Seven Words of Worship-Harland & Moser-Feb. 27, 2013

Week 6-Expression-February 27, 2013

Points to Ponder

v  God delights in our unique expressions of worship in response to His revelation.

  1. We are able to enter God’s presence only by His grace-His unmerited favor and transforming power provided for our benefit.
  2. In either case, worship comes from the one who is lesser and dependent as he or she understands and submits to the greatness of the One who is superior.
  3. Our worship expression is a clear indicator of the depth and quality of our relationship with God.  When we live a surrendered life in response to who He is and what He has done, our response as we encounter God is free and unhindered.  What someone else might think about our response really doesn’t matter.  Worship is truly all about Him!
  4. God wants to hear our unique expressions of praise.  We simply cannot allow worship leaders to worship for us.  They are expressing their worship, but God wants to hear our very own expressions of worship.
  5. Standards are good as long as they are God’s standards, and the Bible is filled with standards to guide our expression of worship.  However, our tendency as human beings is to limit ourselves and those around us based on our own emotional comfort level.
  6. The Bible provides both freedom and boundaries for authentic worship expression.

v  God created music and musicians to precede and proclaim His presence, His power, and His Word; and to prepare His people to receive Him.

  1. God created music and musicians to precede and proclaim His presence, His power, and His Word; and to prepare His people to receive Him.
  2. God created music and musicians to lead His people as they celebrate, thank, and praise the Lord.  God did not create and appoint musicians to worship for the people but to lead the people as they worshiped!
  3. The singers and musicians were one-harmonically and spiritually and the King of kings responded with His presence!  Now that’s what I want to see in out worship assemblies, don’t you?

v  God created singers and musicians to be “lead worshipers,” but the pastor is the true worship leader.

  1. We commonly refer to the music leader or minister of music as the worship leader, but the true worship leader is the spiritual leader of the church:  the pastor.  Every part of the worship service must be under the pastor’s authority and direction.  The pastor is the one who is charged by God with the overall welfare of God’s precious lambs, including God’s servant who is in charge of the music.
  2. Singers and musicians have a very specific purpose in worship:  to prepare our hearts to receive the Word.
  3. When this distinction is clearly understood the congregation benefits greatly.
  4. The pastor is to the worship service what the mother of the bride is to the wedding ceremony.
  5. When the pastor is a worshiper and understands his role as worship leader, there is great freedom in worship.

v  Four key parts of the worship service and one special element of worship can help us to express our worship.

  1. The Coming In…as we come into the sanctuary, we are literally and figuratively setting ourselves apart from the world.  We sing at the beginning of the worship service because music and musicians were created to precede the power, presence, and Word of God.  Once the coming in-the separating from the world-has occurred, we are ready to proceed with the worship service.
  2. The table of the Lord… is given as a visible reminder of God’s eternal sacrifice in Christ Jesus.
  3. The Proclamation of the Word…music was created to precede the Word, not to replace it.  When we gather in God’s name without reading or the preaching of the Word, the worship service is incomplete.  Our understanding of who Jesus is and what He has done is determined by teaching and preaching from the written Word of God.
  4. The Going Out…we have separated ourselves for a time to receive the table and the Word.  Now it is time for us to take that Word back into our homes, schools, offices, and neighborhoods.
  5. Baptism is the visible demonstration of the grace gift of salvation and the Great Exchange-our total immersion into the life of Jesus that He has given in exchange for our life of sin.  Baptism should be a time of great joy, celebration, and worship.

v  We worship God by serving Him in our everyday lives with reverence and awe.

  1. Paul’s ministry itself was an expression of worship.
  2. Since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us hold on to grace.  By it, we may serve God acceptably, with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire.  Hebrews 12:28-29
  3. The cycle is complete:  God initiates, we respond, and He responds to our worship with His glorious presence!

