Tuesday, 23 July 2019


What a blessing to have Lara Martin and her husband Jonathan with us last Sunday.  Lara's worshiping heart was evident as she led us in worship and her honesty in sharing about her life touched many hearts.  She gave us 5 factors which can affect our worship (taken from my brief notes).

What are the influences on us when we come to worship?

1. How do you see God?  Our experience and knowledge of God will influence how we approach him.  Jesus is our friend but he is also our Lord.  God is our Father but he is also our creator.  The Holy Spirit is our comforter and guide but he is holy. 'Familiarity breeds contempt' so the saying goes and we need to be wary of familiarity with God.  We can start to take him for granted, get into the slot machine mentality, try to manipulate him to do what we want.  He is an awesome God and we should stand in awe of him.  Our view of God will determine how we connect with Him.

"For we were not making up clever stories when we told you about the powerful coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. We saw his majestic splendor with our own eyes." 2 Peter 1:16

"It was in the year King Uzziah died that I saw the Lord. He was sitting on a lofty throne, and the train of his robe filled the Temple." Isaiah 6:1

2. How do you see yourself? Our view of ourselves will also determine how we approach God - remember we are sons and we can approach him with confidence.

"And you did not receive the “spirit of religious duty", leading you back into the fear of never being good enough. But you have received the “Spirit of full acceptance,” enfolding you into the family of God. And you will never feel orphaned, for as he rises up within us, our spirits join him in saying the words of tender affection, “Beloved Father!”    Romans 8:15 (Passion Translation)

3.  Adversity If our focus is our problem then we could be feeling let down, disappointed, broken-hearted, we might even be giving God the silent treatment because we feel he has been unfair. If our focus is on an awesome God, if we are drawing on the comfort of the Holy Spirit, if we know the closeness of Jesus in the midst of our struggle then we can praise God.  The sacrifice that we bring is our pain, in faith to the 'God who sees' and that worship which is honest is acceptable to God.

4. Doubts Every so often doubts creep in about the existence of God - is he really there, am I just going through the motions.  

"Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have
trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.

And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.  No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord."  Romans 8: 35-39
God wants us to pursue him out of our passion for him, not trying to figure him out but instead enjoying the mystery.
5. Externals Our attitude to external things can hinder us in worship: the music is too loud, I don't like the songs / worship leader, I don't want to see such and such a person etc.  Worship is not for you!  It's not even about pleasing you.  True worship is about pleasing God and engaging with him in truth.
"But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way. For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth." John 4:23-24
We need to remember the effect that we have on our enemy every time we worship.  James tells us to 'resist the devil and he will flee' but we need to take note of the sentence before that because there is a condition.  It is when we humble ourselves before God or commit our ways to God, when we are living to please God and not ourselves that we can see our enemy take flight.
So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.  James 4:7
We live in a world full of darkness but Jesus the light of the world lives in us.  Our lives can be worship to God as we put on the 'shining armour of right living' and the darkness has to shrink back as we approach
"The night is almost gone; the day of salvation will soon be here. So remove your dark deeds like dirty clothes, and put on the shining armor of right living.  Because we belong to the day, we must live decent lives for all to see."  Romans 13:12-13