Central

Address

6 West Dickson Street
Fayetteville, AR 72701

More Info

Service Times

Sunday 8:30 AM

Sunday 9:30 AM

Sunday 10:45 AM

Contact

(479) 442-4237

Genesis

Address

205 Martin Luther King Blvd.
Fayetteville, AR 72701

More Info

Service Times

Sunday 9:00 AM

Sunday 10:45 AM

Contact

(479) 442-1827

UA Wesley

Address

520 N. Lindell Avenue
Fayetteville, AR 72701

More Info

Service Times

Tuesday 8:00 PM

Wednesday 12:00 PM

Thursday 11:30 AM

Thursday 6:30 PM

Contact

(479)-442-1820

This Sunday at Central

Sunday, June 7th there will not be any in-person services


8:30 & 9:30 a.m. Pre-Recorded Contemporary Live Stream

10:45 a.m. Classic Live Stream

Message: "Blessed to be a Blessing" with Dr. Jan Davis

 We will also live stream to our Central UMC Facebook Page.

10:45 a.m. Genesis Livestream with Rev. Jody Farrell

 

 

 

 

Learn More

Central UMC Blog

The Pastor's Corner: An Important Day We Probably Missed
Jun 30, 2020

In his book, Give Them Christ, Stephen Seamands tells the story of taking a trip a with his wife and another couple to a Mennonite Community in the Southern Fork area of Case County, Kentucky. Part of their agenda for the day included visiting Nolt’s Bulk Food Store. Seamands comments, “Nolt’s is known for its canned goods, homemade jams, jellies and breads, fresh spices and herbs, and handmade items like soap and hats.”[1] When they arrived at Nolt’s Food Store there was a handwritten sign on the door which read, “Closed Thursday for Ascension Day.”[2]

Ascension Day? Really? Yes. It is a day, and an important one! It slipped by us on Thursday, May 21—40 days after Easter and 10 days before Pentecost. I recognize that, for the most part, many of us in protestant denominations pay little, if any, attention to Ascension Day. Yet, the ascension of Jesus is an important part of our Christian beliefs. When we recite the Apostles’ Creed or the Nicene Creed in worship, we confess the scriptural witness that Jesus “ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of the Father.” Why is this so important that Jesus ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of the Father that these two ancient creeds include them as a part of their confession of faith?

Acts 1:6-11 tells the story of Jesus’ ascension. This is what it says, So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. 10 And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, 11 and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven” (ESV).  Furthermore, Hebrews 10:12 tells us that Jesus sat down at the right hand of God.

As we think of Jesus ascending into heaven and sitting at the right hand of God the Father, we should not think of heaven as a “location” somewhere in the sky or beyond. Biblical scholar N.T. Wright says, “Neither Luke [the author of Acts] nor the other early Christians believed that Jesus had suddenly become a primitive spaceman, heading off into orbit or beyond, so that if you searched throughout the far reaches of what we call ‘space’ you would eventually find him.”[3] Instead, notes Wright, “Jesus has gone into God’s dimension of reality; but he’ll be back on the day when that dimension (heaven) and our present one (earth) are brought back together once and for all.”[4]

But why did Jesus have to ascend? Why didn’t he just physically stay on earth among his followers as he was from that point until now? First, as Timothy Tennent explains, the full exaltation of Christ includes not only his resurrection but also his ascension.

His Ascension back to Heaven to sit at the right hand of God the Father Almighty. … This language conveys that Jesus rules and reigns over all. … He is sovereign in power, glory, and majesty. Christ rules and reigns, which is why the very earliest confession of faith in the Church was the three-word phrase, “Jesus is Lord.[5]

The ascension not only points us to Jesus’ lordship but also to his love. It’s comforting to know that our sovereign, powerful, and majestic Lord loves us! Just as Christ’s incarnation, life, death, and resurrection point to God’s love because God is on a search and rescue mission to restore what has been lost, the ascension reminds us of God’s love as well. While there are many reasons why Christ’s ascension is important for us, let me point to just a few.

