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.

Worship: delight in God

C.S. Lewis
"The most
valuable thing the Psalms do for me

is to express the same delight in God

David which
made
dance.
"

                                CS Lewis

Worship This Sunday… “At the end of the day, God sits on His Throne”

Worship
this Sunday at ClearView takes a detour from the norm of looking at scriptures
in a continuing series from a particular book. 
Last week we finished our study of Nehemiah and next week we begin our study
of 1 John. The interruption in this pattern i
s a special message related to the
recession.  The key verse for this study
will be
Ecclesiastes 7:14 . “In
the day of prosperity be joyful, but i
n the day of adversity, consider: without
question, God has made the one as well as the other, so that man cannot
discover anything that will come after him.” (You can see a more detailed
explanation of the sermon and where our pastor is headed at this link.)

Here is a
list of songs that will be used in our worship center venue along with the
scripture on which they are based:

Speak O
Lord (Hebrews 4:12)

Better Than
Life (Psalm 63:3)

I Bow Down
(Psalm 95:6)

Blessed Be
Your Name (I Thessalonians 5:18
)

There is
great hope for those who put their faith in a never-changing God….no matter the
circumstance.  The choir ministry song
for this Sunday makes this statement:  “Some
days turn upside down, troubles gather around, but at the end of the day God
sits on His throne…this is the day that our God in heaven made.”

I want to
be in communication with God everyday, worshiping Him, listening to Him, learning about Him and when I do Sunday's become a great day of celebration.