essentials*green 09 Creative Project – Let Your Kingdom Come

24 04 2009

“For: The Institute of Contemporary And Emerging Worship StudiesSt. Stephen’s UniversityEssentials Blue Online Worship Theology Coursewith Dan Wilt

 

As part of completing the essentials*green course I have written a song as the final creative project. The song is called Let Your Kingdom Come.

 

Over the last few weeks I have been reflecting on the worship values that were presented through the course. Each in their way have impacted me and challenged my approach to worship and worship leadership, forcing me to refine my views and understanding. If I had to target one value that stood out to me, it would be Kingdom Expectation. For some deeper insights into this, check out my previous blogpost. It is easy to go through the motions when preparing to lead worship (and even whilst leading), especially if one is leading on a regular basis. However. It is essential to remember the responsibility that this role entails.

 

The song Let Your Kingdom Come was partially written in the pool. That’s right in a swimming pool!! I am a keen swimmer and regularly swim laps to keep fit or in preparation for an ocean swim. I find the pool a great place to process thoughts and ideas, it’s even a great place to pray!! Well recently I was doing some laps and processing what it was that ‘moved me’ in the essentials*green course. The idea of Kingdom Expectation came to mind and I just prayed “Lord, Let Your kingdom come.” I then thought this would be a great hook for a song. By lap 14 of my 40 laps I had the chorus melody and lyrics pretty much complete as they are in the recording. I then spent the next 26 laps trying to remember it. So I sang it over and over to be sure. It’s amazing how quickly the rest of the session went while I was singing the chorus!!! The rest of the song was developed over the next week.

 

My plan for this song was try to capture the idea of Kingdom Expectation in a call-to-worship style song (a song used to begin a worship gathering). If those gathered also come expecting to see God transform, restore and renew lives, then they will be prepared to worship God. As mentioned in my earlier post, it is easy for people to come to church without any preparation and to treat the gathering like a concert that they are watching – not participating in. So I tried to develop a lyric that would assist people to be expectant and to remember that when we are gathered the Lord is present and Jesus is at work through His Spirit.

 

Hopefully you enjoy the song. Please leave a comment if you have listened to it. Feel free to let me know what you really think. Click on the media player below to listen to a rough demo recorded on Garageband on my MBP. The chord chart for guitar with lyrics is also below.

 

I will conclude this series of blogposts with a quote from Dan Wilt who is an amazing teacher, educator – a genuine inspiration. I think it sums up the ideas above.

 

“If we don’t expect that God will speak, move, heal and deliver as we come together to offer thanks and reciprocate love, then why would we expect the community to expect that God will act among us? It seems clear that, to some large degree, the expectation of those leading a time of gathered worship before God precipitates others’ expectations. After all, why would we expect God to respond to the indifferent heart, the soul that is going through the motions of preparation without any evident hunger in their spirit? While we make the music, execute the movements, rehearse the visuals and prepare the spaces, we must do so as those intent on God responding with favor to our efforts – not simply as those assuming that some helpful information or creative reflection will be offered to the congregants. God meets us in many places, and He often meets in the place of humble expectation.” 1

 

 

(1) Dan Wilt, essentials*green: Online Studies in Worship Values & Spiritual Formation – Online Course Text (New Brunswick: The Institute Of Contemporary & Emerging Worship Studies)

 

 Let Your Kingdom Come Chord Sheet






Worship Values Part 4

22 04 2009

I’ve Been Thinking About  Values

(Essentials Green)

“For: The Institute of Contemporary And Emerging Worship StudiesSt. Stephen’s UniversityEssentials Green Online Worship Theology Coursewith Dan Wilt

 

The last worship value to consider in this series is Spiritual Formation.

 

This value is so vital for the heart and soul of the worship leader and also the community that they lead. It has been said that our strongest and loudest instrument as a lead worshipper is our life. The state of our heart will undoubtedly change our music. If this is the case than it is essential that we consider the development of our spirituality – our heart, mind & soul. The things that we read and reflect on will undoubtedly pour out into our worship leading, whether by our song writing, song choice, verbal introductions before or between songs, our prayers or through scripture reading. This will have a huge impact on the community that we are leading into a place of intimate worship with God.

