Worship and Celebration
The Spiritual Practices put us in a place where we are better able to interact with our environment and God. God can then reach inside our spirits and transform them. Just as our body needs to eat, breathe, exercise, drink, sleep, etc., so our spiritual self needs to make sure it is being sustained, cared for, and trained. The results include spiritual growth, a life controlled by the Holy Spirit, evidence of the fruit of the spirit, and the ultimate goal, living life like Jesus did.
The Spiritual Practices are not:
- Meritorious laws that earn favor with God
- A way to show how spiritually mature we are
- Unpleasant or difficult
Instead, they are:
- Activities we do that when practiced allow us to do activities we cannot now do.
- Adaptable to work with our temperaments and gifts
- Adjustable according to the rhythm and seasons of our lives
There are two kinds:
Abstinence – when we stop doing something that is perfectly normal to allow ourselves to focus more on God, His Word, and growing in godliness. These also help us resist our tendency toward sins of commission (when we do something we shouldn’t do). We withdraw to breathe in all that God can provide to us, breaking the hold that the world has on our lives. Practices of Abstinence help ready us and create room for the Practices of Engagement.
Engagement – when we do certain activities that help us grow in Christ and obey his commandments. The Practices of Abstinence have opened up the time and broken up the preoccupations so we are now free to learn of, focus on, and practice those things that God commands us to do. These assist in keeping us from our tendency toward sins of omission (not doing the things we should do). We engage to breathe out all that God commands us.
This Journey Element requires more time than most to complete so break it down into sections. The four opportunities to Comment provide obvious breaking points.
Living in Awe
We are all born worshipers; created to worship the God who created us.
This internal desire is often distracted and refocused on false gods and religions, idols made by our own hands, little gods of wood and stone. We lift up pursuits glorifying sex and pleasure, money and greed, success and power, celebrity and fame.
If nothing else, we worship ourselves and our stuff. Idols abound, all around, and they loudly demand first place in our lives.
The Ultimate Priority
God created all things to worship, glorify and enjoy Him forever. That includes you and me. Our default setting is to worship. We usually have no problem at all worshiping…..Our problem and struggle is with whom or what we worship. God knew this and in Exodus 20 He makes it very clear whom we are to worship.
1 And God spoke all these words: 2 “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. 3 “You shall have no other gods before me . 4 “You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. 5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing love to a thousand [generations] of those who love me and keep my commandments.
Jesus reaffirmed this same priority in Luke 10.
25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?” 27 He answered: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ ” 28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”
Worship is defined as ascribing worth to something, giving it high value and esteem. Other words we might use to describe worship include honor, exaltation, and adoration. When we worship the Most High God we affirm His supreme value, His worthiness, His true character. This is our job description, the reason for creation, our highest priority.
Psalm 19 says that even the heavens declare the glory of God, and in Luke 19, Jesus claims the rocks themselves would cry out their praise if the disciples were silenced.
Paul in Romans 1 describes the consequences of neglecting appropriate worship.
For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles. 24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator–who is forever praised. Amen.
The Bible includes many examples of people who worshiped God in both acceptable and unacceptable ways. We are urged in Romans 12 to be living sacrifices and in Hebrews 13 to offer up a sacrifice of praise to God. In Luke 10, Jesus encourages Martha to join Mary who is sitting at his feet listening to Him because she has chosen what is better.
In John 4, Jesus explains to the Samaritan Woman at the Well the following:
21 Jesus declared, “Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22 You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.”
We are to worship only God. He is our only audience as we show our allegiance, loyalty and appreciation to our King, Savior and Creator. We affirm His supreme eternal value, character and position in contrast to ourselves.
“You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.” Revelation 4:11 (NIV)
We are to worship only God.
Worship, true worship, ascribing worth to our Most High God, is a spiritual practice of engagement. Most all of the other spiritual practices we have learned up to this point are used to prepare for us to worship or as part of the worship process. We need to actively participate. There is no real way to learn about worship until you do it.