When we think back to Jesus’ last night on earth, we remember that he said he would not leave his followers orphaned. He even said, "it is better that I go away” (return to the Father) so that Holy Spirit, the Helper, the Spirit of Truth could come to be with us always (see John 16:7, 13). Through the Spirit, Jesus’ presence is not limited spatially to one location. Jesus can be present with us anywhere and everywhere. This tells me that Jesus loves us so much that he wants to spend time with us everywhere. I remember reading somewhere that loving someone means wanting to spend time with them. Or perhaps it could be worded like this, “spending time with someone says, ‘I love you.’” That’s true! We want to spend time with those we love. The same is true for Jesus. So, he says, “It is better that I go away. But I love you too much to leave you orphaned. I want to be with you always.” So out of the same love that brings God in human flesh in Jesus—out of that same love—God comes to us in the power and presence of the Holy Spirit.

Another way the ascension illustrates God’s love is the posture Jesus takes toward the Father on our behalf. In Romans 8:34, the Apostle Paul tells us that “Christ died for us and was raised to life for us, and is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us” (Romans 8:34, NLT). Allow me to point out the obvious: You don’t plead on someone’s behalf unless you love that person immensely.

I caught a glimpse of what this might be like in my late teens when I was home from college on a break. I was going through what I would call a “rough season" of life. I was angry with the world, angry with myself, and most likely experiencing depression. My mother knew it and when she would try to talk to me about it, I would give her the Heisman—you know, the stiff arm and metaphorically pass by her questions and attempts to engage. One morning, she attempted to discuss some struggles she knew I was going through, with no success. Later that afternoon, I had been out with some friends and returned home to find my mother on her knees on the floor of her bedroom interceding for me before the throne of grace. She was speaking my name before God.  Actually, a woman who came to clean our house once a week was there and my mom had her on her knees, too, so she could intercede with my mom on my behalf. When I think of Christ interceding for me, and for you, I think of my mom on her knees.

So, whoever you are, know that Christ has ascended into heaven, into God’s dimension, and is pleading for you. He is saying your name before the Father. In fact, the writer of Hebrews says of Jesus: “He lives forever to intercede with God on [your] behalf” (Hebrews 7:25, NLT). Why? Because he loves you.

As I wrap up, we need not forgot what the two men in white tell the disciples, “This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11, ESV). The good news of the Kingdom of God is not only that Christ has come but that Christ will come again. At his coming, all will be made new, all will be healed, all will be whole, and all will be made right. The original relationship of love which existed between God and humans that was lost in Eden will be restored. “Look, God’s home is now among his people. He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them” (Rev. 21:3, NLT). Why? Because you want to spend time with the ones you love.

Be well, my friends, and may the peace of Christ be with you always!

Steve

 

[1] Stephen Seamands. Give Them Christ: Preaching His Incarnation, Crucifixion, Resurrection, Ascension, and Return. (Downers Grove, IL: Intervarsity Press, 2012), 139.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Nicholas Thomas Wright. Acts for Everyone, Part 1. (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2008), 13.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Timothy C. Tennent. This We Believe: Meditations on the Apostles’ Creed. (Wilmore, KY: Asbury Theological Seminary, 2011), 62-63, 68.

Central UMC Blog

The Pastor's Corner: The Struggle to Pray
Jun 02, 2020

High school and college years excluded, I’ve been an early riser for most of my life. My poor mother had a hard time keeping me from getting up early in the morning. She knew when I got up that I would wake her up. I knew that as soon as she got up, I could go outside and play. I was excited to get the day started! There were adventures to be had, trees to climb, dirt to dig in, new bugs to be discovered, and so much more. The new day held promise!

 It’s interesting when you stop to think about the excitement of a new day. There really are no guarantees that the day will turn out to be what is called a “good day.” It could turn out to be a “not so good” day. It could even turn out to be a “tragic” day. Unfortunately, we seem to be in a cycle of “not so great” days. Not only are COVID cases rising and the death toll mounting, we have also witnessed the evils of injustice and racism. So, this morning I struggled to get up because my heart hurts for the tragedies that have plagued our recent days. I must confess that that is a huge understatement. The tragedies of racism and injustice have plagued our existence for hundreds of years. So, on a morning of mourning, when the excitement of a new day didn’t bring the thrill that it often brings, I wrote with a heavy heart the following words as a prayer because, in my sadness, I just didn’t have the voice to utter them out loud.

 Today, I am once again heartbroken and struggling with words to pray. So, throughout the day I will pray names: George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor. Lord, have mercy!

 I will pray against the evils and injustice of racism. Lord, have mercy!

