Worship and Celebration

Emily Hamilton

Ask God to speak as you interact with today's Scripture and devotional.

“You are worthy, O Lord our God, to receive glory and honor and power. For you created all things, and they exist because you created what you pleased.” (NLT) - Revelation 4:11
“You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy, that I might sing praises to you and not be silent. Oh Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever!” (NLT) - Psalm 30:11

Listen to Friends Worship: Living Hope

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When we choose to make a sound with our vocal chords and fill our mouths with words about who God is, something happens. Our ears HEAR it. And the ears of others hear it, too. 

A friend of ours once told us a very encouraging story. He was a youth pastor at the time and one of his students was pretty apathetic and uninterested in corporate worship. This student had a lot going on in his personal life and was having a hard time truly believing what was being sung. But this student was also aware of the heartache his youth pastor had experienced over the last few years, as one of his children had gone to heaven. 

In a time of corporate worship, this student was experiencing the inner struggle of whether it was worth joining in song. At that exact moment, he looked over to his youth pastor who was completely lost in worship of Jesus. As he saw and HEARD his youth pastor praising God after all that he had walked through, this student had a moment of revelation: "I know my youth pastor and all the struggle and heartbreak he has experienced. It’s more than I could ever understand but it doesn't keep him from worshipping. If he can believe these truths for his own life, why can't I?" 

Our friend was experiencing the joy that David describes in Psalm 30:11 as he sang praises to God. And God was using his faith-filled worship to open the eyes of a student who was forgetting the truth of God’s greatness and power. 

Whenever we are feeling broken and have every earthly reason not to sing, we can choose to REMEMBER who God is, and align our hearts with Him. And then God can use our personal worship to encourage those around us to focus on Him. Scripture says, “Glorify the Lord with me; let us exalt his name together” (Psalm 34:3). As we magnify God and sing of His greatness, we see Him more clearly and help others to do that, too. 

Dallas Willard wonderfully explains how worship and celebration are related. He notes that celebration is the completion of worship as it helps us focus on the greatness of God as shown in his goodness to us. Then, we can celebrate by gathering with others to eat and drink, to sing and dance, and to relate stories of God’s actions for our lives. He shares additional insights into how worship leads to celebration: 

In worship we engage ourselves with, dwell upon, and express the greatness, beauty, and goodness of God.... To worship is to see God as worthy, to ascribe great worth to him.… As we worship in this manner, giving careful attention to the details of God's actions and to his “worthiness,” the good we adore enters our minds and hearts to increase our faith and strengthen us to be as he is.... We engage in celebration when we enjoy ourselves, our life, our world, in conjunction with our faith and confidence in God's greatness, beauty, and goodness. We concentrate on our life and world as God’s work and as God's gift to us.... Healthy faith before God cannot be built and maintained without heartfelt celebration of his greatness and goodness to us even in the midst of our suffering.... Celebration sometimes becomes a delirious joy coursing through our bodily being, when we really begin to see how great and lovely God is and how good he has been to us.... Feasting, dancing, singing become insuppressible.... Celebration heartily done makes our deprivations and sorrows seem small, and we find in it great strength to do the will of our God because his goodness becomes so real to us. (Dallas Willard, The Spirit of the Disciplines, p. 177-181) 


Answer the questions below and write down any other thoughts and prayers to God in your Life in Rhythm journal.

  1. In your own words, how would you explain the relationship between worship and celebration?
  2. Take time now to dwell upon the greatness, beauty, and goodness of God. How would you ascribe great worth to Him in this moment?
  3. Today, how can you celebrate God? Feasting, singing, sharing your thoughts about Him with someone?

Go deeper (optional)

Every day you'll have an opportunity to "go deeper" into God's Word by practicing the REAP study method. Read the following scripture and use your journal and the REAP method to unpack the following scripture and apply it to your life.

1 Peter 1:3-9
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