Worship gives us Access
As I think about the pillars of our church, Worship, Reconciliation, Neighborhood Development, I think of how they intertwine and are totally dependent on each other. After all, you can't fully do one without the other. In order to worship God you have to love Him with your all and love your neighbor as yourself. You can't do that unless you reconcile with your neighbor and you can't reconcile if you are not in some way involved in their lives or "develop community" with them. Being one who has stepped into a role that encompasses worship, I'll focus on that as it relates to our vision.
I was in prayer with a couple of friends and one of them referenced Mark 11: 24 " For this reason I tell you, whatever you pray and ask for, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours." I was reading the whole chapter for context. Earlier in the passage Jesus was leaving Bethany and was hungry. He saw a Fig tree in the distance. When he got to the tree he saw that it only had leaves and no fruit. It was not the season for figs. The fig tree is supposed to produce fruit before the leaves. This tree looked good but had no fruit. It had all of the characterics of a Fig tree but had no substance. For this reason Jesus cursed (pronounced judgement on) the tree and said, "May no one ever eat fruit from you again." Later after Jesus cleansed the temple, they were returning from Jerusalem, they passed by the tree and saw that it was withered from the root. The disciples were amazed and Peter said, "Rabbi, look! The fig tree you cursed has withered." Jesus used the fig tree to teach a valuable lesson to the disciples. He taught them that they have power.
When we worship the Lord God, we are engaging in relationship (community) with Him which gives us access to all of the resources of Heaven. We learn how to love Him with our all because he teaches us how to connect (reconcile) with him. The result is a life that is full of joy, love, hope, peace and power to perform miracles; full of fruit. When we have all of those things, we are able to be in community with others who aren't like us. Without those things, we have no ability (power) or desire to engage others or give them what they need. Why? Because we are consumed with what we don't have and what we can't do. We have a deficit. We lack the ability to love our neighbor as ourself because we are empty. We can put on a facade and parade around as if we are fulfilling the vision and the calling of our church. But in all actuallity, we are just leaves and no fruit. We look good. We have all of the characteritics of a "fig tree" when in fact we are useless because we have no sustenance to offer those who are hungry and thirsty and hopeless and no power to change their circumstances.
When we worship the Lord God, we move him to action. John 4: 23 tells us, "But the time is coming - and now is here - when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth, for the Father seeks such people to be his worshipers." God seeks us out when we worship him. He is looking for the people he can fill with his presence; to endow with his provisions so that those who come to River City Community Church, who are hungry, thirsty and hurting will undoubtedly be fed and cared for. None of what we want to do or are trying to do as a church will be accomplished without Christ our Lord being our center. John 4:24, "God is a Spirit, and they that worship him must worship Him in spirit and in truth." If we as a church really want to make an impact in our communities, we must worship the Lord our God.