About Phil


It's that time of year when everybody tends to sing a whole lot more than normal. We sing carols, we worship in many different services. I'd like to think of this time as a season of worship. Not just a season of giving and receiving gifts, of families coming together, of eating and celebrations.

Psalm 65:9-13 You visit the earth and water it, You greatly enrich it; the river of God is full of water, you provide their grain, for so you have prepared it. You water its ridges abundantly, You settle its furrows; You make it soft with showers, You bless it's growth. You crown the year with your goodness, and your paths drip with abundance. They drop on the pastures of the wilderness, and the little hills rejoice on every side. The pastures are clothed with flocks; the valleys also are covered with grain; They shout for joy, they also sing.  

It's that time of year when everybody tends to sing a whole lot more than normal. We sing carols, we worship in many different services. I'd like to think of this time as a season of worship. Not just a season of giving and receiving gifts, of families coming together, of eating and celebrations. Not just a season of religious services, but rather a Season of Worship. Worship is mentioned 114 times in the Bible. Praise 308 times. Thanksgiving 107 times. Rejoice is mentioned 287 times. Joy 194 times. All these expressions fall into the same category of worship. 

John 4:23-24 But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.

Worship is the highest calling upon us. It was the first of the Ten Commandments - that we worship God only, and worship God first, and worship no other gods besides Him. We are designed to worship the almighty God. If we don't worship THE God, we will worship a God. It is a basic spiritual drive within us. It is a defining difference between humans and animals. 

Recovering the WOW factor is supremely important in worship so it's not a drudgery, singing our way through religious songs. I have written a short bit of prose on recovering WOW - click here to read it. 

Mark 14:3 Meanwhile, Jesus was in Bethany at the home of Simon, a man who had leprosy. During supper, a woman came in with a beautiful jar of expensive perfume. She broke the seal and poured the perfume over his head. Some of those at the table were indignant. "Why was this expensive perfume wasted?" they asked. "She could have sold it for a small fortune and given the money to the poor!" And they scolded her harshly. 

"Why this waste?" While they were eating a woman began pouring out a perfume over Jesus. The aroma filled the house. The word for essence of nard is 'pure, unadulterated oil'. Our worship is not worship unless it is pure hearted. Worship requires the seal over our spirit is broken. Jesus says there is a day coming when the true worshippers will worship in spirit and in truth. It's easy to sing a song, even to go through the motions as though we are worshipping. There comes a day though when we decide we are going to break the seal over our spirit so our heart is in our smile. We are wholeheartedly worshipping. Our spirit fills our words. There is a total abandonment so we are no longer self-conscious worrying about what others will think of us.  

We build for the glory of God. We write songs, make music, designed beautiful screen art, employ many fulltime staff simply to ensure we are a worshipping church. Everything flows from our times of worship and connection with the Almighty God. There is no other way to connect with God. You cannot come casually to God, without respect, awe, wonder and worship in your heart and on your lips. It is no mere mortal you are approaching. When we worship God, so many wrongs in our life are made right. The Holy Spirit draws near. The rain of His presence falls down. Visions and dreams come into our minds. An atmosphere of healing and deliverance is released. God is enthroned, not on a physical throne, but on the worship. The gifts of God are released in men and women of God when we honour them. A sign that we honour God is that we honour His servants. Jesus constantly reminded his disciples that if they didn't honour Him, then they failed to honour the Father. All of us are created with the purpose to bring glory and honour to God. 

The foundation of a fruitful life is worship. It's easy  to sing a song, even to go through the motions as though we are worshipping. Humility and faith are two of the most important and powerful attitudes you and I can own in negotiating our way through this life. We can find these in worship. 

Praise opens the Heavens to us. David understood the New Testament better than anyone in hte Old and lived as though he was already under the New Covenant. He knew the Lord was good, not angry, and he expected grace and mercy from the Lord, rather than judgment. In this atmosphere he rendered praise and worship continually to God. 

Luke 17:12-19 Then as He entered a certain village, there met Him ten men who were lepers, who stood afar off. And they lifted up their voices and said, "Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!" So when He saw them, He said to them, "Go, show yourselves to the priests." And so it was that as they went they were cleansed. And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks. And he was a Samaritan.  

When Jesus Christ comes into our world it is an opportunity for us to be healed. He has come to Earth, now it is our turn to go to Him. They 'met' Him. The law commanded that lepers had to live apart from everyone else, and could not come into contact with any others. They also had to wear a badge saying they were leprous, continually ring a bell, or cry 'unclean, unclean' whenever others were nearby. Leprosy is like sin. It causes us to be far off from God and form on another. It eats away at us even though we still leave. It is incurable (it Jesus' day) except by God. 

So, they cried out for they cried for mercy. They knew that mercy would result in healing. Jesus will always engage us in our own redemption. The healing of our lives will involve a step of faith. As soon as they took a step towards the temple, the miracle began happening. If we can help people begin making a journey towards church they will begin to experience the miraculous power of God. 

When he discovered he was healed after he had shown himself to the priests, he turned to Christ to worship Him. He cried out to God because his world was all about himself, but now he was healed his world began to revolve around Jesus Christ. He didn't take from God. He now wanted to bring back to God. He glorified God with a loud voice. He fell down on his face at Jesus feet. He gave thanks. 

Psalm 8:2 Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants, You have ordained strength, because of Your enemies, that You may silence the enemy and the avenger

Worship is like water. It evaporates up to the heavens, forming clouds that when they are full they rain down blessing and favour upon us. The importance of worshipping our saviour in this and every season is paramount. 

If you would like to catch the next message in our Crown The Year series click here to look at visiting a campus. If you can't be with us on campus why not check out my podcast

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See you in church!

23-Dec-2015 Share
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