Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Experiencing Worship

Worship can be described as the proverbial “elephant” in the church. We know that worship is vital to our time together but what should it look like. In what ways do we know that we are truly worshipping God? How should it feel? These are questions that have plagued the church and unfortunately created some dissension.

In his book, Exploring Worship, Bob Sorge gives a few definitions of worship (65-66):

1) Worship is conversation between God and man, a dialogue that should go on constantly in the life of a Christian.

2) Worship is giving to God and involves a lifetime of giving to Him the sacrifice He asks for: our total selves.

3) Worship is our affirmative response to the self-revelation of the triune God. For the Christian, life is an act of worship when it is done with love that responds to the Father’s love.

4) Worship is the outcome of the fellowship of love between the Creato and man and is the highest point man can reach in response to the love of God.

5) Worship is an act by a redeemed man, the creature, toward God, his Creator, whereby his will, intellect, and emotions gratefully respond in reverence, honor, and devotion to the revelation of God’s person expressed in the redemptive work of Jesus Christ, as the Holy Spirit illuminates God’s written Word to his heart.

6) True worship and praise as “awesome wonder and overpowering love” in the presence of our God.

7) Worship is the ability to magnify God with our whole being—body, soul, and spirit.

8) Worship is the response of God’s Spirit in us to that Spirit in Him whereby we answer, “Abba, Father,” deep calling unto deep.

Though these definitions may be helpful, they still fall short of its true meaning. Sorge’s father-in-law, Morris Smith, insightfully remarked, “Real worship defies definition; it can only be experienced.”

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Read the Bible Selectively: How?

There is an interesting little verse in the book of Titus that you should memorize. It is found in Titus 2:9-10:

“Teach slaves to be subject to their masters in everything, to try to please them, not to talk back to them, and not to steal from them, but to show that they can be fully trusted, so that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive.”

In Eugene Peterson’s translation The Message, he writes, “…Then their good character will shine through their actions, adding luster to the teaching of our Savior God.”

When I decided to ask Nicole to marry me, I wanted to buy a diamond ring that would sparkle and let everyone know that Nicole was married to me. However, I was told that rings lose their shine during wear and I needed to buy a warranty to have the ring polished from time to time. Every time we have the ring repolished, the ring has a certain luster and radiance about it.

That is how the Bible looks when we live out its truths. That is why the last question is so vital to your Bible study. Let’s look at the sixth and final question in our toolbox when we study the Bible: HOW?

Here are a few questions that you need to ask when you are studying a text? How does the passage I am reading make a difference in your life? How can I apply the truth to my life? How do I need to change in response to what I am reading? What steps do I need to make to change my thoughts, behavior, or speech?

“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do” (James 1:22-25).

Howard Hendricks writes, “Remember, the Word of God was not written to satisfy our curiosity; it was written to change our lives” (Living By the Book, 95).