“Moses took the bones of Joseph with him because Joseph had made the sons of Israel swear an oath. He had said, “God will surely come to your aid, and then you must carry my bones up with you from this place.” - Exodus 13:19
I own a very old Martin D-28 acoustic guitar. It’s beat up. It has cracks from airport baggage mis-handlers. It has the imprint of a crashing Shure SM58 microphone on the top. The neck is somewhat twisted and the action would challenge even Arnold Schwartzenager. But it’s mine and every dent, scratch, split and twist carries a ministry story behind it. But it’s more than the ministry stories; it’s a reminder of the Christian heritage I’m blessed with. I will never sell it. Some day it will pass to one of my children.
At this point, the keyboard players may be thinking, “It’s just a guitar. What’s the big deal about something that’s always going out of tune?”
Well, there’s quite a story behind this out of tune piece of wood.
My father was a pastor. When I was seven, our family was in a terrible car accident as we returned from Bible camp. My father was thrown from the car and brutally killed. My mother was left with three young children, a fourth on the way and very little money to meet our needs. But what she was left with was tremendous faith in a powerful God.
|Arlen & His Father|
My father had a small insurance policy that provided a few hundreds dollars for each child. When the money was released to me as a young adult, I had an important decision to make. What would I buy with this money from my father? I wanted to buy something that would remind me of my father as I continued the ministry that was cut off at his prime. By now, you’ve guessed the rest of the story. That’s how I was able to purchase this beautiful old Martin.
For over 3 decades, wherever I ministered with this guitar I would be reminded of God’s faithfulness. I would remember how he provided for my mother in miraculous ways. I would be reminded about my father’s passion for God and my challenge to continue to share his words of hope.
In the scramble to be “contemporary” we must not forget the lessons of the past. Our lessons from the past remind us that God has been with us before and He will certainly be with us again.
Our reading today refers to that. Over 400 years before the Exodus, Joseph had his family pledge that they would carry his bones back to his homeland when they left Egypt. Did you read that? Four hundred years! That’s over three and a half million hours of caring for a pile of old bones.
Did Joseph really need his bones carried out of Egypt? I don’t think so. So what was the purpose?
These bones were a reminder for generations living in Egypt that they had made a pledge to God and that He had made a pledge to them as well. Once they left Egypt carrying these bones they were reminded that God had fulfilled His promise to them, even 400 years later. As they trampled through the desert those old dry bones helped to remind them that God would be with them as they faced the challenges to come.
How has God shown His faithfulness to you in your worship ministry? Have you remembered His faithfulness lately? How has God shown His faithfulness in your past?
· Did you once need a bass player and God brought one to you?
· Was a member of your praise team struggling in a relationship and God brought healing?
· Have you won the fight to have drums in church?
· Did God come through for you with an upgraded sound system?
As I travel the world I hear worship teams share countless stories of God’s faithfulness. But I also meet many teams who have forgotten God’s blessings. There is a danger of forgetting God’s faithfulness in our scramble to find the “hot new thing.” We can also forget in the midst of our struggles.
God knew that His people could easily forget His promises and decrees. He formed us and He knows that we’re made of dust. That’s why He stated, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.” - Deuteronomy 6:4-9
Do you have physical reminders of your spiritual heritage? Whether it’s 400-year-old bones, candles, stained glass or chalices, the church has used physical reminders of God’s faithfulness for thousands of years. These symbols weren’t just to beautify sanctuaries. They were to help us remember and to build our faith.
Can you look around your church and see physical reminders? Perhaps you see it in the eyes of your team members. Why don’t you take a few minutes now to recount some of the ways God has proven His faithfulness in the past? From now on, every time you start to lead worship perhaps you’ll be reminded of the trustworthiness of God as you see a physical representation of His faithfulness.
What are the old Martin guitars in your worship ministry? Never forget your past as you move towards your future.
Break Forth Ministries is excited to announce the Break Forth Artist Competition. This is the world's newest Christian artist competition. Prizes are worth thousands and you have the opportunity to share the stage with Amy Grant, Peter Furler, Phil Wickham and more. Check out more information. Click here or click the image below: