On the Potter’s Wheel

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You are the potter, I am the clay
Mold me and make me, this is what I pray.


Who is worship for?  That’s easy.  We know the answer is God.  Our focus is supposed to be on what gives God honor and glory and not on our own desires and self-gratification.

But is it really true that, as the song says: it’s all about you, Jesus,. . . for your glory and your fame.  It’s not about me . . .

Really?  Not about me?!  Not at all?  That’s too bad, because I need worship to be about me too.  

We tend to rely on our Sunday school curriculum and Small Groups as the sole means of faith formation in children and adults.  But worship has long been a tool of the Spirit in creating and recreating God’s people into the likeness of Jesus.  

In the familiar patterns of gathering, adoration, confession, the Word and sacraments, the Spirit works in each worshiper, carving away bitterness, shaving off barnacles of stubborn resistance, and sanding down slivers of selfishness.  In their place, the Spirit shapes willingness and wisdom to follow God’s way, forming a fruitful faith that goes out from the worship place to live and grow, and returns to celebrate and renew again.

Seems that worship is about us after all!  It plays a crucial role in the birth, formation and celebration of our faith.  

How has worship formed your own faith?
As a worship planner, how are you intentional about the faith-shaping opportunities of worship, while maintaining a God-centered focus?

On February 1, I will have the privilege of embarking on a three month sabbatical journey to three places in this world that have had a shaping effect on my family:  China, Africa and the Netherlands.  I will be exploring this question:  How is faith birthed, nurtured and celebrated in these places?  I wonder how worship will be included in these discussions.

For more on this topic, I recommend this blog by Laura Keeley.

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I heard a sermon on Worship recently and I came home reiterating exactly what is in your blog.  What occurred to me was the criticism that I hear about people who complain that we “don’t hear the old hymns anymore” is often retorted with “Well, It’s not about you anyway, is it?” But it is about them. Worship is about them AND it is about God.

Worship is a relationship, providing us a way to interact with God. We edify God and he in return embraces us, loves us and instructs us.

 The Holy Spirit moves us in worship individually. When I hear something in a sermon it may be different than what my husband hears because the Holy Spirit is leading me and him differently.

In the same way, a familiar hymn may bring back memories differently to each individual. Memories of a close walk with God, a journey where God carried you, or revealed something to you. Singing something familiar may be like sitting with your mother’s arm around you as you look together at a photo album. She points to a photograph and says “Remember what a good time we were having when this picture was taken?” Music is part of that relationship we experience in worship.
 

We have a beautiful organ at our church but have lost the organist long ago. It sits quiet, packed away in a bottom drawer with no one getting it out and turning the pages, reviving the memories. If a one dimensional photograph inspires various emotions imagine the sounds, scale and depth of a mighty organ to inspire thoughts of a mighty God, to revive memories of a time God walked beside you or for that matter to bring us into his very presence! I suggested having an “organ Sunday” once a month even though the piano was getting “the job done”. It’s true the piano is a beautiful instrument, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to get out “the family photo album” and once again share that part of my worship relationship with God.

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Worship is primarily about God, but because He's a generous and loving God, He makes it about us too.    He longs to bless us when we spend time with Him.  He ministers to our hearts through music, sermons, prayers, people...  I have found when I've gone into worship with no agenda of my own, other than to praise Him and be open to what's on His heart, He will bless my heart many times over.

I do look forward to worship with Him, because He often will give insight or confirmation or encouragement, but that's not the primary purpose.  It's primarily for His glory, but because He's God, it will also be for our good, that's His promise and we can bank on it!   I love 2 Chron 20.  The people starting praising God, and  He responded by orchestrating an ambush between the enemy, and the enemy killed each other instead of the people of Judah.  Yep, He often/always will bless His people when we worship Him.  Will we always realize it?  that's another question =)  I do often joke that sometimes at church I'm praising Him with one hand and "threatening" my kids with the other =). 

I don't know if I've said it here on the network, but God can use any song, any style to minister to us if He wants, it can be 1000 years old or just minutes old, it can be spiritual or secular.   I remember in 2006, i was at a women of faith conference and had a "bad" attitude about the concert that was suppose to be at the end.  God didn't let me keep that attitude for very long and would not let me worship Him with it, because it wasn't even one minute into the concert (so no emotional manipulation through music) and He melted me, I was undone!  and basically what the "lesson" was, is "don't limit Me, I can use anything, anytime to minister to you".  That encounter was so deep and powerful, that up to a year later, whenever I heard the songs that were played there, on the radio, tears would immediately begin.

and one other "side effect" of worship, is it's a weapon that brings down the enemy and his strongholds (Ps. 149:6-7; Ps. 8:2, 2 Cor. 10:4)  again, not a primary reason we worship and praise, but encouraging to know!