Thursday, October 4, 2007

missional worship

Some people have wondered what "missional" means. I use the term a lot and so it is important that we all understand it. It is also very important to understand what worship is, in order to understand how these 2 ideas will COMPLETELY saturate 5 stones.

Missional simply means to obey the COMMAND of Christ to go everywhere and tell everyone the story of God's rescue of humanity [the gospel]. It is the story which starts in the garden of Eden and man rebelling against God; and it ends with people coming home to God by grace [unconditional love] through faith [receiving and trusting this gift in the person of Jesus]in Jesus.

Missional has 2 components in the new testament:

1. "Come and see" Jesus teaches to large crowds and people invite their friends. This is the "attractional component" and you see it in our Sunday morning services. This is where we invite our friends to come see and listen to our Jesus.

2. "Go and tell" Jesus sends out his disciples to search the highways and byways to tell people about Him. This is the "incarnational component" where we go into bars, brothels, and anyplace else where Gods Kingdom is not functioning and we tell people about, and serve people with the light of the world while visiting dark places.

Worship: It means literally to ascribe worth [or worthiness] to something. ALL of our lives, everything we do is an act of worship. We worship God; ourselves; material things; other people depending on our choices. God tells us that really, he is the only thing worthy of worship and that our hearts, minds, and lives will not have good consequences while we worship anything but him. Blaise Paschal said "we have a God-shaped vacuum inside us" and we will never be at rest till we stop stuffing other things inside of our emptiness and instead allow God-and God alone- to fulfill us. Augustine said "Our hearts are restless until we find our rest in You."

Worship has a serendipity [a side effect]

When we worship we lift up our whole heart, mind, and body to tell God how great he is. The aim is to let God feel our love for him. This is natural and healthy, as natural and healthy as cuddling our spouse or infant. But in this relationship we are the giving child who crawls up on the daddy's lap and says "I love're doing a good job." The serendipity is that God meets us in that moment and tells us that he loves us to. This is what we "feel" at a worship service, or see on the faces of other true is even the magical thing that happens to a "seeker" at a worship service who "senses" God for the 1st time but doesn't know exactly what is going on...but knows something is going on.

But worship can easily get off track. If we worship only to get from God, we miss the whole point. Now we are just using God for our own pleasure and we are worshipping ourselves. As a pastor I sense this when we have a service that is more celebrative in nature and people say "THAT was worship." What they mean [sometimes] by this, is that it was good for them; and thus they have worshipped self [what I value] and missed God. [It is sort of liking kissing someone, while looking at yourself in a mirror and saying to yourself..."I look good, and I'm a good kisser" I hate to say it...but I really don't ever want to be kissed by someone like's gross]

God on the other hand is simply looking for authentic worship. A body yearning for God, dancing for God, hands in the air. A heart clouded by doubt that is trying to press through pain to again value God above their own temporal struggles. A mind who is letting music and lyrics guide them to repentance...celebration...hope...even guilt [read the Psalms] as the means through which we again come to God and say he is great and better than everything [including our sin] Worship is not just triumphant or celebrative feelings rushing through is whatever is in us rushing into the presence of God. It is our true and naked selves dancing, bowing down, confessing, every ounce of our being to him.


We are on mission for God as an act of worship. Worthy are his commands, and we should be doing them.


We are worshipping God for his sake and we are focused solely on him [we spend enough of our time focused on ourselves]. It is a special time that is focused on him as the audience of our ardor and extravagant love. And in the midst of loving him fully...he meets us and loves us back.

We are in the baby stages of being missional in many ways. And we are still learning to worship. But let us all help one another into being true, loving Children of the King of Glory



Anonymous said...

"A heart clouded by doubt that is trying to press through pain to again value God above their own temporal struggles.".....that,s me....I want to give him that pain as my offering.


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