Yesterday was the last of the summer Sundays on which only one meeting was held at Chatham. Next week we shall be reporting on two meetings as normal. Today we feature the meeting held at Strood which was led by Major Karen Smith.
Major Karen themed her meeting as ‘Worship – or Else?’ and began with a great song of praise to God, ‘Praise,my soul; the King of Heaven’. The congregation was invited to join in a Corporate Declaration based on Psalm 9:1-2, ‘I will praise you, O Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of your wonders; I will be glad and rejoice in you; I will sing praise to your name, O Most High’.
The song ‘Be glad in the Lord and rejoice’ led to a question for each member of the congregation, ‘What are you glad about? Many responses were received including ‘we’re glad we’re here!’ Prayer followed.. Scripture chosen, not surprisingly, was Psalm 95.
The next part of the meeting was directed at the few children present beginning with a song from them (We’re gonna jump up and down) and following with another question, ‘How do you praise the Lord?’ Again a number of responses were received indicating the many different ways there are to praise God.
Two songs, ‘Teach me to dance’ and ‘This is the day that the Lord has made’, introduced the senior singing group which offered a well prepared song to enhance the worship. Major Karen’s message was entitled ‘Learning to worship God with my Heart!’ Summarised she said:
We don’t often like to be given an ultimatum as it requires us to make a decision under pressure. Worshipping God is an ultimatum, not an option, but e seldom see it like that. God says ‘worship or perish!’. We worship or we harden our hearts.
The psalm (95) that we read is in two parts, talking about the hardening of hearts, as the Israelites did, and also worshipping God. We are under grace now but we must not shrug off the warning of Psalm 95 because this warning also appears elsewhere in scripture including the New Testament. So we dare not shrug the warnings off! God is the King, the great God, above all others.
So the question is ‘how do I learn to worship with my heart?’ We must not allow worship to become just a habit but through it we must show who and what we are. We are to sing and shout with joy and praise God continuously. If we simply start to praise God then he reminds us of all the things we can praise him for. We them become positive because we recognise that God can change us.
Worship is not based on feelings but on who God is! He is great, above any other god. Come before him in whatever ways you want. It doesn’t matter how but it is important that you do worship.
A shepherd calls to his sheep and God calls to us in the same way. He looks for us and can bring us back ‘home’. We are that precious to him. He loves us that much. Don’t become hard-hearted because this is the greatest deterrent to worship there is. We must not stop loving God.
God can, and does, test your faith in himself. Scripture records such testing of the Israelite nation. They were tested frequently by God and they hardened their hearts. Don’t forget what God has done for you in your life. Tell others about it as a reminder of his goodness to you because this will grow your own faith in him.
Time to reflect on the message was given using the song ‘I stand amazed in the presence…..’ sung by Major Karen’s husband Murray and the song ‘Praise Him, praise Him brought the meeting to a close.
Now that the summer holiday period is coming to an end we firstly give thanks to God for the wonderful times enjoyed by our fellowship as we travelled safely to many places and for the safe return after all the summer camps and other events (and we continue to pray for those yet to return). We also give thanks to God for the wonderful young people in our fellowship who did so well in their exams.
A levels. Daniel Lenton, Josh Davis, Floss Scott. GCSEs Elsa Burdett, Beth Boughton, Laura Davis, Gaby Hinves, Joe Castle, Chloe Sales-Butteriss, Emily Lingham, Toby Anderson. Well done everyone!
That’s all for now folks. Have a great week and God bless you all.