Friday, January 29, 2010

Back to the Beginning

AT MY AGE, not too old and definitely not too young, I have reached that point where I sometimes forget why I went to a certain room. I stand there looking around, knowing that I came here for a reason, but for the life of me I cannot remember what that reason was.

I have discovered that in times of localized memory loss there are two things I can do to help me remember. First, it is to go back to where I was...a returning to the "beginning of my journey" with the hopes of having my memory "restarted." The second is to enlist others to help me remember, which usually means asking one of my family members, "Do you know why I am here?" To which they often answer by slowly and sadly shaking their heads side-to-side with that worried look that clearly states, "Dad's not losing it, he's lost it."

This need to remember the past so that I can live in the present also applies to my walk as a follow of Jesus Christ. There are times I seem to wake up in this world and wonder, "What am I doing here?" or "What is it that I am supposed to be doing here?" It is this type of situation, and these types of questions that prompted me to set off on a new series of sermon from the book of Genesis.

The purpose of this new series, "Origins: Beginning Again with God," is to take us back to the book of beginnings to be reminded of who God is, and how God works, and what is our relationship with God. My hope and prayer is that as we go back to the beginning we will gain the wisdom and strength that is needed to not only remember why we are here, but so that we can live the lives that God created us to live.

This week we begin with the words that not only begin it all, but form the foundation and framework of all that follows, "In the beginning God..." (Genesis 1:1). If your desirous of joining me on this journey I would also point you to Psalm 148:1-14, here the psalmist reminds us, once again, of why were "in the room."

God bless you on your journey of remembering.
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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Heart of Worship

RECENTLY OUR CHURCH FAMILY SANG, Matt Redman's song, "Heart of Worship." In the midst of that song we are reminded that the central point of our worship is the Person of Jesus Christ. That got me thinking about that recurring question in my life, and the life of the church, What does it mean to worship?

There have been many books written on the subject, a multitude of sermons preached, and even a few wars fought. I suppose there is not much I can add to the plethora of discussions that have taken place, but I felt that as we are moving forward as a church, facing a new year, and a new tomorrow, it might be good for us to take a look one more time, not for the purpose of finding something "new" but simply as a way of reminding ourselves of some the truths regarding this thing called worship, to which we are called.

As I am working on putting together my sermon for this coming Sunday (January 17, 2010) here are some thoughts that are settling in my mind regarding this emotional, and often highly personal, subject of worship.

First, as we are reminded in Redman's song, worship is all about Jesus, well for that matter it is about the whole Triune God. The danger comes when we place ourselves at the center of worship. When this happens worship quickly degrades into an argument about choruses, choirs, candles and comfort. Thus, if we remember anything iy must me the adage that it is not about me, it is about God.

Second, worship is life, or maybe better stated, life is about worship. This is at least part of what the Apostle Paul was referring to in his letter to the Church in Rome (Romans 12:1-2) where we are told that worship is the presenting of our bodies as living sacrifices through acts of service. This brings up a third point regarding worship.

Worship is communal. After reading Romans 12:1-2 we must continue reading and as we do we shall see that the Apostle Paul turns his thoughts toward our living together as the Body of Christ. I must believe that this flow in his letter is not without design. Worship takes place within community, and this community extends beyond the walls of the church and a given hour on Sunday morning (or Saturday night as the case may be.)

There are most definitely many more areas of discussion we could address, but for the sake of this blog, and my study for this week's sermon, I would like to suggest just one more area of thought and that is that worship is about story.

Worship as story means that it is about living out the story of God in our lives. This story is to declare who God is and who we are in relationship to Him. Our "service of worship," whether it be as a corporate gathering on a Sunday morning, or as we spend our day working in a cubical or caring for our family, is to be the recounting of God's past faithfulness, in the midst of our present life as an expression of our future hope in Christ. Our worship flows from the reality of our relationship with the living God.

Worship is many things to many people, and thus it will always be a "hot topic," but let us remember in all of discussions that total worship is what God deserves and worship is the life we were called to live. So, let us worship!
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