Over the past few weeks we have been in a series on personal and corporate worship.  To celebrate and practice some of what has been taught, we are having a night of worship on November 6th from 6:30 to 8:00 and everyone is invited!  This will be a night unlike any other worship experience you’ve probably had at Hannaford.

The theme for the night is “postures of worship” so we will be exploring what God’s word says about different ways we can praise Him.  If you are looking for an experience that will challenge and stretch you to go deeper, this is it.  If you simply love to express your love for God in untypical ways you will want to come.  If you are unsure and a little nervous, come anyway and see what God has for you…seek to be a blessing to Him in your outward forms of praise.

My desire is that there be an atmosphere of freedom, that the Holy Spirit is welcomed, and that God is worshiped and praised in such a way that even if there are unbelievers in the room, they will fall down and say “God is really among you” (1 Cor. 14).  Notice I said worship and praise…I hope that both occur, but I’m convinced that without opening ourselves up to praise God, it is very difficult to worship Him.

Since we began this worship series, we haven’t had much opportunity to hone in on the physical forms of praise.  When Jesus told us to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength He was covering all aspects of our humanity and how they can be an offering to the Lord.  One that I’m convinced we don’t employ enough here at Hannaford (or in life in general) is the aspect of using our strength or our physical expressions of praise to honor God.

A physical expression of our love for God is considered praise.  Praises can be given by anyone and anything, even if there’s no relationship…so even an unbeliever can praise.  Jesus even said that the rocks would cry out in praise if His people didn’t.  Worship is the next level and requires relationship.  It is a two-way street involving both giving and receiving.  Praise is always seen or heard, it is largely horizontal (meaning it encourages us) where worship is primarily a vertical (toward God) interaction.  Praise is often preparatory or a gateway into genuine worship (Ps. 100:4).

When we praise God, the Holy Spirit begins stirring our hearts to become more aware of His presence.  He is always with and in us, we just tend to ignore or move away from Him at times.  Lifting our praises can move us toward Him, help us pour out in visible ways and engage more than just our mind and souls, but also our bodies.  We can lift our hands, sing and shout, clap, dance, bow, lay prostrate, stand, play on instruments, and use our strength to praise God.  The ultimate goal for us of course is to move from simply praising God to worshiping Him in spirit and truth.

I hope that you will join us, invite others, and prepare yourself by praying and coming with an attitude of humility and joy.  I truly believe that when we allow God to awaken our hearts, minds, bodies, and spirits that revival will take place.  Pray for revival in your own life and in the life of this church…pray that we are no longer just fans of Jesus but players in His kingdom work…pray that the Holy Spirit is alive and well in us so that when He comes back for us He doesn’t find lukewarm followers, but a people that is on fire and preparing for the great eternal worship gathering in heaven!

Grace be with you,

Joshua