Day 40: We’re Created to Worship Together – By Celebrating Together

Point to Ponder: Every time I celebrate God with others, I’m practicing for heaven.
Verse to Remember: “I will celebrate and be joyful because you, Lord, have saved me.” — Psalm 35:9 (CEV)
Question to Consider: When you worship, are you more concerned about what others think or what God thinks?
[Read More] thoughts on key lessons learned over all 40 Days of Rick Warren’s 40 Days of Community.

It is perhaps fitting that this series ends for me on a Sunday (since I missed two days along the way), a couple hours before we head to our worship service. One of the reasons I admire and appreciate our new church is the exuberant, passionate approach to worship, for which we are largely indebted to our African-American brethren. Of course, emotion in worship is no panacea — sometimes we need to think more clearly to make sure we’re worshipping the right God! — but it is certainly something I need to grow in.

The thing I find most interesting about today’s devotional is its focus on the past, to push us to remember all that God has done. I’m not very past oriented, which can be a virtue but at times is a vice. I am reminded of the research showing that deliberately thanking a mentor is the best single act for improving my own happiness (though I’m sure the mentor enjoys it too :-). Perhaps that is one reason why God commands worship: He deserves it because of who He is to us, and we find our greatest happiness in acknowledging that valid debt and dwelling on all that He has done.

In light of that, let me try highlight some of the most significant ways God (and Rick) have blessed me over the last 40 days, in reverse order:

* Day 39: How to holistically give [of] myself to others
* Day 36: How observing the Sabbath is tied to recognizing my ultimate purpose
* Day 34: The difference between living sacrificially and burning out.
* Day 32: The difference between humiliation and humility, and how to be freed from shame
* Week 4: Uniting patience, truthfulness, and forgiveness to address wrong-doing
* Day 19: The importance of winning hearts rather than arguments
* Week 3: Learning to better love my community through practicing and experiencing:
* support vs. fear (Day 18)
* respect vs. rebellion (Day 17)
* commitment vs. comfort (Day 16)
* belonging vs. conforming (Week 3)

* Day 14: What it means to die to my internal perception of what makes me happy
* Day 11: What it means to accept others as myself
* Day 10: The transforming power of true hospitality
* Day 9: How evangelism is a team effort
* Day 7: That community comes from being united around a common purpose
* Day 6: Life is a process of learning to love
* Day 2: Love is a choice that produces emotions
* Week 1: It is all about love

Whew! Quite a lot of learning. The goal now is to build relationships and habits to continue nurturing these truths in my own life. Including this devotional. I’m not quite sure how that will play out, but I look forward to seeing what God will do — and pray I will be found faithful!