Be Rich Part 4: Worship
On Sunday 28th May at our morning service, we continued our series 'Be Rich' with the topic 'Worship'. In this blog you will find a summary of the talk and then some questions and reflections for you to think through on your own or to discuss in your small group.
To listen to the talk on-line, please click here.
To download the talk to listen to off line, please click here.
Over the past weeks in this series Be Rich we have been looking at Giving, serving and loving. Each subject follows naturally on from the other.
We can give of our financial resources but we also need to give something of our lives. Last week Peter talked about love and giving and serving are natural expressions of love. It often costs us financially and it certainly cost us in serving those that we love. If we would call ourselves Christians, or followers of Jesus then this is how we follow Him. We do what Jesus did, give everything that we have, and are and we love all that Jesus loves as a response to his love for us. This leads naturally into the subject of worship. True worship is about giving our whole lives and whole heart.
It is expressed in giving and serving but part of that worship is expressed through song.
True worship is whole life, whole hearted body and soul.
Sung worship is different to the whole life worship. It is the difference between cooking food for the man I love and telling him that I love him and giving him a hug or more. Sung worship is about intimacy with God.
It is the way we are able to express our feelings for God and experience the closeness of his presence. It can strengthen faith and deepen our relationship with him.
But we associate music with entertainment. Have you heard yourself or others say: I didn’t get much out of the worship today or I enjoyed the worship today. It is not entertainment for us; it is supposed to be an expression of our love and faith for God.
Like everything the more you put in the more you receive.
True worship; whole life, whole hearted body and soul worship enriches us. Several years ago I went to a Christian conference where there were extended times of incredible musical worship. When I really entered into this, it was as if I was able to peep into heaven. The temptation though is to watch and judge others instead of concentrating on bringing our worship to God and focussing on HIm.
The Bible tells us a lot about worship and today I will just talk about one aspect using a story about worship from the Old Testament part of the Bible. This story began long before David became King and can be found in 1 Samuel chapter 4 verse 1 to 11. You can read this by clicking here.
This is a part of the history records.
The Ark of the Covenant: a magnificent gold box that contained the tablets of the Ten Commandments, a pot of Manna (supernatural food) and Aarons rod which he used to perform various miracles, was captured by their enemies. It had been brought to change their fortune but instead things go from bad to worse. In our lives we may have experienced things going wrong and when we pray things get worse. It happens. But usually we only hear about the times when our prayers are answered positively. This story tells of a time when God doesn’t seem to be fighting their corner. This can really knock our faith and worship is difficult, if not impossible. Our disappointment can be crushing. It is easier to sing praises to God when things are going well.
The Israelites live for 20 years without the presence of god at the heart of worship. Then in 2 Samuel chapter 6 we read of King David’s desire to bring the Ark back. You can read this by clicking here.
It starts off well but things don’t go well and King David is scared.
He decides to dump the Ark on a nearby family. Time passes.
So the presence of God brings blessing to Obed-Edom’s family not death.
David’s second attempt goes better. Try to imagine the scene: the sound, the smells the atmosphere. What would it feel like to be in the middle of all this?
David sacrificed a bull and a fattened calf because true worship requires sacrifice. These days we don’t sacrifice animals, but offer ourselves as living sacrifices. It is easy to praise God, but at other times it requires sacrifice. We may not feel like praising God or giving, serving, or loving.
Our worship is a sacrifice of praise to the God who sacrificed all for love for us.
David stripped himself of his Kingly robes and wore a simple everyday priestly garment. It was usually only the women who danced. David is so caught up in worship that he throws aside his status and the conventions of society. His focus is on God, not what others think of him. This is intimate worship. This was unconstrained and wholehearted celebration.
True worship; whole life, whole hearted body and soul worship
Now, you may say this is all very well, but we simply do not do that kind of thing. I have heard the whooping for so called celebrities on chat shows.
I have seen wild dancing at gigs and concerts, even weddings.
I have even seen the cheers shouts and wild behaviour at football matches.
Sporting events not resounding with the sounds of trumpets but cheers rattles, songs and vuvuzelas. God is worth so much more than so called celebrities or sports.
God is worth true worship whole life, whole hearted body and soul.
David overcame his fear and lack of faith in God.
He learnt to worship in good times and bad.
He learnt the freedom to worship in an unconstrained way and overcome his embarrassment. And humbled himself. What God thought of him was paramount. He was enriched by worship. On the other hand his wife Michal’s life was made so much poorer by her attitude to it. Whole life, whole body, whole hearted worship enriches us
In preparing this God spoke to me about his desire for intimacy with Him.
Intimacy is at the heart of every really deep relationship.
It is as we come before each other as we truly are that relationships deepen.
We need to learn how to use these sung prayers to focus on God to draw near to him. It is as we get lost in wonder awe and praise that our worship enriches us as we feel his touch and hear his voice.
If we want to grow deeper with God then one of the ways is through the gateway of sung worship.
Questions and Reflections (for you to think about on your own or to discuss in your Life Group)
1. Read the passage a couple of times. What is it that excites you? What is it that you find difficult or confusing?
2. What is it that first strikes you about this message? Why do you think that is?
3. Do you find it easy or hard to worship in an unconstrained way like David? Why do you think that is?
4. Do you need to overcome disappointment of the past like David?
5. What do you need to do to take a step closer to this kind of whole life, whole hearted body and soul worship?
6. What is going to be the thing that you take away from this message?
7. What do you need to do as a result of what you have heard.