Random Thoughts on Worship and Small Groups

Marva Dawn, in her book Reaching Out Without Dumbing Down, describes worship as formative and Christ-centered. To paraphrase, who God is determines who I am and who we are as the church. Who God is then determines who we are in our lives in the world and with others. In other words, who God is determines how we live. To paraphrase John Piper and others, right theology does lead to right living.

For example, if God is sovereign and holy, I ought to live in bold courage and humility in light of fear of the Lord. If I was dead in my trespasses and sins, I ought to live as a humble servant to my brothers and sisters as well as others. Because Christ did not come to be served and to give His life as a ransom for many, I ought to give of my time and talents to my brothers and sisters to encourage them to press on in their walk with the Lord. Also, I ought to give of my time and gifts to serve the poor and others who are hurting or suffering. Therefore, I hope this example illustrates that who God is forms how we ought to live out our lives.

In the context of small groups, we are all dead sinners redeemed by Christ’s merit alone. Therefore, in light of a holy God calling us to Himself, where is fear of man? I need to be open and honest to my brothers and sisters about my sin. I need to be corrected and pointed to Christ and reminded of the Gospel daily. However, sin is still there. I still hide my sins and only share the sins I feel comfortable confessing. If I were in the Garden of Eden, I’d be hiding myself with fig leaves. And that’s what I look like too many times. I need my brothers and sisters to correct me, and to encourage me with the Gospel. I need to be reminded of Hebrews 12:1-2. I need to be reminded to fix my eyes on Jesus. And I need Hebrews 10:23: I need to be encouraged to love and to good deeds.

In short, I need to speak the truth in love. I need to be both the giver and recipient of the Gospel. The Gospel is not just for new believers. The Gospel, as Tim Keller puts it, is not the ABCs of the Christian life. No, it is the A-Z of the Christian life! Serving the poor and destitute, children’s ministry, evangelism, and others are essential ministries. But these ministries are all grounded in the Gospel. Christ is our chief cornerstone and foundation.

I know these things. But I forget them. To paraphrase an Andrew Osenga song, hey you. Yeah you reading this rambling essay. Point me to the Light, the true Light of the world that shines in the darkness.


~ by cvillegas on August 16, 2007.

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