Posts Tagged With: worship

We Are What We Eat!

Have you ever immediately regretted the decision to upgrade your meal to a medium or, dare I say, a large?

Yeah, me too!

93FF5ECD77Courtesy of Stocksnap

My body feels the weight of the grease and the smell lingers on my clothes.  My “I want it hot and now” mentality gives way to genetically modified potatoes and something that resembles chicken…or beef…or maybe pork?

A truly sustaining meal, however, would require time, planning, and preparation.  It would require patience, discipline, and effort.   I would have to learn how to bake, grill, or “skillet” this meal.  I would have to invest time, precious time, into the art of cooking.

Time is precious so the first thing that is sacrificed is my health.  I would rather take the quick fix than the slow mend.

How often do we treat our worship of God the same way?  One hour on a Sunday becomes the spiritual gas station where we pump just enough gas to “get us through”.  Justification becomes the mantra of the week:  Life is just too crazy right now, the kids are asking too much of me, work demands all my time, etc…

How easy it is set scripture, devotions, prayer, and silent moments to the side when it comes to living the Christian life.  We get caught up in the things that we see and experience in our everyday lives that the unseen world of faith becomes more blurry by the second.

Recently a friend of mine was preaching on Jesus’ statement of being the Bread of Life and he put this quote on the screen: We are (spiritually) what we eat (spiritually).  Simple yet profound.

We are (spiritually) what we eat (spiritually).

Do we consume things in our lives that will cause us to feel overwhelmed, dirty, or even a little smelly?  Or are we consuming the Truth that lifts our burdens, cleans, and washes over our sin?

Worship takes time.  It takes intentionality.  One hour on a Sunday will not be enough to sustain you throughout the week.  Start small.  Start prayer with one minute a day.  Start reading one verse a day.  Listen to an audio bible in your car.  Download a devotional app.

Control your time and your schedule.  Give God a place in your life so your daily worship can flourish.  Why not upgrade your relationship with God to the next level?

What does your spiritual diet look like?  What are some things you consume to stay healthy?

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I’ll Be There in 15

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In the past two years I have noticed a strange and disconcerting pattern emerge.  I have noticed it in coffee shops, churches, businesses, movie theatres, and restaurants.  I have personally been effected by it and have known people whom it has offended.  It happens with scheduled meetings, it happens with dates, and it happens worst of all on Sunday mornings…

It is the phenomenon of lateness. 

It is not just the act of being late, but it is the act of being “culturally late”.  What does it mean to be culturally late?  Cultural lateness is looked at as the norm, it is shrugged off and explained away as being part of who the individuals are, and it goes undiagnosed for far too long.  This phenomenon is not excusable, it is a reflection on an individuals integrity.

I have found myself sitting alone and waiting on far too many occasions because someone has low integrity.  A text, call, email, or facebook message is not an acceptable way to shed the responsibility of honoring a commitment.  If your go-to response is to send a text before every scheduled meeting because you are running late you need to change your habits, set reminder alarms, leave earlier, and become a person of your word.  If you cannot honor your integrity you will loose trust, respect, and miss out on great opportunities.

Are You Allowing Culture to Influence Your Integrity?

It may not seem like it, but your integrity says more about you than you know.  Our actions often speak louder than words.  If you are constantly showing up late to meetings, events, appointments, and church services it is sending a message.  A message that communicates that you and your time are more important than your scheduled engagement.  We have all experienced the events of alarms not going off, kids refusing to cooperate, or a car that wouldn’t start.  But when those events become habitual the routine needs to change.

As Christians our words, actions, and habits are always on display.  Constant lateness and a refusal to strive for excellence in integrity can send negative messages about our beliefs.  We have been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb and given new life in Christ.  If we are not living to honor that sacrifice we have the potential to distract and repel non-believers from encountering the risen Lord.

Does Your Integrity Reflect Your Faith in Christ in a Positive or Negative Way?

If Not, What is One Way You Can Change Your Routine Today?

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Just Want to Say Thank You

In the third installment of our biblical framework construction, we will journey back into the New Testament and look at the attitude of gratefulness and what it means to be truly thankful in the biblical sense.  What does it look like to be thankful?  What images come to mind when we think about what we are thankful for?  Do we think of Thanksgiving and the time we spend with family?  Do we think about our friends and the influence they have on our lives?  Do we think about our jobs, hobbies, interests, teachers, pastors, churches…?  Do we think about God and what He has done for us through His son Christ Jesus?

