I was looking over the study guide for Chapter 14 of Pursuing Justice and loved it. Maybe you’ll be as convicted as I was?!
(You can view the rest of the study guides in their PDF form by clicking here.)
Rediscovering Worship: The Role of Justice in the Pursuit of God.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. (Psalm 51: 17)
Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? (Isaiah 58: 6-7)
In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 5:16 ESV)
“Do we fast to manipulate God or to humble ourselves? When we pray on our knees, are we bending them to His will?” (pg. 225).
“Your worship is your leadership. It is your influence. It is your mission. Your worship is how people will perceive you and it is ultimately where people will follow you” (pg. 229).
“We find our greatest joy and fulfillment by worshiping God in right relationship, as we pursue His purpose in our broken world” (pg. 231).
“God doesn’t ask merely to hear our songs in worship—He asks us to hear His song that is meant to be sung among every tribe and nation, among poor and rich, among healthy and sick” (pg. 232).
1. Before reading this chapter, had you ever thought of justice as a form of worship? How does this change the way you worship God?
2. Read Isaiah 58. The Lord begins with rebuke, then gives instruction for repentance and finishes with promises of redemption. Is the rebuke of God mostly personal or societal? His instructions? His promises?
3. Read the “Sheep and Goats” passage of Matthew 25 and discuss what similarities (the people, the description of the needy, the connection between justice and our relationship with God etc.)
4. Ken makes the comment that how a worship pastor lives out justice might be more important than his or her music abilities and fashionableness. In what way is your church or the American Church structured to be led toward justice? In what way is your church or the American Church structured to be led toward entertainment, consumerism or self-help?
5. When you go to church, worship, pray, and learn are you seeking blessings from God or the will of God? Does what you sing in your “gathered” time line up with how you live during your “scattered” time? Try looking up the lyrics to a song that you sang during your last church service. Did you really mean the words that you sang?
6. On page 228 Ken poses a question: “Does your life inspire worship?” Take time to think through how you truly live – what does your life truly inspire?
7. On page 229, 1 Peter 2:12 is used to show how this command to build relationships with our brothers and sisters in Christ throughout our communities (and our world) is evidence of God’s glory, even to those who do not believe in God. Is your church committed to this kind of worship? In what ways?
8. Consider taking the challenge of reading Isaiah 58 once per day for a month as a spiritual discipline. Or, consider reading through Isaiah 58 once per day for a week and discuss together at your next group meeting time.
Reflections / Prayer / Notes