Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Knowing the Name of Jesus | Chris B

This message was preached  by Chris B at Word of Grace Church on August 6th, 2017. To listen/download the audio please click hereTo listen to the Sunday's worship and prophetic contributions please click here.

The last time, I had 3 goals. To answer who you are, who I am and what are we doing here. That came with a disclaimer- If you are in Christ. The other question is, What if I am not yet in Christ? Who am I?

The scriptures make it clear. If we haven’t put our faith in Jesus, we are like the husband looking for something in the wife’s bag and unable to locate it- you know something is there, but you just cant get hold of it.

Romans 1:19-20since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” They are clearly perceived. We can see through creation that He is there, but we just can’t get it.

Eph 2: 1-3- “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh[a] and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.”

3 Questions:
A.     What is God’s Name?
B.     Why does it matter?
C.     What does knowing His name do for us?

We need God’s help to intervene and understand what he is doing. Psalm 9:10-Those who know your name trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you”

It’s an excellent promise. We need to know God’s name. Ex 3:12-17- “And God said, “I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you[b] will worship God on this mountain.” Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?” God said to Moses, “I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.’” God also said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites, ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has sent me to you.’ “This is my name forever, the name you shall call me from generation to generation. “Go, assemble the elders of Israel and say to them, ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob—appeared to me and said: I have watched over you and have seen what has been done to you in Egypt. And I have promised to bring you up out of your misery in Egypt into the land of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites—a land flowing with milk and honey.’”

This is God for the very first time giving his name. Our concept of Name is different from what the Bible says. In my culture, a name is merely something you are called. But in the Bible, when God changes someone’s name, he is making a promise. He is offering a definition and disclosing your character. Jesus’ name was Jesus because the angel told Joseph to name him that. He doesn’t just say this is what you are called, it is who you are.

When God says his name, He is offering revelation of who He is. The Israelites haven’t had the experience of a prophet until this time. So, Moses says, I need a fresh disclosure of who you are. I have 6 principles drawn from that name:

1.      He exists- he is not a fairytale or a phantom. He is absolutely real. He is real in this room.
2.      He is knowable- He is disclosing himself to Moses. I AM. We don’t know and understand everything about God. He is more like an iceberg rather than a mountain. 90 % sits below the water. Only 10% is knowable. He has disclosed himself so that we might know him
3.      He is Unchanging- The same disclosure He gave Moses is true for us because he does not change. He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.
4.      He is Self-determined- God had determined who He is. We can seek and know him, but we can’t change who he actually is.
5.      He is Eternal- He existed from before time and space. He exists now and will forever. I am who I am has a future component- that I will be forever. I will never not be.
6.      He has come to rescue us- John 8:58- ““Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!”” he is more certain than anything else. Jesus has always been there as the second person of the Trinity and has come to rescue us.

This is who he is. This is his name

D.    How do I know if I’ve really placed my faith in Jesus?

Hebrews says, in these last days he has spoken to us through the name of Jesus. Jesus is a better vivid revelation of the God who is.

Acts 4:12- “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”John 6:35-Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty”

This is not a statement that anyone can say without clarification. These are two parallel phrases. He who does something , will never go hungry or thirsty. Hunger and Thirst are the basic needs of the Body. So coming to him and believing in him are the same thing.

Q. What is the nature of Biblical, saving faith?

It is coming to Jesus, believing in Jesus in such a way that you come to him for the satisfaction of all your spiritual hungers and thirsts. Alcohol, drugs, TV, and all will never satisfy. But He will. We say it like this- Enjoying God, coming earnestly and honestly to a God who satisfies. If you’ve recognized him as the one who gives life, that’s saving faith. Jesus working through it is what transforms and changes you.

John 6:67-69“You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve. Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.”” Through believing, they came to know he is who he says he is. This is a hard concept to understand. But the Holy Spirit has already been speaking to us throughout the worship.


Word of Grace is an Evangelical (Born Again),  Spirit filled (Charismatic), Reformed, English speaking church in Pune that upholds the Bible as God's inspired Word for life. We are a church community that have people from every part of India and parts of the world. We are here to put the Great Command and the Great Commission into practice by equipping and releasing every member into works of service. To know more about us please log onto www.wordofgracechurch.org.  






