Posts Tagged 'worship'

Lingering in Worship: Preparing

Lingering in Worship: Preparing

Ezra 8:21-23; 1 Peter 1:13-19

Quick refresher: Ezra is about rebuilding the Temple after the nation of Israel returns from exile. Ezra the priest shows up in chapter 7, introduces himself to the reader, and then moves the narrative along in chapter 8. He knew the newly rebuilt temple would need ministers, so he calls Levites together to staff the ministry. Then he has to move them to the Temple grounds, through hostile territory.

Prepare for Worship? We Need To Get Our

Heart Smart ~ Ezra 8:21-23

  • 21 FASTING isn’t to convince God of your sincerity; it’s to remind YOU to live in HUMILITY BEFORE GOD
  • 22 inconvenient truth: if you BRAG about God’s provision, you’d better be ready to depend upon it
  • 23 Is this FORCING God to answer the way we want? No – it might be forcing us to LISTEN better, though

Mind Aligned ~ 1 Peter 1:13-19

  • 13 not FOR salvation, but BECAUSE OF salvation
  • 14/16 one sentence: don’t shape your life by your old values; use Jesus’ life as your template: be holy Gk. “up and down, back and forth”
  • 17 live carefully, impartially (like God): THIS TAKES PREP WORK
  • 18/19 You are REDEEMED: not a purchased slave, but a cleansed child of God

We say that “liturgy/worship” is the work of the people. This work can be joyful, fulfilling, and life-changing. It just takes some preparation to get the most out of it.

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Lingering in Worship: Persisting

Lingering in Worship: Persisting Sermon Audio Here

Ezra 5:1-5; Hebrews 9:1, 11-15

Our eyes have a neat feature called “persistence of vision”. When light enters the eye, we see it… but we continue to see it even after it’s stopped. Ever watch a kid playing with a sparkler on the Fourth of July, and watch them draw shapes in the air? Your eyes “connect the dots” and you see something due to persistence of vision.
What do you see in your spiritual life? What is persisting in worship mean to you?

What Remains In Our Vision of Worship?

The Call to Carry On ~ Ezra 5:1-5

  • 1 prophets’ message: come to ME, get to work
  • 2 rebuilding temple work starts again
  • 3/4 enemies thought they’d won; Israel just on pause
  • 5 This time, even though a letter was written, they didn’t stop working; they kept rebuilding the temple
  • they persisted in the work necessary to worship

Christ Has Carried Us All ~ Hebrews 9:1, 11-15

  • 1 (see much of OT)
  • 11 temple in Heaven is REAL; earthly temple just a copy (still good, still used, but not the original)
  • 12 Jesus is the PERFECT sacrifice; ONCE for ALL
  • 13/14 our works of worship are temporary; Jesus’ are permanent
  • 15 “for this reason”: the new agreement that God made with us was to rescue us based on HIS righteousness, not ours, using HIS work of worship, not ours. The old temple rituals of sacrifice are fulfilled, and no longer needed

Christ’s sacrifice COMPLETES the work of worship; now, when we participate in worship, we’re not working or earning or proving anything: THIS is just about being in the presence of God together, reminding each other of where we are and Who we’re with.

Lingering in Worship: Building

Lingering in Worship: Building Sermon Audio Here

Ezra 3:1-11; 1 Peter 2:4-10

There’s a lot of new buildings going up in our little town; as the foundations are being laid, we can start to determine the intended use of the building. Can we do this for our own lives?

What Is Faith FOR?

Focus on the Foundation of Faith ~ Ezra 3:1-3, 6-7, 10-11

  • 1/3 they start building the altar right away
  • 6/7 they worship BEFORE the temple is completed
  • 10 “took their places” – what is YOUR place in worship?
  • 11 Praise for the Foundation of Faith (USE VS 11 TO CLOSE)

Function of the Foundation of Faith ~ 1 Peter 2:4-10

  • 4 GOD is doing the building, not us
  • 5 we offer worship THROUGH Christ
  • 6/8 because the whole POINT of worship is to TRUST CHRIST
  • 9 we receive these blessings TO DECLARE CHRIST
  • 10 Just like God’s people in Ezra, we have received undeserved mercy: why? Call back to Ezra 3:11

“With praise and thanksgiving they sang to the LORD: ‘He is good; his love to Israel endures forever.’” We Praise God for the Foundation of Faith… because we CAN Praise God!

