An Evening of Gathered Worship

WorshipHandsWorship is to come from our lives, not just in song. We know Rom 12:1-2 tells us this. Or it reminds us that the presenting of our bodies as living sacrifices is our logikēn latreian (‘reasonable service’). This word latreian is regularly translated as ‘worship’ because it’s related to the role of the priests in the temple. They served and worshipped God in all they did.

But a new temple has now been formed in Jesus Christ, one being made of living stones, and we are called to offer our reasonable service-worship through the sacrifice of ourselves.

Of course, I believe the fuller concept gets lost a bit in the individualized proclamation of this passage. Instead, what we have here is a proclamation to the community of God’s people in Rome that they might together offer their lives as a sacrifice, which was their reasonable service-worship together.

And we must not forget that one of the great ways to keep the community on the path of being living sacrifices together is through the gathered worship, in all its various formats. It’s not only in this form – but if we remember the collective focus of scripture, then we’ll want to gather together to express our worship-service to God.

And so, this past weekend, our church community gathered together to sing and dance, kneel and pray, offer artistic expressions and read scripture, share communion and word, and much more. Here is a short video summary of that time. Continue reading

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An Open Letter to Praise Bands

worship_community_copy_260181416I’ve mentioned a few times my appreciation of philosopher-theologian, James K.A. Smith (or Jamie Smith). His book on understanding the positives (yes, the positives!) of postmodernism, Who’s Afraid of Postmodernism, was my introduction to his books. And I’m currently reading his work, Desiring the Kingdom.

I was recently reminded of an article of Smith’s posted 15 months ago entitled, An Open Letter to Praise Bands. This approach – An Open Letter to… – is not uncommon in the blogging world for those wanting to address a particular concern. And, so, Smith offered some reminders to worship teams, praise bands and musicians that might be worth considering as we, the corporate local church, gather together for worship. Continue reading

Your Love Makes It Worth It All

This week, I was introduced to a song that I had not known before (Thanks, Bekka!).

The song is entitled I Surrender, written by Kim Walker and Jesus Culture. The whole of the song is stirring and powerful, but I especially like one part with these words:

Your love makes it worth it
Your love makes it worth it all
Your love makes it worth it all

It reminds of David’s words in Psalm 63:3:

Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you.

Nothing is quite as moving as knowing the intimate love of our Father! Nothing has revolutionised my life like knowing his love!

You can listen to the song below. Continue reading

What Is the Central Place of Worship?

In our world today, there are a multitude and variety of worship songs coming out left and right. This is not a bad thing necessarily. I love to worship corporately in song and to worship in my own personal time as I listen to or sing songs. I have recently been blessed by Paul Baloche’s newest album, The Same Love. The two songs – The Same Love and We Are Saved – are truly stirring and encouraging.

Not unexpectedly, one of the greatest themes of songs is that of the cross. And it should be! The enthroning and saving act of Christ, continued in his resurrection and ascension, is the most gripping act in history. What a strange, yet good, way for God to become king and provide salvation for humanity!

But one wrong way to focus on the cross (and, yes, there is a wrong way) is to see it as the central place of worship. It is actually not.

What?

Yes, that’s correct. Continue reading