I'm going to try and get in the habit of writing a blog each Thursday about what we talked about as a youth group the night before. We have just started a new format in which every student is actually reading the Bible and discussing it. There is a main topic and text each week but the groups (split in Middle and High School) get to tailor what gets focused on specifically. They are learning to ask questions of the text and hopefully come to some good answers from God's Word that apply to their life. I'm excited about the potential of it. Last night was the first night like this, so it was an experiment. We talked about some good stuff, asked some good questions, but perhaps didn't walk away with a real sense of what was being said about worship, so I thought I'd write some thoughts down and hopefully they are helpful.
Psalm 63 was one of our texts (the only one the HS group got to). David writes it as he is fleeing from someone, likely either Absolam or Saul. He speaks of God as having steadfast love, of singing underneath the shadow of God's wings, of being his help, and beholding God's power and glory. There are stirring images of worship throughout the Psalm, and while I spend quite a bit of time talking about "worship" being much more than our singing, it certainly includes our singing to God. Worshiping God in song can change our hearts on the spot, taking the focus off of ourselves and onto God and his mercies, steadfast love, protection, and so on. David declared in several ways that God is worthy of worship, with the community of believers and also personally through anything that comes his way.
Romans 11:33-12:2 was the other text. Paul bursts into a magnificent praise of God in 11:33-36, after writing some deep, difficult, and wonderful things in chapters 1-11. All he can do is stand back amazed at the unfathomable wisdom, unsearchable knowledge, and awesome glory of God in his plan of salvation. Then, he appeals to Christians to, in light of the mercies of God, present our bodies as a living sacrifice to God, which is our spiritual worship he says. That word "spiritual" can also be translated "rational" because it comes from the Greek word "Logikos" and speaks of being true to our nature, reasonable. It's a great picture: our lives being laid down, offered to God willingly in his service, is "true to our nature" because of all God has done for us. It simply makes sense. If we take in just a measure of the depth of God's love and the sacrifice he made for us in Christ, the only logical thing to do is to respond in worship and give him our whole lives.
I'll stop there. As we get used to this form of learning together I think we will grow in a deeper knowledge of God's Word and be able to connect important ideas together. I really enjoyed last night - all the talk about Jackals, singing reducing stress in our lives, and so forth was good stuff in my mind. But I hope that this "devotional review" is helpful as well.
Soli Deo Gloria
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