hope of glory“Glory” for most of us is a religious, stained-glass window word that has no real place in our daily lives. But understanding what it is, and what it means for us, can give us a higher purpose for living and a deeper well of joy as we center our lives on Christ.

In this audio podcast, Mike O’Quin interviews Steve Hawthorne into his decades of study into the themes of God’s glory. Steve is the director of WayMakers, a mobilization ministry focused on seeing Christ glorified by obedient, worshiping movements in every people group. He is also the co-founder of the popular Perspectives course, and the author of an article in that reader, The Story of His Glory, soon to come out in book form.

Click below to listen to this conversation, or search for “Faith Activators” in the iTunes store to subscribe to this podcast.

Glorious Whoa

I’m attending some meetings in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia this week and while here I had a chance to visit K.L.’s most famous landmark, the gloriously tall Petronas Towers.

It brought back a memory from a few years ago when on the way to an international conference, our family and some teammates had 20 hours of transit time in this diverse city of Indian, Malaysian and Chinese cultures. We had just enough time to catch some sleep at a hotel near the airport, go into town for a meal, and get back to the airport in time to catch our flight.

The meal part excited me the most, because it was going to be a Tex-Mex meal, something that Texans living in Southeast Asia long for with all their Lone Star hearts. It had been at least two years since we had set foot inside a Mexican restaurant, and right smack dab in the middle of this sprawling Asian Metropolis rests an oasis of chips, salsa and fajitas: Chili’s Restaurant.

We were willing to splurge for the heavy taxi fare to get into town from the far-away airport and feeling pretty giddy en route. Ahead in the night light we could make out the city lights of K.L., and rising above them stood the gleaming Petronas Towers, which used to be the largest man-made structure in the world. The Chili’s is located in a large mall under those gargantuan sentries, which shone as a lighthouse of hope for our empty bellies that evening.

Before we entered the mall, my small children and I gaped at the Petronas Towers mega structure from the outside. They dominate the skyline at 1,483 feet, 88 stories of sheer bright height. I had seen pictures of these famous towers, of course, but standing next to these impossibly tall buildings took my breath away. I was stunned. I just couldn’t imagine anything man-made being so very…tall.   Tall is a pathetic understatement. Bathed in bright light, these towers looked to reach all the way to heaven, like some kind of angelic Jacob’s ladder.

I invited my kids to lie down at the plaza in front of the towers and to look up and marvel with me. My embarrassed teammates with us that evening ducked out of sight under a portico as Malaysians walking through the plaza glanced at the strange family on the ground gawking unashamedly at their iconic emblem.

As I gazed upwards, something in my spirit stirred and I just had to shout out. I spontaneously lifted my hands and exclaimed loudly, “I glorify you, Petronas Towers!”

“Daaaaad,” my children on both sides of me whined their protest, as if I just uttered some Christian blasphemy in this conservative M*slm nation.

I said it again, louder, to make my point. “I GLORIFY YOU PETRONAS TOWERS!”

They protested again. “You can’t say that!” my daughter demanded, defending her 8-year-old theology.

Was my utterance that evening unabashed idol worship or something wholly and Biblically correct?

The sense of glory is experiencing something so amazing and humility-producing that you gape open your mouth and utter, “Whoa.” Then the only natural response is to turn to the guy next to you and say, “Do you see this? … Whoa.”

A New Testament dictionary, a little bit antiseptically, defines glory as “always a good opinion concerning one, resulting in praise, honor and glory.” Maybe when you hear the word glory you think of something stale and religious, stained glass window other-worldly chubby angelic kind of stuff. But true glory is worth getting excited about from the deepest place of you heart.

The Petronas Towers took my breath away that night, making me even forget my longing for fajitas (temporarily). After I caught my breath again, I had to exclaim my “good opinion” regarding it to the people next to me. I felt compelled to glorify those shiny beacons of light. I explained the theological semantics to the kids and they seemed to feel a little better. After that wonderful yet awkward experience we woofed down a lot of chips and salsa and my kids delighted in free Coke refills (something unheard of in Asia). A truly glorious evening.

When Jesus takes your breath away, when you really experience Him, like in those moments in worship when you are carried away to the very courts of heaven, something deep inside you wants to scream out: This one is worth knowing! I would gladly lay my life down for this King! Jesus you are everything to me!

Look up to heaven today, past the tallest man-made tower you could ever imagine. Connect with Jesus at a deep heart level, enough for Him to take your breath away.   His Glory will call out to yours.