home > Pastor’s Desk > 2017 > July 27th > The Pastor as a New Worship Leader

WHY I RESIGNED

A few years ago I resigned. That is, I resigned from my pursuit of majoring on being a great preacher. I think my motives were noble in this pursuit. After all, the Scriptures declare that preaching is the means of grace for people to come to salvation. It was reasonable then for any pastor to see the pulpit as their main responsibility.  But as I studied the life and ministry of Dr. F.W. Boreham I increasingly grew more in love with the pastorate than the pulpit. I stopped preparing sermons to preach and began to prepare sermons to pastor. Instead of the pulpit being my platform, it has become my tool for pastoring people. Sure, preaching can move and stir people. But unless it  leads people into worship of God it is failing both people and our Lord. That’s why the best preaching is really worship-leading!

But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship Him.
John 4:23

THE GOSPEL AND WORSHIP


Some people see the Gospel as simply the message of God’s grace in forgiving us of our sins and securing our eternal redemption. In that view, the Gospel can be reduced to four spiritual laws based on just four verses of Scripture from Romans. You might already know that the term “gospel” comes from the Greek word ‘evangel’ (euangelion) which means good news.

¶ Now to Him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages
Romans 16:25

God Is The Gospel, by Dr. John PiperConsidering that God has given us more than just four verses of Scripture, the good news of the Gospel may not just be limited to four verses of Scripture or even just about God’s grace in saving us from our sins.This is why you will have heard me say that the Gospel begins at Genesis 1:1 and ends at Revelation 22:21. In this view, every verse of Scripture can be thought of as being like a pixel in a grand picture. What is this grand picture? It is the most magnificent picture of the most magnificently beautiful God. It is this picture of God which is the good news, the Gospel. This is why John Piper says, “God is the Gospel!”

Salvation isn’t just about being forgiven of our sins. It’s about coming back into fellowship with God which begins with our sins being graciously forgiven by the Father because of what Jesus has done. It begins with this, but it doesn’t end with this. For the Gospel to run its course in the life of the redeemed there must be a transformation of who they are into the image of Christ.

For those whom He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, in order that He might be the firstborn among many brothers.
Romans 8:29

This transformation into the image of Christ happens as we respond to the summons of the Gospel to surrender more of our lives as our worship to God. Of course, since Christ and the Father are in perfect union and share infinitely vulnerable love for each other, our transformation into the image of the Father’s Son involves us being drawn closer to God the Father as well. The process of coming closer to the Father and being transformed into the image of His Son is called sanctification. Our sanctification in this life can be seen by how much of our lives are offered to God in worship. Thus, something quite mystical happens to us when we worship – and especially when we worship in our local church – which often God ordains to involve humility on our part which invokes the rich blessing of God’s grace on us.

But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
James 4:6

And the most profoundly mystical thing that happens to a worshiper is an increasing revelation of God’s beauty. Little wonder then, that the great worshiper, John Francis Wade, wrote the song, “O come let us adore Him!” (which we mistakenly relegate to the Festive Season!). For adoration is the most natural response to being in God’s presence and beholding Him.

And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.
Second Corinthians 3:18

The more we behold Christ in worship the more we willingly surrender to God and the greater the revelation we receive of the Father’s impeccability and beauty. The Father then becomes even more attractive to us and  the more we are attracted to Him, the more we want to surrender to Him in adoring worship.

and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe,
Hebrews 12:28b

This is why our worship is most beautifully expressed in singing and music together because it involves our hearts, our presence, and our attention. It most naturally leads to us worshiping God with our lives. This transforming worship is most evident by how we treat others, particularly those who know us best. They, of all people, have a window into the genuineness of the revelation of God we claim to have. Thus, the one who claims to be a worshiper of God yet displays little transformation into the image of Christ because they are continually angry, critical, offended, offending, or complaining, is displaying that they have not surrendered to the Beautiful One at all. Yet when those we love get up close to us and look through the window of our soul and they see a kind-hearted, forgiving, gracious, patient, generous soul, it is obvious to them that our worship of the Father has caused us to surrender in love to Him.

¶ I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.
Romans 12:1

PREACHING AS WORSHIP LEADING

But how does preaching lead people to worship? The fact that we now even ask this question reveals just how far from the Biblical concept of preaching we have moved. Sound preaching not only unpacks the Scriptures. Sound preaching not only explains Christian doctrine. Sound preaching brings people to a clearer picture of God and summons people to worship Him! This is why every preacher should be a worship leader because they are leading people to worship the Magnificent One. This begins at salvation, continues through sanctification, and is completed in our glorification as we are united with the Father in Christ by the Holy Spirit for eternity. Since Christ calls pastors to shepherd people, that is lead people to a closer walk with Christ, the pulpit becomes the pastors most valued tool for achieving this. That’s why I resigned from simply preaching, and have focussed more of my energies on pastoring through preaching with the aim of bringing people into richer worship of our Heavenly Father. Thus, when I am preaching, I am now worship leading. Please join me in worshiping our Saviour. I’ll tell you why, this Sunday.

Amen.

Your Pastor,

Andrew

Let me know what you think below in the comment section and feel free to share this someone who might benefit from this Pastor’s Desk.

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PENTECOSTALISM, THE TWO SIDES OF REVIVAL

home > Pastor's Desk > 2024 >June 21st > PENTECOSTALISM, THE SIDES OF REVIVAL Pentecostalism began with a move of God - a revival. This happened on a Jewish Festival called the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1). This was when the Holy Spirit was given and poured...

