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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.

More About Worship

Today, Father's Day, Pastor Ed Allen preached the second in a two-part sermon series, "How and Why We Worship."  He began with an interview with his son, Jordan, about how we pick songs for worship at Gateway.  Though it's not a performance, we do want excellence.  The worship team picks songs they enjoy, songs they can play well, and songs that fit with the message.

Then we reviewed last week's sermon and the definition of Worship --

Worship is a whole-self engagement with God on the terms that He prescribes and in the way that He alone makes possible, including adulation, devotion, and reverential acts of submission.

Continuing to work from this definition:

True worship includes expressing true devotion to the true God.

Psalm 37:1-4 and Psalm 18:1-3  Main idea is commitment combined with love.

The Lord's Prayer includes "Thy will be done," which is a statement of commitment and surrender.

True worship is an action; it is not primarily interior.

The emotional part of Love is secondary.

Jesus isn't looking for us to have a crush on Him.  We want our emotions touched, but that's not the main goal.  We want the kind of love that means I surrender to You and I'll serve You with all my heart.

True worship involves reverential submission.

Spending time and energy straining for emotion puts us in danger of making worship about ourselves.

All the same, when you do feel emotion in worship, lean into it!  Don't discard it too easily.  Though an emotional experience isn't the main point of worship, we don't need to throw it away.

On the other hand, if our emotions are never engaged, are we putting our whole self into worship?  Psalm 62:8  Don't allow yourself to be cut off from a significant source of strength.

Reverential submission is the idea behind the sacrificial system.  Psalm 66:3-7 and Psalm 89:5-9.

In conclusion, we asked, why adulation?  Is God an egomaniac?  Ed used C. S. Lewis's answer to that question:  Praise acknowledges truth.  And praise completes our enjoyment.

We finished the service with worship and the Lord's Supper.