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Spiritual Life of the Leader - Lesson 21

Philosophy and Forms of Worship

This lesson emphasizes the importance of genuine worship over performance in spiritual leadership. Leaders must embody personal worship and lead others in true adoration. Key points include kneeling in worship, exalting God's name, and participating in sacraments. You'll learn about the dangers of overloading worship services and the importance of historical church traditions. The mission of the church is to uphold true worship against global falsehoods and self-centeredness.

Stephen Martyn
Spiritual Life of the Leader
Lesson 21
Watching Now
Philosophy and Forms of Worship

Philosophy and Forms of Worship

I. Distinction between leading others in worship or performing

II. Ancient Paths of Worship

A. Examine our own lives

B. Forms of worship

1. Kneeling in acts of loving worship

2. Exalting God and lifting his name high in worship

3. Coming forward to receive his gifts

4. Empowerment and encouragement to go out and serve

III. The Public Worship of God is Overloaded

A. Our mission is to work through the power of the Holy Spirit to hold up the light of worshiping the one true God

B. Righteousness and wrath (Romans 1:17ff)

C. The greatest issue is no worship. The cure is proper worship

D. Without God, people naturally go to unrighteousness

E. Self-Seeking (Romans 2:8)

IV. Questions and Answers

A. Is corporate worship a reflection of individual worship and individual reflection of corporate?

B. How do you implement change in a way that people will respond positively?

C. Prayer to invite and acknowledge God's presence


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  • Dr. Martyn has surveyed church leaders around the world to understand their responsibilities and pressures. He aims to use his experience to help them develop a model of ministry that encourages spiritual formation, discipleship, and worship in a healthy way. His class is comprehensive on topics such as spiritual formation, discipleship, leadership principles, and worship. Listening to this class could benefit anyone regardless of whether they have an official leadership position or not.
  • This lesson covers the involvement of Christians in societal issues, using historical examples and emphasizing the balance of Christ's work for and in believers, while critiquing modern church practices and advocating for active ministry participation by all members.
  • This lesson teaches the importance of balancing Christian service with receptivity to God's word, using the story of Martha and Mary to illustrate the need for prioritizing spiritual union with Christ over mere activity, emphasizing the consequences of a divided heart and the necessity of both justification and sanctification.
  • Learn to identify red flags in your ministry, distinguish between serving God and personal ambition, and address anxiety, self-pity, and control issues by trusting God and adopting humility.
  • Understand the theological concept that your essence is divinely created and precedes your existence, contrasting this with Sartre's existentialism, and learn the importance of receiving God's guidance over defining your life by accomplishments.
  • Learn to critically evaluate your motives, distinguish between self-serving and God-serving actions, understand the role of community in avoiding self-deception, recognize the significance of Christ's atonement, handle red flags, and balance people's expectations with God's calling.
  • The lesson teaches you to balance spiritual renewal and active ministry by self-reflecting on weekly activities, ensuring you receive God's grace and effectively respond to His directives, thus preventing burnout and sustaining a healthy ministry.
  • Learn to live like a reservoir, receiving spiritual replenishment before giving, through prioritizing key practices like prayer and scripture, and avoiding depletion by maintaining a constant spiritual reservoir and making essential practices an integral part of daily life.
  • This lesson teaches you to live by integrating core Christian principles daily, maintaining foundational practices like loving God, building relationships, serving vocally, and caring for your body, while emphasizing the importance of following Jesus closely and avoiding the pitfalls of church leadership.
  • Learn about the eight deadly sins, their historical and spiritual context, and the importance of overcoming them through spiritual disciplines, while illustrating the consequences of these sins through biblical examples, especially emphasizing the dangers of anger and depreciation of God's goodness.
  • Learn about dealing with inordinate sadness and grief in ministry, understanding the importance of acknowledging suffering, supporting others compassionately, handling difficult relationships with integrity, and addressing unresolved anger constructively.
  • You learn the importance of gratitude, the dangers of sadness and acedia, the need for internal well-being through a relationship with God, and the power of infused hope in overcoming ministry challenges.
  • Gain insights into the dangers of vainglory and pride, the importance of humility, prayer, and community support, and the significance of recognizing God's sovereignty in overcoming self-centeredness and narcissism.
