All of Life is Worship

What does this Bible verse tell us?

Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise.
Psalm 100:4 (NLT)

Is that Bible verse talking about the doors to a church?

a photo of a church door

It’s talking about what we do when we go to church to worship;
that is the spot to show our thanks. Right?

How about asking these questions at the family dinner table. (Or wherever your family is gathered together.) That verse above is from Psalm 100, which is our Rotation this month at FUMC. So it is only fitting to have dinner conversation that includes the topics of worship and Psalm 100.

As we dig into Psalm 100, our primary focus is to explore what this psalm tells us about why, and how we worship God. When we reflect on “worship” we immediately think of what we do once a week on Saturday or on Sunday – opening up those gates (okay, the doors) and entering church. We’ve looked at why we worship God; now let’s focus on how.

Grab a Bible. Before you read, ask everyone to listen for instructions in Psalm 100 that tell us how to worship. (You may ask everyone to turn their spoon over when they hear an answer.)

What did you hear? How should we worship? Psalm 100 is dishing out commands!

Shout for joy!
Worship with gladness.
Sing with joy.
Give thanks to him.
Praise his name.

So, here’s another question: Should such noisy worship be restricted to just during a weekly “worship service”?

What if we consider those “gates” referred to above as doors to each new day of life?

If expressing our love and our devotion to God — with joyous praise — can take place at any time and in any place, then the teachings of Psalm 100 can be applied, not just once a week, but to daily life!

Have you worshipped today?

Photo credits: Click here for info on banner photo (not visible in readers or email).
Church doors by Rodney Campbell, who licensed this photo under: Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic.

Questioning worship?

A child with a "just asking" expression

Have your kids ever asked why your family goes to church?

  • Because it’s a habit?
  • To refuel our soul?
  • To see your friends?
  • We were made to worship something; it might as well be God?
  • For some quiet time for the adults? (Because the kids spend part of the time in Sunday’s Cool.)

All of those are valid answers.

Start a family discussion around the family dinner table. (Or wherever your family is gathered together.) Say: “I am curious to hear your answers… Why do we go to church?”

Accept any replies and then ask another question: We go to church for many reasons, but why do we worship?

Again, be open to all the answers you get. Then steer the questioning towards what is worship? I like this definition:

(Worship) is a mysterious way of coming into God’s presence with people of my community. Carolyn C. Brown


Yes. Then there is this mystery:

For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; 

his faithfulness continues through all generations.
Psalm 100:5

I love it! We go to church to worship God because God is good, all the time!

Photo credits: Click here for info on banner photo (not visible in readers or email).
Questioning girl by trazomfreak, who licensed this photo on Flickr under a Creative Commons License.

A blessing: suited for God’s sheepfold

If you’ve hung around this blog you’ll know that blessing your kids is a big thing for me. I want to help you to do this! What can you say as the words of the blessing? You can use scripture! And since we are studying Psalm 100, why not use verse 3.

the words of Psalm 100:3 with a photo of sheep

There is assurance in these words.

^^that they have a place with God. Hearing these words reminds your child that they are welcomed into a special relationship with God.

Use similar wording — feel free to improvise. Say your child’s name and…
'May you know that the Lord is God! He made you. You belong to him.

Bless your child. Place them under God’s loving care.

Click on a box if you would like to…
A check-box Satisfy your curiosity about why you should bless your child.
A check-box View other suggested blessings.


Photo credits:
Created by moi from a photo on Flickr by Randy Robertson, who licensed this photo under Creative Commons (CC BY 2.0).

The password is thank you

Is this Bible verse talking about the doors to church?

A church door

'Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise.
Psalm 100:4

Time Out. Talk about…A speech bubble
Ask that question at the family dinner table. (Or wherever your family is gathered together.)

It happens that this month at Sunday’s Cool Rotation, we are studying Psalm 100. As we dig into this psalm with the kids, our primary focus is to explore what this tells us about how to worship God. After all, the Old Testament book of Psalms is a collection of poems, prayers, and hymns that were used in the worship services of the ancient Israelites.

When we reflect on “worship” we immediately think of what we do once a week on Saturday or on Sunday – opening up those gates (okay, the doors) and coming to church. We are commanded to worship God with loud, vocal praise.

Time Out. Talk about…A speech bubbleIs worship restricted to just during a weekly “worship service”?

What if we consider those “gates” referred to above as “doors” to each new day of life? How does that change your outlook on worship?

If worship — expressing our love and our devotion to God — can take place at any time and in any place, then the teachings of Psalm 100 can be applied, not just once a week, but to daily life!

Time Out. Talk about…A speech bubble
What instruction does Psalm 100 impart to our day-to-day routine? Take a look at how the The Message paraphrases Verse 4 of Psalm 100:

'Enter with the password: “Thank you!”
Make yourselves at home, talking praise.

Do you know what this means? We are to approach our days with gratitude!

The password to wondrous joy is given to us: put into practice saying thanks!

A couple of years ago I started the habit of noticing and noting things for which I am thankful; gifts from God. I got started after reading the thoughts of Ann Voskamp

Button to access the web site: A Holy Experience.

I find it helpful to keep a list.

Yes, it’s a numbered list. I’m working my way to 1,000, but I probably won’t stop there. Sometimes my list keeping is sporadic. But I always come back to realizing its benefits: it’s not enough to just think good thoughts, it takes feelings of true gratitude – seeing it all as gifts – in good times and in bad.

Some recent entries in my gratitude list…

  • 711. A husband who gets groceries.
  • 728. Having something to do while I’m waiting.
  • 735. A son’s smile when I give him a blessing.
  • 743. A job (in her field!) for my daughter.
  • 746. Wild, free-for-the-picking flowers to bring in for the table.
  • 748. An out-of-the-blue: “I’m coming over to help.”
  • 760. Having a mess to clean-up.
  • 789. Tears at saying good-bye.
  • 798. Sheets flapping on the clothes line.
  • 811. Reflecting on a weekend with wonderful women surrounding me as I stepped outside my comfort zone, multiple times!

