Intentional Worship


S (Scripture): 2 Chronicles 29:16 The priests then entered the Lord’s temple to purify it; they brought out to the courtyard of the Lord’s temple every ceremonially unclean thing they discovered inside. The Levites took them out to the Kidron Valley. 17 On the first day of the first month they began consecrating; by the eighth day of the month they reached the porch of the Lord’s temple. For eight more days they consecrated the Lord’s temple. On the sixteenth day of the first month they were finished. 18 They went to King Hezekiah and said: “We have purified the entire temple of the Lord, including the altar of burnt sacrifice and all its equipment, and the table for the Bread of the Presence and all its equipment…”

O (Observation):  King Hezekiah takes over and brings God’s people back in line with God’s ways.   Hezekiah orders the priests to take the time necessary to make the Temple pure and holy once more – to ritually purify it.   The prior king had desecrated the Temple by worshipping and making sacrifices to other gods.  

This small, but important task should not be overlooked.  

A (Application):  Those around me know that while I don’t go overboard with liturgical stuff, I do try to plan a worship experience that is reverent towards God and guides God’s people to praise the One – the Holy Trinity – who is our audience.  

How we do worship where I serve is done with much intentionality.  Sure, sometimes I goof up and skip something on accident, but we try our best to put things in place so that we don’t forget items.  And when we trip up or fail to sing the right notes (okay, that’s mostly me not singing the right notes), we do so humbly asking that God forgive our foibles.   We don’t treat worship flippantly, and yet, we also acknowledge that our brokenness in worship is part of what we repent.  

Did those servants make that Temple holy again for worship, under King Hezekiah?   Yes. Were there some mistakes made?  Perhaps.  Perhaps not.  We don’t know.  

I hope we treat worship with respect and with dignity and with humility.  We will not always get it right, but we will be intentional about how we go about our leading of worship.  Our audience will be the One.   Our worship will be to give God the glory.   And we know that God will redeem us from our average ways.  

What issues and hangups do you have about worship?

P (Prayer):  Lord, keep us mindful of praising you and not making our worship an idol in itself.  Amen. 

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An Audience of One

  
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S (Scripture): Psalm 95:1 Come! Let’s sing for joy to the Lord!  Let’s shout out praises to our protector who delivers us!

2 Let’s enter his presence with thanksgiving!  Let’s shout out to him in celebration!

3 For the Lord is a great God, a great king who is superior to all gods.

O (Observation):  Quite often, the Israelites got it right: let’s praise God!   If you keep reading, however, you’ll see that Israel has fallen off the rails.  

But for this moment, for these few verses, the psalmist knows “true north”:  worshipping the Lord.  

A (Application): Worship receives so much attention in the church these days.  Sometimes, Sunday worship is the only attention given to God by a faith community.  

Because worship is so important, I think we ought to get the order of things right to make sure our worship is not in vain. 

The popular (most widespread) thought of worship, goes something like this:

God = Prompter, Pastor/Musicians/ Worship Leaders = Performers, Pew-sitters = Audience 

However, this seems to miss the point.  Yes, we want to engage our people who worship with us…but we also want to keep in mind that God gets the glory in worship, not the speakers/band/worship leaders.   

So, perhaps a more accurate depiction of worship is as follows:

Pastor/Musicians/Worship Leaders = Prompter, Pew-sitters = Performers, God = Audience

In this latter view of worship, God is the one who receives our praise.  God is the audience, in a sense, listening to our gift of praise and worship.  

So…worship is important.   In worship, we deepen our relationship with God, especially when we get the “audience” right.  

P (Prayer):  Lord, you give us a chance to worship you.   Help us to keep you as our audience…our audience of One.  Amen.