The Jazz Theologian

The Jazz Theologian

Worship Driven (p1)–Sermon Discussion

posted by Robert Gelinas

I’m adding a new dimension to this blog.  Up until now it has primarily been focused on working out the contours of a jazz-shaped fatih.  That will continue to be the primary topic.  Howerve, beginning this weekend, it will also be a forum to discuss my sermons on line too.  For those of you who attend CCC I’m looking forward to this added dimension of connecting and walking to heaven together.  For those of you who are not a part of CCC, I’ll try to form "The Monday Connection" in a way that doesn’t require knowledge of the sermon to participate (though if you desire to, you can find the sermons on line, just check the right hand column)  That being said, lets jump in…

Let’s talk about worship.

What was your most meaningful worship experience? Were you at church, by yourself or somewhere else?  What made it was so powerful?

Additionally, I am struck by how God called Israel out of slavery to worship him.  They make the trek to the mountain and in Ex. 19 are told to make preparations to meet with God in three days.  Three days of preparation!  When you think of gathering with God’s people in corporate worship do you make preparations?  If so, what do you do?  What difference do you think it would make?

In view of God’s mercy,


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posted September 9, 2007 at 10:04 am

I hope I’m not cheating by using 2, but I have 2. Haha.
The first was a service that I led while I was in high school. I basically gave the sermon (which I wrote) and led the worship for my small church of about 40. I just remember feeling God being so powerful there and I was so pleased that I could bring some of my talents to use for Him. It was very moving.
The 2nd was with my brother, when we were in Dallas for Easter one year. We decided to try something different, and we went to an all black church. Having never really been to one it was a very powerful experience. The sermon dealt with Jesus being in Heaven immediately following his execution, along with the man who asked for forgiveness. The message dealt with the belief that since Jesus stated that, he would be in Heaven immediately following the events we all know. It was a sermon not to discount other religions or thoughts, but simply to show that we are all the same (Christians), and being in a church that was predominantly black, it spoke a lot to me. It is probably my favorite and most meaningful worship experience.
Additionally, I am a huge Bat-fan. I can’t wait for TDK!
Keep up the great work, I love your sermons and style. God has blessed us with you.

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posted September 9, 2007 at 2:24 pm

One of my most meaningful worship experiences was at the Dare 2 Share student conference last year. It was my first Dare 2 Share conference ever. I couldn’t believe how powerful the whole weekend was. There were like thousands of teenagers in the Pepsi Center worshiping God. You could feel the Holy Spirit moving in that place! It was awesome. With the worship music, the skits and speakers you couldn’t help but give God all the glory! It was just an amazing weekend of worship! That would have to be my most meaningful worhsip experience ever!
Also i just want to say that i am stoked about this sermon series. I have always wanted to dive deeper in to what worship really mean! I am looking forward to next week!

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posted September 9, 2007 at 3:26 pm

The very first time I worshiped with God and I felt him by me was at my sister’s funeral. I was six years old and my sister that had passed away was three years old. I was standing by her casket throwing in my goodbye letter inside her casket and I was praying to God asking him why he had taken her and why I can’t go with her? At that moment I felt him right there beside me almost wiping away my tears that were running down my face and giving me the courage and strength I needed to say goodbye but also saying I would see her again one day.
Prior to my sister’s death and still after my family went to church every Sunday no matter what, however I never felt God beside me until that day standing over my sister’s casket and presently I am praying to have him beside me everyday.
I just want to say that your sermon today was very inspirational and I really enjoyed your story of getting the family to church. I now realize that I am wanting to prepare myself for Jesus not just make it a Sunday ritual. Thank you.

