Saturday, October 13, 2007

Continuous Worship Conference, Part 2


Life is getting incredibly busy as of late. So, I am going to reflect and talk about the Continuous Worship Conference now, before I get too busy or forget to do it all together. I am still working through/chewing-over most of the content from the conference, so these thoughts and ideas are not fully developed yet. Most of this is from Mark Driscoll's message.

One of the main focuses of the conference was that we all, every human being, are worshipers. We were not merely made to worship, we were made worshiping. We all worship. We took a look at
Romans 11:36-12:1 for a picture of what worship is.

Worship is: Glory, Dedication and Sacrifice to God.

Glory: There is a central focus in our life, a person, thing, principle, or experience that we ascribe glory to. This is the thing we are most committed to.

Dedication:
Whatever this is (the thing we give glory to) – We dedicate ourselves to it. It could be a person, a cause, a sports team, a experience, a lifestyle, a sexual orientation, etc. We affiliate ourselves with it and devote ourselves to it.

Sacrifice: This someone or something is in a place of glory – you dedicate yourself to it, and then you make sacrifices for it, or to it.

This is worship
. Religion is, therefore, not the only place where worship is happening. We are all worshipers.

What is the purpose of worship?
The purpose is, for God’s glory, for our joy individually, and our good, collectively.
God needs nothing, so in a way, we come to God to receive. We come to God in worship to receive blessing, rebuke, care, and love. As we receive – this glorifies God, enables us to have joy, and builds up the community. This requires, on our behalf, humility.

What is “good” worship?
When asked this question, usually answers concerning style or emotion are given. When someone says, "worship was so good this morning," what they were really saying was that they liked the style of music that was being played, or that they were emotionally engaged. Which are not bad things. But this does not mean that "good" worship has been experienced.

Who is the object of worship?
Whatever God says is good worship is. We do not get to pick which style or form of worship is best. God does. Not feelings, not people, not styles, only God.

Don’t let your people ascribe a moral good to a preferential style. Worship wars are generally style wars. The conflict over style is really a conflict over culture. Church’s that major on style are majoring on self-righteousness. We become like that which we worship. People that have assigned a value to a style, become like the style which they worship. They are ultimately worshiping the culture.

Don't get me wrong though, there is no problem for people to have a personal preference. I have preferences. But, that is all they are--preferences. We have to acknowledge this.

What is the opposite of worship?
This is interesting to think about. The opposite of theism is not atheism but idolatry. Idolatry is the default mode of the human heart. We take good things and make them God things, or elevate creation over Creator (Rms 1:21-25).

What good things can be elevated to God things?
It is all too easy to elevate almost anything other than God: environmentalism, children, mate, spouse, work, family, etc.

Idolatry is the root that leads to the fruit of other sins.

(Ex 20 – 1st 2 commandments dictate the rest)

Behind every sin is a false god. When we try to fix the surface behaviors, we fix nothing. We must go to the root, that is where the true problem lies. Legalism and moralism are always chasing fruit sins, and not root sins.

How does idolatry capture us?
We define for ourselves some hell, and some concept of heaven.
To get us from our hell to our heaven we select and worship a functional savior. This is all advertising is. Look at a magazine cover in the line at the market, these are pictures of someone’s heaven. The magazine says do these 5 easy steps and transport yourself into your heaven. The steps, the magazine, or a person become your functional savior.

A false idol promises us to give us things to make life worth living. A good thing becomes a god thing. Often times it is what we love most that enslaves us (ministry, family, etc.). The lie goes unmet, what guaranteed pleasure, brings pain, and we are lost.

Anti-depressants are the most commonly prescribed drugs in USA. What we gave ourselves to doesn’t satisfy. Even a good thing needs God to be enjoyed (like having a can of peaches w/o a can opener).

How can we find them (my idols)?

- What am I most afraid of?

- What do you long for most passionately?

- Where do run for comfort?

- What do you complain about most?

- What angers you most?

- What makes you happiest?

- How do you explain yourself to other people?

- How do you describe yourself?

- What has caused you to be angry with God?

- What do you brag about?

- What do you want more than anything?

- What do you sacrifice for?

- Whose approval are you seeking?

- If you could change one thing in your life what would that be?

- What one thing brings the most comfort?

When do we worship?
Tozer said, “If you cannot worship God 7 days a week, you can’t worship him 1 day a week.” Is worship a gathered event or scattered lifestyle? This is a current debate in the Church today. The answer is both (Col 3:16-17). Anything done to the glory of God is an act of worship. Worship is a lifestyle and an event. If worship is only an event for our people, then we have Barna’s Christians. These are Christians that show no connection between there lives during the week and the lives they live at church. These are Christians that live out their life they way they always have six days a week, and then on Sunday come to worship the King of the world, and then go back home like nothing changed.

How do we worship?
Luther said, as sinners we are stuck in a perpetual loop of self. God exists to serve me, so I can achieve my glory. True Worship is where I exist for the glory of God. The only way out of the addiction to self-glory and idolatry is the mediator, Jesus Christ.

So who serves as a functional mediator in your life? A pastor, worship style, facility/building, emotions/experiences, community (participatory redemption), etc. Jesus is the only one worthy of the position--it was made for Him.


So yeah, these are just some thoughts. I am still, like I said, working through them. There is a lot to think about. I am waiting for the conference audio to come up for download off the Resurgence site. Then I will have more time to mull through my thoughts.


3 comments:

  1. Mike - thanks for posting that. I'm off to help lead worship in a few minutes and it was a great reminder of what it is all about.

    danny

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  2. Danny - sure thing. When is the next time you two are coming to the states? We should try to work out getting together the next time you do. We would love to see you guys.

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  3. We'll be in the states for Christmas, but only in North Carolina (at my sister's). Then we are planning on coming in either May and June or June and July of next year.

    We would love to somehow get together so I'll let you know as soon as our plans are more concrete.

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