As we begin to delve deeper into the attitude of gratefulness and explore what it means to express that feeling of thanks and gratitude in a biblical sense, we will begin to grasp the immensity of what is happening in the passage below.

“Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish.” (John 6:11, NIV Emphasis mine)

In the Gospel of John, Jesus is using the Greek word Eucharisteo to express His thanks for all that the Father has given.

Eucharisteo

The KJV New Testament Greek Lexicon

Strong’s Number:   2168

Definition:

  1. to be grateful, feel thankful
  2. give thanks

Christ directs His attention to God and gives thanks for the bountiful harvest they are about to enjoy.  He expresses His true gratitude and shows those who are present that God gives gracious gifts and has the power to transcend our human limitations.  Jesus thanks God for what He has given and what He has provided, and we are to do the same.  We are to be thankful for everything that God has gifted us with.

We are also to be thankful for all that God is.  He is the great I AM, He is the ruler over all creation and we are to be thankful that that responsibility is His and not our own.  We are to elevate Him to his Proper place and position in our lives.  In Revelation, I think that the vision that John has of the elders in heaven hits this attitude of ascribing thanks beautifully.

“The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said:

“The kingdom of the world has become
the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah,
and he will reign for ever and ever.”

And the twenty-four elders, who were seated on their thrones before God, fell on their faces and worshiped God, saying:

We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty,
the One who is and who was,
because you have taken your great power
and have begun to reign.” (Rev. 11:15-17, NIV Emphasis mine)

In our lives, we are called to give thanks for what God has given and for who God is.  We are to rejoice in the triumphs and good times that God has granted us with.  We are to rejoice in the trials so that we can be a witness and encouragement to others who suffer.  We are called to rejoice in the God of the universe because He alone(Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) is the ruler of all.

So the next time you begin to be thankful, will you only thanks those around you or will you first thank your God for all that he has done, is doing, and will do and for who He is in your life?

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Credit Where Credit is Do

As we continue to delve deeper into the depths of understanding biblical worship and ways in which it has been expressed, we must begin to recognize the fundamental need for praise.  A need that we have to give praise and adoration.  We all have a strong desire to praise something; whether that something is a spouse, celebrity, an article of clothing or something that surpasses even our own understanding.  As God’s creation, we are designed to praise, direct attention, and boast about the one who made us in His Image.

Our second word that we will be looking at will be the word Halal

Halal

The KJV Old Testament Hebrew Lexicon

Strong’s Number:   01984

Definition:

  1. to shine
    1. (Qal) to shine (fig. of God’s favour)
    2. (Hiphil) to flash forth light
  2. to praise, boast, be boastful
    1. (Qal)
      1. to be boastful
      2. boastful ones, boasters (participle)
    2. (Piel)
      1. to praise
      2. to boast, make a boast
    3. (Pual)
      1. to be praised, be made praiseworthy, be commended, be worthy of praise
    4. (Hithpael) to boast, glory, make one’s boast

It is first seen in Genesis 12:15

“And when Pharaoh’s officials saw her, they praised her to Pharaoh, and she was taken into his palace.” (Gen 12:15, NIV Emphasis mine)

This passage lets us see that Abram’s wife, Sarai, was praised to Pharoah and the officials “boasted” in her beauty.  The official’s were lifting her up before their ruler as someone worthy of their earthly praise.  The wording here suggests that she was set apart from the rest of the women in the region and there was something special about her appearance that made them stop, stare, and prepare to situate her before royalty.

This understanding of praise leads us to the Psalmist’s expressions of authority, dominion, love, and devotion before God in Psalm 150:1-6

“1 Praise the Lord.

Praise God in his sanctuary;
praise him in his mighty heavens.
Praise him for his acts of power;
 praise him for his surpassing greatness.
Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,
praise him with the harp and lyre,
praise him with timbrel and dancing,
praise him with the strings and pipe,
praise him with the clash of cymbals,
praise him with resounding cymbals.

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.

