Archive for the ‘Worship’ Category

Worship as Protest

worship_hands raised“Them’s fighting words!”

Have you ever thought of the words we sing and pray and preach as “fighting words?” Well you and I should! Worship is always involves saying YES to one god and NO to another. And TRUE worship is always about saying YES to the infinitely glorious Triune God and NO to every false god that our hearts and culture are busy making and promoting.

Think through this quote and prayerfully ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the idolatries that are seducing your loyalties away from worshiping God through Christ.

Worship breaks down our misdirected loyalties even as it builds up our deepest loyalty to God. Every act of praise is a strong act of negation as well as affirmation. Every time we sing praise to the triune God, we are asserting our opposition to anything that would attempt to stand in God’s place. Every hymn of praise is a little anti-idolatry campaign, as Walter Brueggemann explains: “The affirmation of Yahweh always contains a polemic against someone else. . . It may be that the [exiles] will sing such innocuous-sounding phrases as ‘Glory to God in the highest,’ or ‘Praise God from whom all blessings flow.’ Even those familiar phrases are polemical, however, and stake out new territory for the God now about to be aroused to new caring.” When we sing “Praise God from whom all blessings flow” we are also saying “Down with the gods from whom no blessings flow.”

–John Witvliet Our Inestimable Privilege: Full, Conscious, Participation in Worship

One way to trace where our hearts are worshiping is to follow where our “if only’s” take us.

  • If only I had a better job?
  • If only I were beautiful/handsome?
  • If only I were out of the house?
  • If only I were married to a better spouse?
  • If only I weren’t so sick?
  • If only I….

Do see where your heart and our culture tempt us to find blessing and security and meaning apart from God through Christ? What false gods do you need to protest against and say “Down with you! You offer nothing but slavery and death and fleeting pleasure!” Worship is war. Worship is work. May we learn to praise God not just on Sunday but everyday.

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What is God Up to in Gathered Worship?

We encounter God by listening to what he has revealed to us in Scripture and by responding to the work of his Son, as the gospel directs. The gift of his Spirit enables us to minister his truth to one another and to take our part in the building of his church. In biblically informed singing, in reading and reflecting on the Bible together, in biblically driven prayer and praise, and in sharing the Lord’s Supper together, God confronts us with his character and will for us and makes it possible for us to submit to and serve him appropriately in every area of our lives.

-David Peterson, Encountering God Together

Worship gatherings are not always spectacular, but they are always supernatural.

Doesn’t this quote make you excited to be part of Christ’s church?! What difference would it make if we all expected what God expected to happen in gathered worship?

Worship gatherings are not always spectacular, but they are always supernatural. And if a church looks for or works for the spectacular, she may miss the supernatural. If a person enters a gathering to be wowed with something impressive, with a style that fits him just right, with an order of service and song selection designed just the right way, that person may miss the supernatural presence of God. Worship is supernatural whenever people come hungry to respond, react, and receive from God for who He is and what He has done. A church worshipping as a Creature of the Word doesn’t show up to perform or be entertained; she comes desperate and needy, thirsty for grace, receiving from the Lord and the body of Christ, and then gratefully receiving what she needs as she offers her praise— the only proper response to the God who saves us.

– Geiger, Eric; Chandler, Matt; Patterson, Josh . Creature of the Word: The Jesus-Centered Church

HT VitaminZ

Toilet Paper, Worship and You

Did you know that replacing toilet paper in the WBC bathrooms can be an act of worship and Christ-like service? And vacuuming the hallways can be an important way of extending Jesus’ hospitality to visitors during gathered worship? You bet! Cleaning the WBC building is a vital ministry of our church and you’re invited to serve!

Would you consider volunteering to help clean the WBC building every 6 weeks? A clean church building shows that we take our stewardship of God’s gifts seriously and offers Christ-like hospitality to all who gather with us to worship Jesus.

Please contact Tim or Cindy Irish and let them know you can help. Currently our Missional Communities rotate the cleaning responsibilities, but we would love to include all of WBC in this servant-ministry. This would be a wonderful blessing if more of us could serve together!

What Should We Say When We Leave Gathered Worship this Sunday?

“That sermon was great!”

“The music was awesome!”

“Those people sure are friendly!”

While those things are definitely good things we aim for in gathered worship, they’re not THE GOAL. In his book, Reverberation, Jonathan Leeman shares this story…

A group of American Christians in the nineteenth century planned to visit London for a week. Their friends, excited for the opportunity, encouraged them to go hear two of London’s famous preachers and bring back a report. On Sunday morning after their arrival, the Americans attended Joseph Parker’s church. They discovered that his reputation for eloquent oratory was well deserved. One exclaimed after the service, “I do declare, it must be said, for there is no doubt, that Joseph Parker is the greatest preacher that ever there was!”

The group wanted to return in the evening to hear Parker again, but they remembered that their friends would ask them about another preacher named Charles Spurgeon. So on Sunday evening they attended the Metropolitan Tabernacle, where Spurgeon was preaching. The group was not prepared for what they heard, and as they departed, one of them again spoke up, “I do declare, it must be said, for there is no doubt, that Jesus Christ is the greatest Savior that ever there was!”

This Sunday and every Sunday,  let us pray, let us anticipate, let us beg for the Holy Spirit t0 astonish us and mesmerize us with the glory of the greatest Savior that ever there was–

Jesus,

our Sin-Forgiving Sacrifice,

our Death-Proof King,

our Always-Praying Priest,

our Rescuing Elder Brother,

our Perfect Worship Leader,

our Singing Savior,

our Returning King!

Initiative 22 Launch This Sunday

It’s barely been a year since we commissioned and sent out the Berniers to church plant in Montreal. God has been doing amazing things in and through Dwight and Jess and in Montreal. Christ really is building his church! God has built a core team of Jesus’ family who are really learning to live as servants and missionaries to Montreal.

This Sunday, September 26 at 6pm, Initiative 22 will launch their Gathered Worship. Let’s pray together for Jesus’ gospel to joyfully and boldly proclaimed as I22 gathers this Sunday. Let’s thank God together for what HE has done and will do to bring many to Jesus in Montreal!

Why We Sing in Gathered Worship (Hint: it’s not for ourselves only)

I say “Amen! Right on!” to what Greg Gilbert has to say about singing in gathered worship.

I think we ought to encourage every member of our churches to sing every song in the service with gusto, even if they don’t particularly resonate with the song. Every Christian has a certain set of hymns and songs that deeply resonate with them—the melody, the words, an experience they had when they first heard it—and our natural tendency is to give those favorites everything we’ve got . . . but then sort of check out when the next song is one we don’t particularly like.

But here’s the thing: When you sing in a congregation, you’re not just singing for yourself; you’re singing for every other member of the congregation, for their edification and building up in Christ, too. In I Corinthians 14:26, Paul tells us that when we come together, everything we do—including our singing—is done for each other. Singing hymns is not just an opportunity for each of us, as individuals, to worship God in our own way. It’s an opportunity for the church, as a whole, to worship God together. That means that even if you don’t like a particular song, it’s likely that someone else in the congregation resonates with it deeply—they feel about it the same way you feel about your favorites—and so you have a responsibility to love that person by singing that song with all the heart you can muster. In other words, don’t check out on songs that aren’t your favorites; sing them! And sing them loud and heartily, not because you particularly like them, but because you may be helping to edify another brother or sister whose heart is engaged deeply with those songs. Worship isn’t finally an individual experience; it’s corporate. And everything we do—everything, Paul tells us, including our singing—should be done for the building up of the saints.

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