What is Family Worship? Is it a devotional time, is it singing? Today AMBrewster opens the Bible to discover how God defines worship and starts Christian parents on the road to discerning and influencing their family’s worship.
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Before we dive into today’s topic, I have some exciting news.
Honestly, I’m torn about sharing things like this because I don’t like it being about TLP. We try so hard to make it about God that I don’t ever really want it to be about us, but — at the same time — there are some really encouraging things going on.
So, let’s frame this the right way. We are praising God that He’s choosing to extend our reach and glorify Himself through our ministry.
Recently Feedspot voted Truth.Love.Parent. to be one of the top 15 websites you need to follow in 2018. That was really cool. No doubt, some of you may have been introduced to us through that post. Praise God, and thanks for joining us!
Also, I had the opportunity to talk with Curtis Solomon, the Director of the Biblical Counseling Coalition. He invited me onto their podcast, 15:14, and we had a great time talking about how God’s at work at Victory Academy for Boys and TLP. You can check that out that interview on our website.
And lastly, I want to apologize for not telling you this sooner — the people who heard my 15:14 interview heard it before you did! — but the exciting news is that I have accepted the position of Director at Victory Academy for Boys.
The former director, my friend Mark Massey, took on a new role as the Executive Director of Victory Family Ministries, and I’ve taken on many of the roles and responsibilities he had.
Currently, I’m doing double-duty. Until we hire someone to take my place as Residence Manager of the House Program, I’m directing the ministry while I facilitate the daily running of the home, but I’m excited to be doing it. It’s stretching me, but it’s a good experience.
On that note, we are looking to hire a couple to take over the running of the House Program. If you are interested in learning more or know of someone who is, pease feel free to send me an email. You can connect with me at AMBrewster@vafb.org. I’d be happy to tell you more about the opportunity to serve God and hurting families at Victory Academy for Boys.
All of this to say that God is opening more doors and windows for service, news is spreading, and we are doing our best to share God’s Truth about parenting as far and wide as we can.
Thank you for your prayers and support. Thank you for sharing us with your friends. Thank you for your reviews and ratings.
You guys are great, and I love that we are united in serving God and ministering to our families.
Okay, if this is your first time with us, I welcome you and pray that this new series will be a blessing to you, but don’t forget to check out our previous series.
This time around we’re talking about Family Worship, but we’re looking at it in a different way than most people do.
So, let’s jump in.
First, let’s talk about what we’re not talking about.
I think when most people use the words “Family Worship” they’re referring to a time that the whole family is gathered together studying God’s Word. It may be in church or during a devotional time at home, but it’s definitely a deliberately spiritual time with the whole family.
I am not talking about that. Now, that type of thing is definitely part of the larger concept. It totally fits in this discussion, and there will be many truths we can draw out and apply to our family devotional times, but I just wanted to set the stage that we’re not talking about family devotional times on this series.
Secondly, we’re not talking specifically about singing or playing music.
I think too many people in the modern church age associate the word worship with the song service at their local church.
We use the terms praise and worship so tightly that some people don’t see worship as being anything other than singing to God.
But is that really what worship is?
Again, I’d say it’s part of the much, much larger subject, but it’s only a part. There will be applications from this study that can be made for our music, but that’s not the focus of this series.
So, “What is the focus of this series?” You ask.
Let’s start by defining “worship.”
Until we do that, we’re all going to be imagining different things. Once we’re all on the same page, then we can discuss what kind of worship pleases the Lord and what kind doesn’t.
So, here’s my plan for this series:
This concept is so important, and I’m glad you’ll be joining me for it.
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Okay, what does God think worship is?
The English Word worship shows up over 120 times in the Bible, and each of those instances can help us better understand what God means when He uses the word.
But — as many of you know — I also believe that when God inspired the Bible, He chose to use the Hebrew and Greek and Aramaic for a reason. I’m not saying those languages were better, but God didn’t wait until English was invented before writing the Bible.
Therefore, good Bible translation is going to find the best English word to communicate the word in the original language.
However, sometimes it’s hard to find an English equivalent that does the original word justice.
We did a seven part study on Biblical love simply because the concept of biblical love cannot be summed up in the English word, “love.”
So, let’s begin by looking at some of the original words.
In Genesis 22:5, Abraham told his servants, “Stay here with the donkey; I and the boy will go over there and worship and come again to you.”
The word he used gave the picture of something being depressed, pushed down, bowed over, prostrated, falling down flat.
Now, the connotative imagery reveals that people only prostrate themselves before things they believe are superior to them.
It’s the most humbling physical stance to take. You’re on the dirt, you’re completely at their mercy because you’re indefensible. And the act is designed to communicate that I submit to you in one way or another. It can be as an act of divine worship or it can be a respectful greeting. And we see many uses of the word in Scripture.
And — for the most part — bowing in many different cultures still communicates the same ideas today.
Now, there are a couple Greek words of note. One of them doesn’t necessarily refer to bowing down as it does any number of religious ceremonies. That one is used four times in the New Testament.
But there’s another word that’s used 60 times, and has more in common with the Hebrew word.
This word has the idea of falling, crouching, prostrating oneself in homage to another. It also refers to kissing another’s hand, and any other act that showed reverence and respect.
Of course, we also have to acknowledge that the English word “worship” is a derivative of an early word which many of you know was “worthship.”
The English Oxford Dictionary defines is as “The condition of being worthy or deserving.”
Worship communicates worth.
In a way, we could stay that any time we place value in something, we’re worshipping it.
Whether I’m prostrating myself before a tribal warlord who I’m hoping is not going to kill me, or I’m dedicating hours to washing and waxing my sports car, I’m communicating value.
