Thoughts on Worship. I have been blessed over the years to have been able to attend a variety of churches. I have worshipped with Koreans, Ukrainians, Filipino’s, African-Americans, Hispanic folks, city folks, country folks, suburban folks, and more. Each of them brings their own unique cultural perspective on worshipping God. I have attended worship services where I truly sensed the presence and pleasure of God. I have also been in some where I felt more warmth in the coolers at the grocery store I worked at in High School. And sadly, I’ve attended a couple where my freak-meter got pegged.
From Genesis to Revelation, it is quite apparent that our God is a very personal and relational God. His truth is manifested in a personal way when He takes up residence in your heart. How do you worship Him? Have you ever experienced the connection of God’s timeless truth where there seemed to be no barrier between the Holy of Holies and your own heart? And what does that look like?
What do you think Paul meant, “ In every place of worship, I want men to pray with holy hands lifted up to God, free from anger and controversy” (1 Tim. 2:8 NLT)?
What about, Shout to the Lord, all the earth; break out in praise and sing for joy! (Psalm 98:4 NLT). What does this look like… sound like? Given that the Psalms were songs of worship, do you think there is a place for this in our own worship?
In Psalm 119:145-6 we read, I cry out with my whole heart; hear me, O Lord! I will keep Your statutes. I cry out to You; save me, and I will keep Your testimonies. What should that look like… sound like in the context of our worship?
In his classic work, My Utmost for His Highest, Oswald Chambers wrote, “Salvation is not merely deliverance from sin, nor the experience of personal holiness; the salvation of God is deliverance out of self entirely into union with Himself. My experimental knowledge of salvation will be along the line of deliverance from sin and of personal holiness; but salvation means that the Spirit of God has brought me into touch with God’s personality, and I am thrilled with something infinitely greater than myself, I am caught up into the abandonment of God.” (March 13)
When you worship, do you freely give of yourself to God, or do you hold something back? Do you have to sit on your hands, or do you refrain from singing or uttering praises to God… because of what others might think? Do traditions rule your heart, or does your God? I am not advocating running down the isles, making bizarre noises, nor am I advocating what I believe to be an unnecessary and unbiblical practice of speaking in an “unknown tongue”.
But maybe, just maybe we should consider the witness of a deeply flawed man, whom the Lord Himself, called “a man after my own heart” (Acts 13:22). His name was King David. In 2 Samuel 6, David was bringing the Ark of the Covenant back into Jerusalem. The Ark represented God’s presence among His people. David was filled with joy and worship and he expressed it that day by dancing “before the Lord with all his might” (6:14). As he entered the city that day, Michal, his wife watched him. Witnessing his behavior, she despised him in her heart; verse 20 in essence declaring how embarrassing he made himself. Sadly, you might have met someone like that in church. Now consider carefully his response: “It was before the Lord… Therefore I will play music before the Lord. And I will be even more undignified than this, and will be humble in my own sight.” (6:21-22)
Did you catch that? What is more important to you; being “caught up into the abandonment of God” or your “dignity”? Don’t worry, I’m not going to break out dancing this Sunday; most of what passes for dancing in churches has nothing to do with worship of God. But maybe being a bit more “undignified”… maybe being a bit more “humble in my own sight” may have more to do with worshipping our God in beauty and truth than we might realize. Besides, if you care more for what others think than you are concerned about what God thinks… you’ve definitely embraced the wrong perspective… as well as the wrong notion of what worship is all about. Just saying…
Daylight Savings Time begins this Sunday (8th)! Don’t forget to set your clocks forward 1 hour before you go to bed. Also keep Pastor John in prayer as he heads out on mission to Moldova. I am praying great things for the Kingdom and for him on his trip.
Have a blessed week. May your steps be light, your joy sweet, and may the praises of God be on your lips. See you Sunday! Love You!