Thoughts on Worship

25 02 2010

Hey guys,

Sorry I missed writing you last week.  I got so pre-occupied with getting ready for our Winter Retreat that it ended being Saturday evening before I finally realized I hadn’t written my devotional for you yet.  That’s my excuse…

Anyway, so we’re gearing up for our first ever Connections gathering next month.  Clear your calendars now!  Our first gathering will meet on March 28th from 3pm-6pm.  We’re still working out some of the details (such as the location) so there will be much more information to come out in the next week or so but we wanted you to get the date set.  Plan to come to this gathering.  We’ll have some time worshipping together, have some teaching and small group discussion and we’ll eat.  It’ll be great…you can bring friends too! 

So, we’ve been talking about worship and prayer the last couple weeks and I wanted to continue with that theme here some more.  At our Sundesmos Winter Retreat last year we had a great time looking at different aspects of Quakerism.  One of those was worship.  Here are some quotes we looked at from a couple different doctrinal documents, our Faith and Practice and the Richmond Declaration of Faith:

“Friends’ concept of worship is based upon the belief that the relationship between the Divine Spirit and the Christian worshiper is essentially that of parent and child, in which each may fully participate.”

(WYM Faith & Practice p. 12)

“As the worshiper waits expectantly, in humility, with praise and supplication, a sense of the living Presence of Christ brings a renewal of spiritual strength and truth is revealed.”

(WYM Faith & Practice p. 12)

“Both worship and Christian fellowship spring out of this immediate relation of believing souls with their Lord.”

(WYM Faith & Practice p. 7)

“Worship is the adoring response of the heart and mind to the influence of the Spirit of God. It stands neither in forms nor in the formal disuse of forms: it may be without words as well as with them, but it must be in spirit and in truth.”

(Richmond Declaration of Faith, Public Worship)

“By the immediate operations of the Holy Spirit, He as Head of the church, alone selects and qualifies those who are to present His messages or engage in other service for Him; and, hence, we cannot commit any formal arrangement to any one in our regular meetings for worship. We are well aware that the Lord has provided a diversity of gifts for the needs both of the church and of the world, and we desire that the church may feel her responsibility, under the government of her Great Head, in doing her part to foster these gifts, and in making arrangements for their proper exercise.”

(Richmond Declaration of Faith, Public Worship)

“The church that quenches the Spirit and lives to itself alone must die.”

(Richmond Declaration of Faith, Public Worship)

Anything strike you about these statements?

Do they encompass your experience in worship? 

The thing that sticks out predominately to me is that worship must be based in a relationship.  It is a reaction to our relationship, a response to our relationship, and a reflection of our relationship with God.  The closer we find our lives entwined with God…the easier it is to worship Him.  It is impossible not to worship Him with everything we are and to find Him to truly be everything we need.

This new song by J. J. Heller called Your Hands brought this reality into perspective for me.

I have unanswered prayers
I have trouble I wish wasn’t there
And I have asked a thousand ways
That You would take my pain away
That You would take my pain away

I am trying to understand
How to walk this weary land
Make straight the paths that crookedly lie
Oh Lord, before these feet of mine
Oh Lord, before these feet of mine

When my world is shaking
Heaven stands
When my heart is breaking
I never leave Your hands

When You walked upon the Earth
You healed the broken, lost, and hurt
I know You hate to see me cry
One day You will set all things right
Yea, one day You will set all things right

When my world is shaking
Heaven stands
When my heart is breaking
I never leave Your hands

Your hands
Your hands that shape the world
Are holding me, they hold me still
Your hands that shape the world
Are holding me, they hold me still

When my world is shaking
Heaven stands
When my heart is breaking
I never leave You when…

When my world is shaking
Heaven stands
When my heart is breaking
I never leave…
I never leave Your hands

Have a wonderful week.  I hope you have some time to spend with your Heavenly Father who has you wrapped in His hands.

 To the King!



Thoughts on Prayer

1 02 2010

Hey guys,

So we’re looking the next couple weeks at the ideas of worship and prayer, leading up to our first Connections gathering in March.  If you’ll remember these are some things we’re focusing on:

*Reflecting on Worship

                        -what brings you to worship?

                        -how do you prepare your heart for worship?

                        -how have you met God individually and corporately in the past?

            *Praying About Connections

                        -Pray for a clear vision and purpose for the planning team.

                        -Pray for a core group of people willing to covenant to be a part of this gathering and pray for it.

                        -Pray for the logistics of place, time, and people to all come together

Mariya Jones, is our new Young Adult Ministry Assistant and she wanted to share some thoughts about prayer in this week’s devotional.

Devotional from Mariya –

We drop hints about Christmas presents to mom or dad or say things to get people to do what we want. This is sometimes how we pray to God. God wants us to pray with purpose, with a goal in mind. He wants us to step out on faith and believe in Him. He is omnipotent and knows what is happening and what is in our hearts. We don’t have to give him a report of what is going on in our world because he already knows that. We must pray with an ending in mind. We must have an outcome in mind and God will be more willing to give it to us. If we are faithful, he will grant us our desires.

Acts 4:23-31

23On their release, Peter and John went back to their own people and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said to them. 24When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God. “Sovereign Lord,” they said, “you made the heaven and the earth and the sea, and everything in them. 25You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our father David:
   ” ‘Why do the nations rage
      and the peoples plot in vain?
 26The kings of the earth take their stand
      and the rulers gather together
      against the Lord
      and against his Anointed One.

27Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people[c] of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed. 28They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen. 29Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. 30Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”

31After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.

If we want something certain we must pray for it certainly. We have to truly believe that it will happen and that God will grant us that and pray for that very specific thing we want/need. We know this because Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” (Matthew 21:21-22)

Now, I think we all know that praying for a new convertible or hot tub isn’t going to benefit God’s kingdom and God probably won’t give it to us anyway. If we pray, wholeheartedly, for a sense of peace and a company to create a new position for our family’s sole provider who lost his/her job, He will make something happen. If we pray for a friend who is not a Christian and ask God to bring something to them so that they will not be able to deny His power, He will do it.

In order to receive this from God we must be blameless in his eyes. We must stand in His presence and not fear His wrath because we have not done anything to receive wrath for. We must protect our hearts from evil so as to remain blameless.

Deuteronomy 18:13

You must be blameless before the LORD your God.

Psalms 15

1 LORD, who may dwell in your sanctuary?
       Who may live on your holy hill?

 2 He whose walk is blameless
       and who does what is righteous,
       who speaks the truth from his heart

 3 and has no slander on his tongue,
       who does his neighbor no wrong
       and casts no slur on his fellowman,

 4 who despises a vile man
       but honors those who fear the LORD,
       who keeps his oath
       even when it hurts,

 5 who lends his money without usury
       and does not accept a bribe against the innocent.
       He who does these things
       will never be shaken.

I heard a great speaker talk on this at Urbana this year in St. Louis. His name was Sunder Krishnan. He started by talking about a thing he read in Sojourners Magazine written by Walter Wink. Mr. Wink said this: “History belongs to the intercessors who thus believe the future into being.” He meant that if we just believe and pray it with our whole heart, God will provide.

 If you want to hear his talk, go to:

-Mariya Jones, WYM Young Adult Ministry Assistant

 Have a great week!  Pray with purpose and with faith!

 To the King!


 P.S. Our WYM Winter Retreat is coming up in a couple weeks.  If you are free on Feb. 13th this would be a great event to attend.  The theme is “Building Up the Body of Christ”.  If you would like to attend WYM will cover your registration fee if you contact me ahead of time.  Registration deadline is Feb. 8th (a week from today!)