Growth in Worship

Growth in Worship –
From the beginning, we were created to worship. The spirit within us yearns for something, someone bigger than we are. From the beginning God created women and men for community and called a people into covenant. Jesus called, commissioned, and promised to be present to a people gathered in His name. The Holy Spirit calls, gathers, orders, and empowers the new community of the covenant. To each member, that Spirit gives gifts for building up the body of Christ and for equipping it for the work of ministry. A Christians’ response to God is in community.
Directory For Worship: The Dynamics of Christian Worship – Chapter 1 – p.76

Growth in worship has nothing to do with how many people are gathered. True worship begins with a deep respect or reverence for God, a frame of heart, and attitude. Grady Scott writes that the Bible talks about several “kinds” of worship.
Ignorant Worship – Acts 17:23
1. “For as I was passing through and considering the objects of your worship, I (Paul) even found an altar with this inscription: TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Therefore, the One whom you worship without knowing, Him I proclaim to you;
2. Ignorant worship is not pleasing to God for he is not glorified by accident, but by a conscience praise of His name.
Do we enter worship in anticipation of wanting a closer relationship with God and those around us? Something as simple as Google worship might give you a jump start, a set of training wheels. We need to push ourselves beyond it is Sunday morning and this is where I go to do 59 holy divine minutes.
Vain Worship – Matthew 15:7-9
Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying: “These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. In vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men”
Many times, we find ourselves repeating words without really thinking about them. One definition of God that is used a lot this time of year is God in 3 persons blessed Trinity. Have you given that any real thought? Short of well of course, He is God!
In my confirmation instruction, there was one class we spent on trying to understand the Trinity. Father, Son and Holy Spirit all one. The Associate Pastor assigned to this task in desperation took a deep breath and explained it as follows: Your dad has a purpose and responsibility to you as someone who loves you, teaches you and had part in your creation. He is also your Grandpa’s son. As a son, he answers to his father, shows respect and continues his father’s instruction by relating to you. He is also your mother’s husband. As a husband, he completes their relationship and together they create, nurture and prepare you to go out into the world. Three purposes yet one person.

Perhaps you need another image. A few years back I led a book study. The book we read at one point was The Shack. In this book God is described as female and black. I did not struggle with this because I firmly believe as a human being here on earth I cannot possibly know what God looks like. One of the women in the study was moved to tears by the image because God the father was always a stumbling block for her. Her father had left the family when she was little and never had a loving relationship with him. Her mother however was a spiritual, loving presence in her life. She could relate to that. It comforted her to know God could be like the parent she had come to love. Her mother was a daughter to her grandmother, a mother to her and a wife to her father. The 3 in one made much more sense to her because someone defined God outside of the box we like to put him in.
Will Worship – Colossians 2:23
Worship that centers in satisfying self. This is the same type of worship that we often have today, that which calls for “audience centered” worship.
True Worship – John 4:23-24
“But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.

Remember my opening comment regarding Worship? From the beginning God created women and men for community and called a people into covenant. Jesus called, commissioned, and promised to be present to a people gathered in His name. The Holy Spirit calls, gathers, orders, and empowers the new community of the covenant. To each member, that Spirit gives gifts for building up the body of Christ and for equipping it for the work of ministry. Three purposes yet one person. Come Worship God with an open heart and mind. Come, now is the time to Worship as a community.

Kris Bartelt, Worship Coordinator

Chancel Choir – Adult

Chancel Choir – Adult choir
This year we are looking at making a few minor changes to our “performance” with adding songs with the congregation, preludes and postludes (all good things). You don’t have to read music or be a perfect singer – just want to have fun and be a part of an amazing group of people.

The Truth Will Set You Free – After it Makes You Miserable

Nehemiah 8:1-12

An important part of our relationship with God through the scriptures is that we are confronted and challenged by the scriptures. It is concerning that many manage to read the bible and find only what confirms their point of view. Worse yet are those who manage to filter their resources, studies, and friends so that they may be free from any confrontation to their previously held assumptions or beliefs. Because without these encounters which challenge our thinking, we cannot hope to grow in our faith.

This is the power of the scriptures, to challenge the way we see ourselves and to replace that point of view with God’s opinion of us. On the one hand God’s opinion is quite gratifying because let’s face it, God has made huge sacrifices to free us from our sins and to heal our lives. God loves us and cares more about us than we even care for ourselves. On the days in which we are feeling worthless and weak God speaks and says: “I have even kept track of the number of hairs on your head.” (Matthew 10:29-31) But at the same time God reminds us that we have failed to love our neighbors, that we are arrogant, greedy, and foolish. As we open our hearts to hear God speak to us through the scriptures we tend to see ourselves anew. And this becomes a source of growth in faith and wisdom.

When the people of Israel returned from bondage they had no knowledge of who they were. They knew of what had been before all of the destruction. And they knew themselves as slaves living in a foreign land. But they did not have any type of image of themselves as faithful people living in the land and fulfilling the purpose for which they were created. The reading of the scriptures with understanding gave them a picture of themselves, an understanding of their purpose for being. And that gave them a new start for shaping their lives. This resulted in tears and in a call for celebration. The tears were because as they formed this picture of who they were created to be, they felt overwhelmed by how far they had fallen. They struggled with how much they needed to rebuild, both in their city and in their own hearts. They were profoundly broken people.

But there was also a call to celebration. The celebration was to be a rejoicing for what God had accomplished in bringing them home. The celebration was to be shared with people who were less fortunate, because an important part of the identity wasn’t about who they were as individuals but who they would be as a people. They needed a party to acknowledge that God would not leave them in their present state, but would walk with them as they rebuilt their lives.

The gift of the Word of God to us is that it has the ability to give this same sense of our identity, our purpose as God created us. Our reason for reading and studying the bible is to grow in that image, to gain more understanding of what it is God wants to accomplish in and through us. And in that process we are sometimes caused to shed tears at how far we’ve fallen short. But it is also our source of great joy in what God can accomplish with us, and through us.
Pastor Jack

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