Sunday, September 2, 2012
Hello blog, here's what's on my mind at the moment:
Christian worship. What is it? Why do we need it? How do we do it?
Well since it's Christian worship, let me use the Bible... considering that is where we look to for answers for... well... everything. It is God's word ya know.
So, what does the Bible say? It does not say that worship is merely music. I feel like because of America's current state of generic Christianity, worship is only considered music. Obviously, playing music to/for the Lord is/can be worship, but music is not all that worship is. Music is certainly a large part, though, especially in today's society (and even in OT times; i.e. the Psalms).
Ephesians 5:18-20 says, "...but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,". So we are to sing psalms and spiritual songs to the Lord from out hearts. There's a funny thing about that wording, though; it says from our hearts, not from our lips. So here's my two cents: it doesn't matter if it sounds the best or modern of whatever else we try to make it. The music's not for us. It's for God. Do you think any person would really notice if you made "melody to the Lord with your heart"? Probably not. Mostly because he wouldn't hear you doing it. Because it'd be done with your heart, not your mouth.
Now, let's get deeper. Our worship is a reflection of our love, thankfulness, submission, relationship, and pleasure in God to God. When we accepted the gift of salvation, we submitted to God's authority over our lives, built a growing relationship with him, grew in love for Him because of our thankfulness for His gift, and through all this we found pleasure in Him. Out of pleasure came praise and worship. This resulting worship is not only an outward action and not merely an emotional feeling, though the two are both necessary. The worship should be in Spirit and in Truth (John 4:24). They should worship in their spirit, through the Spirit, and it should be true worship: adoration and praise for what we find our true happiness in!
This is worship: when we say/sing/play, "God is great! I treasure him more than anything else in this world!" Worship is not having a band perform in front of a group of people who congregate on Sundays to be entertained or to get their fill of God for the week so that they don't feel bad later. In this way neither side is worshipping. The "band" isn't leading in worship, especially if their lives every other day of the week look like garbage, which iss another topic for another day. Worship is not entertainment for us, it is entertainment for God (put very loosely). The flashy lights don't impress God; He made the sun and stars. The musician's skill doesn't impress God; He created the musician, the musician's skill, and created music with all its intricacies, including melodies and harmonies. He is not impressed with our shouts; He simply spoke the universe into existence out of nothing. God isn't impressed by the things we do to make worship "cool." He does, however, delight in our true praise and love and worship of Him.
So, what would happen if we stripped away the lights, the drums and electric guitars, the popular new songs, and simply worshipped God? What would happen if we learned to truly worship God? What would happen if we would only ever revel in His glory, and tell Him, "You are my God and You alone deserve praise and my undivided attention!"? What would happen if we ignored everything except our praise and adoration of God? I tell you, I believe our worship would spark more than a revival in our land.
So, let's worship.
Saturday, September 1, 2012
Picture this: A pastor of a church is praying in front of his congregation. He thanks God for their big sanctuary and worship centers, their amazing worship team, their wonderful lights and cameras and sound systems, and all that God has so generously blessed them with. He introduces a missionary who is going to speak to the church today in order to gather some monetary support for his next journey. He speaks about all he has done in these other countries for God and through God, and describes the great and wonderful conversions that have happened there. The missionary finishes up and the pastor comes back up and says, "Thank the Lord for this man! He goes and preaches to people who have never heard the gospel. I would never be able to do that! Now congregation, make sure you give this man a nice, handsome check, because if you don't, I'll pray that God has your children go and do what he does in other, dangerous countries." The man leaves with a large, handsome check and a very sad and heavy heart. His heart for the nations has been hurt by the pastor's and the church's heart for themselves and their children.
I've personally seen this happen.
I've personally seen this happen.
Who doesn't pride themselves in their country? At what church or Christian school or Christ-centered gathering do people not praise and thank God for the "freedom to worship" him wherever and whenever they choose? It is very rare indeed that those people do not shout praises of thanks and admiration to God for "blessing THEM so much" when other people are inferred to be blessed less! Yes, we Americans should indeed praise the Lord Almighty for the freedom he has given us!
Now, with freedom comes responsibility. What is that responsibility? TO SHARE THE GOSPEL. We have been given the freedom to worship wherever and whenever we please (which, mind you, should be at all times!) and we as individuals in the church so rarely share the Gospel to those millions of unsaved people in our own country!!
Don't tell me you haven't been called to missions! Because each of us has been called. If you are a follower of Christ, and if you plan to go to heaven, you have indeed been called. Perhaps you have not been called to Tanzania or Cuba or China, but you have been called to make disciples of every nation, and the Lord knows that there are millions of unsaved in our own. Hell is real. The majority of the world is unsaved. The majority of the world is going to Hell for all eternity and we're comfortable in our church buildings claiming that we have not been called. True, you might not have been called to full-time, global missions, but you have been called to spread the Gospel wherever you are.
So let's do it.