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posted September 9, 2007 at 6:21 pm

When pondering the original question, “what was your most meaningful worship experience?”, the most predominant thought comes from my days before I was introduced to Christianity. I was about 21 or 22 on Mt. Rainer near Seattle with a girlfriend. We decided to meditate together. We practiced the “Ohm” chant, often known in spiritual and Hindu communities as the most powerful word, the first word, the source word. We sustained the ohm in a single tone for as long as we could, grabbing a breath and starting again. After about 15 minutes, a solitary hummingbird came from nowhere (we were above treeline!) and we could hear its wings close to our faces. We opened our eyes and sustained the ohm, very surprised that a hummingbird had come to check out the sound. It came within three feet of our faces, hovering in the air! When it flew away, we stopped the practice and excitedly talked about how awesome that was, and how it was like God sent us a message in that bird. We were spirit-filled and peaceful as we left the mountain.
Robert, thanks for opening your blog as a discussion area about the sermons. I’ve just started coming to your church during the Kiri Elason series.

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posted September 9, 2007 at 6:26 pm

Now, about the question regarding preparation for worship. Yes, I believe preparation makes a big difference in one’s ability to worship properly. To do it properly, one’s heart has to be in an “attitude of gratitude”, so giving thanks for what you have is one way to prepare. One’s heart, if heavy with guilt or other negative emotions, will be lifted slightly when a mindset-shift is made. It starts with gratitude.

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Gayle H

posted September 10, 2007 at 11:32 am

Robert, thanks for the series on worship. I don’t have an event of worship to add (yet), but worship has been on my mind for many years. Back when I was saved (over 30 years ago now) I was taught to have a quiet time using the ACTS acronym (Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication). I’ve never been clear on what exactly adoration is, and especially how it differs from worship. Although I’ve since been freed from any kind of systematic prayer, I hear the mental recording that “it’s wrong to burst into the throne room” without some kind of acknowledgment of God’s greatness. My personal time of worship and adoration inevitably morphs out of thanksgiving and, obsessive perfectionist that I am, I worry that I’m not “doing it right.” Naturally, I know that God overlooks that kind of imperfection because He knows my heart. But I look forward to more clarification from you over the coming weeks. Thanks for covering this very important subject.

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Thea Etter

posted September 10, 2007 at 12:40 pm

Pastor Robert, I would first like to say, that you are one of the most passionate preachers that I have ever had the pleasure of listening to on Sunday mornings. You are right about us needing time to prepare for worship, but the sunday morning routine that you described, is our lives every day. As christians, we do need time alone with God.
Having grown up in an Orthodox Presbyterian church, I never experienced these types of sermons. As a child, the sermons never really had much of an effect on me. The first time that I actually felt the presence of God in my life was when I was attending Faith Presbyterian Church’s youth group with Mike. It was there that I heard the most glorious easter program, and was in awe about how a “worship” service is led. The best way that I know to worship God is through song. It is my best “expression” of my faith.
I also did a “Beth Moore” study and learned about how women wear may different “coats”. I didn’t realize that I had so many, and when I finally shed my coats, I also felt the presence of God taking away years of pain that I couldn’t release, but thought that I had at one point.
Since Mike and I have started attenting CCC, we have felt the presence of God several times through your sermons. The one that really sticks in my mind is the last series that you just finished. When you had us ask God for his “mercy”, I just cried and couldn’t even stand to my feet. It was then that God was heavy on my heart about what I needed to do in my Christian Faith.
I know that there are more than one time, but these are the three most significant experiences in my personal walk with Christ. Thank you for your “passion”, and I look forward to the rest of your series, as well as the hour of music lead worship

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posted September 10, 2007 at 9:12 pm

My most meaningful worship experience occurred last week while I was alone with God in a park. After having experienced a situation that broke my heart, I began to seek God’s own heart and will through praying the Psalms. One evening I was praying Psalm 51 and said aloud these words: “You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;a broken and contrite heart,O God, you will not despise.” And I realized then that He had allowed my heart to be broken to bring me into closer worship and communion with Him. I sat there in the park, under the stars and offered Him my brokenness as a sacrifice, and I fell more deeply in love with Him as I thanked Him for the brokenness He had allowed me to endure. In that moment, I knew the most true worship I had ever experienced.

