Call to Worship for All Saints Sunday 2014

We did not arrive here on our own.

There were so many who helped us find faith.

                   Grandmas and Grandpas, Moms and Dads, Aunts and Uncles

That friendly woman who gave us candy each Sunday,

                   That patient man who served as a mentor,

                   spiritual leaders, preachers, people of simple faith:

We did not arrive here on our own.

                                               

Nathan Decker ©2014 www.worshipswake.wordpress.com

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God is in the Herd (Newsletter Article November 2014)

God is in Herd

Cows are my passion.

What I have ever sighed for has been to retreat to a Swiss farm,

and live entirely surrounded by cows – and china.”  – Charles Dickens

 

I can relate to Charles Dickens in one way.  There is peace inside the herd.  Herd animals have been taught by life’s experiences that things are better when you flock together.  For animals this means that only those on the edges and those who wander off are vulnerable to predators.  Being in the herd means strength in numbers.  Being in the herd means there are more than just your eyes looking out to protect you.  Being in the herd means protection against the coldest winter wind and help finding the water hole during the scorch of summer’s sun.  Sure, you have to put up with the smells and crazy mooing of others, but for most animals let’s be honest.  Being in the herd means life.

This is especially true for us as Christians.  We as Christians have been taught by our experiences with God in this life that things are better when we grow together.  I have found that I’m a better Christian when I gather together with other people on the path of salvation.  I have found that I usually find myself in spiritual (and sometimes mental, emotional, and physical) danger when I wander off too far from God’s people.  The edge is a place we all go to in our lives.  And hopefully while we are there, we are bringing new folks into the flock, but it is not safe to always be on the fringe.  Being in the Church means strength in the number of prayers being lifted up.  Being in the Church means there are more than just your eyes looking out for you, loving you, helping you raise your children, helping you care for your parents.  Being in the church means protection against the loneliest winters of our souls and help in returning to the font and table of our faith to find nourishment.  Yes, we do have to put up with hypocrites, bad smells, loud mooing and the occasional crazy rants, but let’s be honest with ourselves.  Being in Church means life.

Recently, at Charge Conference, Rev. Dr. Rob Colwell, quoting Adam Hamilton, asked our church leaders three questions.  “Why Jesus, Why Church, Why Our Church?”  I was so proud of our answers.  We saw Jesus as Salvation: a place of refuge, a different future, hope and love, the one who can tell us who we truly are.  We saw church as the people and place where we focus on the Kingdom and experience Jesus.  We saw our Church as more than just a growing family.  “Small enough to be a part of it, but big enough to be a group,” one person said.  That sounds to me like a herd.  Life is in the herd.  God is in the herd.

 

42 The believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, to the community, to their shared meals, and to their prayers. 43 A sense of awe came over everyone. God performed many wonders and signs through the apostles. 44 All the believers were united and shared everything. 45 They would sell pieces of property and possessions and distribute the proceeds to everyone who needed them. 46 Every day, they met together in the temple and ate in their homes. They shared food with gladness and simplicity. 47 They praised God and demonstrated God’s goodness to everyone. The Lord added daily to the community those who were being saved.” 

  • Acts 2:42-47

Invitation from Matthew 22:1-14

We have come because somebody invited us.

An invitation was required?

Yes, and proper attire as well.

Isn’t that a little old fashioned?

The invitation is from Jesus Christ.

He calls us to come and worship with our hearts.

The requirement is that you put on Christ.

Let us worship as people on the way, Christians, Children of God.

We have come because somebody invited us.

Who will we invite?

-©2014 Nathan Decker, www.worshipswake.wordpress.com

Generosity Creed

We experience a Giving God:

who breathed life in our lips,

who poured love in our hearts,

who walked with us in the garden,

and who seeks to still walk us restful waters.

We live in a Present Savior:

who was sent as a present to us to open true life,

who forgave us that we may live true life,

who washed our feet

and provided us bread and wine for the journey.

Christ is still present

and a present to the world in our sacrifice of self.

We listen to a Generous Spirit:

the breath of the Church,

the force that connects us to one another,

the power to heal the shattered

and make whole the broken,

the life through and beyond death,

and the life that gives generously forever and ever.  Amen.

Worshipswake.wordpress.com.  Nathan Decker (CC) 2014

Love (Call to Worship from Matthew 22:34-40)

Love.

A small word, should be easy to be and do.

Love God.

Oh, that’s easy.  I’ll pray to you to ask you what I need.

I may even show up once in a while in Church to worship you.

Love.

