What is wrong with the worship in most Churches?

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We, the conservative and Evangelical church, for the most part has forgotten what it is all about. The liberals and mainliners did these decades ago, now we are doing it? How?

Just as they did, by substituting what we want and throwing out what God wants!

We just rationalize it better (well, not really). The prime problem we have is that most of us in ministry should know what worship is; but, in practice, we do not. We ignore the main event and place our emphases on the trivial and unimportant. We focus on our style and music preferences, the techniques and practices of the sound and the instruments, the trimmings and trimming and so forth, having the ‘right’ guy to lead worship, thinking we are being practical when we are not. Like in Revelation chapter three, while Jesus is knocking on the door, we ignore Him, too busy; too preoccupied. He is left outside of the Church when He should be front and center as Supreme, exalted, worshiped, and reverenced! While the technicalities are important to a degree, they are not meant to be center stage or even given a place in worship (Rev. 3:14-22).

Most pastors and churches totally ignore Christ in their worship!

The foremost aspect to keep in mind about worship is that it is not about us! It is not about preferences of style, order, procedures, music, who is leading, who is not leading, and so forth.

Worship, which is real authentic and practical praise, is all about placing Christ first, acknowledging His Lordship and place, and our response of praise with reverence and gratitude to Him for who He is and what He has done. The sad fact it most Christians in the pews do not have a clue about worship or praise-and may I go on so far as to say-even most worship pastors. Why? Because, we do not model and/or teach God’s precepts and disciple our leaders properly! So, they are consumed with what they want and forget what He wants. We forget that it is about Christ-not about us!

In John, chapter four, we are given some key aspects of what God desires and requires concerning worship through His encounter with an outcast woman. He is seeking worshippers, real Christians giving real, effectual, true adoration from hearts that truly love God, who are grateful for His work, and are dedicated to His true Truth-not to the ideas of people, our schemes, trends, or feelings. This is also is a snip at the overly traditional church missing the point, both in the pretentious Jewish services then and the ones many of us lead today. The contrast, Jesus was making is that there are too many worship services that are merely rhetorical, driven by obligation, meaningless ritual, and liturgy that just spins one’s pride and/or hides one’s heart (John 1:18;; 3:3; 4;1-26; 14:16-18; Acts 2:33).

Worship is a covenant and call from our Lord to come before Him and meet with Him with our reverence, gladness, and joy.

It concerns how we draw near and give God the recognition and admiration that He deserves.

Real Worship is our inward expression of attitude to His Holiness and authentic praise is our outward expression like singing and clapping in gratefulness for who Christ is and what He has done. Both are offered as a church service for worship and a lifestyle of being a Christian (Psalm 22:27; 29:2).

Real Praise is our motivation from an impassioned, changed heart, with an emotional and mindful exaltation of our gratitude for what God has done. It is a call to know Him intimately and express appreciation to Him with honor and thanksgiving, doing so with passion, sincerity, conviction, and in reverent fear and trembling.

Worship is our aptitude and attitude of our expressions to God and praise is the practice of expressing our desire to know our Lord and Savior further, and being grateful for who He Is and what He has done for us.

Worship and praise are the giving of our best to Him. And, we do this because we are His; we give Him our heart that is already His. He has given His best to us already; in addition, we are enveloped in His eternal love and care for pure and useful purposes. This has nothing to do with musical prefaces or orders of worship. It is the matter of a changed heart that responds back to Christ, who is the audience of our worship, as we are the performers. What we are doing in our church services is placing this attitude into a presentation where God is the audience and we are the ones who offer praise.

More here:

http://www.intothyword.org/apps/articles/default.asp?blogid=3881&view=post&articleid=70204&fldKeywords=&fldAuthor=&fldTopic=0

The Book of Revelation and Church Leadership, PI

Did you know that the Book of Revelation has more to do with how we lead and manage our churches over what will happen in the End Times? Think not? Then, perhaps you should read it. 

Revelation has often been just recognized as the ominous apocalypse of chaos and catastrophe to come. Woe, doom and glood scary stuff. Then the prideful and false teachers will chime in with their musing theories. And you will not find that stuff in the Book. But, this is not necessarily the point. Look to the book, not what you think it says, read it, really read it and you will see a more wondrous tale. As Revelation opens with an elaborate greeting so we can more firmly connect our relationship with Christ and receive hope and encouragement. 

