From the Pastor
Pastor Mike Burns
903.567.2072 (Ext. 3002)
Many people live in cities where sunsets and mountain
horizons have become distant memories. The majestic stars are blocked out by
the smoky mists of industry. Fotrunately, for my family we live in a location
where sunsets and moonrises can be majestic. In fact, all my neighbors have a
code we text to alert each other when
such an event is “awe inspiring.” In other words, go outside and take a look!
Before we can say anything about worship, we must come to
grips with this idea of wonder. For worship can never be the sole work of the
rational mind. In the presence of Almighty God, as the Apostle John discovered,
the sense of wonder comes naturally and leaves us changed. But without the
capability of awe, where we stand at the edge of ourselves and gaze beyond, we
will never come into His presence.
Experience vs. Event
Since the days of our first parents in the Garden of Eden,
worship has walked a tightrope between lifestyle and liturgy. When God walked
in the Garden with His first children in the cool of the day, Adam and Eve
worshiped Him as we should—without interruption. The Creator and His creatures
experienced a continual, ongoing exchange of provision and praise. God provided
everything Adam and Eve needed, and they responded with praise—with gratitude,
reverence, honor, submission, and holy fear.
Yet the experience of worship was soon transformed into an
event. Adam and Eve sinned, their state of worship was interrupted, and they
were expelled from God’s presence. The next thing we see is their sons engaged
in an act of worship—the bringing of offerings to the Lord. Instead of worship
being the uninterrupted experience of man, sin necessitated the scheduling of
worship to a time and a place (Genesis 4:3-4).
Appointed vs. Perpetual
Reading the elaborate and detailed plans God gave to Israel
by which they were to worship in the Tabernacle illustrates the legitimacy of
appointed times and places of worship. And yet as a backdrop to the appointed
times of worship were the perpetual acts of worship which went on before the
Lord day and night (Exodus 30:8; Leviticus 6:12; Leviticus 24:5-9).
But when we get to the New Testament, we find something
different. Christians are the new temple and priests of God (I Timothy 3:15; I
Peter 2:5, 9). Like the priesthood of old, we are to worship at appointed times
as well as to worship perpetually.
Be regular at appointed times of corporate worship.
It has become increasingly popular in our culture for
Christians to exempt themselves from corporate worship. Not only is this
unbiblical (Hebrews 10:24-25), it has the same effect as pulling a log out of a
fire. The personal fire for worship of God burns bright when fueled by the
worship of many.
Be regular at appointed times of personal worship.
It has also become widespread for Christians to plan time
with God while driving, showering, exercising, and mowing the lawn. I am
convinced that this practice should not be a substitute for a personal
"quiet" time with God. Distractions do just that—they distract! Make
sure you are setting aside priority time daily to be alone with God in prayer,
Bible reading, and worship.
Cultivate the practice of unscheduled worship.
Everyone has times during the day when discretionary minutes
present themselves. Instead of turning on the television, flipping through a
magazine, calling a friend, or dozing off, get in the practice of redeeming the
time to focus on the Lord. Communing continually with God throughout the day
and night is the experience of worship (Psalm 16:7; 63:6; 119:48).
Published on Monday, February 11, 2013 @ 9:48 AM CDT