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Monday, August 6, 2012

Worship 1: Passionately Pursuing God

Worship 1: Passionately Pursuing God
He is all tenderness and compassion, but not because he has to be! When we feel a sense of the overwhelming power of God, you and I realize our tininess before him…like a blade of grass in a tornado. We humbly bow in his presence. God is awesome.


Five great questions of life: Life * Love * Learning * Labor * Leadership

Life: What's My Spiritual Center?

Worship 1: Passionately Pursuing God

By Evan Nehring

So, my answer to, “What’s my spiritual center?” is Jesus. And if Jesus is my spiritual center, then the seven core values I’ve chosen are:

Worship 1: Passionately Pursuing God

Worship and devotions really help us get solid in our God-connection. Starting with worship, I want to write several posts on how to make each of these core values your own.

I want to challenge you and spur you on to becoming a worshiper of God. This is at the heart of our relationship with Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We passionately pursue the presence of God. We humbly bow in repentance and feel the embrace of his love.

Have you ever felt the presence of God so thickly that you had to bow down to the ground? He is all tenderness and compassion, but not because he has to be! When we feel a sense of the overwhelming power of God, you and I realize our tininess before him…like a blade of grass in a tornado. We humbly bow in his presence. God is awesome.
 

The Story of God

When we worship, we get a sense of the greater story of God and his eternal kingdom.
You are the everlasting God
The everlasting God
You will not faint
You won’t grow weary
You’re the defender of the weak
You comfort those in need
You lift us up on wings like eagles
(Brenton Brown, available on Chris Tomlin's See the Morning)

Worship 1: Passionately Pursuing God

This is not dry theology! This is knowing our Creator and understanding how he has defeated the powers of darkness to buy our forgiveness. This is understanding the holiness and majesty of our king. This is time folding over time as sin and forgiveness meet at the cross, and at the throne divine.
 

We're All Theologians

One of my most memorable takeaways from Bible college was from Systematic Theology class. I learned that we're all theologians, but some of us do it well and other do it poorly. When it comes to understanding and knowing all I can about my Creator and Redeemer, I want to excel!

The Power of Lyrics

Music is an ancient, powerful way to cement our understanding of God. There's this communal understanding and agreement, like pulsating to the same beat at a rock concert. We move beyond understanding to communion, to union. Paul talks in Ephesians about being filled with the Spirit and then "singing and making melody to the Lord with all your heat." (Ephesians 5:16-19)

When I worship God, my heart and my mind both engage in a way that allows the Holy Spirit to overwhelm me with the reality of who he is.
 

My Core Value of Worship

The way I spell out this core value of worship for myself is: A lifetime of passionately pursuing God in worship and leading people into his presence.

I worship God in other ways than music. It's really all about his presence. And if I can take some folks there with me, rock on!

Question


So I'm curious, do you see worship as more with your heart or more with your head? How does that work for you? And what's that song that stirs your God-connection more than any other right now?



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9 comments:

  1. When I worship with music, it is definitely more heart for me. I worship with reckless abandon when I have music. When it comes to other ways of worship it is more with my mind... My heart is definitely still in it, but I think and analyze it more. Music is my way of connecting with God without my head getting in the way. When I lift my voice and sing, it is me holding nothing back. There are a couple songs that really draw me in... I just fail at remembering artists and song names...

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  2. You may find this funny, but I like "God's Own Fool" by Michael Card. It kind of sums up my experience these days.

    When we in our foolishness thought we were wise
    He played the fool and He opened our eyes
    When we in our weakness believed we were strong
    He became helpless to show we were wrong
    So we follow God's own fool
    And only the foolish can tell
    Believe the unbelievable
    Come be a fool as well!

    I think all my learning and earthly knowledge gained from a lifetime of experience is really worth very little insofar as it does not relate to Jesus Christ. The more I go forward, the clearer it becomes to me that I really know nothing valuable at all in terms of spiritual value. It is only in relationship to Jesus that I find any knowledge, wisdom, or value.

