So, the worship team has been working through a devotional over this past month or so, using a plan titled “What Does it Mean to Worship?”. Over these past weeks, we've looked at the definition of worship, why we worship, and different ways that we can worship. This week we're looking at what it means to worship God by serving.
The opening quote of the devotional says this, “It is impossible to serve God without serving one another” (Allistair Begg).
Which seems right, right? It does.
Unfortunately, that doesn't make it easy.
The truth is - for me at least - there are times when it is incredibly difficult to serve others.
Just to illustrate, I'm going to share with you guys a snippet of the vows Mike and I made to each other on our wedding day (taken from the book “Blue Like Jazz”... yeah, that's how cool we are)
“I will love you like God, because of God, mighted by the power of God. I will not expect your love, demand your love, trade for your love, game for your love. I will simply love. I am giving myself to you, and tomorrow I will do it again.”
No pressure, right? No big deal, this is exactly the kind of love I show to Mike every. single. day. Because if there's any person in your life that should be easy to serve, it's your spouse, right??
Nope! (sorry Mike!)
I get lazy, and I get selfish.
Even the person I've vowed to love and cherish for the rest of my life I find difficult to serve, and I even like him!
What do I do about the people that rub me the wrong way? The ones who say inappropriate things at inappropriate times? The people I'd rather avoid?
Further into the devotional are these words, “We'll never lock eyes with someone whom God doesn't adore. Those are the people we get to serve.”
Man, that's tough. That's REALLY tough! But it's only tough until I realize the undeserved love I have in my life from the one who gave me life. It's tough until I am humbled to the fact that we have all sinned and fall short of the glory of God. It's tough until I remind myself that we don't serve others to glorify ourselves or the people we are serving, we serve to glorify God!
And that makes it a little easier.
The devotion closed this way, and I'll leave these words with you.
“Our aim in serving God is to bring Him glory. Whatever it is and however we're able, we can serve God by serving others. Let's commit ourselves to making a difference in the body of Christ with our gifts, abilities, and traits. It doesn't have to be a full-time job, but it should be our full-time calling”.
“Whatever you do, work heartily as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ” (Col. 3:23-24).
Jolene Sanders, Director of Worship
Oh man, how great was Impact Sunday?? That's a rhetorical question, because I already know it was amazing! It is so encouraging to hear stories of how God is working in and through His church. As I was planning out the music for the service last week, I just kept thinking of how important it was that the service not be a celebration of our own achievements, but instead recognize how God is working powerfully through His people. At our Wednesday practice we talked about how God is the ultimate Creator; that anything we are able to do is because He has enabled us to do it. Anything we can make, anything we can imagine is only possible because He has known it first.
He is the one who gives us life (and life to the fullest)!
This Sunday, we are going to learn a new song together that continues on that same theme. The song is called “Yet Not I, but Through Christ in Me” by CityAlight, and the words of the song remind us that whatever we have, whatever we do that honours Him, we can only do through the work of Christ in us. The words of verse three are especially significant in light of some of the testimony we heard this past Sunday, and they say this:
No fate I dread I know I am forgiven
The future sure the price it has been paid
For Jesus bled and suffered for my pardon
And he was raised to overthrow the grave
To this I hold my sin has been defeated
Jesus now and ever is my plea
Oh the chains are released I can sing I am free
Yet not I but through Christ in me
The gospel message summed up in a beautiful picture of our freedom and forgiveness in Christ. I'm so excited to sing these words with you on Sunday as we worship Jesus together in victory!
“Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid; for the Lord God is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation.” Isaiah 12:2
Jolene Sanders, Director of Worship Ministries
Two weeks ago in Sunday school, I began the lesson for our grade 1-5 class with a game. To my surprise, a number of the kids started shouting excitedly that we hadn’t shared our weekly news. Each week we always start class by taking turns sharing anything special we’ve done during the week like a sporting event, a special outing, some time with friends, or anything that brought them joy since we last saw them. This sharing then leads into our prayer and praise time.
I was thinking about praise this week and how to describe it to our Sunday school kids - what does it mean to praise God? Growing up in the church I always believed that praise was simply the time we spent singing at the start of service. However, praise is actually anything we do that expresses our appreciation and thankfulness for what God has done. A quick search reveals that “praise” is mentioned about 340 times in the Bible (NIV). Along with love, praise is one of the most frequently used verbs/action words – there must be a message in this. Psalm 145:3 reads, “Lord, you are great. You are really worthy of praise. No one can completely understand how great you are.”
In order for children to understand the significance of praise, they need to know more of who God is. By learning about trials, circumstances, characters and Scripture in the Bible, God’s attributes are revealed. God is loving, forgiving, holy, all-powerful, all knowing, merciful, just, sovereign and everywhere – to name a few. When children have the opportunity to know God, they can see He is worthy of praise! They can also see that God truly wants the best for them, and that He is concerned with every detail of their lives. That’s why we like to start every week with a time of reflection, and praising the great things God has done over the past week - we want to build this behaviour into the lives and routines of our kids. James 1:17 reminds us that “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like the shifting shadows.”
As Easter approaches, with Palm Sunday this week, we have lots of opportunity for praise and worship. We are coming together as a church community to celebrate the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection. It is through our risen Saviour that we have forgiveness and the assurance of salvation. What greater reason do we have to give praise this Easter!
Tanya Chant, Director of Family & Children's Ministry
Each week we post about a range of things from the Christian life, faith and more.
In these posts we hope you'll catch a glimpse of ordinary people who serve an extraordinary God.