Friday, August 4, 2017

SHARPEN 2017- Mission and the Church

This message was preached by Gurmeet Dhanowa of Tri-City Asha Church at the Regions Beyond Leaders gathering in India in July 2017.

For the audio please Click HERE


I got very excited about mission as a young boy. I had a good friend in the training in Goa. He told me stories of missionaries. As I heard these stories, something was burning in my heart. Eventually I got married. After that he spoke to both of us about moving within Mumbai and then moved to Punjab.

Definitions of mission- the vocation/ calling of a religious organisation, especially of the Christian organisation. An important job, especially a military one, where someone is sent somewhere to do.
Mission starts with God. 

John 3:16- God so loved the world that he sent his son. Mission started in eternity. We know the Great Commission. 

Matthew 28:18-20. But mission did not start from there. It started even before the world was created. God desired for a community. The Trinity itself is a community. But He desired a worshipping community of people for himself. So when He made Adam and Eve, He said, Go and fill the earth. I think one of things he meant was to fill the earth with His glory. But we know they blew it.

As we move ahead, we see the tower of Babel incident. All humans spoke the same language. They wanted to build the tower which would reach heaven. They were proud and arrogant. So God confused their language, but He did not destroy them- He scattered them. God wants a worshipping community for Himself and in order to do that. He scatters His people first. There was a judgment on them, but it was more than that.

Then for 70 years Israel was in captivity. It must have been difficult for them to believe. But If God didn’t do it, Daniel and Esther, wouldn’t be speaking to Pagan kings. There was only one Missionary the nation of Israel had and it was Jonah, and you know how he went. He didn’t want to go and God had to really force him to go there, to Nineveh which is Mosel in Iraq now. That is one of the few places in Middle-eastern countries where there is a sizeable Christian population. In the Old Testament, God gave them a vision, but they missed it. They couldn’t catch what God wanted to do. They started considering themselves an exclusive group of people.

Then in the New Testament, John the Baptist arrives and proclaims Jesus. Jesus touched many non-jewish people. Samaritan woman, centurion, etc. Jesus had begun to do what God planned for them from the beginning. He wanted a worshipping community. Then in Acts 1, Jesus says, you shall be My witnesses. The holy spirit will come upon you and you shall be witnesses to the ends of the earth. So that was Jesus commissioning them. Then we see in the New Testament- The church in Jerusalem was doing well. They were growing, signs and wonders were taking place. Then suddenly a huge persecution breaks out to the point that people have to flee the city. Then they become missionaries to all those different cities.

The early Christians had the words of Jesus, and the great Commission. Jesus told them to go into all the nations- preach the gospel, make disciples, baptise them. They took this very seriously. They could have responded in regret and bitterness, or preach the gospel wherever they went. The gospel breaks out into the entire asia and Europe. They took it seriously.

We see the story of Paul. As we read his life, his transformation. He is full of fire. Once he started, he never stopped. From Jerusalem to Antioch and then he went from one city to the next. He was labouring! He says, I have lived in plenty and I have lived in little. He has gone through great persecution. He had a mission in front of him. Jesus before going to heaven, commanded us to go into all the world and make disciples. So Paul took that seriously and until the end, he was passionately preaching the gospel. He is always thinking of going beyond.
 His life excites me.

William Carey- Came to India in a ship against the recommendation of his pastor, lost his sons to a curable disease, wife to madness and his printing press to fire. He rebuilt it and started from the scratch. Reading these biographies of these missionaries produces in us a fire to do the same thing.

Q. Why did they pay such a cost? 
I know of one missionary where God spoke to him about going somewhere after he got engaged. The fiancée did not want to go. So he left her. They were passionate about the Great Commission.

The Great Commission is not an option to be considered, but a command to be obeyed – Hudson Taylor

The average pastor views his church as a local church with a missions program; while he ought to realize that if he is in fact pastoring a church, it is to be a global church with a missions purpose."

I am not against quality, but the missionaries, they are not bothered about any material comforts. But what they are serious about is that they’ve got a strategy to reach the unreached. They have a map, gather their trainees and train them, and send them off to different places. They have a strategy of how to go to people. they just pray for the first 7 days. 90% of the time, someone comes and asks about what was going on. so they share the gospel. They start meeting and see people coming in and getting saved. They may not have what we have, but they see souls being saved.

Last Sunday we had baptisms at our church. We went to a Bible College building. It was like a haunted place. But in their hall they had painted this map of India and wrote what they want to achieve- the number of cities and villages. They train and send people.

