Every year at about this time, 4 things start to happen in me:
1. I quickly remember why I belong in Florida because my body starts shivering at any temperature below 65 degrees.
2. I become quite aware of my own room to grow in the area of thankfulness. I take Thanksgiving very seriously and usually spend the entire month really trying to build up to that day of celebration and gratitude.
3. I start planning to THROW DOWN on Black Friday.
4. I realize only number 2 has any real meaning. That's the reason I am writing this.
On November 1st I happened to see a tweet from Martha Munizzi about a twitter trend called #30DaysOfPraise. The basic idea is that people all over the world are tweeting about something they are grateful to God for each day of this month as part of Thanksgiving. These daily tweets are about anything from weather, food, and rest, to spouses, health, and miracles. When I saw it I simply thought, "I should do this." I often complain about how often people complain on social networks (ironic aren't I?) so I thought it'd be a nice change of pace. I also wanted to really push myself in the area of recognizing God's hand of blessing in my life. Pastor Jeff always says "What you become thankful for increases" and I really don't want to go through life overlooking what God has for me. Those were my reasons for getting into it, but today I realized the real reason. God wanted to show me something. I hope I can convey it to you!
Yesterday at City of Life Church's Kissimmee Campus, we sang a new COL original called "Let The Earth Declare." ( Let me just say, it's breathtaking. You're going to love it on the new COL album next year.) I was all up in the moment worshipping God and then we sang a lyric that exploded in my heart:
Let the lips of men and angels sing Your praise
Beautiful lyric yes, but there was so much more that my eyes opened to in that moment. I know it may sound elementary, but I had such revelation in thinking about our actual lips praising God. So much so that I couldn't help but touch my own mouth when singing that lyric. (Get your chuckles out, they're deserved, I admit it.) But the idea that these lips, my actual mouth, is an instrument of praise became so much more real to me in light of what I've been working on this month. It is one thing to say "God I praise you" but it is far another to say "I praise you for the life you've given me, for the grace you extend, for my wife, for my friends, for the food I enjoy!" It's in the simplicity of daily praise that breakthrough happens.
The point of #30DaysOfPraise is to reprogram ourselves to become people who are praising God with our lives. While that is an important and very big notion, it isn't an entirely new one. Many people in many churches have aspired to praise God with their lives. But what's unique about this daily act, and the revelation I received in service, is that it brings it into the practical realm. Praising God with your life won't happen if you don't start praising God with your lips. They're vitally connected. I can attest to the fact that there has been a change in me since I've focused on daily praising God and declaring His goodness. (side-note: God doesn't have a twitter account so I consider the tweeting more declaring His goodness. The praising is something you have to do from your heart, not just your tweetdeck:)
So I leave you with this, if you have any desire to be a worshipper, if you aspire to lead worship, if you want worship to be a more significant part of your life, it has to start somewhere. Verbally praising God changes you as much as it blesses Him. Before you try to get up on a stage and lead people in worship, before you write an album, before you start your day, you've got to master the foundational act of glorifying God with (as I would say at Neo) YO MOUF (aka your mouth). When I started tweeting #30DaysOfPraise a friend said, "I don't get it, isn't every day supposed to be a day of praise?" The answer is a resounding YES! This is a step toward making that happen. I hate to admit that as much as I have tried, not every day of my life has been one of praise. But using my mouth to glorify God each day moves me closer toward that mark.
Isn't it a pretty amazing notion that your lips, your mouth, your words, can be used to glorify God? I mean seriously, think about it! The same lips that so many people use to make that awful I-think-I'm-cute-but-I-look-like-a-puckering-fish face on facebook actually have the capacity to bless God!
gloss, glossed, gloss·ing, gloss·es
1. To give a bright shine or luster to.
You can use your lips to give a bright shine to God! The lip gloss I am asking you to try is the act of adding shine to God's fame using your lips to declare His praise! Despite what Lil Mama might say, that's the only lip gloss that is cool AND poppin'. (Hopefully by now you realize why I titled this as such. I'll leave all things make up to my lovely wife. I'll just stick with my very dude-ified chapped, dry, ashy lips, because again I can't function in the cold. I just wanted to present this idea in a way that made you think and I risked looking foolish to do so.)
Instead of talking about how tough things are, how upset you are, or how much more you need in life, why not use that mouth to add to His infinite brilliance? Perhaps your worship might make His light that much more visible to someone lost in darkness. I know when I witness a person who has every reason NOT to worship actually doing it, my faith is stirred. Maybe your worship isn't just going to bring your breakthrough, maybe it's bigger than that. Perhaps your praise is the very force that will cause others to turn to the God you're praising. If you make Him out to be THAT good, how could they resist?
If you want more info on #30DaysOfPraise check out the trend on twitter and follow me @justincmcneil to see my daily effort! You can also check out this video and be a part of it, it is NOT too late!
GETCHO PRAIZE AWN! (aka get your praise on)