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Deeper Wider: Worship

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This morning, Pastor Ed Allen brought us a message about Worship from Psalm 95.  He said that Worship is a good way to approach the difficulties of life.

What Is Worship?

Biblical worship is the whole-life response to God -- head, heart and will -- recognizing who God is and what he has done.

The Psalmist begins in verse 1 with an unabashed appeal to our emotions.

Joyful exuberance is to be part of our worship diet.

In suburban America, we're trained to analyze, not to shout aloud with joy.

We do bear in mind that joy looks different on different people, but let's try together to nudge the needle up.

We're willing to have awkward moments to be honest to ourselves and pour out praise to God.

How do we engage emotion?  Start by recognizing who God is, recognizing his value.

The psalmist also challenges our will.  Verse six asks us to bow down, to kneel.

Finally, the psalmist extends a direct call to our thought life.  Move toward God with our minds (verses 8-11).

Verses 8-11 refer to complaining in the desert.  "Meribah" -- Quarreling; "Massah" -- Trouble.

Grumbling is a really big deal to God.  Stop it!  Grab your thoughts and pull them to God.  Keep your heart soft toward God.

Why Do We Worship?

1)  We engage emotionally because he's like no other God (verse 3).

In a general sense, worship means to ascribe ultimate meaning and value to something.

We already worship what we value most -- transfer what we already do -- to God.

2)  We engage our will because God takes care of us (verse 7).

3)  We engage our mind because of who God is and what he's done.

Grumbling doesn't go well for us.

People with addictions surrender their control to the addiction and order their life around it.  Whatever we value most gets that place.

We choose to worship God because through that act we are finally surrendered to one who fully deserves our surrender and who will care for us through our surrender.

How Do We Worship Well?

1)  If we're going to worship well, we have to engage with our whole selves.

We can come to church and just observe, but that's not worship.

Engage emotionally, surrender our will (Choose God); and direct our thoughts toward him (Listen to his voice).

2)  If we're going to worship well, we have to remember the why.

Keep in mind who God is.  He cares.  He's our Shepherd.  He offers us rest.

Hebrews 4 -- The full Rest of God is finally made available through Jesus.  We don't have to please everyone.  Follow a list of rules.  He offers Rest.

3)  If we're going to worship well, we have to join a worship community.

All the commands in this Psalm are corporate.  We need one another to worship well.

We need the support.  We need the wisdom.

Ephesians 3:14-19 -- We grasp how high and long and wide and deep God's love is -- together with all the saints.

Then we practiced what we'd learned by singing songs of worship.

Count Me In: Fully Engaged

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Last Sunday, May 28, Associate Pastor Alex York brought the message, continuing the series "Count Me In!"  He preached out of Nehemiah 3:1-9.

Our health as a church hinges on whether we are all-in.  Let's not blow this amazing opportunity God has set before us!

In Nehemiah, they're rebuilding the wall, starting from the northernmost gate.

What does it look like when God's people are fully engaged?

1)  All kinds of people do all kinds of work.

Many different individuals and groups mentioned, tackling different tasks.  Some don't even live in the city, but have come to help.  Even Nehemiah, a high official, helped.  The work was broken into manageable chunks.

2)  The spiritual leaders set the pace.

The priests started it!  Jesus taught that leaders are servants.

3)  The work is dedicated to the Lord.

God takes what's broken and puts it back together again.  Col. 3:23 - No matter what we're doing, do it with our whole hearts, for the Lord.  If our work is dedicated to the Lord, it changes our hearts.  It's a privilege to serve.

4)  Some choose not to work.

The nobles from Tekoa didn't participate.  God often calls people to do things they think they can't do.  It's not about comfort.  God invites us into his magnificent work.

5)  Some go above and beyond.

Some did more than one part - like the common people of Tekoa.  Philippians 2 - this is the attitude Jesus demonstrated.  When we shoulder a bigger portion of the load, we're demonstrating Jesus' character.

6)  Nehemiah takes names.

Nehemiah took the time to write the names of those who participated.  This was about individuals who chose to obey God.

What if God is writing about Gateway?

These people are heroes because they simply did the work.

He closed by asking us to pray about how God wants us to minister to others.