Lingering in Worship: Calling

Lingering in Worship: Calling Sermon Audio Here

Ezra 1:1-6

When I was a new Christian college student, someone challenged me to open the Bible, point to a random verse, and let it change my life. For the record, I think this is a bad practice, but at the time, I didn’t know any better. I prayed, asked the Lord to show me something that would change my life, and then opened my Bible to a random page. My finger landed in the book of Ezra. I’d never read it before, and to my surprise, I did indeed find a truth there that changed my life: the necessity and importance of worship.

Worship is ACTIVE:

God’s Call Moves Us To Consider ~ Ezra 1:1-2 (we mull over what we’ve heard)

  • 1 God moves the hearts of people
  • 2 realize you’re appointed! But for what?

Our Choice Moves Us To Respond ~ Ezra 1:3-4 (we decide we’re going to get involved)

  • 3 non-believers can encourage you in your faith…
  • 4 …and resource you, too!

Our Conclusion Moves Us To Plan ~ Ezra 1:5-6 (we ask HOW will we get involved?)

  • 5 we prepare to serve
  • 6 engage your neighbors in your faith

Worship isn’t an accident; it’s something we do ON PURPOSE. What kinds of choices do we make to prepare our lives for worship?

Purpose Driven Plus One: Worship

Purpose Driven Plus One: Worship Sermon Audio Here

John 4:19-26; Deut. 6:1-9

Perhaps you’ve not heard of the difference between praise choruses and hymns. This story explains it well:

An old farmer went to the city one weekend and attended the big city church. He came home and his wife asked him how it was.

“Well,” said the farmer. “It was good. They did something different, however. They sang praise choruses instead of hymns.”

“Praise choruses?” asked the wife. “What are those?”

“Oh, they’re okay. They’re sort of like hymns, only different,” said the farmer.

“Well, what’s the difference?” asked the wife.

The farmer said, “Well it’s like this … If I were to say to you, ‘Martha, the cows are in the corn,’ well that would be a hymn. If, on the other hand, I were to say to you, ‘Martha, Martha, Martha, Oh, Martha, MARTHA, MARTHA, the cows, the big cows, the brown cows, the black cows, the white cows, the black and white cows, the COWS, COWS, COWS are in the corn, are in the corn, are in the corn, in the CORN, CORN, CORN, COOOOORRRRRNNNNN,’ then, if I were to repeat the whole thing two or three times, well that would be a praise chorus.”

As luck would have it, the exact same Sunday a young, new Christian from the city church attended the small town church. He came home and his wife asked him how it was.

“Well,” said the young man, “It was good. They did something different, however. They sang hymns instead of regular songs.”

“Hymns?” asked the wife. “What are those?”

“They’re okay. They’re sort of like regular songs, only different,” said the young man.

“Well, what’s the difference?” asked the wife.

The young man said, “Well it’s like this … If I were to say to you, ‘Martha, the cows are in the corn,’ well that would be a regular song. If on the other hand, I were to say to you,

Oh Martha, dear Martha, hear thou my cry
Inclinest thine ear to the words of my mouth.
Turn thou thy whole wondrous ear by and by
To the righteous, glorious truth.

For the way of the animals who can explain
There in their heads is no shadow of sense,
Hearkenest they in God’s sun or his rain
Unless from the mild, tempting corn they are fenced.

Yea those cows in glad bovine, rebellious delight,
Have broke free their shackles, their warm pens eschewed.
Then goaded by minions of darkness and night
They all my mild Chilliwack sweet corn chewed.

So look to that bright shining day by and by,
Where all foul corruptions of earth are reborn
Where no vicious animal makes my soul cry
And I no longer see those foul cows in the corn,

then, if I were to do only verses one, three and four, and change keys on the last verse, well that would be a hymn.”

– worship MUST go beyond the mere methods we use to recognize God

What IS Worship?

an Act of Spirit ~ John 4:19-24

  • 19/23 Samaritan(non-Jewish) Woman(socially unacceptable); yet, Jesus calls her to faith THROUGH WORSHIP
  • 24 an Act of Spirit (inspiration – check your intake: what do you regularly watch-read-listen that helps your spirit?)

an Act of Truth ~ John 4:25-26

  • 25/6 an Act of Truth (doctrine – check the Word – If Messiah explains everything, how do you get His Word into you?)

an Act of Listening ~ Deut. 6:1-4

  • 1-4 HEAR O Israel~ Worship: an Act of Listening (check your direction; what helps you plan your life?)

an Act of Loving ~ Deut. 6:5-9

(check your actions; what do you DO in your life of worship?)

