Tuesday, May 29, 2012

worship out loud

Joe Thorn writes Worship Out Loud in Note to Self. In this I am reminded that our day of rest, the Lord's Day, is at the end of our week, not the beginning. I like the notion that the Body of Christ coming together for His glory is the culmination of our praise through the week as opposed to a recharging experience to get us through the following days. Here are Thorn's thoughts:

"Ascribe to the Lord, O heavenly beings, ascribe to the Lordglory and strength. Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness." PSALM 29:1–2

Dear Self,

It’s pretty clear that sometimes you think about gathered worship in the wrong way. So let’s just clear up what it isn’t. Gathering with the church for Word, sacrament, prayer, and song was not commanded by God to put “gas in your tank” for the rest of the week. You know it is not a show meant to entertain you, but it’s also much more than a refresher. It is deeper than momentary inspiration, and it is bigger than simply “being fed.”

Of course, gathering with the church and worshiping a risen Savior will feed, encourage, and equip you. It should also be one of the primary contexts in which God brings about real and lasting change in your life. Where else can you receive such concentrated doses of the gospel? However, this gathering does not exist only for your good. Its primary aim is the glory and pleasure of God.

Public worship is your response to the gospel, but it is a response meant to be expressed with other believers. It amounts to the collective offering of praise and adoration to God. You should think of worship as an opportunity to offer something to God, not just to receive something. You should come with the intention of offering your words, your mind, your heart, and your entire life to the God who has rescued you from sin, death, and hell itself. And when you gather for worship in this way, you can also come with the eager anticipation of grace from God. You will be convicted and encouraged, humbled and made strong by the Word and Spirit of God. And one other thing—you should think of public worship as the pinnacle of the week. It is not the catalyst that gives movement to the other six days as much as it is the goal toward which you are working throughout the week. Your week should consist of days of private and family worship in which you are being prepared to meet with God as a church family.

Stop thinking so small when it comes to the church gathering for worship. It is for God’s pleasure, your good, and the health of your church. Prepare for such a meeting with God today, and worship out loud with your brothers and sisters.

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