Author: Nate Emerson

Five Ways to Incorporate Worship in Your Time with God

God is the same at church as He is at home. Yet, frequently I will hear people say that their worship at home just isn’t as powerful as it is at church.

HERE ARE FIVE TIPS TO HELP MAKE YOUR PERSONAL WORSHIP TIMES AS IMPACTFUL AS CORPORATE ONES:

1.Be intentional about what you worship to //

There are thousands of worship songs out there, and you aren’t going to know them all. Worshipping to songs that are unfamiliar is hard. Pick ones you know.

Personality and emotions play into how we worship. Be aware of your natural bent to a certain type of worship. It’s okay to worship to Hillsong Young & Free if you’re feeling a little happy, wild and crazy. But if your worship playlist is all high energy, party songs you might miss a place of intimacy with God. In contrast, if your playlist is all worship songs that make you cry, you won’t ever celebrate God in worship. Jesus is the fullness of happiness, joy, comfort, love and sympathy rolled into one person. The way we worship Him and the songs we choose should reflect all ends of the spectrum of His character. If you aren’t sure where to start, check out these Spotify playlists our worship department has created.

2.Remove distractions //

Whether you realize it or not, our Auditorium is set up in a way to direct our focus toward God. It’s probably not feasible to put giant projector screens on your home walls or have spotlights directed at the worship leader on your TV. However, you can take some practical steps to remain undistracted in worship. Start by putting the phone down. Don’t look at those emails and texts you missed last night – they can wait. Find somewhere you can be uninterrupted. Get away from the roommates, family members and other people who might distract you. Oh, and save the coffee for Bible time – it’s hard to sing with coffee in your mouth.

3.Lead yourself //

When JMG starts rocking out on his guitar on Sunday morning, we all know the presence of God is about to show up. Unfortunately, James Mark can’t show up to your home every morning, but we can all learn how to lead ourselves in worship. Leading yourself in worship is all about responding to what God is doing. One way to do this is to declare the truth of God or Scriptures that relate to what you are worshipping to. Take for example the song, History’s Anthem off the new AntiochLIVE album. The bridge says, “Your faithfulness is history’s anthem, Your constant love the song of creation.” Take a few moments to declare out loud ways that has been true in your life.

4.Be expressive //

God wants our whole heart, mind, soul and body. If one of these is left out, we’re missing out! If my heart, mind and soul are celebrating God, I shouldn’t cross my arms and put my pouty face on. In his book The Screwtape Letters, CS Lewis writes letters from the perspective of the demon Screwtape to his nephew Wormwood. In one of those letters Screwtape writes, “The more often he feels without acting, the less he will be able ever to act, and, in the long run, the less he will be able to feel.”  If we feel the Holy Spirit prompting us to do something, we should do it. That could be bowing in reverence, dancing for joy or putting our hands up. Let’s not let fear of action numb our ability to feel.

The Hebrew words for worship often had actions built right into them. Here are a couple examples:

  • Yadah – to give thanks or worship with extended hands. This word is used 64 times in the Bible -most famously is in Psalm 100:4. Our thanks should be given with outstretched hands.
  • Hallal – to act wildly or crazy especially in praising or boasting. While this word isn’t used as frequently in the Bible it still shows us that even wild dancing and shouting can be considered worship.

5. Switch things up //

Habits can be a very good thing. However, habits can also lead to monotony, and God is anything but monotonous. Make intentional changes in your morning time with Jesus routine to keep experiencing freshness in your relationship.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Change your location. Don’t go to that same recliner with your guitar every morning. Try going outside or into a different room.
  • Don’t always put worship at the same spot in your time with Jesus. Do it first, after Bible reading or after prayer.
  • Try reading/meditating on the lyrics before listening to the song

Donald Miller wrote in Blue Like Jazz, “I don’t think there is any better worship than wonder.” However you choose to incorporate these tips into your everyday, remember God is a God worthy of our wonder. May we never lose our wonder.

By Nate Emerson – Worship Staff

Nate serves as the administrator for the worship department and plays keys for the worship team. 

Three Keys to a Successful Summer

I grew up deep in the woods of northern Minnesota in a house set on top of a hill overlooking the peninsula of a small lake. Winter there would last nine months out of the year and spring lasted all of one week. There were no April showers, but the snow that had previously been up to a person’s waist would slowly melt leaving behind a messy sludge. Once that dried out, the flowers started to bloom, the grass turned green and the loons started singing on the lake again. All these sights, sounds and smells meant one thing: Summer!

The indication of summer in Texas looks pretty different than in Minnesota, but regardless of where you are, summer brings a fresh wave of opportunity.

TAKE A LOOK AT SOME TIPS ON HOW TO MAKE THIS SUMMER A SUCCESS:
  • 1. Use the extra time as an opportunity to go deeper in your relationship with God.

For many people, responsibilities slow down significantly in the summer, making it a land of opportunity. There’s no school for kids and work eases up just a little. Spend that extra 10 minutes reading the Bible as a family. Reach out to the other parents at your kid’s little league game. Whatever you do, let God pull you out of your comfort zone and stretch your faith this summer.

  • 2. Process the first half of the year and recharge for the second half.

There’s a spot in Cameron Park I go to at the start of each summer to write for an hour or so about all God did in and around me the previous six months. We were made in the image of God and even God needed rest. Take a couple days to relax from the first six months and get envisioned for the next half of the year. Ask God:

  • What do You have for me?
  • Where do You want me?
  • Who will I be walking with in this stage of life?
  • How can I serve You?

For more practicals on how to rest well watch this sermon on the Sabbath from our How Then Shall We Live series.

  • 3. Make a summer resolution and set plans and goals to see it through.

On average, more than 80 percent of people fail at their New Year’s Resolutions before the end of the winter. Summer is a great time to make new ones! Decide as a family to turn the TV off and go outside together. Pick up a new hobby like learning an instrument or a language. Make a schedule for your resolution and bring friends in on it to help keep you accountable.

Stop and think for a moment about the changing of the seasons. God wanted each of us to experience differences in weather, so He stretched out His hand and tilted the Earth ever so slightly. Then He gave the Earth a little push around the Sun and put it into orbit. As the Earth orbits, parts of it are angled directly at the Sun and other parts are angled slightly away making some spots hotter and some colder.  The changing of winter into summer has been used as an allegory for transformative power of God in our lives (see Song of Solomon 2:11 and Hosea 6:3).

God takes the places in us that are frozen and breathes fresh wind on them, calling them to life. Reflect for a moment on how God has already done this in your own life. Invite Him into the places where you need a breath of fresh air. May God breathe on us all this summer!

By Nate Emerson – Worship Staff