Let’s take a look and see why.  

Revelation 1: 1-8, starts out with Christ, testifying to John the Apostle what is going to happen to the Church. The Church, we the people of God formed in and from Him, to know Him and build His network Kingdom. The purpose was not just for information or encouragement; rather, it was to the entire Christian community, meant to remind people to be loyal to Christ, then and now. Its purpose is to bless and encourage us so we can stand firm and grow further in our faith.

What has been revealed will happen to us personally and in a future culmination. This book has meaning and application for church leadership to all who read it as well as a glimpse of a hope to come.

This was a letter targeted to seven actual churches in Asia Minor, now Turkey. About the Divine Authority, Sovereignty, and Lordship of Christ as well as the important relevance of Christ in us, so that we can have peace and anticipation in Him.

Thus to know and run a church under His care and purpose, we have to get this fact, what many today overlook, Christ is Lord. This is reality for us, now not just when He comes back. This is for us know and do now, even when all seems lost and hopeless, He is in command and His plan is in commission.

What are we called to do first and foremost in church leadership? We are exhorted to praise and worship Him Who is worthy of our praise because He has freed us from our sins and separation from God by the shedding of His own blood. He has made us a home, a kingdom, and a dwelling for eternity. So, let us manage it correctly for His glory!

Now, we are given a motivation to lead our churches so they point to Christ as Lord, not to the personalities of the leaders or to a trend or new wave of thinking; no, we are to be realigned to the Magnificent. The Incredable glory to come as we are given a glimpse of the coming of our Lord that all will see. It is not about waiting with theories of how and when; rather, the ultimate motivation for right leading by right doing, by right knowing His Word. It will be the ultimate in shock and awe. Christ is proclaimed as the “All in All” of all things, the Beginning and the End, the Almighty One! So, let us lead His Church in that way here and now, till that day comes!

What needs to take place to better connect your relationship with Christ more firmly, so you do leadership more fully for His glory? How would this help the people in your care to receive hope and encouragement?

 

Worship must be taken seriously!

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Worship must be taken seriously!

Worship must be done with pure hands and heart (Psalm 24:4)!

True Worship will have these Six Aspects

“At the Name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:10-11)

1. First, worship is appreciation and our identification, of who Christ is in our lives. He first reaches out to us, and because of our gratitude, we are to love Him back. We are to respond to Christ’s claim upon our lives. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, we can recognize God’s revelation to us. We can see who our Redeemer is, what He has done for us, and what He requires of us.

2. Second, worship is a response to God’s revelation, because God makes known His love to us. Christ reveals Himself to us in the Word and in His character. God revealed Himself to the Patriarchs, and then to Moses, and gave us a pattern for worship. He reveals Himself in the still small voice of the Holy Spirit, and in the quiet assurance that He is there with us!

3. Third, worship is a relationship, because God seeks us, then abides with us. Thus, in worship, we are praising and speaking to the audience, and that audience is God! Then, we are to listen as He speaks to us through His Word. Christian worship is a conversation with our God through His Holy Spirit. It is not a performance or a show; we are not seeking to entertain or promote ourselves, but to make known Christ, crucified. Worship is also an intimate and personal encounter with the Creator of the universe who first loved us. We are to make known our adoration, gratitude, and our needs, (not needs first!) and through this, discover His Will for our lives–to know Him, and make Him known.

4. Fourth, worship is reverence. We need to know the seriousness and awesomeness of God. We are to fear Him as in Proverbs 3:5. He may be our best friend, and we can talk to Him in that way, but He is first, and foremost the King and Creator of all. He is to be placed first, and is not to be an after thought, especially in church! God does indeed desire that we admit our spiritual need for Jesus Christ, so we can put away pride and arrogance, and be surrendered and poured out to Him (Gal. 2:20f; Phil. 3:10). This reverence is the essential duty of all Christians, and is the proof of the working of the Holy Spirit within us. His presence (Spirit) will cause us to give glory to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ

5. Fifth, worship is a cleansing of sin. We are to acknowledge our sin, and turn from it. Then, we will see our churches revitalized and sanctified. Then, we can have an impact in the community and world. We have to be the people of God to do the work of God! When we become emptied of all self-concern, pride, and arrogance, God will enter in with more power! What is stopping Him now? Us! It is our petty political struggles, gossip, slander, pride, self-delusions, and refusal to acknowledge Christ as Lord over all! We have to realize the Christian life is about seeking God’s direction of holiness and service.