We need to teach our people about mission. We must have a strategy to reach our nation. We are praying for 100 men and women who will go for church planting.

While he was on earth, Jesus taught his disciples that “this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come” (Matt. 24:14). That end is not yet, which means that the end of mission is not yet. We remain under the command and commission of our Lord and King to reach the world with the saving good news of his life, death, resurrection and ascension. However, one day, the task will be completed, and the fruit of the Son’s mission will be seen when an innumerable multitude from every nation and tribe and people and language stands before his throne and cries out, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” (Rev. 7:9–10). On that day, mission will be no more, but true worship will only have just begun.

   

SHARPEN 2017- Women in Leadership

This message was preached by Gary W of Urban Voice Church at the Regions Beyond Leaders gathering in India in July 2017.

For the audio please Click HERE
The last few decades have seen a great deal of change in the church’s understanding & practice
on the subject of the role that women can play in leadership. During the days when our family of
churches was known as New Frontiers International the initials (NFI) were interpreted to mean No
Females Included. This was particularly aimed at the view and belief that the bible prohibits
women from being elders but, almost certainly, was a comment on the observation that few
women seemed to be involved in leadership at an influential level. Whether those observations
were universally true or not, the fact remains that most senior (not just eldership) leadership roles
were limited to men.

What I want to do over these two sessions is to examine relevant scriptures and provide a
foundation from which we will then look at how this should be worked out in an Indian context.
We’ll begin to do this in gender groups and finish with some time altogether. I hope that we will be
able to agree some basic biblical principles but also that we will be able to agree practical steps
about how to move forward. Some assessment of current practice will be necessary.

Let me be clear from the outset that I have settled on the view that women are able to fulfil every
leadership role in the church excluding eldership.

  1. Influences- The bible is our primary source and influence. However, we have to acknowledge from the outset that there are many other influences and voices that shape our opinions. Television, radio, internet, education, culture and personal life experience all play a significant role in determining what we think and how we act. None of us are able to say that we read the bible objectively, we all read scripture through glasses shaped by all kinds of experiences, beliefs and prejudices. The other issue that can influence our opinion and biblical exposition is the reality that women have suffered greatly from ungodly male domination which, unfortunately, has been supported by the church. Oppression, abuse, rape and slavery remain as realities for many women around the world but attempting to correct these by throwing out godly principles is unhelpful and has the potential to lead us into another set of biblical challenges.
     
  2. Different Christian Views This subject has had much written about it over the last few decades and it is possible to find some books that will support any view you find personally most acceptable. There are probably two main camps within Christianity; complimentary and egalitarian. As far as church leadership is concerned, and broadly speaking, complimentarians believe that men and women are equal but differently created and called to different functions in the church. While egalitarians believe that men and women are equal and that biological differences do not prohibit women from any leadership role.

    The complimentary view is expounded by people like John Piper, Claire Smith, Don Carson and Tim Keller. The egalitarian camp is expounded by Gordon Fee, N. T. Wright, Stanley Grenz and Greg Boyd. The point is that serious theologians sit on both sides of the fence and we do well to note that as we proceed.
  3. The beginning

We have to begin at the beginning and that means we begin with God. He made us and he made
us with a plan and purpose in mind. He also made men and women in his image; we are not the
product of evolution or cosmic accident. God has appointed men and women to be rulers, on his
behalf, over the rest of creation.
Genesis 1 v26-31;
Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have
dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock
and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth."
27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and
female he created them.
28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth
and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens
and over every living thing that moves on the earth."
29 And God said, "Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of
all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food.
30 And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that
creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for
food." And it was so.
31 And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was
evening and there was morning, the sixth day.

Genesis 2 v15-23;
The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. And
the LORD God commanded the man, saying, "You may surely eat of every tree of the
garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day
that you eat of it you shall surely die." Then the LORD God said, "It is not good that the man
should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him." Now out of the ground the LORD God
had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the
man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature,
that was its name. The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and
to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. So the
LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs
and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man
he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said, "This at last is bone
of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out
of Man."

• God’s plan
God made a decision to make both male and female and not a sexless creature; an androgyny.
He could have chosen to create life in any form he wanted and what he wanted was male and
female. Two creatures the same in many respects but with distinct and significant differences.

