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19th November 2014
Part 2 of a series of blogs on worship by Impact student Tamara Brunton. Click here for part 1.
John 4:23-24 says: “But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”
Posted by Tamara Brunton
5th November 2014
Part 1 of a series of blogs on worship by Impact student Tamara Brunton
Psalm 40:1-3 reminds us that God “drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure” and has welcomed us into His family as adopted sons and daughters. From this solid truth, and the hope we find in Christ, our worship should be overflowing for everything that God has done for us.
Some people may think that worship is the time when you come to church, lift your arms and sing along with the other people who you call your church family. However, Sunday meetings are not the only time or form of worship. One definition of worship is the reverent devotion we pledge to God. Worship is also something we should be doing continually, not just on a Sunday morning or evening, as we should be worshipping and glorifying God in all that we do. Worship shouldn’t be saved for when you experience God or see his wonders or for when you have a real encounter with the Holy Spirit: It should be an ongoing praise for all that God has done, and will continue to do for you.
Worship music is brilliant and has aided countless times of Sunday personal worship for myself, and I think that it is a brilliant source to help us to engage and get stuck in to worship. However, singing is not the only way that you can worship God. Isaiah 29:13 says, “And the Lord said: Because this people draw near with their mouth and honor me with their lips, while their hearts are far from me, and their fear of me is a commandment taught by men.” Worship wasn’t ever something that we are ordered to do, but it should come from our innermost self, from how thankful we are to God for how gracious and merciful He has been to us: even as sinners who have turned against him, He still loves us. Worship should be primarily internal and anything external should come from being completely immersed in God, from being entirely filled with the Spirit.
We aren’t to come to a Sunday morning service and to just stand singing along to the songs that are played by the worship band, just as the worship band is not to come along and play a few songs because that’s what they’ve been asked to do. We are to fully engage in God with our heart, spirit and mind. We are to fully worship him and lift him up, just like the people of Israel in 2 Chronicles 6:26: “When all the people of Israel saw the fire come down and the glory of the Lord on the temple, they bowed down with their faces to the ground on the pavement and worshiped and gave thanks to the Lord, saying, 'For he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.'"
Image by Tamara Brunton
Posted by Tamara Brunton
27th October 2013
Have you ever been to a football match? I'm a Liverpool fan and, let me tell you, the atmosphere at Anfield when my team is playing at home is electric! But picture two million Israelites celebrating that their God has just rescued them from the tyranny of the Egyptians by parting the Red Sea! PARTING THE SEA! What must that celebration have looked like? Imagine the atmosphere there!
When we read 'the song of Moses and Israel' in Exodus 15, we witness the exuberant praise that comes from being rescued by God and knowing His power, provision and protection. Just as the chanters at a football match declare their team's supremacy and taunt the other team, so the people of God declare His wonders, remind both ourselves and 'the opposition' that He is King over all.
It's easy to do this when we feel like we're 'winning' – when life is going well and we are feeling good – but what happens when we're facing tough times, when life is difficult and joy seems hard to find?
The Israelites made a decision, an active choice, and so can we. Their song started: "I will sing…" and went on: "I will praise… I will exalt…" When we don't feel like worshipping and praising, we need to firstly remind ourselves of who God is and what He has done for us – we have been rescued from the slavery of sin, ransomed, chosen, forgiven, accepted, welcomed, all our guilt and shame has been removed, death has been defeated and we will enjoy eternal life with Jesus! So this is why we sing!
But, let's face it, we can easily be distracted, either by emotions, our preferences not being met, or just by our minds wandering. The reality is that in the same meeting some of us will be gazing into Heaven while others are gazing into space!
We need to prepare our hearts for worship; make that active choice, the "I will" decision. We mustn't just stand there and wait for something to happen. When we push through the distractions and choose to focus our hearts and minds on God, He promises to come near to us (James 4:8). We need to form a habit of deciding to worship God, regardless of how we feel on any given day or the distractions that are vying for our attention.
If you're finding it difficult to worship and praise God, look again at His greatness and all that He has done for you. Focus on Him rather than on yourself, your circumstances or those around you. Lift your head, lift your eyes and praise the One who never changes, who always loves you, always has fresh grace and mercy for you – the One who died for you and gave you new life! He is so worthy of all the worship and praise we can bring!
To download the sermon and life application PDF, click here.
Posted by Santino Hamberis
25th October 2012
God's people are always on mission: we hear lots about mission, talk about mission, plan mission, and rightly so – we are called on God's mission. But amid our very gospel- and mission-orientated works of service, I am learning the importance of finding rest in God. We are God's ambassadors to the ends of the earth and this is a great thing to be a part of. It's so important however, to gain a healthy balance between these two things: 'mission for Him' and 'rest in Him'.
John Piper describes it like this: "Mission exists, because worship doesn't." In other words, the purpose of mission is to establish a community of believers, one in spirit, in relationship with the Father. Often we forget that 'mission for Him' is dependent on and leading ultimately to our 'rest in Him'.
When we look at the story of Mary and Martha in Luke's Gospel, we can see that despite Martha being the one to invite Jesus into her home, she didn't benefit from spending any time with him when he was there. She spent too much time in the kitchen and not enough time at Jesus' feet.
Often, we too can pre-occupy ourselves with so many tasks, that we forget the primary purpose of Jesus' sacrifice. We can carry lots of good boxes - Bible-reading, praying, serving, evangelism, etc - but sometimes we need to lay these aside and come back to our first love. We are called first to do what Mary did, to sit at Jesus' feet, listen to his voice, and worship him.
Reading: Luke 10:38-42
Question: How can you make sure you are resting in Him?
Posted by Aled Cousins