  • Integrating sermon teachings into your heart is crucial, all sins are deadly, and you should submit worries to God, rejoice, and take every thought captive for Christ, using early church wisdom to overcome temptations like gluttony for spiritual growth.
  • This lesson teaches you how to identify and combat the eight deadly sins using virtues like temperance, chaste love, poverty of spirit, meekness, appreciation, infused faith, hope, love, and humility, relying on divine grace to transform these vices into a deeper spiritual life.
  • Understand that crises, whether personal or ministry-related, are opportunities for spiritual growth by seeking God's refuge, understanding forced detachment crises, maintaining healthy life rhythms, and recognizing divine purification amidst challenges.
  • This lesson teaches how crises reveal the light of Christ, illustrating the transformative power of faith through biblical examples and personal experiences, emphasizing reliance on God's resources and presence, and portraying ministry as a pressure cooker demanding quick maturity and resilience.
  • Explore Christian anthropology, understanding God's image in us, and the dimensions of human life, roles, and spiritual longings, emphasizing the balance between physical, functional, and spiritual aspects guided by the Holy Spirit.
  • This lesson continues the study of Christian anthropology through Adrian Von Comm's field theory, emphasizing Christ at the center of interconnected aspects of human existence—interior, relational, here and now, and global life—encouraging balance, cooperation with the Holy Spirit, and harmonious Christian living.
  • Learn that as a leader, worship is central to your role, involving a holistic response to God's love and guidance, emphasizing discipleship, biblical understanding, and aligning with God's purpose through praise and adoration, preventing apathy and enriching your leadership journey.
  • Understand that true worship according to the New Testament is about honoring and serving God alone, avoiding idolatry, and leading a life of genuine service and love toward Him, while recognizing and addressing the major obstacles to authentic worship within contemporary church practices.
  • Understand the importance of genuine worship leadership, personal worship alignment, the significance of historical church traditions, the dangers of overloaded worship services, and the mission to uphold true worship against global falsehoods.
  • Learn about the core aspects of worship in Revelation 4, emphasizing humility, submission, and the connection between future and present worship, encouraging heartfelt adoration and genuine worship practices in church leadership.
  • Learn how a leader's spiritual life impacts their ministry, the necessity of comprehensive discipleship, the integration of gospel content into daily life, and the importance of articulating and practicing core theological doctrines.
  • Explore the dynamic nature of spiritual life and leadership, emphasizing shifts from traditional to transformative ministry, clergy-centered to congregation-empowered roles, and solo to team leadership, advocating mature discipleship and active laity engagement.
  • Learn the importance of integrating sermons into discipleship, focusing on high commitment, contextualization, personal mentoring, and a family-like atmosphere, while emphasizing biblical and theological grounding for a solid foundation.
  • Biblical and theological grounding, genuine discipleship, and the formation of life-giving dispositions are crucial for spiritual growth and active participation in God's mission, leading to personal joy, communal fulfillment, and a global impact.

What do you think the priorities should be for a leader in the Church? How do you cultivate your personal spiritual life in a way that keeps you emotionally healthy and helps you avoid choosing sin? What is your measure of success for your church? How does that compare with a biblical measure of success? What is a disciple? What should the process of discipleship look like? What principles can you learn from the way Jesus interacted with his followers that will help you to encourage spiritual formation of the people in your sphere of influence? What are sins that people in leadership have commonly struggled with over the past 2,000 years? How do you recognize them in your own life and what are some practical ways to avoid them or repent and recover from them? What is the essence of worship? How do you live your life so you are worshipping God authentically in everything you do? How do you lead worship in a group setting in a way that encourages others to worship authentically? 

These are a few of the questions that Dr. Martyn poses to begin a conversation regarding the subject of the spiritual life of the leader. As a pastor for more than 20 years, Dr. Martyn asked and answered these questions in the context of loving and serving people personally. As part of his current position of teaching future pastors at Asbury seminary, he and some of his colleagues have conducted extensive surveys of church leaders throughout the North America and the world to get a better understanding of the responsibilities and pressures that church leaders face every day. His goal is to be able to understand biblical principles and use his experience to help leaders develop a model of ministry that helps them develop their personal spiritual life and give them a model to disciple and encourage the people they work with in a way that is healthy and encourages their faith and practice. 

