Tag Archives: Messiah

Does God Feel Worshipped?

When it comes to worship, everyone seems to have an opinion.  What are the best songs to sing?  Should the emphasis be on congregational singing or should we highlight a special choir piece or a solo?  Is it more important to be relevant or foundational?  Do we attempt to be more creative even if it is not practical?  We throw around words like seeker sensitive, seeker friendly, relevant, creative, diverse and intentional all in an effort to present services of worship that people will “like.”

Now, I will admit that I have also used these words and phrases in considering how to design meaningful moments within a worship service.  But I’ve learned that they are more appropriately applied as the second question we ask when we involve ourselves in worship planning, rather than the first.  The first question should look a little more like this: “God, how do You want Your people to worship You?”  Have you asked that question recently? Even if you are not the one responsible for worship planning, you are still a worshiper. Have you asked the Father; “How do you want me to worship you?”

Once we answer this question, the next after it can be; “Okay, now how do we do that in a way everyone can understand and identify with?” and “How do we help our people become the kind of worshipers the Father seeks?”

But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.” Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he.” (John 4:23-26 ESV)

I realize that this is written as a conversation for worship pastors, or those who plan worship.  But, as a worshiper, I would encourage you to pray that God would show you what kind of worshiper He desires you to be. Let this request include your public and private offerings of worship. As a starting point, read Romans 12:1.I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. (Romans 12:1 ESV)

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The Music of Christmas

This past weekend the Choir and Drama teams presented our Christmas program.  What a fantastic job these wonderful people do each year!  I have such a privilege to work with singers and actors who love Christ and long to see Him lifted up.

Notice I purposefully used the word presented rather than performed.  In today’s culture, anything put to music is expected to be for the purpose of entertainment.  Entertainment is defined as [a : amusement or diversion provided especially by performers <hired a band to provide entertainment> b : something diverting or engaging: as: a public performance.]

We greatly desire to overcome this expectation for music and drama in the church. Our motivation is not to perform but to encourage.  I believe that churches should have a different motivation for the way they use music and drama.  We hope to see music used in the more Biblical practice of encouraging the fellowship of the family of believers – to remind ourselves and one another of the richness we have in Christ Jesus.  On Sunday, in particular, that we would Marvel at the Manger and how Jesus chose to come at the humblest of times in the poorest of places and present Himself to the least of all peoples.

The root word Entertain has a slightly different definition –[a : to keep, hold, or maintain in the mind <I entertain grave doubts about her sincerity> b : to receive and take into consideration.]  That is our goal! – to “maintain in the mind” that Christ is Lord – to “receive and take into consideration” that He Who was born in the manger was and IS the Son of God.  We use music and drama because it helps us in our efforts to “maintain in the mind” and “take into consideration.”

The challenge we undertake each year is to remind the body that Christ is the center, not only of Christmas, but of our very lives.  All of us need these constant reminders.  We long to lift Him up through the songs and scripts we present, but we also hope to use those songs and scripts to challenge the church body to lift Him up with their lives – to weave Jesus in to the fabric of their everyday lives.  Accordingly, on Sunday, we ended the morning with a congregational song declaring Jesus to be the Messiah.

Jesus Messiah
by Chris Tomlin | Daniel Carson | Ed Cash | Jesse Reeves

He became sin who knew no sin
That we might become His righteousness
He humbled Himself and carried the cross
Love so amazing love so amazing

His body the bread His blood the wine
Broken and poured out all for love
The whole earth trembled and the veil was torn
Love so amazing love so amazing

Jesus Messiah Name above all names
Blessed Redeemer Emmanuel
The Rescue for sinners
The Ransom from heaven
Jesus Messiah Lord of all
All our hope is in You
All our hope is in You
All the glory to You God
The Light of the world
Jesus Messiah
Lord of all
The Lord of all
The Lord of all

 

Lord of ALL! Lord of the season. Lord of the church.  Lord of our homes.  Lord of our song!  Lord of our friendships.  Lord of my life.  Lord of all we say and do.  He is the Messiah and He is LORD!

Why Does Creativity Matter?


Too often we have allowed the definition of art to be limited to Visual and Aural forms of artistic expression. But there is so much more than what we hear (Music) or see (Paintings, Sketches or Sculptures) or see and hear (Drama/Video.) We tend to allow these mediums to complete our definition of Art, however, God has placed artists throughout the church. Skilled people who enjoy what they do, are serving the body of Christ and seeking to inspire the church of God deeper into the mysteries of His Love and many attributes.

Inspiring art is found in:

Architecture
Landscaping
Decorating
Speaking
Preaching
Teaching
Writing
Blogging
Story telling

…and of course
Sculpture
Painting
Photography
Stencil
Sketching
Videography
Acting
Set design
Mixing Sound
SongWriting
Singing
Playing an Instrument

Consider how Handel dealt with Lord Kinnouls congratulations following the premier of “Messiah.”

Lord Kinnoul: “I would like to congratulate you on an excellent evening of entertainment for the masses”

George Frideric Handel: “My Lord, I should be sorry if I only entertain them. I wish to make them better.”

You tell him Handel!

Whatever your art, do it for the glory of God. Apply it for the betterment of His church. Don’t sell yourself short; Your art is important. It’s important to God and It’s important to the church. Where would our faith be today without the Psalms? David was an artist. Where would our faith be without the Proverbs or Solomon’s Temple? Solomon was an Artist.

Think of how you have been encouraged by a well conceived combination of the right words delivered at the right time into your life. Have you been inspired by Art?

One of the greatest saints of recent memory was Henri Nouwen. As a professor of phsicology at Harvard, he made a trip to St. Peters-burgh Russia and visited the famous Hermitage museum. He saw the painting of Rembrant’s Prodigal Son and couldn’t take his eyes off of it. For 3 hours he stared into the painting and changed his life. He went directly back home and resigned his position and Harvard and went to work with the mentally retarded in Toronto.

WOW!

Has God used art to speak to you and inspire? Has art touched you so deeply in the spirit that it leads you to a transformation? God wants to change your life. Art is a medium He often uses to speak to His people. Are you being transformed? or are you being entertained? What are you looking for in art?