 

As part of my development this week I have been reading from the book Devotional Classics, a fantastic devotional collection edited by Richard Foster (Celebration of Discipline) and James Bryan Smith. This book includes readings from some of the great theological minds, both ancient and modern. The reading that most moved me this week was the section by Ignatius of Loyola. Ignatius lived in the early 1500s and was a Spanish born noble who had some profound mystical experiences and developed some writings on The Spiritual Exercises. I was challenged by his ideas in relation to the journey of the soul. Viewing life as a journey is essential for our spiritual formation and development.

 

Dan Wilt suggests that “the soul moves, it is not static” 1 At times, for many people it almost feels like a pendulum swinging between what Ignatius calls consolation (‘positive’ place – love of the Lord) and desolation (‘negative’ place – darkness of the soul). If only everyone could process this information and own it. This would lead to the realization that movements of the soul are normal and to be expected in one’s spiritual journey. John Eldredge touches on this idea when he says in relation to our life that, “God is taking you on a journey of the heart”. 2

 

 “A person who is in consolation ought to think of how he will conduct himself during a future desolation and thus build up a new strength for that time.” 3

 

If we expect that our soul will journey, we will not be surprised when we experience a period of desolation. We will also respond appropriately in our relationship with God when we are in a period of consolation. The above quote gives a strong imperative for those in a soul state of consolation to prepare themselves for future movements, essentially developing their relationship with the Lord so that they are prepared for whatever comes their way.

 

The book of Psalms reminds us of the extremities of human emotions and feelings. We are also provided with such obvious evidence that one such as King David, could experience such contrasting states of consolation and desolation. Ignatius states that, “For just as consolation is contrary to desolation, so the thoughts that spring from consolation are the opposite of those that spring from desolation.” 4

 

We are also reminded that there is hope during times of struggle and we are encouraged to strive to overcome. Ignatius suggests that, “one who is in desolation must strive to persevere in patience which is contrary to the vexations that have come upon him.” 5 When considering this idea, I am always reminded of Jesus’ words:

 

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” 6

 

We know that desolation will come but we have hope in Christ, a hope that has overcome this world. If we have prepared ourselves during times of consolation, this hope will be our foundation when our souls move into desolation. Isn’t it amazing to think that our God wants to take our souls on a journey through this life, preparing us for the riches of New Creation.

 

 

(1) Dan Wilt, The Movements of the Soul (New Brunswick: The Institute Of Contemporary & Emerging Worship Studies), Video

(2) John Eldredge, From The Heart (New Brunswick: The Institute Of Contemporary & Emerging Worship Studies), Video

(3) Richard Foster & James Bryan Smith, Devotional Classics (London: Hodder & Stoughton), p. 332

(4) ibid, p. 331

(5) ibid, p. 331

(6) Bible, New International Version (International Bible Society, 1973, 1978, 1984), John 16:33

 

 





Worship Values Part 3

18 04 2009

I’ve Been Thinking About  Values

(Essentials Green)

“For: The Institute of Contemporary And Emerging Worship StudiesSt. Stephen’s UniversityEssentials Green Online Worship Theology Coursewith Dan Wilt

 

The next worship value that I will look at in this series of posts is Kingdom Expectation.

 

This is an interesting and essential value to consider. Sometimes I wonder if those gathered at church come with a Kingdom Expectation and to some extent, I think this is a big issue in a church gathering. At times people undoubtedly attend to ‘watch’ and be entertained, as opposed to really participating and worshiping. How often do we go to church without any prior preparation of our hearts and minds with an expectation that we will encounter God and be transformed? I wonder if our community truly expects the signs of the kingdom to occur in a communal setting. I know we truly expect the presence of Jesus and the Holy Spirit, but maybe not the outward signs of the Kingdom. The exciting thing to see in our community is lives changed and transformed. This is obviously happening. In my considerations I have come to realize that the thing about Kingdom Expectation is to not be disappointed if we don’t see or hear outward physical signs of this during our gathering. We don’t actually know what the Spirit is doing in people’s hearts and minds. That’s why as worship leaders and planners we MUST be faithful and expect God’s Kingdom to come during our gatherings.