When we worship we catch a glimpse of the reality of God.
Most often worship is confused with a church service, music and singing, an emotional response, or a place of worship. However, worship is not primarily an external activity, but an internal response. It can be assisted by music and liturgy, but the music and liturgy are not to be watched or to become an end in themselves. They are to lead us into worship, not perform for us.
Oftentimes we attend a worship service as a spectator, watching the worship service from the stands. Instead we need to realize we are the participants and God is an audience of ONE. God seeks people who will worship Him. He initiates and reveals Himself to us and we respond.
This is why it is so important to think rightly about God. The better we know Him and understand what we can about Him, the better we can worship or ascribe accurate worth to Him. We go to give glory, not to be blessed. The issue isn’t did I get anything out of it, but did I give glory to God. Then the blessings come in response to our worship.
The foundation of true worship is based on redemption. Jesus came to seek and to save with the specific purpose of producing worshiping people. 1 Peter 2 accurately describes who we are and how we should act accordingly.
9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
So, why should we worship?
Spirit and Truth
In John 4, Jesus explains to the Woman at the Well that the Father seeks those who worship in spirit and in truth. The place of worship, or the Temple, would no longer be the central focus.
19 “Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.” 21 Jesus declared, “Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22 You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.”
The place we worship or the format or liturgy of our worship is not as important as the state of our hearts when we worship. Worship should touch or bring forth passion for God. But we also need knowledge of God or there is no worship in truth. We need the balance of both passion and truth. ”Only Spirit” worship leads to an overly emotional experience that wanes when the passion cools. “Only Truth” worship results in a dry, legalistic and joyless time with God.
As we seek to worship in spirit and truth our worship should be sincere, with pure motives, without hypocrisy or a divided heart. The question should never be what did I get out of it, but did I give glory to God? We should worship with our whole heart, guarding against just going through the motions.
Other attitudes necessary in worship include a humble and teachable spirit, surrender, sacrifice, denial, obedience, thankfulness, joy, and amazement.
We need to make every effort to engage our body, soul and spirit: our minds, emotions and actions as we worship. This is hard work and requires discipline and practice as we tend to wander, doze, multitask, critique, judge, do everything else but worship. Instead we should listen, think, and respond, expecting God to speak directly to us in worship. Just being there is not enough. Block out any possible distractions, remember why you’re there.
Worship is our response to God’s initiative toward us. We respond to his revelation to us through music, teaching, prayer, confession, and repentance. Our minds are engaged and our spirits are moved. We physically respond by standing, bowing, clapping, lifting our hands. We put our whole heart into it. Everything else can wait.
It’s always important to come prepared to enter God’s presence, prepared to respond to his initiative and revelation. That means we still or quiet our spirits in Silence and Confess all known sins as well as forgiving any others we have not yet forgiven. Sin and unforgiveness will short circuit our worship until we deal with them.
Our worship is not to be self centered, self styled or selfish. It is not to be designed around our needs. We are not to put our abilities, advantages or blessings above God.
Right knowledge of God
It is difficult to worship a God you do not know or think rightly about. That is why we study His attributes, His works, and His promises to us. That is why we read and study the Bible, share testimonies and participate in community. If we don’t think rightly about Him we will not worship him rightly. We cannot ascribe worth to a God we do not see or know as worthy.
Recap of Worship Attitudes
- In Spirit and In Truth (John 4:23)
- Responsive to God’s initiative
- Sincere (Matthew 5:8)
- Experiential, participatory, creative
- Focused and Engaged
- Wholehearted (Matthew 5:8, Mark 7:6, Acts 5:1-4)
- Right with God – Confession and Forgiveness
- Selfless, humble, sacrificial
- Teachable, obedient, thankful, joyful, in awe.