I will pray for peaceful protests and acknowledge the anger and hurt over the injustices suffered. Lord, have mercy!

I will pray for protection and wisdom for protestors and for police and other law enforcement. Lord, have mercy!

I will pray for leaders with whom I find myself in deep disagreement with the handling of such a painful crisis. Lord, have mercy!

I will pray for cities where protests are taking place. I will pray for our city, our nation, and our world. Lord, have mercy!

And I will pray, "Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me." Lord, have mercy! 

None of these prayers are profound. And at my loss of words and knowing how exactly to pray, I trust that the Holy Spirit intercedes with groans that words cannot express. O God, may Your kingdom come, and Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

And one additional prayer: Lord, in your mercy, will you guide us to live and act in ways consistent with your kingdom. Christ, have mercy!

 --Written the morning of Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Central UMC Blog

Songs of Hope: Never Lost
May 29, 2020

Song: Never Lost

Artist: Elevation Worship

Youtube| Spotify

I (Hayden) have always enjoyed playing video games. Whether it’s taking on the mantle of my favorite superhero or solving puzzles from an ancient civilization like a modern-day Indiana Jones or playing in some fantasy or sci-fi universe, I’ve always enjoyed gaming. My younger brother and I played games together a lot too and I remember growing up playing one of the Halo games. Since I am older, and I liked playing games more than he did, I was always better. I never had to worry about who would win. If we ever played against each other, it was more a question of how much I would win. But one day, that changed. We were playing and the object was to be the first to reach a certain number of points. I remember playing against him and I was winning for most of the match, but then he started catching up. I thought it was luck at first, but he kept closing in on me. We were neck and neck and quickly approaching the end of the match. The person who got the next point would win the match. My brother scored the final point, clenching the victory, his first real victory over me in this game, and I was furious. I remember being so mad that I hit my controller on the arm of my chair and broke it (thankfully I have matured since then). But I knew from that moment that my victory against him in video games would never be assured again. I would have to take it one match at a time, and never know if I was going to win until the moment came. Thankfully, God’s power and victory isn’t like that.

I want to talk about a song off Elevation’s new album called Never Lost. The message behind the song is stated clearly in the title: God has never lost a battle. And since we follow and serve a God that has a 100% win record, we can rest assured that the things He promises us will come to pass.

“Miracles when You move, such an easy thing for You to do, Your hand is moving right now”

The song opens by declaring the power of God. See the word of the Lord in Jeremiah 32:27, “‘Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh; is anything too difficult for Me?’” (NASB) The author also declares they know God is still moving. This claim counters a universal fear many of us have, “I know God CAN move, but IS He moving? Or maybe if He is moving for others, He isn’t moving in my own life.” But we have assurance from God’s word that He is moving. See these words from the Old and New Testaments: “‘Know therefore that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God, who keeps His covenant and His lovingkindness to a thousandth generation with those who love Him and keep His commandments;’” (Deuteronomy 7:9, NASB) and “‘let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wearing, for He who promised is faithful;’” (Hebrews 10:22-23, NASB). We know God is unchanging. Scripture from the Old and New Testament confirms this. God will finish whatever work He has started in our lives. “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6, NASB)

“You are still showing up at the tomb of every Lazarus, Your voice is calling me out”

“Jesus did not come into the world to make bad men good. He came into the world to make dead men alive!” -Leonard Ravenhill. God’s desire for each of us is that we would accept His gift of salvation offered through Jesus, and that we would die to our old self and our old ways of living and live in Christ. (Read Ephesians 2:1-3 for context) “But God, being rich in mercy, because His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,” (Ephesians 2:4-6, NASB). For those who are still in bondage to sin and death, God offers the gift of salvation through faith. For those who have accepted God’s gift of salvation, the Holy Spirit works in us constantly, drawing us closer to God. We hear the voice of our Shepherd and we go to Him.

“Right now, I know You’re able, My God, come through again”

The author declares that they know, right now, God is able to do these things that have been sung. They know God can do miracles, and that He can raise people from death in sin to life in Christ. Then they ask God to move again, with the key word being “again”. They look at their history with God to remind them of His everlasting faithfulness.

