Relational Worship

What is relational worship and how does it have anything to do with God and me? Good question huh?  According to David Wheeler and Vernon Whaley, relational worship is based on friendship, affinity, and a bond with God. . . .God is the one who initiates this relationship. . . . [another word for relational worship is] vertical worship.[1]  God wants to be with us as we walk through our own lives. The more we seek Him the more we get to know him.  “He nurtures this relationship personally, individually, and lovingly. [2]  Isaiah is the Old Testament prophet who wanted this type of relationship with God.  When he saw him for the first time he said,

In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.”At the sound of their voices, the doorposts and thresholds shook, and the temple was filled with smoke.“Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty” (Isaiah 6:1-5).[3]

 Having allowed God to develop a personal relationship with him he writes about Jacob and Israel and their relationship with the Lord,

Why do you complain, Jacob?  Why do you say, Israel, “My way is hidden from the Lord;    my cause is disregarded by my God”? Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall, but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint (Isaiah 40:27-31). | Isaiah 40:27 : S Job 6:29; S 27:2; Lk 18:7-8

When I think about my own conversion, I distinctly remembering the light-heartedness that occurred after I gave my life to the Lord.  I became keenly aware of the fact that He is indeed everlasting.  Today I know that

  1. He is never tired or weary about my challenges in life, and He never grows faint.
  2. I can call on him any time of the day and night just to talk to Him.
  3. I know that He is there and was just waiting for our time together.

In the forty-seven years since I first gave my heart to the Lord, He has strengthened me.  His word renews my strength each time that I read it.  I have had the eagle soaring experience.  There is nothing like worshipping the Lord through song, obedience, and service to others in His name.  Witnessing to others and praying for others is a joyful experience.  What specific words in the following scriptures make you want to engage in a vertical relationship with God?  You see you cannot have any type of horizontal relationship with others in His name if you do not have a vertical relationship with Him.

After conversion, he became my “rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God. . . .in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold” (Psalm 18:2).  Before my conversion, He,” . . . searched me, [He knew] me [and still accepted and loved me]. [He knew] when I [would] sit and when I [would] rise; [He] perceive[d] my thoughts from afar [ and did not condemn me]. [He] discern[ed] my going out and my lying down; [He is] familiar with all my ways, [however, He continues to love me].  Before a word is on my tongue [He] knows it completely. [In-spite of it all He still] hem[med] me in behind and before, and [He] laid  [His] hand upon me (Psalm 139:1-5).He saw me as I was and still loved me.

Every human being comes before Him looking like “filthy rags.”  That is what God calls our righteousness, not me.  But He still see us as “beautiful”!  No matter what I have done, or you have done, He still sees you as beautiful and still loves you.

He tells us that we should, “not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10 Dt 3:22; Jos 1:9; Isa 43:2, 5; Jer 30:10; 46:27-28; Ro 8:31).

 

 

Bibliography 

Wheeler, David, and Vernon Whaley. Worship and Witness: Becoming a Great Commission Worshiper. Nashville, TN: LifeWay Press, 2012.

Notes

[1] David Wheeler and Vernon Whaley, Worship and Witness: Becoming a Great Commission Worshiper (Nashville, TN: LifeWay Press, 2012), 72.

[2] Ibid.

[3]  Unless otherwise noted, all biblical passages referenced are in the New International Version (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2009).

[4] David Wheeler and Vernon Whaley, Worship and Witness: 74.

[5] Ibid.

[6] David Wheeler and Vernon Whaley, Worship and Witness, 75.

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Transformation is a lifelong process

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:2).[1]

Do not lie to each other since you have taken off your old self with its practices, and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. (Colossians 3:9-10 )

And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit (2 Cor. 3:18).

Answer the following questions for yourself.  Then share the answers with us on this blog.

  1. When does transformation come?
  2. How long does it take?
  3. What does the work of transformation and what does it have to do with worship?
  4. How have you experience spiritual transformation?
  5. Have you experienced it through worship?
  6. Have you experienced it through witnessing to someone?
  7. What does it take on your part to become transformed?

I will answer the last question at this time.  It requires obedience.  The prophet Isaiah describes what happened before his transformation began.

 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.”At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.“Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.” Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.”Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” He said, “Go and tell this people: “Be ever hearing, but never understanding; be ever seeing, but never perceiving.’ 10 Make the heart of this people calloused; make their ears dull and close their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears,  understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed” (Isaiah 6:1-10 ).

Notice the steps in the progression of Isaiah’s transformation before God could call him and use him as a witness to the nation of Assyria as well as the nation of Israel.