• God’s image
Men and women are both made in the image of God. Therefore, each have the same dignity,
honour and value.

• God’s delight
Throughout the account of creation in Genesis 1 God declares “…And God saw that it was
good…” Only at the end of the sixth day when both the man and the woman have been created
does the account record; “And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very
good.” God takes delight in both male and female.

• God’s appointment
In Genesis 2 v15-18 God gives the man and the woman complimentary roles in his creation; “The
Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and to keep it…it is not
good (the only time God finds something not good) for man to be alone; I will make a helper
fit for him.” The man is to work and to keep (or take care) and the woman is to help him. It is
beneficial to remember that the word helper occurs twenty one times in the Old Testament and is
applied to God sixteen times. Therefore, this is a critical appointment for the “very good” working
of God’s creation and our understanding of “helper” should primarily be determined by that truth.

• God’s command and question
It is worth taking note that God gave the man the command not to eat of the fruit of the tree of
knowledge of good and evil (who presumably then passed that command on to the woman) and
that after the act of rebellion it was to the man that God initially addressed his questions about the
act of disobedience.

        4. Serving

Our main concern is the role of women in the effective work of glorifying the name of Jesus
through the building the church. There has been a great deal of frustration among women as they
seek to work out their calling and gifting in this regard. Some of that frustration relates to a lack of
clarity about permissible areas of service but also a perceived (and actual) lack of encouragement from elders and other leaders.

• The Body

One of the major pictures that Paul gives us in the New Testament to help us understand how the
church serves Christ, is the body. It is a picture that he uses in letters to a number of churches in
different locations. We are to understand that the church is the body of Christ and that it is called
and empowered by the Spirit to do his unfinished work.
Ephesians 4 v11-16; “And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the
shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the
body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of
God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we
may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind
of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the
truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from
whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped,
when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.

• Individual gifting

At the heart of that truth that is that every christian (women and men) are given gifts and that
every gift (and therefore every individual) is crucial to the healthy working of the church.
1 Corinthians 12 v14-20;For the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the
foot should say, "Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body," that would not
make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, "Because I am not an eye, I do
not belong to the body," that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole
body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear,
where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body,
each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it
is, there are many parts, yet one body.

• One restriction
A multitude of books have been written and countless sermons preached on whether or not
women are called to be elders (aka overseers, pastors, shepherds, bishops). The biblical debate
centres on, but is not limited to, passages in 1 Timothy and Titus. Time and space prevent
anything but a very light skim over the surface of the issue. However, on the basis that the NT
does not record any woman as an elder, 1 Timothy 2 commands that women should not teach or
have authority over a man, the eldership qualification passages in 1 Timothy and Titus contain
specifically male qualifications and the weight of history lead me to believe that women should
not be elders. Please hear this in the context that everything else is permitted.

         5. 2000(ish) years ago

If it is clear (according to me) that the New Testament prohibits women from being elders it is also crystal clear that they have a significant role in Jesus’ ministry and in the development of the early church that should be reflected as we seek to build the church today.

• Jesus’ ministry
Jesus chose twelve men as his disciples but his attitudes and practice with regard to women was
counter-culture. Mary Magdelene, Joanna and Susanna were a significant part of his support
team (Luke 8), Mary is encouraged to be part of Jesus “Rabbi circle” (Luke 10) and a number of
women (including Mary Magdalene, Joanna and Mary the mother of James) are entrusted with the
task of telling the apostles about Jesus’ resurrection. Our attitude, understanding and practice
should be suitably shaped by these facts.

• Early church
The lead that Jesus gave in including women at the heart of his ministry is continued in the
development of the early church. Luke records that Priscilla (first named) and Aquila take Apollos
aside and teach him “…the way of God more accurately.” Paul notes the role that Timothy’s
mother and grandmother played in his faith. Paul acknowledges Euodia and Syntiche as coworkers
(Philippians 4) and Romans 16 contains many women whom Paul recognises as a vital
part of the proclamation of the gospel.

          6.The future
Q. So, what now?

Surely the proper reading of scripture should lead us to pursue leadership teams
that include both men and women on the basis of individual gifting. Elders will clearly be part of
those teams but should not be the only people who influence the way in which our churches seek
to glorify God. For this to be true it is necessary to give all leaders both responsibility and
authority in the context of accountable team relationships.

