Worship

Five To Focus 37. Wait on the Lord

When the Bible tells us to wait on the Lord, it is talking about a hopeful trust and dependence that the Lord will work out His good and perfect will. This episode is 4 of 4 of the natural worship service order seen in Psalm 33.

 

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Five To Focus 36. Don’t Throw Marshmallows at A Brick Wall

The counsel of the Lord and His plans stand forever. In a chaotic world, v.18 tells us that we can be thankful that God has his eye on those who fear him and who hope in his steadfast love. This episode is 3 of 4 of the natural worship service order seen in Psalm 33.

 

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Gaze and Go: God’s Glory Motivates Us To Mission

In Acts 1, Jesus told His disciples to wait in Jerusalem for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.  He reminded them of their mission (verse 8) and then the disciples saw something indescribable: Jesus ascending to heaven.

He had already been crucified and resurrected and lived on the earth another 40 days to speak about the kingdom of God (Acts 1:3). But the ascension of Jesus to heaven was more glorious than any bride’s first appearance before walking down an aisle.

The disciples just stand there gazing into heaven. I’m convinced that they were experiencing the glorious presence of God in a paralyzing way. “And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight.” (Acts 1:9, ESV)

God’s presence has been symbolized by a cloud before—  

And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead them along the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night. The pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night did not depart from before the people.” (Exodus 13:21–22, ESV)

And when the priests came out of the Holy Place, a cloud filled the house of the Lord, so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord.” (1 Kings 8:10–11, ESV)  

Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.” (1 Thessalonians 4:17, ESV)  

We probably would have been staring too.

Then in verse 11, two men in white clothes suddenly appear to the disciples and say “. . .why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.” In other words, Jesus will return the same way you see Him going now. Don’t worry about Him coming back. Instead, be occupied with what He told you to do.

As they are marveling at Jesus and His glory, these two angels had to redirect their mission. They were gazing at the King, all while forgetting that they were to be building up the kingdom.

Some Christians spend all their time gazing into heaven while the world around them is going to hell.  

Don’t misunderstand—it’s a good thing to gaze into heaven.  “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” (Colossians 3:2, ESV)  It’s a good thing to be occupied with the glory of God and give Him praise for who He is.

But God’s glory should motivate us to God’s mission.

Abraham understood this.  Just by hearing the glory in God’s voice alone give him instruction, he left every comfort to follow God.

Moses understood this.  The glory found in the burning bush moved him past his insufficiencies.

Nehemiah understood this.  Seeing the wall of his city torn down and desiring to see the glory of God to be seen in his city again, He went through the pain of organizing the people and rebuilding the wall.

Isaiah understood this.  When he saw the glory of God fill the temple, He said “Here I Am” without knowing any details.

Jesus understood this. He humbled Himself to come to this earth to take the sin of the world on himself and reconcile sinners to God for God’s glory to continually be revealed on this earth.

The temptation for many Christians is to stand and gaze into heaven and forget our mission in this world.  

We can be great at gazing into heaven: attending worship services, reading our Bibles, singing praises, praying for people, reading Christian books. But God’s glory should motivate us to God’s mission.

Yes, gaze upon his beauty and glory, and go be his witness. How can you gaze and go this week?

Five To Focus 35. Praise God for His Powerful Word

If God’s Word brought forth everything in this earth and in the heavens, then surely His Word that we can read can transform our lives as we live it out! This episode is 2 of 4 of the natural worship service order seen in Psalm 33.

 

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Five To Focus 34. Tie-Dye Shirts and Your Heart for Worship

When you live in this state of praise, your relationship with the Lord is constantly refreshed. This episode is 1 of 4 of the natural worship service order seen in Psalm 33.

 

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What You Worship Shows Where You Seek Satisfaction

When you are seeking, look in the right direction.

We were playing hide and seek as a family once a couple years ago and everyone had been found except four-year-old Sydney. All six of us were looking for her and after a while, we got a little panicked. Did she run off, did somebody grab her when no one was looking?  

We looked in the backyard, the neighbor’s yards, and the pond that was across the street until we finally found her–underneath a blanket in the garage, sleeping! We were across the street and she’s asleep in the garage!

When you are seeking, look in the right direction.

David shows us in Psalm 63 that we worship what we think will satisfy us. So when you are seeking satisfaction, make sure you look in the right direction. Or in other words, look in the direction of our Creator God; worship Him and you will find satisfaction for your soul, the innermost part of your being.

David paints a clear picture of his condition and desire for worship in Psalm 63:1: I seek you earnestly; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.  

Get the picture? A desolate condition of searching for what will satisfy the innate longing in his soul.

