ISSUE 01 >>
a newfrontiers usa publication
the worship issue Corporate Worship – God’s Here! >> Tommy Stanley Worship: A Lifestyle of Allegiance to God >> Jonathan Eftychiou Welcome Radiant Church >> Visalia, California
SOUNDBITE • QUICK LOOK
JORDAN DILLON • APPS
JOHN LANFERMAN >> Team Leader >> Newfrontiers USA
Why do we worship God? Is God on some kind of an ego trip in commanding us to worship Him? Are there practical reasons why God desires our worship? Is it possibly necessary for us to worship Him in order to fulfill His purpose in us? Worship is a word that includes both the attitude and actions that are motivated by it. Worship is first and foremost a verb, an action. Many equate worship with going to a place like a church building or a supposed sacred site or land. In scripture, however, worship is service to the One revered. Jesus showed us that worship in a physical place is no longer necessary (John 4:21). We are now the Temple, and worshiping God expands to any time or place and under any circumstance. Not that we no longer gather to worship – this also has great significance in understanding we are a community of worship. But now we know worship includes the totality of our lives: our home, work, the golf course, shopping, and relationships. In all that we do, we show our adoration for the One we worship. Therefore, worship plays a direct role in the completion of His purpose in us. Worship is our response of reverence and adoration accompanied by all our life activities because of God’s initiation into our lives.
We Worship Because He Commands It In 1 Chronicles 16:29 David writes, “Give to the Lord the glory due His name: bring an offering, and come before Him. Oh, worship the Lord in the beauty of Holiness”. When Jesus was being tempted to worship Satan in Matthew 4:9-10 we find another helpful attitude toward worship: “And Satan said to Him, ‘All these things I give you if you will fall down and worship me.’ Then Jesus said to him, ‘Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve’”.
God commands us to worship because we are essentially worshiping creatures; if we don’t worship God, we will worship other things. Jesus not only establishes that we are only to worship God, He links worship with the service of God. Worship involves adoration that leads to serving the One being worshipped. Worship shows what we have determined to give our full devotion, emotion, time and energies to. Nothing other than God is worthy of our full devotion.
We Worship Because He Alone Is Worthy Styles of hair, dress, interests, mannerisms, and lifestyles become popular because of people we admire. We adopt similar things so our peers will perceive us as being “in”. Imitation occurs once admiration begins. We imitate the qualities of those we admire. God wants us to imitate Him. Jesus exemplifies imitation by only doing what He saw the Father doing and saying only what He heard the Father say (John 5:19-20). Paul states in I Corinthians 11:1, “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ”. Psalm 99:5 tells us to “Exalt the Lord our God, and worship at His footstool; for He is holy…Exalt the Lord our God, and worship at His holy hill; for the Lord our God is holy”. Because we desire to conform to what we admire and respect, we need to worship Him. The internal desire in us is so strong that if we don’t give it to Him we will give it elsewhere. We may give our admiration to a sports team, an entertainer, a politician, a friend, or even a cultural value. Christ alone is worthy of our worship and imitation.
God commands us to worship because we are essentially worshiping creatures; if we don’t worship God, we will worship other things.
We Worship and Are Transformed As we worship and trust our Lord we are transformed. The fruit of our worship is that we are gradually being conformed to His image, becoming increasingly like Him. Though we now bear the earthly image, we shall one day bear the heavenly image (I Corinthians 15:49). Paul reveals, “we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2 Corinthians 3:18).
Worship Is An End In Itself The reason you and I exist is to worship God (Isa. 43:7). That is why Adam and Eve were placed in the garden: to know, enjoy, fellowship with, and worship God. God is ultimate. Worshiping Him is what we were made for. Worship is the end point, the goal, the “why” behind everything. It’s why we share the gospel with others so those coming to faith might bring honor to God in worship and experience the joy of trusting in God’s great mercy. “Mission exists because worship doesn’t. Worship is ultimate, not missions, because God is ultimate, not man. When this age is over, and the countless millions of the redeemed fall on their faces before the throne of God, missions will be no more. It is a temporary necessity. But worship abides forever.” (John Piper, Let the Nations Be Glad) We worship Him because He commands it and because He alone deserves it. As we worship, we rise to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. We worship Him and are transformed. We exist to worship God and apart from that we never come to fulfillment in this life. Worship is an end in itself; the end is God and the joyful experience of giving Him glory.
