God really does inhabit the praises of His people! And He is looking for those who will worship Him in spirit and in truth.

This text comes from our brochure, Welcome to Worship. Pick
up a copy at the Welcome Center.
Through worship, Maple Ridge Community Church recognizes God's presence in our lives. Everything we are, everything we do, is based on a single great reality: The Lord Jesus Christ, His redemptive truth and presence at work in us and through us. As we worship, we join together as a family to recognize this reality, to praise God for it, and to experience together His saving power. Worship never leaves us the same. The change brought by God's presence involves our whole being -- our souls, our minds, our emotions, and even our bodies. Whether in a large gathering of believers on Sunday morning, in smaller house group meetings during the week, or when we are simply alone before God our desire in worship is to express heart felt praise and adoration to Him for who He is and for what He does. Together we enjoy both the richness of traditional forms of worship along with contemporary expressions of song and praise that are pleasing to Him.

We may do things a little differently at Maple Ridge. Our worship services deliberately encourage congregational involvement. In other words, at Maple Ridge, we do not consider worship a "spectator sport."

You may see and hear some things in our worship and during our times of ministry with which you are unfamiliar or even initially uncomfortable. Many of us have felt this way in the past and can appreciate how you may feel. Perhaps some explanation would help you. You may like to know:

Why do you use all kinds of instruments in worship?

The scripture says, "Praise Him with trumpet sound; praise Him with harp and lyre. Praise Him with timbrel and dancing; praise Him with stringed instruments and pipe. Praise Him with loud cymbals; praise Him with resounding cymbals. Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord!" Psalm 150:3-6

Why do some of you raise your hands?

The scripture says, "Because Thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips will praise Thee. So I will bless Thee as long as I live; I will lift up my hands in Thy name." Psalm 63:3,4

"Therefore I want men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and dissension." 1 Timothy 2:8

Why do some of you audibly and occasionally loudly praise the Lord?

The scripture says, "Sing to Him a new song; play skillfully with a shout of joy." Psalm 33:3

"O come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout joyfully to the rock of our salvation. Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving; let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms." Psalm 95:1,2

Why do some of you clap your hands?

The scripture says, "O clap your hands, all peoples; shout to God with the voice of joy." Psalm 47:1

Why are there sometimes periods of silence?

The scripture says, "But the Lord is in His holy temple. Let all the earth be silent before Him." Habakkuk 2:20

"My soul waits in silence for God only; from Him is my salvation." Psalm 62:1

Why do people sometimes kneel or lie prostrate in worship?

The scripture says, "Come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord our Maker." Psalm 95:6

Why do we sing new songs as well as older hymns?

The scripture says, "Sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth." Psalm 96:1

"Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God." Colossians 3:16

Why does someone occasionally speak as though he or she were speaking directly from the Lord?

This is what is referred to in scripture as prophecy. It is to receive and communicate an immediate message from God. It will never contradict the Scripture. It is meant to correct, comfort or encourage God's people.

The scripture says, "For you can all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and all may be exhorted; and the spirits of the prophets are subject to prophets; for God is not a God of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints....But let all things be done properly and in an orderly manner." 1 Corinthians 14:31-33,40

"Do not quench the Spirit; do not despise prophetic utterances. But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good;..." 1 Thessalonians 5:19-21

Why do you pray for the sick to be healed?

A major part of Jesus' ministry was healing the sick. As followers of Jesus Christ, we have been called to do what Jesus did. This includes praying for the sick.

The scripture says, "And Jesus was going about all the cities and the villages, teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness.... And having summoned His twelve disciples, He gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every kind of disease and every kind of sickness..." Matthew 9:35; 10:1

"Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him. James 5:14-15

Why do you invite people to come forward after the service?

People came to Jesus with a wide variety of questions, personal needs and problems. As they came forward He would care for them, demonstrating the reality of the kingdom of God through His teaching, His healing their sicknesses and by meeting many of their practical needs. Jesus also trained His followers to carry on His message and ministry in much the same way that He did.

When we invite people to come forward after the service we are simply opening up the opportunity for them to receive prayer for their illnesses, answers to their questions and provision for whatever needs they bring. Today Jesus Christ is present and living in the church through His Spirit. He continues to minister to those who come to Him through His followers. We have freely received from Him. It is our joy and privilege to give to others what He gives to us.

The scripture says, "And seeing the multitudes, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and downcast like sheep without a shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, "The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.....freely you received, freely give." Matthew 9:36-38; 10:8 "...as the Father has sent Me, I also send you." John 20:21

Here is an explanation of some words and terms that might be new to you.

  • Church -- Not the building, but the people of God. They have been called into a living relationship with God through their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Together they form a "living building" which God inhabits with His Holy Spirit.
  • Body -- Another name for the church. It refers to the "body" of believers who are the living expression of the very life of Jesus Himself. He is called the "Head" of that body.
  • Minister -- Not a paid professional, but everyone who has a saving relationship with Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. They are called by Him to express His character, message and ministry in their daily lives.
  • Ministry -- Not what only paid professionals do! It simply means to serve others. With the help of the Holy Spirit, it means living out the message and the ministry of Jesus Christ. It is to love others as God loves us.
  • Kingdom of God -- It means the very rule and reign of the living God. The kingdom is visible through the lives and ministry of His people by His power. It is not defined by any specific geographical region, political orientation, denomination or Christian organization.
  • Worship -- Ascribing worth to God by all who gather in His name. It arises from individual hearts and is woven together with others in corporate expressions like singing, prayer, praise, listening and responding to God's Word; ministering to others and offering oneself to God as a willing servant for His purposes.
  • Praise -- It is the enthusiastic and joyful endorsement of our God and all that He does. Through our words, music, songs, outstretched hands, kneeling, and even dancing; praise brings attention and honor to God and His works.
  • Amen -- A word that has been used by the people of God for centuries as an endorsement of all that acknowledges our Lord. It means "so be it!' or "YES God!"

We hope this worship guide has been helpful and informative. If you have more questions about worship or any other aspect of life and ministry at Maple Ridge Community Church please give us a call. Someone from the pastoral staff will be glad to help you.