Wednesday, May 03, 2006

We Are the Sermon

I think this recent Heartlight column from Phil Ware fits in nicely with our discussion on becoming missional. W.A.T.S. - We Are The Sermon...

W.A.T.S. Happening, by Phil Ware
I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. (Romans 12:1 NRS)

"Did you enjoy the worship service today?"

Seems like a harmless question, doesn't it? However, there are at least two great dangers that lurk beneath this apparently innocent question.

First, there is the consumerist assumption that seems to have invaded every facet of western culture, even our pervasive church culture. "Did you enjoy ...?" Hmm, seems like that is kinda backwards to the way we ought ask that question. "Did God enjoy our ...?" We've made ourselves-- our wants, our needs, and our preferences -- the focus of everything, even our worship of God.

So we ask questions about church like the following:
* Do I like what they are doing?
* Does this church meet my needs?
* Am I comfortable with the people here?
* What benefits do I get from going there?

We often forget the more essential questions about the church's mission, the Bible teaching's faithfulness, the people's spiritual authenticity, and the passion of the members for following the will of God. Shouldn't we be asking a more important question: is our church seeking to live as the presence of Jesus in our community?

Second, how did we ever come up with the phrase "worship service" to mean an hour to two hour slot on Sunday morning? Surely our service of worship dedicated to God is much bigger than a sit down session wherewe stare at the cowlicks in front of us, sing a few religious songs, hear a bunch of religious words, and read from old religious texts. Isn't the whole concept of worship being limited to a place and time counter to Jesus' teaching? (John 4:23-24) Have we largely relegated worship to an hour or two on Sunday and divorced it from our dailylives? Isn't genuine worship a life lived for God in response to his grace? (Romans 12:1)

Assembling with Christians for worship, fellowship, and encouragement is not optional for followers of Jesus. (Hebrews 10:19-23) At the same time, that "getting together" must be a celebration of a whole week ofworship and the anticipation of a whole new week of daily worship that lies ahead. It must come from our appreciation of God's grace generously given us in Jesus and lead to a daily life of worship lived out of our shared mission to be Jesus to our world.

As a followup to this post see what 4 Abilene churches, including Southern Hills where Phil Ware preaches, did this past Sunday... Click here to read article

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