Whether you have an official leadership position or not, you will benefit from listening to this class. It is one of the most comprehensive classes on spiritual formation, discipleship, leadership principles and worship that you will ever hear. If you listen and reflect on each of the lectures from beginning to end, you will be glad you did. 

Dr. Stephen Martyn
Spiritual Life of a Leader
sf502-21
Philosophy and Forms of Worship
Lesson Transcript

 

[00:00:00] Coming back from the break. There were some important words here. Just real quickly, the importance of how as leaders, we need to understand that when we're leading worship, this is particularly those who are leading the musical, the literal acts of praise and worship. You know, we've got to we've got to make strong distinctions between is this going to be a performance based thing entirely? Not saying there shouldn't be competence. There has to be competence. If you put someone up front to lead who does not have the confidence, that just becomes a major league distraction. But but we do want to make the distinction between am I there to lead others in worship or am I there to perform for others? You know, these are things these are values that you as a leader have got to come in and take the time to. First of all, get your mission straight. What does the word say is our mission, especially in this whole area of worship, is being primary, and then you start working out your values. And one of the values as the leader is, is, you know, we we're not here to perform for others. We're not performance oriented. We are worship oriented. I think the thing that blessed me so much in being in church, in Tim Killers, one of Tim Killers congregations in New York City was there was no overheads, there were no cameras. There was there were two simple instruments up upfront. The only the only thing that was electronic literally, were the lights and microphones. But there was a strong sense of worship in that. And they had taken obviously the time they'd taken the time to work through those types of issues. So let's continue on in in our understanding of leadership, spiritual leadership, and in how maybe we're called to follow some ancient paths of worship here.

 

[00:02:31] Now, think about with the great commandment that Jesus gave us to love the Lord, our God with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength as the mark. 1231 And with qualification that Jesus reinforced that we should worship the Lord our God and serve only Him. I've said that about three times now, but that's a pretty important issue that Matthew 410. It really behooves us to examine our own lives here. And another thing that came up with the break is am I leading a life of personal worship and adoration as well? You know, you kind of get disqualified internally, even in your own thinking. If if if you as a leader are merely a performance based person and you're not eating what you're selling. So a big part of upfront spiritual leadership in setting the compass of my life is, Hey, I'm going to first follow Christ in this ministry position. You would think that I'd be elementary and wouldn't have to be spilled out, but it does have to be spelled out. Now, here's the deal. While I don't ever want to make worship formulaic because there in other words, put a formula on what this is how God wants you to worship because there are different streams in God's church. I know there's a number of streams that say they are the only true streams. They've though they're the only ones with the pure water of God, and we love them as well. But but there are there are a number of streams in God's kingdom and in our in the history of the church. And so we want to have I want to have deep respect for for every major Christian stream, definitely all state within that boundary. But I want to ask, are there foundational movements? That the Lord wants us to apply both in our own lives.

 

[00:04:42] In our leadership lives and our family lives in our in our church lives. I want to suggest some movements here. The first movement is this. Are we kneeling in acts of loving worship, at least in our hearts? Are we kneeling in acts of loving worship? And where possible and if possible, with the totality of our physical bodies. But always the heart is the major issue. Are we kneeling in submission before Father, Son and the Holy Spirit? It's not my church, Lord. It's your church. It's actually not even my ministry. In fact, I need to get rid of those personal pronounced. Today, Lord, I am here for your ministry, for your kingdom. So in kneeling primarily in spirit, but in kneeling with all that I am before the Blessed Trinity, what I'm doing is I'm acknowledging that I'm a completely dependent creature and I'm looking to God is my teacher. And Lord, remember that famous John 1313 passage Jesus is saying there he has not. He not only has the right to instruct us in all things, but to ask for our total loyalty in all things. So I'm kneeling in my heart, in my life. Number two. Are we exalting God by lifting his name high in worship? This is part of the deal as well. By declaring his worthiness in singing the songs and singing hymns, in offering him praise and even as a leader. You know, whether you're the music worship leader or the pastor, that you're being clear when when we gather the people we are gathering for the sake of worship, like Eugene Peterson said, as we called attention to earlier, you know, we're here to worship the living God. We'll give thanks to the Lord for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.