Recap of Worship Killers
- Hypocrisy (Matthew 18:8)
- Directed to false gods, idolatry
- False motives
- Unconfessed sin, unrepentant
- In a self styled manner
- With a divided heart
- With activity/distraction/multitasking – Mary/Martha
- Self centered and selfish
- Focused on tradition instead of revelation
- Only as an observer, non participatory
Delight in the Lord
“I delight greatly in the Lord. My soul rejoices in My God.” Isaiah 61:10
What a wonderful expression of true worship, the delight and rejoicing that comes from one who has truly worshiped…..
We are commanded to do this very thing in Psalm 37:4…
Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.
And again in Psalm 112:1…..
Praise the Lord. Blessed is the man who fears the Lord and finds great delight in His commands.
How do we learn to delight greatly, to worship our King? What is involved in accomplishing the spiritual practice of worship?
Obviously, we now know it involves much more than just attending a worship service once a week, or sitting at home reading your Bible. Each of these activities is a good start, but being a Christ follower is not a spectator sport.
If we worship regularly the following changes begin to show up in our lives.
- Moves us from an attitude of getting to giving
- Changes us from a critical spectator to a cooperative participant
- Refocuses our worldly perspective to God’s heavenly one.
- Purifies, inspires, and strengthens us to serve God, to go where He is going and do what He is doing.
- Simply put, we are transformed by God to be more like His Son, and our lives and lifestyles have become avenues of worship.
- Refocused on God with clarity, direction and obedience
- Faith energized and gifts mobilized
Whenever we have a divine encounter with God we are changed for the better. His thoughts and motives enter our hearts and minds and our faith is increased as we are strengthened. You never finish worshiping and you can never worship enough. That is why it is to be done regularly, with purpose. Worship is to become our priority and our service then flows from our worship.
We worship God for Who He is and Praise Him for what He has done. We remember, ponder, delight, thank, and stand in awe of Him. Once again, this is why a correct understanding of God’s attributes is important. If you don’t know who He is, you can’t correctly ascribe to Him His worth. If you don’t know what He has done and is doing, and is doing for you, you can’t appropriately praise or thank Him.
Anything less than the truth in worship is idolatry and God hates idolatry. To worship is to see God as worthy, to ascribe to Him great worth. We have not worshiped until His Spirit touches our spirit, and the beginning of that is to think rightly about God.
Getting from Here to There
Interestingly enough, the “How” of worship is the least important issue. We can and should worship in the following three different ways:
- Personal worship – alone
- Gathered with other believers – corporate
- How we live our lives – our lifestyles can be a worship offering – Delighting in the Lord.
Many people confuse worship with a certain style of liturgy, music, or prayer, when those are only the form or vehicle to worship. There is no style of worship prescribed in the New Testament. Examples of praise and thanksgiving in the Bible include dancing, singing, parades, parties, prayer, building of altars, meals, rituals, sacrifices, feasts, artistic creations, offerings and holidays. These are all forms of worship that were not used all the time, but at specific appropriate occasions.
The key is if the worship style moves us or assists us in praise and adoration.
Emotions should be brought into worship, but you may not be moved emotionally each time. Different physical stances, including standing, kneeling, lying prostrate, lifting up holy hands, looking up, looking down, open hands, folded hands, laying on of hands, or clapping of hands, and jumping up and down are all used. Many times the worship style is culturally based and newcomers should be sensitive to their response and judgment.
You only learn how to worship by participating in worship. We should commit to go regularly, understanding that it is a practice with a purpose. God seeks to transform us, to touch us with His spirit, as we do the one thing we were created to do – worship HIM.
Since worship engages our whole being we need to remember:
- Not just about going to church
- Not just being in the right place and the right time doing the right things
- Not focused around what will meet our needs
- Not manipulated or manipulating
- Regularly done with other believers, the fullest expression of the people of God
- Done through the power of the Holy Spirit, His Spirit touching our spirit
- It’s something we do, focus on, prepare for, so God can be glorified and we can be transformed
- It’s wholehearted, free, unafraid, expectant and truthful
- It’s the mark of a saving faith
- It’s only directed at the One True God through His Son, Jesus Christ.
