PERSONAL WORSHIP LESSON 2 By Claudine Lehman Let’s start today with a very simple question: What is worship? Worship is hard to define, explain or teach because it is so personal. The act of worshiping covers a wide range of … Continue reading
“As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith just as you were instructed . . .” Colossians 2:6-7
As a leader of this ministry committed to instructing women in God’s Word, “just as you were instructed . . . ” is my favorite line! I love to communicate and teach the truth of God. That’s the ONE thing God’s specifically asked me to do.
When I read that phrase I also recall all the ways I’ve received instruction. Being instructed myself is not always as much fun as instructing others. Maybe that’s because I learn things the hard way.
One of my earliest memories was learning John 3:16 at 18 months. (Not that I really remember it, but I’ve been reminded of that feat often enough.) My young life was saturated with Bible learning–at church several times a week, summer camp, and Christian school. Then as an adult, my job involved listening to radio Bible teachers in order to write advertising copy. I listened to biblical instruction for hours a day . . . read books . . . attended seminars . . . .
You’d think with that background, I would understand who God was. Yet even with lots of head knowledge, my heart was cold to the Truth of a living, loving God.
Much too far into my grown-up life, I asked God to give me a passion for His Word. I could see that those other teachers of the Word experienced something much deeper when they opened their Bibles than I did. I wanted that for myself–not just to read and know–but to confidently live in God’s Word. When I verbalized that desire, that’s when I truly began to be instructed in the Word.
These words in Psalm 119:73-77 (The Message) remind me of God’s instruction. I’ll take it line-by-line to show God’s model for instruction:
1. “With your very own hands you formed me; now breathe your wisdom over me so I can understand you.” God’s breath–His Spirit instructs us. That’s an incredible gift we receive at salvation–the Spirit of God within us, who convicts us of wrong and convinces us of the truth.
2. “When they see me waiting, expecting your Word, those who fear you will take heart and be glad.” God’s Word instructs us. These words on a page are also a living Word. It’s one of those wonderful mysteries of Jesus . . . that He was the Word who became flesh and dwelt among us.
Andrew Murray tells us this:
“Study much to know the written Word, but study more to know the living Word, in whom you are of God. Jesus, the wisdom of God, is only known by a life of implicit confidence and obedience. The words He speaks are spirit and life to those who live in Him.” (Abide in Christ, pg. 63)
3. “I can see now, God, that your decisions are right; your testing has taught me what’s true and right.” God instructs us through the difficult moments in life. When everything we hold onto in this world seems to be gone, we learn what’s true and right in God’s eyes. We grow and mature when we learn that God’s decisions are right.
4. “Oh, love me–and right now!–hold me tight! Just the way you promised.” God also teaches us through His people. Sometimes they are close enough to touch us; sometimes they bring a word or note of encouragement. People who speak the Truth to you give an up-close view of God. Some call this showing “Jesus with skin on.”
5. “Now comfort me so I can live, really live; your revelation is the tune I dance to.” We respond to God’s instruction with praise. At the same time, we learn more about our great God. Praise brings new revelation . . . and we long for more.
God’s Word should delight us in a way that sets us free . . . free to dance in His presence.
Mind if I pray for you?
God, there is someone reading this today with a ridiculous amount of head-knowledge about Your Word, but her heart is still empty. Stir her in places that words alone fail to reach–tender places that bring her to tears, dry places that make her thirsty for You, overwhelming places that bring her to the end of herself. Then open her eyes to the wonder of living free in Your presence. Amen.
You might be interested to know that worship really comes as naturally to our spirits as breathing comes to our bodies. You were made to worship—to ascribe worth to something. In fact, you are probably worshipping something or someone right now.
The challenge comes in focusing our worship on the only object deserving of it—God.
Most of us have places where we find it easy to worship God:
In a beautiful setting surrounded by God’s creation;
In the stillness of meditation and quiet times alone;
In a group, praising God with music and passion;
–places where we are best able to say – “God, You’re bigger and greater than anything else in my life!”
Think of such a place for you and tuck it away for a moment while we look at Matthew 28:16-20 . . . a passage that takes us to perhaps the greatest worship moment in history.
- Jesus has risen from the grave.
- The covenant promise of God to redeem mankind has been satisfied.
- Death is conquered; sin defeated.
- Jesus has invited His dearest friends to a great meeting on a mountain top in Galilee.
What could be more inspiring than that?
16 Meanwhile, the eleven disciples were on their way to Galilee, headed for the mountain Jesus had set for their reunion. 17 The moment they saw him they worshiped him. Some, though, held back, not sure about worship, about risking themselves totally. 18 Jesus, undeterred, went right ahead and gave his charge: “God authorized and commanded me to commission you: 19 Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. 20 Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age.” (The Message paraphrase)
Did you notice the phrase tucked in the middle there? “Some, though, held back, not sure about worship, about risking themselves totally.” What a truly honest thing to say about the greatest worship service ever.
And yet . . . what’s wrong with these followers of Jesus?!! Here’s Jesus right in front of them in His glorified body, not as a mysterious figure, but as their companion and friend. They’ve joined Him on a mountain top, in a place where Jesus has, in the past, performed miracles and spoken great words of truth. How could they NOT worship in that moment?
Still, the passage states they were “not sure . . . about risking themselves.” What could these disciples have been afraid of risking?
Their lives? Maybe, but they’ve lived under Roman occupation and were accustomed to life being a risk every day.
Their reputations? After travelling with Jesus for three years, they’ve long since given up their reputations.
No. I think what they were afraid to risk was another disappointment. They were afraid that what they’ve expected from Jesus all along will not turn the way they planned . . . again. And they’re right. Jesus is never who we expect Him to be, is He?
When I read through this passage a few weeks ago, I’ll admit, I identified with the ones who held back. All too often I’m not sure about worship, about risking myself totally.
- Even though my living Savior has given His Spirit to dwell inside me—
- Even though I have the assurance that I’m God’s child—
- Even though God’s Word is written out in detail for me to read every day—
I hold back –reserving part of my heart–because I don’t want to risk being disappointed.
But notice how Jesus responds. Undeterred, He commands & commissions everyone, the worshipful and doubtful alike, to go out and train and instruct everyone they meet. Finally, He leaves them with this great hope:
“I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age.”
When I take Jesus at His Word, I worship . . . realizing that He’s bigger and greater than anything else in my life . . . . And my spirit breathes with eternal life.
Good question. Why do we carve out time and protect part of our busy Tuesday mornings for our group to gather in one place and sing? I’ve asked our new Worship Team leader to share her thoughts on worship. Here’s what Laura had to say …
*It’s all about Jesus*
Focusing our moments together—
because we have Him in common.
Together…with the same LIFE LOVE – Jesus
the same Savior
the same, yet individually different
JOY of knowing HE LOVES me/us/you—
and CELEBRATING that!
With song, with resources, with words of thanks,
Sharing with each other the SMILE He puts in our heart and on our face!
What delight we can bring.
This doesn’t really have anything to do with having “solo-quality” voices,
a full band, the newest compositions or recordings,
perfect sound settings; a wallet full of money;
all elements of my life “just so”—the ideal personal weight and eating discipline;
the laundry done or kitchen clean; make-up & a cute outfit on.
It’s not about age, marital, social or spiritual status.
Something really special happens when people come together
because of a common LOVE!
All we are,
All we have
All to Him with joy … this is worship.
9 a.m. next Tuesday in the Coffee House. I’m IN for this kind of worship. Won’t you join us too?