Posts Tagged ‘pleasure’

Westminster

The Westminster Creed

I believe man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy Him forever;
I believe God is a Spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable in His being,
wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth;

I believe there is but one true and living God;
that there are three persons in the Godhead:
the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost;
and that these three are one God,
the same in substance, equal in power and glory;

I believe God has foreordained whatever comes to pass;
that God made all things of nothing,
by the word of His power, in the space of six days, and all very good;
and that God preserves and governs all His creatures and all their actions.

I believe our first parents, though created in knowledge, righteousness, and holiness,
sinned against God, by eating the forbidden fruit;
and that their fall brought mankind into an estate of sin and misery;

I believe God determined, out of His mere good pleasure,
to deliver His elect out of the estate of sin and misery,
and to bring them into an estate of salvation by a Redeemer;
I believe the only Redeemer of God’s elect is the Lord Jesus Christ,
Who, being the eternal Son of God, became man,
and so was, and continues to be,
God and man in two distinct natures, and one person, forever;

I believe Christ, as our Redeemer,
executes the office of a prophet, of a priest, and of a king.

I believe Christ as our Redeemer underwent the miseries of this life,
the wrath of God, the cursed death of the cross, and burial;
He rose again from the dead on the third day, ascended up into heaven,
sits at the right hand of God, the Father,
and is coming to judge the world at the last day.

I believe we are made partakers of the redemption purchased by Christ,
by the effectual application of it to us by his Holy Spirit;

I believe God requires of us faith in Jesus Christ,
and repentance unto life to escape the wrath and curse of God due to us for sin;

I believe by His free grace we are effectually called, justified, and sanctified,
and gathered into the visible church, out of which there is no ordinary possibility of salvation;

I believe that we also are given in this life such accompanying benefits
as assurance of God’s love, peace of conscience, joy in the Holy Ghost,
increase of grace, and perseverance therein to the end;
that at death, we are made perfect in holiness, and immediately pass into glory;
and our bodies, being still united in Christ, rest in their graves, till the resurrection;
and at the resurrection, we shall be raised up in glory,
we shall openly be acknowledged and acquitted in the day of judgment,
and made perfectly blessed in the full enjoying of God to all eternity.

~ adapted from the 17th century Westminster Shorter Catechism

GAME-ADUP-PASS_THE_POPCORN_MOVIE_GUESSIN

What’s a worship service supposed to look like? I’m sure if we polled everyone, we’d get lots of different opinions – and strongly stated ones at that. But I think that a lot of us approach church a lot like going to the movies. It’s sort of a spectator and consumer activity to a lot of us.

Think of it like this: You go to the movie and buy your ticket. In church, that’s like the offering. Then you get your popcorn. In church that’s like the bulletin. So you settle into your seat in the theatre and listen to the music and passively watch those trivia questions on the screen before the show. In church, that’s like the prelude music and reading the bulletin while you’re waiting for the service to start.

Then, back at the theatre, come the previews for upcoming shows. In church, those are the announcements and for some of us, that’s the category that the music fits in as well – preliminaries – stuff you have to get through to get to the show you came for. And then in the theatre, at last, the movie comes on. In church, that’s the sermon. In the theatre, we had hoped to be entertained. Maybe we were moved, or maybe we laughed, or maybe we were scared.

And when the movie’s over, either we think it was a great or maybe it was a dud, and we let everyone we came with know what we thought. In church, we tend to have the same expectation, and we sort of give our assessment of the sermon in the same way. “That was a great sermon. That was a boring sermon. Man, pastor was meandering today, wasn’t he? I didn’t like the songs they picked this week, etc.” Then, after attending either venue, we go home and come back looking for a good show the next week.

For many of us, church is a weekly show we go watch. We pay our offering, as if we’re buying a ticket, and so we expect the kind of results we want. Our mindset is that we’re going to church to receive something. And certainly that’s an okay expectation on one level.

But ultimately, is that what a “worship service” is all about? I don’t think so. You see the very nature of the word worship, in all of its New Testament and Old Testament variants, is that it’s verb. It’s something we do. And that thing we do is never defined as simply “showing up” at a service called a worship service. If you’re going to be in a real “worship service,” it’s going to have to involve some people choosing to worship God.

Biblical words for worship have definitions such as “to kiss towards,” “to kiss the feet of,” “to bow down,” “to prostrate oneself,” “to ascribe worth to,” and “to serve.” Biblical worship is described as singing, shouting, bowing, kneeling, clapping, making joyful noises, dancing, sacrificing, giving offerings, and presenting our bodies as living sacrifices. These are very active, physical sounding definitions and descriptions that don’t come close to sounding like “show up and receive something.”

Worship isn’t a passive experience. Worship is a response to who God is and what he’s done in light of who we are and what we’ve done. And when we really start to grasp that truth, we will find ourselves, bowing and kneeling and lifting our hands and singing with our whole hearts and giving our offerings as sacrifices to the one who sacrificed his all for us. Just showing up and listening doesn’t look anything like biblical worship.

If you’re looking for good entertainment or just want to watch a show, maybe it’ll be worth your eight bucks to go the local theatre. But if you’ve gotten a taste of who God is and what he’s done in light of who you are and what you’ve done, I’d recommend heading to church and let God be your audience for a while. He’d love to listen and watch and he’s worthy of every expression of worship we can offer him!

~ by Dan Adler