Spiritual Disciplines #3 – Worship

Spiritual Disciplines #3 – Worship

Based on my ability to parent, I’m learning that it is quite challenging to encourage someone to do something they have zero desire to do. I have a cute 6th grader that I’m partially responsible for developing into a contributing member of society. There are days when it is clear that my encouragement is not inspiring him to read, clean his room, or even eventually pay his taxes. He seems to be locked into if it isn’t fun, I’m not interested mentality. I do imagine that he might wake up one morning and do all the things I’ve asked of him with joy and ambition.  

I see a correlation between encouraging my son to clean his room and convincing some of you that you should love to worship.  

Worship is a discipline that will transform you.  I so long for you all to desire to do it. 

The spiritual discipline of worship is such a vulnerable experience. Worship forces us to express in a way that doesn’t feel comfortable. Worship asks us to sing songs that don’t quite fit our personalities. Worship can be a struggle. I have found myself over the years being intentionally distracted or needing to go to the bathroom when the music starts in the church. So I get it. It’s not always easy to worship.  

The following excerpt is from the book I’m using to help shape some of our focus on spiritual disciplines, The Spiritual Discipline Handbook:

The heart of worship is to seek to know and love God in our unique way. Each one of us fulfills some part of the divine image. Each one of us loves and glorifies God in a particular way that no one else can. It should not surprise us then that worship styles and tastes differ: traditional, contemporary, liturgical, charismatic. One style of worship is not better than another. The quality of worship emerges from the heart and its focus. Worship can touch our deepest feelings. But that is not a litmus test for worship. Feelings can come and go. But the joyous Trinity remains forever worthy. Above and before all other good things remain the Pearl of great price, the King of all kings, and Lord of all lords.  

 

Spiritual Exercise

 

  1. Consider the many names of God uses to reveal himself to us. Which of these names identifies where God is in your life now? Talk to God about what this revelation of who he is meant to you.  
  2. Think of the times you have been deeply moved in worship. What was happening in your life at that time? What was going on in worship? Put yourself in places where you most easily connect with God in worship. 
  3. Write a letter or song to God, expressing your love and honor of him.
  4. Come before God with an open and listening ear. Write the question, “What do I value most” at the top of the bulletin on a Sunday morning. Answer the question

 

I’ve attached a  Bible Study to bring the spiritual discipline of Bible Study into the worship realm.  

 

Read Revelation 4–5

 

What is God’s ultimate purpose for men and women? To worship him! The Westminster Catechism puts it this way: The chief end of human beings is “to glorify God and enjoy him forever.”

 

What images come to mind when you think of worship?

 

PERSONAL REFLECTION. Why is worship important? What role does it play in your relationship with God.

 

To truly worship God we must see who he is and realize what he has done. In Revelation 4–5 we enter with the apostle John into the heavenly realms, where we observe the response of those who truly see the Lord. John is writing to believers around A.D. 90–95 during the reign of the emperor Domitian, a time of tremendous persecution. They were living in a world where evil was rampant and apparently all-powerful. However, John’s focus on God in all his glory would have been an apt reminder that evil is not in control. God’s purpose stands; he controls the world’s destiny. The worship pictured in these chapters reorients our thinking too, giving us a vision of God’s character and rule in the world. Read Revelation 4.

 

  1. Imagine all that John experienced in his glimpse into heaven. Describe what he saw, heard and felt.

 

  1. What is the first and primary sight that meets his eyes (vv. 2–3)?

 

What is the significance of this?

 

  1. What do we learn about God’s character from John’s description in this chapter?

 

  1. What response does this evoke from the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders (vv. 6–11)?

 

  1. How does this compare or contrast with your experiences of worshiping God?

 

  1. Read Revelation 5. What characters are involved in 5:1–7, and what is the nature of their activity?

 

  1. Jesus is described both as the “Lion of the tribe of Judah” (5:5) and as “a Lamb looking as if it had been slain” (5:6). What do these names tell us about who Jesus is?

 

  1. In 5:9–10 what do we learn about the results of Christ’s death?

 

  1. Reread 5:8–14, identifying the different beings worshiping the Lamb. What different forms of worship do you see?

 

  1. What does this variety suggest about our attitude toward forms of worship which are very different from what we are accustomed to?

 

  1. Compare your worship with that of Revelation 4 and 5. What are the similarities and differences?

 

In what ways would you like for your worship to be more like what is described here?

 

Considering God’s character as seen in Revelation 4 and 5, spend some time now worshiping him in brief expressions of praise and thanksgiving.

 

This passage has focused on the God we worship, but worship also affects the person worshiping. Read Isaiah 6:1–8. What elements of worship do you find in this passage, and in what ways does Isaiah’s vision of God in his glory affect his own perspective and actions?

 

Sterk, A., & Scazzero, P. (1999). Christian Disciplines: 12 Studies for Individuals or Groups (pp. 18–21). Downers Grove, IL: IVP Connect: An Imprint of InterVarsity Press.


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Spiritual Discipline #1 – Study of Scripture

When thinking about studying Scripture, it is essential to have a clear picture of the goals. Remember, spiritual disciplines are practices that are a “guaranteed place of communion, transformation, and healing.” These practices become a strategic place to hear the voice of God as He calls you into action. So what is the goal of studying Scripture? There can be so many. Here are some surface-level targets to aim at while getting started in the discipline of studying Scripture

3 Targets While Studying God’s Word

-To Know God
There is a difference between knowledge and knowing. I’m sure many of us have explored a little Facebook stalking of people. With a few clicks, we can gather quite a bit of information about people. We can learn where a person lives, who they are married to, where they work, how many kids they have, and what they had for dinner the last few nights. Facebook stalking produces some knowledge about a person, but we all know that you don’t know them. What does it take to know someone? Time, commitment to listening, and a little face to face time. When we have those actions with people, we move from a basic knowledge of who they are to truly knowing them. The desire for us would be to commit approaching Scripture with a desire to know God, not just have some facts.

-To Understand God
More questions, how do we understand something so incomprehensible? How do we understand something that was written in another language for a different audience? When these questions creep into the mind, they tend to sap the desire to even dig into Scripture. The lack of desire is a real enemy to understanding the character, beauty, and enormity of God. God so wants to reveal Himself to us, and God wants to deepen His relationship with us, God doesn’t want us to be confused by Him, but to understand Him truly. That is why it is incredibly important to seek understanding before reading anything. Try praying this prayer each time before opening up the Bible, “God help me to understand who you are more deeply when I read the Word today.”

-To Hear God
Isn’t this the ultimate goal? God, what do you desire? When the voice of God is clear, the mission of God is clear. One of the regular events in the Fazel home is someone standing at the base of the stairs yelling up the stairs asking questions, and the person upstairs isn’t hearing any of it. Every member of the family is guilty of this. The person upstairs receiving the question is completely distracted by something. That distraction is many times a solid core door. The person at the bottom of the stairs gets louder and louder to no avail. It is ridiculous. Now put that into the context of hearing God. What type of distractions exists to where the voice of God is impossible to hear? What barriers are there to prevent the hearing of God’s voice while studying Scripture? Distractions and obstacles are a variety of things; some are great, others not so much. To truly hear God’s voice while practicing the discipline of the study of Scripture, barriers and distractions have to be minimal or removed.

These thoughts are not a comprehensive look at a spiritual discipline of studying Scripture. It is merely a push to get the juices flowing.


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