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Wednesday: Jesus, Worship and What it Costs.

Wednesday: Jesus, Worship and What it Costs.

March 31, 2021

Andrew Gibson:
Hi, everybody. Welcome to day three of our Easter podcast series. This week, we are exploring Jesus' final moments as he journeys towards his crucifixion, and how we can find our story within his story. On the Wednesday before his death, we watched as Mary pours out her perfume as an act of worship, and ask ourselves, how do we respond in worship in this Easter week? Join with me as I chat to our CFC worship pastor, Ryan Griffith.
Andrew Gibson:
Hello, it is great to be with you. My name is Andrew Gibson and I'm joined today by CFC's Worship Pastor Ryan Griffith. Ryan, welcome in.
Ryan Griffith:
Hi. It's good to be here, Andrew.
Andrew Gibson:
It's good to get to have you with us. Ryan, I guess, in this season, just before we get stuck into the passage that we're going to look at and how that relates to us today, this season, this last year, it's been a challenging one for a worship pastor, how have you found it?
Ryan Griffith:
It's been a funny one, hasn't it? My personality is definitely not one to look back too far. I'm always the type of person to sort of look forward and deal with what's in front of me. So I guess when all this happened, near enough a year ago, which is crazy, we have an amazing team who adapted really, really quickly. I think it made us try and still retain that sense of wonder, and particularly with our church community and our values, go after the sense of prophetic, even within worship as well, which is hard to do, given that everything was thrown online and trying to keep things fresh. But for me, I guess, even trying to galvanize the team has been a bit of a challenge because you're not with people on Sunday. You're not rubbing shoulders with people in terms of week to week, as much as you would.
Ryan Griffith:
And so, as a multi-site church has been a bit of a challenge seeing as many faces or speaking to as many people as possible. However, it's been a healthy challenge as well. I think it's helped us refocus and reform and maybe reshape our thinking around what is worship. Because when the stage, I guess the platform is pulled away in front of a lot of people, us as musicians or worship leaders, or singer/songwriters, it's a privileged position and sometimes you can rely on that too heavily.
Ryan Griffith:
And I think for me, looking at the heart of why we do things has been the main lesson learned in all of this. So it's been a really positive time as well. But I am really, really missing massively a room full of worshipers. I cannot wait to get back and you know that, everyone else knows that. I've been shouting it from the rooftops. So I can't wait to be back in a room with worshipers and just exalt in Jesus. It's just, there's something that's so biblical about that, about the gathered community of worshipers and Christians and people.
Andrew Gibson:
No, it's good to hear man, and I think just to give you guys recognition for the creativity and adaptability that you guys have had has been brilliant. But you bring something really important up in what you talk about there. In terms of, what is worship and you talked about exalting Jesus, how do you see worship now? And I know you've been thinking a lot about the cost of worship as well, and that.
Ryan Griffith:
Yeah. I think over the past year, it's changed slightly. I think for me, worship is always about, you place worth in someone or something or you hold it, or the person in higher regard than yourself. But costly worship goes beyond that for me, it's to the point where it must cost you something. And I know we've been talking recently about Matthew 26 and this picture of costly worship where the woman enters into the house where Jesus was and with Simon, the leper, and she breaks open her alabaster jar and pours out this ointment onto Jesus' head. And it's a sense where the disciples were indignant, that they saw it was foolish. They thought it should be sold for the poor like a better reason almost, use your offering to maybe better other people around you.
Ryan Griffith:
But actually what is really beautiful about this is Jesus is the focus of her worship. And he said, "Don't criticize that she did this to me." And it's almost like Jesus was saying in this, conversation, a callback to not judging the heart of costly worship. That it might look foolish, but as long as it's onto him and it uses that, this has done on to me, that's what Jesus said. As long as this worship is done on to him, it is utterly acceptable and pleasing to the Lord. So I think that's really important in this season.
