Worship Expression in 2013

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” -John 13:34-35

What does the church look like to unbelievers? More importantly what do we want unbelievers to say about the church going forward? It’s the new year and a time for new beginnings. An opportunity to shrug off regrets, pull yourself up out the miry pit of self condemnation and declare to the masses- “this year will be different and better than the last!” Many of us have a bitter after-taste in our mouth from the over heated discussions with family and friends during the past election year. Lines have been drawn in the sand and things were said and done that I am sure many wish could have been said and done differently. If you are a Christian it was a crucial time to express the truth of God’s Word and love.  So much of the events of last year were tragic; hurricane Sandy, CT school shooting, presidential election, gas prices, political spin, economy  etc. It left many with a sense of hopelessness. If any of those lost sinners or lonely saints decided to give “church” a chance in the midst of the 2012 tragedy, hopefully they got the impression of a Church that is loving, united and full of hope. But what’s done is done and what’s been said can’t be taken back. So regardless of how the Church came out of 2012 let’s all agree that we could have done more regardless, to impact this world with the gospel of the Kingdom of Heaven; and 2013 is full of new morning mercies to be the real church, the body of Christ to a hopeless world.

How does that translate into our worship? How does that new morning mercy and commitment to love deeper translate in our everyday worship? Well God’s word says we should, “speak to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father; and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.” (Ephesians 5:19-21) Our personal and corporate worship should convey the love, unity and hope of the gospel. Over the next few weeks I want to look deeper into those three points and see how each one can impact our expression of worship in 2013. How can we covey the love of God through our spiritual songs? How can we communicate the unity of the body of Christ through our music on a Sunday morning? How can we express our joy over a living hope in our hymns? These are the things I want to explore over the next few blogs with the intent of creating an atmosphere for these three things to flourish through our worship in the church. As you prepare to gather together and minister to others this weekend, meditate on these things. Lets put away pride and pull on a garment of humility; laying down our most heart felt good intentioned idea’s from 2012 and simply join the work that God is already doing now in 2013 by getting to the basis of Christ’s commandment- to share the gospel of His love, unity and hope.

May God bless and strengthen you in this new year!


Life In Progress; Cursed, Alive and Thriving

It has been a month since my last blog post. The only excuse I have is to say that life is in progress, and the Lord is continuing to open my eyes to so many wonderful things in His Kingdom that it is difficult to capture it all in a blog. So I wanted to give everyone a quick update and share just a couple of points in relation to Christ’s bride (the church) and to whole hearted worship.

First, God has been showing me just how beautiful His bride can be. I have been trying to keep in shape by running on a regular basis. It has been a great time of reflection and perseverance. A while back, I pushed myself a little to hard and really began to feel my body beginning to rebel against my inner spirit’s desire to press on. If you ever run with music, I encourage you to run while listening to the newest album from Andrew Peterson (Light for The Lost Boy) and put it on the first song called, “Come Back Soon”. My heart felt as though it would burst from my body as it joined with this hypnotic, haunting song singing out the pain and cry of God’s creation, longing for restoration. In that moment God began to show me the beauty of His creation. The tree’s, the waters, birds and the sounds of the forest all around me; beautiful as it was, still cursed but still thriving. How could that be? Cursed yet thriving with life? It could be so because of God’s creating voice, speaking, sustaining, giving life inward to all of His creation. Our bodies much the same, are dying on the outside, decaying and wasting away no matter how much we exercise. But, submitted to God, alive with the Holy Spirit, we are being filled with eternal, sanctifying waters of life. Renewed and cleansed by the perfect sacrifice of Jesus the Anointed One. Cursed and broken but thriving in hope and the assurance of eternal life.  -Romans 8:18-25

Second, I continue to get glimpses of what worshiping in spirit and truth should look like. I continue to get more encouragement and confirmation from the Lord, that the time is now, to start a candid, honest conversation about our corporate worship gatherings. To examine our hearts, confess sin before the Lord and to one another, to reach for the higher calling of God, to “be Holy” as “He is Holy” (1 Pet 1:16). Some of what I am beginning to realize as being key to worshiping in Spirit and Truth, is this pursuit of Holiness. As I just hinted at in the previous paragraph  we wont be cured of our sinful cursed bodies until heaven, but the pursuit- while we are here in this world, must be continued at any cost. We must not sacrifice the call to holiness for anything in or of this life. Peter says we have been “reborn- not from seed that eventually dies but from seed that is eternal- through the word of God that lives and endures forever.” -1 Pet 1:23.  Knowing this truth, revealed by the Spirit, we can confidently reach for holiness. So how does this help in our corporate worship gatherings? Well, 1 Peter 1:22 tells us that, “Now that you have taken care to purify your souls through your submission to the truth, you can experience real love for each other. So love each other deeply from a pure heart.”  As we embrace the assurance of these truths and the pursuit of holiness; we do so, so that when we gather together as the church, we can experience fullness of joy, together with and through the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. (1 John 1:1-4). I dont know about you but that is the kind of corporate worship gathering I want to walk into on any given day of the week.

So, my hope is that in the near future, I can put together a panel of lead worshipers; people who I have come to know deeply and intimately through the ministry of love in Christ, to have deep meaningful discussions about worship in 2012 and onward. Through those discussions I believe the Lord will be speaking and out of those fires, iron sharpening iron, we will have burned away the dross to pull out a refined jewel from the Lord. What a wonderful joy it will be then as His bride gathers to worship and we offer up that jewel back to Him in true spirit and truth.

Thank you for taking this journey with me. Let silence and what is practical in the eyes of the American church, kneel in reverence to Kingship of the Lord Jesus Christ.

by, e. perry

[All scriptures listed in this article came from The Voice translation]