Posts Tagged ‘Worship’

Well, the Conservative bit of it anyway! 🙂

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This is dedicated to my Assistant Pastor, Andy Constable, our in-house hand waving guru. I’m more of an elbow flapping man myself but I am assured that as long as I am doing it with my eyes closed, my face lifted up and an earnest expression on my face, it looks really spiritual.

This is an older video but I have to say that when I was at the 2012 event it was incredible to be in a stadium with 9000 (mainly) men and women singing hymns to the glory of God. It was an amazingly powerful and emotional experience.

Bob Kauflin makes some interesting points about worship at the TGC events in the USA. Definitely worth clicking on! Listen out for the most bizrre squawk at 4:40..

watch?v=5yVcJJdvt-o&feature=related

Have a good day!

I am showing this today in our service. It reminds us that even though creation screams out His majesty and wisdom, Ephesians 3:10 tells us that it is the church that is His megaphone to the spiritual realms.

I saw this video ages ago and I may have even posted it before but I am still deeply challenged in many different ways every time I watch it. How little we really know about the people we sit next to in our churches each week. May God help each of us to live lives that are more transparent, accountable, consistent and holy for His glory. Not only is He watching but our children too.

Please click on the following link. It made my day. At Niddrie we taser anybody seen in possession of a tambourine let alone playing one!

#ooid=o4YXU5NTo6-qffR5tWzEIHnhrwUl0myj

By Andy Constable

One of the words that is dirty among the newer generation of Christians is the word ‘doctrine’. Christians of my generation think that doctrine hinders our ‘worship’ of God rather than helps. Doctrine is something that we don’t have to think about because worship is more about our experience of God with our emotions than what we think about with our minds. However, the Bible is very clear that doctrine is very important. Here are some reasons why.

Firstly, God cares about the truth. God calls us to love the truth about him in 2 Thessalonians 2:10. Jesus says that the truth will set us free in John 14:6.  God wants everyone to come to a knowledge of the truth in 1 Timothy 2:4. God reveals his wrath against those who suppress the truth in Romans 1:18. And Jesus says that he will send the spirit of truth to us in John 16:13. Therefore, God deeply cares how we view him and how we worship him. This is where doctrine helps us out. It helps us get a grasp on biblical truth and how God wants us to see him. Without doctrine we would simply create a God that matches the idols of our hearts and not the truth about him.

Further, everyone has a doctrine whether they consciously think about it or not. The word doctrine literally means ‘what is taught’. It is the set of beliefs that a person (or a church) holds on who God is and what he is like. Every person is forming a view of God as they understand it and by necessity teach others because people are constantly sharing their views about God with people around them. Everyone has a doctrine and so it’s deeply important that we think about how we are portraying God to those around us.

Secondly, if everyone has a doctrine then surely it’s important to have good doctrine. Paul writes to Titus: “He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.” Paul encourages Timothy to be very careful what he teaches others about God. He says refute false teachers and encourage others by sound doctrine. How can we have good doctrine? We need to study God’s perfect and infallible Word. This brings in another word that is dirty these days and that is ‘study’. It takes disciplined and patient study to grasp the truths about God. The problem is that we live in the ‘McDonalds generation’. We want a life changing devotion in 15 minutes everyday. We open our Bibles and get bored when nothing grips us after 2 paragraphs. But, disciplined study is good and helps us build good doctrine that honours the Lord.

Thirdly, our emotional experiences are wasted unless they are based on biblical truth. Regardless of what we think or feel, there is not authentic worship of God without a right knowledge of God. As John Piper writes: “The apex of glorifying God is enjoying him with the heart. But this is an empty emotionalism where that joy is not awakened and sustained by true views of God for who he really is.” God is to be honoured as he is revealed to us in scripture. If the truth of God from his word isn’t driving your worship then you are worshipping another god with your emotions. It is wasted energy and doesn’t bring glory to the Lord.

Then there are those who love doctrine more than God. They use it to boost their intellect and don’t allow it to impact their hearts. What I mean by that is that the knowledge of God doesn’t move their souls towards a greater love of Christ. This is very dangerous because those who love doctrine as an end in itself become self-righteous and disconnected from God emotionally. We are to worship God with our hearts and minds. Anything that we learn about God should fuel us to love God more and glorify him with our lives. When you look at the Apostles in Acts they were men who knew God’s Word very well. They taught the people the Old Testament and the truth that it points people to Christ. They knew their theology and doctrine and that set them on fire to share the gospel and glorify God with their lives.

