Preparing for Worship, it is OK to question God

This
Thursday series of blog posts is directed toward the worship teams and members
of ClearView Church
in
Franklin, Tennessee; however, the intent of the series
is applicable to any person who is searching for God and wanting to have a
conversation with Him.

 

It is very
apparent from reading Psalm 3,
4 and 5
and many others that David often questioned God.  Not that he questioned who God was or that
God knew the ultimate outcome, but rather the questions were “why am I going
through this now” “why aren’t You answering my prayer” “don’t You hear me?”

 

If we are
all honest, we can all say we have had those moments: questioning God, even mad
at God.  I don’t think that makes us any
less of a Christ follower. I believe God knew we would react this way. Why? Because
He is the very one who created those feelings.

 

I am glad
to know that I can be that open and honest with God. 

 

This Sunday
we, ClearView, will start the service by being reminded by the scriptures we
hear and the songs we sing that God is faithful; in Him there is sustaining
power for any circumstance.  Those
thoughts will be followed immediately with the question that David often
voiced: “God do you hear me?  If so why
does it seem you pass over my request?”

 

The second
half of the service turns a different corner and helps us recall and celebrate
the amazing gift of salvation and grace through Jesus Christ. 

 

My worship
throughout the week is more of an on-going conversation with God.  I listen as I read the Bible. Sometimes I
think of God and stand in awe and in silence. Other times I speak out-loud my
thoughts about Him or ask Him questions and still other times I find myself
singing songs. As we worship, privately, the next few days, here are some
things we can include to prepare us for Sunday’s corporate worship:

  1. Pray for our leaders: ask God
    to give the leaders wisdom for the direction of the service.
  2. Pray that each person will come
    to worship with an expectation of communicating openly with God.
  3. For the ClearView teams…log on
    to
    www.planningcenteronline.com
    and get more details about the service.

Worship is giving God the best

Worship is giving God the best that He has given you. Be
careful what you do with the best you have. 
Oswald Chambers

Preparing for Worship this Sunday

At worship
this weekend at ClearView we will be starting a new series examining the book
of 1 John. This week we begin with the first four verses. 

 

Verse one
starts:  The one who existed from the
beginning…

 

Just think
in worship we get to talk to and listen to the One that was from the very
beginning, God Almighty

 

…is the one we have
heard and seen. We saw him with our own eyes and touched him with our own
hands. He is Jesus Christ, the Word of life.

 

Worship
begins with the revelation of Christ…the reality that we have a relationship
with God through the sacrifice of His son.

 

The worship
songs at ClearView this week try to capture and retell:

1.  The story of God the creator:

            How Great Thou Art (Psalm 86:10)

            How Can I Keep From Singing (Psalm
40:3
)

 

2. The
wonderful gift of God’s Son:

            Jesus Saves (Acts 5:42)

 

3. And give
us a chance to respond God and that gift:

            When I think About the Lord (2
Corinthians 5:17
)

            I Am Yours (Hebrews 10:22)

 

If you are
headed to worship at ClearView this week, here are some things you can do to
prepare:

  • read the first chapter of 1
    John
  • read the scriptures referenced
    above that are the themes of the songs for worship.

 

If you are
attending church at ClearView or at your place of worship here are some things
to pray for

  • the worship leaders and
    teachers
  • that God will speak to you
    throughout the service, through the spoken word, through the songs,
    through the silence, through the witness and testimonies of the people.

 

What a
great privilege we have to worship the very one who created all and what a
great privilege we have in this country to worship at the place of our
choosing.

Too great for mere speaking…let’s sing

I found this quote on my
daughter’s Facebook.

 

"The reality of God and
Christ and Creation and Salvation and Heaven and Hell are too great for mere
speaking they must be sung."
~John Piper

 

For me there is a little job
security in that statement. There is nothing that says we should only sing of
the things mentioned above; however there is something that adds emotion and
beauty to words when you add melody, harmony, rhythm and dynamics.

 

Another quote from a religious leader
from years ago is: 

 

So I will keep doing what I am
doing and in so doing encouraging others to do the same…singing about God,
Christ, Creation, Salvation, the promise of heaven and the reality of hell.

The Order of Worship

It’s Monday and today is the day I try to get a start on planning a future worship service. It all starts with a blank piece of paper (actually computer screen) and with a general thought about what the sermon topic will be for that Sunday.

As I begin to try to fill up the page there are some questions that I ask myself:

  • Is everything based on Scripture?
  • Do the elements chosen communicate and reflect the characteristics of God and the full
    story of salvation through Christ?
  • Do the elements of the service help people recognize God’s presence and therefore connect
    people with God?
  • Is there something familiar to a large group of the congregation in the worship
    plan?
    – Familiarity would be different for different age groups and
    church backgrounds or absence of a church background.
  • Does everything we do encourage people to participate? – Worship is a verb,
    something to participate in and not to watch.
  • Do the elements of the service enhance or compromise the message? – If there is any indication
    that an element gets in the way of the content then it should not be used.
  • Throughout the worship service, is time and opportunity given for people to…
– voice praise

– voice thanksgiving


– hear God’s Word


– respond to what they hear


– pray to God in a personal and corporate way
 

The list of questions in not conclusive but it does give me a starting point.  To go along with these questions I also try to vary the list of songs so that we don’t always start with something up-tempo and end with something soft.  But just recently I was on James McDonald’s blog, pastor of Harvest Bible Chapel, where he had posted a video of how they choose songs for worship.  It is a different approach but one that deserves some serious consideration.  Here is a link to the blog post.

 The bottom line is that I believe it is my responsibility and great privilege to encourage this congregation to meet God in the conversation of worship.