May 26, 2019 | Rev. Dr. Jim Ginther
This week's focus in our series "How Do I Please God" is on protocol. How do we engage in worship that is pleasing to God?
Protocols spell out the “how” of doing something so that we may more fully integrate the “why.” Our Scripture passage today gives us a protocol for worship. It gives us ways we can engage in worship so that we can more deeply know that One that we worship. Is our worship simply a ritual or do we worship with the expectation of an encounter with the living God?
Consider your focus in worship. Does your worship draw you into the presence of God? What are your expectations of that experience? When in your life have you felt like you were in a place where heaven and earth intersected? How might you use that experience to more deeply experience the presence of God in worship. Does our worship look like the biblical model given to us by the psalmist?
Recently, a church researcher surveyed churchgoing Christians with this question: “Have you ever experienced God in a worship service?” In the findings, only one-third responded that they regularly experience God in church. William Hendrix in his work entitled Exit Interviews delves into why there seems to be a generation leaving church over the last few decades. Part of what he suggests is that worship is not meaningful to a lot of church-goers. He also suggests, as do others, that some of the problem is not in what our church staff, volunteers and/or pastors offer during worship, but that the problem of feeling like God experiences are rare is more about our individual way of approaching God through the ancient traditions of worship, as well as within the new iterations of worship we find in church today. The problem is not so much “the church,” but us. Is God pleased with how you approach worship?
Rick Ezell writes: “We desperately need a life-changing glimpse of the greatness, the awesomeness, the wonder, the power, the mercy, the goodness and loving kindness of God.” This new series for May hopes to ask questions of us and give resources that help us please God as we encounter the Holy in our worshipping life.
Our current series offers us an opportunity to look at what God might find pleasing in a worshipful life in and through the church. To do this, we will focus on 4 P’s – Presence, Preparation, Power and Protocol.