1. Our idea is that when the church gathers to worship it’s a lot like a Potluck Supper. It’s
something that has to have everyone participate in order to work – everyone brings something.
a. I’ve never come away from a Potluck supper sad, mad or depressed – except about how much I ate.
It’s a perfect venue for breaking the ice, making new friends, and through the conversations learning something I didn’t know before.
I get the same feeling after church on Sunday, whether we have a Potluck or not.
b. A church in the late 60’s AD, struggling to hold on to their faith in a world increasingly hostile to their religious beliefs, was starting to feel
like it would be better if they didn’t gather for worship regularly.
The writer warns them that if they did that they would be missing out on something vital to their faith.
2. Read scripture from the Message Hebrews 13:12-13
a. The gist of the passage is how Jesus used an unlikely spot for the greatest work of sacrifice, salvation and deliverance the world has ever
In His day, most would assume if it ever happened it would be in the great Temple, inside the walls of the Holy City of Jerusalem.
But Jesus was crucified outside the walls.
b. The Greek word for outside – Exo- formed from the word Ek – meaning out.
Has two simultaneous meanings: “out from” something or someone directed “to”.
It assumes two points, with one moving beyond itself to make an impact, make a difference.
c. Worship is sometimes less about the one hour and more about the other 167 hours.
It impacts what’s inside of you, equipping you to make a difference on the outside.
3. Let us worship, and be equipped.
4. VIDEO INTRO was then played: several congregants shared their feelings about worship.
a. Chap 13 of Hebrews is the last chapter, a rapid-fire string of exhortations It’s about what happens in life outside of church gatherings: being hospitable, compassionate,
faithful, generous, content, respectful, faithful, discerning.
It comes under the heading “let your love for
each other continue.” Or: let what you receive and learn inside of worship keep going outside of worship
b. The writer points to the example of Jesus’ sacrifice outside the Temple, outside Holy City.
c. Compared to Old Testament, this was a challenging thought
Symbolically, the “outside” was a place which was unholy, a place for punishment, a place of sin a Godly person needed to remain separate from.
Hebrews Commentator Earl Johnson, Jr. writes: “outside the city” refers to the fact that things that were considered unorthodox or forbidden where taken outside the boundaries of the city to be destroyed. Since Jesus was crucified beyond the walls of Jerusalem…is death shows that God is drawing new boundaries about what is in or out, what is clean and what is unclean.
d. Jesus ushers in a whole new paradigm for what worship means and what it is for.
It’s not just about you, or us.
5. Christian Worship is always Inside and Outside. Remember the word and how it always assumes a source (“in”) and a direction (“out”)?
a. Worship is about connecting with God in praise and thanksgiving, and having Him pour His Spirit into us through His Word and His presence.
b. Worship is also about equipping us to follow Jesus out into the world, take on His mission of proclaiming Good News of God’s grace, healing and new life by both announcing it and demonstrating it. Faithful Christian Worship must have a balance of both.
We should leave every single 1stPres service feeling joyful and inspired within your spirit, and also with a burning urgency to incarnate and replicate that blessing for people in your mission field the rest of the week.
True Worship avoids what writer Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. once said of Christians: “Some people are so heavenly minded that they are no earthly good.”
6. Wounded hand story:
a. A tragedy struck a home one evening. It caught on fire in the dead of night. As the father awoke to the smoke alarms he began to scurry to rescue his family. He passed through the fire into
his daughter’s room, scooped her up, wrapped her in a blanket and made his way back down the flame-engulfed hall.
The little girl came through without so much as a singed hair but daddy right hand and arm were permanently scarred by the inferno.
From then on he would greet people with his left hand; keeping his right arm out of sight as much as possible. Whenever his daughter was with him, even when she was a teenager, she would proudly reach, take her father’s twisted hand and proudly tell the new friend of her father’s bravery.
At his death, the funeral home, trying to be kind, also kept his right arm out of sight. When the daughter discovered that the hand would not be visible in the casket for the viewing she insisted that other arrangements be made and that the hand be placed across the left for everyone to see. “That hand was wounded for me” she tearfully explained.
b. To come to church is to spend time with the one who suffered the wounds for you to show how much He loves you.
To leave church is to carry those wounds – to be wounded, to willingly sacrifice ourselves- so the world can see Him too.
7. PAPER PLATE EXERCISE – during communion – Jesus’ name at center, surround him with you opportunities for serving and sacrifice
a. Leave it behind