2021 Worship Experiences

Experience 05: Sharing


View written study below or download here: 2021_Friday011521_WE.pdf


Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ). And he brought him to Jesus. 

John 1:40-42a (NIV)


And he brought him to Jesus. Some of my favorite words found in the Bible! On Fridays during this 40 Days of Powerful Worship Experiences we are going to dig into Sharing. How can you and I Share Jesus and what Jesus has done with others? 

Before we get to that, is there a something you’ve purchased or experienced lately that was awesome? Or maybe a meal you prepared from a new recipe that just turned out amazing? Did you use your new smoker and just nailed it? Think about something exciting that you couldn’t wait to tell someone else about…maybe you’re a fan of a sports team that won the World Series in 2020…maybe your stock accounts are through the roof…or your kid scored really high on that Facebook IQ test you gave them…what is it for you? 

What is it for you that you can’t wait to Share with other people? I’m not going to say “Bazinga” or “Gotcha” and switch this all around to Sharing Jesus like we do our elk hunt pictures. Well at least not today I’m not! 

It’s an amazing gift that God has given us in life when we find things that are exciting. To have areas of our life that are Sharable is a gift- don’t feel bad about them! Celebrate them. In fact, go grab your journal. 


Actions to Take:  

  • Write down 2 or 3 things that are really awesome in your life right now. The things that you love Sharing with other people. 
  • Spend a couple of minutes praying, thanking God for the incredible joy and good that these things bring into your life! 
  • Ask God to use this 40 Days of Powerful Worship Experiences to help you grow in your willingness and effectiveness in Sharing Him with others. Write this prayer in your journal and then put a timer on your phone for 2 minutes to sit quietly listening for what God has to say to you about this (or anything else he wants, I mean He is God!). 


Experience 04: Fasting


View written study below or download here: 2021_Thursday011421_WE.pdf


Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ 

Matthew 4:1-4 (NIV)


Did you catch that? The verse we just read said, after not eating for 40 days or nights, that Jesus was hungry. You think? 

Fasting- what comes to your mind when you hear that word? Go ahead and write that down in your journal- I’ll wait. 

Fasting can often be a mysterious or intimidating practice. A friend of mine, Alan Heller, says this about Fasting: “The practice of fasting was used by many people throughout biblical history as a way to petition God. Today, we must be intentional about seeking the Lord and making a bit more space for him in our busy lives. Fasting is one way to do that.”


Alan is an amazing counselor and has lots of resources you could check through his ministry Walk and Talk walkandtalk.org


More from Alan: Fasting is a chosen abstinence for a spiritual purpose. While some people fast for health reasons, we are talking about a fast for spiritual reasons. Some people will fast from food. Some choose to fast from all food for a period of time (one day, many days, one meal a day, etc.). Some fast from certain foods (meats, sugars, gluten, etc.). Fasting is used as way of sacrificing something important to you in order to achieve a larger purpose.

Are you willing to experience Fasting over these 40 days? It’s ok if the answer today is no way Jose. But what if you could try it? What would be different in your life if you could be more intentional about seeking God and make more space for Him in your mind and heart? 


Actions to Take:  

  • In your journal spend a couple of minutes writing about either your experiences or current thoughts about Fasting.
  • Spend 2 or 3 minutes asking God to help you grow in this practice of “chosen abstinence for a spiritual purpose.”
  • Look at your schedule for the next few days. Find a mealtime that you could skip eating and put Fasting in your calendar. I recommend a breakfast or lunch.
  • When that time comes instead of eating find a place where you can connect with God. Maybe listen to some praise and worship music. Read a couple of chapters of Psalms. Try to slow down your mind and heart- write in your journal any thoughts or questions this time brought to mind. 

Experience 03: Prayer


View written study below or download here: 2021_Wednesday011321_WE.pdf


Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.

