Worship Sunday 2016

Worship, even at its most subliminal, is at the core of Christian discipleship and the purpose of the church. It must be because worship is about giving God utmost priority.

Tozer once said:

Worship of the loving God is man’s whole reason for existence. That is why we are born and that is why we are born again from above. That is why we were created and that is why we have been recreated. That is why there was a genesis at the beginning, and that is why there is a re-genesis, called regeneration.

That is also why there is a church. The Christian church exists to worship God first of all. Everything else must come second or third or fourth or fifth.

I am really blessed to be a part of a church that believes not only in expressing worship, but also bringing it to the forefront of our overt consciousness.

Over the last month, Faith Community Church devoted three entire weeks to the teaching and application of the theology of worship. I had the honour of preaching the first message in the series, The Priests We Were Destined to Be. Pastor Dave Wong then preached the second message on The Power of a Praising Heart.

The series culminated in Worship Sunday, which took place last Sunday – an entire church service devoted to worship.

We decided to run the service as four movements, each beginning with a monologue by a worship leader exemplifying a particular theme of worship. And, rather than just singing for one and a half hours, each movement featured its own unique posture and praise expression.

Here is how the service played out.

Introduction

Scripture reading: Psalm 97:1-10

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Dance item performed by banner team:  “I Exalt Thee” (E-F-G)

What was significant about the dance item was that it was a prophetic symbol of God’s restoration of the family altar, as three generations of a family, led by the grandmother, danced together in worship.

Movement 1: Worship celebrates with exuberant praise

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Monologue by Dave

Endless Praise (A)

Alive (C)

Movement 2: Worship is magnified by His grace

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Monologue by Lydia

Broken Vessels (G)

O Praise the Name (Anastasis) (A)

Holy Communion

Exhortation by Ps Jon Quay

Song Item: How Deep the Father’s Love for Us (D) with contemporary dance by Stephanie Khoo

The eucharist

Movement 3: Worship calls us to intimacy

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Monologue by Sunray

Sinking Deep (D)

Scripture readings ministering God’s love

I Lay Me Down (A) Kneeling in worship

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Offering

Christ is Enough (A) with dance

Movement 4: Worship exalts a sovereign God

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Monologue by Lester

No Other Name (E) Corporate prayer for the nations

Spontaneous prophetic word and response

Hosanna (E-F-G-A)

Benediction by Pastor Benny Ho

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Pastor Benny reminded us from James 1:26,27 that after the service ends and we leave the building, true worship is lived out by our having a controlled tongue, a caring heart and a consecrated life.

It was a remarkable Sunday, one which I think many of us will remember for a long time to come; a Sunday which has really lifted the watermark of worship in the church; where the ceiling has now become the floor of the next level.

I am so grateful to serve with the amazing team of musicians who facilitated the service, the dancers, stage designers, lighting and AV team.

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Back row: Addie Choon (MD/bass), Joash Ang (electric guitar), Caleb Leong (drums), Ps Dave Wong (worship leader/acoustic guitar), Tae Kim (vocals), Ansen Soon (sound), Sam Ng (keyboard), me (worship leader)

Front row: Sunray Zheng (worship leader), Luke Tan (electric guitar), Delany See (keyboard), Lydia Ling (worship leader)

Here is the text of my monologue “Worship Exalts a Sovereign God”

Even as we have leaned in
And intimately encountered a God of love, grace and mercy,
We experience a simultaneous outward compulsion
To take this love, grace and mercy
To the ends of the earth.

As the eyes of the prophet Isaiah saw the Lord
Seated on the throne
His heart was gripped by the question:
“Who would go for Us?”

True worship emanates from a heart surrendered to God
But resonates, beats in rhythm with
His intense desire and longing that none should perish.

We encounter His love in worship gathered,
We carry His grace and presence in worship scattered;
We are transformed in worship gathered,
We transform our world in worship scattered;
We are discipled in worship gathered,
We disciple nations in worship scattered.

The Psalmist says
God’s love is meteoric
His loyalty astronomic
His purpose titanic
His verdicts oceanic
Yet in His largeness
Nothing gets lost
No one gets lost

In this world so tumultuous
Full of fear, hatred, violence, killing and death
We have a God who is still sitting on the throne
Who reigns over all things
Who has been given the name over all names

Fire still goes before Him
Mountains melt like wax at the sound of His voice
The haughtiest of hearts are humbled by His greatness
Kings cast their crowns at the sight of His majesty and splendour

Our God is still on the throne!

And one day
The kingdoms of this world
Will become the kingdom of our Lord and King
And He will reign forever and ever!

Let’s together in worship exalt our sovereign God,
Lift up your eyes church
He is our King of Kings and our Lord of Lords!

Here is the recording of the service in three parts.

Part 1

 

Part 2

 

Part 3

May you be inspired to take your personal worship to the next level!

Photo credits: Joseph Siew

Christ’s Strength Perfected in My Weakness

Happy 2014 everyone! I hope that this year will be your best year yet!

For my first post of the year, I want to talk about weakness. This is not a popular subject in contemporary Christian circles. We are taught to work on our weaknesses and play to our strengths. We are seldom told to rejoice in our weaknesses.

But listen to what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 12:9ff:

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me…. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

In the Greek, the word “perfect” is teleioo which means to complete, accomplish, to consummate. If we are honest, we like doing things that we are good at. This is because it means we can be responsible for, and guarantee, the results. If I am an amazing singer, then in all likelihood, people will be moved when I sing. But that muddies the waters. Who is doing the moving? My amazing voice, or the Holy Spirit?

Tozer once said:

If God took his Holy Spirit out of this world, what the church is doing would go right on and nobody would know the difference.

The church today is good at doing a lot of stuff. We are good at stirring messages, creating sights, sounds and imagery and producing great programs. But how much of it is the presence of God?

When we play to our strengths, there is less room for God’s miracles.

I love how God uses the weak things of the world to shame that which is wise. I remember Joseph Prince telling how he used to stutter when he was in school. Today he preaches to millions. Or hearing about how Nick Vujicic, with no arms and no legs, can inspire people to live life to the full.

Even to this day, I wonder how I ended up leading worship. People seem to think I sing well, but those closest to me and who know me well (or who listen to our Sunday worship recordings) will tell you that I haven’t got a great voice. (Granted, I have a loud voice – my wife reminds me of this frequently!). When I was in school, I was told my voice wasn’t good enough for me to join the choir. And yet, I have this privilege, week after week, in meetings of varying sizes, to use my voice to lead people to encounter God in worship.

When I stop to really think about it, God is really performing a miracle each time by His grace. His strength is being made perfect and complete in my weakness.

You could say that it is when we are most empty that Christ is most complete in us.

What are you weak at? What do you struggle with? What trait don’t you like in yourself? Perhaps God is using that very weakness to miraculously demonstrate His strength. Perhaps it is in those very things that are broken and empty that gives space for God to pour out His strength completely.

In 2014, allow Christ’s strength to be perfected in your weaknesses!