Glory For Grace

Glory for Grace

Matthew 28:5-6

 Have you ever considered what would have happened if Jesus had left the cross?  The insults came in abundance, mocked by those where were “supposed to know.”  Recognizing that He had some power, “He saved other,” they said “but He can’t save Himself!”  The taunts continued, “Let Him come down and we will believe in Him.  If He is God’s Son let God save Him.

There will always be those who say a crucified God is not God at all.  What use is a crucified Messiah?  Many more take the position if I only had proof then I will believe, but that is not the life of faith.  Faith is trusting in God’s Word and promises, because we know it to be true from experience.  Faith knows that with God all things are possible.

How it must have pained Jesus to hear the ugliness of that moment and to know that He could have come down in power and glory, bringing judgment on the crowd and the world.  But He didn’t He remained meek.  Some have misunderstood meekness for weakness.  Meekness is not a lack of power but rather power restrained.

If Jesus responded and left the cross we would all be in a hopeless situation under judgment from our sins.  In that moment He traded His glory for our grace.  What an amazing grace it must have been to hang on the cross with grace and glory, and redemption and judgment literally hanging in the balance.  Jesus decided to remain on the cross, remaining meek, remaining on the cross, remaining humble, remaining to finish the work of redemption.   “It Is Finished!”

The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified.  He is not here; he has risen, just as he said.  Come see the place where he lay.”  Matthew 28:5-6

“It is better to come out of a tomb than off of a cross.”  S.M. Lockridge

It is certainly better for us and the world that the grace of Christ was demonstrated at the cross, the victory of Christ at the empty tomb, and the glory of Christ at the end of the age.  As we thank Him for His sacrifice, celebrate His victory (that it may also be ours), and look expectantly to His coming glory.  Let us echo the words of Revelation 22:20b, “Amen.  Come, Lord Jesus.”

 

Jesus invites…that Salvation May Come-Feb. 24, 2013

Jesus invites…that Salvation May Come-February 24, 2013

Scripture:  Luke 19:1-10, Revelation 3:20

Point 1-Jesus was on His way.  Jesus was on His was to Jerusalem that in a few short days He would give His life for the world that if they would believe they would receive eternal life.  Jesus always lived His life with a purpose in mind and the cross was ever before Him.  Yet even with the cross in His near future He makes the time to stop for others along the way.  So live your life with purpose and intentionality, but also make room for the divine encounters you may have with someone.

Point 2-The people you might least expect are also the ones that God desires a relationship with.  Zaccheus was a tax collector and rich.  He got rich in his profession by cheating the people he was responsible for collecting taxes from.  He was a small man and overextended his authority, making him a despised person in his community.  Who might we know that has wronged us, or have we ourselves wronged someone?

Point 3-Jesus invites us where we are, to be present with Him and begin our relationship with Him.  Jesus calls Zaccheus to come down so that He can go and stay at his house.  Jesus wants to make Himself at home in our hearts.

Point 4-Jesus invited and Zaccheus responded to Jesus invitation, not listening to the grumblers.  The first question is are we the one who needs Jesus or are we a grumbler?  Perhaps we don’t see ourselves as ones in need of Jesus grace, or we may be the one that grumbles because we think someone else doesn’t deserve His grace.  The third option is we recognize and respond to His invitation, and then thank God for His grace in Jesus for ourselves and others.

Point 5-An encounter with Jesus changes everything about a person.  The grumblers were upset because they thought they knew who Zaccheus was, but Jesus knew who He could be and the impact of Jesus on Zaccheus would not only bring salvation to Zaccheus but also a benefit to the community.  When Jesus dwells in us we are different and the world around us understands the greatness of God’s grace.  Our identity and actions become tied to His, and the world will know that we are His because of what He has done, and who we have become in Him.

Point 6-Jesus came to seek and save the lost.  Jesus comes seek those who are lost, but we should not be afraid.  He is not seeking to judge but to save.  In a few short days from this very event the work of grace will be complete.  Grace is always the work of God and done at His initiative otherwise we could do it through our work and that would set us up to compare and judge.  Grace is always the work of God through Jesus in the human heart if our hearts will be His welcome home.

