Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Worship – Part 5

Scripture Reference: 1 Timothy 2:1-10
I want men everywhere to lift up holy hands in prayer, without anger or disputing. - 1 Timothy 2:8
A skit that demonstrates instructions on worship.

Pam – Worship Leader
Jeff – Person who doesn’t know how to worship


(The first song is We Will Worship the Lamb of Glory. The chorus repeats the line “And with our hands lifted high”. During the chorus, Pam encourages the kids to raise their hands, but Jeff self-consciously only raises a finger.)

Pam: Are you okay, Jeff?

Jeff: Yeah. Why?

Pam: You were doing something weird with your finger, and I thought maybe you hurt it or something.

Jeff: Huh? No, I was lifting my hands in praise like you said.

Pam: The song said, “With our hands lifted high to the sky,” not “with your finger barely raised.”

Jeff: I know, but it’s kind of embarrassing to lift your hands in front of all these people.

Pam: Everyone here is your friend, you shouldn’t be embarrassed. Besides, you are suppose to be doing this for God, not anyone else.

Jeff: I know, but it seems like kind of a silly thing to do. Why DO we lift our hands?

Pam: I am glad you asked. I have a Top 10 list for reasons to raise your hands in church.

Jeff: Well, that’s handy. What are they?

Pam: Reason 10: Surrender.

Jeff: Like in the movies when people put their hands up, so the police don’t shoot?

Pam: Kind of. You are saying to God, “I give up, I can’t do it on my own. I surrender my life to you.”

Jeff: Okay. What’s next?

Pam: Reason 9: Volunteer. When I ask who wants to do something, people raise their hands to show their willingness to volunteer.

Jeff: So it shows willingness to commit to God’s will. It’s like we are saying, “I’m willing God.”

Pam: Reason 8: No Weapon. Raising our hands is a sign of peace. In 1 Timothy, Paul says, “I want men everywhere to lift up holy hands in prayer, without anger or disputing.”

Jeff: It’s like the origin of the handshake, it shows we have an empty hand and don’t come in anger.

Pam: Reason 7: Requesting Something.

Jeff: Oh, I get that one. It’s like raising your hand in class if you want to answer a question or go to the bathroom.

Pam: Right. Reason 6: Wanting Comfort.

Jeff: I completely don’t get that one. I don’t find lifting my arms comfortable. My arms get tired.

Pam: Not comfortable; looking for comfort. You have a bunch of kids, what do they when they want you to pick them up?

Jeff: Oh, they lift up their arms. Since I’m their dad, they find comfort in me holding them. And since God’s our Father, we are raising our hands for Him to hold and comfort us. Cool. What else?

Pam: Reason 5: Welcome. It is kind of like waving at someone you know.

Jeff: And we certainly want to welcome God into our praise.

Pam: Reason 4: Direct attention towards God.

Jeff: Since we are pointing to Him. It draws attention FROM me TO Him.

Pam: Reason 3: Testimony.

Jeff: Like in court, a witness raises his hand to be sworn in.

Pam: Right. It is a sign of agreement. It says, “I testify that this is true in my life.”

Jeff: Like saying “Amen” with your hands. What’s number 2?

Pam: Reason 2: Loving. It is like the song we sang today. “With our hands lifted high to the sky/When the world wonders why/We'll just tell them we're loving our King.”

Jeff: It’s like hugging God.

Pam: Exactly.

Jeff: Okay, what’s number 1? What other thing can raising hands mean?

Pam: And the number one reason to raise our hands in church: the Bible says to do it.

Jeff: Oh. It does?

Pam: It sure does. Psalm 134:2 says, “Lift up your hands in the sanctuary and praise the Lord.” And Lamentations 3:41 says, “Let us lift up our hearts and our hands to God in heaven....”

Jeff: But I still feel uncomfortable raising my hands.

Pam: Well, it’s not a requirement. God doesn’t want you to raise your hands out of obligation. He wants you to do it for the right reasons.

Jeff: So it’s perfectly fine if I don’t raise my hands.

Pam: Maybe.

Jeff: Maybe?

Pam: If you feeling like you want to raise your hands but don’t because of pride, then that is wrong, too.

Jeff: So it’s not a matter of raising your hands or not raising your hands that’s right, it’s worshiping God in the way He’s leading you to do it.

Pam: You got it. It’s a heart issue, and God wants your heart, as well as your hands, to be turned to Him in worship.

Jeff: So is it okay if I just raise one hand and close my eyes while I do it?

Pam: Whatever God leads you to do, be obedient to that. The most important thing is to focus on God and not to worry about what anyone thinks about what you are doing.

Jeff: Okay, I’ll give it a try.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Worship - Part 4

Scripture Reference: Luke 10:38-42
Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her. - Luke 10:42
A skit that demonstrates that we should spend time with God.

