connecting people to Christ and to one another…
The Bible teaches that as we surrender ourselves and prostrate our lives before the Lord, we worship Him in spirit and truth, and this worship is not limited to songs.
Pastor Rick Warren’s section in The Purpose Driven Life on “You Were Made for God’s Pleasure,” tells us that worship through music is only a small portion of what true, biblical worship is all about. Worship is the process of surrendering our entire life into God’s hands. Everything we do can – and should — be an act of worship.
How do we apply that to our life? God designed us to worship Him with our whole lives. Are there actually spiritual habits that we can build into our lives that help us to worship God more deeply? YES!
Pastor Rick provides ten habits than can help build worship into your life on a daily basis:
1. Worship through prayer. We often miss this important component of our prayer life. Think about the issues you usually pray about. How much of our prayer life is about us and how much of it is about God? Without a doubt God wants us to be able to share everything that is going on in our life. He wants us to get to know Him better.
But he also wants us to get to know Him better. When we affirm who God is through our prayers, we put our prayer life in proper perspective. That’s exactly how Jesus taught us to pray. Look at the Lord’s Prayer in the Gospel of Mathew (6: 9-13), Jesus starts the prayer off by saying “Our Father who is in Heaven, May Your name be honored.” (NLT) Jesus teaches us an important lesson with this prayer. Prayer starts with God. Consider including in your prayers a time of focused attention on who God is. Even as you make time to speak with your friends and love ones, you grow closer to God by speaking and interacting.
2. Get in a regular habit of reading the Bible. The Bible says that we worship God in “spirit and in truth.” How can we ever worship God without a clear understanding of who He is? The truth about God is essential to worship. Pay special attention to the books of Psalms. No book in the Bible spends as much time carefully describing who God is. If the Bible isn’t something you cherish and love reading, consider how much you really seek to know God and be close to Him, pray that he gives you this love and desire for his Word.
3. Obey God. Pastor Rick mentions in The Purpose Driven Life that we worship God when we obey Him. We all need to build the habit of obedience into our lives. Take practical steps to see that this is a part of your life. Whenever you sense God is speaking to you, make it a regular practice to do it immediately. Don’t let procrastination weigh you down. If you can’t do it immediately, write down whatever God has been putting on your heart, so that you can do it SOON! Listen to the Holy Spirit who talks to us daily, the more we respond the more we can clearly understand His nudges and guidance.
4. Tithe. If you want to know what in your life you worship, look at your checkbook register. The Bible teaches us this important lesson: “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Mathew 6:21 NIV) God wants us to surrender our entire being to Him. One way to show that is by making Him Lord of our pocketbook. If you are already a committed tither, consider raising the percentage you are willing to give. Tithing tests our hearts.
5. Build deep relationships with other Christians. During the third section of 40 Days of Purpose, Pastor Rick will be explaining how you are “Formed for God’s Family.” The Bible teaches that God designed us to live in community with other Christians. We bring God pleasure by getting to know others and being known by them. One of the two greatest commandments spoken by Jesus.
6. Share your faith. John Piper made many of us re-look at why we share our faith when he wrote a few years ago: “Missions exists because worship doesn’t.” God wants every person on the planet to worship him, not because He is an egomaniac who needs our praise, but because worship is how we are designed by God. He wants the best for us.
Take time this week to share your spiritual journey with someone else. Tell them how you came to faith in Christ. Don’t worry about their response. Relax in the knowledge that you are playing a part in expanding God’s world-wide worship. Amen!
7. Serve others. Jesus tells us that “when you did it to the least of these my brothers and sisters, you did to me!” (Matt. 25:40 NLT) When we serve one another, Jesus tells us we are really serving Him. If you don’t think you have any gifts that are useful to serve, you are wrong. God made you with talents and gifts that He specifically gave you to serve others.
8. Build into your life the attitude of thankfulness. This requires looking at the world through a different set of eyes. When we look through the lens of thankfulness, we see our lives – and everything in it – as all gifts from God. Develop your own spiritual exercise each morning that demonstrates that you are putting on your lens of thankfulness. Then begin to thank God for all of the good things in your life. I love the verse that speaks on prayer and the need for thankfulness, Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Phil 4:6-7 NIV
9. Begin turning over to God areas of your life that you have never committed to Him. This is the heart of worship – surrender. God won’t settle for 90 percent of your life; He wants all of it. You might have been a follower of Jesus for years, but you still have areas of your life that you are holding back from Him. What are those areas? Only you know that. Two good places to look are your checkbook and your planner. Look at the areas of your life where you spend the most money and the most time. Do they honor God?
