Posts Tagged ‘worship’

The Power of Praise

August 22, 2016

I think that I have always enjoyed singing.  Then, shortly after graduation, I was asked to play percussion on the worship team at church.

I was hooked.

I love to worship using my instruments.   (drums and percussion)  Then a few years back I tried singing while playing.

I love it.  It is also very biblical.

I.  Sing

Psalms 95:1-3

Oh come, let us sing to the Lord!
Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving;
Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.
For the Lord is the great God,
And the great King above all gods.

Life is not a musical, but our lives should have more music.  Singing lifts the spirits.  I have seen a little boy who, when he is happy, goes around singing made up songs.  He is happy and he expresses that happiness through song.  Maybe as adults we have become too self conscious, maybe life should be a musical.

Psalms 96:1-4

Oh, sing to the Lord a new song!
Sing to the Lord, all the earth.
Sing to the Lord, bless His name;
Proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day.
Declare His glory among the nations,
His wonders among all peoples.

For the Lord is great and greatly to be praised;
He is to be feared above all gods.

We may sing when we are happy, but singing to the Lord is not about us.  The Lord is great and greatly to be praised.  He deserves our worship.  It is about Him, not us.

Psalms 98:1-6

Oh, sing to the Lord a new song!
For He has done marvelous things;
His right hand and His holy arm have gained Him the victory.
The Lord has made known His salvation;
His righteousness He has revealed in the sight of the nations.
He has remembered His mercy and His faithfulness to the house of Israel;
All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.

Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth;
Break forth in song, rejoice, and sing praises.
Sing to the Lord with the harp,
With the harp and the sound of a psalm,
With trumpets and the sound of a horn;
Shout joyfully before the Lord, the King.

We can sing in church.  We can sing in the car.  We can sing at home.  I would encourage you to incorporate more singing into your life.  Play the radio on Christian stations, buy Christian CDs.  God deserves our worship.

There is a secondary effect.  It does lift our spirits.  After the first service this morning, a lady mentioned to me that it actually seems to detox our spirits.  I liked that and told her that I was going to include it in the second service.  Sometimes our spirits need a cleansing detox.  Spend time in worship and praise.  God deserves it, and it will help us as well.

II.  Give Thanks

Psalms 100:1-4

Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands!
Serve the Lord with gladness;
Come before His presence with singing.
Know that the Lord, He is God;
It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.

Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,
And into His courts with praise.
Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.

God not only deserves our praise, He deserves our thanks.  When we are feeling good and things are going well it is easy to give God thanks and praise.

Psalms 107:21-22

Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness,
And for His wonderful works to the children of men!
22 Let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving,
And declare His works with rejoicing.

Some days it is not so easy.  Sometimes we may feel as if our problems are too great to give God thanks.  On those days we should still offer a sacrifice of praise.  Plus, if we would shift our focus just a little, we would see that even on the worst of days, God has blessed us in many ways.  Remember the old song and “Count Your Blessings”.

Psalms 107:31-32

Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness,
And for His wonderful works to the children of men!
32 Let them exalt Him also in the assembly of the people,
And praise Him in the company of the elders.

As we are told in I Thessalonians 5:18, we should give thanks in everything.  After all, we are told in Romans 8:28 that “all things work together for good…”

It is always right and fitting that we give God both praise and thanks.

III.  Pray

Psalms 109:1-4

Do not keep silent,
O God of my praise!
For the mouth of the wicked and the mouth of the deceitful
Have opened against me;
They have spoken against me with a lying tongue.
They have also surrounded me with words of hatred,
And fought against me without a cause.
In return for my love they are my accusers,
But I give myself to prayer.

This is a dramatic shift from the first two points of this message.

Sometimes people are cruel.  They lie, they hurt us in a whole variety of ways.

Our response should be to pray to the God whom we praise.  He is our deliverer.

Matthew 6:43-45

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.

It is human nature to hurt those that have hurt us, to reply in kind, with interest.

God has called us to be different.

We are able to be different because of God.  As we spend time in His presence in praise and thanksgiving, we are changed.  We are able to forgive and even to love our enemies, not because it comes naturally, but because we have been changed by the time we have spent in worship of the God who loves us all.

These are the sermon notes from 8/21/16,  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them. 

Cease to Do Evil

June 29, 2015

Faith and works have had a turbulent history. Finding the proper relationship is important to our Christian faith.