What do you do when your soul has that kind of desire in a world that is full of earthly deserts?  Verse two gives the answer: Thus, I have seen you in the sanctuary, to see your power and your glory. This is a declaration of worship, and we will only find satisfaction in our souls when we are in the proper place of worship (sanctuary) and the presence of God (power and glory).

Regarding the place of worship, however, there is a difference between David and us. In David’s day, the sanctuary would have been the Tabernacle and later the Temple.

But in John 4:21-24, Jesus states that the time is at hand where we will worship in Spirit and Truth. God is spirit.

Today, worship is not assigned only to a certain space but is always possible because of God’s presence in you through His Holy Spirit.  

You can have the Holy Spirit  in you by repenting of your sin and believing in Him.

You do have the Holy Spirit  in you, then, when you are saved.

When you are seeking, look in the right direction. The natural desire in your soul will lead you to worship. We were created to worship. Make sure you look in the right direction, and then find satisfaction for your soul.

 

Photo by Matt Artz on Unsplash

Five to Focus 33. Jesus: For His Glory or Your Greed?

Are you willing to praise Jesus no matter the cost? Or do you just go through the motions and think more about what’s in it for you?

In other words, are you willing to humble yourself or are you looking to be exalted?

Scripture Reference:  Mark 14

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Five To Focus 28. Desires Influence Actions and Direct Worship

David’s words in Psalm 27:4-6 give a pattern of desires–actions–worship that will help us walk in the path of righteousness.

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Check Your Heart First

God teaches us an important lesson through Gideon: focus on your heart before you focus on others’ hearts.

In Judges 6, Gideon knew that God was raising him up to save Israel from the oppression of Midian. The very night that Gideon had a revival moment with God, building the altar called the Lord is Peace, God gave him his first instruction. It is not a war plan; it’s a worship plan.

Priorities! You would think that God would unveil some great military plan to stop the Midianites,

sort of like he did to Deborah and Barak. But God takes a different course of action here and we must catch this lesson. Israel wanted peace. They experience oppression for seven years under the hand of Midian and cried out to the Lord for help. God raised up Gideon to save them, but they needed to look into their own camp for peace and freedom before thinking about Midian. Israel was filled with idolatry and God told Gideon to tear down to the altars to Baal and Asherah in his own town before he gave him any instruction about the Midianites. God was reorienting their heart to Him–a worship plan!

You must get your priorities right in order to be at peace with the Lord. You can cry out to him when you’re in difficult moments (like Israel), but if you’re still trying to find satisfaction and peace in idols, it’s going to be very difficult to see the Lord for who He is and who He needs to be in your life.

Check your own heart before you try to step out in faith to accomplish what the Lord has called you to.  

Photo by Taylor Nicole on Unsplash

Using AirTable To Plan A Yearly Worship Calendar

I’ve written about using AirTable for recording shepherding tasks, and now I want to show you how to use it for planning your church’s worship calendar for the year. By worship calendar, I’m talking about sermon info, service notes, and files that a pastor and worship team should be communicating on as they plan worship services.

 

Other programs exist that might do this and more, but I like AirTable because it is free and easy!

We set up a table with these column headings

  • Date.  
  • Sermon Title.
  • Text Reference. Our whole service theme is built around the sermon text, so this is important to us.
  • Suggested New title. I’m not the best at creating sermon titles, so this column is for my ministry assistant to suggest something better. If I like it, then I change the Sermon Title box. Of the 5 suggestions this year, all 5 were better!
  • Preacher. Our worship coordinator knows who to work with to get a feel for the direction of the sermon, etc.
  • Scripture Reading. If a Scripture will be read in the service that is not the Scripture text of the sermon, then it is listed here.
  • Main Point/Helpful Notes For Worship Planning.  I do most of the preaching, so when I plan out the year’s sermons, I can put little notes to remind myself of some details. Also, this gives our worship coordinator a better idea of how the sermon Scripture will be applied. We might put a note here for the tech team (i.e., video will be played here…).
  • Sermon Series. Just for easy sorting if we’d like to view everything from the same series.
  • Series Graphic. It’s kept here because our tech team can grab it quickly to upload as our sermon podcast cover image.
  • Special Notes. Used for things like “Mother’s Day,” “The Lord’s Supper,” etc.
  • Website Description. I put a final description of the sermon here for our tech team to paste into the podcast description.

 

Organizing our material this way helps everybody know in advance what to plan for. It helps everything flow smoothly. There is a tab for each year so that we can quickly look back on any details. And you can share the table with whoever needs access; so everyone can access it easily on their computers or devices (the app is helpful).

 

Can you think of other ways to use AirTable or other programs for worship planning?

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