Worship and the Kingdom

Hey Church: 

It was a joy to preach about worship this past Sunday. As I have been thinking and studying and preparing, something became clear - I need to teach and preach on worship. Our church family is made up of a wonderful mix of Baptists, Charismatics, Anglicans and others with all sorts of ideas on what worship should look like. 

Lauren Williams reached out to me several months ago with some great questions about worship: 
- What am I supposed to do during worship?
- How do I love the Lord with all my heart, mind, soul and strength during worship?
- Is worship for me? For God? For others?
- Is worship an outpouring or and in-pouring? 
- How do I recognize the presence of God? Is it like someone turned on the AC and I get cooler? Or is it like when I have too much coffee?
- What does "minister to the Lord" mean?

I hope to address several of these questions over the next few weeks. 

And on top of all that, what in the world does this have to do with the kingdom of the heavens?

I am glad you asked. 

The story of the Bible is about the union of heaven and earth. From Genesis to Revelation, we see heaven and earth overlap, separate and finally unified permanently in Revelation 21-22. 

The goal of worship is to see Christ manifest (make apparent) His kingdom (His will, presence and power) on earth as it is in heaven (Matthew 6:9-13; Matthew 28:18-20). God is looking for worshipers (John 4:23), He inhabits their praises (Psalm 22:3) and wherever He is there is freedom, righteousness, joy and healing (Isaiah 9:6-7; Romans 14:17; 2 Corinthians 3:17; Revelation 21:4). 

Picture our times together - what would it look like if we all walked with belief, hope and expectation that God was going to manifest (make apparent) His kingdom when we gathered? The atmosphere of unity and praise would be contagious! There are times where we've all sensed this and times we've had to fight for it. 

So here is a reminder for us - worship is something that the people of God have done together throughout history and will do into eternity (that whole every tribe and tongue worshiping before the throne deal). We are made to worship and worship together. We bear the image of a relational God. There is a grace upon God's people when we worship together - it is easier! It clears the airways and sharpens our hearts to go about our lives. 

And we need to be reminded of this - you will worship - it is just a matter of who or what you are worshiping. Do not forsake the assembling together as is the habit of some (Hebrews 10:24-25). Instead let our worship be a cry together - "thy kingdom come, thy will be done!"

As He manifests His presence, we will be changed. 

See you next Sunday. 

JSB