I. Worship and Evil: Isaiah 1:10-15

“Hear the word of the Lord,
You rulers of Sodom;
Give ear to the law of our God,
You people of Gomorrah:
11
“To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices to Me?”
Says the Lord.
“I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams
And the fat of fed cattle.
I do not delight in the blood of bulls,
Or of lambs or goats.

12
“When you come to appear before Me,
Who has required this from your hand,
To trample My courts?
13
Bring no more futile sacrifices;
Incense is an abomination to Me.
The New Moons, the Sabbaths, and the calling of assemblies—
I cannot endure iniquity and the sacred meeting.
14
Your New Moons and your appointed feasts
My soul hates;
They are a trouble to Me,
I am weary of bearing them.
15
When you spread out your hands,
I will hide My eyes from you;
Even though you make many prayers,
I will not hear.
Your hands are full of blood. ”

A. Offerings and Sin
Samuel said said to Saul that obedience is better than sacrifice. (I Samuel 15:22) We cannot live sinful lives and then think that we can buy God’s forgiveness by giving a big offering. Certainly it is good to give offerings, but it is more important to be obedient.

B. Worship and Sin
We are supposed to worship God. It is good to gather together with other believers to worship and pray. Many traditional congregations begin their worship with a time of confession of sins and a request for forgiveness. That can be a good thing. The potential problem with this is that some may use it as an excuse to continue in sinful behavior. The thinking may be that I can do what I want throughout the week as long as I go to church on Sunday and ask for forgiveness. That is not how it works. We are not to use the sacrifice of Christ as a means to remain in our sins. It is by the power of God that we are able to escape the clutches of sin. To come together to worship God, and then purposely remain in sin brings no glory to God.

II. Cease to Do Evil: Isaiah 1:16-17

Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean;
Put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes.
Cease to do evil,
17
Learn to do good;
Seek justice,
Rebuke the oppressor;
Defend the fatherless,
Plead for the widow.

I greatly appreciate the simplicity of the statement “cease to do evil, learn to do good”. Of course, we need to be able to recognize the difference between good and evil. That is something that we should turn to the Bible to identify. Our culture does not lead the way to godliness. As Christians, we should follow the Bible, not to earn our salvation, but to display our salvation. We should “let our light shine, that they may see our good works and glorify our Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:16)

We should seek justice. God is concerned about how we live in society. As Christians we should rebuke the oppressor and speak up for the oppressed. Evangelical Christians were opposed to the Social Gospel movement, which seemed to equate salvation with a good life on earth. The emphasis placed on forgiveness of sins is appropriate, but to ignore injustice is wrong. We should preach the forgiveness of sins first, and work for justice second. They are not equal concerns, but justice should not be ignored.

III. Forgiveness: Isaiah 1:18-20

“Come now, and let us reason together,”
Says the Lord,
“Though your sins are like scarlet,
They shall be as white as snow;
Though they are red like crimson,
They shall be as wool.
19
If you are willing and obedient,
You shall eat the good of the land;
20
But if you refuse and rebel,
You shall be devoured by the sword”;
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (I John 1:9) Forgiveness is offered to us through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

However, we are also told, “If you love me, keep my commandments” John 14:15 We are forgiven for our past sins, but we are called, and enabled to turn away from the practice of sin.

Obedience will be rewarded, disobedience will be judged.

May God help us to cease to do evil and learn to do good, not because we are attempting to earn our salvation, but because we want to live out our salvation.

A Pattern for Worship

March 23, 2015

King Hezekiah led the nation of Israel in a time of repentance and renewal of their service to God.

II Chronicles 30:13-23

 Now many people, a very great assembly, gathered at Jerusalem to keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread in the second month. 14 They arose and took away the altars that were in Jerusalem, and they took away all the incense altars and cast them into the Brook Kidron. 15 Then they slaughtered the Passover lambs on the fourteenth day of the second month. The priests and the Levites were ashamed, and sanctified themselves, and brought the burnt offerings to the house of the Lord. 16 They stood in their place according to their custom, according to the Law of Moses the man of God; the priests sprinkled the blood received from the hand of the Levites. 17 For there were many in the assembly who had not sanctified themselves; therefore the Levites had charge of the slaughter of the Passover lambs for everyone who was not clean, to sanctify them to the Lord. 18 For a multitude of the people, many from Ephraim, Manasseh, Issachar, and Zebulun, had not cleansed themselves, yet they ate the Passover contrary to what was written. But Hezekiah prayed for them, saying, “May the good Lord provide atonement for everyone 19 who prepares his heart to seek God, the Lord God of his fathers, though he is not cleansed according to the purification of the sanctuary.” 20 And the Lord listened to Hezekiah and healed the people.