Praise the Lord.” (Psalm 150:1-6, NIV Emphasis mine)

In our natural state of ascribing worth and power to a certain person, place, or object we begin to state the position that is held.  In the case of Genesis, it is Sarai who is being upheld before men for her beauty and wonder.  In the case of the Psalm, it is God who is being upheld before men for His character, not His appearance.  The Lord desires our hearts, souls, minds, and our strength.  When we give all that we have to Him and then lift Him to His proper place in our lives, we begin to live the life He intended and begin to walk in the grace He gives.

The next time you begin to praise the Lord, will it be out of obligation?  Or will it be in recognition of what He has done, Is doing, and will do in the lives of His people and the story of His Redemption?

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Building a Biblical Framework

The last series discussed the basic principles of worship and presented that biblical worship is rooted in three primary categories:

Reception, Response, and Relationship.

Without the acknowledgment of the these three aspects there will be a disconnect in giving God all glory that He is do.  The foundation of what worship is to look like in the daily living of those who follow Christ has been established, now it is time to build the framework that will allow a deeper understanding to what the bible has laid out through thousands of years.

In the English language, worship is most commonly used to describe an array of emotions, postures, and attitudes.  The Miriam-Webster dictionary breaks down this term as follows:

wor·ship

1: reverence offered a divine being or supernatural power; also : an act of expressing such reverence
2: a form of religious practice with its creed and ritual
3: extravagant respect or admiration for or devotion to an object of esteem <worship of the dollar>
This definition, however, only touches a small portion of this immense word.  In order to better understand the term “worship” in its biblical form, we must dive deeper and seek to understand the biblical concepts that have lead to this words translation.  The Bible is a collection of approximately sixty-six books from a multitude of authors spanning several thousand years.  These books are broken down into two sections based on God’s promises and their fulfillment.  These sections are known as The Old and New Testaments. They are written in primarily two separate languages that used diverse terms to describe the attributes of worshiping the One True God.
In the next several weeks I invite you to the table, where these attributes will be discussed in further detail in hopes to illuminate the caliber of what is meant when God is worshiped in Spirit and in Truth.
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Worship: Rooted in Response

Worship is the choice to approach God and respond after we have been called.

“Worship is an active response to God, whereby we declare His worth.  Worship is not passive, but is participative.  Worship is not simply a mood; it is a response.  Worship is not just a feeling; it is a declaration.” (16)
-Allen and Borror “Worship: Rediscovering the Missing Jewel”

Worship is our chance to give back to God a portion, or should I say a small fraction, of what He has given us.  We have been given life: a planet that sustains us, families and friends to support and love us, marriage, children, and the most important gift of all: “God poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.”(Romans 5:5 NIV)

In spite of our broken nature, we are to praise God in all that we do.  Some may not have great experiences with the “natural” gifts listed above and that is a result of this world’s separation from God.  Separation from the sustaining love of the Creator.  However, we are still called to respond to God in truth and in love.  Our response in worship is critical, it can lead to surrender and a renewed spiritual life or it can lead us to pride and spiritual death.

Contrary to popular belief, worship is not a passive activity that is done on Sunday morning and left at the church door to be picked up the following week, thus perpetuating the never-ending cycle of misunderstanding.  Worship is our chance to participate, everyday, with what God is doing in and through us.  It is our chance, as his divinely appointed bipeds, to shine His light and show the world what Christ looks like.  Participation is key if we are to grow closer to God.

Biblical worship is more than a mood or emotion, it is more than a tingly feeling that we get when we hear or see something extravagant.  Worship embodies all that we do in reverence of who God is and what He has done throughout history.

We have been called to receive and respond: Will we respond to the cross of Christ and take it to the world?  Will we respond to the Gospel and proclaim it to the nations?  Will we respond to the promise of new life and anticipate heaven?

May we respond to the Word through our everyday worship and preach it through our actions and attitudes.

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Worship: Rooted in Reception

Worship is rooted in our reception; it is expectant and always preaching.

“Every weekend we should anticipate the coming of Christ.  After every worship service, we should celebrate the fact that he is alive forevermore, and consequently, so are we!  After every worship service, people should leave our services with an anticipation of heaven.” (43-44)
-Kevin Navarro “The Complete Worship Service”

Worship is always preaching, because it is the way in which we live our lives from day to day.  It is not only found in a specific building on a particular day, nor in the songs that we sing, the message we hear, or the prayers we say.  Worship is everything that is done in reverence of the Lord; whether that is working behind a desk, constructing a building, walking through a city or park, or even spending times with friends and loved ones.