  • 5/6 Love with all you’ve got
  • 7 Love God into your children
  • 8/9 Love God onto your world (it’s NOT a private thing!)

“There is an inborn urge in each person to worship. If we don’t worship God we will find something else to worship, whether it be a job, a family, money, a sport, or even ourselves.” Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Church, pg 116

Advent Conspiracy: Worship Fully

Advent Conspiracy: Worship Fully Sermon Audio Here

Luke 1:46-50

NOTE: This sermon is from AdventConspiracy.org. I’ve adapted it for my own preaching style, but the content is not mine. I’m grateful to the good people at Advent Conspiracy for helping the Church look at Advent in a different way.

To help us make sense of the Scripture, remember: Mary is young, poor, pregnant out of wedlock, hiding in an obscure hill town which is currently occupied by a foreign power. She is living in utter obscurity. She has no reason to be beside herself with joy towards God. She is of humble estate and yet here she is… flooded with joy, over flowing with gratitude, so much that she burst into song as her spirit soars. WHY?

Why “Worship Fully”?

Because God Sees Us ~ Luke 1:46-48

  • When you know the Divine sees you, your deepest inner person, your soul is touched, and you can’t help but Worship Fully. You can say things like Mary said; “from now on, from this moment on, people will call me blessed. Holy is his name.”
  • The reason for this worshipful response is that the souls deepest longing is to be seen and known. (1 Cor. 13:12)
  • => a little kid: “hey hey hey hey hey!” look at them, and they’re good

We Long To Be Seen ~ Genesis 16:13

  • She gave this name to the LORD who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.”
  • It’s why celebrity is so intoxicating. These people are seen so we think they must matter. I need to be seen to matter. On top of this need to be seen, our culture can breed isolation which just compounds our loneliness and can feed our despair at not being seen.

In the book Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, the author Dave Eggers captured this sentiment early in the days of reality TV, as his main character writes in to MTV to be on “The Real World.”

Dear Producers,
Something is radiating deep within me and it must be transmitted or
I will implode and the world will suffer a great loss, unawares. Epic
are the proportions of my soul, yet without a scope who cares who
I am? This is why I must but must be one of the inhabitants of MTV’s
“Real World.” Only there, burning brightly into a million dazzled
eyes, will my as yet uncontoured self assume the beauteous forms
that are not just its own, but an entire market niche’s, due.
I am a Kirk Cameron-Kurt Cobain figure, roguishly quirky, dandified
but down to earth, kooky but comprehensible; denizen of the growing penumbra between alternative and mainstream culture; angsty prophet of the already bygone apocalypse, yet upbeat, stylish and sexy!
Oh MTV, take me, make me, wake me from my formless slumbers
and place me in the dreamy Real World of target marketing.

  • God sees Mary not because of her looks, her intellect, her status, her importance. God looks and sees her in her humble estate, her obscurity.

When We Know God Sees Us, We Worship ~ Luke 1:49-50

  • After she sees and experiences this for her own life she says, trust in God, “from generation to generation”.
  • 51-55: she focuses on not what she has done, or even that she is seen. Her focus goes back to what GOD has done!


This is the story of Christmas, that God has seen us, and that He sees those in need. This is why we as a church have chosen to celebrate Christmas this year by worshipping fully the God who sees and loves us and in response, see and love those that are in need around us and around the world.

Background

Our church had its Harvest Party for 2012, and of course, a lot of kids came to the party dressed up in costume. I ran the photo booth, and it occurred to me that I could digitally drop these kids in costumes into backgrounds that would fit their persona.

So, I’ve been GIMPing kids into various backgrounds off and on for the past couple of days; I really wanted to get this finished before Thursday (my sermon-writing day).

As I’ve been working with backgrounds for three days, it reminds me of a very powerful song. It’s called, appropriately enough, “Background”. I’d strongly encourage you to watch this YouTube video, so that you can catch the lyrics as well as hear the music.

Word of warning: the artist, Lecrae, is a rap artist, so there are a LOT of lyrics in this song. However, I’ve seen him do this twice before a live audience, and it was a powerful worship experience both times. Even if you’re not a fan of rap music, please put that aside, and consider these words. (If you absolutely must, you could mute the music, and just read the lyrics, but you’d be doing yourself a disservice.)

Grace and Peace to you as you seek to put Jesus first!

KFJ – Ed


Pastor Ed Backell

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