In 2008, Chad Pennington revived his NFL career and was rewarded with his second comeback player of the year award. After 8 up and down seasons with the New York Jets, Pennington was cut prior to the ’08 season and was signed by the 1-15 Miami Dolphins. Pennington displayed his strong leadership skills by orchestrating an 11-5 record and a trip to the playoffs. But it wasn’t this change of scenery that led to the resurgence of him and his team. It was his total submission to God. A local newspaper Daily Mail near Chad’s alma mater, Marshall University, details a radio interview from Sports Spectrum last week where Pennington shared the following, “I have been playing football a long time and I have considered myself a Christian for a long time,” said Pennington. “But this season is the first season that I felt like I totally let go of my career and let the Lord have control of it. It was the most rewarding year I have had in the NFL because I felt I grew closer to the Lord.” Chad realized it’s not enough to just be a Christian without fully trusting in the Lord. In our lives it’s often easy to say, “I am a Christian”, while still selfishly having our own agenda. It’s only when we submit to the will of God that we are truly able to move forward and grow spiritually. What are you holding on to? Wouldn’t it just be easier to let go and turn everything over to God? Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.”
It’s been a few weeks since we’ve worked on our “house”. First we laid the foundation with the Word of God, http://voiceoftruthblog.com/?p=5 next we built the walls through the Power of Prayer http://voiceoftruthblog.com/?p=26 . Now it’s time to put the roof on and start to tie the house together. The roof of our house will be built through the worship of our Lord and Savior. For this discussion, I want to focus on the act of “corporate” worship and posture of our heart as we individually worship throughout our daily activities. So what is worship, where do we worship and how do we go about it? Why is it so important? One author says this about worship:
“Worship in our time has been captured by the tourist mind set. Worship is understood as a visit to an attractive site to be made when we have adequate leisure. For some it is a weekly jaunt to church. For others, it’s occasional visits to special services. Some, with a bent for Christian entertainment and sacred diversion, plan their lives around special events like retreats, rallies and conferences. We go to see a new personality, to hear a new truth, to get a new experience and so, somehow, expand our otherwise humdrum lives. We’ll try anything — until something else comes along.”
Does the tourist mindset describe your worship? Hopefully you’re not just going through the motions, dragging yourself into church once or twice a week because you feel obligated. No, instead it should be an opportunity to come together as a church body and worship God. Just as we mentioned in the Prayer blog, worship is all about the posture of your heart. 17th century author Matthew Henry describes it this way, “It is not enough for us to be where God is worshipped, if we do not ourselves worship him, and that not with bodily exercise only, which profits little, but with the heart.” Our heart should be defined by gladness and joy, seeking to worship the Lord in the “splendor of His holiness”. Psalm 29:2 Psalm 96:9 Psalm 100:2 We read in Hebrews that not only should we be filled with joy, but likewise present ourselves before the Lord with a reverent heart. Hebrews 12:28-29 “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our ‘God is a consuming fire.'” Because of this attitude of our hearts, worship need not be confined to a building or structure, although this is primarily where our corporate worship takes place. In Acts 17:24-25 we learn that, “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else.” When we come together in corporate worship, the church “body” not the church “building” serves as the place of worship. After all, the church body is the body of Christ.
When we unite in the House of the Lord for corporate worship, with the correct posture of heart, the Bible gives us some insight into how to act or what should take place. Our worship is a time to glorify the Lord through song, prayer, and to receive instruction from the Word of God. I Corinthians 14:26 describes it the following way, “What then shall we say, brothers? When you come together, everyone has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. All of these must be done for the strengthening of the church.” But is this worship merely confined to one day of the week? I think one common misconception is that a “church service” is the only time of worship; before and after service we continue on with our daily lives. I’ve been guilty of this attitude in the past. We sit through an hour or two of service, feel somewhat convicted for the sins in our lives or the distance that’s come between us and God due to that sin and then we leave going on with our “old self” until the next week’s service. Worship simply cannot be a week to week “activity”. Early 20th century preacher/author A.W. Tozer illustrates it this way, “If you do not worship God seven days a week, you do not worship Him on one day a week. There is no such thing known in heaven as Sunday worship unless it is accompanied by Monday worship and Tuesday worship and so on.” That’s pretty a profound statement. Think about exactly what that statement says. More importantly, think about it next time you feel worship is only on Sunday mornings.
Worshipping the Lord throughout our daily lives can sometimes be difficult because we allow ourselves to be consumed with work and routine activities. But what I think the problem for so many of us is perspective. Rather than trying to create a specific time for structured worship, we should focus on creating an atmosphere of worship. Much like the prayer discussion, I think we can worship without ceasing when this atmosphere is created. What I mean by this is that it’s ok to go to that meeting or write that paper, bathe the kids, or prepare dinner. But when we create the atmosphere of worship, we can carry a song of worship in our hearts, praise the Lord when we’re walking to that meeting, or pray just to praise Him. Hey there’s a concept – praying without asking for anything, but just to glorify the name of the Almighty!
There is no doubt that a lack of worship in our lives, just like prayer, can significantly impact our walk with God. A house cannot have just a foundation and still stand. It has to also have strong walls, and a well-built roof that pulls everything together. Each part is dependent on the other. It’s this “roof” of worship that allows us to glorify the Lord in song and praise and to also receive His instructions for our lives. Worship can be corporate with the church body, but should also be something individual that’s not only on Sunday, but everyday. Andrew W. Blackwood offers this reflection, “The time has come for a revival of public worship as the finest of the fine arts…While there is a call for strong preaching there is even a greater need for uplifting worship.” The Bible tells us that in everything we do, do all for the glory of the Lord I Corinthians 10:31, this includes worship. In closing, I want to leave you with the divinely inspired words of the Apostle Paul, Romans 12:1 “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God-this is your spiritual act of worship.”
Have a Blessed Day!
Quick, name the central, resounding theme of the Bible. What’s your guess? If you said love, you’re right! Maybe you thought the central them was God sending His Son Jesus to die for our sins. Well you’d also be right, but God’s motivation for this, was love. John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
I’m certainly guilty of holding back love from people for one reason or another, but why is it so important for Christians to express love to everyone? The Bible teaches us to “Do everything in love” I Corinthians 16:4 , that love must be sincere Romans 12:9-10, and even goes so far as to say “love surpasses knowledge”. Ephesians 3:19 But perhaps the most important inspirational message for us to love one another, can be found in a song from when I was a kid. That song had a chorus of “They’ll know we are Christians by our love“. What a powerful witness to those who aren’t Christians, that they’ll know us by our love.
I know with Valentine’s Day upon us, everything is all about “love” and we express that through flowers, cards, candy, and other gifts, but I just wanted to remind you of what true love is and that the Bible says, “This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” I John 4:10
Have a Blessed Day!