Pam – Worship Leader
Jeff – Person who doesn’t know how to worship


(During the opening song, Jeff sits down and starts shuffling papers and writing. When it ends…)

Pam: What are you doing now, Jeff? You didn’t even sing that song.

Jeff: I’m sorry, but I have a lot to do. I have to finish writing the last two classes for our Jr. Leader training, I need to finish planning Easter – which is Sunday! – and start planning what we are going to do this Summer. That is in addition to spending time with my family and doing my job. I just don’t have time to worship right now. I’ll do it when I get finished with all of this.

Pam: I didn’t realize you were such a Martha.

Jeff: Martha? My name is Jeff. I am pretty sure we have been introduced before.

Pam: I’m not saying your name is Martha. I’m saying you remind me of Martha in the Bible.

Jeff: I don’t think anyone has ever said that I remind them of a woman. She must have been a big girl.

Pam: You don’t look like her; you act like her. There is a story in Luke about Jesus and His disciples going to the home of Martha and Mary.

Jeff: Oh, Lazarus’ sisters.

Pam: Right. While Mary sat at the feet of Jesus hanging on His every word, Martha was left to get everything ready by herself. She was running herself ragged trying to make everything special for Jesus.

Jeff: I bet that made Martha mad. Here she is doing all this work, and her sister is just lollygagging.

Pam: Oh, it did. Martha was very mad. In fact, she tattled on Mary to Jesus. She said, "Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!"

Jeff: Good for her. If I was doing all the work and my brother was doing nothing, I’d tell, too. I bet Jesus really let her have it.

Pam: He let her have it all right, but not who you think. Jesus said, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her."

Jeff: What?!? He reprimanded Martha? But Mary was just sitting there not doing anything.

Pam: Ah, that’s where you’re wrong. She was doing something very special.

Jeff: She was just sitting at Jesus’ feet and listening to Him.

Pam: Exactly. Sometimes, that is the best thing we can do. I am not saying we never do anything, but there are times when we need to just spend time in God’s presence. We don’t worship and pray with the time we have left over. We need to give these things a priority and do them first.

Jeff: It sounds kinda like tithing. We don’t give God the money we have left over; we give Him our “first fruits.” I guess we need to do the same thing with our time. We need to give him our first time, not just what is left over.

Pam: You got it. Martin Luther said, “I pray an hour every day, except when I get very busy. Then I pray two hours a day.”

Jeff: That sounds weird, but I guess he's saying that we need God even more when we have lots to do.

Pam: Right. It's a lot easier when we let God help us instead of doing it all ourselves.

Jeff: I sure could use some help for all of this.

Pam: Jesus said, “For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Jeff: Because He helps us. Okay, okay, I get it. This can wait; spending time with God can’t. Let’s worship God!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Worship - Part 3

Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise the LORD. - Psalm 250:6Scripture Reference: Psalm 150

A skit that demonstrates that we should worship as worship.

Pam – Worship Leader
Jeff – Person who doesn’t know how to worship

Musical instruments – preferably toy instruments (in case we run short, I have chopsticks that can be used as drumsticks) --
Note: Jeff should get the kazoo, since it has his germs on it. J

(After the hymn, Pam reads Psalm 150 and passes out instruments for the final praise song saying...)

Pam: This Psalm talks about praising God with instruments, so we are going to the same tonight.

Jeff: (looks at kazoo in a disgusted manner) You’ve got to be kidding!

Pam: What’s wrong? Don’t tell me you think THIS is girly.

Jeff: No, but the Psalm didn’t say anything about kazoos or maracas or even drums.

Pam: It mentions tambourines.

Jeff: Yeah, but not all of this other stuff.

Pam: The names of the instruments don’t matter. These were the instruments they had, and the psalmist is saying to celebrate God with everything you can. He is saying that we should praise God whether it is a trumpet or a kazoo.

Jeff: A kazoo. (plays it) This is kind of a rinky-dink instrument.

Pam: But if that is all you have use it. If you only have your voice, use it. We are suppose to consecrate everything to the worship of God. It’s not the instrument that matters; it’s what’s in your heart that matters.

Jeff: But this is going to be loud. And more than loud, it is going to be a cacophony.

Pam: Bless you.

Jeff: I didn’t sneeze. All these instruments are going to be a cacophony – loud, confused, and usually unharmonious sound. Noise, racket, din, not music.

Pam: So you are saying that you think it will be too noisy?

Jeff: Yes!

Pam: Well, it might be. In fact, I know it will be. But that’s okay.

Jeff: But I don’t like loud, noisy praise.

Pam: That’s okay, too. It’s not always about you.

Jeff: What?!?

Pam: It’s not always about you. It’s not always about me. We worship God in different ways, because different people praise God in different ways. God has made each of us different. So if we do a song you don’t like, then maybe that song is for someone else. Or if we praise in a way you don’t like, then maybe that is helping someone else worship God in a way that is meaningful to them.

Jeff: Well, then I am going to just talk to Melissa until you praise in a way I like.