6. Sixth, worship will lead to renewal. The point of the Christian life is to know Christ, to be like Christ. Thus, the longer we are in surrendered worship and prayer, the deeper in the walk with Christ we become; through the power of the Spirit, renewal will come.

Our understanding of what a church worship service is must reflect the precepts of Scripture. This includes our influence, and the format of our worship services. Our influence must not be just trends or data from surveys. It must be from His Word, period! We can mix in new ideas, such as songs, prayers, ways of delving the sermon, but not the fundamentals; nothing we do in doing church can contradict God’s Word!

Worship will be the central aspect of Heaven. (Rev. 4:8-11; 5:9-14; 7:9-17; 11:15-18; 15:2-4; 19:1-10) Thus, it must be the central aspect of doing church, and of each Christian’s life (Col. 3:17)!

Worship must be taken seriously! Worship must be done with pure hands and heart (Psalm 24:4)!

Worship is not found in the mixing board

Worship is not found in the mixing board, it is found in the Person and Work of Christ and our poured out gratitude to and for Him. All the instruments and equipment are mere tools, we are the offering of praise, Christ is the One we worship!

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“I will praise you, O LORD, with all my heart; before the gods I will sing your praise. I will bow down toward your holy temple and will praise your name for your love and your faithfulness, for you have exalted above all things your name and your word. When I called, you answered me; you made me bold and stouthearted. May all the kings of the earth praise you, O LORD, when they hear the words of your mouth.” Psalm 138:1-4

The problem with many of my associates in ministry is that they think Christ impacting is just emotional or something we do not need to work on. They see impacting worship as how piercing the music is and measure the quality of our services by technical standards.

Worship becomes the procedural of the staff so it is pleasing to the congregation, and thus we ignore its prime purpose.

Worship becomes about how it feels, how it is bearing to our members emotions and outlooks, not about how we are impacted by Christ so we are changing and thus praising Christ for what He has done in us.

Real impacting worship will help us connect to God, then to one another, and then to the community. When we are not impacted, we are not worshiping rightly, and thus our connections with God and others will be skewed and messed up.

http://www.churchleadership.org/apps/articles/?articleid=41984&columnid=4541

The Essentials of real Worship

The changes over the centuries have been momentous, but the basics have remained the same:

1. Honor God by reverence and awe as respecting and honoring His Lordship and sovereignty. As a community of believers, we are to gatherer weekly to mentally focus on God, and pour our hearts out to Him (1 Samuel 15:22: Matthew 15:9: Luke. 11:41-42; John 4:23; Acts 20:27; Galatians 2:20-21; Hebrews 10:24-25; 12:28-29; Revelation 1:10). Ecclesiastes 5:1 says, Guard your steps when you go to the house of God.

2. Praise His Name by singing of hymns/praise songs, prayer and/or liturgy/ Psalter (reading or singing the Psalms)–(Isaiah 6:1-5; Luke 11:41-42; Psalm 19; 29:2; 95:6-7; 150; Ephesians 5:19). The type and style of songs are not as important as the heart and intention of the leader and congregation. The words need to be Biblical and point to the Glory of Christ. The focus is glory and honor; it is never to be entertainment to the congregation. God is the audience and we are the performers to honor Him. It is OK to be creaawtive in worship, such has skits, plays, and various expressions, but not for the sake of entertainment. The question to ask is, does it distract people from the reverence and glory of Christ? If not, it probably is OK. If it does, or could, then save the entertainment for the social times.