Read more from John and other writers in the Link at: www.confluenceblog.org
Jubilee Church >> St. Louis, MO For a long time I have had a lot of difficulty finding my place. For a long time I tried filling the holes in my life with whatever seemed right. Some things were not so right, however, and they only reminded me of how empty I felt; I would slide into depression and a feeling of uselessness. Shortly after I returned to Jubilee, I was invited to join Jon and Caris Rowsell's community group. Who would have thought that I would have an amazing life-changing dream after the prayers that were prayed over me in one of the meetings? My dream started out with me crawling down a dark tunnel, desperately heading towards a light in the distance. When I had finally reached my destination I noticed that I had lost myself to the point of being nothing but bones. Then I began to notice that the light was restoring me. A day or two later, I had a meeting with Dillon Neely who also prayed for me and I was reminded of a time when I had tried to end my life. Through this series of failed suicide attempts, however, I heard very clearly a voice asking, "Don't you know that I love you?" It was a humbling experience that I will never forget. After YEARS of self-abuse and believing the lies of others about how I am not loved, accepted, or even viewed as someone who has value, I accepted God’s love and gave my life to him. Needless to say, I wanted to be baptized as soon as possible. Now I find it a lot easier to accept myself and even when times are at their worst, I don't fall without hope; I fall in prayer. My identity is no longer a useless and unloved person and I have God to thank for that. I also thank God for putting me in a church full of caring people.
TOMMY STANLEY >> Grace Church >> Lee’s Summit, MO
CORPORATE WORSHIP –
As we were singing at a recent gathering of the church that I have the privilege to lead, I found myself being thrilled by the revelation of the truth we were declaring. Themes of grace, of God’s pursuit of us, the cross, God’s love and more were proclaimed as we sang. I looked around at the people gathered and saw various expressions of praise and thankfulness. I saw one lady who had tears running down her face as she stood there in deep sincere prayer. My thought was, “It’s true! What we are singing about right now is true!” I wanted to stomp my foot and make a firm declaration to God that everything he has done has forever changed my life and I can’t help but let him know this. We were worshiping God. We had come together to glorify God. Experiences like these begin with God and result in a heartfelt response from his church. Worship begins with God.
Gathered to the presence of God.
I love the story of Jesus and the woman of Samaria (John 4). Jesus reveals He knows about her life and then turns to the subject of worship. Jesus lets this woman and us know that worship is not about where and when, but about whom we worship. Worship is about God and it begins with God. Jesus said that the Father is seeking true worshipers to worship Him (John 4:23). You see; God seeks us. He initiates worship.
As the people of God were being led out of Egypt and into the Promised Land they were privileged to have God lead them. His presence appeared to them in a pillar of cloud and fire, and as the pillar of cloud moved so did the people of God. They gathered to the presence of God as he led them. In the New Testament you see the newly formed church gathering to, and experiencing the presence of God in the Holy Spirit (Acts 2). Summing up the apostle Paul’s writings about New Testament worship, Gordon Fee says in Paul, the Spirit, and the People of God: “For Paul, the gathered church was first a worshiping community; and the key to their worship was the presence of the Holy Spirit”. I like to say that
a. Paul, the Spirit, and the People of God by Gordon Fee b. Desiring God by John Piper
Joy o Expre lifting o down o refres
overflows as we sing to Him. essions of clapping, dancing, of hands, shouting, and bowing occur spontaneously as we are shed in the truth of who He is.
we focus on God. It’s not about the catchiest tunes or how hot the band is, but it is about Him. Romans 11:36 says it this way, “For from him and to him and through him are all things”. It’s about Him and we gather to Him.
Not just another meeting. Times of worship in our churches should be vibrant and full of the experience of God’s presence. Ephesians 5:18-21 centers us on being filled with the Spirit. We are not to be focused on ourselves, but rather to be filled with the life-giving presence of God. As a result, we are inspired to speak and sing to one another about God. Unfortunately, we often allow our times of worship to become stagnant and lifeless, but if we come together filled with His presence it changes everything. Joy overflows as we sing to Him. Expressions of clapping, dancing, lifting of hands, shouting, and bowing down occur spontaneously as we are refreshed in the truth of who He is. We recognize the communal nature of worship and address one another singing songs filled with God’s truth that lifts our hearts and glorifies Him. And as we worship God, He speaks to us through the expression of a variety of spiritual gifts shared from the people gathered together (1 Corinthians 12-14). Let us not be satisfied with coming together just out of habit, but let’s expect to encounter the living God. We gather to worship him, ready and waiting for Him to reveal Himself.
Connecting the Un-churched in Worship JORDAN DILLON
Jubilee Church >> St. Louis, MO The end goal and purpose for our corporate worship times always remain the same… we exist to bring honor and praise to God. His glorification is the ultimate goal. Where we start and how we reach our destination are the issues.
1. Invitation. Being open and welcoming starts at the door (or even the parking lot), but it doesn’t stop there. Worship is the first corporate experience that the newcomer has. It’s important we lay some groundwork at the outset of our services to make sure people feel welcome and understand what's going on. “Where you begin doesn’t determine where you’ll go, but it does determine who you bring along” (Andy Stanley).
2. Explanation. In 1 Corinthians, Paul addresses the way the Corinthian church runs their corporate meetings. Their meetings would start with no explanation of the Spirit activity going on, and no intent to bring along those who are “far off” (Eph 2:13). If we start our meetings acknowledging the unbelievers among us, we stand a much better chance of seeing unbelievers stick around and move closer towards the line of faith. We can briefly explain what will take place in our meetings, and clarify anything that might be foreign to them (removing unnecessary church jargon, and creating a welcoming and compassionate environment).
