Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Underlying assumptions

Have you ever made a decision and jumped in, only to beat yourself up wondering where your brain was when you made that decision? That happened to the Israelites and maybe it happened to Peter in the court yard and yet God was with them. I have to say as someone excited about possibilities, and as someone who doesn't like to make mistakes, this is scary ground.

I'm feeling compelled to back track because sometimes you start new things without really examining your underlying assumptions, here are some beckoning questions...

What is worship? What is worship to you personally?

Is it thanking Him, praising Him, adoring Him, telling Him He's the greatest?

Is it coming quietly into the awe - filled presence of a just merciful God in all His beauty?

Is there a coming in and out of the presence of God? Alone? In community?

Is acknowledging our roots an important act of worship?

Are listening and responding to the Word important elements of worship? Is the Word more than our liturgy?

Is worship all about God? Is it about loving Him with all our heart and mind and soul and strength during the worship service once a week? Is it worshipping Him 24-7? Are we walking out the door with Him? Working with Him, learning with Him, relating to others with Him...are these acts of worship? Is it possible to dwell in the presence of God? Is God just always there? If God is always there why is Sunday worship important?

Is worship about us? Do we reap a benefit when we worship? Is this a time to encounter God and come away somehow changed, a better ambassador or better able to cope or seeing something we needed to see that we didn't see before? Does God do this every time we worship Him?

If worship is all about God, what pleases Him? Loud joyful music? Quiet music? Hand clapping, rhythm, instruments, dance? Music that expresses who He is? Music that expresses where we're at? Exhorting one another? Singing the Word? Singing hymns? Singing spontaneous spiritual songs? Bringing our children? Worshipping alone? All of these? Are there times and places for each of these things to happen...

Do I have a scriptural foundation for the way I think about worship? How I practice worship? People have very different ideas about worship.
...we need to look at families worshipping together, Sunday school, contemporary cultural expressions of Kids' Ministry this way...Scripture says...

Scripture says . . . is the rock-solid ground, the safe place, the only place to be when you're scared, or you're not sure, or you're breaking new ground ... If you're a thinking person you can go back and say I'm doing this because...If you're a feeling person you can say I can follow my gut because I look in scripture and see Jesus doing it, I see the Father caring about this.

I'm not saying that you need scripture to justify every detail of your life...but when you're building something for someone else and God's name is attached to it, you want a foundation that won't start to crumble when you start adding weight...

and I'm not talking about pulling out random verses or using scripture to defend what you want to do but rather prayerfully searching the scriptures, letting God's words lead you, guide you, shape you, mold you, change you so that what you're building won't blow away in a storm.

But what if people with these different ideas can turn to the scriptures and justify ideas that seem to contradict each other? Some options: You can say "Well, both these different statements are true. How do we do both?" or "Both of these are true. Which of these do we need to focus on?" or "If both of these are true, perhaps we just have to agree to disagree because we're both convinced that these are mutually exclusive." But maybe they're not! Or maybe it's right and good that you give yourselves to different things as unto the Lord because God is so big and He wants to accomplish both...

Scripture doesn't always tell us how to implement a Biblical model today, so we prayerfully engage a community of God-given creative minds and question askers and with a certain amount of prayerful fear and trepidation, hoping someday to hear God say, "Well done good and faithful servant enter into the joy of your master..." we jump in.

Do we have underlying assumptions about family? community? kids in general? We need to look carefully and keep talking and keep listening to each other...

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