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[Worship Values] Accessibility

(I’m sorry, the podcast didn’t record on Sunday)

Worship Values

Accessibility

We’re thinking about the Vineyard Worship Values, spending one week looking at each one.

Today we were thinking about Accessibility.  PJ spoke about the steps the Worship Team take to help our sung worship enable the congregation access God, rather than being distracted, confused or having to concentrate on anything other than God.

Dave talked about how God has made himself accessible to us.

ACCESS DENIED 

God started the universe with humans able to access his presence.  However when we decided we wouldn’t live the way God made us to live – when we decided to do our own thing – we couldn’t enter God’s presence.

We were ejected because, impure as we are, God’s Holiness would destroy us.  We followed this story in the following passages from the Bible:

  • Genesis 3:8-10, 23-24 – people do their own thing and get ejected from the Garden of Eden and the way is guarded by Cherubim.
  • Exodus 26:31-33 – the Holy of Holies, in the Tabernacle (and later the Temple) are where God’s presence dwelt on earth, but still access was denied by a curtain with a Cherubim embroidered on it.
  • Leviticus 16:1-2 – Going into the Holy of the Holies – into God’s presence – was a serious and dangerous matter. Only the High Priest could enter once a year, and this was an elaborate process of ritual and ceremony.

 

ACCESS RESTORED

To gain access to someone who is inaccessible we need a means of access.  With an important person or celebrity this might be an introduction, an appointment or a direct phone number.

With God the reason he is inaccessible isn’t because he values his privacy or that he doesn’t want us to draw close. It’s because our sin is not able to be in his presence.  So the means of access is to deal with our sin, which Jesus did in his death.

The events of his death point to access being restored when the curtain that kept us out of God’s presence is ripped in two – Mark 15:37-38

This all leads to the main passage we looked at on Sunday – Hebrews 10:19-23.

 

ACCESSING GOD

The passage invites us to go boldly into God’s presence because Jesus has given us means of access by dealing with our sins.  We can trust God that this is ok, because it has been his plan all along.

However, we still often feel that we’re not quite good enough to go to God. We think, if only I was more like so-and-so, or if I were better at this-or-that, then I could confidently go to God.

Dave’s challenge on Sunday was to go to God because he wants us to come to him. And we don’t have to conform to a set way that we’ve heard others do. We need to find something that brings us joy and reflects who we are and involve God in it.

  • In your mind, what are the ‘best’ or ‘proper’ ways to connect with God? Where do these ideas come from? How easy do you find them?
  • What other ways do you connect with God? Why do some work better than others?
  • Do some things seem too unspiritual to be valid ways to connect to God? Do you think this is the reality or something you need to unlearn?
  • Unlimited access to God means at all times and in all places. Where in your life do you not consider accessing God? What places, times, activities and relationships do you forget that God wants to be involved?

This week try to take a step forward about accessing and involving God in an aspect of your life. It might mean doing something new to focus you on accessing God.  It might mean stopping  something you do where you know God wouldn’t want to be involved.  It might mean deliberately seeing God in an aspect of your normal life.

We asked people in Exeter Vineyard to give some ideas of things they do that help them connect with God. Here’s the (unedited) list.

Perhaps something will inspire you…

  • Sing along to Rend Collective
  • Focus on my breathing
  • Listen to worship music
  • Read the Bible
  • Cuddle my kids
  • Meditate
  • Use the Daily Examen. It is a simple structure to centre yourself on God. Breathe, thank God for everything that has happened since you last spoke (even the bad stuff – as another opportunity to trust in Him), identify your emotional state (name it and understand why you feel that way), give all these things to God (your thanks, and emotions) and finally pray for what is coming up with HOPE and EXPECTATION! It can be done for 2 minutes, 15 minutes or 5 hours – however long you have to spend, that is the right amount of time.
  • Sing worship songs
  • Listen to UCB radio
  • Listen to worship songs
  • Do 20 mins mindfulness meditation. Over a period of time this practice has led me to feel God’s presence when I’m not meditating. It’s as if meditating somehow puts my brain/mind in a state which is more perceptive of God even when I’m not meditating.
  • Read the Bible using Lectio Divina
  • I read my daily Bible notes which enable me to connect with God
  • Pretend I’m on my mobile and have a good old chat walking down the street, or / and I just chat away at home whilst getting on with housework, making tea etc. I have a good moan and just a conversation, I really hear God in those moments 🙂
  • Read my bible until something jumps out and then investigate/meditate on that
  • Get out in nature and ask him what he wants to say to me
  • Listen to worship music and let the words speak to me and lead me to god
  • Find an inspiring verse and spend a number of days thinking about what the meaning of it might look like as an image, how it works in my life and then I spend a couple of days drawing it in my bible. It helps me focus on one truth about God and helps me remember the verse. The act of drawing detail helps me shut out other stuff too.
  • Have a good cry
  • Realise that I can’t do it on my own and surrender
  • Enjoy food and drink with real thankfulness
  • Paint what God has done in my life. Paint what heaven might look like if it was visual/physical. Paint what the Holy Spirit might look like if (ditto). Paint God’s creations. Paint out bible verses.
  • Dance around to worship in the living room until I’m out of breath.
  • Touch leaves and moss and soil slowly, smelling, feeling and hearing God’s natural art work.
  • Look at my face very closely in the mirror for extended periods of time and ask God to show me Him in myself and highlight areas where I can work to look more like him (not physically, obviously).
  • Sit in the hot tub!
  • Go on a guided day retreat at mill house in tiverton
  • Set apart an hour to immerse myself in his word
  • Journal
  • Write a letter to God
  • Sit in my prayer chair with a cappuccino
  • Start by singing worship songs ridiculously loud along with the iPod in the car
  • Go out and appreciate Dartmoor or the sea
  • Share times with fellow believers hearing their stories
  • I connect with God through worship times, when things have gone wrong I ask Him how I can improve (His responses are spot on!), I like to request His help when thinking about issues (He opens up avenues of thought I wouldn’t have gone down), I enjoy His creation and tell Him so. I’m learning to talk with Him and love Him talking with me anytime. I’m also recognizing more when He nudges me about things to do, to take note of, or to put right.
  • Listen to a Dave Vinall podcast to relisten to sermons.
  • Do some maths. It is the language with which He wrote the universe with and so I connect deeply at that level of beauty.
  • I don’t flush the loo for the while day then, just before bed when it’s pretty bad, say the Lord’s prayer and flush at the line “forgive us our sins” 🙂

 

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Posted on 12th November 2018
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