Ways to Begin to Practice Worship
- The spiritual practice of Worship begins with individual personal worship. This can be part of a daily quiet time, or done as you listen to music or walk in nature. Remember to focus on ascribing worth to God.
- Start out with silence, then listen and observe. What attributes of God come to mind?
- What names of God come to mind?
- What works of God come to mind?
- Verbally praise and thank Him for these. Focus on his majesty and awesomeness.
- Listen expectantly for his initiative and respond to it. As God reveals Himself to you, respond in worship.
- Acknowledge your position relative to his:
Finite meets Infinite
Creation meets Creator
Forgiven meets Forgiver
Delivered meets Deliverer
Sheep meets Shepherd
You get the idea!
- Try different positions in your personal worship time. Lie prostrate on the floor, kneel, or lift up your hands to heaven.
- You might design special individual worship retreats or getaways to a place where you can be still and focus.
- Some great ideas for inspirational natural worship situations include: sunsets, cloud formations, mountains, oceans, starry nights, forests, underwater scenery, looking out an airplane window…..anywhere the amazing beauty of God’s creation can be experienced.
- Personal worship can only be learned by doing it. It is between you and God and is why he created you. Don’t wait too long to begin your worship adventure.
- Use the Psalms as a guide for your personal worship. Read them out loud and look for the many reasons the Psalmist worshiped and praised God. Make these reasons your own. At the end of this section there is a list of Psalms to use to get started.
Almost everyone associates a church service with worship. Corporate worship usually incorporates a combination of music and singing, teaching or sermons, prayer, praise, giving and service.
The spiritual practice of Worship continues as we are commanded not to neglect gathering together, as well as to gather together in Jesus name. We are better together than we are apart. Gathering together shows God even more worth than we can show as individuals. He is worthy of our corporate worship.
There is no worship style prescribed in the New Testament. Yet, most Biblical examples show it should be participatory, experiential, creative and focused on God, the Trinity. It is not a show that we observe. We should go prepared to worship and absorb any distractions with Thanksgiving.
Worship services vary in music style, teaching style, cultural styles, liturgy, complexity, posture, length, degree of formality, type of building, and number of worshipers. You can worship in a cathedral, in a warehouse, in a park and in a cave. Many believers around the world worship in secret. And yet, God accepts all true worship no matter where it comes from.
You can check your worship afterwards by answering these three questions.
- Did I/we glorify God?
- Did our worship build up the church/other participants?
- Did our worship help us become more Christlike in our lives?
Do I Have to Go?
What if I don’t feel like going to church?
Because of some of the obvious and well publicized excesses in some established Christian churches, there are periodically movements of believers who forgo regular church attendance altogether, relying on personal worship, or gatherings in small groups and house churches instead.
Because of technology there is now wide access to wonderful Christian teaching on video, podcast, television and over the internet at any time of day or night. Christian worship music is also easily and widely accessible.
Sometimes our lives are just difficult. Our culture works against our ability to get to church. We don’t have time, are tired, angry, depressed, or getting the kids ready is too much hassle. God will understand, we feel we can just worship by ourselves, we don’t like the people there, they don’t do things the way we are used to, the Pastor’s on vacation, or we can watch Church TV and be fed just fine.
Sometimes church is difficult, because people are difficult. Sometimes God gives us a season of solitude. We move and it’s hard to find a good church. Where do you start?
The first thing to do is tell God how you feel. Then go anyway, go somewhere, visit lots of churches. This is the sacrifice of worship, doing it when you don’t feel like it. Keep praying about it. Ask Him to help, to show you where you need to change, or to show you where to go to worship.