 

[00:07:18] Psalm 136 one We're letting worship lead us and guide us. What are we doing in worship? We are affirming God's character. In other words, we're giving a claim to him. We're acknowledging who he is and by affirming his character. Well, what are we doing? We are establishing our personal lives, our our family life. All of our family were established. We're established in our congregation. On the revelation of who God is. That's what's preeminent. That's what the world needs most today. And we're responding to his self-disclosure that came in and through Christ in through the Incarnation, by returning love, by showing our love to Him, the three of our love, Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. Then third, are we coming forth in whatever way your local congregation does this to receive his gifts? Listen at the heart of the sacrament, which he started on the night before his death, the Holy Sacrament, were coming for the body and the blood. This is receiving his life into our lives, and we're placing everything before him when we do this, everything that we are. We're laying down our lives before him. We're laying literally our lives before Jesus feet. We're going to revisit these and actually in a different form here. But I want to put them out now. These ancient paths. If God's church offers a reliable path today. Because what they do when we when we when we kneel down, when we bow down, when we lift high, when we come forward to receive, then we're able to go out to serve. The mission of God that he has for us. So these, in submitting to God and lifting his name high in place in our lives as the living sacrifice before him, the Holy Spirit enables us.

 

[00:10:00] Listen to this. You know, the Holy Spirit enables us to participate in what James Torrance called, to participate in what James Torrence called the son's communion with the father. Look, the father's pouring out his life into the sun, remembering the sun is returning that life. And so the son's communion with the father, Torrence wrote in his vicarious life of worship intercession. You see what this is taking us into the heavenly. And we're participating in the worship adoration, the giving of love and the receiving of love. It's going on in the very heart of the Trinity recall to seek nothing less in worship. And Lord, help us. Lord, help us here. So I want to take a leap now and. And continue on with with these thoughts and movements. And and and I want to I want to spur your leadership and I want to I want to challenge you in your leadership. Here's here's an issue we've been we're also we're also seen and in our broad the both interviews on site visits in our work with a number of denominations and with the work in our own with with our own students. And and here it is. You're going to find it strange. But just listen first before you make a judgment across God's church today. We're also finding that the public worship of God is overloaded. Now, what in the world am I talking about? Here's what I'm talking about. We're finding that in pastoral leaders to remember this is a class for leaders. We're finding that the leaders are trying to do too much in their worship services. Now, only an illustration here can help you understand what I'm seeing as we go from church to church and listen to sermons. We really are blessed with some rather outstanding sermons.

 

[00:12:50] I sat under one of those sermons, which was a first class message on following Jesus, on being his disciple, the pastor of this large church, really, really explicated well, what the call to discipleship and how everyone is if you're going to after worship. I mean, discipleship is what comes. I worship God and I follow Jesus. And this pastor then wrapped the whole thing up by calling people to the altar to commit their lives to discipleship. And there was a huge response here. There was a big, big response, and I was very thankful for it. Then I walked out of that service, and the more I thought about it, the more I got disturbed. Why would you be disturbed when a biblical call to discipleship and many people responded. Here's why I got disturbed in going through the literature of the church and looking at what the church was offering through all of its various ministries and programs. I didn't see a single thing about any place where a new Christian could come in and learn what it means to be a disciple. In other words, now it may have been there, probably is there, but I didn't see a single process for discipleship. And then I got to thinking he took the lazy way out. The guy took the easy way out. He was trying to hold up discipleship without offering any real avenue for discipleship. Not only that, but he didn't know his own tradition. The tradition says, How is discipleship accomplished in great, big, massive services? Well, of course, some discipleship is accomplished there because we're fulfilling the purpose of the church by worshiping, by hearing the word, by receiving the Blessed Sacrament of Holy Communion, where we're doing all of that there.