Mark 1:35


At Christ’s Church of Flagstaff, as well as many other churches, we have used an experience called Rooted to Help One Another Follow Jesus. If you haven’t experienced Rooted yet, you should investigate it. In one of the readings the authors of Rooted wrote this regarding the purpose of Prayer: “When you pray in earnest, you come face-to-face with the God of the universe, the God who shows you grace, the God who adopts you, the God who guides and strengthens you. When you pray, you step into God’s Kingdom, His world- the place where God rules without push back.” 

Prayer has the potential to be so much more in our lives than simply talking to God or asking Him to do things. Neither talking to God or presenting our requests are bad things, but they often become the limit to our experience with Prayer. 

We can experience so much more. Each week of this 40-day journey I want to push the envelope of your experiences in regard to prayer. You may be praying in new ways, ways that seem different than your previous experiences- lean in and see what God has for you. Have you always wondered why it seems that some followers of Jesus seem to hear from Him directly and some don’t? Here’s another quote from Rooted, “When God speaks to us, it is usually when we have slowed down enough to empty our minds of our agendas and things that distract us.” I believe that God speaks to all of us- and some of us hear Him and some of us don’t. Want to hear Him more? Me too. 


Actions to Take:  

  • Take a few deep breaths. For reals yo, slow down, breathe in deeply and let that breath out slowly. Repeat a few times. 
  • In your heart ask God to help you grow in Prayer over these next few weeks. 
  • In your journal spend 3 or 4 minutes writing a prayer to God about something that is on your mind (a problem, concern, need). Now spend 3 or 4 minutes (set a timer on your phone if that helps) asking God if there is anything He wants to say to you.
  • Write down whatever you hear God say. 

Experience 02: Focus


View written study below or download here: 2021_Tuesday011221_WE.pdf


There’s nothing like the written Word of God for showing you the way to salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. Every part of Scripture is God-breathed and useful one way or another—showing us truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God’s way. Through the Word we are put together and shaped up for the tasks God has for us.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 (MSG)


Focus. If you look up the word Focus in a dictionary, online of course, you find that the word can be both a noun and a verb. If we are using the noun, Focus, we refer to the center of activity, attraction, or attention. However, if we are using the verb, we are talking about adjusting the Focus of an eye or maybe a camera lens. Read the verse for today again. What part of your life do you need to bring into focus? What area of your thoughts, your actions or your emotions do you wish were different? What God has to say can radically change our lives. 

Over the next 40 Days you will have the opportunity to experience activities that help each of us Focus. We will spend time together learning about reading the Bible. We will also investigate practices like meditation and memorization, which can help us shift the lens we’re looking through toward a more Godly perspective. 

Wow- slow your roll man. Memorization is hard! Meditation- that sounds weird- are we going to Sedona and sitting on a vortex? 

Meditation, for our purposes, is simply taking something God says and focusing on it for a few minutes. A verse, a story about Jesus, a phrase, or maybe even one word. It’s not weird or new age. Even though many other religions use the practice, meditation is quite useful in slowing down the hamster wheel in our minds and adjusting our hearts. 

Memorization is daunting for me. I’ve always said, “I’m not good at memorizing things,” then a Bon Jovi song from 25 years ago comes on the radio and I’m belting out the lyrics and my kids say, “How do you know the words to so many OLD songs?” You too? Yeah, I hate to admit, I remember the things I care to remember. What if over the next few weeks, you and I could memorize just 2 or 3 verses together? That would be cool, right? Well let’s go for it! 


Actions to Take: 

  • In your journal list 3 or 4 areas of your life that you want to Re-Focus. The more specific you can be the better. 
  • Read Psalms 119:9-16. Now Read it again slowly. In your journal the phrases in these verses that resonate with you. 
  • Ask God to use this season of Worship Experiences to help you bring His Words and way of life more into Focus within your life. Write a prayer to this effect in your journal. 

Experience 01: Praise and Worship


View written study below or download here: 2021_Monday011121_WE.pdf


Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men! He satisfies the longing soul and fills the hungry soul with goodness. 

