Worship

Gathered worship has been one of the areas which has felt costly in the last 2 years hasn’t it? As we were forced to move from corporate spaces of encounter to more individual spaces of engagement in our homes. While this season taught us much about creating space to meet with God at home, one thing we might have lost is a collective understanding of the distinctive importance and identity of the people of God. The people of God are a singing people. Corporate worship has been part of the identity of the gathered people of God since the Exodus from Egypt right at the beginning of the history of Israel. There is something distinctive and of eternal significance about the people of God singing the praises of God in the presence of God. Our desire over this month is to recapture that vision for corporate worship and deepen our understanding around its significance in the life of Central.

1. Worship is Central

 Ephesians 5:18-20

Zak Robb - 3 Jul 2022

Corporate worship has been part of the identity of the gathered people of God since the Exodus from Egypt. There is something distinctive and of eternal significance about the people of God singing the praises of God in the presence of God (Redman). Ephesians 5 offers us just one example of where we are given clear instruction around the importance of corporate worship and the role it plays in the life of the church. Worship is the call on the people of God whenever we gather together. It draws us together, it connects us at heart level to the presence of God and it shifts our perspective as we reflect on and thank God for the work He has done.

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2. Worship is Encounter

 2 Corinthians 3:12-18

Lyndsey Robb - 10 Jul 2022

One of our core values as a church is encounter. We believe in a God who is relational, who desires to meet with us and who comes close to us, and that when we meet him it changes us. We see time and time again through scripture that God interacts this way with His people. God reveals himself, and it calls out a response from us. In 2 Corinthians 3, we read about the freedom and identity we have because of the work of Jesus. This new life in Jesus means that we can come before God with expectation that we will meet with Him and be changed in his presence. Every, single, time.

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3. Worship is Undignified

 2 Samuel 6:12-22

Mae Moore - 17 Jul 2022

Worship is at the heart of what it means to be a gathered people, worship is a space of encounter, and worship is a space of unreserved adoration. We see that nowhere more powerfully than in the worship of King David. David is so overjoyed at the presence of God returning to his people that he sings and dances (even to the point that it embarrasses his family!). But he proclaims he will become even more undignified still, so that God might be given the honour He deserves. When we come together in worship, we are called to come with a desire to see Jesus' name increased and our name decreased. And yet often we can content ourselves with singing while half-asleep. Have we become complacent after these last years? What might it look like to worship God when we come together with a passionate vision to see Jesus name raised up in the life of our church and in this city. Not motivated by a sense of obligation, but like David, as we find ways to remind ourselves that the living God is present with us.

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4. Worship is Battle

 2 Chronicles 20:1-24

Eddie Backler - 24 Jul 2022

King Jehoshaphat was a man who feared God and trusted in Him unreservedly as he lead the Israelite people. He sought God’s voice in times of difficulty, and prioritised the right and good worship of God in the temple. In 2 Chronicles 20 the Israelite people are outnumbered by a large army advancing against them, but Jehoshaphat trusts that God will be with them and will fight for them. As they readied themselves for battle, Jehoshaphat chose to position the worship leaders at the front of the army, rather than his strongest fighters. As God’s people begin to worship and declare his praises, God himself sets ambushes against the army and the army is defeated. Worship is the weapon that defeats the enemy, as worship is the place where we recognise that the battle belongs to God and not to us. Often we see throughout the OT that what is represented physically is reflected spiritually in the NT (Eph 6:12 - our battle is with principalities and powers). As we worship, we go into battle against the enemy and declare the truth of who God is over a world in darkness. Even in our own story we have witnessed freedom and healing amongst our church family in a place of worship. What might it look like to carry that expectation when we come together? To expect that worship is a space which might bring about breakthrough and freedom in our families, our workplaces, in our lives and in this city?

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