3. Confession of sin: We are to acknowledge our sin, and also offer our sincere repentance (Lev 4; 6:24-f.; 7:1-f.; 16:1-f; 1 Kings 17:18; Ps 51:4-6; Isa 6; 53:10, 12; Matt 12:24, 31; Mark 7:20-23; John 1:5; 3:19-21; 8:31-34; 16:8-9; 15:22; Rom. 3:20; 5:12-20; 6:15-23; 7:7-20; 2 Cor. 11:3; Gal. 3:19-24; 1 Tim 2:14). We have to realize the impacting nature of sin, how it destroys, and how Christ paid our penalty for it! If you have any doubt, remember, the outward life is determined by the inner (Matt 5:17; 7:15-17).

4. Prayer must be the focus of the church, with intercession, and thanksgiving, as well as supplication (Acts 2:42).

5. Reading of the Word: We are to never forsake the reading of the Bible; if you do, you have a club and not a church (Acts 2:42; 1 Tim. 4:13; 2 Tim. 3:17).

6. Commentary: The applying of the Word by the worship leader/ pastor is the sermon or homily. In the Reformed perspective, the whole church service should revolve around the ministry of the Word. The sermon is central to the worship services. Everything else is either preparatory to, or a response to, the message from Scripture (Acts 2:47; 20:7-8; Col. 1:25; Philippians 3:3; 1 Tim. 3:2; 2 Tim. 2:24; Tit. 1:9).

7. Fellowship is to build up and honor one another in order to strengthen the church, the people of God (Eph. 4:12; cf. 1 Cor. 14:12).

 

The Call for the Church from Colossians PII

…if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel… Colossians 1:15-23

Christ is Supreme! That means He is also the Head of the Church! We tend to run our churches as if we were in control, basing our decisions on gathering needs and developing programs to fill those needs. Yet, as good as this may sound, the main thing in church leadership is left out. Where is Christ and where is His purpose and direction? We close the door to our Lord! He is the head; that means we must line ourselves up to Him and His Lordship, not our ideas, trivialities, and agendas. We are to seek Him as Lord over all—over our lives as well as our churches!

Remember the Dead Sea; if all we do is allow Him to flow into us and not out, we will stagnate. If we just try to go it alone without our Lord, we will fail. We cannot flow out if nothing flows in.

The responsibility is clear; we are to allow His Spirit to flow in and out, as we are His tools, His children, and His love. When our faith becomes strong, we will not be moved from it, and that means we will not be moved away from Christ. This is what steadfastness is all about: not being shaken from our beliefs and faith in our Lord. When we stray off our path, we tend to substitute steadfastness with stubbornness that takes us far from the purpose and responsibility of the Lord’s church. Being firmly rooted in Christ means keeping to the integrity of Scripture and His teachings, for when we stray from that path, our church will stray away from His opportunities and call. Christ gives us the hope and opportunities to grow, learn, and abide in Him; we are to respond to the call and opportunities He gives with hope and joy.

We must do this in all things—worship, relationships, our thought processes, how we make decisions, and how we institute and instigate the work of the church.

It all must flow and come from Christ our Lord, our Leader and God, and from nowhere else. When we stop experiencing Jesus as our Lord, and He becomes only a figure in the sanctuary, then we will not be a purposeful or called Church for Him. When we are singing praise choruses and hymns that point to His Holiness and Greatness and as Head of our lives and church, do we mean it? Or, is it merely rhetoric and repetition that has no meaning behind it?

The church exists as a response to the grace of our Lord. Because of what He did, we are to glorify, magnify, praise His name, and then respond further from our worship of Him to our works for Him. Remember that works have no saving construct; they are only the appreciation and response we are give to His majesty and redemption. Grace working in us will produce the work and will of our devotion and holiness to set us apart for His plan. Our response is to accept His teachings and love with joyful excitement, and replicate it in our lives, thoughts, and actions, and to grow and perfect the relationship and work He gives us.

Our Lord is the head of His Church

Read Colossians 1:15-23, then pray how do you point to Christ, before you lead your church!