What about you? Have you considered starting a list of thousands (and thousands) of gifts?


Photo credits:
Church doors by Jimmy Harris, who licensed this photo on Flickr under Creative Commons (CC BY 2.0).
Button from A Holy Experience.
Rest of photos from my archives.

Worship = work?

6th grade preps to serve Connections

A quick quiz… Ask this at your family dinner table. (Or wherever your family is gathered together.)

Looking at the above photo, What do the following two Bible verses have in common?

'Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.   Psalm 100:2


'Six days you shall labor and do all your work.   Exodus 20:9

Joyful worship is what you do after your 6-day work week is up??

Not what I had in mind.

Okay, so I asked a toughie. This is something that I didn’t know! (Probably because it involves being acquainted with Hebrew.)

The Old Testament was originally written in Hebrew. The Hebrew word used for “worship” in Psalm 100:2 (abad) is also the same word translated as “labor” in the verse from Exodus. The word abad also means to serve. It appears that the ancient Israelites did not always differentiate between worship, and work or service – the word means the same thing!

The Cool Disciples have been studying Psalm 100. You may recall that one of our workshops in this Rotation is to serve as groundskeepers for the downtown church. Kids are learning that worship and work are synonymous. (And I know for a fact that they experienced joy in their serving!)

We might think of the word worship as what happens for an hour once a week, but in reality this word worship includes what we may do at any time – experience joy in serving the Lord. According to the psalmist, this joy is to be expressed with gladness and thanksgiving.

Kids work on creating school kits

If worship is actually the way we should live… if it involves serving others… what can you do together as a family in service/worship?

Here are some suggestions that our church is involved in:

  • L.O.V.E. Thy Neighbor: Help make sandwich lunches for the homeless. Friday nights from 6:30pm-8:30pm. Read more about the program here.
  • Help out with CAN projects: The Community Action Network (CAN), is a non-profit community organization serving families living in low income Ann Arbor. CAN advocates for these families with their schools, community service providers, and government agencies. They provide educational and life skills programs for children and teens, and supportive housing services for families. During Vacation Bible school we have in the past contributed boxes of cereal.
  • FiSH FRI: A Third Friday Mission Event. Not a Fish Fry! Our kind of FiSH Fri(day) will be all about filling needs in our community, each third Friday of the month during the school year.
  • Meals Ministry. Making meals for stressed families – maybe they’ve had a new baby! Involve your kids in planning a meal, shopping and preparation and delivery. I still remember a church member who brought us a meal after I was in the hospital. She very patiently unloaded our supper and her two small children and brought them to the door to deliver the meal. What a great lesson her kids learned that day – service!

What sort of service worship are you planning?


Photo credits:
Photos are copyright; from the archives.

On your feet now—applaud God!

Kids at Vacation Bible Camp stand up and sing!

This month our Rotation at FUMC is on Psalm 100.

Psalm 100 is one of my favorite psalms. It tells us how we should act around God. I think the The Message paraphrase of the Bible describes it best. It starts off Psalm 100 as…

'On your feet now—applaud God!
Bring a gift of laughter, sing yourselves into his presence.

Why should that be the way we approach God?

Because God is good! All the time!

The various writers of the psalms were honestly sharing their feelings about God; they knew that God was involved in their lives. You know what? Kids readily recognize this fact! For us adults, it’s not as easy. We need to take some clues from our kids! Here’s one way:

Take note of God at work in your life.

Kids place their "God Sightings" on the poster.At Vacation Bible Camp (VBC) last month, kids had a chance to take note of what were called “God Sightings.”

Every day kids were asked to note times when they had recognized God in their midst. They wrote or drew, on stickers that were placed on large posters.


Some of their reported sightings…

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Discuss around your family table, your “God Sightings.”

What did you discover? Doesn’t it make you want to jump up and applaud?


Photo credits:
Photos are from my archives.

Studying Psalm 100: The workshops we used

Rotation Model logoWe use the Workshop Rotation Model to teach kids about Bible stories. We are helping transform their lives.

One of the stories we’ve taught is Psalm 100. That’s right – the whole Psalm! (Okay, so it is short, with only five verses. Hey! How about making it a project to learn-it-by-heart?)

Did you know that the fast way to find a psalm is to open up a Bible in the middle? Try it and see! (Or read Psalm 100 on-line here.)

Psalm 100 is about being joyful!

A child shouts for joy in a wave at the beach

Here is the way we are exploring Psalm 100…

Workshop Activity
Games Workshop Use remote control cars to run a relay to help learn Psalm 100.
Missions Workshop Learn about mission work and participate in a service project to pick up around the church grounds. I wonder what mission work has to do with Psalm 100? (Sounds like a good topic for a blog post! Updated: Read it here.)
Photography Workshop Discuss and take photos to ultimately create a photo collage of the seven imperatives in this Psalm: Make, Worship, Come, Know, Enter, Give, Bless.
Science Workshop Participate in science experiments about sound and make musical instruments to make a “Joyful Noise.”
Video/Music Workshop Watch portions of the video Sister Act and discuss the importance of praising God through music.


Check out some of the lessons we’ve used.

If you are in the area please join us for the fun learning at First United Methodist Church in Ann Arbor, MI


Photo credits:
Rotation Model logo, used with permission, has been slightly altered.
Shouting for joy by Michael, is licensed on Flickr under Creative Commons (CC BY 2.0).
Any other photos are copyright (unless noted otherwise), from my archives.