Andrew Gibson:
Yeah for sure. And that directional aspect of our worship is crucial. There's no doubt that she was utterly fixated on Jesus, on the worship of him. And I guess, we've been having a few chats recently, Ryan, haven't we about worship and even about the songwriting that has gone on through the '90s and then through the noughties and then to even now where we're going as a church where we're going as a community of worshipers. It's so important that we get the position right of the one that we're worshiping. So do you want to talk through just a little bit about that position aspect of worship?
Ryan Griffith:
Yeah, I think it's twofold. So I think first of all, what's our position? And we look again at Matthew 26 and see that she was prepared, this woman was prepared for sacrifice. She prepared her heart, she prepared her offering and she brought all that she had. And it's funny, we were speaking with friends recently and reading around this actually last week. And we were just looking into it a bit more of what the significance of this woman's sacrifice was. And it talked particularly around, leading up to Passover and it talks about the second anointing that happens two days before Passover traditionally in the Passover festival. The second anointing, the Passover lamb was anointed for the second time on their head, which announced that they were free from disease or blemish. And so Jesus is a Passover lamb in this light, in contrast to the first one, which was done six days before, and it was done on the feet and on the legs to make sure that there was no defect. But this two days carried out before Jesus was crucified, was a sign that he was well without sickness or defect.
Ryan Griffith:
It is incredible like the detail in that story is incredible. It's amazing, but at the same time, what does that mean for us? Can we, in the same sense, make this an altar for us as we come to Jesus and pour out what we have in front of Jesus on that altar? Can this be a place where we can sacrifice unto the Lord and a position of humility where we can sacrifice unto the Lord? So what are we bringing? What am I bringing as a sacrifice to God? And in this season, for me as a worship leader, as I've said I've being challenged with what worship is and when the platform stripped away and taken away, how am I pouring out my worship? And what am I sacrificing? Even though my offering isn't seen in front of people or a platform.
Ryan Griffith:
Like this lady, her offering it just almost like a beeline for Jesus. It was throwing aside everybody else's eyes and everybody else's maybe precepts or concepts of what her offerings should look like or how it should be spent, but she just poured it out on to Jesus. The second light, so the first maybe positioning is how are we positioned, the second is who, who is it positioned towards.
Andrew Gibson:
Can I just jump in on that thing? I think that's really, really challenging, making a beeline for Jesus in that sense. And what are you preparing? I wonder, is that a challenge actually to when we do gather again to thinking about preparing for coming to worship. That it's not just something that we go in and we look to the band, we look at the song, we decide if we want to engage. It's actually that I'm leaving my house, going to the house of the Lord to worship, there's actually a preparation in that before we even get in.
Ryan Griffith:
Yeah there's a cost in it. Isn't it?
Andrew Gibson:
Yeah for sure.
Ryan Griffith:
I think, I mean, that would be my… We've been banging the drum for years, since I've been here in this role in CFC with our worship leaders and our team. It's been, how're you preparing? Because if it's just a wing away prayer before we lead, or before you come into the House of God to worship, there's something not right there for me. It's like how do we reshape that and reform that you know?
Andrew Gibson:
It's good man yeah. And so you're going on about the position and then actually it is about the person, isn't it?
Ryan Griffith:
Absolutely. And that's the main thing.
Andrew Gibson:
Yeah.
Ryan Griffith:
He is the main focus of worship. He is our worship. This always gets me, this picture in Isaiah that we see. And I think Isaiah 6 we've been talking about that recently, and I've written down here, just we need to recapture the wonder.
Andrew Gibson:
It's good.
Ryan Griffith:
This lady in Matthew 26, she knew who Jesus was. And she worshiped him for who he was, so she knew him, the Messiah, the Savior King. She saw him and she worshiped. So how do we see Jesus? And how are we worshiping? How are we recapturing wonder in our worship? So often when we worship and we can be consumers, how it makes us feel. What we get out of it. How it affects us and the beauty actually of God's grace is in his mercy and in his grace, as we worship him. There's almost a full circle that he blesses us in that, but that's not the reason why we do it. So how the woman in Matthew 26, we need to simplify to let it just be about the person of Jesus and nothing else. The beauty of God's grace, the wonder of who he is.