The chief characteristic of who we are in Christ is the fact He is the living Supreme God who has existed for all time, who transcends space, time and thought, who knows us intimately, and who loves us. Christ is Lord; Christ is Supreme! Christ is the tangible aspect of God who is beyond sight and comprehension. He is the God who created the universe, who made all things. He made all that we see, and all that we do not see! He is the God who created the molecules of substance, formed the ground on which we stand and the wood on which He was crucified. In all of life, in whatever we will face and know, He has gone and still goes before and with us. This world was created by Christ and for Christ; He is indeed supreme. We need to learn to live our lives in Him for His glory. In so doing, we will be much better as stewards of His Church. Church life is not about our ideas, presumptions, or expectations—it is about Him as LORD! When we finally achieve this mindset, we begin our journey of growing in faith, maturity, character, and becoming more content in life and of better use to Christ and others around us. This is realized when we see the hope we have in Him, and allow that hope to be a foundation; He will carry is through all things.

What does this Colossians passage have to do with the responsibility of the church? A lot! This passage is about reconciliation, and the church’s responsibility is to mirror the character of God who reconciled us to Him!

Christ has and is revealing the invisible God to us, and we cannot and must not look for God anywhere else. If we look for God in ourselves or anywhere else in the world, we will fail as a church and as believers. This is because the church is the body of Christ, and as believers we are to believe. We are to follow and lead as examples, surrendering to His Lordship and not our own.

One of the big issues and problems is that most Christians just do not get this passage. Our Lord is the head of His Church, including our church, yet our churches are run as if we were in total control and we reign supreme. As far as the responsibility of the church goes, what more can we say, other than Christ is the head and our lead, thus the vision and call can only come from Him and not of ourselves and our effort. If Christ is our “all in all” then we must respond to His teachings as marching orders and not a list of suggestions or ideas. We are to see and know Him as our Creator and Lord, as our Redeemer and Savior, as our God. Then we can respond as the church that our Lord died for.

Building a Church that Points to and Honors Christ PVIII

Incarnational Churches are aware of their Eternal Covenant  

Because of Christ’s incarnation, work, and sacrifice, He takes the place of our debt of sin and fulfills the old covenant and the blood sacrifice, which was temporary and flawed, to atone for our sin. Now, we can go directly to God, person-to-Person. God renews His relationship with us, His people, and gives us an age of grace in Christ by faith alone (Ex. 24:8; Deut. 30:11-14; Psalm 37:31; 40:8; 119:11; Isa. 51:7; 55:3; 61:8; Jer. 31:31; 32:40; Ezek. 37:26; Rom. 6:9; Heb. 8:8-13; 9:11-22). 

A Name for Jesus in the Hebrews text is our Great Shepherd, meaning He is the One who leads, equips, and guides us—as we all desperately need. It is our call to hear His voice and obey as a good sheep does in order to be fed and not be eaten by predators. And who and what are our predators? Our wayward ways of all infighting by our pride, and the fact that when the sheep go unfed, they bite each other. For us to be in the safety of faith, we not only need to be in Christ, we have to obey Him. This is a result of our intimate relationship with Him that is synergistically touching all those who come into His Home. We know Him, He knows us, and we do what He says. We are concerned with what concerns Him, and we act accordingly. Like sheep, we can’t lead others or ourselves without being forever lost and unfed (Psalm 23; Isa. 63:11; Jer. 23:1; 31:34; Ezek. 34:6-16, 31; Hos. 6:6; John 10:1-8; 16:13-15; Rom. 10:7).  

For our church to work well, we need to be taught and encouraged to grow so we can be our best, to reach out and to worship and function in humility and encouragement.  

In so doing, we support and remind one another to remain in Christ and not fall away. We do this as we honor the superiority of Christ and hear God’s call so we can venture into Christian maturity. The bottom line of an Incarnational Church is that we are not just the means of the communication of the Message of God; we are also the message to those who do not know Him. Because we are His work, we are His Gospel in action as an example that communicates far more than any book, program, or speaker or evangelist. We present and demonstrate not just the Jesus who lived, but also the Jesus who lives in us (Col. 1; Phil. 2:13; 2 Pet. 1:3).  