 

So what do we really expect to happen in our worship gatherings? Looking at the understanding of the Kingdom portrayed in the gospels and Acts is a great place to start. But do we expect all that to happen at our gatherings? After all God’s Kingdom seems to be about restoration, healing, renewal… Should we expect all of these facets in every service? Dan Wilt suggests these ‘realities’ that accompany Jesus in the New Testament:

 

“Hearts are filled with courage, bodies are healed, relationships are restored, the fearful take courage, the proud are humbled, the hungry are fed, the demonized are delivered, the children are accepted and embraced, the mentally ill are restored to their right minds, swords are beat into plows, and the lion lies down with the lamb.” 1

 

Maybe our expectation should be more holistic in regards to life, not an expectation for just Sunday but for everyday in all our activities? The expectation of the Kingdom may well link in to Romans 12 and the holistic approach to worship found in this passage.

 

 “Jesus communicated to the rabble of society that the Kingdom of God was literally ‘within their reach.’ In other words, where Jesus is, there is the rule and reign of God. We see this every time he walks into a village and brings healing, hope and forgiveness.” 2

 

Maybe from this idea, a correct focus would be that we expect Jesus to be present during our gatherings.

 

I was really challenged by this statement from Dan Wilt:

 

“However, if all we do is tighten up a finely oiled set of songs, liturgies or creative expressions of worship, and never expect the Spirit of God to actually do something transforming in the lives of those who gather, then we may be unwitting participants in the deadest of dead religion.” 3

 

As a worship leader I prepare with the expectation that God’s Kingdom will be active and present in our gathering. I don’t want to be part of a dead religion. I also pray that lives will be restored and renewed as a result of our gathering. I think it is vital to have this expectation as it leads to faithful preparation and particularly to prayer, which is often something that isn’t considered in the expectation process. Worship leader Brian Doerksen describes the worship leadership role as a “sacred responsibility” 4 and it is vital that we realize this and approach the role appropriately. As Wilt suggests in the quote below, our desire must be that all those gathered will have an intimate encounter with our Great God and as a result experience a transformation within. Let’s prepare for great things and expect great things from God as we gather!!

 

“When we gather to worship, we expect every time that each individual, as well as our corporate community, will have an intimate exchange with the transcendent God.” 5

 

 

(1) Dan Wilt, essentials*green: Online Studies in Worship Values & Spiritual Formation – Online Course Text (New Brunswick: The Institute Of Contemporary & Emerging Worship Studies), p.18

(2) ibid, p. 17

(3) ibid, p. 18-19

(4) Brian Doerksen, Sacred Responsibility (New Brunswick: The Institute Of Contemporary & Emerging Worship Studies), Video

(5) Dan Wilt, essentials*green: Online Studies in Worship Values & Spiritual Formation – Online Course Text (New Brunswick: The Institute Of Contemporary & Emerging Worship Studies), p.19

 

 





Worship Values Part 2

4 04 2009

I’ve Been Thinking About  Values

(Essentials Green)

“For: The Institute of Contemporary And Emerging Worship StudiesSt. Stephen’s UniversityEssentials Green Online Worship Theology Coursewith Dan Wilt

The next two worship values to consider are Accessibility and Cultural Relevance (see Worship Values Part 1 for the first part of this installment). To some extent I see these two values as quite similar and strongly linked. After all if we are considering accessibility, then cultural relevance seems to be and implied consideration.

 

ACCESSIBILITY

This is a vital consideration in my worship leading. The role of worship leader is not to take the spotlight or limelight in a worship gathering. In fact, Jesus Christ in His role as mediator is actually the worship leader. Unfortunately if we as worship leaders do not consider accessibility, then unnecessary attention could be drawn away from God. (Although I have my thoughts on this too, wondering if this is the case, is a person coming to worship God with a heart anticipating to worship no matter what happens from the platform?)

 

I believe that Dan Wilt’s suggestion in relation to choices in a worship context that, “this may involve sacrificing our own preferences in many cases to serve the wider community – often more frequently than we would like,” 1 is important for me to come back to regularly. It is essential for those leading worship to do so with a spirit of humility. Remembering that we are called to a role of service. A role where we are not playing to an audience but providing scaffolds and worship expressions for others to worship and give glory to our Great God. In a way we are called to build bridges for people. We should be constantly praying: God how would you use me to open up doors and build bridges? How can I make this time of worship accessible to those gathered? We want to see bridges built so people can connect intimately with a God who pursues them. Sometimes our preferred songs, styles or worship expressions may be appropriate, sometimes others may need to be considered. It is vital to realise that we are not just talking about music here. It is much more than that. We are called to think with humility about our own desires and worship expressions and those of others we are serving.

