EQUIP: Week 4 – Maintaining a Life of Worship
“And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory.” (Isaiah 6:3)
Week 4: Day 1 – Wired for Worship
“I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your reasonable act of worship.” (Romans 12:1)
Today is day one of the fourth week of our eight-week equipping experience, and up to this point, we’ve explored two of the six God-given purposes for what it means for us to be the church at work: Proclaiming the Gospel and Cultivating Christian Community. In the week that follows, we will be exploring our third essential priority, Maintaining the Life of Worship.
Worship is in our DNA. God has wired us for worship. As we follow Jesus every day, and everywhere, with everyone…our very lives become worship.
Hold on to this thought as we begin our daily rhythm.
As we seek to become Worshipers within a worshiping community, we begin our daily PRAY(er) rhythm by, ‘P’: PAUSING to be still. ‘R’: REFLECTING on Scripture or learnings. ‘A’: ASKING God to help us and others on the journey and ‘Y’: YIELDING to God’s transformative work in our life, no matter the cost. [i]
P. R. A. Y.
As I enter prayer now, I pause to be still; to breathe slowly; to recenter my scattered senses upon the presence of God.
Jesus, the one who saves, as I say ‘yes’ to your invitation to follow you today, I ask that you would fill my heart with your love, open my mind to your worth, and renew in me a desire to worship you again, today.
Read & Reflect
Revealed in Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5) is a mandate given to his followers to worship. As Christians, we get to follow Jesus’ command to worship God through so many beautiful and creative ways in our everyday lives (even what we’re doing now is considered worship). Even more, our worship is enhanced, enriched, and becomes more expansive through our participation within a worshiping community.
This word “worship” is often overused and poorly defined in the church. We use it so frequently and flippantly that it becomes cliché and loses its meaning. For many, “worship” has been reduced to something we do with instruments and our voices. For example, when many of us hear the phrase “praise and worship” we are quick to picture a pipe organ and a choir or a band and a song leader. Although these are important and beautiful elements used in “worship,” they barely scratch the surface of what it truly means to “worship.”
What does it mean to “worship”? Worship simply means attributing worth to the one who is worthy. As Bel Air Church, we believe that following Jesus is not only about what we know or what we do, but also where we place our worth. Said a different way, as a worshiping community we communicate to God through worth-ship.
What makes God so worthy of our worth-ship? [ii] There are so many reasons for us to attribute worth to God! As Matt Redman reminds us in his timeless song, “Bless the Lord oh my soul, oh my soul, worship his holy name…For all your goodness I will keep on singing, ten thousand reasons for my heart to find.” [iii]
Just to name a few, God is:
The Holy One
- “Ascribe to the Lord the glory of his name; worship the Lord in holy splendor.” (Psalm 29:2)
- “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory.” (Isaiah 6:3)
- “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.” (Revelation 4:11)
- God is powerful over all creation and worthy of our praise (Psalm 29:3-10)
The One Who Saves
- “Surely God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid, for the Lord God is my strength and my might; he has become my salvation.” (Isaiah 12:2; 43:1)
- “But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—” (Ephesians 2:4-5; John 1:29; Revelation 5:9)
When we recognize God for all God is worth – as The Holy One, the Creator of all that is, the only Redeemer of all who are hurt and broken and lost, as the one whom we trust with our very lives and count on to provide for our every need — this revelation awakens an internal and external response of love, devotion, adoration and praise both from us as individuals and from us as a worshiping community.
“The dramatic celebration of God’s supreme worth in such a manner that God’s ‘worthiness’ becomes the norm and inspiration of human living.” – Ralph Martin [iv]
Not only do we communicate God’s ‘worthiness’ through song, prayer, devotion, etc., but as we follow Jesus every day, and everywhere, with everyone our very lives become worship.
Journal and/or self-reflect:
- What does it mean for me to say God is “worthy”?
- What would I name as reasons from my life for why Jesus is worthy of my worship?
The reality is, we are wired for worship. It’s in our DNA. The question isn’t whether or not we worship, it’s “who are we worshiping?” The reason this question is so important for us to consider is because we become like the god that we worship.
“What people revere, they resemble, either for ruin or for restoration.” – Greg Beale [v]
Continue to journal and/or self-reflect:
- As I reflect on who I have become today, to whom or to what am I giving the greatest amount of worth and how?
- In what ways do I “resemble what I revere” most?
- In what ways is it bringing me “ruin or restoration”?
“We don’t go to church to worship, but we gather as the church already Worshiping” – Pastor Drew
Pastor Drew reminds us that worship is not simply an idea or a concept or something we program and schedule within a service on Sundays. It’s not limited to a certain location or “sacred space.” And it doesn’t automatically happen simply because we name a special gathering a “worship service” or sing a “worship song.”
Whether in solitude, or in the company of two or three, or meeting with a house church, or streaming into a huge auditorium with thousands, worship tunes the heart to God’s presence, God’s promises and God’s priorities. And we hold nothing back. We abandon ourselves to worship. We become completely receptive, spontaneously expressive, leaning into healing and massively strengthened in our resolve to follow the Christ of God and his beautiful Way of Life. – Doug Stephens [vi]
As we follow Jesus every day, and everywhere, with everyone our very lives become worship. And the good news is that as we fix our eyes on Jesus (Hebrews 12), the exact imprint of God’s very being (Hebrews 1) we become more like him for our revival, renewal and restoration!
As we pray the following, let’s make our requests unique to us as individuals:
As I return to the invitation to follow Jesus every day, and everywhere, with everyone, Holy Creative Saving God, I am humbled to be in your presence today. I recognize I am not worthy to be called your child or your Beloved because of my own righteousness or through anything I have done. You alone are worthy. Jesus, you alone are my righteousness and my reconciliation. You’ve surrounded me with sisters and brothers who have been forgiven by you, called by you, and worship you as well.
I ask that you…
I yield my life to you once again. Today marks a new day in a lifelong journey of following you as an active participant of a worshiping community. Amen.
Over this next week, we will memorize Isaiah 6:3 (NRSV) together. This passage will help frame the ongoing conversation throughout the week. To begin our practice, let’s write the following verse verbatim in a journal, notecard, on a post-it note, or make a note in your smart device:
And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory.
Spiritual Practice | Gratitude
Over the following week, we will develop another spiritual practice or habit that is essential to our life of following Jesus. Over the next five days we will specifically develop a habit of ‘gratitude.’
Gratitude is, “To be sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s prompting to live with a grateful heart, aware of God’s work in my life…” – Rev. Dr. Care Crawford [vii]
Gratitude is our thankful response toward God – for God’s presence in and with us and the world. Blessings can lead us into gratitude, but are not at the core of a thankful heart. Delighting in God and God’s good will is at the root of our gratitude/thankfulness.
Take note of the following Scriptures and consider reading them at your leisure throughout the week:
We will explore more of this practice of gratitude in the days to come.
2021 Rev. Mike Morgan