“You can do all things, You can do all things but fail, ‘cause You’ve never lost a battle, No, You’ve never lost a battle, And I know, I know, You never will”

Here, we declare that God can do all things but fail. As a side note, it’s important to understand that God can’t do EVERYTHING. Before you call me a heretic, let me briefly explain what I mean. What I mean is that God can’t do anything that is against His character. I don’t have time to go into it in this devo, but if you would like to talk more about this statement, feel free to email me at but with that in mind, let’s continue. We know that God is all-powerful. He SPOKE the universe into existence. He raised Himself from the dead. We see that God does not lose. Don’t mistake us losing a battle for God losing one. Just because God can’t lose doesn’t mean that we can’t. We often lose fights with temptations, but God doesn’t lose His battles, and He will always use this loss to show us something about Him, ourselves, or both. God hasn’t lost any battles yet, and we know that since He is unchanging, He never will. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8, NASB)

“Everything’s possible by the power of the Holy Ghost, a new wind is blowing right now”

This lyric reminds me of Philippians 4:13 which says, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” (NASB) I have frequently called this passage “the Christian YOLO”. Unfortunately, some people read this passage as if it were saying I can do anything because Christ gives me strength to do it”. A more accurate way to read this passage is “Anything the Lord sets before me, I will be able to do because He will strengthen me to do it.” If you look at it in the context of the passage, we see that Paul is saying how he has learned to live in abundance or suffering need, how to be humble or prosperous, how to be full or hungry. THEN he says he can do all things through Christ who strengthens him. But what we should take from this is that God can’t be stopped by something else. If He wants us to move and we say no, He won’t force us to be obedient, but if we are faithful, then nothing can stop Him.

“Breaking my heart of stone, taking over like it’s Jericho, and my walls are all crashing down”

Having a heart of stone means having a heart that is hardened by the world. God wants to us to surrender our heart of stone and receive a heart of flesh. “For I will take you from the nations, gather you from all the lands and bring you into you own land. Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” (Ezekiel 36:24-26, NASB) Praise God for being able to break through the walls we have built around our hearts. Whether the walls are like a fortress, trying to keep God out, or they are prison walls that we have allowed ourselves to be surrounded by, God is tearing them down and setting us free.

“You’ve never lost a battle, You’ve never lost a battle, You’ve never lost a battle, You never will”

Here, we have the chance to proclaim God’s power and faithfulness. We know that He is all-powerful: “And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When he had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,” (Hebrews 1:3, NASB). As I mentioned earlier and is declared in Hebrews 13:8, Jesus is unchanging. And we know that God loves us so much and He wants to help and save us: “Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:14-16, NASB). Knowing all of this, we can rest assured that God won’t lose any battle. Even, if we lose, God doesn’t. We can make choices to fall to temptation or sin, and we wouldn’t have free will if God made it where we couldn’t mess up.

Challenge: Think about the battles in your life. Think about the battles in your past, and God’s faithfulness during those times. See how He provided you the strength to endure it, or a way out (see 1 Corinthians 10:13). You know God has been faithful in the past. Now look at the battles you are facing, or the battles that are coming your way, and have confidence to stand. “Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.” (Ephesians 6:13, NASB). God is faithful and He will never lose a battle. Trust in Him.

Central UMC Blog

The Pastor's Corner: Deprivation Cultivates Appreciation
May 27, 2020

One thing I love about going on a mission trip is how it increases my enjoyment of everyday life.  When I return home, I appreciate everything so much more.  Times of deprivation are a wake-up call to the daily benefits we routinely take for granted.  Following a week of sleeping on an air mattress in a small tent shared with another team member in the Amazon, my king-sized bed felt enormously sumptuous.  After a week of showers from a hose with unreliable water temperature and pressure in Cuba, my walk-in shower felt amazingly warm and luxurious.  After weeks with no air conditioning in Cameroon, modern programmable temperature controls seemed extravagant.  Following a week of tenting outdoors in the chill of the Arizona desert with a group of church youth, I lavished in the plushness of my comfortable bedroom.  After a mission trip, everything I once took for granted becomes a source of delight!

Because of Covid-19, we are living during a time of communal deprivation.  God may use this season as a wake-up call for us to appreciate the benefits we routinely take for granted.  Eating at a restaurant, enjoying a live performance, watching the Razorbacks, having your hair cut, browsing at your favorite store, worshipping in church, laughing with colleagues in the office.  We have been deprived of so many daily blessings resulting in discomfort and robbing us of joy.

