Who Are We? - ICRC's Mission Conversation, Part 5 - Growing in Passion

Special thanks to Pastor Ken for writing the past few days. I'm back at the keyboard today.

(Over the next week we will be focusing on seven areas of the mission statement of Immanuel CRC)

"Immanuel Christian Reformed Church
is a multigenerational community of disciples
called by God to utilize our spiritual gifts
by growing in our knowledge of and passion for Jesus Christ,
joining in relationship with others,
and serving God in the renewal of His creation."

Growing in Passion - We engage in creative, humble adoration of God through all aspects of worship.

When we hear the word passion we don't always think of worship. We probably think more along the lines of interpersonal relationships or hobbies that we like a lot. I'm passionately in love with my wife and I have a passion for hiking and history. But it is a good word to describe our relationship with God as well. God passionately loves us--so much so that he sent his son to die for us so that our sins would be forgiven and we don't have to experience eternal separation from God. Our response to that is a passionate one as well. We respond passionately by loving God and loving others with every fiber of our being. Seems like there is a lot of passion to go around in our relationship with God.

One of the ways (not the only one, mind you) that our passion for God is expressed is through worship--both corporate and individual. Let's start with corporate worship.

This past summer my family experienced the final worship service at Roosevelt Park Community CRC in Grand Rapids. I've written about this experience extensively in the past. One of the things that this church taught Julie and I was passionate worship. It wasn't that it was perfect or anything like that. But it regularly brought all of those participating to a realization of who God was and who we were. We gathered as broken sinners in the presence of a holy God who welcomed us into his arms and forgave us as we were. We worshiped out of that knowledge. It wasn't just singing, although that was a part of it. It was fellowship, sharing and prayer, giving and preaching.

It didn't just happen at Roosevelt Park--although for me that place was always a thin space where God seemed closer than other places. I can vividly remember corporate worship at all of the churches I have been a part of where passion was expressed. I wish everyone could sit in the front pew and listen to singing on Easter Sunday mornings. Passion. If you haven't gathered in a group praying for someone who is sick or commissioning someone to serve you need to experience that. Passion. If you haven't given sacrificially to a cause that touched your heart you need to give all that you have. Passion.

But worship takes place outside of the corporate setting as well. It has to--what kind of disciples would we be if we only worshiped for an hour or two each week? Individual worship of God takes place in many ways throughout each day. It is brought on by nature (common grace), by community, by moments of great joy and great sorrow. It is present in the chaos and in the mundane. At times it is a huge experience that brings us to our knees. At others it is a small moment that makes you think. Always it is an acknowledgment of God's presence in our lives--the reality of who he is and what he has done.

Psalm 96 sums it up pretty well. "Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise." That is our God who we worship. He is great and he is worthy. All the time. He is passionate about us and we are called to be passionate about him.

How do you engage in worship every day? What role does worship play in your life. Add a comment and join in the conversation.