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September 1, 2003

Imagine it is 8:00 a.m. Sunday morning and suddenly youíre awake.  Youíve overslept - last night when you went to bed you were too tired and forgot to turn on the alarm.  You quickly shower and try to get up to speed while your spouse is trying to get the kids dressed.  Breakfast is a process of preparing, cleaning, and eating - all at the same time. 

Itís now 9:15 a.m. - miraculously youíve managed to get all the kids - and your spouse - into the car.  Of course thereís a freight train and ďGĒ street is a parking lot.  At 9:25 a.m. traffic moves again - except for the guy in front of you going 15 in a 35.  Finally you arrive at church and your nerves are rattled.

The Worship Team is leading the singing.  Itís time to worship God.  But, for many the last thing on our minds is worshipping God.  Sleep and a few minutes of peace and quiet might actually be closer to the truth.  And yet we make an investment of time and wits to come together and worship.  Why?

In seeking to give an answer to that question let me encourage you to look at Exodus 20:3-6.

Worship is a choice (Exodus 20:3).  To whom or to what do we surrender our complete devotion?  We really do have a choice of preference.  There are many reasons not to be here on Sunday in worship.  Some are very important.  Ultimately, which is worthy to be worshipped - the god of work or family or sports or friends or the one true God?

Worship of God is exclusive (Exodus 20:4,5a).  God speaks of idols - those things which steal our hearts away from true devotion to Him.  Idolatry concerns our motivation for coming and worshipping God.

Some come to worship because they feel that they have to.  Others come because they enjoy the music and the singing.  Some people come because they like the preaching.  People come for good reasons.  Otherwise, we wouldnít be here.  Yet, too often we allow ourselves to become focused on the external form of worship rather than our own brokenness - our own heart attitude - our own crying out to God. 

Worship opens us to Godís blessing (Exodus 20:5b,6).   The Westminster Shorter Catechism of Faith states, ďManís chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.Ē  To glorify God - thatís worship.  To enjoy Him forever - thatís the all encompassing reward of worship.

In worship we recognize Godís holiness and accept His forgiveness.  We experience Godís love, provision, and blessing.  We treasure His continual presence in our lives.  We are reminded that one day we will inherit a new heaven and new earth and join the company of believers and angels in perfect - eternal - worship.  In worship we have the privilege of honoring Him who alone is worthy of honor.

I have greatly appreciated the ministry of those who are leading us in worship.  Bimonthly we meet and prayerfully discuss where we are in worship and where God may be leading us.  It is not an easy or trivial thing to stand in the congregation and lead worship.  First, it requires personal brokenness and openness to the leading of God.  Second, it requires transparency in the assembly of Godís people.

I am encouraged by the direction we are moving in worship.  God is blessing.  As a congregation we are growing in our understanding and expression of worship.  It is a joy to see our younger generation taking part.  Praise God that He gives us this privilege.