Wednesday, February 22

New Photos Are Up

Hey all just a quick one to say that i've put some more pics up. these ones include the storms on tuesday night (21-2-06). they're pretty cool if i do say so myself. check out the flicr link on the sideboard.

Peace out,

Monday, February 6

Apparently "Worship" has a Box of which We Need to Think Outside


Over the past few months/year I've been thinking about what today's definition of worship has come to mean; looking especially at corporate worship and our mental concept of that being "The Worship Team" (Singers and Band), maybe the occasional (Token?) prayer, and nothing more. I have come to the point of questioning our methods of worship in this day and age and have begun looking at other ways to worship our Creator God. Some of the questions that have come up in my mind will be plastered on your screen as you read this. Please don't for a second think that I am trying to cause a mutiny in the local church as people read this. These are my thoughts and the solutions that I feel are appropriate and are not to be taken as gospel in any way.

When did worship leading become solely the domain of the talented, good-looking musician and/or singer? And why have we allowed ourselves even as well-meaning, mature Christians to put worship into these boxes? Why have prayer and solitude, meditation, reflection, symbolism, the arts, relationship, and all the other legitimate elements that go together to make up Biblical styles of worship been labeled as Alternative Worship or left by the wayside to allow room for a style of worship that makes us feel comfortable in our seats? Why have we allowed worship to become something we do to attain some spiritual high when worship was designed and intended for Gods pleasure first and ours as a response to giving God pleasure?
I don't have all the answers to these questions, but I can quite confidently say that the direction in which we are headed is away from God's original intent for worship not towards it. I believe that there are some powers at work in this world, trying very hard to draw us down a road of comfort in worship.
When Jesus was worshipping The Father through His preaching, He wasn't setting out to make everyone feel comfortable with his words, and his style was less than conventional e.g. 5000 people sitting on a hill at night in the desert while Jesus preached! When those same people who sat and listened to Jesus preach offered their sacrifices as their act of worship I'm sure that that wasn't a comfortable experience either. The giving away of something that they had carefully looked after to ensure it's cleanliness to be killed and burned as a sacrifice hardly makes my stomach feel as comfortable as does going to a worship service! Take into account that many of the families offering these sacrifices were poorer than most bible college students, and that makes me even more uncomfortable! We have to counter this move towards comfortable worship by choosing to move out of the mindset that singing songs is the only way to corporately worship our infinite God. It is for our comfort that we choose "worship music" to play in church, and this, I believe, is how we acquired a bullet in our foot. Our young people, and indeed our adults, are growing up in the belief that United Live or Planet Shakers=Worship and this is only maybe 10% of the truth! I'm not saying that we shouldn't sing "Shakers" or "United" in worship, but lets at least make a wholehearted attempt at changing our nation's mindset on worship and allow them to improve their relationship with God because they're worshipping in with their whole being, and doing it in spirit and in truth.

We need to get back to grass roots worship, back to Acts 2 worship, where/when they were in AWE of what God was doing and were bursting to do something about it. Our heart of worship should be to offer, as the song says, more than a song, and more than words but a heart that longs to bring him pleasure in everything that we do.

Not too long ago for our young adults worship night, called Element, I tried something a little bit different. Around the auditorium of our church, I set up four stations. One with some loose paper and some pencils, where people wrote down, in their own way, how/why they adore God. Another had bread and water (no-one told me that the church was temporarily out of Grape juice, so we used water) and here people spent time confessing their sin and repenting before God and re-establishing relationship with Him. In another corner there was an area where people could sit and devote a few minutes just to thanking God for all He's done, and all He's provided for us. And another area was set up so that people could bring their requests and supplications before God. I allowed this time to take up most of the time that we usually take with worship through song and just selected three very contemplative, dedication, worship songs just to come together and tell God, corporately, how much we love Him and want to worship Him.
The time of worship that was had by all was amazing. Not because I had given them all of their favourite songs to sing or because I had done everything differently and freaked everyone out, but because on that night we, as a worship team, allowed room for the Holy Spirit to move in a way that wasn't dictated or even confined by us. We allowed people's hearts to search God out and meet him where they were in their walk.
That night was an example of the effect on God's heart that our worship could have and should have. We as a group of young adults made God smile that night! We fulfilled one of his purposes for our lives!

Romans 12:1 says "And so dear brothers, I plead with you to give your bodies to God. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice--the kind he will accept. When you think of how much he has done for you, is this too much to ask?"(NLT). To me, this does not sound like a comfortable place in which to be. The verse does not say, "offer your minds, or emotions or thoughts," but it does say "offer your bodies." Where in contemporary corporate worship does the congregation have the opportunity to make use of their hands and feet in a worshipful act? When do we let them use their muscles to worship God? Sure, I can hear you saying "I am always down the front jumping around and I raise my hands for the slow songs when I worship." To that I say "It's good to hear that you are that enthusiastic to jump and dance for Jesus, but are you that enthusiastic about humble service? Probably not." When was the last time you were as eager to help your Mum wash the dishes as an act of worship as you are every Sunday (or Friday) night to jump around?
Now hear what I am saying. DON'T STOP jumping and dancing for Jesus in church, but consider how much more meaningful your worship will be to the Father if it requires humble service in the outside (of church) world.

Let me sum this up. Worship as we know it isn't adequate. We neglect God in huge amounts when we limit our corporate worship to singing in church. Why do we do this? To make ourselves comfortable and to be "relevant" to the community around us. God doesn't call for people who are comfortable, He calls for worshippers. Do we honestly dare to think that God cant move in someone's heart as much in a painting as in a song? YES we do; or at least that's how it seems when we don't give Him the opportunity. Let's start branching out in our form/styles of worship and watch as the God we serve smiles on us!

Please feel free to make any comments or queries or just let me know where you think I can put this post. My intention for this site is that people will go away thinking and challenged by what they've read and I hope that you are.

Thornlieyouth Calendar

This is the Thornlieyouth calendar for 1st term 2006. we chose a phoenix because it symbolises the rising out of the ashes that we are going to see happen this year as God really works in our hearts and the hearts of our young guys.