If I will watch a sporting event for hours and hours, but complain that the sermon went past 12:00, I’m communicating how much value those things have for me.
Now, I’ve said this a lot on the show, but Ken Collier’s observation that there are “Just two choices on the shelf — pleasing God or pleasing self” is at the crux of this issue.
Back in episode 114 we asked the question, “How to Know if Your Child is Addicted.”
I think that would be a great follow-up to today’s topic.
But, I’ll sum that show up this way — your child is addicted. Period. And so are you. And so am I.
We’re addicted to ourselves. Now, I’m not going to take the time right now to support that claim, you’ll have to listen to the other episode, but let’s continue on as if it’s true . . . because it is. :-)
If I’m addicted to my own pleasure and satisfaction, then it would be less accurate to say that I worship ice cream than it is to say that I worship myself via too much ice cream.
I think this is the hangup modern, American Christians have with sermons that warn us against worshipping sports and money and popularity and sex and the like. We picture people bowing down to stone and wood images, and it seems preposterous and silly to think of ourselves bowing down before a shrine that had a car sitting on it.
But the reality is that the people who bow down before idols are doing the exact same thing as the people who are addicted to drugs, or fame, or money — they’re communicating to everyone around them that the idol or the car or the sport is valuable to them.
But we need to take it a step further. They’re also communicating that those things are valuable to them for a higher reason.
The idol really isn’t the end all to end all. The car and the sex and the good grades aren’t really the god being served.
The god being served is self. The popularity and control and perfect body and beautiful house and the religious rituals were actually the sacrifices they offered to themselves. Those were the things that made them happy.
Their god was themselves.
In Philippians 4 we read, “Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things.”
I encountered a man who once told me that he struggled with porn and adultery because he worshipped the female form. I had to tell him that he was mistaken. What he was actually doing was offering the female form as a sacrifice to his own flesh.
Instead, let’s consider a popular passage, Romans 12:1-2, “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.”
God is saying that our spiritual worship is that we offer ourselves — all that we are, have, say, do, and feel — to God as a sacrifice. We shouldn’t be sacrificing anything to ourselves; we’re nothing more than a sacrifice ourselves. And we should be offering ourselves to God. That is our reasonable act of worship considering what He’s done for us.
But then verse two tells us what this daily sacrifice looks like:
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
Our sacrifice is supposed to look like our conformity to the will of God. Then the rest of the chapter talks about spiritual gifts and the marks of a true Christian. And it doesn’t limit those marks to the religious ceremonies we do during a service.
The things in our lives that prove we’re offering ourselves on the altar to God are love, righteousness, zeal, rejoicing, patience, prayer, hospitality, generosity, blessing, harmony, wisdom, kindness, and the list goes on.
My friends, here’s the point — and I took a long time getting to it because I didn’t want there to be a shred of doubt in our minds — everything we do is worship.
Everything we say is an act of worship to God or self.
Everything we buy is an act of worship to God or self.
Everything we listen to, everywhere we go, every thought we have, every desire, everything we do is an act of worship to God or an act of worship to self.
In order to determine what we’re worshipping, we have to decide whether we’re glorifying God by doing what we’re doing or whether we’re glorifying self.
Now, this is where it gets difficult.
I’ve mentioned a number of times that we can worship ourselves with our cars. When we invest heavily in our vehicles, we may be doing it because we enjoy the satisfaction we receive, or we may be doing it because we’re trying to be good stewards of the gifts God has given to us.
That’s another reason I think it’s confusing to refer to worshipping a thing. We may very well value an object, but the more important question is why we value the object so much.
Some people value their children as a blessing and stewardship from God. Others value their children as a status symbol or guarantee of future care.
It’s not the fact that a person believes their food has value, the question is where are they investing that value? Are they placing their food on the altar to God for His honor and glory, or are they investing in their own pleasure and satisfaction?
Now, we’re all sinful people, and that means that every day we’re going to worship ourselves. It’s not an excuse, it’s just a reality.
But assuming that we are true followers of God, the question isn’t whether or not we worship God or self, but what percentage of the time we’re worshipping God or self.
Now, let’s ask that same question concerning your family as a whole.
Everyone in your family at every point of the day is either worshipping themselves or God. So, what percentage of the day does your family worship self versus God?
That’s the Family Worship about which we’re talking.
We at Truth.Love.Parent. want each member of your family to spend more time worshipping God than self.
And we’re are committed to equipping you, the parent, to analyze and address your family’s worship.
In a way, that’s why we publish every episode.
So, let’s review.
Worship is everything we do, because everything we do shows what we value.
So, with all that said, here’s our goal for this series:
Next time we’re going to look at the books of Kings and Chronicles to learn what Failed Worship is.
Then we’re going to talk about a family that has Split Worship. This type of worship may seem better, but the end result is often the same as Failed Worship.
And then I’d like to finish off creating a plan for us to have Unified Worship in our families — the type of lifestyle where we can say that our families are worshipping God more than self.
Now, your friends are worshipping something too, and God desperately wants them to understand worship and give it to Him. So please share this episode with your friends. You can share it directly to social media, you can email it, or you could post it on your blog or website.
And we also have free episode notes on our blog, Taking Back the Family. I recommend you go to TruthLoveParent.com and join the TLP Family. That way you’ll receive an email any time we post something new to our blog.
And you can always reach us at Counselor@TruthLoveParent.com if you have any specific questions about issues and concerns in your family.
Listen, your family is going to worship something today? What’s it going to be, and what can you do about it?
To that end, I’ll see you next time.
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