“Give yourselves completely to God since you have been given new life.” Romans 6:13b (NLT)
Central to the message of scripture is a call for us to worship. The Sabbath is set as a one-of-seven opportunities to practice the one thing we were created to do from the very beginning.
Worship is not about the style of music, it is not about liturgies and traditions, new or old. Worship is about God.
Worship is our sacrificial giving of who we are to God.
- Worship is the activity of the first day of the week for a reason: It is the warm-up, practice for how we will live the other six days.
- If we indeed think of worship as a day of practice, it is not actually a day of rest.
- It becomes a day to let go of the rest that we are responsible, accountable and that in which we are burdened. Not to be reckless, rather to practice trusting God to provide.
- What does it look like when you take a day and live it the way God hopes and dreams you and I would use and invest the life we have?
Turn to your neighbor and name one thing you ‘could’ do on any given Sunday that God hopes you would decide to do
- Did you hear things like Pray? Give? Read? Rest? or Serve?
- These are all good things in the right direction.
- Thinking other than this time or worship and not including Sunday school class time. Thinking of the other 22 hours in this day of worship of God.
- How might you use this time to prepare and practice living in relationship with God?
- What things could you do with this mini retreat to try-out acting like the person God hopes you will mature to become?
- What could you do to find rest-in-God rather than just sleeping?
The real question to tell your neighbor is this:
What I am actually going to do to worship God during the rest of today is… (fill in your blank)
Asked another way: What will I actually do to be available to be present with God and God’s people?
When we frame sacrifice to God in this way, we can focus on what we will gain rather than what we will give up.
- If I spend time listening to God, I just might hear words of comfort, bless, assurance, promise and love
- If I spend time studying and focusing on God’s plan for my life and our family and our church and community, then I might have a stronger foundation for all these relationships
- If I invest this time, right now, I will see the fruitfulness, at a later time, just as planting seeds leads to a full garden down the road.
- If I use the time already set aside, I don’t have to try to carve out another time to worship.
- If I get up and come on to share in study, fellowship, singing, and prayer then I can inspire, encourage and and model faithfulness for two hundred other folks all at one time.
- If I give extravagantly, I will see exponential work and witness of God’s hand and will around me.
- If I give because I can, rather than because I have to, then I begin to understand how God loves and works.
If I could spend one day with God, fully doing what God wants, I will see how the whole of my life might be.
Worship as a practice time is something we need to do every day.
- Sunday is our big practice before the day we get back to work, back to school, back to the routine, and resume the responsibilities of the rest of our life.
- Most of the time we rush and fuss to get here on time, complain and gossip, can’t enjoy a moment from someone else’s needs or behaviors, and after lunch I’m on my own time and have done what I am suppose to do.
- Think if you are a parent and your child comes to visit you for an hour or two and then they are gone.
- On one hand, you want to cram as much in that short time
- On the other hand, you want to steal the watches and car keys and just enjoy each other, learn from each other and be present with one another.
Worship is not one of those things we are suppose to do or even NEED to do.
Worship is the reason we were created.
Therefore: When we are not in worship, we are out of sorts, out of alignment, out of sync with who and what we are.
- Starting a noon today, call a do-over. Ask over lunch of yourselves and others around you:
- “What can I do right now to spend more time with God?”
- “What am I willing to do, RIGHT NOW, to be with God, RIGHT NOW?”
- “What am I giving up with God, when choose to do something that does not include or focus on God?”
WORSHIP of God may generally not very still and seldom very quiet.
- Imaging if Saturday were a day of rest, we might have the energy and focus to make Sunday a day of WORSHIP.
- No matter the style or tradition: Worship is an active practice.
- No matter the time or location: Worship is what God planned for us, past-present-future