OK kids…LOTS to get to today, and there is ANOTHER session tonight, so we’ll start with what’s happened so far. Mmmkay?
Let’s start with worship, shall we? Pat Sczebel led us in an amazing time of worship, including:
- How Great Thou Art (Traditional, yet…rocked)
- What Can I Do
- The Greatest of All
- Completely Done
- In Christ Alone
What hits you are the theological weight of these songs, the constant reminder of the Gospel, the constant presentation of the attributes of God. Like “Completely Done” for example:
The old is gone, the new has come
What You complete is completely done
We’re heirs with Christ, the victory won
What you complete is completely done.
I instantly thought of that section in Hebrews 10 —
11And every priest stands(N) daily at his service,(O) offering repeatedly the same sacrifices,(P) which can never take away sins. 12But when Christ[b] had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he(Q) sat down at the right hand of God, 13waiting from that time(R) until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. 14For by a single offering(S) he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.
Christ perfectly completed the work set before Him and perfectly made our reconciliation with God, thru Him we are perfectly accepted, perfectly loved, perfectly adopted as sons, as the song says “heirs” with Christ – not because of our works or anything we can do ourselves, but by the grace of Jesus and His perfect sacrifice. In the old testament days, the priest used to have to stand daily and make many sacrifices. But not so, now that Christ has come and did his work on the cross. He did it once and sat down next to the Father. It’s completely done.
I can’t wait to bring some of these songs back to Green Pond, so get ready kids.
Keith and Kristyn Getty then played a few songs…including a new one for communion called “Behold the Lamb” which was just amazing. Another great new song was “By Faith” I have never seen the Getty’s perform before, I was blown away by their passion for the Gospel and the glory of God. Not sure why I’m surprised…they did write “In Christ Alone”
PIPER, the return
First, I got goosebumps when Piper was on stage with Bob Kauflin…then he made Bob stay and he prayed over him. He prayed that God would give Bob and all of us worship leaders a gift – to be able to be contagious to our congregations to produce JOY in worship of the glory of God. Thank you!
Not sure how I’m going to summarize 5 pages of notes into a blog that someone would actually read all the way thru…so please have mercy on me here.
Piper started by connecting last night’s message to today’s with a verse I’ve been meditating on all week, as I’m reading God is the Gospel right now.
4In their case(A) the god of this world(B) has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing(C) the light of(D) the gospel of the glory of Christ,(E) who is the image of God. 5For what(F) we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with(G) ourselves as your servants[a] for Jesus’ sake. 6For God, who said,(H) “Let light shine out of darkness,”(I) has shone in our hearts to give(J) the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
Worship is the ongoing expression of what we feel when we see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. God enables our hearts to see this light, just like he enabled light in creation…
The main question that Piper focused on today was “What experience of the heart magnifies the greatness of God?”
The answer is being satisfied with God in all that God is for us in Christ. In other words -God is most glorified in us, when we are most satisfied in Him.
As Paul says —
9for I know that(A) through your prayers and(B) the help of(C) the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance, 20as it is my eager expectation and hope(D) that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full(E) courage now as always Christ(F) will be honored in my body,(G) whether by life or by death.21For to me(H) to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
To live is Christ, to die is gain.
Is Christ prized above our very lives? That so if we were to die and leave behind everything here we have…would that be considered GAIN? If so, then your heart truly magnifies the greatness of God.
Therefore, the life we live here – whatever we “lose” that isn’t our life, it’s Christ – you lose a nights sleep b/c you are helping a brother thru something? To the glory of Christ then. If that’s how you view it…then your heart magnifies the greatness of God.
- The pursuit of joy is an obligation. This is fully explained in Desiring God which was just a life changer for me. If you haven’t read it, you really need to. Piper went on to say “to take no joy in our service and to say that if you taking joy in it somehow makes you ‘defective’ is deadly to worship. Forms and traditions will dominate.” I like to refer to it as the “Spirit of Religion” — it gets people so indoctrinated that they can’t possibly catch the real thing. We should be coming into worship as empty vessels, longing to be filled with joy – the only joy that can last thru anything that life and death can throw at us. Look at Psalm 42 – as the deer pants for the water, so my soul pants for you. The deer doesn’t offer anything to the stream, it only gets filled with refreshing life changing water – and in so finds complete and utter joy.
- This makes worship radically God-centered. If everyone comes to worship wanting to be satisfied in Him that is not self-centered, it’s God centered – we are actually forgetting about ourselves. Piper told his famous “Anniversary Roses” story here and it was so appropriate. He doesn’t buy roses for his wife on their anniversary out of duty, he does because nothing makes him more satisfied that making her happy and honoring her. Does that make him selfish? Ummm. No.
- It also protects worship as an end to itself and not a means to an end. We can’t use worship to attract stuff or fill a need. We wouldn’t say to our wife “I feel a strong delight in you so that you will make me supper.” You are just trying to get supper then…and not really showing your complete delight in her. BUT, if you truly pursue delighting in her, then everything gets better, right? Just like in worship if we truly delight in the glory of God in the joy of Christ – everything gets better.
- This explains why a life of worship is not just the church services. Lives reflect the glory of God to others and they glorify their Father in heaven:
16In the same way, let your light shine before others, so(A) that they may see your good works and(B) give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
is really the answer to what Romans 12:1-2 means:
1(A) I appeal to you therefore, brothers,[a] by the mercies of God,(B) to present your bodies(C) as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.[b] 2(D) Do not be conformed to this world,[c] but be transformed by(E) the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may(F) discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.[d]
It all results in people giving glory to God, no matter what is going on…even when we are reviled.
Even when little things happen, like what happened to me the other day or like Piper himself…who left his Bible on the plane. Six years of notes and thoughts written in the margins – GONE.
I wonder who will find it…if they will appreciate what they have received. I have a feeling if they do, and it leads them to find their salvation, and drink deeply from the true fountain of living water and joy of the glory of God in the face of Christ – Piper wouldn’t mind a bit.