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Rebecca Romaneski

posted September 10, 2007 at 9:54 pm

Hello, readers! :) I just moved to Littleton a few months ago and I’m excited about attending and serving at CCC. Thank you, Pastor Robert, for a great sermon on Sunday and for initiating this discussion forum.
Like a lot of people, I most often experience God’s presence while spending time alone outdoors. I tend to gravitate toward beautiful places, like the beach (back when I lived in Virginia) or, since I moved to Colorado, the mountains.
Perhaps one of my most powerful experiences in God’s presence was last August. I was with a group from my church at a weekend conference in Maryland designed for church worship leaders and teams. Interestingly enough, the theme of the conference was “The Glory of His Presence,” and each speaker taught on a different aspect of worshiping God by experiencing His presence.
On the final night of the conference, the thousands of participants had an extended time of musical worship and one of the pastors led us in corporate prayer of confession that listed specific sins that we’re all guilty of. The words of the confession were up on the screens and as we read it together I began to really get a sense for just how different we are from our Holy Lord. God was magnified and I felt so small. It was humbling. I went down on my knees and began to sob as I realized just how sinful I am (growing up in a Christian home and accepting Christ as a little girl, I often think I’m better than I really am.)
The time of confession segued into declaring God’s forgiveness through Christ and then into a time of praise through song. I looked up and through my tears I stared at the sanctuary’s cross. At that point grace impacted me in a way perhaps it never had before. I rose to my feet, lifted my hands, and joined in with my brothers and sisters as we praised Jesus. It was an amazing evening, to say the least; like a glimpse of heaven.

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Rebecca Romaneski

posted September 10, 2007 at 11:06 pm

Hi again! :) Today I read an applicable message about worship from Oswald Chmabers’s “My Utmost for His Highest,” and I thought I’d share it:
“When thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee.” Jesus in John 1:48
Worshipping as Occasion Serves. We imagine we would be all right if a big crisis arose; but the big crisis will only reveal the stuff we are made of; it will not put anything into us. “If God gives the call, of course I will rise to the occasion.” You will not unless you have risen to the occasion in the workshop [or “in the woodshed,” as jazz musicians would say :) ], unless you have been the real thing before God there. If you are not doing the thing that lies nearest, because God has engineered it, when the crisis comes instead of being revealed as fit, you will be revealed as unfit. Crises always receal character.
The private relationship of worshipping God is the great essential of fitness. [This reminded me of Pastor Robert’s statement: “Public worship is the continuation of a private practice.”] The time comes when there is no more “fig-tree” life possible, when it is out into the open, out into the glare and into the work, and you will find yourself of no value there if you have not been worshipping as occasion serves you in your home. Worship aright in you private relationships, then when God sets you free you will be ready, because in the unseen life which no one saw but God you have become perfectly fit, and when the strain comes you can be relied upon by God.
“I can’t be expected to live the sanctified life in the circumstances I am in; I have no time for praying just now, no time for Bible reading, my opportunity hasn’t come yet; when it does, of course I shall be all right.” No, you won’t. If you have not been worshipping as occasion serves, when you get into work you will not only be useless youself, but a tremendous hindrance to those who are associated with you.
The workshop of the missionary munitions is the hidden, personal, worshipping life of the saint.

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posted September 11, 2007 at 5:11 pm

Wow everybody…this is awesome.
I just love hearing all of the different ways that our Father draws near. And thankyou so much for being willing to share. This is kind of like talk radio where for every caller there are a bunch of people listening but not calling. Same here…my little stat tracker shows me that hundreds of people are reading your stories.
Let’s keep the conversation going.
In view of God’s mercy,
robert (aka–jazz theologian)

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posted September 11, 2007 at 5:13 pm

Rebecca & Jessica–I’ve started a “CCC blog roll” page under my info pages…
You’re the first two…

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posted September 11, 2007 at 11:13 pm

A fantastic sermon (as usual)! Also, I like the posed question, and it got me thinking momentarily, as soon as it was asked. I was in college at CU and someone mentioned that there was a meteor shower that could be seen in the middle of the night in the mountains. We drove up there, and it was the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen. It was like watching a production that God was putting on for us. I stared at the sky for hours with a goofy grin on my face until my neck hurt from looking straight up. I remember just thinking, “God, you’re showing off,” and how could anyone not believe after seeing that light show. I think it’s exceptionally easy and fun, for lack of a better word, to worship God through nature.