3. Transformation. God desires that everyone present would come to know Him. People MUST experience the presence and love of God. He changes hearts, but we do have a responsibility to shepherd seekers (as well as believers) into the truth of the gospel and the presence of His Holy Spirit.
JONATHAN EFTYCHIOU >> Jubilee Church >> Atlanta, GA
A LIFESTYLE OF ALLEGIANCE TO GOD Times of worship when we gather together can be encouraging and exhilarating; they help re-focus our hearts on our “first love” (see Rev. 2:4). Worship times, however, are just that — a time of worship. The Scripture teaches us more fully that all of life is worship, from the soaring melodies of ancient hymns to the mundane tasks of each new day. Worship & Serve the Lord When God sent Moses to deliver His people, He commanded him to say to Pharaoh, “Let My people go that they may serve Me” (Ex. 5:1). It’s worth noting that God didn’t say, “Let My people go so they can attend a weekly meeting and sing to me for 40 minutes...” As author David Peterson said, “Serving the Lord is a comprehensive term for [our] relationship with God...and implies a total lifestyle of allegiance to God.” But what does it look like to live a lifestyle of worship? What areas of our lives would be affected and transformed if we saw them as worship to the Living God?
Serve One Another The Bible includes over 40 “one another” statements of how
we are to relate to each other. Often our true attitude toward serving God is revealed by our heart toward one another. Jesus made it clear in Matthew 25:37-40 that whatever we do for our “brothers and sisters” we are really doing for Him. Bob Roberts states, “Christians come to truly know Christ when they serve others.” Serving the Lord (which is worship) looks like serving your friends and family as well as your community and even your enemies (Prov 25:21-23).
Work as if you were serving the Lord It’s estimated that we spend close to 90,000 hours working during our adult lives. In contrast, if we never missed a meeting from 0-90 years old we would barely log 3,000 hours of singing! So what’s your attitude toward work? Do you see it as a chore or as an opportunity to serve the Lord?
a. Engaging With God by David Peterson b. Real-Time Connections by Bob Roberts, Jr.
c. Financial Peace by Dave Ramsey
In Romans 12, after declaring the gospel in all its multi-faceted glory, Paul turns to explain how we should now live in view of God’s mercy as “living sacrifices” — our whole lives, moment by moment, given to God in worship.
Paul told the servants in Ephesus that they should serve their masters with obedience, sincerity, wholeheartedly as if they were serving the Lord — and not simply when their masters were watching (Eph 6:5-8). Now substitute the word “employees” for “slaves” and “bosses” for “masters” and re-read it to yourself. It comes across a little more strongly, doesn’t it? Let’s be honest, putting your hands up on Sunday morning is a whole lot easier than worshiping Jesus on Monday morning when your boss dumps the proverbial pile of papers on your desk. But if Paul could give these instructions to slaves, then surely we, who receive payment for our service, can have the same attitude…or better!
You Cannot Serve God and Money Matthew 6:24 declares, “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and Mammon”. Whether you are tied up in the pursuit of riches or controlled by a fear of poverty, serving Mammon and worshiping God are incompatible. At Jubilee Church in Atlanta we’re discovering that being trained to responsibly manage our finances and practice generosity are two ways God brings freedom to our lives “that we may serve Him” (Ex. 8:1,20). This is another area for worship to occur.
Living Sacrifices In Romans 12, after declaring the gospel in all its multi-faceted glory, Paul turns to explain how we should now live in view of God’s mercy as “living sacrifices” — our whole lives, moment by moment, given to God in worship. This kind of 24/7 worship, Paul tells us, is “pleasing and acceptable to God”. May our lives sing His praise and be pleasing to Him!
TRAVIS AICKLEN >> Visalia, CA What is your church’s mission statement? Beholding Jesus and putting lives that are obedient to the Spirit of God and devoted to lost are found, the prodigals and churches are planted.
his brilliance on display by living word of God, surrendered to the the mission of God, so that...the return home, disciples are made
How did you get connected with Newfrontiers? Mike and McKenzie Sandusky (St. Joseph, MO) were on a trip to California. They visited Radiant one Sunday and then sent us a message telling us it reminded them of their church. Since I rarely hear something like that, this sent me on an all night journey to learn about Newfrontiers. I came to Celebration Midwest with our elders and we connected with many folks that made us feel immediately part of the Newfrontiers family. This past year and a half has been very life-giving as we've been served by John and his team.
What are your church’s strengths? Radiant Church is a very relational church. We enjoy being connected to one another. We also try to stay focused on the outsider and those who are not yet a part of our church. We love to have fun and try not to take ourselves too seriously. We are also really good at growing the children's ministry…we seem to have a baby born every week!
Travis & Tiffany Aicklen
THER ON A MISSION • 2014 TOGE With Special Guest
TERRY VIRGO MIDWEST
June 13-15 | Lake Ozark, MO
July 11-13 | Silverton, OR
July 25-27 | Stratton, VT
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Confluence is a place where the reformed, the charismatic, and the missionminded converge to equip and serve the church to transform communities.
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Taking a look at why we worship God and how we see that practically played out in our lives.