The Glory of God for Worship

Dear Zion,

One of the things I enjoy doing most with you is spending time in worship to give glory to God. Thinking about what we do in worship helps us to realize how important it is to bring glory to God in all that we do.

The activity of bringing glory to God is something that we learn chiefly from God Himself. Everything our Triune Lord does brings praise, honor, and glory to Himself. Scripture is replete with the fact that everything God does is glorious, and it is all “from Him, and through Him, and for Him forever” (Romans 11:36). Even our existence falls into this category, as we are those “whom I created for My glory” (Isaiah 43:6-7). “God chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world” and the purpose of this was “to the praise of the glory of His grace” (Ephesians 1:4-6). More specifically, He called Israel “in whom I will be glorified” (Isaiah 49:3). When He brought Israel through the Red Sea in the Exodus, it was for His glory (Psalm 106:7-8), and it was this same reason He never forsook them in their later rebellions (I Samuel 12:22). For the glory of His Name’s sake, God forgives our sins (Psalm 25:11; Isaiah 43:25), He welcomes us (Romans 15:7), He gives us the Holy Spirit (John 16:14), and brings us to our heavenly home (John 17:24) – all for His glory! When God tells us in Isaiah 48:9-11 “I will not share My glory with another,” John Piper reminds us in his book Let the Nations Be Glad that God’s ultimate goal is His glory, and that “the most passionate heart for the glorification of God is God’s [own] heart.”[1]

So when we live our lives for God’s glory, we are joining with the Almighty Jehovah in the most important activity in the universe: glorifying our glorious God! We pray for God’s glory in the Lord’s Prayer: “Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory!” Even our sin is primarily about God’s glory: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Our obedience and evangelical service is for God’s glory (Philippians 1:9, 11; I Peter 4:11). We are to do everything for God’s glory: “whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (I Corinthians 10:31).

Reformed Christians have emphasized this important truth for centuries. Over four hundred years ago, the Westminster Catechism started Question #1 by asking, “What is the chief end of man?” The answer? “The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” The most important thing we can do as human beings is to glorify and enjoy God.

So not only do Christians give their every living, breathing moment for the glory of God, but we explicitly set apart time on the Lord’s Day – Sunday – to worship Him in the beauty of His holiness (I Chronicles 16:28). This worship that we render to God is subtly different from how we glorify God throughout the week. During the week, we glorify God at our jobs and vocations individually by faithful obedience. But in worship, we gather corporately as the Body of Christ, called out of the world as His washed people in the name of our Triune God. In corporate worship, we do not worship God as we choose, but as He has commanded us. As the First and Second Commandments remind us, we must not only worship the true God (First Commandment), but we must worship Him in the way that He prescribes (Second Commandment). We are commanded to be very careful to do only what God has commanded us to do, and not to turn aside to our own ideas or desires (Deuteronomy 12:28).
As we worship our Lord together on Sunday, may we be a people who glorify God throughout the week, and then gather to glorify His Name together as the Family of God. He is glorious!, and it is our privilege to worship Him in the beauty of His holiness.

Praying with you to worship our glorious God,
Pastor Brian

Don’t Waste Your Life

Dear Collegians,

I hope your second semester is off to a good start, and that there aren’t too many cobwebs from Christmas break. It was great to see so many of you when you were back home, and if I didn’t get a chance to see you then, hopefully I’ll get a chance to connect with you over Spring break or another weekend you stop by Garner.

As you’re dealing with the business of life, studies, relationships, and work, it’s easy for all of us to get so caught up in the details that we never spend any time actually living for anything. But let me warn you – don’t waste your life. Don’t spend all of your time living for the details and missing the big picture. Not only is it possible, it is natural for Americans to be consumed by pleasure and business and a whole host of other temporal, trivial issues in life. But there’s only one way to live so that you don’t waste your life. And that is to live in such a way that demonstrates that Jesus is more valuable and priceless to you than anything else in this world. He’s more valuable to you than money or marriage, or power or pleasure.

Our Lord Jesus finds our desires not too strong, but too weak.

We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased. – C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory

If you’d like to learn more about how to live in such a way as to not waste your life, I’d encourage you to download this free book – Don’t Waste Your Life (.pdf format). Its written by a pastor who has mentored me through the years named John Piper, and you can find more about him and his ministry here.

You are in the years of your life when you are making a lot of decisions that will define who you are and what you do for years to come. My prayer for you (and for myself) is that you wouldn’t come to the end of your life and sadly whisper, “I’ve wasted it.” If you ever want to talk about this or anything else on your mind, get a hold of me: pastorbrian AT zionerchurch Dot com or 641.923.3152. I’d love to talk. Until then, don’t waste your life but let’s live for the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ!

Hope to see you soon,
Pastor Brian

Don’t Waste Your Life