  1. First he sees God.
  2. Second he sees himself and acknowledges his sin.
  3. He is cleansed and forgiven of those sins.. his  transformation begins.
  4. God asks who can I send to carry out the work.
  5. He responds with “Send me!”

It is to be noted that there is not one single human being on the face of this earth who was born perfectly. Not since Adam and he was created perfectly.  Every human being, no matter who they are, was “. . . .

Every human being, no matter who they are, was “. . . . I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.” (Psalm 51:5 ).  This is David the man after God’s own heart who is speaking. The Bible addresses sin and that everyone was a slave to it no matter how perfect your home life was, or even if your parents bathed your mind in the Bible every single minute of every day.

 When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death!  But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life.  For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord ( Romans 6:20-23).

At some point in every human beings life, they must submit to the call of the Holy Spirit or reject God.  It is as simple as that.  At the very moment that we submit to that call the process of transformation begins and so does our conversion story.

 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.  And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws (Ezekiel 36:26-27 ).

 On the Holy Spirit can do the work of transformation.  Our own human will cannot save us.  We do not just decide one day that we are going to be “good” people. Why? Because,

but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed.  Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death James 1:14-15 ).

The call of the Holy Spirit gives us life.  If we can decide that we are good people, and  good enough to enter heaven when we die, then Christ died in vain and salvation is something that we have “earned” on our own. So, once again,

“Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices, and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. (Colossians 3:9-10)

The daily renewal is the lifelong part, that is transformation.  That is the Holy Spirit working in our hearts. We are saved, forgiven and are being transformed into the image of God and Jesus Christ.  God created mankind to have a personal, intimate, relationship with him.  He wanted us to be just like him.

“Then God said, “Let make mankind in our image in our likeness,”

The fulfillment of this scripture begins each time a person accepts Jesus Christ as their personal Savior. When sin entered the picture Christ gave his life so the process of transformation could begin in our lives.

No, the Bible is not just a book like any other book. If it is then it will not matter where we go when we die!  Oh, but Glorious day.  William McRaney pointed out something that is often true in modern evangelism. “Often in Christian life we separate salvation from lordship, decision from disciple”.[2]  That is the experience that most people undergo. Many people understand the message of the Gospel; they may even understand that they need Jesus Christ in their lives; however, they do not connect any of that with obedience to him.   Neither, do they comprehend that transformation is a lifelong process.  Thus, the disparaging things that young people state about adult Christians as a reason for them leaving the church.

There are many misconceptions about the transformation process or the growth process that believers embark on the day that they accept the call of the Holy Spirit. William Fay calls the most common misconception “lie of the middle”.[3] This is the, “I am a good person; in fact I am so good I am good enough to get into heaven; without obedience to God and The Great Commission” statement that so many people make when approached with the gospel.

Unfortunately, the biblical theology that pervades our thought processes must be rooted in the fact that salvation is received by grace through faith. It has nothing to do with our Good deeds, catechism, Hail Mary’s, praise the Lords, missionary work or any other work of our hands. The establishment of a relationship with The Lord that requires obedience is lost if the plethora of, “tithing, programs, church activities, do this, and do that, don’t do this, and don’t do “that isms” that pervades the church.”  The simplicity of Jesus Christ him crucified; his love for humanity, and that he wants us all to become a part of “his community” is lost in the noise of religiosity.

“[Transformation] may not be an easy process, but when we submit ourselves to God’s work in our lives, we place ourselves in a position for him to change us and use us for his glory”[4]

6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Ro. 5:6-8)

Finally, transformation of one’s life style is a process that requires obedience. Obedience to the call on our lives and obedience to God’s will for our lives.  Are you ready to live a life that is transformed by the Holy Spirit?  Let us know what you think.  Contact us.

 Notes

[1] Unless otherwise noted, all biblical passages referenced are in the New International Version (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2009).

[2] Will McRaney Jr., The Art of Personal Evangelism, (Nashville: B&H Publishing, 2003), 44.

[3] William Fay, Share Jesus without Fear, (Nashville: B&H Publishing, 1999), 7.

[4] David Wheeler and Vernon Whaley, Worship and Witness: Becoming a Great Commission Worshiper (Nashville, TN: LifeWay Press, 2012), 55.

When does transformation come

Relationship and Community:Are they important to you?

“Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them;   male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them,“Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” (Genesis 1:26-28; Ge 3:5, 22; 11:7; Ps 100:3; Isa 6:8).