 

[00:15:14] That's right. And that's good. But discipleship in the history of our Christian tradition has been historically accomplished through Jesus being with the 12 disciples. He ministers to the crowd. Yes, of course. But he pours is life into the 12 disciples. It's all in a classic book by a B. Bruce in the late 1800s called The Training of the 12. So the Lord loves that pastor, the Lord and the Lord loves that congregation, and He's going to bless them. And I'm not here to speak ill of anybody, but I think he's representative of what we found in any number of settings, in any number of settings. We we we saw people trying to do Healing and Deliverance ministry within the primary worship service. We tried we saw people trying to do justice ministries within a primary worship service. We saw people trying to do all sorts of ministries that really cannot be accomplished outside of small group interaction, but they're packing it into the worship service. Pastors are trying to accomplish too much in the worship services. I'm telling you, it's just like Apollos in Acts 18. He was an eloquent man, well versed in the scriptures. He'd been instructed in the way of the Lord, and he spoke with burning enthusiasm, and he taught accurately the things of God concerning Jesus. But there was a problem. What was the problem In verse 25? Do you remember? He knew only the baptism of John. And and so what what happened there? Well, the church had to take him and had to give more instruction into his life. You know. The church is not accomplished through mere right thinking. That's important in Apollo's head that. But he didn't have the whole show. He didn't have the whole ballgame here.

 

[00:17:42] He needed more in his life to accomplish the purposes of the church. So I go when I think about things like that. I look at Eugene Peterson, who reflected in his book, The Pastor on page 239. He said this My theological education had pivoted on Martin Luther and John Calvin, brilliant and comprehensive thinkers. Writers and exegesis of Scripture. They taught me to think largely and passionately about God in the Scriptures. For them, reforming the Christian life was primarily, but not entirely a matter of recovering right thinking, understanding doctrine, interpreting scripture, and rightly so, for that day and time. Yet, after a prolonged time of struggle in what Peterson called the Badlands, he got to know Sister Gwyn, the the head of a Carmelite monastery of nuns. And as Peterson looked back on his own training, he reflected this I'd received a theological education adequate for preparing me for being a professor in the classroom, dealing with knowledge, with truth, in knowledge, faith, seeking understanding from Anselm. But now, as a pastor and a great deal of my life consisted in dealing with souls as they went about their lives in households and workplaces. But the life of the soul in the attentiveness of souls to God, that is prayer I had taken for granted. It was simply assumed it was peripheral to my training. But Theresa and John, the people that are going to be had, put him in touch with, taught him how to pray. Rightly so, said praying, rightly with the same disciplined care as Luther and Calvin took with the scriptures and believing rightly this was something more like faith seeking holiness. And this is what Apollos needed in his life. He needed the fullness of God in his life. So. Just as Apollos needed.

 

[00:20:04] Priscilla and Aquila and Paul. To have that fullness of understanding in his life. And Peterson needed Luther and Calvin as well as Teresa and John in his life. I think so too. Do we need to refocus our focus, refocus our worship energies not just on presenting the truth? Or in creating an experience. But in taking all aspects of our lives. And Balawi before the father. Before the consuming fire of LA. I think that's part of the call. It's part really of a generation of leaders. It's a part of the repentance of a whole of several generation generations of leaders that need to rethink what are we doing in terms of leading the people of God and what is our role and is part of reclaiming the priority of worship in our lives. Now is your seatbelt on? I hope so. Hold on with me. Hold on with me. I'm thankful there are many policies out there, good people, good people truly seeking to do the right thing. And what what we're trying to do is encourage you to dive deeper into the word here, to let the word speak to you, let the word direct to you and lead you in all of this. Now here, I want to say this. I want us to hear that as as the flock of God. Now I'm talking about us is the church. We've got a huge task before us. And we want to remember what that task is, namely. Our mission. I'm talking about the whole church here. Leaders, everybody. Our mission is to work through the power of the Holy Spirit, to hold up the light of worshiping the one true God to a whole worldwide system. Now, that will have nothing to do with that kind of worship.