The goal of revelation from God’s word is to change our lives. Religion through doctrine won’t change your life. It can command us to love God but only the truth of the gospel of grace set on fire by the spirit of God can change our hearts to love righteousness. We are to have doctrinal depth but revival happens as people are set on fire by these truths. We need to feel them in the very core of our souls and this causes us to love Christ more than anything else in our worship. Don’t reduce doctrine to just your minds but allow it to affect your hearts! Tim Keller writes this:

If we don’t find that our affections have been moved away from earthly idols toward God, we haven’t worshipped….if I leave Sunday mornings having had no emotional connection whatsoever, I haven’t worshipped. I must allow my heart to be touched to worship.”

In conclusion, doctrine is very important to God because he cares about the truth, and commands us to care about it also. Every person has a belief about God and the Bible is clear that we need to have good doctrine in order to worship God with mind, heart and soul. Our emotional experiences will be empty unless they are sustained by true views of God. Therefore, let doctrine fuel your worship AND let the truth about God set you on fire to treasure God more than anything else!

By Andy Constable

A couple of weeks ago, I blogged that worship isn’t simply a Sunday activity while we sing songs but involves our heart attitude in all of life (see: http://niddriepastor.com/2012/04/06/dont-just-sing-about-it-start-worshipping-god-today-everyday/) The question that necessarily flows from this conclusion is – what is the point of meeting on a Sunday? If worship is an activity that happens in all of life then why do we need to meet corporately on a Sunday to worship God? Does anything particularly different happen on a Sunday compared to the rest of the week? Is there any point?

I want to argue that our corporate worship is distinct from, and supportive of, the worship of Christians in all of life. It is distinct because it is time when we gather together and hear God’s Word preached to us in a special way. And it also supports our worship because it is a time when we remind ourselves of God’s truth, receive correction and see the beauty of who God is corporately so that we can then go and worship him with all of life. I want to argue that there are 2 particular reasons why its important to meet corporately on a Sunday.

Firstly Sunday is important for edification. 1 Corinthians 14:26: “What then, brothers? When you come together, everyone  has a hymn, a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. All of these must be done for the strengthening of the church..” The word strengthening here is from the Greek work oikodome and means “edifying, edification, building up.” Paul instructs the Corinthians that the Lord’s people need strengthening when they meet together.

The writer to the Hebrews backs this verse up in 10:24-25: “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” The writer to the Hebrews commands the church to meet together regularly to encourage and stir one another up. The Sunday is therefore supportive of our worship during the week. The meeting up on a Sunday is to be used to instruct people in God’s word and strengthen them towards glorifying God all the more.  In more modern, emotional centred churches the strengthening of God’s people is cast to the side. They say that the primary reason we meet is to “meet with God”. But Paul is very clear that the reason we meet together is to be built up for service. Teaching God’s Word correctly and simply must be an emphasis of our Sunday services.

However many churches would stop there. They would say that edification is the only reason we meet up. I would argue that there is a second reason to meet on a Sunday. The second reason we meet on a Sunday is to meet with God. Worship, as Carson writes: “is ascribing all honour and worth to…God because he is worthy, delightfully so.” We are therefore only truly worshipping God with our entire beings, including our hearts, when we are ‘affected’ by God’s glory because we see his worth. As Tim Keller writes worship is “obedient action motivated by the beauty of who God is in himself.” The second purpose of meeting on a Sunday then is to see the worth of God in all his fullness.

We see this in the Bible time and again. David writes this in Psalm 41:16: “But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; may those who love your salvation always say, The LORD be exalted!” The Psalmist says those who follow the Lord are to rejoice, be glad and love the salvation of the Lord and result is that we want the Lord to be exalted. If our services are simply geared towards edification and our heads then we miss out the rejoicing in and being glad in and loving the Lord, which is geared towards our affections.