Part 1 Scenario:

God created us to live in “relationship” and “community” with Him and with each other. God began his relationship with mankind at creation.  It has never stopped. Why is this important? Both of these terms affect the way we involve ourselves through personal evangelism in a contemporary world. How does an understanding of this impact the way you live out your faith outside of the church, with people at work, your neighbors, friends, etc.?

Relationship

According to William McRaney, God created people to live forever, and this demonstrates his desire for an everlasting relationship with mankind; today “Christians have to invest in a relationship”.[1]  This statement empowers the believer to go forward with the act of personal evangelism knowing that sharing the gospel with an unbeliever fulfills this deep desire of The Heavenly Father.  However, we cannot share anything with another individual if we do not have a relationship with them. Jesus demonstrated this model when he met people.  He began his ministry by meeting people at their point of need.

Jesus went throughout Galilee,teaching in their synagogues,proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures,  and the paralyzed;and he healed them. Large crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis,Jerusalem, Judea and the region across the Jordan followed him (Matthew 4: 23-25 NIVLk 4:15, 44;Jn 6:59; 18:20; Mt 8:16; 14:14; 15:30; Mk 3:10; Lk 7:22; Ac 10:38).  The Lord took the time to serve. He was real with the people with whom he came into contact.  They knew that he cared for them.  He established a relationship, ministered to them spiritually then fed them physically.

The Lord took the time to serve. He was real with the people with whom he came into contact.  They knew that he cared for them.  He established a relationship, ministered to them spiritually then fed them physically (Matthew 14:13 : 14:13-21pp — Mk 6:32-44; Lk 9:10-17; Jn 6:1-13) .

The contemporary culture is searching for something that is lasting, real, and deeply personal.  A relationship with God meets that need.  Personal evangelism focuses on relationship building and reconciles man to God it also opens the door to membership in the community of God. [2]

Community

The author states, “God desires to establish a redemptive relationship with all of humankind. . . .The Bible refers to [believers] as a community of faith.”[3]  The construct of “community” began with the Triune God, and he wants to extend that oneness to mankind.[4]  Personal evangelism that results in an acceptance of Jesus Christ as one’s Savior grants that person entrance into this community (Ephesians 4:4 : 1Co 12:13; Eph 2:18).[5]  It impacts the believer’s walk because each believer represents that community.  The outside world must see a representation of a place, concept, or a community of unconditional love that they yearn to be a part of when they look at the lifestyle of believers. This leads this writer to want her life to reflect the concept presented in Ephesians 4:32 New International Version (NIV).

Notes Part 1

[1] William McRaney, The Art of Personal Evangelism: Sharing Jesus in a Changing Culture (Nashville, TN: B&H Academic, 2003), 7 and 15, Kindle.

[2] McRaney, The Art of, 16-17.

[3] Ibid.,16.

[4] Ibid.,17.

[5] Ibid.

Part 2

How this might the above discourse immediately impact your approach to evangelism. Are you an effective listener? Do you tend to walk by evangelism/ministry opportunities because you are consumed by less important issues related to daily life? Are you busy and distracted by non-essentials? If so, what steps do you need to take in your life to become an effective evangelist?

The EA ministry has been involved with teaching, preaching and discipling; however, the scope has been limited to an online venue.   These activities are impacting many nations, but personal evangelism in thesocial media community is an area in which the team has not been effective.  Partial obedience is not an option for any believer.  Therefore, stepping outside of one’s comfort zone is pivotal to absolute obedience to The Lord. .  Dave Earley and David Wheeler declared “evangelism is more than passing on information . . .  [moreover, it] is not a spiritual gift”.[2]  This clarified the confusing construct that many believers have heard presented in sermons over the years. It is each person’s responsibility to take The Great Command and the Great Commission seriously and with humility.  God does not need to know what we think we know.  He already knows that.  He also knows what his commission is to his people, Matthew 28:19 : Isa 49:6; Mk 16:15, 16; Lk 24:47; Ac 1:8; 14:21.

Notes Part 2

[1] Dave Earley & David Wheeler, Evangelism Is–: How to Share Jesus with Passion and Confidence (Nashville, TN: B&H Academic, 2010), 18, Kindle.

[2] Dave Earley & David Wheeler, Evangelism Is–: How to Share Jesus with Passion and Confidence (Nashville, TN: B&H Academic, 2010), 283 and Location 63, Kindle.

[4] Ibid.

Bibliography 

Earley, Dave and David Wheeler. Evangelism Is–: How to Share Jesus with Passion and Confidence. Nashville, TN: B&H Academic, 2010, Kindle.

McRaney, William. The Art of Personal Evangelism: Sharing Jesus in a Changing Culture. Nashville, TN: B & H Academic, 2003.

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