Paul writes his letter to the Philippians from a prison cell in Rome.  He is alone, cold, malnourished and is experiencing deprivation.  Yet he pens a letter of appreciation and joy to the church.  Paul says, “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through Christ who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:11-13)

Paul discovered an important secret of the Christian life.  The secret of contentment in all circumstances.  Joy no matter what the day provides or prevents.  The secret is his relationship with Jesus Christ.  Through the power of the Holy Spirit, Paul learns contentment in times of uncertainty, appreciation in times of deprivation and strength in times of suffering. 

What every day blessings have you missed since Covid-19 hit?  What were you taking for granted prior to this season of separation?  In a spirit of humble gratitude, name them one by one before God.  Give God thanks for the overlooked daily blessings in your life.  Prepare your heart for a future time and receive them with greater appreciation than you ever had.  Our enjoyment will be all the sweeter when these small blessings resume. We are so blessed.  Thanks be to God.   

Central UMC Blog

Songs of Hope: Great Are You Lord
May 22, 2020

Song: Great Are You Lord

Artist: All Sons & Daughters

YoutubeSpotify 

The past two weeks have been hard for me.  We are seeing businesses reopen and I’m happy that some of my friends who were unemployed are able to start back to work, but the reality of how different life has become has hit me and I’ve begun to grieve.  I'm grieving that wearing masks in public places (please do it) has become our new normal - I miss smiles.  I’m grieving that I’m unable to gather with all of my friends and family together in one place.   I’m grieving not being able to hug on my niece and nephew.  But there has been one unexpected thing that has been hard for me to process: the near future of congregational singing. 

I feel like in the past week, I’ve seen increasingly more news on singers being “superspreaders” of the coronavirus.  On May 5th, the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) with American Choral Directors Association (ACDA), Barbershop Harmony Society (BHS), Performing Arts Medical Association (PAMA), and Chorus America hosted a webinar regarding what science and data say about the near term future of singing.  The news was sobering and my heart hurts for our classic worship friends and choirs across the world.  In summary, choral rehearsals and performances will be greatly impacted until a vaccination is accessible for all.  (If you are interested in the full webinar, here’s a link: Singing and Reopening Safely in the Time of the Coronavirus.)

I’m so proud to be a part of the United Methodist Church - words that I haven’t said in quite some time.  Our Bishop is doing an incredible job being proactive and leading our UMC congregations as we discuss the reopening of our churches.  (Shoutout to Central’s Executive Director, Brian Swain who is on the Reopening Task Force for our conference.  Be praying for this task force as they make big decisions to help keep us safe.)   One of John Wesley’s 3 Simple Rules states that we, as followers of Christ should “do no harm.”  Bishop Mueller came out with a tentative guideline for reopening and says the following about worship:       
“All worship participants and leaders must wear masks.  When a worship leader or pastor is speaking or singing, he or she does not have to wear a mask, but must maintain a distance of 12 feet. Onstage bands must be spaced accordingly. No choirs or congregational singing are allowed at this time.”

The season of uncertainty that we are in will remain in our imminent future. With these new guidelines, questions of how we will worship together go through my head repeatedly.  But, in the midst of the unknowns, God still remains as our constant and is worthy of our worship, regardless of the new ways we go about it.  Great Are You Lord is a contemporary worship classic.  It’s simple, repetitive, not too trendy and I think it will be an anthem for us for years and years to come.  Let’s dive into it.

“You give life, You are love. You bring light to the darkness. You give hope, You restore every heart that is broken.  Great are You, Lord”

Whew - what a good word. What an amazing promise. 

Last fall, Dave Williams and I had the opportunity to hang out with David Leonard who co-wrote this song.  We asked him about the songwriting process and it wasn’t the answer I was expecting.  He was scheduled for a co-writing session that he really didn’t want to go to, but in that mindset God used him and placed these words on his heart.  He had no idea the extent to which this song was going to move people.  A lot of inspiration was drawn from Ezekiel 37: 4-10, that reads this:

Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’” So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone. I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them.Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come, breath, from the four winds and breathe into these slain, that they may live.’” So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet—a vast army.” Ezekiel 37: 4-10 (NIV)

