Wednesday, May 28, 2008

An hour on Sunday morning??

From time to time I am asked to make presentations on the act or preaching and worship, usually as it relates to younger adults (Which i think is ironic since I am going to be celebrating my 40th birthday this August... black arm bands are optional as we bid farewell to my youth!) Recently i was asked to consult with a group as they formulated a couple seminars for people wanting to explore worship to a greater degree.

In thinking about worship there are several things we can consider. Some of those things sing incredibly important on the surface. In light of what worship is truly about they may not look as grand as they one did. Often we focus on an hour of our Sunday morning as “worship”. In that hour we concern ourselves with things like formats, style, what music we listen to, what version of scripture we will read from, how long we stand, how long we sit, as well as a host of other things. All those things have a practical importance. I can remember standing for 1 1/2 hours at a worship service at a Greek Orthodox Church in Ohio, praying for a opportunity to sit down. An elderly woman stood next to me like a rock reciting litanies unfazed by being on her feet for so long. I’m not convinced any of those things really get at the heart of what worship is.

I truly believe that worship is not merely confined to a one hour (or in the case of a certain Greek Orthodox Service... more than an hour) block on Sunday morning. I believe worship is something much larger. It is an attitude of thanksgiving, joy and honor we have for God that is expressed in various ways in our lives, well beyond Sunday mornings. In fact i don’t think that the grace we find in worship comes because we meet on a specific time at a specific place but that God chooses to meet us there, and in the various places our life journeys take us. Along those same lines, worship isn’t judged as “successful” because of the quality of the music played, the songs sung, the ability the congregation has to read beautifully and responsively from the Psalms, or how the service “flowed”. The test of true worship comes from the missional and life transforming activity that happens in the lives of the community which follows from worship.

In a life of worship we are constantly reminded of who God is and who we are. We are drawn into lives that are transformed by joy and the Spirit’s presence. Out of such worship filled lives we see, as scripture describes, “ rivers of living water “ that quench the thirst of a parched world.

I hope that as summer rolls around, no matter where you may find yourself on a Sunday morning, all of our lives will be an act of worship, and we are filled with gratitude joy and life as a result.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Two wheels of fun

Hi friends. Well I have been away, doing things other than contributing to this blog. I have been spending most of my spare time working on my motorcycle. We have had to spectacular weekends so I have been riding a lot. Well... riding and repairing and riding again.

A few weeks ago. I rode with a group of people up to a spot near mount saint helens. The ride was beautiful and a lot of run until my carburetors got clogged in a little town called Cougar (actually in the wood about 8 miles away from Cougar where there is no cell phone signal) Anyway after a nice 4 hour stint on a bench outside the one gas station in Cougar I had my friend Scott help me trailer the ol’ Ninja off the mountain. (Thanks Scott!)

After one full day off and several after work evenings of tearing into the fuel system and ignition system, and some advise and encouragement, when I was frustrated, by friends on the PNW Riders forum, I got her up and running like a champ.

So last weekend, I got everything all screwed back together and spent most of it riding. Friday I took off early from work and headed up the Columbia River Gorge. Saturday, I returned to Cougar and Mt St. Helens to redeem that ride. It was beautiful! Then Sunday night after a “stump the pastor” night ( I once a year meet with our church’s youth group and they can ask any question they want of me) I headed back up the Gorge with my friend Rich who has recently returned from Afghanistan.

Now it’s cold and rainy again, so I am back in the garage delrusting a new fuel tank and prepping it for paint and working on the exhaust waiting for another sunny weekend.

Have a great week friends!