 

I really enjoyed this quote from Wilt:

 

“We want our community to engage with God’s story on every level, and to enter intimately into that story as those pursued by a welcoming, accessible God.” 2

 

This week I was reminded of the fact that our community comes together from so many varied experiences in a week. It is important to acknowledge this early in a worship gathering, either through a call to worship, a word of encouragement or a prayer. This enables the community to feel a shared experience and to realize that no matter what has happened in the week or day, during this moment we are gathered to worship God as a community. I was also reminded of the importance of community in worship and not just an individualistic approach to worship, through a quote from Eddie Gibbs. This quote is quite relevant to accessibility and its importance:

 

“Our gathering is essentially a corporate and communal activity. The other worshipers around us are not incidental. They must not be excluded during our time of communion with the Lord, but are essential to it. If worship is to lead to wholeness, it must be expressed corporately.” 3

 

I connected with this great idea in the essentials*blue course and it seems relevant here. The idea is that I feel led to be a Salvific Storyteller!! Whilst leading a service I try to select songs, prepare or spontaneously pray prayers and encourage our gathering with themes and ideas that tell God’s story of creation, grace, love, restoration and mercy. Hopefully if people aren’t able to access the music or worship expression as they desire, they can definitely worship God whilst considering these other areas in a gathering or service.

 

CULTURAL RELEVANCE

I find this an interesting value to consider. How far do we go with this? I guess as we move into our later years of life we will all be challenged with this idea in terms of music, as new styles will undoubtedly be introduced into a worship music setting.

 

“Aren’t you tired of being relevant? I’m sick and tired of being relevant; relevant means someone else got there first and now I’m trying to connect. We need to stop being relevant and start leading the way.” 4

 

I think it is an important consideration for Christian worship music and although I haven’t thought it through, I think if we have established music that is leading the way, this will quite likely address this value of cultural relevance. I also have this idea circulating in my mind that people will be drawn to genuine, authentic, spirit-led worship, even if the style of music is not cutting edge or at the forefront of culture. Obviously all this consideration needs to be tempered with the ideas that Don Williams presents in the short video “Subvert Culture” in relation to relativism and the absolute proclamation that “Jesus is LORD!” As Don Williams says, “we have the Great Story” 5 and it is our task to communicate this.

 

“Our Creator God has hard-wired a capacity for creativity into every one of us, and wants to use it for Kingdom works and Kingdom worship in our churches and in our streets.” 6

 

The above quote reminded me that if we are using our God given creativity in our worship planning, writing and choice, then this will surely draw people in culturally, as they see God’s creative works unleashed within His people and as the Spirit draws people through creative worship. The consideration of these two values does not prohibit us from being creative leaders. In fact, just the opposite. Considering these values carefully will encourage us to use our creative gifts to their full potential and hopefully realise more than we thought possible.

 

 

I was also encouraged as I completed Andy Park’s book “To Know You More” this week that these issues are all challenges for him too!! We will never create or plan a worship experience that is perfectly accessible and culturally relevant to all. If we try to hard we may just water down that which shouldn’t be watered down. Maybe we also need to consider (and be content with) planning to reach fewer people more deeply.

 

 

 

(1) Dan Wilt, essentials*green: Online Studies in Worship Values & Spiritual Formation – Online Course Text (New Brunswick: The Institute Of Contemporary & Emerging Worship Studies), p.12

(2) ibid, p. 12

(3) Eddie Gibbs, Time In A Bottle – Inside Worship Magazine Vol. 60 (Vineyard Music USA, 2007)

(4) Erwin McManus, cited by Dan Wilt, essentials*green: Online Studies in Worship Values & Spiritual Formation – Online Course Text (New Brunswick: The Institute Of Contemporary & Emerging Worship Studies), p.12

(5) Don Williams, Subvert Culture (New Brunswick: The Institute Of Contemporary & Emerging Worship Studies), Video

(6) Andrew Smith, Bloodshed To Beauty – Inside Worship Magazine Vol. 54 (Vineyard Music USA, 2007)





Worship Values Part 1

28 03 2009

I’ve Been Thinking About  Values

(Essentials Green)

“For: The Institute of Contemporary And Emerging Worship StudiesSt. Stephen’s UniversityEssentials Green Online Worship Theology Coursewith Dan Wilt

 

 

Two of the fundamental values of worship are intimacy and integrity. This week I have been reading and reflecting on these values and relating them to the life of the church and particularly in the life of a worship leader.

