We've had a fantastic third Worship Celebration at the end of March and I hope you were able to be a part of that. It was especially good to have so many of you from the Riverside Vineyard worship community join us before to chat and pray. If you come along early (around 5pm) to the next one, you may even get a slice of pizza ;-).
One of the things we chatted around at that pre-Worship Celebration gathering, was the sense that we are heading into battle and that like in biblical times, the worshippers and musicians would be at the front of the army. It sounds like a privileged position and it is! It is also a tough place to find oneself - at the front of the battle, we will come across challenges first, we need to deal with our issues first and help lead people into and through these things.
It does seem that God is increasingly working something in our church and community and that is exciting and we welcome it. History shows that most of the large moves of the Spirit have been preceded by times of confession and repentance.
In line with this, could I encourage you to ask the Lord to show you anything that needs to be dealt with in your life. It could be something small, or it may be a few big things, but freedom and forgiveness is there for us - but we do need to act and partner with God as he transforms us.
No-one (usually) wants to head into battle, but as someone used to say to me a few years ago: "It's hard to be a civilian when bombs are falling in your backyard", and there are plenty of biblical analogies affirming that we are in a battle - (check out this list of biblical references for a good snapshot).
As you know, we worship God because He is worthy and as a response to His love for us. Some of the significant benefits from our times of worship are that He blesses us, giving us good things, He transforms us, He forgives us, He empowers us and commissions us (sends us out).
Our times of worship are significant for us today not because it's just fun to do, or because we get blessed, but because one of the side-effects is that we end up reaching out to our community and sharing the connection and relationship we have with others.
Let's remember that each time of worship - personal and when we're together - is part of a continuing story unfolding in our lives and the lives around us...