 

[00:22:37] Why? Because it's darkened by false worship. Now, I want you to go back to what I've already referred to in the first chapter of Romans. Paul gives very, very keen insight. Remember, said, said incited Agustin and Luther picked up on in nailing down the major problem of the Church of the World. What's the major problem confronting the world? All right. Well, after after writing about the righteousness of God in verse 17, this in Romans, Romans one, Listen, what Wesley would talk about the preachers who would preach sweet meat. In other words, they were sweet meat preachers. They they just they just handed out dates, things, you know, nice, appealing things to try and attract people. They had nothing. Any kind of tough word from the from the word they left out. Man, Paul is no sweet meat preacher, okay? He's a gospel preacher, and he gets the whole thing. And the good news. Yes. But you really can't understand the good news unless you get a hold of the bad news. And so he's laying this out here in Romans one, two, three, four, five. The whole the whole book is if you could get a hold of. ROMANS you getting a hold of I mean, the book of Romans, would we have Martin Luther without the Book of Romans? We certainly would not have John Wesley without without the book of Romans. Anyway, so he's writing about the righteousness of God in verse 17 now, Righteousness of God. This is what God declares. Good. Upright. Holy. And we live in a culture that, you know, just puts out only and and declares all sorts of perversion as the good. But no, Paul's keeping it straight here. Then he states in verse 18 that the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all godliness and wickedness.

 

[00:25:09] Let me ask you, when's the last time anybody's heard a sermon on the wrath of God? Yeah, it's kind of like, well, we'll just pass by that little biblical concept. But again, how do you get how do you understand the atonement without this? How do you understand your need for redemption? Without this, the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all in godliness, in wickedness. Now, wrath. What do we mean by wrath? What is. What is Paul mean by wrath? What's the divine word mean here? God is very much opposed to the disobedience of humanity. It's what it means. And we'll confront that disobedience with his holy love. The key here is understanding what Paul is saying that God opposes. This is the key to this. The word on godliness literally means no worship. Already mention that. No warship. So here's the deal. Oh, and I owe this inside. I need to buy all this insight to another scene in heaven. Dr. Dennis Kinlaw, great Old Testament scholar. So Paul wrote that the greatest issue we face as sinful and broken human beings is our lack of proper worship of the God who has been revealed to us through Jesus, the Messiah leaders. Are you kidding? The connection. Hear the word. I hear the word to us. The greatest issue. No worship. The cure. Through Christ, our Lord. Proper worship. Your mission. To lead the people of God into proper worship. This in and of itself, then is becomes a literal kingdom vehicle through which God shares his light with a broken and fallen world. Do we need congregations compromising to societal values? Then what in the world do you have to offer society? Or do we need congregations holding up the light of a worshiping community where the people of God in that community have their their hearts, their minds, their leadership set? Now, friends, that's that's the draw.

 

[00:28:15] We're attracting people to worship God, not to do anything else. Those who do not worship our ungodly. They're without worship. These are the ones that Christ died for. Without the one proper object to worship, without a life giving relationship with our living Lord, the resurrected Lord humanity naturally collapses into what Paul termed unrighteousness. The strong term. It's a d i k i a and it is pronounced out of clear, out of key. Unrighteousness. I mean, we're swimming in this in worldwide culture. And let me just also say, has it ever been different? No, nothing new here at all, meaning attitudes and actions that violate all that is good and all that is right as revealed by God, since they have no root of goodness in God. These behaviors begin then to bring about devastating consequences in our lives. You know, it's just here's the deal that which is opposed to God. Anything that is opposed to God is, by its very nature, dark and destructive to life. It separates us from the love of the father. And it injects nothing but destruction and death into our lives. Thank you, Dr. Kinlaw, for your exegesis on this. Paul dying is further definition to our proclivity toward lack of worship. Seek church. This is why we've got to get this straight to our to to our lack of worship in Romans two eight, where he sums up the basic problem then as self seeking the self bending back in upon itself. So in this section in Romans two, Paul points forward to the great judgment of humanity that's going to come when Jesus returns in verse five. And on this, when this day occurs, Paul states that we will be repaid what according to each one's deeds.