 

Dan Wilt suggests that,

 

“We want to create spaces that give people both the time and the context that they need to reveal themselves to God in a fresh way, and for God to reveal Himself to them in a fresh way.” 1

 

This is so vital in a corporate gathering but at times we choose to rush through services for a variety of reasons (reasons which are both positive and negative). This does not fully allow people space to connect with God in a self-revealing manner. We need to create space for breathing, lingering so that people can explore a relationship with God intimately. This may mean not rushing into the next song, not speaking and also some flexibility in the service order and timing. Music can create such an amazing space for intimacy. This can be in quiet, reflective songs but also in loud celebratory songs. Hence one of the key tasks of the worship leader is to provide an atmosphere and opportunity for their congregation to worship God intimately.

 

Intimacy in musical worship has been a real connecting point between myself and my Creator. Through music and lyrics I have always felt the presence and co-self-revealing relationship that exists due to God’s initiation and my opportunity to respond to him through worship. This relationship is expressed by Wilt in this way;

 

“When we turn to Him, and respond to His love with honesty, vulnerability and self-disclosure, then we are engaging in the intimate relationship into which He Himself is inviting us.”  2

 

This week I was challenged to consider my personal worship times so that when I am leading in a communal context it is an overflow of what God is doing in my heart of hearts through my personal moments of intimacy with Him. Brian Doerksen puts it like this,

 

“Real intimacy cannot be created by simply singing the right songs. Intimate worship really happens when the songs come as an overflow of a heart full of love.” 3

 

I have noticed that when I worship God in a quiet place at home with the songs chosen for a particular event or service, there is a depth and richness to these songs when led in a communal setting. Andy Park puts it this way,

 

“The imagery of intimacy is one way of describing a deep, interactive life with God.” 4

 

I want my life to be interactive with God in a relationship centred in the intimacy he has displayed through His Son, Jesus Christ. Intimacy in worship demonstrated in a variety of settings will undoubtedly point to the saving grace of our Great God through Jesus Christ. Doerksen states that, “when we embrace intimacy – real intimacy  – in worship, we are fulfilling our destiny to be in a surrendered relationship with God.” 5 It is also quite likely that the response of worshipping God intimately will be a proactive one. Worship leader Matt Redman claims that “when people’s hearts are caught up with the Lord in an intimate way, then their hands will follow.” 6 A life connecting intimately with God in worship will be one that is outward focused with a strong conviction of loving one’s neighbour in a global community context. This leads us quite fittingly to the value of integrity.

 

Integrity is such a key value in my approach to worship leadership. At times, it has led to feelings of inadequacy and doubt in my calling. Realising the difficulty to lead a life that is full of integrity in the midst of struggling with sin and relationships (well life in general really!) can result in losing confidence in being involved in communal worship settings.

 

The passage in Amos 5: 21 – 24 is one that often reminds me of the importance of integrity in worship. In this instance the religious practices of Israel are rejected because of the way people were worshipping. “Away with your songs” is a reminder that worship is not all about music and whist considering integrity it is important to reflect on the lifestyle of the worshipper.

 

Remembering that we are being made more like Jesus through the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit in our lives is essential to establishing confidence and walking in a worship leadership path. Dan expresses it nicely and I love this idea of our “general trajectory of life aligning with the values of and ideas we are communicating.”  7

 

I want my life’s trajectory to match up to the words that I sing, the direction I lead my communities and the values expressed by Jesus during His ministry on earth. Again this feels precarious at times. It is vital to constantly evaluate the state of our hearts and minds and as Andy Park says, “as worship leaders we should regularly ask ourselves whether we are leading worship through our lives or just through our music.” 8

 

These two values must be at the forefront of our thinking in relation to worship. They are ideas that must be regularly communicated to our leaders, teams and communities. We must set our life and those we lead on the track of integrity and intimacy. These two values are closely related and feed off one another. This final statement and encouragement of Dan Wilt’s is a great summary:

 

“The worship leaders or writers or musicians often that we most respect have a very rich ongoing secret life of worship with God and its because that dynamic is so much a part of who they are…over time it changes the integrity of what happens up front.” 9

 

(1) Dan Wilt, essentials*green: Online Studies in Worship Values & Spiritual Formation – Online Course Text (New Brunswick: The Institute Of Contemporary & Emerging Worship Studies), p.7

