Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Casting Vision: Worship Part 1

Last week, I wrote, “In the coming weeks, I will outline for you what I believe some of the strengths, challenges and future Kingdom work this church can undertake… I will cover different aspects of our church in the coming weeks: worship, Sunday school, missions groups, EFBC ministries, youth and children, and church membership, among others.”

My intention is twofold. I hope to praise the aspects of our church where we excel, and encourage growth in those places where we do not. I also hope to communicate the vision that I believe God is giving us for those areas. I have chosen to do this in the order by which a newcomer to our church might encounter these areas of our church. We will begin by looking at our Sunday morning worship service, which is where most people first experience Edgefield First Baptist.

This is such an important subject, that it will require two weeks to cover it. This week, we will talk about the attitude of worship. This concerns the condition in which we bring ourselves to the house of God, to worship Him. The attitude that we have on Saturday night and Sunday morning have much to do with the offering we bring to church. Next week, we will examine the actual worship service, but we must first make sure our hearts are prepared to truly worship the God of Heaven.

I grew up in a Pentecostal church setting. The worship was lively. The music was sung with passion. Many instruments were used. It was very common for people to say, after a particularly stirring service, “The Holy Spirit really moved in church today. The preacher didn’t even get to preach!” There was no order of worship in a bulletin. There was an unwritten order that we usually followed, but in many services this “order” was interrupted.

I truly felt moved by the Holy Spirit in those services, but the feeling didn’t last long. Afterwards, I struggled to remember anything I had learned from being there. Many times, I was left with only the memory of what song was being played when I felt the goosebumps.

Why was this? I think it is because we were coming to worship with the wrong attitude. I remember saying things like, “I can’t wait to get to church. I really need to get my batteries charged.” Or “I need to get fed.” These kinds of statements make worship about us and what we hope to receive from God. We actually need to come to worship with the attitude of “What can I bring God today?”
Worship is not about coming to God’s holy “feeding trough” so we can make it until the next meal. It’s about offering all that we have to Him. Indeed, God does fill us when we worship Him, but that should be seen as an honor that is bestowed unexpectedly, not a purpose to be desired.
If we, as a church, are to understand God’s plan for worship in our church, we must begin to worship Him unselfishly. We are to come to His sanctuary with a repentant heart, bringing all of who we are and what we have, to Him, as an offering. When we come to God with the correct attitude, stand before Him, and lift our praises to Him, then we can say we have truly worshipped.

Magnificent, Holy, Father,
I stand in awe of all I see.
Of all the things You have created,
still You choose to think of me.

Who am I that You should suffer,
Your very life to set me free.
The only thing that I can give You,
is the life You gave to me.

This is my offering, dear Lord.
This is my offering to You, God.
I will give You my life,
for it’s all I have to give.
Because You gave Your life for me.

I stand before You at this altar.
So many have given You more.
I may not have much I can offer.
Yet what I have is truly Yours.
(Offering Performed by Third Day. Songwriters: Anderson, Carr, Powell, Avery, Lee)

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.                   (Romans 12:1 NIV)

No comments: