When Worship Is Hard :: PODCAST

Presented on 8/6/2017 at Curwensville Alliance Church by Pastor Steve

There are times that it’s difficult to worship.

So what do you do?

When I was in college, a speaker addressed the student body with these words:

Pray when you feel like it.
Pray when you don’t feel like it.

Pray until you feel like it.

I was amazed by the response from some of my peers. Some, like me, said, “Yeah — he’s right,” and thought nothing strange about it.

But others were angry — some very much so — that he would be so heartless, instructing people who are struggling, spiritually, to pray.

I still don’t entirely understand what the uproar was about, but I do believe that if you hope to overcome your spiritual struggles, it would be wise to do something “spiritual” — like prayer.

Job faced struggles. And he prayed. More than that, he worshiped.

This podcast speaks of the heart of Job — a heart that worshiped when worship came hard. 


Heaven as a Pattern for Worship :: PODCAST

Presented at Curwensville Alliance Church on 7/9/2017 by Pastor Steve Shields

Where is the best place to learn a skill or a trade? For example, If you wanted to learn to make Italian food, where would you go? Lots of places, but if you’re a serious chef, you’ll probably consider Italy.

French food – Paris.

If you’re going to learn to speak Mandarin, your best bet would be to go to China. You can learn from teachers here in the States, but any International Worker will tell you that they really learned the language when they went to the source.

If you’re going to learn to drive heavy equipment, you don’t go to Perkins Family Restaurants to learn, right? No, you go where it’s already happening, and you learn there.

Are you seeing a principle emerging?

If you want to learn to do something,
look at people who are doing it and learn from them.

Let’s take that principle and apply it to worship.

Where does worship occur – I mean really great worship? You might think of a church you know or a choir you’ve heard or a worship band you know. “When we were at Willis’ church – man that worship was GREAT!”

I have a better idea: If we want to find good worship, let’s look into heaven.

After all, that’s the source, right?

And where would you turn in the Bible to get a picture of heaven? You can find glimpses of it in several Old and New Testament books. You can look to Isaiah – when the prophet finds himself before the throne of God. But the book of Revelation has, probably, the most descriptive passages on the subject.

In this podcast, we look at the opening verses of Revelation and see what we can learn about worship.


Why Is There Music in Worship? :: PODCAST

Presented by Pastor Steve Shields at Curwensville Alliance on July 2, 2017

Several years ago, Laurel and I met a couple from Columbus, OH while we were staying at a bed and breakfast in Fairmont, IN. Since we all had children at a nearby Christian University, we began to talk about churches, and the conversation turned awkward.

It was like when you start talking about God with your cousin, who is a Jehovah’s Witness; things can get touchy before you even say anything controversial.

Finally, they broke off the conversation saying, “Our church is different than any other. We have no music in our worship service.”

They weren’t talking about instruments. They were talking about music. Their church had none. We hadn’t even been talking about music. But that was their issue. And it was sensitive.

I was stunned.

I really wanted to know how a group of Christians can come to the conclusion that they are better off without music in worship than with music in worship.

I feel sure part of their decision was a realization that music is controversial. It’s so controversial that people have made good money writing books about it – naming the issue, “The Worship War,” with book titles like Worship Wars, Putting an End to the Worship Wars, and Beyond Worship Wars. There are more sequels than a Star Trek franchise!

So, if music is that controversial, then why did God incorporate it as part of our worship? There are some really good reasons, when you think about it.

Consider those in this podcast, alone.