Benediction: The End of Worship (The Send of Worship)

4 Oct

James KA Smith in Imagining The Kingdom talks about the end (conclusion),  and the end (aim) as the send of worship. He writes this…

 “The end of Christian worship comes with a responsibility. Like all those prophetic encounters with the living God, this encounter with the Triune God sends one away with a commission and a charge: “Go and Do”, in the the power of the Spirit, as a witness to the risen Christ, inviting your friends and neighbours to become citizens of the coming kingdom. What we’ve just done in worship is both a rehearsal of the entire history of the world and a rehearsal for the kingdom come. The end of Christian worship brings us back to the beginning of creation, to our commissioning in the Garden and our deputising as God’s image bearers, those responsible for tending and tilling God’s good – but now broken – creation. “

He goes on to say, I think with great challenge

“The culmination of Christian worship is is s/ending. In this time of already-not yet, the end and goal and telos or worship is being send from this transformational encounter as God’s witnesses and image-bearers. Christian worship is not some religious silo for our private refuelling that replenishes out “inner” life. It is not merely some duty we observe in order to keep our eternal ducks in a row; nor is it some special sequestered “experience” that fills up a religious compartment in our souls, unhooked from what we do in the world Monday through Friday. Worship isn’t a weekly retreat from reality into some escapist enclave; it is our induction into “the real world” Worship is the space in which we learn to take the right things for granted precisely so we can bear witness to the world that is to come and in accord with his desires for creation…. when worship ends on Sunday, it spills over into our cultural labor on Monday.”

He concludes

“What happens at the end of historic Christian worship is a benediction – a blessing- which is also a commission; go in peace to love and serve the Lord. The blessing is also a charge, and it echoes the blessings and the commission originally given to humanity in the Garden: to be fruitful and fill the earth, to compassionately rule over creation, and to cultivate the garden of creation (Gen 1:27-31; 2:15).   The ending of Christian worship, then, is a sending. Having encounters God in Word and sacrament, we are transformed and renewed and empowered by the Spirit to take up once again the original vocation of humanity: to be God’s image bearers by cultivating all the possibilities latent in God’s creation, now renewing and restoring a broken, fallen world. Drawn into union with Christ, the “end” of Christian worship is bound up with our sending for Christian action…”




Worship Matters

25 Sep

Bob Kauflin from Worship Matters

“I think leading God’s people in worship is one of the most fulfilling, enjoyable, exciting, sobering, life-changing jobs on the planet. We’re helping people connect with the purpose for which they were created – to glorify the living God. We’re pointing their hearts toward the Sovereign One who is greater than their trials and kinder than they could ever imagine. We get to display the matchless Saviour who died in our place, conquering sin, death and hell…”


Worship Series Continues… Preaching

19 Sep

Worship Series Continues... Preaching

The Second Helvetic Confession… Wow!!

“THE PREACHING OF THE WORD OF GOD IS THE WORD OF GOD. Wherefore when this Word of God is now preached in the church by preachers lawfully called, we believe that the very Word of God is proclaimed, and received by the faithful; and that neither any other Word of God is to be invented nor is to be expected from heaven: and that now the Word itself which is preached is to be regarded, not the minister that preaches; for even if he be evil and a sinner, nevertheless the Word of God remains still true and good.”


The Bible is God’s Word

18 Sep

This is El Shaddai. She is an Ethiopian orphan who is being raised by her adopted Ethiopian parents to love Jesus and to sing about His Word. This is her act of worship… Brilliant

Worship : A Means Of Grace

17 Sep

Ed Clowney says…

[In  worship] we experience the meaning of union with Christ. We worship most fully when we together hear his words and encourage one another to grow in grace and in witness to the world…. In the Spirit, we worship in the great assembly where Jesus is. In the Spirit, Jesus worships on earth in the congregation where we are. In heaven and on earth, we are in the presence of Jesus. His presence in corporate worship assures us that our corporate worship is for us a means of grace. We taste grace in corporate worship, when, by the Spirit, we know the LORD is with us. That reality we perceive by faith.


Liturgy… The Gospel in The Heart

13 Sep

Our series on Worship continues as we look at confession in public worship…


Bryan Chappell on the common pattern of Gospel Worship and how it reflects the pattern of the progress of the gospel in the heart.

The gospel first affects the heart by enabling us to recognise who God is. When we truly understand the glory of his holiness, then we also recognise who we really are and confess our need of him. The gospel then assures us of the grace that he provides, and our hearts respond in both thanksgiving and humble petition for his aid so that we can give proper devotion to him. In response to our desire for his aid, God provides his Word. We heed his instruction, knowing that we are both charged to do so and have the promise of his blessings as we live for him. The common liturgy of the church through the ages reflects the sequential flow of the gospel in our hearts.


Come Over And Help Us. Part 1

11 Sep

You know the stories of Daniel and his friends. Flames and Lions! Threats and Trouble! Why did Daniel not just disappear into the background in Babylon? Why does he always end up on the front line?  Because God told him not to retreat into the suburbs… Here is, what someone calls, Daniel’s backbone… Daniel would have heard this word from the Lord.

“Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: 5 Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. 6 Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. 7 But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare. (Jeremiah 29:4-7, ESV)

This call  goes out to us to embrace the city in which we find ourselves…. but I have a funny feeling that we aren’t listening…

I love cities…

I love the city of Belfast…

I love Jesus and the gospel, and I’m not ashamed to believe that the gospel is the power of God for the transformation of this city…

I am glad that there are many new churches springing up in the city, and that there are a few old ones seeing renewal and growth. We are thankful for the growth that we have seen in our church.  Our church, West Kirk,  is on the Shankill Road. It’s in a part of the city where, some statistics tell you, very very few people (1-4%) go to Church on a regular basis. We long to see more gospel growth in our part of the city… West Kirk is a small, but vibrant church. It packs a punch for all the size of it… we have a great kids ministry, honest and real worship, mens work with loads of local men,  a seriously engaged community project and people who love Jesus, love each other and love the community in which they live.

We pack a punch, as we serve tirelessly, as we are engaged in the community, being fully committed to Jesus and ‘The Road’… but…I fear that we have hit our limits… there is more that we would like to do alongside the the stuff we already do, but we are really really stretched!! We have cut back on a number of things and are trying to work smart as well as hard.

Sensing a call to continue and  to grow,  we think about the great need on our doorstep, it’s time to say, we need help… don’t worry, I’m not asking for money… we need something more valuable… we need people… we need Gospel partners.

This is a call for people… we need people to join us and partner with us on mission in the city… I have a feeling that there are people who live in the city as they study and work here, but are not as engaged in the city as they could be… I’m sure that there are churches around the country that would love to partner with us on our mission in this part of Belfast.

If you want to help get in touch via our website HERE .  More info in a video that says city a lot…


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