Do you have to go to church to worship God?
Worship is about how we live life
The Rev. Darrel Proffitt, rector of St. Margaret's Episcopal Church, 5700 W. Sixth St.:
If we are interested in this question, we are really asking a couple of others: Why am I here? What is my purpose in life?
The Bible is very clear about this. It tells us why God made us: "God created everything, and it is for his pleasure that they exist and were created!" That is the key to understanding life and worship.
When we bring pleasure to God, we are worshipping. What happens in church may or may not be worship. If we thought we needed to go to church to get our ticket punched, or to fulfill a duty or obligation, then this might surprise us.
Worship is not a ritual, ceremony, listening to a sermon, hearing a choir or even taking Communion. Those things can be worship, but only if they please God. If we simply go through the motions, we are only fooling ourselves.
The Bible helps us to see the true meaning of worship: "Because of God's great mercy offer yourselves as a living sacrifice to God, dedicated to his service and pleasing to him. This is the true worship you should offer."
When one risks finding how to live that kind of life, an entire new dimension of living is discovered. That kind of life brings hope, love, forgiveness and joy. Jesus called it the "abundant life."
Worship is not about what we do with our lips, but, instead, how we live our life.
Send e-mail to the Rev. Darrel Proffitt at email@example.com.
True worship is 24-7 with God
The Rev. Paul Gray, pastor of Heartland Community Church, 619 Vt.:
First, we need to define worship.
Rick Warren, a pastor and author of the best-selling book, "The Purpose Driven Life," accurately says "worship is bringing pleasure to God ... anything we do that brings pleasure to God is an act of worship."
So when I view a magnificent Kansas sunset and thank God for his creativity and majesty and beauty, that pleases God.
When I hear a great piece of music, then stop and praise God for the gift and beauty of music -- that brings pleasure to God, and thus is worship.
When I watch my wife cradling our baby and see her joy and our baby's contentment, and I say to God, "Thanks for this special wife and precious baby you have created and given me as gifts," that's worship.
God, more than anything, desires a personal relationship with us ... where we talk to him and listen to him and learn from him and become best friends with him. That pleases him, and that's worship.
We have the pleasure of coming together at a "corporate worship" service at church, where we collectively praise God and celebrate him. But true worship is 24-7 in a relationship with him. So you CAN please (worship) God without being in a church setting on Sunday morning.
However -- God makes it clear in the New Testament that Christ's church -- the body of Christ here on Earth -- is what Christ died for and is of ultimate, infinite, eternal importance to him.
And he commands all Christians to belong to, regularly attend, joyfully serve in, cheerfully give to and faithfully support a local church.
If we don't, we displease God. Since worship is "bringing pleasure to God," then we CAN NOT bring him pleasure -- or truly worship him -- unless we are an active participant of his church.
Send e-mail to the Rev. Paul Gray at firstname.lastname@example.org.