The hardest part of worship is remembering it is not about us, but about God. It is not an opiate, a place to go to make us feel better, to dull our pain, to numb us, to provide a place of escape. Sometimes it is real hard work.
God promises to meet all those needs, but through worship He will change us, we will see things differently, our faith will increase, our hope will be pumped up, our love will swell, and our thoughts will become His thoughts.
If you currently have no place to worship with others, talk to other believers, look in your local paper, check online websites, or just drop in to that church you drive by everyday. Many new Christ following communities or churches are not meeting in traditional church buildings but in schools, malls, business parks, storefronts, and many other kinds of places. Many have services at alternate times, not just on Sunday mornings. So, don’t be afraid to break out of the traditional mold to find the place where God wants you to worship.
Recap of Why we gather for worship:
- Jesus promised to be with us when we gather in His Name (Matthew 18:20)
- Together we show greater honor or worship to God.
- Example of early believers in Acts
Sweet Smelling Aroma
The result of practicing both individual and corporate worship is that our lifestyles become more and more like Christ’s. Our love and worship of God reveals itself in our obedience and service to Him. This is a lifelong process and begins as a response to the mercies we have received from God.
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. 2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will. 3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. Romans 12:1-3 NIV
So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. I Cor. 10:31 NIV
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation , a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. 11 Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. 12 Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us. 1 Peter 2:9-12 NIV
For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. 2 Corinthians 2:15 NIV
Psalms and other Resources to use for Personal Worship
Psalm 8 Psalm 19 Psalm 24
Psalm 29 Psalm 34 Psalm 47
Psalm 48 Psalm 65 Psalm 66
Psalm 89 Psalm 92 Psalm 93
Psalm 95 Psalm 96 Psalm 98
Psalm 99 Psalm 100 Psalm 103
Psalm 104 Psalm 105 Psalm 121
Psalm 135 Psalm 139 Psalm 145
Psalm 146 Psalm 147 Psalm 148
Psalm 149 Psalm 150
Another excellent resource for personal worship information, study, and resources is the
Roadmaps For Worship online website. There is also a Roadmaps for Worship book, DVD and APP available. All these resources are created and written by Dr. James Altizer.
(In your own journal, the downloadable PDF for this blog, or in the Comment section for this post)
Share your answers to the Personal Reflections on Worship questions. Also share anything you learned from practicing Worship.
Living with Joy
Can you even imagine a spiritual practice that says its ok to have some fun, to laugh, party, dance, sing, make merry, enjoy each others company, eat, eat, and eat some more?
Celebration is somewhat of a subset of the Spiritual Practice of Worship so we will include it here. Without celebration we would not have the strength to continue, we would miss the joy of the Lord. Celebration provides a break from the struggles, the battles, the everydayness of our lives and gives us pause to thank God, to be grateful for all He has provided, to remember what’s important and just enjoy each other. It lifts our spirits and chases away the black clouds of sadness, if even just for a short time. We can relax, recharge, and be ready to go again.
Celebration is all about Joy. And Joy is what is going on in Heaven. Celebration gives us a little bit of heaven while we live out our purpose on earth. It adds a bit of gaiety to our lives, some festivity and hilarity, laughter, and pizzazz.
After all, with all we have been given through Christ, we should be the most fun, interesting, free and alive people on earth. Not stuffy, grumpy, and boring as we have been perceived for centuries, whether deserved or not.
Celebration is carefree, focusing on the good things God has provided, the best things in others. Its what keeps us going and reminds us of our hope for the future. Paul encouraged the Philippians to think about things that were true, right, noble, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy, all things worthy of celebrating. Celebration awakens our creativity and our sense of play. It allows us to enjoy the creativity of others.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus encouraged his followers not to worry about anything, that He would provide it all for them. The world had enough trouble, why should they add more to it. Instead we are to raise the bar and celebrate the life we have been given. It not only strengthens us with Joy, its contagious to others who marvel at our positivity in such negative times.
