Thursday, January 16, 2014

11 am Sunday Morning (aka "Prime Time")

Note: what follows is my attempt to Jackson-ize an incredible teaching I heard on worship at the Transitioning conference back in November 2004. The guy speaking was Rodney Clyde, the pastor of the Fellowship at Forest Creek, in Round Rock, TX. (Rodney reminded me a great deal of my gaming buddy & good friend, Craig Berg, if Craig was taller, wore cowboy boots, and spoke with a Texas drawl. OK, so he wasn't that much like Craig.) :-)

It's way too easy for us to decide that worship is what happens at 11 am on Sunday morning when we plop our bottoms down in the chairs/pew (take your pick). We sing a few songs, listen to some yahoo preach/teach (take your pick), and then put our money in a basket.

Now, don't get me wrong - congregational services each week ARE worship... but they're just one small part of the big picture of what it means to "give worth to God".

1. PRIVATE worship - this is your time alone with God... not just reading through a devotional but taking time to be intimate with Him. That could include praying, singing, studying the Bible, journaling, listening, meditating on a verse, silence... and a whole lot of other things. The thrust of private worship is to get closer to God on a 1-to-1, face-2-face basis... kind of like going on a date with Jesus.

2. PERSONAL worship - according to Romans 12:1-2, service & worship are pretty close to the same thing. When we put ourselves on the altar of service as "living sacrifices", we bring honor & glory to God. (You may have heard me mutter, more than once, that "living sacrifices have the unhealthy tendency to crawl off the altar." But that's a pithy quote/article for another day.) So we need to take substantial time to serve others (in a wide variety of ways)... kind of like working in the yard with Jesus.

3. PUBLIC worship - that's the gathering together, singing praises, listening to sermons part of worship - and it's not only a good idea, it's Biblical (Acts 2, Hebrews 10:24-25).

Unfortunately, we tend to emphasize number 3 (public worship) and miss number 1 (private worship). We have access to the God of the universe 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year... and we try to put Him in a one hour box on Sunday mornings.

A not-so-random thought: if Sunday morning at 11 am is my only time of worship during the week, OF COURSE, I'm going to fight, kick & scream if anything changes about it. It's all I've got. (And that's sad, people - Jesus has so much more for us.)

A version of this post was originally written for the Grapevine of NewLife Community Church back in the spring of 2005.

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