The Worship Service

“Oh come, let us sing to the LORD. Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving; let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms. For the LORD is the great God, and the great King above all gods. … Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the LORD our Maker. For He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture, and the sheep of His hand.”
Psalm 95: 1-3; 6-7

 

“But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers 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.”                                                                                           John 4: 23-24

 

It’s really cool when the message that I’ve been needing to write on for a while, the one that’s been rattling around in my brain whilst I noodle on it, is the same fundamental one that Pastor Terrell preached this past Sunday. It’s cool (to me, at least) in that it’s confirmation of the message and the timing, and that His hand is in it all. I’d started to write on the topic of worship a couple of months ago, and just couldn’t birth it all the way. I know believe I understand why—His timing and all.

 

I have recently rejoined the Worship committee, as my three-year service on the Board of Directors for my Emmaus community ended in December. I’m excited about the opportunity we have to consider making changes to the worship service while still continuing to reinforce the message that Pastor Kevin started about the service: “it ain’t about us.”

 

Cue record scratch and readers gasping in concert. “Wha? Changes? Not about us?”

In response, I say “definitely” on the “not about us” part and “possibly” on the “changes” part, but only in that they reinforce the “not about us” part. You see, dear ones, we need to understand that true worship is about Almighty God receiving our sacrifice of praise, our declaration of His worth, His power, His goodness. Peter tell us that we are a “chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that we may declare the praises of him who called us out of darkness into his wonderful light.” When we understand that we gather to lift our voices in praise of our Heavenly Father, and that celebrating Him is why we are there, focus shifts from us to its proper place in Him. When we sing hymns, even if they are hymns that we are not as familiar with, we need to remember that He is the audience – we are singing praises to Him. Let your praise be heard! When we share our hearts in personal and corporate prayer, we are communing with Him. When we listen to the sermon and Scripture reading—His message to us—we are participating in worship by allowing the Holy Spirit to work in us to receive God’s message for us. When we are participating in responsive readings, or affirming our faith through the reciting of the Apostles’ Creed, let us truly own the words that we are declaring and not just saying them by rote. Imagine the joy He would experience in hearing those words said with purpose and sincerity instead of devoid of emotion. As Pastor Kevin once told folks, “say it as if you were stating it to the devil.”

 

As far as any changes coming to the service itself, I ask for your patience. It’s a bit too early, as we’ve not had the chance to roll up our sleeves and dig into how things could be, but I’m hopeful that will change with our next committee meeting (you’re welcome to join us—it will be after church on January 7. Lunch will be provided. Bring your appetite, your servant’s heart, and an open mind <grin>). We’ve made a couple of changes already by adding an additional hymn and changing up the way in which we pray together. If we make a change that you feel does not glorify God, please give us feedback on it. We won’t be making changes willy nilly but with thoughtful prayer, but there is the chance that we might not get everything right the first time. Please, let grace abound in any missteps.

 

Prayer Requests

  • For us to have discernment and obedience to His will
  • For those who are experiencing loneliness, depression, or anguish
  • For government leaders at all levels
  • For those facing scary diagnoses, either for themselves or a family member

 

Guys, I cannot tell you how excited I am about the new year and the new chapter in our church’s life. And He will be with us every step of the way when trust in Him. He is good and so very worthy of our praise!
 

Quotes

 

“Before we can begin to see the cross as something done for us, we have to see it as something done by us.”  –John Stott

 

“If you want God to close and open doors, you’d best get your hand off the doorknob.”