Relation 3:20-Jesus stands and the door and knocks, will you let Him and celebrate those that do so that the world may be different because of Him.

There will always be grumblers.  Some will be upset that those of questionable character or actions may want to see Jesus or come to church.  Others may be upset or question how Jesus could or would want to save someone “like that”, although they may be less likely to say so with their words but by their actions.  Thankfully grace is not contingent upon the words of the grumblers but by the Word, Jesus Christ.  It is possible to be so lost that you don’t even know you are lost, it is truly grace that the Son of Man has come to seek and save that which was lost.  Luke 19:1-10.

Seved Words of Worship Week 5-Feb. 20, 2013

Week 5-Response-February 20, 2013

Points to Ponder

v  Responding to God’s revelation in a manner that is pleasing to Him involves service and surrender.

  1.  Freedom in worship is not you or me overcoming our inhibitions.  Freedom in worship is God overcoming you.
  2. There is only one thing that makes our service appropriate and sufficient:  complete surrender.
  3. We all have found ourselves at similar crossroads in life-possibly laying down something that we want to have or to do in order to follow the “still small voice” of the Spirit.  But more often, complete surrender means surrendering our hearts, our thoughts, and our reactions to the daily issues of life to God’s direction.  It isn’t always easy to exchange our lives for His, but the rewards are indeed great when we do.
  4. The Word of God is the only thing that can renew our minds, and it will contradict our typical thought life regularly.
  5. As we make conscious decision to train our minds to align with His thoughts and His words of life, we are ready to adopt a lifestyle of worship.

v  A lifestyle or worship is essential if we are to overcome in order to “become.”

  1. Worship must be part of our everyday lives if we are to become living sacrifices-not conformed to the world, but transformed by the renewing of our minds.
  2. First, we must recognize and acknowledge the battle for the conformity of our minds and our lives.  Second, we must be equipped to overcome those powers and principalities that assault us and our families, fellow believers around the world, and our nation.
  3. For now let us consider another powerful tool that can help us to stand against the enemy of our faith:  worship!  Our expression of worship always invited God’s intervention in our circumstances.
  4. Notice that their first response to the threats of the enemy was prayer and worship! (2 Chronicles 20)
  5. What had looked like a battle with flesh and blood was won in the spirit and in the natural as they responded to God’s revelation with worship!
  6. We worship in response to God’s revelation.  We make an informed decision to surrender to His love and become a living sacrifice, wholly and pleasing to Him.

v  Worship strengthens the Word in us.

  1. In worship we both receive the Word of God and strengthen the Word within us.  Worship apart from the revelation of the Word (the Living Word and written Word) is incomplete.
  2. The battleground was temptation, but the core issue was worship.  The Enemy wanted Jesus to worship something other than God, but Jesus drew upon the Word of God within to fight the battle (Matthew 4:8-11).
  3. The Enemy still wants us to worship something other than God-Father, Son, and Spirit-and the answer to this and every other challenge or temptation is still “It is written”!  The Word of God is always the answer.

v  Worshiping God while we are waiting for Him to act opens a place for Him to intervene.

  1. Consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.  But endurance must do its complete work, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing.  James 1:2-4
  2. We do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses…Therefore let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us at the proper time.  Hebrews 4:15-16

v  God wants us to worship Him with all our heart and soul.

