To Think About & Discuss

Worship

25
Jul

Attractive Worship

By Chris DiVietro

We’ve been discussing the extent to which the community of God’s people is attractional in nature. For Israel, the temple was the zenith of attractional worship. As the center of religious life in Israel, the temple was more than merely a religious building; the temple was the holy palace in which the Lord resided as He dwelt among His people. And in the same way that the quality of Israel’s life would attract the nations in, so too would the nature of their worship. This image is portrayed in Isaiah 2:2-3:

It shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be lifted up above the hills, and all the nations shall flow to it, and many peoples shall come, and say: ‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may teach us his ways, and that we may walk in his paths.’ For out of Zion shall go the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.

A prophecy given during King Uzziah’s reign, Isaiah is describing God’s future kingdom and His ultimate plans for Zion. While chapters 2-12 juxtapose the Kingdom of God with the kingdom of man to show the tension that exists between the two, vv. 2-3 of chapter two paint a clear picture of what will happen when the Kingdom of God ultimately triumphs. Specifically, God will transform the world through His presence in Zion, His teaching of those who are humble, and His judgment of those who dare war with Him.

“It shall come to pass in the latter days,” is an expression that refers to this future time when God’s purposes will find ultimate fulfillment, but the forward-thinking scope of the prophecy is not intended to undermine the message being communicated: The Lord desires those who do not know Him to run towards Him in peace to learn. While God’s presence is sufficient to draw the nations unto Him, the confluence of His presence and His peoples’ worship—all centered in the temple—attracts others.

Even though Isaiah’s vision was for a time at some point in the future, the presence of the Lord still attracted attention and interest when the temple was first built. In 1 Kings 10, the Queen of Sheba, “heard of the fame of Solomon concerning the name of the LORD,” (1 Kings 10:1). After observing Solomon’s wisdom and the greatness of temple, she exclaimed, “Blessed be the LORD your God, who has delighted in you and set you on the throne of Israel. Because the LORD loved Israel forever, he has made you king, that you may execute justice and righteousness,” (1 Kings 10:9).

If the Queen of Sheba represented a small window into the coming fulfillment, that leaves us eager to know: what is the shape and scope of that fulfillment? We’ll discuss that next time, and begin to see how this reality affects the church’s worship and evangelistic identity today.

19
Jan

Endless Hallelujah

By Sarah Shuey, Praise Team

There are many things I am passionate about: Jesus, music, my family, my marriage, my students, my dog, reading. I could go on and on but worship ministry is by far, one of the greatest God-given passions that I have. Music is my outlet for worshipping God and learning more about him. A worship song can speak volumes to me and can help me connect with God in a way that nothing else can. I can list songs for you that make me excited and extremely joyful about God’s gifts and blessings, songs that leave me in awe of God’s glory and holiness, and songs that make me weep with anticipation of the eternal hope we have in our salvation.

Endless HallelujaA few years ago, Matt Redman, a well-known and respected songwriter within the Christian community, wrote and recorded a song titled “Endless Hallelujah”. The first time I heard this song, I knew it was something special. I am pretty sure I cried through the entire song. Growing up, I had a number of medical issues (none of them life threatening, praise God!) and still suffer from chronic daily headaches. Somewhere between doctors’ appointments and surgeries, a friend of my family pointed me to Revelation 21:4. “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or morning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” No more pain. No more crying. What an amazing promise that is! Maybe that is why this song hit me so hard the first time I heard it. The bridge says: “No more tears, no more shame. No more sin and sorrow ever known again. No more fears, no more pain. We will see You face to face, see You face to face!” Those words hold such beautiful hope and promise! An even greater promise is this: “And we will worship, worship; forever in Your presence we will sing! We will worship, worship You; an ENDLESS HALLELUJAH to the King!” An endless hallelujah. Forever we get to sing praises to our God and King who heals our hurt and our pain. Who brings us joy and salvation. Who loves us in spite of who we are and what we have done. Forever!

My friends, I pray this brings you hope in this seemingly hopeless world. On that day, everything will be as it was meant to be, all pain and fear will be wiped away, and we will see Jesus face to face. Cling to that promise of salvation!

In Christ,
Sarah Shuey

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First Presbyterian Church

37 S. Fifth Street
Reading, PA 19602

610-375-3389
info@fpcreading.org

SUNDAY WORSHIP & PRAISE
 9:30AM-10:45AM    Worship Service
                                    /Children’s Church
10:45AM                    Coffee/Fellowship
11:00AM                    Education for All Ages

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