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The Highlights!

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As a middle school student, I was entranced by ESPN’s annual airings of NFL Films’ “Super Bowl Memories”, a 30 minute recap of each Super Bowl, so at the time there were 11-12 hours of this series! I recorded them on VHS. I became quite an expert. Every scoring play, every interception or crucial goal line stand, it was included in those specials with a soaring score and dramatic narration. It treated a game of men running around chasing a leather ball like something of universal importance.

One way to describe our worship on Sundays, is that it plays out highlights as well. These are highlights of God’s dramatic rescue that He orchestrated for us.  We confess and receive forgiveness! We sing hymns about the Cross and our new life in Jesus! We cheer over baptisms—a “spike the ball in the end zone” moment in worship if ever there was one. And we cap it off with communion, Jesus Himself present with us.  In this case, the subject doesn’t need selling as to its importance. God’s relationship to us is of utmost significance, so those highlights matter!

So you always remember the highlights.  And then there are personal highlights as well. One that sticks with me from Father’s Day is belting out our worship songs with my 7 year old daughter. She loves to sing and when I challenged her to drown out my post-VBS croaky voice, she did her best! And we sang together about those dramatic moves that God made for our benefit.  Can’t wait to participate in that again next week, replaying those highlights never gets old. Let’s do that together!

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God Shows Up…and it’s Worship

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I didn’t start out thinking about the Ascension of Jesus (which we celebrate on Sunday) for today’s blog post, but it ended up sneaking around and hitting me from behind anyway…

I was with a group of men at our “Guys’ Weekend” last week, down in Patterson, MO. Everyone was in their lawn chairs, we were in a circle around a fire ring. It was our closing worship service.
What made it worship? Jesus was there. (I know, Jesus is God, He’s everywhere, but everywhere isn’t necessarily worship.)

So what made THIS worship?
God’s people were gathered for His purpose, even though they were wearing muddy sandals and old shirts. Speaking the words of the Apostles’ Creed reminded us who we were there for.
God spoke—participants read various passages from His Word. Words of comfort, or challenge, of identity, and of His love and grace.
God’s forgiveness was delivered—we confessed our sins and God assured us that our sin is gone!
God invited us to His table—where Jesus was present with the bread and the wine (if you’re wondering, our altar was an old wooden Radio Flyer sled from the barn.)

Whether you worship in a pew or at a retreat, God sets the table and His people show up. And he brings the goods—His good news, and Himself! That’s what he promised his disciples would happen after He ascended into heaven (promised before his death in John 16, after His resurrection in Matthew 28, and at His ascension in Acts 1)—it’s His presence, through His Holy Spirit, with His people, empowering us for His purpose! That’s what makes worship unique, and that’s what ties worship together whether you’re at a farm or a cathedral. Come and enjoy His presence!

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