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God's Promise - rest for the weary

The answer, the message of reverence and worship - the living water for the thirsty.

Jacob's well was there, and Jesus, wearied as he was from his journey, sat down by the well. It was about the sixth hour. There came a woman of Samaria to draw water. Jesus said to her, "Give me a drink." For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food. Then the woman of Samaria said to him, "How is it that you, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?" For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans. Jesus answered her, "If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, Give me a drink, you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water." The woman said to him, "Sir, you have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, as well as his sons and his cattle?" Jesus answered her, "Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. The water that I shall give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life." The woman said to him, "Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw." Jesus said to her, "Go, call your husband, and come here." The woman answered, "I have no husband." Jesus said to her, "You are right in saying, I have no husband; for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; this you have said truly." The woman said to him, "Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship." Jesus said to her, "Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for such the Father seeks to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth." The woman said to him, "I know that Messiah is coming" (who is called Christ). "When he comes, he will tell us all things." Jesus said to her, "I who speak to you am he." John 4:6 ~ 26

Universal Thirst

People are looking for spiritual reality and Pottstown is no different in this respect. In previous decades a secular rationalism created antagonism toward spiritual expression. Currently however there is a broad reaction to that worldview and an unabashed thirst for honest spiritual experience. For the most part, however, the Church is surprisingly uncomfortable with its transcendent nature. We shouldn't assume that the visitor is incapable of apprehending spiritual phenomenon. After all, each one is made in the image of God, and He has "set eternity in the hearts of men." (Ecc. 3:11) The worship experience corresponds to that universal thirst.

"Vibrant worship is at the heart of church growth."  Gerrit Gustufsen

Some principles of how heartfelt, unreserved worship can help communicate truth and Christian life to the unreached.

Principle 1

Worship gives a picture of kingdom life

Jesus said in Mark 12 that loving God totally and unreserved is the greatest commandment. Christian worship should be living pictures of a community of faith, those who have exchanged self-centered living for God-centered living. The act of corporate worship beautifully demonstrates this new life style where God is the center. Those outside the community need such pictures.

Principle 2

We mean what we sing and sing what we mean

The biggest hindrance to unreached people is not that they might encounter something they don't immediately understand; it's encountering something that is not genuine. Mahatma Gandhi, after several years of studying in London said, I would become a Christian if I would ever meet one.

Whatever version of Christianity he saw, he apparently didn't see the real thing. One study concluded that 55% of all communication is nonverbal. The unreached person is not just listening to what you say, he is intuitively observing how connected you and your group really are with what you espouse. He's looking for emotional and intellectual honesty, depth of conviction, and heartfelt compassion. How we worship reflects these things - or their absence - more than we know.

Principle 3

One size does not fit all

To some, Jesus revealed mysteries; to others he veiled his message. In the same way, we need to discern the level of thirst among those whom we are reaching. People who come to our public corporate services will be at many different levels of spiritual experience. And since the Holy Spirit knows and loves each one so deeply, listening and responding to him is the best thing you can do to model genuine worship to those testing the waters. The principle of sensitivity to the Holy Spirit needs to apply to all our gatherings.**

Doing unto others...

Should we hide our worship from the unbelieving, seeking world? We were once the seeker.

I can still remember watching true Biblical worship for the first time. I saw people abandoned to God in worship and it shook me it awakened in me a deep sense of longing to connect with God the same way that I saw them communing with the Almighty. I was jealous and scared. Like the Queen of Sheba in II Chronicles 9, when she was the visitor observing Israel's worship, I was "breathless." I was really never the same.

This is the restoration of the soul and in it we find peace from a weary world. Paths of righteousness give me an assurance of who I am, but more importantly who He is. I am comforted, and I find rest while on His path. My soul is restored as will be those in Pottstown, as they learn who He is and how to approach Him.

** Gerrit Gustefson

verse 2

verse 4

    I will praise You, O Lord, among the nations; I will sing of you among the peoples...(Psalm 108:3)
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