~ Progress is being made across the street.
~ Next week will be a time change, without Sunday School. Next Sunday will be Kickoff Sunday at the Twig Pavillion, a pot luck tailgate style service. There will also be a punt, pass and kick competition, and a touch football game for all ages.
~ Gail asked for volunteers to sign up for coffee and treats service for the next two months.
Chuck opened the worship time with remarks that included this question: "Is Jesus your first priority or last resort."
The offering taken, Brad took the pulpit to lead us in a time of prayer.
Praise Him In His Sanctuary
It's only six verses, but has something to say to us about who we worship, where we should worship, how we worship, why we worship. It seems a simple psalm but there's more to it than it initially appears.
All of us worship. It is innate in who we are. We worship what is important to us.
Psalm 63 "I will praise you as long as I live."
Psalm 66 expresses a similar sentiment as do many others.
The first three words of this psalm begin, "Praise the Lord!" The focus is clear who we are supposed to be worshiping. Our gaze is not to be directed to lesser gods. He alone is worthy of our worship.
Brad reminded us of the Shema, a significant passage in for devout Jews, Deuteronomy 6:4-5
4 Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.[a] 5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.
The second half of Psalm 150:1 tells where to worship. It is a call to public worship. And something happens when we lift our voices together. It provides a collective lift.
There are all kinds of commands in Scripture, and one is the command to sing. Ephesians 5:19 says, "Speak to one another in psalms, hymns and spiritual songs."
Brad related a story about how his church ministered to him through song when I first realized his father was soon going to die. They sang, meaningfully, "Great is Thy faithfulness... there is no shadow of turning with Thee..."
Worshiping God is just restricted to be inside a church. Sometimes it's when we're alone in the car.
Who we worship is a big God who has done big things. We get to sing of His acts of power, from creation to the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.
If your worship experience has grown flat, you might need to recall to mind who great and mighty is our God. His surpassing greatness refers to this... He is greater than everything. There is no comparison.
Brad shared a few stats about the size of the universe, and that Jesus holds it all in His hand. This God is real and His greatness surpasses everything.
Verse 3 details how to praise Him.
Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,
praise him with the harp and lyre,
4 praise him with timbrel and dancing,
praise him with the strings and pipe,
5 praise him with the clash of cymbals,
praise him with resounding cymbals.
It's not about which style is best. Use whatever style you want, just praise the Lord. What style of worship is real worship? They all are... and the point is who this worship is for. It's for the King. The second most commanded thing in all of Scripture is to sing. We need to lift our voices together.
The last verse of this psalm is the last verse of all the Psalms. "Let everything that has breath praise the Lord."
Psalm 63 says, "My soul thirsts for you." Other verses express the same...
As we grow in our worship together may we be a singing, worshipping church, lifting our voices and giving God our best.
Sometimes when we're hurting, when we're drowning in sorrow, we may not feel in the mood to come to the house of worship. We want to withdraw, to hibernate. But something happens when come to this place and worship. Our souls need to drink deeply, and we need to do what we have been created to do. As we join together, the heaviness begins to lift...
When Paul and Silas were in prison, they sang praises to God... and the doors popped open. Great is His faithfulness.