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Stories, thoughts and reflections on the Bible from the WSFC Staff.

Passion Week

This is the beginning of the Passion Week of Jesus.

I want to encourage you to join us for our Good Friday service this Friday (duh) at 6:30 pm. Then on Resurrection Day – EASTER SUNDAY – we have four services. Invite friends and family to join us at 8:00am, 9:30am (ASL interpretation provided), 11:00am and 12:30pm. If you are a regular attender or member of WSFC then I want to specifically ask you to please attend our 8:00am or 12:30pm service so that we are able to MAKE ROOM for our guests at the other two services. Thank you!
Over the last few weeks at church we have been looking at the topic of WORSHIP.  What is it? Who is it for? Why is it important and how does it happen? In Luke 19 we discover what Jesus told the Pharisees when they were trying to get the disciples to quiet down their worship. Jesus said “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.” Psalm 19 reiterates this in expressing how even nature “declares the glory of God.”
 
I, for one, don’t want to be beat out by nature or rocks. I want to be an authentic worshipper!  How about you? If so, here are a few things to consider
 
1.  Worship reveals our true passions and pursuits
Worship is like a private window into who we are. Not just what we do, but who we actually are in the depth of our being. Worship is an intimate and yet very intentional window into our heart like nothing else. I can remember when I first met Denise at a camp in Wisconsin. What we both noticed first and foremost about each other was our passionate worship. As a matter of fact, it was so attractive that we both went home (unbeknownst to each other) and told our parents that we had met the person we were going to marry!  
 
I mention the story about Denise and I not to use worship as a glorified pick-up line, but because worship is intimate, much in the same way that we are “the bride” and Jesus is “the groom.” A marriage is meant to be passionate, and our pursuit of Jesus should be the same.
I’m not sure where this quote came from (so my apologies to its author) but it’s so good:  “The desire to celebrate something, to worship something, anything, is a window into our souls. It is by observing what we worship and how we worship that we discover who we really are. Many have settled for a lifetime of worshipping inferior, temporary things and their lives reflect their pursuits. Some have aspired to worship systems of belief and practice, they are known by their religion. But to worship God is to enter our highest calling…”
2.  Worship is a family gathered to publicly proclaim God’s glory
Like a family that gathers around the table for a good meal, we are the people of God in the presence of God declaring the praises of God! When and where we gather God’s glory dwells. Perhaps an even better way to think about it is this:  where God’s glory dwells is where we ought to gather! Psalm 26:8 says “Lord, I love the house where you live, the place where your glory dwells.”
 
Notice how the Psalmist chose to not hang out with the deceitful, the evildoers and the wicked, but instead he chose to gather where God’s glory dwells. However, when we gather we have to be careful of two things:
• Worship shouldn’t be forced.  It IS corporate praise, but should NOT be corporal punishment.
• Worship shouldn’t be faked. You can’t play-act true worship or borrow someone else’s experience with God.
3.  Worship is a personal decision to place God above all else
I love what Archbishop William Temple declared: “Worship is the submission of all our nature to God. It is the quickening of conscience by his holiness; the nourishment of mind with his truth; the purifying of imagination by his beauty; the opening of the heart to his love; the surrender of our will to his purpose…”
 
Our will surrendered to his purpose. When we worship we are choosing Jesus and exalting him above all else.  True worship says: “Jesus, you’re first.” Not last…not second…not tied for first. Simply: first. 
 
Do you want Jesus to be first in your life? One of the primary ways is with a lifestyle of worship!
 
Blessings,
 
John

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