I am going to blog on something that I am passionate about - passionate worship! Bishop Schnase wrote a book on the 5 practices of fruitful congregations, I will be blogging on it the next few weeks, starting with worship. The five practices are radical hospitality, passionate worship, intentional discipleship, risk-taking mission, and extravagant generosity. When we discuss these five practices, the adjective is as important as the word itself!
To be a radical, world changing church, we must have radical worship. So what is worship? A lot of people think that its about a feeling or emotion that we receive when we sing the songs we like, or hear a sermon that we enjoy. Others say it is where they connect with others on Sundays (or other days of the week). DA Carson says “Worship is the proper response of all moral, sentient beings to God, ascribing all honor and worth to their Creator-God precisely because he is worthy, delightfully so.” So we will feel powerful emotion, and we will enjoy seeing people, and we will feel filled up - however it about giving God the honor that God deserves. Then, out of God graciousness, God gives us awesome gifts in return!
So how do we have passionate corporate worship, and how do we have passionate individual worship. Schnase says, "God uses worship to transform lives, heal wounded souls, renew hope, shape decisions, provoke change, inspire compassion, and bind people to one another. The word passionate expresses an intense desire, an ardent spirit, strong feelings, and the sense of heightened importance. Congregations who practice Passionate Worship offer their utmost and highest; they expect worship to be the most important hour of the week."
Is worship the most important hour of the week for you? Maybe you need to change your priorities.
Do you prepare your heart and mind for worship? The best way to passionately worship our Creator is by asking the Holy Spirit to ready our lives for this most important hour of the week. I want to invite you to come to worship full of excitement, joy, love, AND expecting to encounter the Divine, the Holy and for your life to be changed!
We also need to be passionate about our daily worship! Schnase says, "Through the personal practice of Passionate Worship, we learn to love God in return. Followers of Christ develop patterns of listening to God, allowing God to shape our hearts and minds through prayer, personal devotion, and community worship. We love God."
It amazes me that we have an all-powerful God who wants to spend time with us, and yet we are too 'busy' to do so. This needs to change for the church to be a movement again! It is only through our relationship with God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit that we will be empowered to change the world.
Notice that I did not talk about style of worship? That is because any worship that we give ourselves completely to God can be passionate. It can be 'traditional,' it can be 'contemporary,' it can have incense, it can have a rock concert feel. As long as the scriptures are read, the people have gathered, the sacraments administered and praises are sung - we can worship our God.