Life is Worship

Life is Worship

Thursday, May 6, 2010

What is Worship?

Worship is authentic and holistic participation in God’s story through engaging in a continuing dialogue with the Father, in the Son, through the power of the Holy Spirit. Worship is also engaging with the community around you and being a reflection of Christ to the broken world.

First of all worship should be authentic and holistic participation in God’s story. This means that true worship should change us. It should also go beyond what we do on Sunday morning, and be reflected in how we live our lives on a day to day basis. This to me is includes worshipping in Spirit and in Truth. I think that these two things are essential to worship. When we are worshipping in Spirit we are wholly and actively engaged in worship. We are to worship God with our heart, soul, mind and strength. By worshipping in truth our worship is to be authentic.

Secondly worship is engaging in a continuing dialogue with the Father, in the Son, through the power of the Holy Spirit. Worship is an on-going thing; a way of living life. God speaks and we respond. Engaging with the Trinity is key to living a life of worship. Our lives need to reflect Christ. How and why we worship should be consistent with the way we live our lives. We should be striving to be more Christ-like and we can't do that if we are not authentic in the way we live our lives, and the way we engage with the Trinity in worship. The Bible is God's story, and so by engaging with the Word, we are engaging with God, and learning more about who he is and what he has done.

Thirdly worship is engaging with community, being a reflection of Christ to the broken world. We live in a world full of broken and hurting people. As brothers and sisters in Christ part of worship includes rejoicing with those who rejoice and weeping with those who weep. We should have each other's backs and support each other in the good times, but especially in the tough times.

Worship in a Broken World

We live in a broken and hurting world, it’s all around us. We each have brokenness in our own lives and we are surrounded with people who have brokenness in their lives. Being relational and broken sometimes clash. For instance, people with family problems might have problems with certain songs or prayers on Mother’s Day. If someone is shy they might not want to share prayer requests or pray aloud with others. Does this affect the way we plan and do worship? If it doesn’t, it should.

God created us to be relational beings. God has been relational from the very beginning. God is three persons in one; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. All three members of the trinity are equal with each of the other members.They have a full mutual indwelling with each other. Not only is the Trinity in relationship with each other, but as God’s people we are invited into communion with the Trinity. We are also in relationship with one another.

Since we were created to be relational beings, this definitely comes into play in our worship. Our worship is to be relational. It is meant to be more than something we do on our own. We worship in community with other believers. Also, since we are invited into relationship with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, our worship should be Trinitarian in nature as we interact with each of the three members.

Worship is authentic and holistic participation in God’s story through engaging in a continuing dialogue with the Father, in the Son, through the power of the Holy Spirit. Worship is also engaging with the community around you and being a reflection of Christ to the broken world.

So, then, how do we be Christ to the broken world and how do we plan worship to reach out to this hurting and broken world we are a part of? First of all I think it important to know the people you are reaching out to. Forming relationships with those around you, and knowing where they are at in their lives. To plan worship that will reach hurting people, we need to meet them where they are at. Secondly, our worship needs to be Pastoral. Hurting and broken people need shepherding and care. An example of something you could do in worship, would be to have a healing service to pray over people who have physical ailments and also people with emotional hurts, and even then, you have to be sensitive to those who did not receive healing from the prayer. To me, being a worship leader is not just a job, but a ministry. Jesus’ ministry was relational and and our relational worship with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and with the community should extend into how we do our ministry.

No one ever said that the ministry of being a worship leader is an easy task. After all as a whole, our culture is hurting, anxious, an addictive society, and we are busy and tired. The easy answer would be to say let’s just plan worship that is upbeat and happy all the time. That doesn’t change anything though, because even if we plan peppy worship, we are still hurting and broken people. Instead we need to give people hope and peace. Show them the true source of rest, and bring real meaning in our worship. Also, by example show them how to be in relationship with God.

I don’t have all the answers to how we go about reaching our broken world, but a good place to start is making our churches a safe place for people to deal with their hurts and needs. The body of Christ should be a safe place to share our struggles and our blessings, and transparency is the key. If as leaders we don't model transparency, how is the congregation to know what it should be like in the body of Christ. As brothers and sisters in Christ we should have each other's backs and support each other in the good times, but especially in the tough times. This is not an easy thing to do, but Romans chapter 12 calls us to sincere love, and rejoicing with those who rejoice, and mourning with those who mourn. After all, Jesus said that we are to, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it, ‘Love your your neighbor as yourself.”

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Virtual Churches - Why I say Nay!!!