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posted September 12, 2007 at 12:17 pm

I have two times of worship that come to mind – both years ago. The first was in a small group at a friend’s home. We had a couple visit – he was in the military. He led worship playing his guitar and I felt like I was in heaven – that’s the only way I can explain it. I didn’t want it to stop – in fact, I was really upset when it did. We never saw them again – it was like an angel had visited us. The second was a weekend outing at Steamboat with two different churches – one a Foursquare church and the other a Baptist church. We were crammed into the living room of a small condo and 3 men led worship. It was a time when the Spirit really moved – nothing was planned and no one person led worship.
Thank you CCC and pastor Robert – this church and pastor Robert have been a real blessing to my wife and I. It’s exciting (and convicting) – I feel that the Holy Spirit is all over Robert.

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John Brennan

posted September 13, 2007 at 5:03 pm

i don’t know if i could pick out one most meaningful worship experience. At different points in my life certain worship experiences appear to be exactly what my soul was searching for. The real question for me is; could there be a most meaningful worship experience from God’s perspective? I wonder if the King was as touched as i was.
Or, could it be, that there was an experience in which i was not as fulfilled, but it was monumental for the Kingdom.

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Tammy Dahle

posted September 15, 2007 at 7:04 pm

First off all, I just want to say what a wonderful experience we had at your church last weekend. I’m from Pa. and the church that I went to back home was much like yours; so I’m used to that type of service and I must say it was like a breath of fresh air! My husband on the other hand is coming from a 4th generation LDS background and is “broadening his horizions” by going to various types of churches when we’re traveling and by attending the christian church here in Rangely,Co. each week. He was sooo impressed with your service also. He said it was the most meaningful experience he’s ever had. He was very impressed by the quality of music and also the wonderful sremon you gave. We really wish that we were in a position to come every week; but it’s not possible. We wanted to know if there is any way we could get the CD’s of the services each week sent to us? My husband is a truck driver and has listened to last weeks service all this week while driving. We would really like to hear the rest of your sermons on worship. Thanks again for the great experience. Tammy and Greg Dahle

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posted September 15, 2007 at 7:23 pm

Thanks so much for stopping by at CCC and here virtually. There are two ways to get the sermons. You can listen to or download them online at
Or if you desire the cd’s we can arrange something…if you don’t mind, would you call the church and ask for Becky (303-783-3838)…she can make this happen.

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Tammy Dahle

posted September 15, 2007 at 8:17 pm

My most meaningful worship experiences tend to happen when I’m traveling. I pop in one of my worship CD’s and it’s just God and me and I’m pouring my self out to him in song. Iv’e had some times when I felt so close to Him and it is a truly awesome experience to know that the God of the universe is intently listening to you worship Him and to know that He is pleased with your praise. There’s nothing like it…

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posted September 15, 2007 at 9:27 pm

I really enjoy reading this blog. It gives me a chance to learn from so many people, and earlier this week I was able to connect with a Sunday School teacher I’m working with via her blog. That was cool.
My most meaningful worship experiences tend to happen when I’m not expecting them. Perhaps my expectations for God–how He “should” show up, what He will do–get in the way. Last time things in my life got kinda hectic, I began to pray that He would reveal Himself to me so that I could recognize Him, remember Him, in the world around me. It was exciting to see how He answered this prayer–through the homeless man I ate lunch with that day (interestingly, one of the first things he asked me was if I knew about Jesus. I bet his faith was a lot stronger than mine that day!!!), through one of the kiddos I work with…And as He reminded me of Himself, I found myself thanking Him for who He is, for His grace, for His love.
John, your comment was thought-provoking. I’ve been chewing on it for days.

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