  1. The issue is not the type or magnitude of any one trial we face, but our response to every test.  God’s Word gives us real hope and real direction as we respond.  James 1:2-5
  2. The issue is that each believer must raise his or her own unhindered expression of worship to the King of kings in response to what He alone has done.
  3. The Bible is full of specific activities of worship, including those listed below:
  • Kneeling/bowing (2 Chron. 29:29; Luke 22:41; Acts 20:36)
  •  Singing (Ps. 100:2; 147; Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16)
  •  Praying (Matt. 6:9-13; Acts 1:14; 4:31; 1 Thess. 5:16-17)
  •  Shouting (Ps. 95:1-2; 98:4; Zech. 9:9)
  •  Clapping (Ps. 47:1; 98:4,8; Isa. 55:12)
  •  Prostrating (Deut. 9:18; Josh. 5:14; 1 Kings 18:39; Rev. 1:17)
  •  Raising hands (2 Chron. 6:13; Ps. 63:4; 1 Tim. 2:8)
  •  Dancing (2 Sam. 6:14; Ps. 30:11; 149:3)
  •  Playing instruments (1 Chron. 15:16; Ps. 98:5-6, 150)
  •  Meditating/listening (Josh. 1:8; Ps. 77:12; 81:13; 119:15; Phil 4:8)
  •  Giving (Isa. 58:7; Mal. 3:10; 2 Cor. 9:7-8)
  •  Serving (Ps. 100:2a; Matt. 20:25-28; Acts 20:18-19; Rom. 12:1)
  •  Taking communion (Mark 14:22-26; Luke 22:19-20; 1 Cor. 11:23-26)
  •  Fasting (Neh. 1:4; Esth. 4:3; Isa. 58; Joel 2:12)
  •  Others:

4.    Now the Lord is Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.  2 Corinthians 3:17

Revelation: A Vision of Worship-Feb. 17, 2013

February 17, 2013-Revelation:  A Vision of Worship

Scripture:  Revelation 3:20-4:11

A vision of worship and or relationship begins with the invitation of God.  “Behold I stand at the door and knock.”  The relationship always begins at God’s initiating.  He comes to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, He sends His Son.  We love because He first loved us, and He stands at the door and knocks waiting for us respond to His invitation.  Will we listen to what the Spirit has to say to the churches?   This type of listening does not always come by physical hearing but by allowing the Spirit to speak to our hearts.

The voice of the Lord spoke clearly, in this instance, like a trumpet.  John was brought into the presence of the throne room of God.  In describing heaven the focus becomes clear it is the throne and the one seated on it.  There is also a description that is described in vivid color.  Worship incorporates all our senses.  Worship is a whole person event not a spectator sport.

The images around the throne are those of elders with crowns and descriptions from Isaiah and Ezekiel.  Four living creatures represent all of the created order.  They were covered in eyes these eyes also represent seeing God as He is.  Day and night they never stop saying:  “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.”  It is worship that is always aware of the throne of God.  Every eye is overwhelmed by the glory of God.  “Holy, Holy, Holy” is not repetition but a genuine response each time to the continuing revealing of God’s glory.  His eternal glory is always new like and never-ending and so never is the praise of His glory.

Then the elders chime in falling down and casting their crowns before the throne.  In doing say they are acknowledging the true King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  The worship of God is never-ending in heaven.  Too often we think of heaven like a golden retirement village in the sky, but it is eternal never-ceasing worship of God.  If that is what we will be doing for all of eternity should we not be in the practice of worshiping Him here and now?

Ash Wednesday Service-Feb. 13, 2013

Ash Wednesday-February 13, 2013

In this quiet and dark time of the year we come to acknowledge the seasons of our own lives.  There is a time to be born and a time to die.  It is in recognizing that there is both a time of living and a time when we will die, we become more aware of the eternal day-by-day.  It is our mortality that draws us to the hope of the eternal in Christ Jesus.  On Ash Wednesday, we consider our own mortality we also think of the death of Jesus who gave His life as a ransom for us.  It is the reality of His death and resurrection that removes the sting of death for the believer, and demonstrates God’s great love and grace for us.

The Ashes that we will receive are the charred remains of the previous year’s palm branches from the triumphant entry of Christ into Jerusalem.  The ashes are also a symbol of mourning and loss.  As we place the ashes either on our hands or heads, may the great understanding of the sacrificial grace of God in Christ be upon our hearts.

Call to Worship:  In Christ…

In Christ…

We have life and breath and find our meaning and purpose.

In Christ…

We who are dead are set free to live.

In Christ…

We are welcome receive amazing grace.

In Christ…

We are not lost but have found the Way.

