Worship in a New Way

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Celebrate God's Love and Power
When we worship, whether or not you raise your hands is not the point. You are taking a posture of receiving from God’s compassion, mercy, and grace. We're offering him praise, but as we do, we are experiencing his love and kindness as we see throughout the Psalms.  Raising hands in worship is most commonly used to express honor. It's lifting God up. In the Old Testament, hands raised would've been a way of showing that your hands were clean before entering the tabernacle. So, in the New Testament, in 1 Timothy, Paul says, “I want men everywhere to lift up clean hands, to lift up holy hands.” It's this idea that your hands are clean, not because of your good deeds or righteousness, but because of God's grace in your life.  Hands raised are also a sign of agreement. If asked how many of you had breakfast this morning, a lot of you would raise your hand as a way to say, “That's true of me.” So, when we worship, that's what we're doing. We're saying that what I'm singing is my identity. I align myself with these truths. As David ends Psalm 63, he says, “I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you. On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night. Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings. I cling to you; your right hand upholds me.” When we worship, we are giving to God. But when you worship, you are changed, and your soul starts to be satisfied. You begin to have your perspective change. You begin to find rest and peace. You begin to find security and strength.  Reflection/Discussion Question: How has worship changed you?
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Practice Gratitude
Hebrews 12:28-29 states, "Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire." Thankfulness is a practice that can be closely tied to worship. Many times, in our worship songs, we sing of being grateful for all God has done for us and continues to do throughout our lives. However, practicing thankfulness through worship doesn’t always need to be through song or singing.  Taking some intentional time in your day to write down a short (or long) list what you’re grateful for is also an act of worship. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 says, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.” Even secular research shows us that people who practice gratefulness on a regular basis experience reduced stress and improved physical and mental health. By setting aside some time each day to prioritize thankfulness and thanksgiving, we are demonstrating to God that we understand and acknowledge all the ways he is working in our lives and all the graces that he provides us with, even despite our sins. God provides us so many good and wonderful gifts and experiences each day that they can become easy for us to overlook or even begin to believe we are owed them. The book of James tells us that our God is the giver of every good and perfect gift that we receive in our lives, and thankfulness is one way we can worship him for all he does for us. Reflection/Discussion Questions: Do you regularly practice gratitude? What can you do to make it more a part of your daily routine?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          
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Give God Your Mornings and Evenings
The Book of Psalms is filled with verses about praying and worshiping in the morning. Psalm 5:3 says, “In the morning, O LORD, hear my voice. In the morning I lay my needs in front of you, and I wait.” Then we read in Psalm 57:7-10: “My heart, O God, is steadfast, my heart is steadfast; I will sing and make music. Awake, my soul! Awake, harp and lyre! I will awaken the dawn. I will praise you, Lord, among the nations; I will sing of you among the peoples. For great is your love, reaching to the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies.” Intentionally putting God at the beginning of your day demonstrates that your Heavenly Father has priority before anything else. We show that we want worship God in the morning. This practice is biblical and powerful. Jesus modeled this as Scripture tells us that he went out early in the morning while it was still dark to spend time with his Father. If Jesus did that, then we should do that. If King David, a man after God’s own heart, did that, then we should do that. Similarly, making time for God at the end of the day allows you time to reflect on all the ways that you saw God moving in your life. Worshiping God during your evenings also puts you in a thankful and grateful mindset before heading off to bed; allowing God to step into any fears or anxieties that you may be feeling about the upcoming day. Reflection/Discussion Question: What has been getting your attention and priority in the mornings and evenings?
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Defining Worship
In Psalm 63:1-8, David writes, “You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water. I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory. Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands. I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you. On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night. Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings. I cling to you; your right hand upholds me.” In these verses, David models for us what worship looks like when you're not in a church sanctuary, when things aren't going the way that you hoped, or when life is really hard. David is speaking of the desire that he has to be close to God and for God's presence in his life and in this desert. His mouth is parched and it's dry, and he still says, “I long for you in a dry and weary land where there's no water.” We want to pursue God, and spiritual disciplines help us pursue him with our whole heart. In Psalm 63, David captures the idea that when we worship, we are pursuing God. David talks about the practice and the posture of worship. He talks to us about this practice worshiping in the sanctuary of praising God with our lips. So, worship is a song, but it's so much more than a song, and there are so many ways to practice the spiritual discipline of worship throughout our day.  Reflection/Discussion Question: What parts of the opening verses of Psalm 63 resonate with you the most?