This week we had the first of three messages on worship. Our suggestion to you this week is that you do the Word Section first, and then do worship afterwards, in order to benefit from applying the Word as you worship together:
Have people in the group take it in turns to read the following passages and quote:
- John 4:22-24
- Eph 5:15-21
- Col 3:12-16
- Psa 149:1-5
CS Lewis writes:
"But the most obvious fact about praise — whether of God or anything — strangely escaped me. I thought of it in terms of compliment, approval, or the giving of honour. I had never noticed that all enjoyment spontaneously overflows into praise unless . . . shyness or the fear of boring others is deliberately brought in to check it.
The world rings with praise — lovers praising their mistresses [Romeo praising Juliet and vice versa], readers their favourite poet, walkers praising the countryside, players praising their favourite game — praise of weather, wines, dishes, actors, motors, horses, colleges, countries, historical personages, children, flowers, mountains, rare stamps, rare beetles, even sometimes politicians or scholars. . . . Except where intolerably adverse circumstances interfere, praise almost seems to be inner health made audible. . . . I had not noticed either that just as men spontaneously praise whatever they value, so they spontaneously urge us to join them in praising it: “Isn’t she lovely? Wasn’t it glorious? Don’t you think that magnificent?”
The Psalmists, in telling everyone to praise God, are doing what all men do when they speak of what they care about.
My whole, more general, difficulty about the praise of God depended on my absurdly denying to us, as regards the supremely Valuable, what we delight to do, what indeed we can’t help doing, about everything else we value...
“I think we delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment; it is its appointed consummation. It is not out of compliment that lovers keep on telling one another how beautiful they are; the delight is incomplete till it is expressed. It is frustrating to have discovered a new author and not to be able to tell anyone how good he is; to come suddenly, at the turn of the road, upon some mountain valley of unexpected grandeur and then to have to keep silent because the people with you care for it no more than for a tin can in the ditch; to hear a good joke and find no one to share it with. . . . The Scotch catechism says that man’s chief end is ‘to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.’ But we shall then know that these are the same thing. Fully to enjoy is to glorify. In commanding us to glorify Him, God is inviting us to enjoy Him.”
- What struck you from the message on Sunday?
- Worship is about encountering and enjoying God. In what ways have you experienced this?
- The Psalmists speak of worshiping God 'from the rising of the sun to its setting'. On Sunday we considered the importance of developing our worship life before God in our "secret place". What does that look like for you currently?
- What step forward would you like to take in order to see your private worship life grow?
- Rhys encouraged us to grow in our expression of worship to God through stepping into the fulness of our freedom, and giving permission to each other to sing out and participate freely. How can we as a group support each other and grow in this area together?
Let's do what we did on Sunday here in our group:
- Find a Psalm that you'd like to use in expressing worship to God
- Start the group off with a song or two to help people gather together to God
- Encourage people to be courageous and sing out their passages
- Encourage the group to get behind each person when they're singing, so that they're not singing alone. Join in their worship, enter into it together.
- Lead a song out of it, and then encourage people to bring whatever they feel God has been speaking to them about.
This may well lead into prayer and ministry. Be aware of anyone struggling to express worship, and be ready to pray with them for a breakthrough.