SHARPEN 2017- Worship in Church

This message was preached by Navaz D'cruz of Word of Grace Church at the Regions Beyond Leaders gathering in India in July 2017.

For the audio please Click HERE


WHY DO WORSHIP?

Firstly, we are created for worship. Westminster Shorter Catechism: The chief end of man is to enjoy God and glorify him forever.
Piper summarizes this as "God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.”

The bible tells us that we become like what we worship.

Psalm 135:18 (NIV)Those who make them will be like them, Yes, everyone who trusts in them.

That is a powerful statement. Therefore, the more I worship God with all my heart, mind soul and strength, the more I will become like him and reflect his glory.
Worship has always required choice and change. It identifies which kingdom you belong to, and it has always been about the glory of God.

The Father seeks for us to worship Him (John 4:24). We are to worship Him in Spirit and in truth.

Worship is a command in scripture – It is not a good idea but a God idea.

Colossians 3:16 “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”

Ephesians 5:18-19 “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart…”

Singing is one of the two chief ways that the Word of God dwells in us richly.
When we sing we build up each other. Ephesians 5:19: Note specifically here that it says: “addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs…”
Music, melody, art, dance, creativity—all these things give voice to the mystery and hiddenness of the human heart. Darlene Zschech

 WHO IS WORSHIP FOR?

Worship is about Jesus who deserves our highest praise for ever and ever. Its about our beautiful savior who died so that we could become sons of the most high God and free from fear … no longer slaves but Sons.

Worship is about HIS PRESENCE. In worship, we need to feel the heartbeat of God. We as worship leaders need to lead from the presence of God ushering people into His presence. We are channels, catalysts .

Worship is a lifestyle not a program or something we do for 45min each week. It’s who we are: worshippers. It’s something we do and live from 24/7. That is why who you have on your team is very important.

The most talented may not get on team if their heart is not submitted to the leadership and open to input, if they are not worshippers first. Make sure that you worship when you are not leading worship. Do not worship only when you lead. Their music cannot be their identity but rather that they are sons and daughters of God. Or else you will have a lot of trouble, ego issues etc. etc. Band is a whole topic by itself.

Worship is something that comes from the inside out, from a life of devotion. Remember that God is not looking for an outside-in, performance-based or talent-based offering. He has always been looking for an offering of the heart.

Worship is God centered, celebrating who God is, what He has done. His goodness.
Its cross centered -It’s centered on the finished work of the cross and not sin centered or man centered – a needy kind of worship is not God glorifying: begging him to do something for us.

Worship is not a means to an end. Warfare may happen in worship. It’s a hidden theme as it were. We see in Ephesians 5, the command to address one another in song comes right on the heels of “[make] the best use of the time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:16).

 Don’t worship in order to get miracles. Focus on the one who is worthy of worship.

 As Bill Johnson says when the reason for worship is warfare it is flattery i.e you are doing something in order to gain something. Imagine if you child only hugged you so that he could get a sweet from you? How awful!!

Worship is a response to the worth of the person we are worshipping. So matter what we are going through, his worthship is constant. That is 100% honesty, transparency and authenticity before God. It recognizes God for who He is from a place of a yielded heart. 

That releases the presence of God and his power into different situations.
Today worship has become very popular. We all want the 5-7 piece band, loud guitars/drums great voices that could win a Grammy, Dove etc. etc. All that is good provided we do not forget WHO this is about.

Let’s be careful not to shift the focus from the wonder of the person worthy of worship to the medium of worship i.e the music etc.

HOW DO WE WORSHIP?

We worship from a place of identity not to get identity– Sons of God who simply want to delight in Him and his presence. This is critical and key. If we don’t have this we get into performance, begging or religion.

Scripture gives us many indications from the Psalms , in Ephesians, Colosssians etc.
What do we do when we come together? It says each one of us has something to bring to the gathering – a psalm, a new song, scripture, a word of encouragement, the gifts of the spirit etc.

We have to teach our people how to listen to his voice, when to step up, and when to listen and hold back. Make lots of room for the work of the Spirit.

 Allow your congregation to participate. Intentionally make room for it.
So, after the first few songs intentionally pause for people to participate. Engage them. We do believe in the priest hood of all believers. Do our meetings reflect that?

