in the bushes screaming some sort of gibberish that I quickly ignored.  So he was safe....don't think I am a terrible father...just not a great one!

So I went to where Peach was, and just stood there saying "You can do it!"  She tried so many ways to get those little squatty legs to lift herself up, but she couldn't.  She was being hindered by her dress, and her shoes, and gravity itself.

Finally, she realized that she wasn't gonna get it done on her own, so she looked up at me, threw up both arms, and said "Daddy."

This past Sunday morning, thanks to my beautiful blue-eyed daughter and a curb that was just a little too high, I figured it out.

I raise my hands to my Heavenly Daddy because I know He will help me out. 

I am entangled by my own issues and problems that I have tried on my own to get out of... 

I realize my desperate situation and that I MUST HAVE HIM...

I need Him to lift me up.

On my own, I will never make it.

I need Him.


  1. I followed the link from your post on TCONP, and I'm so glad I did. I love blogs that make me think.

    It seems to me that we raise our hands for all of those reasons--in excitement, in praise, in submission, in dependence. It just depends on the moment.

  2. While I don't raise my hands in my current church [usually b/c I'm not in there or I'm running the screen computer], I have done so in the past and have found it to be liberating and a great part of heartfelt worship. I agree that it communicates our desperate need for God, our surrender to His Lordship, and it may even be used as a celebration "YES!" as that other person suggested. Oh and if this even matters, the Bible supports it too.

    Btw, I actually did know about AI's nickname, and I really liked your church's website. Did Pastor Schmidt used to work at another church in town? He looks familiar.

    On the blog itself, I really liked the subject and how you dealt with it. The title and AI rabbit trail were a bit misleading and a little ADD, but might have served as a hook for some. I really loved your story about Peach; it tied the story together so well. Even the GVB tidbit at the beginning helped color up the story. Both stories made the blog come alive rather than a straight treatment of the subject. Story telling is one of your strengths. Capitalize on it, but don't overuse it either. I'm sure your blog will be read by millions one day, so I just want to give you some constructive advice early on.

  3. Joe...Our Pastor was the Contemporay Pastor at the LARGE Methodist Church across town that has their own TV station...so I am sure you saw him. He was only on 10 or so hours a week, on a loop it seemed like!

  4. Our church is pretty open to either way, though I find it sad that many are too self-conscious to raise their hands during worship, or do pretty much anything. Wouldn't it be wonderful if we stopped worrying about what others thought of our actions, and started to think more of on what God wants us to do?