(2) ibid, p. 7

(3) Brian Doerksen, Intimacy In Worship – Inside Worship Magazine Vol. 62 (Vineyard Music USA, 2007)

(4) Andy Park, To Know You More (Illinois: Intervarsity Press, 2002), p. 35

(5) Brian Doerksen, Intimacy In Worship – Inside Worship Magazine Vol. 62 (Vineyard Music USA, 2007)

(6) Matt Redman, Intimacy (New Brunswick: The Institute Of Contemporary & Emerging Worship Studies), Video

(7) Dan Wilt, The Worship Value Of Intimacy (New Brunswick: The Institute Of Contemporary & Emerging Worship Studies), Video

(8) Andy Park, To Know You More (Illinois: Intervarsity Press, 2002), p. 60

(9) Dan Wilt, The Worship Value Of Integrity (New Brunswick: The Institute Of Contemporary & Emerging Worship Studies), Video





essentials*blue 09 Creative Project – Jesus Is Alive

18 02 2009

“For: The Institute of Contemporary And Emerging Worship StudiesSt. Stephen’s UniversityEssentials Blue Online Worship Theology Course with Dan Wilt

One amazing outcome of completing the Essentials Blue: Studies in Worship Theology & Biblical Worldview Course has been my desire to become a Salvific Storyteller. Dan Wilt summarises this clearly by saying that:

“Our job as human beings is not to save, as though we as Christians could accomplish the work that only God can do to rescue the whole of humanity from its plight (though many Christians have seen this as their primary co-mission with Christ throughout history). Rather, our primary mission is to tell the story of salvation, from original creation, to fall from relationship, to restoration through cross and resurrection, to complete and universal new creation.” 1

In my most recent song, Ancient One, I tried to tell the grand biblical narrative and I found myself attempting to do something similar with this song. The major difference is I wanted this song to have a much stronger focus on The Saviour – Jesus Christ. Regarding Jesus and the cross, Wilt states:

“In the suffering of Jesus on the cross, we see the love of the Father manifest in the most stunning and profound of ways – the complete self- giving of His only Son. If you only write one song, or create one expression, related to the work of the cross, focus on this reality – that God so loved, that God gave, and gave and gave of Himself.” 2

Well this was definitely a challenge for me! Although this song doesn’t quite capture God’s giving and giving and giving of Himself, it does create a salvific story. My aim was to write a celebration song about Jesus. The title – Jesus Is Alive, came to me quite quickly. I then set out to highlight these ideas in each section:

Verse 1

– Jesus’ life and ministry on earth.
– God sending His Son from heaven to earth as the rescuer and healer
(N.T. Wright puts it this way, “With Jesus, God’s rescue operation has been put into effect once for all.” 3)

Chorus

– Proclamation that Jesus lives
– Jesus is seated at the right hand of the Father
– We are forgiven and set free

Verse 2

– New life in Christ
– Holy Spirit sent to guide us
– Leading creation’s worship
– God’s kingdom has come

Bridge

– A response to this story
– We must worship Him for who He is – Saviour & King

So this was my song story. A rough version of the song as it exists at the moment can be heard by clicking on the mp3 link below and there is also a link to the chord chart. Please leave a comment below about the song and feel free to use it at some stage (if you like it!!). I will leave you with one last challenge from the course:

“Augustine understood that God is about restoring, re-creating, redeeming, reconciling and
reclaiming His world. As those who are rescued, he recognized that we who are “saved
storytellers” have a vital responsibility and role to play – we call others to become fully human through the redemptive, atoning and saving work of Christ.” 4

Let’s do it!!

(1) Dan Wilt, essentials*blue: Online Studies in Worship Theology & Biblical Worldview – Online Course Text (New Brunswick: The Institute Of Contemporary & Emerging Worship Studies), p.32
(2) ibid, p. 19-20
(3) N. T. Wright, Simply Christian (London: SPCK, 2006), p. 79
(4) Dan Wilt, essentials*blue: Online Studies in Worship Theology & Biblical Worldview – Online Course Text (New Brunswick: The Institute Of Contemporary & Emerging Worship Studies), p.33

Jesus Is Alive PDF

Jesus Is Alive mp3





The True Story

7 02 2009

I’ve Been Thinking About A Christian Worldview

Essentials Blue 09

“For: The Institute of Contemporary And Emerging Worship StudiesSt. Stephen’s UniversityEssentials Blue Online Worship Theology Course with Dan Wilt

