Hello church. For those of you don’t know me my name is Bobby. I am the wanna be young looking guy you see in the front pretending to be a rock star on Sundays. I’m married to my amazing wife Amy and have 2 kids, Melody (12) and Hudson (9) that unfortunately look just like me. =D Just to share a little of my journey I went to NYU for undergrad. Graduated and worked in finance for a few years. Then 9/11/01 happened and God used that to change my career path. I was on staff with KCCC (campus ministry) for 17 years before moving onto Cru recently to serve in a missions partnerships and resources in the area of Southeast Asia. I received my M.Div. at Gateway Seminary. I am a foodie. I love Hawaii, music, and Jesus.
As I’ve been at Crossway now for a little over 2 months, I’ve experienced many positive aspects of our church. For one, the members serve faithfully and we have various ministry opportunities to serve and grow in our walk with Christ. My family also greatly appreciates the children’s and youth group ministries. In addition, the Word that is preached and taught is both sound and relevant. With that being said, as someone who has stood in front of the congregation, I can’t help but express some thoughts about our Sunday worship. As a church we are very reserved in our expression of worship. Now I never expected our church to be doing the train during service but there are times when we seem almost unhappy to be in service.
Worship is an amazing privilege that God has given us but it is also the reason why we were created. We were not created to glorify ourselves but to glorify him. To worship him. Secondly worship is an expression of our faith. The way we worship is a witness to others of our faith.
This leads me to ask, when others observe you worshipping what would that person conclude about your relationship with God? Does your expression of worship say that you love our great and glorious God? Does your worship say you’ve found God to be faithful and good, loving and satisfying? Would others conclude that you believe God to be real and present? Do we sing like believers who have been redeemed? Or does your worship say you find God to be about as exciting as finding junk email in your inbox? Does your worship say you believe God is distant and indifferent?
Our worship for God should be expressive, not because someone is looking at us or to impress others and give them the impression you are a passionate person but simply because we love him. God has designed us to express delight in things that are excellent and beautiful. We clap and shout at U2 concerts and Dodger games (well, not anymore). We give standing ovations for those we admire. Again, our worship isn’t some kind of performance we put on for others. Our worship is for God but it says something about what we think about him.
One of my favorite parts about raising my kids in the church has been their enthusiasm when it comes to praising on Sundays and especially at their hilarious motions they've learned during their VBS in the past. We need to learn this from them. To enjoy worship expressively. To live in the freedom that we have in Christ and not worry about feeling silly as we do it. We are all children when it comes to approaching the throne of God. Just like our children are taught to worship in Spirit and in Truth, we also need to do the same.
So how do we worship in Spirit and in Truth? This idea comes from Jesus encounter with the woman at the well. He says in John 4:23 – “But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.” The lesson here is that worship of God is not restricted to a single geographical location or limited to a certain way that was tied to the Old Testament laws.
Our worship of God is guided by our love for Him; as we love, so we worship. To worship God in spirit and truth absolutely involves loving Him with heart, soul, mind and strength.
True worship has to be “in spirit,” which means to engage the whole heart. Unless there’s a real passion for God, there is no worship in spirit. Now at the same time, worship must be “in truth,” that is, properly educated. Unless we know God we worship and know of him properly, there is no worship in truth.
Spirit and Truth are both essential for true worship to exist. Spirit without truth leads to a shallow, overly emotional experience. As soon as the emotion is over, when the enthusiasm cools, the worship ends. Just as well truth without spirit can result in a dry and passionless encounter that can easily lead to a form of joyless legalism. The best combination of both aspects of worship results in a joyous appreciation of God informed by Scripture. The more we know about God, the more we appreciate Him. The more we appreciate, the deeper our worship. The deeper our worship, the more God is glorified.
This blending of spirit and truth in worship is summed up well by Jonathan Edwards, the 18th-century American pastor and theologian. He recognized that truth and only truth can properly influence the emotions in a way that brings honor to God. The truth of God, being of infinite value, is worthy of infinite passion.
So Crossway my encouragement and prayer is that every Sunday we gather we would worship God in spirit because of the truth that we have learned from the pulpit and from our own personal encounters with God throughout the week.