The church incorporates celebrations or holidays into its calendar to remember and worship God and acknowledge His works. Christmas, celebrating the birth or incarnation of Jesus and Easter, celebrating the resurrection of Jesus from the dead are the two main Christian holidays.
The church also celebrates sacraments as part of worship, remembering and honoring God with a visible outward act that commemorates an inward spiritual divine grace. Sacraments remember or point to that which is sacred. The two main sacraments in the Protestant Church are Baptism and Communion.
Water or Believer’s Baptism is a one time event, an act of obedience and a public testimony for the believer about an inward experience and identification with Jesus including giving control of our lives over to God. It signifies serious repentance, change, dying to self and a desire to live fully for Christ. It also identifies the believer with the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. (Romans 6:4, Colossians 2:11-12)
Communion is to be observed continually by the church until Jesus returns because Jesus told us to do so. Many churches celebrate it once a month and at special services, but some do it at every service. Others have a special service just for communion. (1 Cor. 11:24-26)
We are remembering Christ and all that He has done for us in his life, death and resurrection.
And when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” 1 Corinthians 11:24
We are also to examine ourselves.
A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup.
1 Corinthians 11:28
In addition we are proclaiming His death until He comes. In this way it is a statement of faith.
For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. 1 Corinthians 11:26
And finally, when we observe Communion we show our participation in the body of Christ. His life becomes our life and we become members of each other.
Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ? Because there is one loaf, we , who are many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf.
1 Corinthians 10:16-17
Many churches celebrate Confirmation or a coming of age rite of passage that occurs in the pre teen years. This process usually includes classes and training, signaling a more mature faith. The Catholic Church celebrates additional sacraments including Penance, Marriage and Last Rites.
Ways to Begin to Practice Celebration
- Make sure to participate in Communion during a worship service on a regular basis.
- If you have not been baptized as a believer, talk to your pastor about how to do this at your church. A good way to find out is to observe other believers as they are baptized and participate in their celebration.
- Plan a celebration of your own. If you are not set up for this where you live, go to a restaurant, park, ballgame, etc.
- Plan to have regular celebrations for birthdays, holidays, anniversaries, etc. If you already do this, plan to do something different. Change it up a bit.
- Pick a day each week to celebrate in some way, or if that is too much, then once a month. It doesn’t have to be a big event. This is just because you can. You don’t need a reason, it’s all about tapping into that heavenly Joy.
- Remember to celebrate your accomplishments and those of others as you go through life. From a college degree to finishing a work project, or maybe you updated your yard, or restored your car, everything is worthy of celebrating.
- Have spur of the moment celebrations – Call your friends, invite your neighbors, see what happens. These are the best kinds.
- Save certain restaurants, favorite foods, desserts, drinks, plates and placemats, for celebrations.
- Go crazy! Have fun!
Personal Reflections on Worship and Celebration:
- Read the following Psalms and share what you learn about the practice of Worship.
- In what areas of your life do you have a tendency to worship something else in addition to or in place of God?
- Please watch the 40 Million Minutes video linked here. How do you need to readjust your life to make worship your ultimate priority?
- Evaluate the following elements of worship in your own personal experience. What can you do to strengthen each area in order to worship better?
Right knowledge of God:
- How do you currently participate in worship? What changes would you like to make in the way you worship? What changes would you like worship to make in you ? What kind of control do you have over this?
- What are some reasons you might want to skip church or corporate worship? What might motivate you to go or to start going again?
- What are the benefits to you of personal and corporate worship? How has it impacted your life?
- What are some celebrations that you participate in regularly? How do they bring you joy? How do you bring joy to them?
(In your own journal, the downloadable PDF for this blog, or in the Comment section for this post)
Share your answers to the Personal Reflections on Celebration questions. Also share anything you learned from practicing Celebration.
Jesus –“Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.” John 4:23-24 NIV
John MacArthur – “Glorifying God is the most crucial element of worship. Worship is ascribing glory to God, recognizing His glory, and offering praise to Him for it.”
