Overseers Adam Diehl & Jon Paul Robles

How Should We Worship? Part 4 of 4

Posted on December 12th, 2011 by adamdiehl

This post is the first in a series of blog posts about how we should worship. Previous posts can be found here, here, and here.

6) We Worship  With Physical Expressions

The list below is by no means exhaustive. Nor is this list prescriptive (you must do these things . . .) This list is meant to be descriptive (here are some things you can do . . .).

7) We Worship With Our Lives

This is taught in Romans 12:1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies [entire lives] as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.

“If you are not a private worshipper, you will not likely be a public worshipper. You may go to church, and go through all the motions. But you will not likely really worship. Trying to worship publicly, not having worshipped privately, is like the dry heaves: You are trying to bring up something you don’t have in you.” – Paul Faulkner

How Should We Worship? Part 3 of 4

Posted on November 28th, 2011 by adamdiehl

This post is the first in a series of blog posts about how we should worship. Previous posts can be found here and here.

4) We Worship God With Our Emotions

I wrote about this point a lot at my personal blog, www.adamdiehl.com on this post.

This point can be explained simply with some scriptures. As you read this, I challenge you to imagine these worshipful commands without emotion.

Romans 12:11-12 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.

Psalm 47:1
Clap your hands, all you nations;
shout to God with cries of joy.

Philippians 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!

Habakkuk 2:20
The LORD is in his holy temple;
let all the earth be silent before him.

Now remember, we do not worship God because of emotion – but we do worship God with emotion.

5) We Worship With Our Body

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says, Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.

‘Nuf said there.

How Should We Worship? Part 2 of 4

Posted on November 14th, 2011 by adamdiehl

This post is the first in a series of blog posts about how we should worship. The first can be found here.

2) We should Worship With our Spirit, and . . .

3) We should Worship With our Mind (Understanding)

1 Corinthians 14:15 says, So what shall I do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my understanding; I will sing with my spirit, but I will also sing with my understanding.

This distinction between worshiping with Spirit and Mind is, contextually, speaking about tongues. When we worship with our mind, its “God I praise you because . . .” and then we declare why God is awesome. When we worship with our spirit, it is not an intellectual operation, it’s something . . . deeper. Yes, this absolutely means worshiping by speaking in tongues. But at the same time I think it also is a “heart cry” out to God.

My church does the song, “From the Inside Out” from Hillsong. The chorus ends with the lyrics, “From the inside out Lord my soul cries out” and then is immediately followed by several measures of a musical interlude. That musical interlude is not a chance for the congregation to notice how wonderful we all sound (although, we do sound pretty good if I can that…wink wink nudge nudge). The musical break exists for a chance for our heart to cry out to God – however that may look. So we sing with our understanding, “From the inside out, Lord my soul cries out” and then we have a musical break to leave space for our soul to cry out to God.

How Should We Worship? Part 1 of 4

Posted on October 31st, 2011 by adamdiehl

This post is the first in a series of blog posts about how we should worship. Be sure to subscribe to the RSS feed or sign up to receive email updates (in the sidebar to the right) so you don’t miss out!

1) We should worship with the “S” Word:  Sacrifice

I call sacrifice the “S Word” because nobody ever likes to talk about it. When people discuss worship they often paint a picture of a bright sky with fluffy clouds – as if Christianity was always perfect and honky-dorey. If we want to worship rightly, we need to offer God a sacrifice of worship (this has little to do with music). Worship is about humbling yourself before God; breaking your pride. Jesus did not die on a cross just so that we could be comfortable – he expects a sacrifice of worship back to Him. Let’s see this in scripture:

Romans 12:1-2 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies [entire lives] as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.  Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Hebrews 13:15 Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name.

1 Peter 2:5 you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

Pslams 51:17
My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart
you, God, will not despise.

What Does God Want In Our Worship?

Posted on October 17th, 2011 by adamdiehl

In Exodus 25, God established what he wanted in a worship service. Let’s take a look at three things God wants in Worship. These are reflections on notes that I took when I heard Jack Hayford speak on this subject.

God wants to dwell among us

In Exodus 25:8, God said, “‘Then have them make a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them.’” (NIV)

The first “point of awesomeness” from this verse is that when God said “I want to dwell among you” – He didn’t mean it in an “atmospherical” sense. He meant literal. God was like, “Build me a physical house!” (much of this chapter and subsequent chapters describe how that house was to be built).

The second “point of awesomeness” from this verse is that God STILL wants to dwell among us – and STILL its not in an atmospherical sense. John 17:24 shows this quite clearly. The difference between then and now (the testaments), is that now God lives inside us. Our spirits are the tabernacle of God. When we worship, God is glorified!

God wants to meet with us

Exodus 25:22 specifically states that God wants to meet with us. Again, this is a good spot for a link to John 17:24. In my bible, next to that verse I have written in pen, “Holy Crud! God WANTS to be with me!?”

This seriously blows my mind.

God wants to speak to us

Also in verse 22, God said that he wanted to meet with us, to give us his commands.