If you are human, you have sin in your life that you need to surrender. Think back over the past month and write down all of the times you remember disobeying clear teaching from God. Then look for patterns. If you find patters of sin in your life, these are areas of your life you need to surrender to God. Right at the moment start praying for God to help you overcome that sin.
10. Live a life of purpose. God has a reason for your existence. In fact, He has five: fellowship, discipleship, ministry, evangelism and worship. You please God when you live in step with His purposes. God doesn’t want you to waste your life.
You were designed for God’s pleasure. The purpose of worship is the foundation of the other four purposes. Fellowship without the spirit of worship is just “hanging out.” Discipleship without worship is nothing but a fruitless mental exercise. Ministry without worship is called “spinning your wheels.” Evangelism without worship is a misplaced sales pitch.
Worship isn’t simply one area of your life; it is your life. Start right this moment by surrendering your life to God. Then spend the rest of your life learning to worship Him more fully. Hallelujah!
By exercising your God given personalized gifts, you activate a source of Joy.
John Piper –
““As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15). What does that mean?
It means to do what he says in a way that makes him look supremely valuable in himself. It means to submit to him in a way that makes him look thrilling. There are ways to submit to God that only make him look threatening, not thrilling. There are ways to do what he says that only call attention to the fact that he is an authority not a treasure. That kind of service is not the service God commands.
What’s the difference? The difference is that God has told us not to serve him as though he needed anything.
“He is not served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything” (Acts 17:25).
“The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45).
Both these texts put all the emphasis on God’s giving to us when we serve. So the kind of service that makes God look valuable and thrilling is the kind that serves God by constantly receiving from God. The key text to describe this is 1 Peter 4:11 — “Whoever serves, [let it be] as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ.”
God is seen as glorious when all our serving is moment-by-moment receiving from God’s supply. We receive this supply by faith. That is, we trust moment-by-moment that what we need, in serving him, he will supply (“life, breath, and everything”). This is the opposite of being anxious. Such serving is happy. And it makes God look no less authoritative, but infinitely more desirable. This is the glory he means to have. The giver gets the glory. Therefore, “serve the Lord with gladness” (Psalm 100:2).”
Continuously, move forward into a deeper and deeper relationship with Christ. Jesus referred to the Word as being planted and growing in our hearts, developing us into healthy vibrant lives. Just as Jesus said that some seeds will fall into the good soil, root yourself in good spiritual soil so you can grow to become the person God intends you to be.
Share the love of Christ with others.
What is a Witness?
1. Describe what a witness testifies to in a courtroom. How is that like sharing your faith in Christ?
2. What are you admonished to do in Psalm 107:2? Why is this hard for you?
3. How have you followed this admonishment today? This week? This month? If not, what has kept you from witnessing?
The Motivation for Witnessing
1. What did Jesus command you do to in Mark 16:15 and Matthew 28:19-20?
2. Read Acts 20:24-27, 31-32. How important would you say Paul’s ministry of witnessing was to him and why?
3. Read II Corinthians 5:14-15. What caused Paul to witness? What attitude should we have about what Jesus has done for us and how should that change our lives?
4. What does Jesus Christ say about the one who is ashamed of Him? (Luke 9:26) How should this affect your witness?
5. If you are faithful to follow Jesus, what did He promise to do? (Matthew 4:19) How has he helped you do this?
1. We are called ambassadors in II Corinthians 5:18-20. (An ambassador is one who is appointed to represent his country in a foreign land.) Reflect on the duties of an ambassador. How do these relate to the Christian life and to witnessing about your faith in Christ?
2. Why did Jesus say He came into this world? (Luke 19:10, Mark 10:45)
3. As a representative of Christ, what would be your message to those who do not know Him personally? Write your answer in words you could use with a non-Christian.
4. How does Paul express the message in I Corinthians 15:3-4?
1. Take several moments to reflect on what your relationship with Jesus Christ means to you. Complete this statement, “Because Christ rose from the dead and lives in me, I …”
2. Based on your obedience to Christ’s command to share your faith with others, what conclusion do you think He would draw about your love for Him?
3. Why do you believe it is important that you, personally, be a witness for Christ?
4. Can you think of at least two people with whom God led you to share Christ during the past week? How did you respond?