Psalms 107:8-9 (NKJV)


As we read this Psalm let us be reminded of the Goodness of God. Let’s choose to stop, slow down, and recognize that God is good to each and every one of us. It can be so easy to rush through our day, and consequently our lives, without ever a thought for the mercy and grace of God. It is so easy in days of hardship, bad news, stress, and trouble to forget that God is Good! Not only is he Good but He shares this Goodness with each of us- His Children. Music is a powerful tool that we can use to point our hearts and minds in the right direction. Remember that there are many ways to Worship- many Powerful Experiences we are going to embark on together over these next 40 days together- but we need to start with this foundation: God is Good and He is sharing His Goodness with you! Where do you see His Goodness in your life lately? In our Church? In our Community? Grab your journal or open a note on your phone, get ready to list some specific ways you’ve Experienced God’s Goodness!


Actions to Take: 

• Take some time to ponder God’s grace and mercy. Take a couple of deep breaths and think about the Goodness of God. 

• Wherever you listen to music find the song, “The Goodness of God” by Bethel Music, or find it here.

• As you listen to this song- let your heart and mind dwell on the lyrics and how you’ve experienced God’s Goodness in your life. 

If you need to, listen again. 

• Write down in your journal 5 specific ways that God has shown his Goodness to you. 

Spend the rest of your time thanking God for his Goodness and how He has shown that Goodness to you. 


Introduction


View written study below or download here: 2021_Intro_WE.pdf


What would your life look like if you participated in 40 Days of Powerful Worship Experiences? 


Imagine with me how your life could change if you chose to spend 15 minutes for 40 consecutive days experiencing God through powerful worship. 2020 brought what felt like an avalanche of change and challenge. One of our greatest challenges, as followers of Jesus, was an inability to meet corporately and worship. Unfortunately for many people, Sunday service was their only way of interacting with God and growing spiritually. It became easier and easier to feel stagnant in our walk with Jesus as quarantine continued and our Sunday gatherings were postponed. But what if the Powerful Worship Experiences we’ve come to associate with Sunday church gatherings could be a part of our daily lives? What if? For this to be true we need to understand that worship is not just standing in rows in a church building while we sing songs. To be sure, worship can include those things, but it is not limited to them. Worship was always meant to be any time or action where we consistently and intentionally remind ourselves of the goodness and glory of God. In Revelation 4:2, we find this, “At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it.” A Powerful Worship Experience is any time or any activity that puts God back on that throne in my heart. Often in my life I find myself sitting on that throne instead of God. When I pray, when I listen to a piece of music, when I take captive a thought (2 Corinthians 10:5), when I forego a meal and spend that time connected to Jesus, when I talk to a friend about Jesus, when I spend a few minutes reading a Psalm, all of these, and so much more, simply put God back on the throne in my heart. 


During the next 40 days you will be challenged to worship daily through specific practices like journaling, prayer, meditation, fasting, and connecting with others. Some of these practices may not be familiar or easy for you. Do them as you can and don’t strive for perfection but progress. The key will be intentionality and consistency. You might find it helpful to set a specific time each day to engage with the devotions. It is so easy for the day to rush by when we aren’t intentional about slowing down and experiencing God’s presence. Creating a consistent schedule helps place powerful worship experiences at the top of your priority list. So let’s start with that!


Actions to take:

Spend a few moments to choose a time where you can consistently engage in these devotional practices for the next 40 days. (If you’re a morning person waking up 15 minutes earlier might be the perfect plan for you. If you’re more of a night owl then you might commit to never going to sleep without first slowing down and interacting with God.)

  • Put this time in your calendar Monday-Friday from now until Feb 19th. 
  • Ask God to guide you in this season and that any places you find yourself spiritually stagnant will become unstuck! 
  • Find a journal or start a note on your phone where you can record things during these 40 days.