Worship will never end

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Worship will never end; whether there be buildings, they will crumble; whether there be committees, they will fall asleep; whether there be budgets, they will add up to nothing. For we build for the present age, we discuss for the present age, and we pay for the present age; but when the age to come is here, the present age will be done away.

–N. T. Wright

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Published in: on 01/19/2017 at 20:04  Leave a Comment  
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Lost in Wonder

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We must recognize the fact that true wonder is not a passing emotion or some kind of shallow excitement. It has depth to it. True wonder reaches right into your heart and mind and shakes you up. It not only has depth, it has value; it enriches your life.

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Wonder is not cheap amusement that brings a smile to your face. It is an encounter with reality – with God – that brings awe to your heart. You are overwhelmed with an emotion that is a mixture of gratitude, adoration, reverence, fear, — and love. You are not looking for explanations; you are lost in the wonder of God.

–Warren Wiersbe

Published in: on 07/09/2016 at 17:55  Leave a Comment  
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Reverence and Rejoicing

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It is fascinating to notice how Scripture often combines “furious opposites.” The psalm, for instance, that says, “The LORD reigns, let the nations tremble” is found right alongside another that declares, “Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth” (Psa. 99:1; 100:1). This God evokes both holy trembling and happy shouting. He inspires dread and delight (Psa. 2:11). In his presence we are constrained not only to bow down but also to dance, to be awestruck and joy-filled. It makes for a great mix. Here is worship that motivates holiness and happiness. It frees us from the extremes of frivolity and frigidity, of emotionalism and formalism. Neither reverence or rejoicing should be absent. A fascinating and powerful combination.

–Jurgen O. Schulz

Too Much Religion

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It seems odd to have to say so, but too much religion is a bad thing. We can’t get too much of God, we can’t get too much faith and obedience, can’t get too much love and worship. But religion—the well intentioned efforts we make to “get it all together” for God—can very well get in the way of what God is doing for us. The main and central action is everywhere and always what God has done, is doing, and will do for us. Jesus is the revelation of that action. Our main and central task is to live in responsive obedience to God’s action revealed in Jesus. Our part in the action is the act of faith.

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But more often than not we become impatiently self-important along the way and decide to improve matters with our two cents worth. We add on, we supplement, we embellish. But instead of improving on the purity and simplicity of Jesus, we dilute the purity, clutter the simplicity. We become fussily religious, or anxiously religious. We get in the way.

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That’s when it’s time to read and pray our way through the letter to the Hebrews again, written for “too religious” Christians, for “Jesus-and” Christians. In the letter, it is Jesus-and-angels, or Jesus-and-Moses, or Jesus-and-priesthood. In our time it is more likely to be Jesus-and-politics, or Jesus-and-education, or even Jesus-and-Buddha. This letter deletes the hyphens, the add-ons. the focus becomes clear and sharp again: God’s action in Jesus. And we are free once more for the act of faith, the one human action in which we don’t get in the way but on the Way.

–Eugene Peterson
Living the Message

Reverence and intimacy

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The two elements come together in worship . . . The acts of reverence and intimacy need each other. The reverence needs the infusion of intimacy lest it become a cool and detached aesthetic. The intimacy needs to be suffused in reverence lest it become a gushy emotion.

–Eugene Peterson
Living the Resurrection

Debunking the myths

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Men forsook God, and made carved images of men. Since therefore an image of man was falsely worshipped as God, God became truly Man, that the falsehood might be done away.

–Cyril of Jerusalem
(313—386)

Art: Rembrandt

The need to worship

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I need to worship because without it I can forget that I have a Big God beside me and live in fear. I need to worship because without it I can forget his calling and begin to live in a spirit of self-preoccupation.

I need to worship because
without it I lose a sense of wonder
and gratitude and plod through life
with blinders on.

I need worship because my natural tendency is toward self-reliance and stubborn independence.

― John Ortberg

Challenging Caesar

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In every worship service, the Christian ekklesia is renewed in her unique story and language, her unique political experience and vocation. Every worship service is a challenge to Caesar, because every Lord’s Day we bow to a Man on the throne of heaven, to whom even great Caesar must bow. O’Donovan claims that all political order rests on a people’s homage to authority, which is to say, on an act of worship. Every Lord’s Day, the Church is reconstituted as a polity whose obedience is owed to Christ, and we are taught to name Jesus as King of kings and Lord of lords.

―Peter J. Leithart

Not yet dancing

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As long as you notice, and have to count, the steps, you are not yet dancing but only learning to dance. A good shoe is a shoe you don’t notice. Good reading becomes possible when you need not consciously think about eyes, or light, or print, or spelling. The perfect church service would be one we are almost unaware of; our attention would have been on God.

–C. S. Lewis
Letters to Malcolm

Published in: on 08/02/2014 at 4:30  Leave a Comment  
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The need to worship

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I need to worship because without it I can forget that I have a Big God beside me and live in fear. I need to worship because without it I can forget his calling and begin to live in a spirit of self-preoccupation. I need to worship because without it I lose a sense of wonder and gratitude and plod through life with blinders on. I need worship because my natural tendency is toward self-reliance and stubborn independence.

–John Ortberg

Published in: on 06/27/2014 at 11:56  Leave a Comment  
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No such thing as atheism

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In the day to day trenches of adult life, there is actually no such thing as atheism. There is no such thing as not worshipping. Everybody worships. The only choice we get is: what to worship. And a compelling reason for maybe choosing some sort of god or spiritual type thing to worship . . . is that anything pretty much anything else you worship will eat you alive.

–David Foster Wallace

Published in: on 04/28/2014 at 5:53  Leave a Comment  
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Hard-wired for worship

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The instinct of adoration
is in our blood,
and we are fretful
and fevered until
we find One at whose feet
we can lay the tribute
of our devotion.

–F. W. Boreham ‏

Published in: on 01/26/2014 at 20:01  Leave a Comment  
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Worship and wonder

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Wonder is a deep, profound experience. The typical secular education of our day makes us suspicious or callous to wonder. It seems so unscientific, so unsophisticated, and ultimately, so seemingly unnecessary. So they say. But to lose the sense of wonder is to lose one of the great beauties of life. Worship, on the other hand, exercises our sense of wonder. It helps us see things and hear things and feel things, that not everyone recognizes. Worship, in essence, is wonderful.

–Hughes Oliphant Old

Published in: on 01/22/2014 at 19:39  Leave a Comment  
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The sublime wonder of living

The surest way to suppress
our ability to understand
the meaning of God
and the importance of worship
is to take things for granted.
Indifference to
the sublime wonder of living
is the root of sin.

–Abraham Joshua Heschel
(1907 – 1972)

Learning to dance

As long as you notice and have to count the steps, you are not yet dancing, but only learning to dance. A good shoe is a shoe you don’t notice. Good reading becomes possible when you need not consciously think about eyes, or light or print or spelling. The perfect church service would be one we were almost unaware of; our attention would have been on God.

–C. S. Lewis

Published in: on 04/10/2011 at 1:09  Leave a Comment  
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