    Makes me wonder what I've been doing with my life lately...

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  3. I think of heart as being a lot of emotions and that the head needs to be involved too so that worship has the right foundation. That's just my perception. It's kind of like in marriage how we have to chose to love our spouse even when we don't always feel head over heels. I think we chose to worship and often it leads to an intimate encounter with the Lord. Many times I have been so lost in worship that I feel like I'm standing right before God in heaven. It is strengthening, refreshing and the biggest most fulfilling high I've ever experienced. I need to do it more often at home so it's not just a church experience. One of my favorite worship songs is Word of God Speak.
    Finding myself at a loss for words and the funny thing is, it's ok. The last thing I need is to be heard but to hear you calling me. Word of God speak would you pour down like rain washing my eyes to see your majesty. To be still and know that You're in this place. Please let me stay and rest in Your holiness. Word of God speak.
    Heather Nehring Block

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  4. I SEE worship as being more with your heart, BUT there are times when it takes my head to realize it has to come from my heart. I am not sure if this makes complete sense to others, but for me; there are days when I struggle to worship God. Not because he is not worthy of my praise, but sometimes my head is not in a good place and I have to make a decision in my head that will allow my heart to move forward with worship. My current favorite song is I am redeemed by Big Daddy Weave.

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  5. It's interesting to read your responses because I think different church traditions have different approaches to worship. This group definitely leans to the heart, and I think I'm there too. We work through the Scriptures and learn and grow, then we respond in worship and just say, "God, you're awesome!"

    There's still a head part that makes worship very rich for me.

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  6. Excellent work Evan! I'm looking forward to more in this series! As for me, worship is a "heart thing". I can't even begin to grasp God with my mind. I agree about music. It definitely helps take me deeper. When our hearts speak its often hard to put to words what we have heard. Just enjoy it with the heart. I'll take the "heart" of God any day!

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  7. Tim, your comment made me think of an old Farrell and Farrell song, Hearts and Minds. Whatever we prefer, let's put on unity. The lyrics:

    You may say it your way, I prefer it my way,
    Will we ever be as one?
    People find their own camp, where others do as they do,
    Gravitate to comfort zones,
    Feelings versus intellect - the goals that they defend, but neither is completely right,
    They'll find out in the end...

    Hearts and minds,
    Two kinds of people who believe,
    Hearts and minds,
    Embrace the truths that we perceive,
    Wasting time casting antagonistic stones,
    We must find a way to unite the hearts and minds.
    Hearts and minds,
    Hearts and minds.

    Broken up in factions,
    Making accusations,
    Something like a family feud,
    World looks on and wonders, "What's the use in joining, better if we don't intrude,"
    If we could only realise the damage that is done we'd stop the fight, throw in the towel and learn to live as one.

    Hearts and minds...

    Jesus said the world could only validate his claim when unity and love shine out from those who bear his name.

    Wasting time casting antagonistic stones,
    Hearts and minds,
    Two kinds of, t-two kinds of people,
    We must find a way, we must find a way.

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  8. The Word says that true worshipers worship in spirit and in truth (John 4:23-24). I believe this means that we are supposed to worship with both our head and heart. We worship with our head being mindful of the lyrics we're singing--that they are full of truth about God, who He is, and what He does--and with our heart, by remaining open to the move and leading of the Holy Spirit. It's difficult for me to pick just one praise & worship song right now, but a few of my favorites are "Almighty" by Chris Tomlin; "Grace So Glorious" by Elevation Worship; and "Broken Vessels (Amazing Grace)" by Hillsong Worship.

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    Replies
    1. Brokenredeemed, I love the head and heart picture. God gave us both of those, right? In a way, the head guides the heart and the heart leads the head. Grounded in truth, moving with the Spirit...great thoughts for the day. Thanks!

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