Now let’s be honest… that kinda sucks – at least on the surface. To say that God wants to be with us is awesome. But then to find out that He wants to just tell us what to do? Let’s not have a sense of false-righteousness – nobody likes to relinquish their choices for someone elses. That’s not fun for anybody. But it’s what’s best for us. It’s just like a good father will make a kid who fell asleep with candy in his mouth get up and brush his teeth (or else his teeth will fall out!), our good Father will instruct us in how we should go as well.

I want to have the same joy that the Psalmist felt when he wrote about the word of God: “I rejoice in following your statutes / as one rejoices in great riches. / I meditate on your precepts / and consider your ways. / I delight in your decrees; / I will not neglect your word.” (119:14-16).

God, when we lead people towards you – we ask for Your presence to infiltrate our room. Meet with us, Father. And may we delight in Your commands – speak Your will to Your church.

Why Do We Worship?

Posted on October 3rd, 2011 by adamdiehl

Have you ever wondered why we should worship? Let me give you three reasons Christians should truly worship Jesus.

We were created for it.

Revelation 4:11 and 1 Peter 2:9 say it all. ‘Nuff said there.

God told us to do it . . .

. . . 5,094 times. It’s the most frequent command in the Bible! Need I say more? Okay maybe just one more . . .

Worship is a response.

I wrote about that here. God is worth a response. Has God done anything in your life AT ALL? If he has, then respond in Worship!

    “The ‘Why-How’ Model” of Worship:
    Worship in the Psalms

    Posted on September 19th, 2011 by adamdiehl

    To understand Christian worship rightly, we need to understand the model laid out for us in the book of Psalms. I like to call it the “Why-How Model.”

    Check out Psalm 100 (NIV):

    A psalm. For giving grateful praise.

    1 Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth.
    2 Worship the LORD with gladness;
    come before him with joyful songs.
    3 Know that the LORD is God.
    It is he who made us, and we are his;
    we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

    4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving
    and his courts with praise;
    give thanks to him and praise his name.
    5 For the LORD is good and his love endures forever;
    his faithfulness continues through all generations.

    In this passage, verse 5 answers the question, “Why?” It’s because the Lord is good and his love endures forever! Verses 1-4 explain how we should worship. Shouting, singing joyfully, being led by Him (v. 3), and being thankful are all ways we can worship God.

    Check out another example, from the first part of Psalm 103 (NIV)

    1 Praise the LORD, my soul;
    all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
    2 Praise the LORD, my soul,
    and forget not all his benefits—
    3 who forgives all your sins
    and heals all your diseases,
    4 who redeems your life from the pit
    and crowns you with love and compassion,
    5 who satisfies your desires with good things
    so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

    6 The LORD works righteousness
    and justice for all the oppressed.

    In this example, verses 3-6 explain WHY we worship: he forgives, heals, and saves us. Verses 1 and 2 give us specific ways that we can worship: with my whole heart, and by remembering.

    What examples can you find in the Psalms?

    I fear I might be getting up on a soapbox too much with this post, but this particular issue is very important to me and I think it really matters for the integrity of our worship in our churches.

    Independence Day is coming up soon (It’s July 4th this year, isn’t it?). Most churches in America will be doing something to honor the holiday. Most often, this is done with artistic elements – songs and videos. I don’t have a problem with this. Using current events to demonstrate spiritual truth is great! Praying for our country and leaders is mandated by scripture. Giving thanks to God for the freedom we have to worship is also great. These examples could be illustrated with this picture. I am a Christian. I am also an American. They are not the same thing.

    Allow me to be clear – we should live our Christianity in the context of being an American (if you’re an American). I love that. Both the blue and the red circles above can and do have a place in the church. I have no problem with that.

    However, from my perspective I think the American Church has somehow weaved together their Christianity with Patriotism in an unhealthy way. It’s like some churches treat patriotic seasons with equal significance as Easter and Christmas! Some of the videos that are marketed to churches for use on Patriotic holidays make me wonder if we’re here to worship Jesus or worship America! When we do this we’re blending our blue and red circles and it makes church . . . something different.

    Think of the words to songs that some churches use in their worship service. “My country, ’tis of thee – the sweet land of liberty – OF THEE I SING” ??? SERIOUSLY?! I thought we were here to sing about Jesus! This song has absolutely no place during a worship set; the title and first line specifically state that it is about a nation (not God)! Similar connotations could be made to other songs which imply God saved our country (and nobody else), or that sing continuously about the attributes of a nation instead of the attributes of God. Anyone who insists of blending the “Star Spangled Banner” or “My Country Tis of Thee” in a worship set needs to develop a Biblical definition of Worship! God must be the focus of our worship – anything else is just music.

    Again, allow me to be clear – I’m not anti-America. I love America. I’m not anti-patriotic songs in church. I’m just against weaving them together as if they were the same thing (and unless we are extremely intentional about it, that’s exactly how it will be perceived).

    For example – I try to leave out patriotic songs from the worship set but instead we may do an instrumental patriotic song during offering. Or if we show a patriotic video, we may follow it up with a prayer for our country. We’re living out our Christianity in the context of our location.