Scott Morton – “Sundays began to change for me when I began to see corporate worship as a spiritual discipline – one which focused on giving, not getting. As I did with the other spiritual disciplines, I learned to make corporate worship a habit.”
God – “You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath, or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them: for I, your God, am a jealous God…..” Exodus 20:3-4 NIV
Richard Foster – “We must have ‘wineskins’ that will embody our experience of worship. But the forms are not the worship; they only lead us into the worship. We are free in Christ to use whatever forms will enhance our worship, and if any form hinders us from experiencing the living Christ – too bad for the form.”
Paul – “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. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good and pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:1-2 NIV
Dallas Willard – “In worship we engage ourselves with, dwell upon, and express the greatness, beauty and goodness of God through thought and the use of words, rituals and symbols. We do this alone as well as in union with God’s people.”
Jesus Christ is our one, true worship Leader.
Richard Foster – “What we must see is that the real question in worship is not, ‘What will meet my need?’ The real question is, ‘What kind of worship does God call for?’ It is clear that God calls for whole hearted worship. And it is as reasonable to expect wholehearted worship to be physical as to expect it to be cerebral.”
References for the above quotes can be found in the back of the PDF version of To Die For.
(In your own journal, the PDF, or the Comments section of this post)
Pick one or two of the above quotes or statements and share any insights or challenges it presents to you.
John Ortberg – “Ironically, often the one thing that keeps me from experiencing joy is my preoccupation with self. The very selfishness that keeps me from pouring myself out for the joy of others also keeps me from noticing and delighting in the myriad of small gifts God offers each day.”
Clement of Alexandria – “Worship is celebration.”
Moses – “When Pharoah’s horses, chariots, and horsemen went in the sea, the Lord brought the water of the sea back over them, but the Israelites walked through the sea on dry ground. Then Miriam the prophetess, Aaron’s sister, took a tambourine in her hand, and all the women followed her, with tambourines and dancing. Miriam sang to them, “Sing to the LORD, for he is highly exalted, the horse and rider he has hurled into the sea.” Exodus 15:20-21 NIV
King Solomon –“Then I realized that it is good for a man to eat and drink and to find satisfaction in his toilsome labor under the sun during the few days of his life God has given him. Moreover, when God gives any man wealth and possessions and enables him to enjoy them, to accept his lot and be happy in his work – this is a gift of God. He seldom reflects on the days of his life, because God keeps him occupied with gladness of heart.” Ecclesiastes 5:18-20 NIV
Dallas Willard – “It is the completion of worship, for it dwells on the greatness of God as shown in his goodness to us. We engage in celebration when we enjoy ourselves, our life, our world, in conjunction with our faith and confidence in God’s greatness, beauty, and goodness. We concentrate on our life and world as God’s work and as God’s gift to us.”
C. S. Lewis – “Joy is the serious business of heaven.”
Richard Foster – “If celebration is primarily a corporate Discipline, and it brings such benefit to the people of God, how is it practiced? The question is a good one, for modern men and women have become so mechanized that we have snuffed out nearly all experiences of spontaneous joy. Most of our experiences of celebration are artificial, plastic.”
I’ve got that joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart, down in my heart to stay.
Barbara Hoffman – “Stop worrying about the potholes in the road, and celebrate the journey.”
Unknown author of a near perfect quote– “I think one of the most perfect times of the year to celebrate is by far Christmas Day. After all, it’s the celebration of the most perfect birth of the most perfect man who ever walked this earth. Why not celebrate in a lavish way?”
References for the above quotes can be found in the back of the PDF version of To Die For.
(In your own journal, the PDF, or the Comments section of this post)
Pick one or two of the above quotes or statements and share any insights or challenges it presents to you.
The next post is To Die For Me 8: Journal 10.4 – Who do you Love?.