The Incarnational Church produces a fellowship filled with real purpose and inspiration because we are rooted in the life of our Lord. As a result, people are treated in the parameters of Fruit and by people of character, as maturity is sought so everyone feels loved, appreciated, treasured, and encouraged because they are so—discipled and involved by mentoring before they are deployed in ministry. This is what a “Christ life” looks like before “Church life” is fully engaged. Thus, the leadership top down is producing a church authentic in spiritual maturity by its involvement in Christ so that the people are inspired to be devoted, as in caught up in Christ and with one another to be more worthy in and for the faith. In so doing, we are all making Him known in the world too. The key to making this happen is how people are cared for before they are deployed; the equipping and encouraging must always continue. The antagonist to this is our pride, apathy, or manipulation, seeking to connive, posturing ones agenda over others, and/or absent from God’s precepts, call, or love. The Incarnational Church shows the kind of direction that sees Christ glorified as our tempers and temperaments come in line with His guidelines. So our church—your church—is a collection of imitators of Christ so we go in the direction of the possibilities of His lead. And, we can indeed do this if we dare stretch beyond what we think we can do or where we can go, and seek where and what Christ has for us, even with our limitations and frailty (John 14:21-22; 1 Corinthians 12:7; Colossians 4:2-5; 1 John 1:2). 

Hebrews ends with this final exhortation: pray and live honorably so God may produce even more in you. Remember your fellow Christian workers and pray for and support them. May the God of peace who saved you continue to equip you. May you produce effectual fruit for the glory of Christ, our Great Shepherd. To God be the glory!

Building a Church that Points to and Honors Christ P VII

Incarnational Churches live as a response to what Christ has done for us!

If you love Jesus, then you are to love others too. Hebrews is almost written as a letter of recommendation to encourage the hearers to continue in the faith and not give up, and to obey their leaders, because if they do not, they will face dire problems. What they were going through then was nothing like what would come later. The author, inspired by God, advised them (and us) to “shape up” so we could grow through it with joy and not melt in bitterness. Our living faith, that God gives and builds on along with our efforts, has more of a purpose than most of us will ever see or realize. Take God’s warning about negating your spiritual development or neglecting what He gives or where He calls. If we refuse to allow His work, then our faith and the future He has for us will not be received. We will limit our sanctification and cut ourselves off from God’s reward for being faithful and fruitful; we may even fall to bad or natural consequences for refusing His guidance or the fellowship of others. Just think about how many churches in the U.S. close each year—over four thousand. Thus, we have to see our call to be responsible for one another so each can encourage and equip others, helping them when they slip or are about to slip (Psalm 137: 5-6; 147:2; Isa 62:5; Rom. 12-14; Gal. 4-5; 6:24; Eph. 4-5; Heb. 10:10; Rev. 21: 2-4, 9-27). 

With responsibility comes obedience and listening—a call to obey your leaders.

This may not be popular in a day when we are conditioned to challenge and even disrespect authority, but here we are called to respect authority and to care for and keep careful watch over the people as shepherds, because leaders will be held to account. So, to make our church incarnational, make a group effort with some top down leadership, so we can heed the call and submit to those in authority with value and respect. In this way, we can thrive, enjoy orderliness, and learn from others. In contrast, a person with a lack of faith will not respect others because the emptiness where faith is supposed to be is filled with pride and even self-destruction, worry, and stress that lead a person nowhere good. This, of course, does not mean we submit to dictatorial or dysfunctional leadership (Isa. 21:8; Jer, 23:4; Ezek. 3:17; 33:6; 35:7; Hab. 2:1; Acts 20:28; Heb. 13:7; 1 Pet. 5:2-4; 3 John 9-10). 

Christianity is community; we are all mutually dependent upon one another and must act accordingly with goodness to one another so we can show Him effectively. 

As Christians, we are all priests to one another as we collectively rely on Christ and minster to one another. In the desire to pursue Christ and His precepts, we must be careful that we honor Him and not cause others to stray from Him. This must include our devotion and surrender to Christ, for only in Him—by Word and Prayer—and being held accountable by others will our conscience be clear. Even in the face of struggles and hardships, we can live honorably, by our mutual respect and focus on God as comfort! In contrast, if we just live our lives with the attitude of how things affect “me” and not “others,” then we are living with the devil, and not with God (Rom. 15: 33: 16:20; 2 Cor. 1:12; 13:11; Phil. 4:9, 18; 1 Thess. 5:23; 2 Thess. 3:16; Heb. 4:16; James 1:27)!