Pam: That’s not what I said. All of us in this room are leaders. Whether we are in class in Sunday morning or in big church, there are people looking to us to see what we do. If we just sit there or if we look bored or if we talk to our friends, then we are leading others to not praise. You may be putting up an obstacle for someone that prevents them from singing the song in the style that God has chosen for them.

Jeff: That’s a big responsibility!

Pam: Yes, it is.

Jeff: So I have to be a leader even when we are singing?

Pam: Yep.

Jeff: Even when we are singing a song I don’t like or I am tired of hearing?

Pam: Yep.

Jeff: (picks up kazoo, looks defeated) Okay, then let’s do it.

Pam: Who knows, if you give it a try, you might accidentally have some fun.

Jeff: We’ll see. (Jeff gradually starts having fun.)

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Worship - Part 2

Scripture Reference: Job 1:13-22

Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised. - Job 1:21A skit that demonstrates that we should worship in times of trouble.

Pam – Worship Leader
Jeff – Person who doesn’t know how to worship


(During the first song, Jeff stops sings. He sits down looking sad and dejected.)

Pam: What are you doing, Jeff? Don’t tell me you are embarrassed by singing again?

Jeff: No.

Pam: You don’t think it’s girly or undignified?

Jeff: No.

Pam: Then what is it?

Jeff: Nothing.

Pam: It’s not nothing. You look like someone popped your balloon.

Jeff: I’ve just had a bad week. I don’t want to go into detail.

Pam: Well, if you want to talk…

Jeff: It’s just that we’ve been short staffed at work, and there is more work that can be done. We have clients screaming for help, and not enough time to help them. The phone keeps ringing, I am getting hundreds of email, my bossing is yelling…

Pam: I’m sorry to hear…

Jeff: Then I get home today and the kids are yelling and dinner isn’t ready and I can’t find all the CDs for tonight and…
Pam: I’m glad you don’t want to go into detail.

Jeff: What? Oh, sorry. Anyway, I’m just not up to worshiping. Worship is all about feelings, and I just don’t feel like it.

Pam: Worship is a lot more than just about your feelings. It isn’t just supposed to engage your heart. It is suppose to engage your mind, body, and spirit. In the book of John, Jesus says that “true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth.”

Jeff: Yeah, but if you’ve had a bad day…

Pam: Ever heard of Jōb? [NB: ō indicates to use a long O, as in "robe".]

Jeff: I don’t think so.

Pam: You know, Jōb – in the Bible. J-O-B, Jōb.

Jeff: I thought it was pronounced job.

Pam: No, it’s Jōb.

Jeff: Did he have a brother named Bōb?

Pam: What?!?

Jeff: Bōb. B-O-B.

Pam: That would be Bob.

Jeff: And did he eat corn on the cōb?

Pam: No.

Jeff: What about him?

Pam: What about who?

Jeff: Job

Pam: That’s Jōb, and he had a REALLY bad day. One day a messenger came to him and told him that his enemy had stolen all his oxen & donkeys and killed all his servants working in the fields.

Jeff: I bet that made him sōb.

Pam: That’s sob. Then another messenger came to tell him that fire had fallen from the sky and killed all the sheep and shepherds.

Jeff: That’s bad, but…

Pam: Then another messenger came to tell him that raiders had carried off his camels and killed his servants.

Jeff: That’s really bad, but…

Pam: Then another messenger…

Jeff: Not another messenger!

Pam: Yep, another messenger. This one came to tell him that while his sons and daughters were all together, a huge wind came up, blew down the house, and killed them all.

Jeff: Golly! That is a REALLY bad day! I had a great day compared to all of that!

Pam: That is probably one of the worst days anyone’s ever had.

Jeff: And you’re going to tell me that Jōb worshiped God after all of that?!?

Pam: Yes. Jōb 1:20-21 says: Then he fell to the ground in worship and said, "The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised."

Jeff: How could he do that? He just had his family wiped out?

Pam: When we remember that God is our Redeemer and that He truly loves us, we can rest in the knowledge that He is in control even when we don’t understand the reasons for what is happening.

Jeff: But how can I do that?

Pam: You have to prepare. You can’t wait until things get hard to trust God. You have to practice that when things are good. Spend time in His Word, talk with Him in prayer, stand in His presence in worship. You have to KNOW you can trust Him BEFORE the bad times. In the bad times, you will want to doubt, it is only natural. But if you have a foundation of trust already, you can stand on the foundation when the trust is hard.

Jeff: So worship is like getting into shape. You can’t wait until you are in the middle of a football game to start working out. You have to do that before the game, so that you are prepared.

Pam: Exactly. Worship is part of what makes us healthy Christians. And when we are in difficult times in our lives, it reminds us that God is our Rock and our Redeemer.

Jeff: Wow! If Jōb can worship after all of that, I guess I can, too.

Pam: That’s our jōb.

Jeff: Now don’t YOU start that!