Hello all,
For my Worship Tech class, we talked about virtual churches last, and we had a book to read on the subject. Here are a few of my thoughts. Enjoy! :)

After reading the book, Sim Church by Douglas Estes I am even more confused about virtual churches. My main response to the whole idea is that it makes me just want to cringe. I would agree that there is a whole virtual world out there, because I am a part of it. I am involved in the virtual world daily with emails, being on Facebook, and internet usage; but I can’t help but have a negative reaction to the idea of virtual churches. I’m sure there is room for ministry in the virtual world, but is having virtual churches really the answer?
The more I think about the subject the more I am against it. The main thing wrong with virtual churches is that they go against the Incarnation and everything the incarnation stands for. God sent his son to the world in the flesh, our response should be to worship God in the flesh, and participate in the flesh in worship. When we worship we should be willing to show up to a worship service in the flesh.
I don’t quite understand how going to church by logging onto your computer is church. Part of worship is engaging with God’s people, in the flesh. Having personal contact with people with a hand-shake, a hug, or even just eye contact with those we are in fellowship with. How is that possible by sitting at home, and chatting with people? Yes, in a way you are engaging with others, but I would argue that you are lacking real fellowship and community. It comes back to the incarnation, how can you truly engage in community with others if you can’t see who you are engaging with, and aren’t face to face with them?
Another issue for me in virtual churches, is authenticity and honesty. These two characteristics are important. Unfortunately people lie all the time in the virtual world about who they are. How is it possible to have true Christian fellowship with someone, if you don’t have any idea of who it is you are engaging in fellowship with.
It seems to me that the whole idea of virtual churches goes hand in hand with the consumer based mentality that seems to be going on in the church. Have church your way! You can pick how you want church to be, and how much you want to participate. It really boils down to the idea that it’s all about me. You don’t have to interact with others if you don’t want to. You can sit at home in your pajamas and attend church. While this idea is probably appealing to many people, I have a hard time understanding how this is what God would desire for his people. The virtual church (the church of all about me), is individualistic, and lacking in true community.
A problem in churches today, is getting people to be real with one another, but I would say this is also the same problem with virtual churches. There are people who would say that it is easier to be more honest and real with people in the virtual world because you can open up anonymously. Is this truly being real? I don’t think so. To me, this is only fostering a fake realness. In the virtual world, people can be who they choose to be, but that doesn’t make it more real. In fact, quite the opposite, because in reality they aren’t being true to themselves by pretending to be a different self.
I’m afraid that if we begin to immerse ourselves too much into the virtual world, by even going to church in the virtual world we will forget we have a real human life to live with people to interact with right around us. While it all well and good, to some extent to interact globally with people in the virtual world, we still have relationships with those who we see on a day to day basis that we need to engage in.
I don’t quite understand and grasp the whole idea of virtual churches. From what I am understanding though, I am getting many red flags. I’m afraid that if churches were to really focus on going virtual we would be losing what church really is about, and if that is true than we should be doing something about how churches are doing church. Unfortunately I would have to say that virtual churches are a far cry from not only what the Incarnation calls us to do and be as the church, but also a far cry from the Church of Acts 2.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Children & Worship

For my Worship Tech class we had to make and edit a video. I chose to video-tape some of the kids who are in 2nd-5th grade at our church, and asked them questions about worship. This video is the end result. :) I loved hearing what the kids had to say. Jesus said in the Bible to have faith like a child. Take a look, and see what they had to say.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Following the Spirit's Leading

A couple of Sundays ago, I was asked to teach the Sunday school class that I attend. It was only by listening to the prompting of the Spirit on my heart that I said yes! Right after I agreed, I thought why in the world did I just agree to this! I did not feel qualified and I definitely felt out of my comfort zone. In class we have been going through the book, Fearless by Max Lucado. This was a good opportunity to put to use everything we had been learning. We were on the last chapter of the book, about the fear of letting God out of the box. Throughout the week, as I thought about how I was going to present the lesson, and what I was going to say, I kept my ears open and my heart open to what God was saying to me. His promptings and ideas about the lesson would come at the times I was least expecting them. God's timing is not our timing. I taught the lesson on the Transfiguration of Christ, but also I focused on getting outside of our comfort zones so that the Spirit can move in our lives and we can grow in our Spiritual walks with the Lord. I have learned through time that God does his best work when we are willing to listen to his voice and get out of the comfort zones we have created for ourselves. I went into teaching still feeling like I was not qualified to teach, but excited to see what God had in store. Teaching that lesson was a blessing in my life. I was faithful in listening to his voice throughout the week, and as I taught, he blessed my faithfulness in what the people in my class shared during our time together. The things that were shared and discussed in class were right along the lines of what God had been teaching me throughout the week. What a wonderful blessing to see God at work right before my eyes because of my willingness to follow his promptings and get outside of my own comfort zone.