Worship Series :: A

Tomorrow we begin a new series with the students centered around worship. We will look at different biblical stories together on Sunday nights as well as expieriment with forms of worship (singing, prayer, journaling, etc). On Wednesdays, we will be watching a DVD series by Louie Giglio, Worship: That Thing We Do and discussing it in small groups. While all of this is going on, the students will have the opportunity to participate in a 30 Day Expieriment that consists of reading a Psalm each day and then journalling their response.
I feel that misunderstandings and the fear of asking questions have led to a diminished ability to worship. Worshipping really isn’t that hard…in fact it’s the most normal part of our life. Anytime we have something that we love, we worship it. From HDTV’s to the California Club at Jason’s Deli, we all have things that we worship naturally. The trick is centering our worship on the Creator of everything else that competes for time in our lives.
Think about most of the ways that we worship God: we gather with other people in a large room, stand up, sing together, listen to someone speak, and then we go home, finished with our worship time. We go home to normal life. The whole experience seems to be de-void of something…most notably de-void of God’s presence. How much easier it was for Jews thousands of years ago. You see, they knew that God was with them. When they entered the tabernacle, or later the Temple, they knew that God lived there. He said so. The Jews saw it happen. (start with Exodus 40:34) There was this great building made of stone that housed the object of their worship.
Things are different today. God lives everywhere. God lives in us (1 Corinthians 3:16 & 17). How do you visualize that? God lives in us…do we sing toward our chest cavity? Or should we think of God in our midst? (Matthew 18:20) I envy the Jews because they did not have to try and understand their worship in some abstract manner, God lived inside of the stone building.
But then a sermon by Beth Moore gave me a new persepective on what it means to worship. As followers of Jesus, we have a special distinction: the Bible calls us “living stones.” (1 Peter 2:5) Picture this for a minute: what does a typical worship service look like to God? Is it a bunch of people sitting/standing in a large room, or does He see something else? Does He see His followers, His “living stones” all together? What would a bunch of stones gathered together look like? Could it, perhaps, look like a stone building? What if, when followers of Jesus gather together, we basically build a temple simply by our gathering together? And what do you think happens when we give God a place to dwell among us? I’m thinking that he is right there in our midst.
That image is powerful to me; it keeps me from worshipping a God that is far away or somehow locked within my skin. It keeps me centered on the God who has promised to live among me and be my God.
So Part A of our Worship Series is this: When we worship, God dwells among us.

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