Thursday, August 19, 2010

Worship as a discipline

I thought I would share with you a little bit of something I’ve been doing all summer long here at my church. I’ve been teaching a series for adults on the spiritual disciplines. Of course the book I’ve been leaning on for this series has been Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster. Wow, this book is a classic and must own! I’ve read it before, but continue to grow in knowledge when I return to read it again. I’ve also used With Unveiled Faces by Keith Drury (which has been extremely helpful and insightful too).

The one discipline that challenges me most is worship. Here’s what I’m learning about worship.

Worship is not…
- When God’s people gather together
- Raising one hand and loudly saying, “Amen!”
- Singing
- Raising two hands in the air while closing your eyes and gently swaying back and forth.

According to Foster, “Singing, praying, praising all may lead to worship, but worship is more than any of them.”

So, what is worship?

Worship is our response to the great love from the heart of the Father. It is the human response to the divine initiative (definition from book).

Are you responding? God’s love demands a response. God didn’t send Jesus for us to just look at Him. We are called to decide if we will place faith in Him or not. We are called to respond. That response is worship. If Jesus is to be Lord of your life, worship must become a priority. Why? It’s the first call to Christians that is mentioned in Mark 12:30. Part of loving Him with everything is that we worship Him. We worship the Lord not only because of who He is, but also because of what He has done. Foster ads, “Our lives are to be punctuated with praise, thanksgiving, and adoration.”

Why should I practice this discipline?

In John 4:23-24 Jesus calls us to it. He doesn’t suggest worship as an idea, but as a way of life. Because God is Spirit, we must worship in spirit and truth. What does that mean? At the center of who you are is your heart (not the physical thing). Your heart (which can be thought of as your will and spirit) is thought of as the place, or the executive center, of where decisions and choices originate. Jesus backs this up with His statement in Mark 7:21-23.

Worshiping in spirit means we are making a decision to worship God. It’s not something that is being forced upon us. We are doing because we are moved by His love for us. The Father is seeking such people to worship Him. God wants people that will worship Him because they want to. He wants people to worship Him for who He is (the truth part to this passage).

How do I begin and/or prepare for practicing this discipline? Come back next week for that.

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