WHAT TO EXPECT IN WORSHIP
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I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord!” -Psalm 122:1
We are glad that you have chosen to worship the only true God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) with us. Although you may not see every element present every Sunday, our worship includes several different elements; below is a description and reason for the inclusion of each.
Worship is simply ascribing worth to God; Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It is proclaiming to all present and to the world that there is no God like our God who is just and mighty in power and goodness and grace.
The entire Word of God gives commands and examples of how singing is a part of worship. Psalm 100:1-2 says, “Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing!” In the New Testament we have Paul commanding singing in two specific places Colossians and Ephesians; in Ephesians 5:19 he says, “addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart.” Our worship in song is a combination of reaching into the past with the great hymns of the faith and into the present with theologically sound contemporary worship songs that exalt Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
CALL TO WORSHIP
We believe that individual worship is a way of life and should be going on all day, every day in the lives of God’s people but there are special times when we gather as a group to worship God together. Our Call to Worship marks the beginning of that corporate worship. The Call to Worship is a reading from Sacred Scripture reminding us of why we are here, what we are to do together and who we are worshiping.
Prayer is communication with God and there are several elements of public prayer. We believe that prayer demonstrates our dependence upon God. When we praise God in prayer we are acknowledging that He is all powerful and any good that has happened to us is because of His power and goodness. When we confess our sins we are acknowledging that if He did not cleanse us from sin we would have no hope. And when we ask Him for things we are acknowledging that every good and perfect gift comes from Him. There are portions of our corporate worship where we set apart time for specific elements of prayer.
CONFESSION OF SIN
We believe that many churches have ceased talking about sin. This is unfortunate since a large portion of the Old Testament (the prophets) is all about repentance. In the New Testament John the Baptist, Jesus and the Apostles all came with an initial and continued message of repentance which involves the recognition and confession of sin. In Colossians 1 we read these words, “And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him…Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ.” Christ’s goal in reconciling us to God was to present us “holy and blameless and above reproach” This involves the confession and the turning away from sin. Some have argued that since people get “beat up all week” they need an uplifting message on Sunday mornings. We believing that an “uplifting” message or as Paul calls it “building up” others includes reminding them that sin (corporate and personal) is the cause of all of the problems in the world (general and personal). For this reason we take time during our worship of God to reflect on how we have offended a Holy God, how that sin hinders our services and effectiveness as His children engaged in His mission and how the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin, making us fit for service and fellowship with God and His people.
ASSURANCE OF GOD'S GRACIOUS PARDON
Following closely along with confession of sin is the assurance from God’s word that we are pardoned and forgiven from all of our sins. So whereas we acknowledge and confess our sins; feeling remorse over them we do not remain in a state of remorse rather we rejoice in the promise that if we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us from our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Our Assurance of God’s Gracious Pardon is a reading from Sacred Scripture proclaiming the wonderful forgiveness extended to us from God.
We believe that every thing we have has been given to us by God to use for His glory and the good of all His creation. Because of this we believe that an essential act of worship for the people of God is to give. This is a command in both the Old Testament and New Testament with Jesus speaking more about giving than anyone else proclaiming that where a man’s treasure is that is where is heart will be also. Malachi 3:10 says, “Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.” The basis and reason why we give is found in 2 Corinthians 8:9, “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.”
Paul said, “Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture.” The word of God is quick and powerful and so the simple reading of Sacred Scripture brings instruction, refreshing, hope and healing. In addition to the Call to Worship, the Assurance of God’s Gracious Pardon and the reading of Scripture preceding the instruction portion of corporate worship from time-to-time we have extended times of reading from the Word of God.
MEET AND GREET
The Psalmist declared, “Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!” Every Sunday we set apart a time for us to greet one another in the name of the Lord. In worship there is a vertical aspect where we commune with God but there is also a horizontal aspect where we commune with each other. We were created for relationships with God and each other so we want to provide an opportunity to connect with each other during corporate worship.
INSTRUCTION FROM THE WORD
Faith, which is the means by which we are made right with God, comes from hearing the Word of God as Paul tells us in Romans 10. Because of that the largest portion of our worship is hearing instruction from God’s word in the form of preaching. Once again John the Baptist, Jesus and the Apostles all came preaching. During the instruction portion of worship you will hear an expositional message from the word of God. We are committed to preaching through whole books of the Bible and reserve topical sermon series for the summer and special occasions. We have a strong commitment to sound biblical teaching both in the pulpit and all of our Sunday school classes, LifeGroups and Bible Studies.
THE LORD'S SUPPER
Twice a month we celebrate the Lord’s Supper. This meal, instituted by Jesus Himself, was to be continued per His command, when He said, “Do this in remembrance of Me.” The Lord’s Supper proclaims the sacrificial death of Jesus, the spotless Lamb of God, on our behalf. His death satisfied the wrath of God as He was punished for us. We believe that the Lord’s Supper is more than just a memorial service, but that it also involves spiritual nourishment of believers who “feed” on the body and blood of Jesus in a spiritual way. This meal is only for those who are followers of Jesus.
We close every time of corporate worship with a Benediction. A benediction is a blessing. In Numbers 6 we read, “Thus you shall bless the people of Israel: you shall say to them, ‘The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.’ So shall they put my name upon the people of Israel, and I will bless them.” Because we have been blessed by God we can therefore go out into the world and be a blessing to others.