Breaking the Routine with CityServe 2009

 
cityserve
 
 
After being a Christian for some time, it is easy to forget that some of the greatest lessons are the really simple ones. It is easy to take “worship” for granted and just make it about “our songs” and the “preaching” when we gather together on Sundays.

It is interesting that the Hebrew word for “to worship” (‘abad) can be translated as “to serve” or “to work” (Ex 3:12; Dt 6:13; 11:13; Ps 72:11). This is why in Ps 100:2 it says, “Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs” in the NIV; but in the NKJV and NASB it translates it as, “Serve the LORD with gladness.”

When we look at it from this perspective we have to confess that many of our worship experiences have been more about God “serving” us, rather than having the proper perspective of our need for “serving” God every Sunday. No wonder we have become a consumer generation when it comes to our worship of God, hence all the church hopping, complaints, backseat attitudes, mediocrity, and the list goes on.

Therefore, the staff and I were challenged to make this Sunday Celebration “different.” Especially in light of our Easter sermon series called, “Inverted,” we were reminded that Jesus left all the riches and glory of heaven to come down to this filthy earth to “serve” us by dying on the cross. We also love the “rags to riches” stories but we have to remember that Jesus went from “riches to rags.”

Jesus went further and turned the attitude of service on its head (inverted). Jesus said in Mark 10:45, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

At HMCC, it is our goal and passion to be like Jesus; therefore tomorrow we are going to gather together and “give worship” (our service) to God through serving our community. I know that all the Pharisees and the self-righteous people will criticize or say something to the tune of – “Hey, why are we NOT having our ‘normal’ Sunday Celebration?”

It is my prayer that it is through these “out of routine” moments that it will help us to pause and think about why we do what we do.

This reminds of me of what happened at Soul Survivor church in Watford, England, where the famous song, “The Heart of Worship” was penned by Matt Redman. Mike Pilavachi, the pastor at the church decided to get rid of the worship band as well as the sound system for a season. They just came together with their hearts and voices. This experience helped them to think through the importance of genuine worship before God.

No wonder the Psalmist said, “Doing something for you, bringing something to you – that’s not what you’re after. Being religious, acting pious – that’s not what you’re asking for. You’ve opened my ears so I can listen” (Ps 40:6-8, The Message). Even David said, “You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise” (Ps 51:16-17, NIV). In Eugene Peterson’s paraphrase it says, “Going through the motions doesn’t please you, a flawless performance is nothing to you. I learned God-worship when my pride was shattered. Heart-shattered lives ready for love don’t for a moment escape God’s notice.”

Therefore, instead of just going through the motions, we are going to roll up our sleeves and get our hands dirty and find ways to love and serve our community through CityServe. This is going to be our “worship” (service) to God for this Sunday. It is going to be an exciting experience. We will have to just wait and see what God does.
 

When the music fades
All is stripped away
And I simply come
Longing just to bring
Something that’s of worth
That will bless Your heart

I’ll bring You more than a song
For a song in itself
Is not what You have required
You search much deeper within
Through the way things appear
You’re looking into my heart

I’m coming back to the heart of worship
And it’s all about You,
It’s all about You, Jesus
I’m sorry, Lord, for the thing I’ve made it
When it’s all about You,
It’s all about You, Jesus

King of endless worth
No one could express
How much You deserve
Though I’m weak and poor
All I have is Yours
Every single breath

I’ll bring You more than a song
For a song in itself
Is not what You have required
You search much deeper within
Through the way things appear
You’re looking into my heart

I’m coming back to the heart of worship
And it’s all about You,
It’s all about You, Jesus
I’m sorry, Lord, for the thing I’ve made it
And it’s all about You,
It’s all about You, Jesus