Worship is clearly centered and directed towards God. However, there’s more to Worship than this. It is not only done corporately, but actually has other Christians as the secondary audience. Understanding this truth helps us have a fuller understanding of Worship. Specifically how we become agents of God’s work to build up one another’s faith.
Moses references a detail that modern people find shocking and strange. Israel’s God gave the nations and their “gods” to each other as a judgement for their collusion in disobedience. More than just a quirk of the ancient world—this dimension of the gospel narrative shows us that God has dealt with rebellion in multiple frames: individual, corporate and divine.
Jesus continues his “High Priestly” prayer by turning his attention to those who will believe from the disciples’ witness: the church. Jesus prayed this prayer for us! The pattern of Jesus’ prayer shows the trinitarian foundations of the Church’s unity. Through participation with Christ we don’t just have nice promises for the future, but amazing—identity shaping—realities for today.
The “vertical” dimension of worship has a tension between reverence and immanence when we are in the presence of God. It can be difficult to know the right way to intimately express our pain to God without crossing over into disrespect. Habakkuk is a short book, but it shows a prophet struggling with God about the destruction and suffering that is about to take place. We will look at the worship song that ends the book to get ideas on how to encounter with our pain—and to use a short template to do it well.
John wants us to see the conflict that will result in Jesus’ arrest, mistrial and murder. However, we can become too familiar with these stories. We want to recapture some of the shock these events should have. In all of this, we will continue to see John’s emphasis on how different parties respond to Jesus, such that we may respond with belief.
The Bible has a picture of devotion to God which impacts our entire being. We are called to pursue a Christ-like way of being human; a reestablishment of what God wanted when he created us. But how do these big ideas play out in the normal rhythms of life? What does it practically look like? Answer: Worship — it forms us — it shapes what we love. Because Worship isn't just something we do, it does something to us.
We look at a Psalm of Ascents to consider what it means to gather for corporate worship. How do we relate the practices of ancient Israel to the modern church? We will see that the centrality of gathering together marks us as pilgrims on the road to the New Jerusalem.
Many people experience anxiety around a sense of self and purpose. It’s often said that a Christian should find one’s identity “in Christ”. But, what does that really mean? We are also aware that we should take our concerns to God in prayer. But, how do we experience God’s direction for our lives if he doesn’t speak audibly? How do I separate God’s leading from my own desires? We might just find these answers somewhere between the garden of Gethsemane and Wreck-It Ralph.
In the closing text of Genesis we see two very similar deaths both looking forward to fulfillments of God's promises to future generations. These narratives close the section of the patriarch's and leave Israel in Egypt - setting up the Exodus, Sinai and the Promised Land. While Genesis leaves us "in flight" within God's larger redemption of Israel it shows us the type of faith "not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar". Every generation of Christians, until Christ returns, will live and die in this same expectation of promise - which we can learn from these faithful men and trust based on the record of God's mighty deeds.