This is what the reformer Calvin believed deeply. Calvin believed that the goal of gathered worship was to bring people face to face with God. Calvin’s aim was not that people would simply learn information about God, but that they would truly hear God speak and know his presence in the service. Jonathon Edwards argued along the same lines when he said that worship had not occurred unless our “hearts are affected, and our love captivated by the free grace of God” and when “the great, spiritual, mysterious, and invisible things of the gospel…have the weight and power of real things in their hearts.” Thus, the goal of gathered worship is to make God “spiritually real” to our hearts. That is where truths by the Spirit’s influence become fiery, powerful, and profoundly affecting. It is not enough to be told about grace. But you need to be amazed by it.

The goal of Sundays is edification and meeting with God. Our heads and hearts are to be instructed and affected by the beauty and truth of God. This is what we want to see in Niddrie! A church that meets on a Sunday to support our worship during the week and that instructs our minds and affects the heart. We want to be set on fire by the fame of God’s name and his renown. Please pray for us as leaders that we would prayerfully apply the gospel and allow the Spirit to do his work in the life of the church!

By Andy Constable

Recently, I have been doing a series in the evenings on the subject of Biblical Worship. It is an important subject to think about in a culture where worship is simply seen as what we sing on a Sunday and/or, perhaps, connected with having an emotional experience. Because of the many nuances concerning the topic, it is difficult to define the term with the precision required for universal acceptance.

The word, “worship” is an old English word that is concerned with the “worthiness” or “worship” of the person or thing that is reverenced. We worship that to which we ascribe honour, praise, love and thanks. Of course, from a Christian perspective, only God is to be treasured. He alone is worthy of our praise. Only God is to be worshipped and anything else is an idol. Exodus 34:14 reminds us:

Do not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.”

What we ascribe worth to in the Bible is closely connected to the heart. The heart in the Bible does not mean our emotions, as in modern, soppy love songs but, rather, our whole wills!  It’s about what we give our full attention to. It’s about what we hold dear. For example, Isaiah 29:13:

The Lord says: These people come near to me with their mouth and honour me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men.”

In these verses God is clear that the Israelites honoured God with their outward worship, but not truly in their hearts. Their wills, their attention and their love was focused on other things. In reality, they were not worshipping God at all.

We were created to love God with all our hearts, all our minds, all our souls and all our strength. This is worship. Harold Best says,

In the most basic terms, worship consists of someone acknowledging that someone or something else is greater – worth more – and, by consequence, to be obeyed, feared and adored.” 

However, the problem is that we love things other than God. Romans 1:24:

Therefore God gave them up to their lusts…because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshipped and served the creature rather than the creator…”

Instead of worshipping the creator, we worship his creation. Instead of loving God first, we love ourselves first. We replace God with idols. We love sex, family, money, comfort, security and control more than we love God. We ascribe worth to these things rather than to God.

The battle for every Christian is therefore to love God in every moment of their lives. Paul Tripp writes:

“As worshiping beings, human beings always worship someone or something. This is not a situation where some people worship and some people don’t. If God isn’t ruling my heart, someone or something else will.”

If God isn’t the centre of our lives then we are worshipping something else. This is the same on a Sunday as well as on a Monday morning. Paul writes to the Corinthians and says this: “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do ALL to the glory of God.” In every activity we are called to bring glory to God.

Therefore, worship is not simply a time on a Sunday when we sing songs but a heart attitude that shows off what we ascribe worth to. Worship involves our everyday life. It involves what we do and what we think about. It involves the way we treat people and the way we do our jobs. It involves how we look after our families and how we serve our friends. It involves what we do in the morning when no-one is looking as well as when we come to gather on a Sunday morning.

It is key that worship is seen in this way. This is crucial for (1) the new converts that are coming through our doors. They are not called to come on a Sunday, look presentable, and then do whatever they want when no one is watching. We are called as Christians to be ambassadors for Christ at all times. This is also important for (2) mature believers so that their spiritual lives don’t stagnate and they constantly allow the Spirit to root out idols in order that they love the gospel more. This is key for (3) young Christians who often jump from one ‘worship’ event to another to get an emotional high. Worship happens in the everyday as we seek to bring glory to God in every moment.

Let me end with Romans 12:1:

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present you bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, which is your spiritual worship.”

After spending 12 chapters describing the great doctrine of justification by faith alone, in Christ alone, by grace alone, Paul applies it in this verse. We are called to present our bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God. Worship is more than singing songs (but definitely includes this) but all of life. The question is: are you ascribing all worth, all honour, all love to our good, perfect and holy heavenly Father?