 Is this possible only in a small setting? Well its easier. In larger setting have a system whereby people can contribute. Have floater mics, someone to whet prophetic up front etc. It might be messy at first but that is ok. Its like children learning to walk.  WE don’t stop them because they fall. We keep encouraging and teaching.

Worship leader need to beware seeing this as a hindrance. Often times I have noticed someone prays or brings a scripture and fits band in with what’s on my heart and that only gives me courage to share but everyone now witnesses a beautiful orchestration of the Holy Spirit speaking and building upon each contribution.

Look for connection. When we worship in community we need to have connection with the people. Understand where your congregation is at and help them on their journey in worship. Teach a little on worship every now and then.

Be very patient. We keep having new people in our church. WE go through cycles of new people and every new season. I have to re teach on worship because people are either new Christians, or from another worship experience or from traditional churches. Don’t beat your sheep, feed them. Pray for them. We carry a pastoral responsibility toward the people as well.

Spontaneous Vs Rehearsed

I hear too much of a debate on this point. I think it’s a bit of both. Being prepared is not being in the flesh. God who gave prophetic words to his people hundreds of years before they came to pass can speak to us about what course the worship should take.
This is a topic for a worship band training so I won’t go into lengths here. However we need to straddle both. Eg) A good vacation is one that is planned and has room for the spontaneous. It’s a problem if we are rigid about a setlist. It’s equally bad not to prepare and expect something magical to happen.

We are not program driven, neither are we personality driven. We are people lead by the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives and He is a God or order and the suddenlys.
Make room for spontaneous singing. We are slowly loosing this in our congregations. God activity releases his presence. We are a people of His presence. Its not about whipping up some kind of spiritual high.
Worship comes in waves and we need to be attentive and catch the wind of the Spirit.

So we need to take care of what we are singing. Let our songs be rich in theology, doctrine. The Wesley brothers knew that the people could not read nor write so they put scripture and theology to song. In today’s blip age of one liners, 2 min video clips, whatsapp size messages people’s retention span has greatly reduced.

 Most people remember songs. What are your people singing when they leave your service? People often go back home humming a song not a sermon (I mean no disrespect here). In times of joy and sorrow what are our people singing? Find songs that are rich in content and not just some happy clappy mumbo jumbo. Make a special effort to find or write good Hindi songs.

C J Maheny said “worship is take home theology”

Impact on the unbeliever -Think of the impact on someone who does not know Christ. Do they hear the gospel n our worship? This is why Tim Keller says:  “Good corporate worship will naturally be evangelistic”

Let our worship be multi-generational – What do I mean by this? I love new songs. I believe they are written for a season and have an anointing for a season maybe.

At Word of Grace we introduce an average of 12 new songs every year – both homegrown and from around the world. . Be intentional about new songs and choose carefully what you introduce to your church. When was the last time you introduced a new song and is it being done regularly. Timeless truth sung in a fresh way does something to the worship.

 However, retain some of the old as well. There are older people in the congregation that find it hard to keep up with new songs and styles but don’t get stuck there.

Worship builds a Launchpad for the prophetic. You want that in your meetings. Ask God for the prophetic every time you meet

There needs to be a good working relationship between the pastor and the worship leader. There needs to be trust and honour for both to release each other to flow in the spirit. So if your pastor tells you have only 30 mins. Honor that and make every song count. 
In time he will trust what you are sensing the Spirit and allow you to flow understand that God is bigger your understanding of time. Please do not say I’m being stifled etc. Learn to honor. God can do something in an instant if we trust him.

DOES WORSHIP HAVE ANY PARTICULAR FORM?

Remember what we started this out with. Worship is about a person. Its a connection with the object of our love – Jesus.

The expression of this will differ depending on the cultural context. We need to beware to imitating styles that people cannot relate with. Know your congregation and use the right tools to help them engage.

We also need to be aware of the culture of the Kingdom of this world vis a vis Kingdom culture. What things in our culture are a hindrance to heartfelt authentic worship?

We need to deal with any religiosity that is dead works. It could be fear/shame. It comes from a place of a slave mentality and not sonship. When you do this there will be no pressure to perform and make something happen.

WHEN WE HAVE DONE THIS WHAT IS THE RESULT?

The glory of God will fill the place. People will be filled with his presence and take is presence into the world wherever they go. That is how the earth shall be filled with the glory of God even as the waters cover the sea.
There will be rest in your worship


Make worship in your church a safe place where people are not afraid to be themselves.