 

[00:30:54] Now we got to get the whole story. Those who are redeemed in Christ go to heaven. Some of their works, however, get burned up and there's going to be some smoky ones going up into heaven. And to get that off up there. But. Those who saw it. In other words, to live according to God's highest design for humanity, doing good and seeking for the glory and honor that belongs to God, that is God, it's desire for us. These are going to receive the gift of eternal life, he says in verse seven. But those who are self-seeking, it's very, very clear here. Those who are self-seeking, who have not sought after God. Who will buy not the truth, but wickedness. Verse eight. They will receive nothing but the indignation of God for their for their self-centeredness and their lack of worship. Listen. It's a right and a good thing. Holy love will not allow falsehood or anything contrary to God's goodness into the new heaven and the new earth. It's not going to happen. We simply cannot be a universalist and read scripture. You know it's not going to happen. So the Augustan, Martin Luther, you know, both of them highlight Paul's term self-seeking and explain it. The Divine Plan is for us to return the love we receive from the Trinity back to the Trinity in worship and adoration, and then share that love in unselfish acts of goodness to those around us. But in the collapse of self curvature, they warn the love intended for God in others is pulled back and wrongly focused on self leaders. This is why we cannot cannot focus worship services around what's in it for us in terms of earthly benefits. Please hear the gospel. Don't hear me hear the gospel.

 

[00:33:20] All we're doing there is promoting self curvature, making the Christian life all about me and all about what I'm going to gain either materially or whatever other way you want to say it. That's distorted love. And all that does is work for self advancement. No, we are called to work toward self or toward self donation toward kenosis. That's Paul's term. It's a hard word, is it not? Let me be very, very clear in saying, does that mean that God doesn't give blessings even during this lifetime? My heavens, I've been blessed beyond imagination. It says if I've got a worldwide family. My wife and I have had all of our needs met, according to his riches and glory and then abundance on top of that. But we're not called to put those things first. Not at all. So as is true of all aspects of the Christian life, the Word of God leads us into the fullness intended for the worshiping body of Christ. We want to step into the joy of worship at this point. Let's just take a break and receive questions before we go into what worship is going to look like in the future. Yeah, let me ask a practical application. It may be more a practical way of looking at church and how this works. Sure. Worship is us entering in to the the relationship among the Trinity. Yes. And and it's true first in our hearts and then it works out at a corporate level. If you if that is your leadership role, is that a fair way to think of it? And is it fair to think of it in reverse as well? And I'm trying to think of a red flag. If I'm a leader in a church, would it be a red flag for me to look at corporate worship? And if it looks like it's focused on the human benefit, do I need to ask about my own personal worship and am I really worshiping as an individual? Whereas this is a corporate reflection of the individual, an individual's refraction, reflection of the corporate.

 

[00:36:03] So good, so good. And huge, huge question. All right. So I think what what what we're trying to affirm here is that worship begins for all of us as a response to how God has loved us. And even as there's the giving and receiving of love in the Trinity, I'm called to receive the love that the father has for me is demonstrated through the Son, applied to the Holy Spirit, and His presence is with me loving, guiding, guarding, upholding, inspiring. And so my own personal worship is an out flow of that. But I think what I'm hearing you say, are you saying and just interpreting it some you know, the red flag comes when I, as the leader, see worship as a mere functional part of my job. In other words, I am there to perform this service and I do not mean service in the worship type of sense, but I'm there to perform a function and it needs to be good. I need to inspire the people. I need to meet their needs. Could it be so that they will affirm me and like me and keep me around? And now that's a that can be an exaggeration, although it can be dead on. Right. So is this a function or does worship flow out of a very strong and ongoing relationship that I have with God? And I'm I as the leader of the flock, Im inviting others to be a part of this amazing, amazing reality of honoring God. So there's I think we probably need to expand it further. But go ahead. We've got to got another question. Listening to this morning's teaching about worship. Is. First of all, it's very inspirational. And I think anybody with a heart for God will find themselves responding and wanting to worship better.