I think songs of lament will come from this season.  From spring 2018-fall 2019, I felt a strong sense of awakening throughout our church.  We repented of our complacency and were hungry for more of God’s presence in our lives.  That season of awakening was refreshing and perhaps served as preparation as we entered into a season of lament and longing for God’s restoration.  I’m not a pastor or a counselor, but I think it’s ok to grieve the things you are missing out on during this time.  I’m the type of person that likes to have a well thought out vision for my future.  I’m grieving that my dreams and goals for 2020 might not come to fruition.  The verse of this song has been a reminder that God heals our heartache.  He continues to breathe life into us - even into the driest bones.  He continues to love us in our brokenness, and He gives us hope when we feel that all hope is lost.  God deserves all of our praise. 

“It’s Your breath in our lungs, so we pour out our praise to You only”

When this song first came out, All Sons & Daughters would introduce it by saying “worship is when we give God His breath back.”  Worship is about responding.  Dave Williams has taught me that worship is a response to who God is and what He has done for us.  Relationships are not one-sided - that includes being in relationship with Christ.  If we remain uninterested in our relationship with God, we miss the beauty of what He has for us.  We are called to pour out our praise to Christ, regardless of our circumstances. 

“All the earth will shout Your praise. Our hearts will cry, these bones will sing, great are You, Lord”

Singing/playing for an empty room has been harder than I ever dreamt.  I’m a singer and a worshipper, and I’m not going to lie - worshipping online has been hard for me.  It’s awkward and not natural.  There’s something about a room full of people singing together that inspires and emotes certain feelings in us.  I think non-believers would agree with this too.  I saw Coldplay on their “A Head Full of Dreams” tour, and the euphoric feeling of everyone singing out their songs was so prominent among every person in the BOK Center that night in 2016.  Singing together unites us.  It’s vulnerable, and it encourages community. 

How do we pour out our praise to God when we are limited to how we can worship?  Well, for starters, worship takes place in all forms, not just singing.  For our worship team, a lot of us might connect best with God through song (myself included), but during this season, God might be calling us to step out of our comfort zones and become more active in our prayer lives, journaling, reading devotionals, etc.  Secondly, I praise God that He has made us to be creative and unique.  One of my all time favorite scriptures is 1 Corinthians 12:12-27.  It teaches us that there are many different parts of the body, but each part plays an essential role to the body as a whole.  If it weren’t for our creative/production team, we wouldn’t have online worship. (Shoutout to David Lee and Lawson Templeton, specifically.)  We all have different giftings, and I believe that together, we can creatively navigate this new (and hopefully very temporary) normal.  I think the first thing we have to do is be open-minded to the process.  If you haven’t seen, each week before the service premieres, Central posts tips to better engage in worship at home:

  • Gather your household together before the service starts and pray that God will speak to you.
  • Read through the text prior to the start of the service. (Try reading a few different versions)
  • Put the livestream on your smart TV or a computer monitor so you can see clearly.
  • Interact with others on the livestream, by commenting in real-time.
  • Sing with us. It may be strange, but it’s a way to participate rather than spectate.  (If this is uncomfortable to you, as it is to me, I suggest really thinking and praying over the lyrics. If a line inspires you, comment it for others to also be encouraged.)
  • Invite your friends by sharing the livestream on Facebook. (What an easy way to evangelize!  Especially for us who have a hard time being vulnerable and sharing our personal faith journeys.  Even if none of your friends tune in because of your share, it’s definitely worth a shot.)

When we are able to reunite together again in worship, it will be a day of celebration.  I pray that this season will inspire our congregation to not take worship for granted, and to be more in tune with the Holy Spirit and vulnerable with each other.  I can’t wait to sing praise to God with you all again, someday.  Until then, I will find other ways to pour out my praise.

Challenge:  This week, think about how you (and your family, if that is applicable for your situation) can pour out your praise to God.  Get creative, and if something is effective for you, share it with others! This is a time we can learn from each other.  Be filled with hope and have great anticipation of when our entire congregation can come together again!

Ministries at Central

We offer many areas of ministries available to help you grow closer to Christ and deeper in  your faith. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to email us at  and a staff member will be in touch shortly.

Adult MinistriesCentral CARESChildren's MinistryCentral Children's AcademyMissions & OutreachCollege MinistrySr. Adult MinistryStudent MinistryWorship Ministries

 

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