MY BIGGEST BURDENS

A burden is something that weighs on you. You could be burdened emotionally because a relationship that is weighing on you. You could be burdened psychologically because of the weight of a looming deadline. You could be burdened spiritually because of the weight of guilt you are carrying. You could be burdened physically because of your weight and depleted strength. We all carry burdens. There are seasons in our lives where some burdens a big and you do not feel that you will be able to bear up under the enormous pressure you are under. Those seasons will pass. For those in leadership there is the constant burden of the weight of responsibility that must be carried. (Have you ever noticed what this kind burden bearing does physically to a President or Prime Minister over their term in office?) In the Bible we read that GOD actually gives people burdens so that they become stronger, wealthier, happier, and more productive. These types of burdens always involve caring for others. (Have you ever considered why Jesus was sweating great drops of blood as He was praying just before He went to the Cross via His hours of humiliating pummelling, beating, scourging, hair-pulling, and mockery?) I want to share you with you why I am now carrying an enormous burden that I would consider that biggest burden I have ever had to carry. I do so in the hope that this might help you to bear your burdens with greatest expertise and joy. Yes, joy.

HOW TO DEVELOP YOUR RELATIONSHIP SKILLS

This year we have been laying a foundation for knowing God and then each Sunday building upon it. Throughout June we are focusing on how knowing God enables us to find our joy in Him and consequently to discover that He enables us to find joy in our relationships with others. But sadly, for many people who have vowed to love, serve, and follow Jesus, this has not always been easy to do. This is why the current sub-theme of humility is critically important if someone desires to truly experience joy in each of their various relationships with others. 

KNOWING GOD

In the past few months, we have been hearing in Church and also by reading the Pastor’s Desks that through the Psalms and by the Fruit of the Holy Spirit, we can know God more. The Psalms show God as our Shepherd, God’s character is unchanging, we can be still and know Him, and that He is poetic. The Fruit of the Spirit reminds us that God is faithful, gentle and kind, and that we need to stay close to Him in the same way a baby gets nutrients from its mother through the umbilical cord. Knowing these things, we can become more like God as He helps us outwork His character in our lives. Philippians 3:10 challenged me in this regard some time ago.

RULES RULES AND MORE RULES

What comes to mind when you hear the word Rules? For some, it is a welcome relief to all the chaos surrounding us. Rules can provide comfort, safety, stability, predictability and protection. But for many others, as soon as you hear the word rules, it causes you to sigh loudly, followed by the instant urge to do the opposite. It can cause an immense sense of frustration along with that feeling of being boxed or caged in. Then some rules are plain silly as they make no sense, or there appears to be no apparent reason for why the rule/s exists in the first place. 

The Vine and the Umbilical Cord: Life, Abiding and Bearing FruitThe Vine and the Umbilical Cord: Life, Abiding and Bearing Fruit

Jesus’ allegory in John 15:1-17 of the vine and the branches provides a beautiful picture of the intimate and living relationship available to those who would abide in Him, the true Vine; and it illustrates how naturally the Holy Spirit is able to produce fruit in the lives of those who are willing to be branches abiding in the vine.

Knowing God Through The Fruit Of The Spirit

I’m sure you can picture an occasion where food delicacies are served and someone is there who has lost all sense of decorum to the point of being rude to get to the food before others and is unable or unwilling to engage in any level of conversation for the sake of finding the choicest of foods. Maybe that was you or me on occasions. Or an All You Can Eat challenge restaurant. It is a picture of complete lack of self-restraint (especially if Homer Simpson is involved). Whilst we are away, I am looking forward to visiting a town (Kenilworth) with a bakery tourist attraction that sells 1kg doughnuts. I’m not sure what will happen there, but I can imagine many have risen to a challenge.

WHAT CHARMING BETRAYERS DESERVE ACCORDING TO THE PSALM OF KING DAVID, NUMBER 55

Australia is now grappling with a national crisis — the violent abuse of women by men. Every four days in Australia a woman is being murdered [Source]. The sad probability is that she was murdered by “a current or former intimate partner” [Source]. But added to this alarming statistic is the even greater and more horrifying statistic of number of women who are experiencing abuse – physical; sexual; verbal; financial; psychological – daily. In fact, it is so prevalent that most people working in this arena know that most domestic abuse incidents in Australia are not reported. Abuse is oppression. And since the Bible is so clear and consistent in its condemnation of oppression of the vulnerable you would naturally assume that this national crisis was being thundered and denounced as a great evil from the majority of pulpits around our country at the moment. This assumption is further reinforced by the guesstimate that one-in-four women in every Australian church is regularly abused in some way by a man. But I suspect that it is not.

KNOWING GOD THROUGH PSALM 23

My cat, Lola, had a beautiful, fluffy, soft coat. I had her for 13 years so I knew her very well. She loved a cuddle and snuggling at night sleeping in the crook of my arm. She loved me but with others she could be a rascal, hissing or swiping her claws. She never scoffed her food but was a grazer. It was common to hear her crunching her biscuits for a midnight snack and she loved ice cream. She loved hiding in cardboard boxes or in the pantry. She particularly hated the car evidenced by her continual mournful meowing til she got out. As I knew her, she also knew me. She knew I would feed her and give her pats or cuddles. When I called her she knew my soft voice, my touch, my smell. She knew my growly voice when she had done the wrong thing. When I’d take her to the vet she would be still in my arms as the vet examined her and vaccinated her. If she was injured or sick I would look after her.

KNOWING GOD THROUGH PSALM 22

The Bible is an amazing book. As we look through the book of Psalms we can so unbelievably clearly see God at work. And also most poignantly, this Psalm – Psalm 22 – prophetically points to, and closely mirrors Jesus and the events of the cross mentioned in the New Testament. This Psalm is well over 1000 years prior to Jesus.There are some well known passages of Scripture that stand out as being prophetic promises of the Messiah. These prophetic words show us that God is Omniscient; He knows everything. The first Messianic prophecy shows that the seed of the woman would eventually defeat the devil.