Ryan Griffith:
So how do we paint the picture of Jesus, of the revelation of Jesus? As you say, it's preparing in those moments at home, what are you reading? How are you studying? How are you reawakened to the wonder and recapturing the wonder of who he is? And Isaiah 6 I've just mentioned there over the last year, I cannot get away from this scripture.
Andrew Gibson:
Yeah.
Ryan Griffith:
It's almost like the opening line and in the year king Isaiah died and that just gets me every single time, but Isaiah is undone by the glory of God.
Andrew Gibson:
Yeah.
Ryan Griffith:
When he saw the Lord, he was undone, he was aware of his sin.
Andrew Gibson:
He thought he was going to die.
Ryan Griffith:
He thought he was going to die, he retreated. But yeah, there's a beauty in this that whenever those burning coals from the altar touched his lips, he was cleansed.
Andrew Gibson:
Yeah.
Ryan Griffith:
And he was atoned for.
Andrew Gibson:
It's that movement of God towards us, isn't it?
Ryan Griffith:
Absolutely.
Andrew Gibson:
It's that grace.
Ryan Griffith:
Yeah, so it's reawakening to the wonder of who he is. And I think as I was saying I was talking to my wife Erin and our friends and just thinking, if we as worship leaders, if we, as people who are leading can paint the picture or help people see Jesus in this light, everything else takes care of itself.
Andrew Gibson:
That's good.
Ryan Griffith:
A picture of the Lord always wanting to redeem us, but also a picture of the Lord when we see him, we're wanting to be sent because Isaiah finishes off as like here I am, send me. It's a picture of when we see the Lord we're changed, but when we see the Lord we're sent as well.
Andrew Gibson:
Yeah and that sort of as we move to a close here on that, there's a purpose isn't there. Worship is not an end of itself.
Ryan Griffith:
No.
Andrew Gibson:
Worship helps us see our position, his position, who we're worshiping and then there's a purpose isn't there?
Ryan Griffith:
Absolutely, and the purpose, I think I feel my conviction in this season, particularly as I've said, we're not gathering together as much as worship propels us to mission. It's for mission, and then convinced more than ever with the people who are in front of us. And that is in spirit and in truth. That is true worship, that's who the Father is looking for, true worshipers. When we see him we're sent to serve and we talked about it just recently at the servant King, we sang that song so let us learn how to serve, and in our lives and enthrone him. And for me, we're talking about costly worship. Is my worship to God costly enough for me to serve others in need? The sick, the lonely, those in my life who have a need who's in front of me and my life. And I know, and I'm speaking to close friends at the minute who are walking through something horrific.
Ryan Griffith:
What I would say is get to know the people in your world who are in front of you and let that be costly to you and your sacrifice onto God and your sacrifice onto other people. And beautiful picture of this family who I'm talking about their wee son is in hospital. He's been diagnosed with cancer and the mum sent me a text the other day. And she was saying, and she was caught up in worship on Sunday. The sense of gratitude an overwhelming gratitude, even though she's in this place of, it's just horrific. And her son is in this place of just utter darkness and it's dire for them.
Ryan Griffith:
Yet she turns around in this, in the bridge of this. "So I throw up my hands, and praise you again and again." And her son has his hands up in the air. And part of that, yes, there's an innocence and a learned behavior, but there's a beauty in simply this offering in this costly offering of worship and I find just what is it going to cost you, listener? What's it going to cost me in spirit and in truth? In pouring this out to serve other people as well.
Andrew Gibson:
Yeah thanks, Ryan. It's been great sharing with you and chatting with you through Matthew 26 today. Thank you for your time and appreciate your thoughts and effort Ryan, cheers.
Andrew Gibson:
Thanks everyone for listening along. We will be back tomorrow with another episode. This time CFC South Site Pastor Laura Bell will be sharing on the importance of friendship and community. If you're listening to this during Easter week 2021, don't forget this Friday night each of our CFC sites will be holding their own special, Good Friday service on Zoom. If you'd like more information, please email info@thisiscfc.com.

CFC Christian Fellowship Church Belfast
Wednesday: Jesus, Worship and What it Costs.
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