21 So the children of Israel who were present at Jerusalem kept the Feast of Unleavened Bread seven days with great gladness; and the Levites and the priests praised the Lord day by day, singing to the Lord, accompanied by loud instruments. 22 And Hezekiah gave encouragement to all the Levites who taught the good knowledge of the Lord; and they ate throughout the feast seven days, offering peace offerings and making confession to the Lord God of their fathers.

23 Then the whole assembly agreed to keep the feast another seven days, and they kept it another seven days with gladness.

I.  Repentance

We are either drawing closer to God, or moving away from God.  The first step in repentance is to change our direction of spiritual travel.  We must turn back to God.  In turning back to God, we naturally turn away from that which is ungodly.  Repentance is a continuing process of cleansing from sin as we grow in our ability to recognize what is godly and what is ungodly.  The first thing that must be changed is our recognition that there is no other God.  We must turn to God with our whole heart.  Repentance continues as we renew our commitment to follow the Lord with all of our hearts.

II.  Sought The Lord

God is most concerned with our hearts.  If we have turned to Him in repentance and faith He will be pleased with us.  The letter of the law has it’s place, but God is far more concerned with the attitude of our hearts, than with the outward compliance to the letter of the law.

III.  Praised The Lord

They praised the Lord with loud instruments.  If you think that our music is too loud, you should know that we are following a biblical precedent:)  What is most important is not the volume, the style, the instruments, or the skill of the musicians.  What is most important is that we are responding to the Lord with praise.  God is worthy of our praise.  Do not focus on what you like or do not like about worship, focus on the God who is worthy of your worship.

IV.  Taught The Knowledge Of The Lord

At this gathering of the people of God, they were taught the Word.  It is important to continue to grow in our knowledge of the things of God.  We will never know all that there is to know.  At our church, we have Sunday morning worship, Sunday School for all ages, and Wednesday night Bible studies.  Each of these events are an opportunity to continue to grow in our knowledge of the Lord and His Word.  I would encourage you to participate in as many of these events as possible.

V.  Repeat: With Gladness

This celebration went on for seven days.  It was going so well that they continued for another seven days.  The event was marked with great gladness.  As Christians, our worship should be times of joy and gladness.  We have reason to celebrate!  God loves us!  God will help us!  We have victory in Jesus!  There is much to celebrate!!

The pattern of repentance, seeking God, praising the Lord, and being taught, with gladness, is a pattern that can be repeated over and over.  It is a good pattern for each and every time that the people of God gather together to worship.

These are the sermon notes from the message preached on 3/1/15.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them. 

Psalms 100

February 17, 2014

Psalms 100

Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands!
Serve the Lord with gladness;
Come before His presence with singing.
Know that the Lord, He is God;
It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.

Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,
And into His courts with praise.
Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.
For the Lord is good;
His mercy is everlasting,
And His truth endures to all generations.

I.  Serve the Lord With Gladness:  (verses 1-2)

Every so often we like to give a joyful shout to the Lord. Praise God!  We should probably do it more often.

We have the opportunity to serve the Lord with gladness.  God gives to us both hope and purpose.  We have hope because we can believe that God is able to give us wisdom and strength in whatever situation we might face.  God gives purpose to our lives.  Each and every one of us has a role that we play.  This knowledge gives us a lasting sense of worth.

We can all sing.  Some may sing beautifully, while others may simply make a joyful noise, but we should all sing to the Lord.  We can also use recorded music in our homes, cars, wherever we might be to create an atmosphere of worship.

II.  We Are His People:  (verse 3)

He is God and He knows what is best for us.  We can trust Him.

He has made us and without Him we could do nothing.  We are not self-made.  All glory goes to God.

God will take care of us.  We do not need to worry or be afraid.

III.  Give Thanks (verses 4-5)

We should give God thanks.  All good gifts come from God.  It is right to give Him thanks.

We should give God praise.  He is worthy of our praise.

God is good.  We do not serve a mean or vindictive God.  He is good to His people.

Conclusion:  We are God’s people.  We should serve Him with gladness and give Him thanks.

These are the sermon notes from 2/2/14.  Any advertisements are placed by WordPress. I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them.

Joyful Service

October 22, 2012

Here are the sermon notes from October 21, 2012.

