Byron Spradlin

Artists In Ministry & Missions

Month: February 2016 (page 1 of 2)

The Art of Heart & Worship

blur-old-antique-bookWORD-CENTERED WORSHIP

Word-centered worship is founded on the teachings of and realities revealed through God’s Word. Simple enough, right? You see, in general, worship at its root in human experience has to do directly and specifically with the heart of a person. It is at this human “core” — the heart — that connection is made between us and whatever it is we worship.


The heart of a person is also referred to as our spirit or will. It is our center of being. It is the place from where all worship comes. Dr. Dallas Willard once wrote: “Human beings have only some small element of spirit—unbodily, personal power—right at the center of who they are and who they become. It is . . . this spirit (or will), that must be reached, cared for, and transformed in spiritual formation. The human will is primarily what must be given a godly nature and must then proceed to expand its godly governance over the entire personality. Thus will or spirit is also . . . the heart in the human system: the core of its being.”


This is the essence of what I believe Word-Centered Worship is all about and is the “core” of what we do as worship leaders.

We Need to Hear From You?

Did God touch your heart and spirit as you worshipped this week? How did your heart and mind collide with God’s grace as you met Him in worship? Did worship of the heart extend to your everyday activities throughout the week. Were you able to push aside the frantic nature of life in worship? Or, are you longing to find a worship community that is focused on The Heart of God?

Can We Define God?

angel2WHO IS GOD?

If worship is to be central in a believer’s life, then the question, “Who is God?” must also be addressed. There are at least four major theological realities related to this question:

First, God is supreme. God is not a created being. He is eternally existent, all powerful (omnipotent), all knowing (omniscience), all wise (omnisapient), and everywhere present (omnipresent) at all times. The Hebrew language, especially in its historical context, is clear, precise, and unequivocal on this truth. The implication is that other spirits, other alleged gods simply are not gods at all. There is only the One, True GOD. Period.


Second, God is holy. He is completely “other-than” and “unique from” His creation. His “otherness” or His being “unique from” and “above” His creation is especially seen in His divine moral purity and beauty. God’s nature and person are completely separated from sin and evil. He is absolutely devoted to His own divine perfect honor and glory.


Third, God is The Creator. The Bible starts with the reality that the uncreated God—who was already existing, before time and space existed—created all that is: all the cosmos; all time and space; all spiritual and transcendent realities; all life, truth, goodness, and beauty. Everything that is came from Him.


And fourth, God is love. God is perfectly loving toward his creation. Moreover, God created humans for the specific purpose of companionship with Him, in perfect harmony and communion. This love is not simply “affection.” This love involves compassion, longing, delight, pursuit, mercy, patience, forbearance, and unceasing-staying-power. This love is at the deepest level possible. So much so that, even though humans are frail and sinful, God chooses to pursue us.


So, who is God? He is perfect in all respects and infinitely glorious. What an indescribable privilege it is to call Him Father! What a joy it is to worship and serve Him!

Is Worship a Priority At Your Church?

Is Worship a Priority In Today’s Church?

church-821274_1920Is worship the highest priority in all of life—for each believer, as well as every Christian congregation?

Consider that God’s first command to Moses was, “You shall have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3, ESV). Later, Moses calls out to God’s People, “Hear O Israel, Yahweh is God; Yahweh alone!” (Deuteronomy 5:4, my rendering). Moses immediately follows with, “Love Yahweh your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength.”


This is true worship and it is God’s desire to be the priority in our lives. King David, repeatedly proclaims the same message: “All the nations you have made shall come and worship before you, O Lord, and shall glorify your name. For you are great and do wondrous things; you alone are God” (Psalm 86:9-10, ESV).


Worship of God is also, of course, the central priority in The New Testament. Jesus, God in human flesh, implies no less when declaring the primary reality of life: “I tell you, if these (followers) were silent, the very stones would cry out” (Luke 19: 40, RSV).


All of Christ’s Apostle’s send the same message. Peter tells the believers in Rome, “. . . you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9, ESV). Peter is actually saying to each one of us that we have been called, first and foremost, for the purpose of His worship.