 

[00:38:46] But when I turn around and think of how to implement this in in a church setting, almost all leaders now, I think I guess if you're if you're dealing with leaders in training who are not in a church, they can look for a church to serve in that that believes this already. But for most people, we're finding ourselves already in a leadership position in some church and the worship. The warship so-called, has been set up either by the denomination hundreds of years ago or by our church tradition or whatever. So, in other words, tradition, our culture of our church or whatever. So so it's already fairly fixed. Right. And then there's the issue that you just mentioned in the previous question, which is if I try to fix it and try to implement a less, uh, meeting the needs type worship and more towards the action, you know, I think it's very obvious what's going to happen is people will leave. They're not getting what they came for. What they came for was a good show, for example, or the Christian variety show, so on and so forth. So I just find it a big dichotomy of how you actually implement this in a way that people can accept and consider. Sure, it's you. You are asking them, you're asking a process question and it is one of the great questions before the church today. If we know things are not quite where they need to be, are very, very far away from where they need to be. What's a god honoring and people blessing process to move it? Now, one of the things we actually say is I'll put it in a plug here for church planting, which you yourself have been a part of.

 

[00:40:46] You know, it's in many cases is sure a whole lot easier to start with. A whole new wet ball of clay. As long as you got it down in your own heart in mind, this is how I believe God wants us to go. But nevertheless, I won't. I want leaders who aren't planting to be encouraged by this. And here's the deal. It can be done and it can be done without blowing the thing apart. Will people leave? Well, probably. I can't control that. That's just a part of a migratory culture, a congregational culture, anyway. This is going to happen. And sometimes it's because of you. Sometimes it has absolutely nothing to do with you. Blessed be the name of the Lord. But anyway, so here's a short answer. Is. Team. Team. Team! Can I get a leadership team, Rollie? Now, if you're the leader. The answer is yes. I can get a leadership team rolling. Can I get a team rolling to iron this type of stuff out? And there are wonderful organizations that can help you in this. S.L., I think is a wonderful organization. Spiritual Leaders Inc out of Lexington, Kentucky, is a proven, proven organization to help you get a leadership team to help you work out. All right, what is God's will? What is God's vision for us here? How can we how can we start revising our mission, get our vision down? How can we have concerts of prayer where you get the whole congregation to come in and and and pray for this and and receive input from everybody who wants to speak in two three hour ways to do this without blowing people out, without blowing the whole thing apart. And and we're seeing the blessings of God.

 

[00:42:57] Another another organization that is doing this is my colleague Brian Simms at Asbury Theological Seminary is is is doing this. And he's got a whole branch of the seminary where he's teaching people how to do this. There's there are other people who other organizations, a number of them. But transformation, cultural change can take place and it can take place without throwing grenades everywhere. So thank you. Thank you for the question. Yes. I'm so sorry. We had another question. Oh, we got another question. All right. We got one more question. Yeah, Well, yeah, I'm just thinking about my personal experience. I've been in worship services. Yes, we're actually there is very little prayer that happens during the worship service. Oh, yeah. You know that. Possibly an opening prayer. Possibly a closing prayer, but maybe not even that much. But even if you just to me, it just seems if prayer that would invite the presence of the Holy Spirit into the worship. Yes. And say, you know, Lord, be here in this place in this time, whether it's whether it includes liturgy, whether includes however, however, whatever form is. Yeah Lord come into this. But a lot of service. No, just have just deleted a lot prayers. It's exactly what we were finding in our interviews. I mean, there's no excuse. You know, you could be in that worship service in the word worship, never even mentioned. So, I mean, a simple approach here is just to be explicit in saying we're gathered here to worship God, so we don't want to get into the business of fixing all the problems of the church. What what the purpose of this is, is to get our leaders focused. What is your job? What is what's really your ministry here? And it may not quite be what you think it is according to contemporary cultural terms.

 

[00:45:15] But then now let me add on to that before I quit. You can transition it all. It can be done. The Lord can help you. You take what you have. You've landed. You take what you have. And through his love and grace, you transition it. Well, blessed be the name of the Lord. We were going to continue this. We need to do yet another session on this business of worship and leadership. I pray that the Lord will help you rightly process through this. To discern. To discern. And I bless you in the name of Christ. Thank you.