I.  Warning!:   Psalms 50:22-23

“Now consider this, you who forget God,
Lest I tear you in pieces,
And there be none to deliver:
23 Whoever offers praise glorifies Me;
And to him who orders his conduct aright
I will show the salvation of God.”

The warning to those who forget God is quite somber.  Once again, we are presented with a clear choice to serve God and reap the benefits, or to reject God and suffer the consequences.

II.  Recommended Prayer: Psalms 55:17

Evening and morning and at noon
I will pray, and cry aloud,
And He shall hear my voice.

Muslims pray faithfully five times a day.  Christians are regularly encouraged to have daily devotions.  I think that it would be appropriate to increase our commitment and have regular prayer time, three times a day.  Daniel prayed in this fashion, and it worked well for him.  In the New Testament, we are encouraged to “pray without ceasing”, so three times a day shouldn’t be too much to ask.

III.  God’s People: Psalms 100

A. Joyful Service: vv1-2

Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands!
Serve the Lord with gladness;
Come before His presence with singing.

We regularly come into the presence of God with singing.  It is a big part of our church services.  I do not recall ever participating in a congregational “joyful shout.  As I have been reading the Psalms I have noticed this action mentioned numerous times.  Today we are going to experiment with making a “joyful shout”

We tried out shouting “Praise God”  “Hallelujah” and “Amen”.  It was kind of fun.

I believe that joy and gladness should regularly fill the hearts of Christians as they serve the Lord.  Regular worship, and a joyful shout, can help bring joy and gladness to our hearts.

B.  We Are God’s People: v.3

Know that the Lord, He is God;
It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.

I have managed to take care of numerous pets over the years.  Our last cat lived to be 21, which is quite old for a cat.  If I can be trusted to watch over pets entrusted to my care, how much more can we trust God to take care of us?  He is my shepherd, I shall not want…Psalm 23.

C.  Thankfulness and Praise:  vv4-5

Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,
And into His courts with praise.
Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.
For the Lord is good;
His mercy is everlasting,
And His truth endures to all generations.

God is good to His people.  Giving Him thanks and praise is the least that we can do.  It should be a regular part of our worship and prayer to give God thanks and praise.

Conclusion:  Serving the Lord is not always easy, but joy and gladness should regularly fill the hearts of the believer as they faithfully serve the Lord.

Music With Mallets

October 13, 2011

Last night, after church,  we had band practice with a new drummer.  The addition of another drummer meant that I will be able to focus on the mallet instruments.   I have a marimba, vibraharp, and orchestra bells that have been only occasionally used for years.  Last night we had the new guy on drums, another person on hand drums and various percussion pieces, and that left me free to play the mallet instruments.

It was fun.

Over twenty years ago, I played the mallet instruments exclusively on a couple of worship teams.  I had forgotten how much fun it was to focus on those instruments.  I am looking forward to becoming reacquainted.

Experiencing God in Worship

September 15, 2008

I have always, for as long as I can remember, enjoyed the musical aspects of church services.  Some of my earliest memories are of standing next to my father singing hymns in the Lutheran church that we attended.  The song “Holy, Holy, Holy” will forever have a special place in my heart.  I remember the songs that we sang in Sunday School, and then at camp.  Those songs were special to me and they touched my heart.  Then I started attending Camp Zion, and was introduced to a whole new style of worship.  After a couple of years I was able to join the Christian Life Singers and become a part of the worship team playing percussion instruments.  I always wanted to be filled with the Spirit as I played so that in the same way that we can be led by the Spirit in our words and our actions, that I would be led by the Spirit as I played.

It has been thirty years since I first started playing on the worship team.   It has reached the point where I would rather be playing either drums or percussian than singing in the congregation. 

The wonderful thing is, that either playing or singing, I can have a wonderful sense of the presence of  God in worship.  The sense of the presence of God brings healing and refreshment to my mind, body, and spirit.  Usually,  I am almost oblivious to the rest of the congregation because my focus is on God.  Sometimes, though I will look around the congregation, just to get a sense of how others are responding.  Many are like me, lost in worship, enjoying an encounter with the Spirit of God, but some are passively waiting for the singing to be over.  I feel sorry for all of those people who seem unable to make the connection.  Who seem unaware of the presence of God.  It is possible that they too, are experiencing an encounter with God, only it is not outwardly expressed.  I hope that that is the case.  I can’t understand how they can be immune to what God can do in a simple worship service.  I hope and pray that everyone who is present will have an encounter with God, that in every worship service, all will be refreshed and renewed in their faith, even as I am refreshed and renewed in my own.