BYRON

Resources for Ash Wednesday

http://veritascolumbus.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/AshWed_2014_Web_pagebanner-1024x277.jpgA PRAYER AND SCRIPTURES FOR ASH WEDNESDAY

The Ash Wednesday prayer below, like so many used in liturgical worship, is based on centuries-old texts. It expresses the basic themes of a worship that prepares the people to journey into the death of Jesus:

Almighty and everlasting God, you hate nothing you have made and forgive the sins of all who are penitent: Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of you, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


These passages are commonly used for an Ash Wednesday service. All passages are from the ESV:

Joel 2:1–2, 12–17

Blow a trumpet in Zion;

                  sound an alarm on my holy mountain!

Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble,

                  for the day of the Lord is coming; it is near,

                  a day of darkness and gloom,

                  a day of clouds and thick darkness!

Like blackness there is spread upon the mountains

                  a great and powerful people;

their like has never been before,

                  nor will be again after them

                  through the years of all generations.

“Yet even now,” declares the Lord,

                  “return to me with all your heart,

with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning;

                  and rend your hearts and not your garments.”

Return to the Lord your God,

                  for he is gracious and merciful,

slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love;

                  and he relents over disaster.

Who knows whether he will not turn and relent,

                  and leave a blessing behind him,

a grain offering and a drink offering

                  for the Lord your God?

Blow the trumpet in Zion;

                  consecrate a fast;

call a solemn assembly;

                  gather the people.

Consecrate the congregation;

                  assemble the elders;

gather the children,

                  even nursing infants.

Let the bridegroom leave his room,

                  and the bride her chamber.

Between the vestibule and the altar

                  let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep

and say, “Spare your people, O Lord,

                  and make not your heritage a reproach,

                  a byword among the nations.

Why should they say among the peoples,

                  ‘Where is their God?’”


Isaiah 58:1–12

“Cry aloud; do not hold back;

                  lift up your voice like a trumpet;

declare to my people their transgression,

                  to the house of Jacob their sins.

Yet they seek me daily

                  and delight to know my ways,

as if they were a nation that did righteousness

                  and did not forsake the judgment of their God;

they ask of me righteous judgments;

                  they delight to draw near to God.

‘Why have we fasted, and you see it not?

                  Why have we humbled ourselves, and you take no knowledge of it?’

Behold, in the day of your fast you seek your own pleasure,

                  and oppress all your workers.

Behold, you fast only to quarrel and to fight

                  and to hit with a wicked fist.

Fasting like yours this day

                  will not make your voice to be heard on high.

Is such the fast that I choose,

                  a day for a person to humble himself?

Is it to bow down his head like a reed,

                  and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him?

Will you call this a fast,

                  and a day acceptable to the Lord?

“Is not this the fast that I choose:

                  to loose the bonds of wickedness,

                  to undo the straps of the yoke,

to let the oppressed[b] go free,

                  and to break every yoke?

Is it not to share your bread with the hungry

                  and bring the homeless poor into your house;

when you see the naked, to cover him,

                  and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?

Then shall your light break forth like the dawn,

                  and your healing shall spring up speedily;

your righteousness shall go before you;

                  the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.

Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer;

                  you shall cry, and he will say, ‘Here I am.’

If you take away the yoke from your midst,

                  the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness,

if you pour yourself out for the hungry

                  and satisfy the desire of the afflicted,

then shall your light rise in the darkness

                  and your gloom be as the noonday.

And the Lord will guide you continually

                  and satisfy your desire in scorched places

                  and make your bones strong;

and you shall be like a watered garden,

                  like a spring of water,

                  whose waters do not fail.

And your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt;

                  you shall raise up the foundations of many generations;

you shall be called the repairer of the breach,

                  the restorer of streets to dwell in.


2 Corinthians 5:20b–6:10

God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. Working together with him, then, we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain. For he says, “In a favorable time I listened to you, and in a day of salvation I have helped you.” Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation. We put no obstacle in anyone’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, but as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: by great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger; by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, the Holy Spirit, genuine love; by truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; through honor and dishonor, through slander and praise. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold, we live; as punished, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything.


Matthew 6:16-21

And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Byron

 

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