Tag Archives: Sunday worship

Where are the flags?

6 Jul

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Yesterday before the worship service, I was stopped by a longtime member with a very concerned look, “Where are the flags?”

For years the American and Christian flags stood at the front of our worship center. During a renovation project they moved to a protective closet home… and have stayed there.

Here’s why.

Most people of our church gather together for about an hour and fifteen minutes a week to worship God – omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, awesome, great, powerful, loving, wonder-working, merciful… God. He is worthy of worship! And He is the only one worthy.

Over the Independence Day weekend people from our church attended family parties, lit fireworks, watched parades, and celebrated our country’s birthday in all manner of ways. I figure I spent about 10-12 hours engaged in activities like that. (And this was a light 4th for us due to other obligations.) To be fair, some of the events allowed for great fellowship with believers and wonderful connection time with those who don’t follow Jesus yet. However, the reason for the gatherings was to celebrate America – to sing her praises and be thankful for the freedom we enjoy. I could have been busy all weekend (and even the weekend before!) celebrating red, white, and blue.

Yesterday, the body of Christ met for an hour and a half.

Please understand– I’m not complaining or foisting a guilt-trip on anyone for partying all weekend, but I am making the case for why we didn’t recite the Pledge to the Flag yesterday in church– that hour and a quarter we are together is so short and incredibly precious! Every minute counts!

Why would we give up even one to look away from Jesus?

I am grateful to live in the USA! I will cheer loudly and stand as the color guard parades the flag down main street. I belt out The National Anthem at sporting events. But I fiercely protect the time we gather to worship God.

It is holy – set aside for Him and His Church.

It is pure – for Him only, for none other.

It is a sacred trust – that I will continue to guard.

Because the God of the universe is the only one worthy of our worship.

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Exclusivity

1 Jun

Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written,

“‘You shall worship the Lord your God
    and him only shall you serve.’”  Matthew 4:10

The entire Bible is a call to worship God exclusively and turn away from idolatry.

(I can’t remember where I read or heard that, so fill me in if you know the source.)

An over-simplification?   The more I think about this idea and read the Word with it in mind, the more I think it’s true.

Consider:

  • God commands us to worship Him.  He is the only One worthy of worship; and He knows that it is also best for us, because other gods cannot satisfy the desires He put into us.
  • If we worship God alone, we don’t serve other, lesser masters.
  • Lesser masters are not perfect (only God is perfect), therefore lesser masters contain an element of corruption.  They are not worthy of worship, and when we do worship them, we take on their corrupted nature.
  • I have been corrupted by sin, so focusing on myself (self-worship) is also a bad idea.  It can lead to all sorts of selfishness, manipulation, and hedonism.
  • Satan is the one who wants to draw my attention away from God.  (See Matt 4:10, above.)
  • God is love, peace, faithfulness, etc., and we (individually and collectively) find these intangibles when we worship Him, not lesser gods.
  • Worship isn’t necessarily bowing before a statue; worship is giving my attention and devotion to someone or something, expecting to receive from him or it what only God can give.

I could go on.  These are only a few ideas off the top of my head.

I know they are all undeveloped arguments laden with presuppositions.  The point is, no matter what angle I take, I keep coming back to my original statement: The entire Bible is a call to worship God exclusively and turn away from idolatry.

———————–

Ready for Sunday

What does this mean for us as we lead others in worshiping God?

I think of the incredible responsibility we have to make sure everything we do, say, sing, play, etc., glorifies God, and only God– not my musicianship, not the soloist, not the drama team, not our beautiful building.  All of these can be used to bring Him glory, but none should receive glory in themselves.  Everything must glorify Him alone.

I know that we worship all week long, not just when we are singing on a Sunday morning.  But our corporate worship time can help set the direction for the rest of my week, propelling my heart toward God.   While we are together, brothers and sisters united in Christ worshiping the Father, my heart is encouraged and re-directed to worship God alone.

I am humbled by the responsibility this places on me as a worship leader.  I am sickened by my sin of idolatry as other things distract me from His call.  I am resolute, with His matchless power at work within me, to worship God only and to lead others to do the same.

Soli Deo gloria!

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