Worship is our response to the greatness of our Creator!  It is our avenue of thankfulness and adoration.  What better way to celebrate what has been done for us than to give everything, yes everything, that we are back to the King.  He has given us new life, a reason for being, a love that knows no end.  We should approach God with all that we have and always anticipate His promises.

We have been ushered into the most holy place, and have been allowed into the presence of the One True God through the cross, the ultimate alter, of Christ.  “For where two or three of you come together in my name, there I am with them.”(Mat.18:20, NIV)  When we gather with other believers, we are directly in the midst of Christ and we should celebrate that fact!  When we enter into “corporate” worship, we should approach the throne of God with reverence and awe.  We should be overwhelmed by the majesty and might, surrendered to the holiness and presence, and compelled by the invitation and commission of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

We have been given the task of discipleship and the furthering of God’s kingdom here on Earth.  Will we choose to enjoy a few songs, tolerate a sermon, and get free child care?  Or will we actively listen and apply what we learn through services, bible studies, and private devotional times?

We have been called to respond: Will we receive the cross of Christ and take it to the world?  Will we receive the Gospel and proclaim it to the nations?  Will we receive the promise of new life and anticipate heaven?

May we receive the Word through our everyday worship and preach it through our actions and attitudes.

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Are we only hitting the “tip of the iceberg”?

Have you ever stopped to wonder what people mean when they use the term “worship”?  Are they simply referring to the music?  Or perhaps they are referencing the entire service?  In either case, only the surface of such a diverse word is being utilized.

Worship is more than what we do on a Sunday morning;

it is more than the music,

the preaching,

or the prayers.

Worship is a lifestyle; it is everything we do in adoration of the Lord and it is rooted in our reception, response, and relationship to God and all those who surround us on a daily basis.

Worship is rooted in our reception; it is expectant and always preaching.

“Every weekend we should anticipate the coming of Christ.  After every worship service, we should celebrate the fact that he is alive forevermore, and consequently, so are we!  After every worship service, people should leave our services withe an anticipation of heaven.” (43-44)
-Kevin Navarro “The Complete Worship Service”

Worship is the choice to approach God and respond after we have been called.

“Worship is an active response to God, whereby we declare His worth.  Worship is not passive, but is participative.  Worship is not simply a mood; it is a response.  Worship is not just a feeling; it is a declaration.” (16)
-Allen and Borror “Worship: Rediscovering the Missing Jewel”

Worship is an active partnership between God and creation as relationships are cultivated.

“Worship is a conversation between God and God’s chosen people.  There is a mutual exchange, a holy dialogue, an invested sharing back and forth in worship” (9)
-Constance Cherry “The Worship Architect”

Worship is a conversation between creation and the creator, between man and God.  Worship is a two way street whereby we communicate with God and He answers through the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.  Our worship must be lived out is such a way that it demands an explanation.  We must be living testimonies as we encounter the world and worship the Lord.

In the next three weeks we will unpack and expand on each characteristic  of Worship: Reception, Response, and Relationship.  I invite you to join me at The Table as we discover more of what it means to Worship God.

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Table Talk

Why ‘the worship table’ as a web address? Are we worshipping a table? No, but I want to stress the importance of the table.

Let’s begin by discussing what I mean when I use the phrase “table it”.  The common use of this phrase gives it a negative connotation, it tells a person that what they have to say or present is of little value and will most likely be overlooked.  I, however, believe that some of the best things can happen around the table.

The table is a place of fellowship, it is a place where meals are enjoyed, a place that hosts “all-nighters” and board games of all genres, it is a place where new relationships are cultivated.  The table also reveals to us the character of Christ and welcomes us into the presence of something magnificent through celebrations such as the Lord’s Supper.

So I invite you to the table,
I invite you to journey with me as I attempt to a live a life of Worship.

May the table be the place where conversations are ignited and passions revealed,  a place where Truth is uncovered and actively pursued, and place where we discover our daily purpose in God’s grand scheme of things!

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a journal of living-like-we-mean-it, by Derek Maul