 

“People live from the stories that shape their identities. Those of us who call ourselves Christians are shaped by the Christian story. The Christian story, however, includes more than just the biblical narrative…. Unfortunately, too many Christians are almost completely ignorant of the continuing secondary narrative of God’s work with his people  – the Body of Christ – after the biblical narrative ends.” 1

 

 

One of the tasks we were asked to complete in the course I have been studying was to write a brief biblical/Christian worldview statement. My attempt at this task is written below. I found this a difficult yet fantastic challenge. Dan Wilt claims that:

 

“The world of theology will become a world with which you are familiar, and fresh terms will become handles for you – handles on which you can hang the most beautiful ideas of the Christian story, the human story.” 2

 

As a worship leader it is vital that I can articulate my faith and Christian worldview and this course has helped me to develop fresh language and insight into God’s salvific story – the true story of all things!

 

 

This is the story….

 

God!!! The creator existed, exists and will forever exist. Before there was anything there was God…existing…in three persons – Father, Son, Spirit. Existing in relationship, the perfect relationship. The creator creates, by His word all things come into existence. God creates the pinnacle of this creation…humans. Created in the image of God, the likeness of the Creator. The crown of creation. The creature who leads the worship of the created order – humans. The creature who is given dominion over all creation with a mandate to subdue it and rule over it – the stewards of God’s creation.

 

God relates with these created beings. He walks with them. But humans choose to disobey God. They turn away seeking after that which has been forbidden. Humans sin, corrupting the good creation. The relationship between Creator and created is broken by their choice.

 

God seeks after humans. Seeks after them to restore this broken relationship. He establishes covenants and promises with His people. But people continue to make the same selfish choices, seeded in the earlier disobedience and multiplied throughout time. God is still present. Heaven and earth are inter-locking spheres of the same creation.

 

God seeks after a people and calls a race His own – Israel. A nation with which God makes covenantal promises. A people called to proclaim God to the nations. God is their King and continues to reveal Himself to His people. The people respond in worship and praise. Israel continues on the path of its ancestors, continually turning away from God. God sends messages and messengers to remind His chosen people of their promises. But they ignore God. He promises that a Saviour will come – Messiah. The One who will save and restore the broken relationship between God and humans – once and for time eternal.

 

God sends His Son, Jesus Christ the rescuer, to put the world to rights. The One who was there at the creation of the world, the firstborn over all creation. The Word through whom all was created. Jesus lived on earth, fully God and fully man – the sinless Servant King. Jesus’ life demonstrates for all time what it means to be human. God’s Kingdom has come. Heaven and earth meet. Jesus heals the sick, forgives sins and displays a passion for justice, grace, love and mercy. He was crucified on a cross and rose again on the third day. The first born of the New Creation. New Creation has begun in Him. A sacrifice of atonement for those who have faith in Jesus to be restored – the sin issue is fixed. Jesus commissions His followers to go to the ends of the earth to announce His Kingdom. Jesus ascends to heaven and is now seated at the right hand of God. The promise is given that He will return to gather His people.

 

God sends His Spirit as the seal and deposit. One who will guide and teach those who have accepted Jesus as Lord. The Church is formed as a living community who gather as united members under God’s grace. A community who are formed to live as new creations in the realization that God’s Kingdom has come but will fully come when Jesus returns. A Kingdom now, but not yet. A chosen people, who are called to worship God and to love their neighbour. A people called to walk as Jesus walked in justice, love, grace and mercy – servants and salvific storytellers. This is where we find ourselves taking our place in the story.

 

God promises a new heaven and a new earth when Jesus returns. A place of eternal living as New Creations, for those who have accepted Jesus as Lord. A world renewed and restored. The dwelling place of God is now with people and He lives with them – the old order has passed. God Himself will be with them and He will be their God. He will wipe away all tears and death will be no more. The story continues…

 

 

 

(1) Roger E. Olson, The Story Of Christian Theology (Downer’s Grove, Ill.: Intervarsity Press, 1999), p.11

 

(2) Dan Wilt, essentials*blue: Online Studies in Worship Theology & Biblical Worldview – Online Course Text (New Brunswick: The Institute Of Contemporary & Emerging Worship Studies), p.6