Why worship is weird | Chapel Hill Online | Gig Harbor
Why do Christians gather and sing? Why do we take communion, and listen to sermons? Let’s face it. What we do at church is weird. Why is worship important, and why do we insist on doing it regularly? Join Pastor Ellis as he explores why worship is so essential to our faith, and how God taught that lesson to the Israelites as they entered the Promised Land.
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Do you remember your first experience of a worship service? Did anything seem strange or confusing to you? If you grew up in the church, perhaps you’ve brought someone to church with you who had never been before – did they find anything surprising?
Read Joshua 5:1-10. The people paused on their journey into battle to circumcise. Why did they do this?
When in your life have you experienced worship as warfare? What noticeable difference has worship made to your darkest and most difficult moments?
Pray together for those who are in a hard place right now in your family or LifeGroup. Before jumping into bringing these needs before the Lord and asking for his help, spend some time listing the character and names of God and worshipping him for who he is. Practice worship before warfare right now in your group.
I’ve recently gotten to know a young dad who has no church experience at all. He knew I was a pastor, but he was intrigued as to what I actually did in my job, so he asked me. I explained that in my role, I oversaw all the creative ministries in the church—the music, production, communications, and digital work we do. He asked more about the format of our Sunday services, and I explained that we had three services with two different styles of music. To which he said, “Why?” I explained that we had two different demographics in our congregation that connected with different styles of music and so we wanted to serve them both.
I explained a little about the different styles, with the classic being more organ and orchestral, with some light band elements thrown in, and the modern being drums and guitar driven music, that takes a lot of its cues from a U2 style of soft rock. To which he said, “Why?” I said: “That’s a great question.” And proceeded to explain about the development of modern electric-guitar driven worship music in the 90s and early 2000s. But I mainly walked away from our conversation realizing something… What we do on Sunday mornings is weird.
I mean, think about it. We gather together for 60 minutes, and sing songs about blood, death, coming back to life, and the presence of an invisible God, to whom we also pray and give money. And then we listen to a TED-style talk based upon an ancient book. And sometimes, like today, we eat flesh and drink blood… spiritually of course… only the Catholics believe you do it physically. And if you’re like, “that’s normal,” then just trust me, that to anyone who has grown up outside of church, it’s weird.
But not only that. We have a mission to make disciples and serve and love our neighbors, and only a few years on earth in which each of us can accomplish that. And yet, what we mainly choose to focus on as a church is gathering on Sundays to sing kumbaya. Why aren’t we out there doing the stuff? Why are we in here worshipping?
My name is Ellis, and I’m really glad you are here today for this weird time of worship! In case you are new to this, and you think it’s all a little weird, I want you to know we’re just glad you’re here. I’m going to spend the next 25 minutes sharing a message based upon the Bible that hopefully will explain why on earth Christians gather every Sunday and worship together. To do so, we’re going to continue working our way through the Old Testament book of Joshua in our series called “Ready. Set. Go.” Asking how can we be ready for the work God is going to do in our lives?
Joshua is set over 3200 years ago in middle East, and we are following the people of God, Israel. God has delivered them from slavery in Egypt by parting the waters of the Red Sea, brought them miraculously through the wilderness by feeding them food that falls from the sky, and across a raging river by heaping the waters up and allowing them to walk through on dry ground. Why? So that he can give them the land he had promised their ancestor Abraham more than 500 years earlier.
We pick up their story, immediately after their crossing of that river—the River Jordan—that we heard about last week, and this is what we read in Joshua 5:1…
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