Our core values at Alpine are the important truths that help to guide us in all aspects of what we do. Let’s continue taking a deeper look at what they mean. This week we examine:
Worship: We encounter God in worship to praise God and be rejuvenated in spirit.
Worship happens when we encounter God and respond to God’s glory and majesty. There are many ways to worship God (not just by singing – although that is a common response). One of the effects of worship is that we are changed by the process. It is difficult to encounter God and not be touched by God. But because of our freedoms, we find it easy to build barriers that block God’s influence and transformative presence from making deep rooted change in our lives. These barriers can be placed intentionally or unintentionally. They result from holding on to bitterness, jealousy, rage, or contempt in our hearts. The can come from false expectations of worship (an expectation of being entertained during worship services for example). Or they can arise from bad theology or images of who God really is. These are a few examples – but the result is that we can be in God’s presence and barely be moved to worship.
One of the areas of our lives that we most often keep secreted away from God’s presence is our brokenness. In our most broken parts we often find deep shame, humiliation, regret, and pain. Deep down inside we know that we are not whole, that our lives are filled with pain, but often life has told as there is little that can be done. So we fill our lives with distractions. We develop hobbies and activities that either mask our pain or deaden our ability to feel. We carry this attitude with us when we worship. This is tragic as these are the areas of our lives that God longs to heal. If worship leads to transformation then it also leads to healing. One reason why we fail to receive deep healing in our souls is that we have closed off ourselves in worship through these barriers that we have built.
Do you come to worship willing to be wounded, willing to let your defenses down a bit? We all know that finding physical healing through a doctor can lead to pain and discomfort. But knowing that the pain brings healing helps to motivate us when we experience the rebuilding of tissue and muscle after a surgery or knee replacement. The same is true for soul healing. Our soul can be healed through worship – but sometimes it will involve pain and discomfort. This is natural. For this healing to happen though we have to allow our defenses down. We need to get rid of the barriers that we place that prevent of from worshiping God with all our hearts, mind, souls, and bodies. We need to open ourselves so that we can be touched and moved by God’s presence. For example; if a certain prayer or song or Scripture passage presents something that may not square with our life, are we open to asking why? Or are we quick to write it off as something for another person and not us? Do we allow who and what we encounter in worship to touch the parts of our lives that we keep hidden? For many of us this is the challenge (and the gift) of worshiping God.
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