Less than a month ago, I accepted a full-time position with a new local church in ministry with children kindergarten through fifth-grade. The church is new to me on the ‘day to day’, but I have long known their generosity, their heart for service, and their reputation of training up leaders for more than 15 years from those who serve within the Emmaus community there. Good people, indeed!
The senior pastor asked me this very question the first time I met with him and a representative from the Staff Parish Relations Committee. One of our challenges as local church staff is to guard and prepare for ourselves that which we encourage for the congregation we serve. We have to creatively prepare for opportunities to engage in worship, corporate worship. As followers of Christ, we, too, are called to follow the directive by the author of Hebrews to ‘not forsake gathering together.’
“Then I (the apostle John) looked and heard, the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand (THAT’s community!). They encircled the throne and the living creature and the elders (serving a God of order.) In a loud voice they sang (singing is still a part): Worthy is the Lamb (Jesus) who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!” Revelation 5:11-12 NIV
This was revealed to John of how Jesus will be worshiped in Heaven. I am SO visual, it gives me a great picture of what it means to worship our great God.
How can we worship Him today in power? I have power over my emotions, my disposition, and setting my own priorities. I have the power to set aside one day a week as my Sabbath. Fridays are my Sabbath.
How can I worship Him today in wealth? With my money. Returning to Him which was His in the first place is an act of trust and obedience. Giving is the act of returning a tithe (10% of my increase). Since I am no longer in services when the plate is passed, I have now set it up for my bank to issue and mail the tithe.
How can I worship Him today in wisdom? With my mind. Romans 12:2 reads, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Jesus understood that any authentic transformation will happen for all of us in our minds first. When I am regularly in The Word, learning the language and vocabulary of God, transformation takes place. This one is seriously on me. If I claim I am not hearing from God…If I state that ‘I don’t get fed at church’… If I hold on to the idea that my personal preferences for Sunday morning worship determines if I worship or not… I am SO out of sync with what God intended worship to be.
How can I worship Him today in strength? With my body. I KNOW my triggers. Peanut M&Ms are my Judas sin…you know, sin that comes at you looking like a friend, kissing you on the cheek, then turning on you. I may not be able to scale a 10 foot wall, but taking care of my body is worship. Thank you, Fitbit, for the accountability help.
How can I worship Him today in honor? With my deeds. I honor our great God when I bake a cake, write a note, make a phone call, send an encouraging text, share a casserole (this is how we really share love in the south, right?), bring a flower, go above and beyond in my work, drop off a 24-pack of toilet paper when my neighbor has house guests due to a funeral or a wedding. How and when I serve should bring Him honor.
How can I worship Him today in glory? With expressions of hope, encouragement, and forgiving well. Glory has a weight to it, a leaning-in quality. Ephesians 4:32 reads, “Be ye kind, one to another, tenderhearted, and forgiving one another, just as in Christ God forgave you.” So I give Him glory when I extend the same forgiveness He gives me. This is when worship doesn’t come easy. Yet He invites us to ‘lean in’ through prayer.
How can I worship Him today in praise? With my words and my speech. My words can heal or hurt, my countenance when sharing those words can help or hinder. My heart is heard by my words and how they are shared.
Worship is not where I go or the type of songs sung, it’s how we are to live. Not once a week, but every single day. I listen to sermons by podcast, sing to my favorite worship songs on my cellphone at the top of my lungs and in sign, attend other worship experiences that take place other than on Sunday mornings, and give online. I take bible study in small group, share life and accept accountability in a weekly Emmaus Reunion Group, and have my personal ‘quiet time’ (which is sometimes FAR from quiet) with the LORD each morning. Oh, and in my new position, I sing and dance before the LORD with little people every Sunday morning. How wonderful that our Great God has offered us the tools to serve AND the tools to worship the One and Only whose abundant love has ruined me for the typical, the ordinary, the mediocre.
“Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.” Psalm 100:2