May 29, 2017

Healthy Churches: Spirit and Truth Worship

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A Note from Luminex: This morning’s blog post kicks off a 10-week series on “Healthy Churches.” Each week, one of our stable of leaders/bloggers will share thoughts on a significant aspect of healthy churches. Enjoy!

When I was first asked to write a blog about what it means that “true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth” (John 4:23), I began to reflect on the origins of my practical understanding of worship.  Let me list some random, but very influential, memories from my formative years growing up on a dairy farm in Zeeland, Michigan.

I loved to “go to church” because so many of those old (to me) people who treated me special seemed to really enjoy being there. Every Saturday night the offering envelope was prepared and set on the edge of the kitchen table so it wouldn’t be forgotten.  (On those rare occasions we had to miss worship on Sunday the envelope would stay right there until the next Sunday).  Some of the garden produce always seemed to end up at the home of the single mom who lived across the field.  When I came in from evening chores, mom was often sitting in the rocking chair singing from the worn out hymnal. Other farmers liked to buy cattle from my dad because they said they knew he would be honest about what he was selling. The list could easily go on, but here’s the point: I learned that worship wasn’t about style, but about inner joy that shone through. It wasn’t limited to Sunday, but was meant to be a daily expression. It didn’t only occur in church, but was a way of life. It wasn’t a piece of the pie; it was the filling inside the pie.

The Samaritan woman with whom Jesus engaged in dialogue tried to move the discussion from the personal to the impersonal, from the “who and why” of worship to the “where and how.” But Jesus was determined to take her deeper. And so should we. There’s nothing wrong with focusing energy and attention on putting together a great worship service that helps people focus on and fall deeper in love with our amazing God. We should certainly do that! But healthy churches pay as much or more attention to developing Christ followers who integrate worship so seamlessly into their lifestyles that they become unaware they are even doing it. Our amazing God deserves to have our worshipful attention lived out in every detail of our lives seven days a week. Then we will be worshiping in spirit and in truth, wherever we are or whatever we are doing. Then we will truly be declaring His worth!

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