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Dec 21 2006

Thoughts on Broken Worship

As you digest what may be a paradigm shift in your understanding of worship, consider its ongoing history, as seen in the past, present, and future.

1) Remember the Original Design of Worship

Everything in Creation perfectly reflected God’s glory and declared His immeasurable worth.  Adam and Eve lived all of life to the glory of God and for the pleasure of God.  They offered the ceaseless praise of worship service in their work, play, relationship, and direct communion with God.

2) Ponder the Present Purpose of Worship

Because of the intrusion of sin and death into creation, everything is broken, including worship service.  In His generosity, God designed and provided services of worship that show, tell, and celebrate His Story of cosmic restoration through Jesus.  These services of worship initially were centered in the tabernacle and then the temple of Jerusalem.

Temple worship was fulfilled by the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.  The Bride of Christ has become a living temple–a people inhabited by the Holy Spirit who are commissioned to tell God’s Story in their services of worshio and show His Story by their worship service.  The restoration of broken worship now involves the creation and empowering of “lead worshippers,” who will offer worship service in every sphere of society and culture.

3) Meditate on the Future Plan for Worship

Every aspect of the new heaven and new earth will perfectly reflect the glory of God and will serve His eternal purpose and pleasure. The new heaven and new earth will be filled with “lead worshippers” who do all things to the glory of God for the pleasure of God, as they offer ceaseless praise through worship service.

In What Ways is Worship Broken?

Man’s glory has replaced God’s glory as the heart of worship.  The first worship war was fought by Cain and Abel, and it resulted in murder (Genesis 4).  Man’s pleasure has taken precedent over God’s pleasure as the goal of worship.  Think about it.  Are there any legitimate grounds for using phrases such as, “I really liked the worship today,” or, “I’m going to find a church that gives me the kind of worship I’m looking for?”

Nothing in creation reflects God’s glory as clearly as it once did. Life has been compartmentalized into the sacred and the secular (work vs. worship, worship leaders vs. lead worshippers).  Services of worship have also been compartmentalized into the “worship” part of the service (usually the music) and the rest of the service.  If hearing and responding to the Word of God is not an act of worship for us, then God have mercy.

The worship of the creature (man) and created things (idolatry) has replaced the worship of the Creator (Romans 1:21-25).  Worshiping worship has replaced worshiping God.  To worship God is to be preeminently concerned to bring Him pleasure and honor. To worship is to be primarily concerned with our pleasure and satisfaction.  If we happen to enjoy services of worship, great!  The truth is we should; for what should bring us greater delight than to pleasure the heart of God?  But our enjoyment is not the goal; it’s simply a gift.

For Personal and Community Reflection

Are you a “true worshiper” or someone who simply likes “great worship?”

Is it God you worship or the experience of worship that you worship?  How can you know the difference?  When it comes to worship, do you have a consuming passion (a need to be fulfilled) or one consummate passion (a commitment to be poured out for the glory of Jesus)?  Has worship become merely the musical/liturgical equivalent of your favorite ice cream, cut of meat, or Starbuck’s coffee?

What your particular “broken cistens,” your idols–the things and people that you rely on for life, fulfillment, and salvation?  Your wallet?  Boyfriend?  Children?  Computer?  Refrigerator?  Self-righteousness?  Wounds?  Ministry?  Athletic prowess?  Parents’ approval?  Sexual addition? Drugs?

Come to Jesus today, like the Samaritan woman and those who believed her story.  Where else is there to go?  “The Spirit and her Bride say, ‘Come.’  And let the one who hears say, ‘Come.’  And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price” (Revelation 22:17).

(C) 2005 Scotty Smith, pastor of Christ Community Church in Nashville, Tennessee.  Adapted from the book Restoring Broken Things.  Posted at worship.com by permission of Integrity Publishers

 


Scotty Smith

Scotty is the Founding Pastor of Christ Community Church (CCC) in Franklin, Tennessee Scotty, a native of Graham, N.C., graduated in 1972 from UNC, Chapel Hill, and from Westminster Theological Seminary in 1977. He served as youth pastor at First Presbyterian Church in Winston-Salem from 1977-1979, and from 1979-1980 served as youth pastor at First Presbyterian Church in Nashville, TN. In 1981 Scotty helped Cortez Cooper plant Christ Presbyterian Church in Nashville. In 1986 Scotty was sent out as the planting pastor for Christ Community Church (CCC) in Franklin, Tennessee. Scotty served CCC as Senior Pastor for his first twenty years and has seen its membership grow to over three thousand. During these two decades CCC has also planted four churches. Recently Scotty has assumed the new title of Founding Pastor and CCC’s long time associate and Scotty’s best friend, Scott Roley, has become the new senior pastor. Scotty invests most of his time as CCC’s Pastor for Preaching, Teaching and Worship. He also serves as an adjunct professor at Covenant Theological Seminary and teaches at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando. He has written five books: Unveiled Hope, with Michael Card; Speechless, with Steven Curtis Chapman; Objects of His Affection; and his latest two, The Reign of Grace and Restoring Broken Things, with Steven Curtis Chapman. Scotty and Darlene, his wife of thirty-five years, have two adult married children and one grandson. Scotty enjoys fly-fishing, cross training, classic rock and roll and cooking.

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About the author

Scotty Smith

Scotty is the Founding Pastor of Christ Community Church (CCC) in Franklin, Tennessee Scotty, a native of Graham, N.C., graduated in 1972 from UNC, Chapel Hill, and from Westminster Theological Seminary in 1977. He served as youth pastor at First Presbyterian Church in Winston-Salem from 1977-1979, and from 1979-1980 served as youth pastor at First Presbyterian Church in Nashville, TN. In 1981 Scotty helped Cortez Cooper plant Christ Presbyterian Church in Nashville. In 1986 Scotty was sent out as the planting pastor for Christ Community Church (CCC) in Franklin, Tennessee. Scotty served CCC as Senior Pastor for his first twenty years and has seen its membership grow to over three thousand. During these two decades CCC has also planted four churches. Recently Scotty has assumed the new title of Founding Pastor and CCC’s long time associate and Scotty’s best friend, Scott Roley, has become the new senior pastor. Scotty invests most of his time as CCC’s Pastor for Preaching, Teaching and Worship. He also serves as an adjunct professor at Covenant Theological Seminary and teaches at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando. He has written five books: Unveiled Hope, with Michael Card; Speechless, with Steven Curtis Chapman; Objects of His Affection; and his latest two, The Reign of Grace and Restoring Broken Things, with Steven Curtis Chapman. Scotty and Darlene, his wife of thirty-five years, have two adult married children and one grandson. Scotty enjoys fly-fishing, cross training, classic rock and roll and cooking.