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When you think of “worship” what comes to mind? For many Christians, “worship” is that singing thing that happens at church before the sermon. But that may not be the heart of worship, especially when you look at what the Bible has to say about it.

I recently read two articles about worship in Christianity Today magazine that opened my eyes to some aspects of what it means to worship God, and reinforced some thoughts that I have been having about it. Below are some quotes from the two articles. I hope they speak to your heart as much as they did to mine.

The first article is called Worship God at All Times. If Necessary, Use Music.

To be human is to worship. (Check out Psalm 150:6)

Not only is music rarely associated with worship in the New Testament, but the Pentateuch is altogether silent on music associated with tabernacle worship. All of this highlights our skewed preoccupation with and conflict over music, and raises serious questions about our understanding of worship in the first place.

(The Hebrew word for worship) refers to a physical gesture of prostration out of respect and homage before a superior. We cannot speak of biblical worship without starting with this physical gesture of submission and homage before God the Father and Jesus the Son.

Paul’s instructions concerning “speaking to/admonishing one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs” (Eph. 5:15-21,Col 3:12-17) occur in the context of appeals to let all of life – rather than just worship services – be the context of worshipful living.

The First Testament perspective, which consistantly emphasizes that living faithfully throughout the week is a prerequisite to acceptable liturgical worship. Picking up the motif of worship as an audience with God, Psalm 24 asks, “Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place?” This is a metaphor for “Whose worship will be acceptable to God?” The psalmist says nothing about music or the quality of any other element of liturgical performance.

Performance of worship rituals is meaningless and even repugnant to God if the worshiper’s life is not an expression of devotion.

True worship involves reverential acts of submission and homage before the divine ruler in response to his gracious revelation of himself and in keeping with his revealed will.

(The article above is from Daniel I. Block’s book For the Glory of God: Recovering a Biblical Theology of Worship and reprinted in CT)

The quotes that follow are from an article titled The Temptations of Evangelical Worship by Mark Galli.

The Westminster Catechism says our chief end is “to glorify God and enjoy him forever.”

True worship is to seek justice for the oppressed. But in the end, ethics never replaces adoration in the prophets but is seen as a necessary complement to true worship.

It is a constant temptation (for worship leaders) to replace God with technique, to seek not the Holy of Holies but mostly devotional exhilaration.

When we sing asking for God’s glory, we are not asking to know the fear of God and the humble suffering that life in him entails. No, if we’re honest with ourselves, we mostly want a good religious feeling, We really aren’t interested fully in what God’s glory is and what it might do to us.

As much as worship leaders strive to keep their egos in check, they are the first to admit that the very ambiance of contemporary worship makes it nearly impossibel for people to not think of them as rock stars – of worship, yes, but rock stars nonetheless.

Rethinking how we do worship begins, then, with keeping the focus on God as he is in all his complexity (not how we want him to be) from beginning to end.

The quotes above gave me a more informed view of worship and caused me to rethink what true worship of God entails. Hopefully we can all move from the limiting and constricting idea of worship as something that happens only on Sunday mornings and incorporate it into every aspect of our lives. Let’s make worship a lifestyle that impacts every moment of everyday, rather than a once a week event. That’s the way God created us because he loves us and wants us to be happy.

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Foundation For His Ministry’s Home For Needy Children in Oaxaca, Mexico

When we pray the Lord’s Prayer, we pray for heaven on earth. We ask God that his holiness be revealed, his kingdom come and his will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Foundation For His Ministry is God’s hands and feet in Oaxaca, bringing a little bit of heaven down to earth in this southern Mexican state. God’s will is to make beauty, do good and to share truth. Those of us working here at the Home For Needy Children strive everyday, with God’s help, to do just that.

First, we love the children. I came to the children’s home in March of 2005, before there were any children here. They began arriving in July of that year and have been coming ever since. For 14 years I have seen them coming through our doors scared, confused, not knowing what to expect. Most of them have known little of beauty, goodness and truth. They are welcomed with open arms and bright smiles. They soon come to appreciate the beauty of the gardens, the art work all around and the architecture. From day one they experience the goodness of healthy food, clean clothes and a comfortable bed. (A ten year old girl recently came to live here and she was given some new clothes to replace her dirty, worn out clothes. She exclaimed that she had no money to pay for the clothes and couldn’t believe they were free, just a part of living at the Childrens Home.) Most importantly they hear the Gospel Truth about a God who loves them and gave himself for them. Their lives will never be the same, and I am filled with joy and gratitude to God that I get to be a part of that transformation. A day never goes by when I don’t look at one or more of the children and think of what misery their lives would have been without this place.

It also makes me happy to think about all the outreach that FFHM is doing in this poverty filled state (Oaxaca is the fourth poorest state in Mexico). We don’t want to be like the Dead Sea that only takes in and never gives out. It is our intention to be more like the Sea of Galilee that not only takes in the blessings of God, but is also giving out. We have missionaries living in remote mountain regions of Oaxaca, most experiencing persecution, like Modesto in Amoltepec, Maria Villa Pablo and Tere in Juxtlahuaca, Glenda and Manuel in Huajuapan. They are sharing the Gospel, and their lives with people who would otherwise not hear the Truth and be saved.

We also go to local prisons. David and Louis go to preach and teach the Good News to the least and the lost. I give English classes to those behind bars who want to prepare for a better life when they get out. Edgar and the kids distribute hygienic materials to those in the psychiatric ward who never receive visitors, to those who no one seems to care about. We care.

Pablo cares a lot about people going through drug and alcohol rehabilitation and ministers frequently in centers for rehabilitation.

The teenage boys and Ceferino, from the mission, go to the local hospital Tuesday evenings with fresh pastries, hot coffee, a warm smile, and an encouraging word- doing good to those who wait anxiously while family members are being given medical care. The youth group partners with other local youth groups to celebrate Christ in word and song, bringing the message of hope to disillusioned and troubled teens.

Christian and his wife Yazmin, the maintenance man and a cook at the mission, started a church in a community that had no evangelical presence. He tends to his little flock on his days off.

God is using FFHM to bring light and life to a dark Oaxaca that is dead in trespasses and sin. It is doing good to the downcast, oppressed and fatherless. It is sharing truth with those deceived by the world, the flesh and the devil. It is a beautiful thing.

We rejoice and are glad that God is using us to bring a little bit of heaven to earth, in Oaxaca, Mexico. I am thankful that I get to be a part of that.

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