Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Preparing for Worship

*I love practical theology - when what I believe about God and redemption through Christ alone can be lived out in real, tangible ways. Sometimes though, connecting theology with real life is difficult. It usually helps me to write it out, so I'm going to do a few posts about "real life faith". I hope it will help others think through these ideas as well.

"God wants His people to prepare in advance to tell everybody He deserves to be worshiped."
Stones & Their Story 3/16/14 Sermon by Ben Wright
High Pointe Baptist Church, Austin, TX

These thoughts has been running through my mind all week:
  • God deserves to be worshiped.  As a follower of Christ, my purpose in life is not to worship myself by seeking my own comfort and interests, but to worship the Triune God who created me to reflect His glory by obeying His Word.
  • If  I am going to be prepared to tell others this truth, then I should know what true worship is and how to do it well. I need to prepare and practice at worship so I can demonstrate and explain it well to others.
What is worship?
Louie Giglio said, "Worship is our response, both personal and corporate, to God for who He is, and what He has done; expressed in and by the things we say and the way we live." (For more on "What is Worship?" Read: TGC Worship)

How should I prepare for corporate worship?
Being prepared in advanced for Sunday morning is not usually a priority for most people. We just show up to church and expect the preacher or worship leader to entertain us. But that's not worshiping God, that's worshiping ourselves. We need to take steps to ensure that our hearts and minds are ready to hear the truth of God's word that will teach us how to respond to God and how to share Him with others.
Obviously, this is not an exhaustive list, but here are a few ideas from Pastor Ben's sermon and books on the topic (see resources below):
  • Read the Scripture that will be preached during the week prior to Sunday, before hearing the sermon - this will help us be ready to listen and understand the Bible better
  • Get plenty of rest on Saturday night - this takes discipline, but is respectful to our pastors, our church family and most importantly, God. We need to be ready to give our full attention.
  • Eliminate distractions - set phones to silent before entering church, don't text or email right before church begins
  • Prepare children to be in "big church" with sermon notes, paper, pencils, quiet snack, etc.

Other Helpful Resources:

Helping Johnny Listen by Thad Bergmeier

Listen Up by Christopher Ash

Sermon Notes for Kids by Jill Connelly

Finally, a song that always helps me create an attitude of worship:

 Speak, O Lord by Keith Getty

Speak, O Lord, as we come to You
To receive the food of Your Holy Word.
Take Your truth, plant it deep in us;
Shape and fashion us in Your likeness,
That the light of Christ might be seen today
In our acts of love and our deeds of faith.
Speak, O Lord, and fulfill in us
All Your purposes for Your glory.

Teach us, Lord, full obedience,
Holy reverence, true humility;
Test our thoughts and our attitudes
In the radiance of Your purity.
Cause our faith to rise; cause our eyes to see
Your majestic love and authority.
Words of pow'r that can never fail-
Let their truth prevail over unbelief.

Speak, O Lord, and renew our minds;
Help us grasp the heights of Your plans for us-
Truths unchanged from the dawn of time
That will echo down through eternity.
And by grace we'll stand on Your promises,
And by faith we'll walk as You walk with us.
Speak, O Lord, till Your church is built
And the earth is filled with Your glory. 

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