You keep saying that, am I getting it wrong?

Love Neighbor.

I love all my neighbors. 

We get along great as long as we all stay within our property lines.

Love.

I don’t think that is such a small word.

Not easy to be.  Not easy to do.

Love God.

I’m trying Lord, forgive my distractions and idols.

Love Neighbor.

Help me see the invisible, those in pain, those in need.

Love.

Love with all our Heart and Soul and Mind.

Love.

Love.  Amen.

-©2014 Nathan Decker, www.worshipswake.wordpress.com

Praise God the Teacher (Prayer)

We call you Teacher and Rabbi

  for you suggest wisdom in our paths

  and show us life lessons in our mistakes;

You invite us to the table, hungry for answers,

  but do not fill us completely, encouraging us to return daily.

You spark within us knowledge and understanding

  and the more we see, the more we seek.

And You provide those special people –

  Sunday School Teachers, Mentors, Elders

  who suggest wisdom in our paths

  and show us life lessons in our mistakes. 

For these and so much more we humbly give our thanks,

  Teacher, Rabbi, Jesus.  Amen.

Worship Wake

Someone asked me recently why I call this site Worship’s Wake.  The answer is because Worship should be and have Wake.

Worship should be like a Wake.  Not many people do this anymore, but a traditional wake, family night, or viewing is a gathering of loved ones around the deceased before the funeral.  They tell stories,  They cry.  They hug and support the family.  They are reminded that this life has impact, this life makes a difference, this life lives on in resurrection.  Worship should have all of these characteristics… and more.

Worship should be aWake.  We all giggle when it happens.  That elderly gentleman in the back nods off and we begin the hear the rumble of his snore two minutes into the sermon.  Worship needs to have an energy.  This doesn’t mean that we’re all moshing for Jesus or jumping in the house of God every Sunday.  But within the given context, the worship experience should cause a change within us from the potential to the kinetic, from the everyday to the supernatural, from the mundane to the spiritual.

Worship should have a Wake.  When a boat goes through the water, it causes a ripple behind it called a wake.  When other boats hit this wake, it causes them difficulty and changes their course.  God knows where our boat is heading, and God willing, the Lord is the captain with the vision.  Our worship experience needs cut through the waters of this live and other boats should be affected by it.

Worship’s Wake is my site for helping this happen.  Community Worship, Energetic Worship, Visionary and Transformational Worship.  Knowing God is in the mix, I’ll do my best.

I am a Slave (Prayer of Confession with Pardon)

I am a Slave.  I am not free.

I do not love God above all. 

I do not love my neighbor. 

I do not care for the garden.

                  I love wealth that I did not earn.

                  I love pleasure.  I love self.

                  I love being right more than learning or teaching.

                  I love to make a living more than making life possible.

                  I love to coldly dissect rather than to be astonished in awe.

                  I love worship so long as it does not require sacrifice or change.

                  I love and live lies so that I can be better liked and elected.

                  I am a Slave.  I am not free.

                  Lord, Jesus!  Break these chains of sin. 

                  Free me so I can joyfully follow your way!  Amen.

                                  a time of silence…

                  Sisters and Brothers, Be Free!

Christ died for us while we were still sinners.  God loves us!

In the name of Jesus Christ, you are forgiven and free!

In the name of Jesus Christ, you are forgiven and free!

                  Glory to God!

 

-(CC) 2014 Nathan Decker, www.worshipswake.wordpress.com

Improving Worship by Don Nations

I received this in an email and it was worth sharing.

Four Steps to Improve Worship

  1. Eliminate distractions.  Poor sound systems, flickering lights, burned out lights, the wrong date on the bulletin, uncomfortable seats, lack of directional signs, bad coffee, etc. all can distract people and lower the perceived quality of the worship experience.
  2. Improve transitions.  Poor transitions can make even good content seem disjointed and mediocre.  Watch for dead spots.  Make sure people are in place and ready to speak instead of waiting for them to come to a microphone.  Each element should flow into the next instead of feeling like a jarring turn.
  3. Align the elements.  Everything in the worship service should tie together.  Each service should have a clear theme and primary message which is being communicated.  Each prayer, scripture text, reading, etc. should further the delivery of that message.
  4. Know the target audience.  You must know who you desire to reach with the service in order to be able to effectively design it.  The target audience determines the language you use, the elements you include, the stories told, the announcements made, etc.  No service is equally effective at reaching all kinds of people.

Reflection and Resources for Worshiping God. Please feel free to use the resources in worship. I only ask that you give credit.