    Worship leaders and Pastors in America – as you prepare for this upcoming Independence Day church services, ask yourself: “If an English speaking Christian foreigner came to my church this weekend, would they be able to worship with us or would they be confused about whether or not they’re in a church?”

    Defining Worship.

    Posted on June 13th, 2011 by adamdiehl

    What is worship? What comes to mind when you hear that word? Some common misconceptions may include: a sunday morning program, traditional church music, contemporary church music, Christian symbols or ordinances (remembering things, liturgical things), emotional freedom (“Spirit directed spontaneity”), emotional restraint, preaching and teaching, boring, irrelevant, God at work.

    There is certainly an element of truth in all of these descriptions. But I like to think that worship cannot be defined. The idea of worship is just too big for a definition. The closest thing we can get to it is a description of worship. So here’s my best stab at it.

    First, we must look at where worship begins. John 4:23 says, (words of Jesus), “Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.” (NIV, emphasis mine). Did you catch that? I made it bold and italics so you would. There’s a lot of good stuff to pull from that verse, but what I’m trying to point out is that God is seeking true worshipers! God is seeking US! We are those who are sought. Even now as I type these words at my kitchen table I am overjoyed over this. I’m reminded of John 17:24 that recounts the prayer of Jesus, “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am . . .” Next to this verse, in my bible, I wrote with a pen, “Holy Crud! God wants to be with me!?” So where does worship start? It starts with God. He’s the initiator of the worship relationship.

    Second, we need to look at the nature of the worshiper. Ever since the beginning of time – humans have instinctively found something to offer their full spiritual devotion. Once we realize the glory of God that Jesus wants us to be a part of – we enter into worship. (Notice I’m not saying anything about music right here).

                The Worship Model (from Pete Sanchez Jr.)

                1) God is actively seeking out worshipers (John 4:23 – We are the sought!)

                2) Humans instinctively find some object of full spiritual devotion.

                3) At the point where the sought discovers the unmatched worth of the seeker “combustion” (our worship) occurs.

                Can Worship Songs Be Too Theological?

                Posted on April 11th, 2011 by adamdiehl

                In a word – no. I do not think a worship song can be TOO theological.

                However – I DO believe a song can be so theological that it is completely unclear and vague — when not in balance. Or to be put more simply, a worship song can be more theological for its own good (if placed incorrectly). Remember – I believe leading worship is leading people through an experience with God – a journey. If you go on a theological journey with no regard for the congregation, you may have worshiped but you have not led.

                For example, what on earth does it mean to raise our Ebenezer to God? The verse in the Hymn, Come Thou Fount reads, “Here I raise mine Ebenezer; hither by thy help I’m come.” It’s deeply theological but for most of us its entirely useless — information without knowledge usually is. If you don’t know what ‘raising your Ebenezer’ means – then you probably shouldn’t keep singing it. And more pertinent for leaders — if your congregation doesn’t know what it means, you shouldn’t be leading them through it. (By the way, this explains it).

                Another example is the modern song from Misty Edwards, Relent. The first portion of this song is a quotation from the end of Song of Solomon: “I’ll set You as a seal upon my heart; As a seal upon my arm.” It goes on with further quotation from the book. Talk about theological! I’ve heard argument on who is the speaker at this passage. And is the passage speaking of the church and Christ or solely a man and a woman? This is intensely theological, and for most of our churches, it would also be a useless lyric (if we don’t know what we’re singing). Furthermore – your church/pastor might not agree with its’ interpretation!

                The point I’m trying to make is that “theologically thick and accurate” will not always yield a good worship song (however a good worship song will always be theologically thick and accurate). A good worship song will help your congregation worship God. This is impossible if its over their heads and they “know not what they do.”

                Solutions

                Adjust it. Changing scripture is a no-no. But worship songs are not scripture (even hymns!). If adjusting a word or phrase of a song will help people worship, do it! (I strongly urge you to talk to your pastor first!). Gateway Worship decided to replace the original “Ebenezer” verse of Come Thou Fount with a completely new lyric about how Christ has “came and rescued me.”

                Teach It. Sometimes a theological idea or word can be taught during a worship set between songs, enabling the next song to be understood. Other times it needs to come from the pastor during his message (especially if it will take a long time to explain). Misty Edwards wrote her song, Relent at the International House of Prayer in Kansas City. If you’ve ever been there, you know that they have a strong emphasis on studying Song of Solomon. The preachers speak about it frequently. It’s a big deal to her group. When she leads this song with her group – they get it. Her group knows that her lyric comes from Song of Solomon, Chapter 8; and they all know exactly what that passage means to them. It’s great there – but it’s probably not going to be great in your church unless your congregation has a united theological understanding of Song of Solomon.

                The Bottom Line: This is not a cookie cutter situation. Some songs are “too theological” to be clear in different situations, and in different groups. The bottom line is that I think we need to pay attention to what we’re singing and who we’re leading. What do you think?

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