Study Guide: His Song In Our Heart

Sunday September 15, 2013 | Greg Boyd

Focus Scripture:

Brief Summary:

Worship is important. However, worship isn’t just about singing. In this sermon, Greg shows how worship takes many forms and brings many benefits to the Kingdom.

Extended Summary:

Worship is a central aspect of what we are called to do and be at Woodland Hills Church. From the very beginning of this church, we knew that worship is important. So we’ve tried to have worship be a central aspect of what we do in our corporate gatherings.

Worship is about ascribing worth to God. But worship is not just about singing. In fact, we’re supposed to worship God in every aspect of our life. Instead of having secular and sacred parts of our life, we are to make everything sacred and worship God in the process.

Throughout the biblical narrative, God’s people come together and worship the Lord with music. We distinguish between praise and celebration. Praise is singing truths to God, and they tend to be soft and tender. Celebration is proclaiming things about God, and they tend to be more rowdy. Celebration can be seen as not very dignified or sanctified, but it is very biblical. Celebration can include shouting for joy, clapping or raising hands, dancing or even instrumental. It is very physical and demonstrative because what we do with our bodies affects our minds and spirits.

Not everyone needs to be rowdy though. Some people are introverts and some are extroverts. Some like to dance around, and others can remain contemplative. But, in some way, we should all enter praise and celebration with our bodies. In the end, congregational worship with music is all about the choice to participate. That’s why the Bible sometimes talks about the sacrifice to worship, because sometimes it requires a little sacrifice of our preferences and moods in order to enter into worship. And our imagination is critical to entering into worship.

We make this choice to engage in worship because the Lord is worthy of this. And not only is the Lord worthy of this, but when we choose to engage in worship, it’s the best possible thing we could do for ourselves and one another. When the people of God enter into worship together incredible things happen.

First, we enter into the presence of God. When we worship together, we become conduits to God’s presence. And the degree that we don’t engage in worship, we inhibit the flow of God’s presence in this place. And yes, God is present everywhere, but there is a unique way that God is present during worship. And people that question God’s presence should seek to join whole-heartedly into worship. Sometimes, the coin drops in the slot and people finally experience God who they’ve been searching for. So, not just for our sake and God’s sake, but there are people around us that we should worship for.

Second, worship is a form of spiritual warfare. When God’s presence descends, it pushes back the forces of darkness. When we worship together, God’s presence pushes out demonic forces, strongholds of sin and addiction, marriages are healed and other miracles happen and all because we choose to worship when our moods and preferences are set aside.

In describing corporate praise and celebration, we haven’t talked about music styles. That’s because worship isn’t about a particular style but about our focus during worship. We need to shed our American culture of consumerism and choose to join in worship even when we don’t like the music style. Because it’s about our focus and not the style.

The Kingdom is about all people, from every tribe, tongue and nation, coming together and manifesting the truth of Jesus Christ. To manifest this diversity, we all have to die to our preferences. And not only do we have to tolerate the styles we don’t like, but we should choose to participate in and even learn to appreciate styles we don’t like. When we do this, we manifest the Kingdom here and now.

Reflection Questions:

  1. Make a list or discuss the different types of worship experiences that have most impacted your life. Why do you believe they’ve had such an impact?
  2. What are the things in your life that are common distractions during the worship portion of the service? In what ways can you be more focused?
  3. Why is it so important to use our imagination while we worship?
  4. During worship we become conduits to the presence of Christ. How does our participation in making His presence really affect non-believers? How does it affect our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ?
  5. Does your outward worship match your inner feelings towards God? If not, why not?