Encounter: Slowly read through Psalm 100 using at least two different translations. Underline any words or phrases that make an impression on you. Try writing a Psalm of your own. Begin by meditating on the words of the Psalmist and asking yourself, what does it mean for me to worship?
Last week I drove into Eden’s parking lot to go the office and as I looked at our beautiful building, the question came to my mind…why would anyone want to come to Eden Church? Then it came to me another way. Why do we come to this building on state road 3, what is the purpose behind everything we do?
In our post-modern, post-Christian culture it is a fair question to ask. Actually, it is an extremely important question to reflect on because how we answer this question will determine how we invest our lives, our gifts and our resources as God’s church, as God’s people.
The answer to my pondering then came to me in one word – WORSHIP. So maybe this is obvious, but it is not always evident in what our hearts focus on in the church. Remember Jesus says the playing field is our heart and the heart was created for worship.
Retired NFL star, John Burrough ,shared his reflection about his experience during the 1998 Super Bowl. He said on game day, “In the middle of all the explosions and hoopla and hype, all I could think was, Is this it? Is this all it is? Why, this doesn't even compare to worshiping my God!”
Something very powerful takes place when God’s people gather to worship, study and feast together not only on Sundays but throughout the week. Our story of faith is expressed through song, the sharing in God’s Word and the sacraments which create spaces to experience the presence of God in all the mysterious ways this presence comes to us.
Gathering around the table with Bibles and hearts open during your Life Group sets the stage for God to show up in tangible ways. It is even in the midst of worship God makes himself know to those who have yet to grasp what God is up to in their lives. But have we made worship about something else?
In the book, Emerging Church, Dan Kimball helps us to focus in the right direction when he says our responses to why we come to church should not be “I enjoyed that” or “I didn’t like that,” but “I encountered God today,” or “I became more of a follower of Jesus today.”
Our goal for coming to Eden Church must be to help men, women and children find their way back to God as we find our way so we all grow as worshipers of God and apprentices of Jesus, not as consumers of religious programs.
C.S. Lewis said, “The perfect church service would be one we were almost unaware of; our attention would have been on God.”
On Game Day, everything we practiced for, prepared for, hoped for, dreamed about, invested in is no longer something off in the future, suddenly, the game becomes real and living in worship to our Creator makes it so.
This Sunday is Game Day! Our community comes to gather as His church, to bring our voices together in worship and experience God for real and to bring our voices together to commit ourselves with all we are and all we have to the reason we come to this place on state road 3…so that we may know and experience you the only true God, and to know and experience Jesus Christ (John 17:3) whom you have sent and to experience this every day. Welcome to worship!
Worshipping with you,
Reflect: Think about the ways that you worship God in spirit and in truth (John 14). How have you experienced God’s presence in worship? How have you made worship about your preferences instead of the reverence and awe and passion for intimacy with your Creator?
Encourage: How would you explain worship to someone who doesn’t know anything about God? How does our purpose statement: "We are a welcoming community seeking transformation through relationship with Jesus Christ and encouraging others to join us" speak of worship?
Gather: Discuss how you would like to worship God on Sunday mornings? What would you add to a worship “service” that would draw more attention to who God is instead of what is popular by consumers. How does this encourage unity among God’s people? Talk about how you worship God every day and pray for one another to experience more of eternal life now (John 17:3).