23 Things – Week 8: Worship

Week 8: Worship

18. Watch John Ortberg and Dallas Willard discuss worship. Watch from the 6:00 mark to the 13:00 mark

19. How often do we prepare for worship? One thing we can do is expect to meet God during worship. Next, we can pray for the worship leaders, that they may feel God’s presence and can speak and lead effectively. Third, focus on singing the songs directly to God and listening to God in scripture and preaching. Commit yourself to worship with your heart this week.*

This is week eight of 23 Things. See previous posts here and here for the first 17 things and an introduction to 23 Things. If you want to be eligible to win a free book, post a comment under each week’s session. Those who complete all 23 Things will be placed in a drawing for a free book.

*The idea for this week’s exercise came from the book, A Year With God, by Richard Foster and Julia Roller.

Why Most Prescriptions For Spiritual Growth Fail

In this short clip from John Ortberg, the case is made that God never works on two people the same way. Ortberg says that our growth in Christ will never look the same as someone else’s. Then why are the prescriptions for spiritual growth so standard?

Let’s say that I am trying to become more generous with my giving. The most common recommendation is to find the scriptures related to giving and generosity followed behind by prayer and then maybe a book recommendation on the topic. But what if I don’t like to read, or what if my prayer life stinks more than my generosity or what if I don’t have a concordance or know what scriptures to read on the topic?

Again we return to the similarities found in exercise. No good personal trainer is going to prescribe the same recommendations for a 23-year-old female with slight build as he would a 57-year-old man who is overweight. Then why do well-intentioned mentors, pastors, and friends make such generic recommendations with little consideration for personality, learning styles, context, time constraints, and so on? No wonder so many good-hearted Christians feel frustrated with their spiritual growth. They have come to the conclusion that there really isn’t much they can do because they do not respond to the most common methods of discipleship.

I know of two assessment tools (Monvee and Christian Life Profile) that attempt to customize spiritual growth plans for an individual but I would suggest that anyone wanting to follow Christ needs to be willing to experiment with what works for them. Ten years ago, when God broke through in my life I went on a search to find what resonated the most for me. It took me several months of slogging through materials and exercises that weren’t really effective for me until I discovered some of the activities, mentalities, and practices that really helped me grow. If you are serious about becoming more Christlike then turn your wishful thinking into a journey of growth. Ask the Holy Spirit  to help you discover anything that builds your relationship with God. Have an open mind to what works. Don’t assume that what works for your pastor will work for you. Find fellow sojourners who will walk beside you and not dictate your choices but help you find the most effective ones.

In the next post, I will list a few activities that might help kick start your thinking along these lines.

Spiritual Enrichment Workout: Core

Core Workout–  My favorite physical workout involves an emphasis on the body’s center, or core. The idea being that it is from this center where the rest of your body’s movements originate from. In our Spiritual Enrichment Workout, the emphasis is on hearing from God and letting him focus our faith commitment. The best way to do this is to read scripture. But just as a good workout plan will start slow and build up to more repetitions and sets, our spiritual workout starts slow. I limit myself to five verses of whatever book of the Bible I am reading and five verses from the Gospels. I will discuss the value of five in a future posts. Some simple questions that you can ask when you are reading are: What is it saying? What am I hearing? How should I respond?

I always remember this quote I heard from John Ortberg, “I do not want to just get the church congregation through the Bible but the Bible through the church congregation.”

Tomorrow we will look at our version of a Strength workout.