In Christ…

We are led by still waters.

In Christ…

Our souls are restored

In Christ…

We are led in paths of righteousness.

In Christ…

We walk through the valley of the shadow of death.

In Christ…

We will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

In Christ…we who were once dead now live in victory.

 

Old Testament Lesson:  Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, 20; Isaiah 58:8-12

Song of Reflection-Who Am I– Casting Crowns

New Testament Lesson:  John 17:1-3, 14:1-6; 16:33

Song of Reflection-You Are for Me-Kari Jobe

 

Blessing of the Ashes:

Let us Pray:

Gracious God,

Who formed us from the dust of the earth

And who breathed into us the breath of life,

It is by your gift alone

That we know life and life eternal.

Grant that these ashes,

The dust of once-joyful palms

May remind us of our mortality

And call us again to you.

In Christ we pray.  Amen.

 

“Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”  Genesis 3:19

 

Invitation to the Ashes:

We invite you now to come and receive these ashes, placing either a dot on your fore-head or on the back of your hand, we are identifying ourselves as those in mourning, in prayer, seeking in hope, the resurrected Christ.  Will you come now, the invitation is open!

Song-Mighty Is the Power of the Cross-Chris Tomlin

Closing Prayer:

In Christ we have life and breath and find our meaning and purpose.  In Christ we who are dead are set free to live.  This gift of Christ makes grace amazing and life hopeful and worth living.

May we live our days as the sheep of His pasture, trusting Him to lead us through the  valley of the shadow of death, and into the house of the Lord forever.  Amen

Closing Song of Reflection-Come and Listen-David Crowder Band

Leaving Song-Beauty for Ashes-Crystal Lewis

Ashes to Fire-Feb. 13, 2013

Ashes to Fire

Ashes are the remains after something has burned.  There usually isn’t much that resembles the original substance or object.  In the bible the idea of ashes is associated with mourning loss or a life situation that one found themselves in.  Ashes are not only for mourning but in recognition of our own mortality.  What is it to be human?  Abraham in his appeal for Sodom and Gomorrah replied, “Now behold, I have ventured to speak to the Lord, although I am but dust and ashes (Gen. 18:27).  This idea that we are but dust and ashes, not eternal as God is eternal.

Abraham recognizes himself as a human in relationship to an all-powerful God.  In his very statement he recognizes that he is not the creator.  In the weeks before Easter we have a season known as Lent.  Lent is a time of reflection on the character, nature, and sacrifice of Christ but also our own mortality in this fleeting life.

Lent begins with a day of ashes, Ash Wednesday.  The ashes are the burned remains of the previous year’s Palm branches from Palm Sunday.  On this day we receive the imposition of ashes as we begin to mourn for Christ and to understand that this life is temporary.  In the ashes we recognize our mortality.

Ash Wednesday smacks at our culture of your and a perpetual desire to looker younger, and be younger.  It is a naive idea to believe that we can cheat death, yet here we are as a society day by day looking to do just that.  There will be many who will try to run away from the inevitable (death) having never lived.  All of life was spent trying to achieve something unachievable and then will find themselves standing in the presence in the presence of the Father.

Job after pleading for God to answer him about the tragedy in his life, God speaks.  Job 38 God spends the next four chapters counseling Job who responds with a confession:

“I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear; But now my eye sees You;
Therefore I retract, And I repent in dust and ashes.”   Job 42:5-6

Job repents and submits to God, in dust and ashes.  As a human trying to live this life and understand God.

God does want us to come to Him, but He also wants us to come together.  Ashes that are separated from one another quickly cool down and lose their heat.  When ashes and coals are gathered together and the heat is preserved they can be stoked to a new and bright fire by wind or breath.  So too it is with God’s people brought together to remain warm and stoked to new life by the breath or Spirit of God.

The ashes seem insignificant now but we must hold together, celebrate the victory in Christ’s resurrection, and wait for the fresh wind of the Spirit of Pentecost that we may burn bright for Him.