I recently read a blog post about worship leading faux pas, like being “too into” worship that you leave the congregation behind,
closing your eyes the entire time, and the ever beloved key change that send the lead singer into the rafters beyond the reach of any common person sitting in the pews. The point the blog writer meant to make was “Worship Leaders – It’s NOT About You!” One of the many things he said in his post was “They went where no one could follow.”
I reevaluated myself after reading that post and realized some things. Church, it’s not about you either. I concede, I know when I stand before the church family and nod to the sound booth to hit play that the songs service is not about me. I know when I sit up hours in prayer, begging God to help me pick out songs He would like to hear, that it is not about me. I know
when I spend many a night weeping over the lackluster response to our Savior in worship, that it is NOT nor will it EVER be about me.
But in turn it is not about ANY OF US! When anyone says, I didn’t know the words, so I couldn’t “worship.” How wrong they are. I’ve been a part of many worship services where I didn’t know the songs sung and I still worshipped. Cause it’s NOT
I don’t believe that I go where no one can follow. I firmly believe that we choose where to go and we choose whom to follow. Even if the song is in the rafters – and we know we’ll never hit that A# above staff –we can still enter into the throne room alongside the A# wielding vocalist. It is a choice – choose you today who you will worship. Choose you today who you will serve.
This is the proclamation made by Joshua (Joshua 24:15). Throughout Scripture the words worship and serve are used interchangeably. So I challenge – choose you today who you will worship. And once you’ve chosen Jesus – NEVER look back.
Never allow anything to hinder you coming into the throne room. That worship leader who loves Jesus so much they get “lost” in His presence shouldn’t make you feel left out – it should make you press in! The vocalist who can nail that amazing note no one else can shouldn’t make you angry you can’t sing along – it should make you thank God for placing such a talent in your midst.
I think where we have failed is by divorcing our understanding of worship from service ministries. Worship is a service ministry – worship leaders/teams, you serve the pastor; you serve the church body; and ultimately you serve the lost and dying that enter your sanctuaries.
God rebuked Israel when He said, “you honor me with your mouths, but your hearts are far from me” (Matthew 15:8). So what does God require of us? Micah 6:8 says, “He has shown you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”
How dare we – worship leaders/teams – stand in front of our congregations to lead the people of God if we are unwilling to
embrace and live out Micah 6:8? How painful it is to hear the voice of God say, “your heart is far from me!”
Is worship ministry merely creating set lists, arranging and preparing musicians and vocalists, and then ultimately leading music? I hope not. Out of worship should flow service. True worship should always lead us into the throne room and then send us out into the world to serve. Worship will always connect us to the heart of God. With this connection we will begin to love hate He loves and hate what He hates.
Remember Church – it is NOT about you, nor will it ever be, it will always be about the saving grace of our Lord and Savior – worship will always be about Jesus.
A dear friend of mine posted one of her famous “kids” stories on Facebook recently. Her daughter was telling her about a story she learned some time ago in church – a story about spies. And she says, “You know, Mama. The princess hides the spies and then she lets them escape out of the window on a rope. Remember?”
My friend replies, “You mean the one where afterwards she puts a red cord in her window?”
"Yes, Mama!” Her daughter exclaims. My friend explains the “princesses’” name is Rahab; to which her daughter replies,“Oh! That’s a beautiful name for a princess!”
And while many intellects debate over whether Rahab was a “harlot” or an “innkeeper,” my friend’s daughter gets it right. You see Rahab is included in the lineage of Jesus; she was the great-great grandmother of King David. She married Salmon, a prince in the royal line of Judah (thus confirming my friend’s daughter’s claim), and became the mother of royalty.
Isn’t it profound that Jesus can take a nobody and turn them into a somebody? Look at others such as Tamar and Bathsheba. Those looked at as immoral and full of sin, are then made clean and pure, and even more so - ROYALTY!
1 Peter 2:9 says: But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
Children of the Most High King – you are princes and princesses! Lay claim to that promise today.
Today as I was studying for class, I came across this statement...
One of the greatest hinderances to growth in the church today is the same mentalitity (as the Jerusalem Council found in Acts 15) in Christian communities that create their own cultures and traditions which prevent unbelievers from coming to faith" (Global University, Acts: The Holy Spirit at Work in Believers).
Talk about stepping on toes! So readers, agree or disagree?
May your unfailing love be my comfort, according to your promise to your servant (Psalm 119:76).
I don’t feel well. It never fails, when things become the most chaotic, I get to feeling down. But there is one family member I can always count on – my dog. She knows when I am under the weather and she reacts. She’ll climb up next to me, lay her head in my lap, and look up at me with those eyes of compassion as if saying, “Mom, what can I do to make it better?”
While our heavenly Father doesn’t have to ask us what He can do to make us better, He does reach out to us with compassion and provides us with comfort. He loves us and doesn’t like to see us struggle, doesn’t like to see us hurting, doesn’t like it when we just don’t feel well.
We can always count on God. His comfort is in who He is for us – He’s the Great Physician and the Almighty God! He’s our Provider, our Strong Tower, our Advocate, our Healer, our Deliverer, and of course, our Comforter.
Lord, thank you for Your unfailing love that comforts me. I am assured that no matter what the circumstances, You will always be here – You will never leave me. I love You and trust in You and You alone. Amen.
“…the righteous are as bold as a lion” (Proverbs 28:1b).
Lions are called “the King of the Beasts.” They are noble and proud and bold. The lion fears no other beast. It walks with confidence and assurance – and wisdom. Even when danger is on the horizon, it lifts its head and listens – searching for
This is a perfect example of where we should be. Listening for direction, and performing with boldness. Who do we listen to? Where do we acquire this boldness?
We listen to the voice of God – the still small voice behind us whispering in our conscience, and empowering us with “boldness and access with confidence by the faith of [Christ Jesus our Lord]” (Ephesians 3:12). “For God has NOT given us the spirit of
fear; but of power and of love, and a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7).
And it is for these reasons, we, as faith walking – faith talking Christians, are to step it up! You see, we serve a great big God who does great big things through His chosen people. The same power that raised Christ from the dead lives and moves in us (Romans 8:11)! And we are called to just do what’s right!
A great example of Christian boldness can be found in the life of Martin Luther. When Luther was called to Rome to answer for charges of heresy based on writings against unbiblical practices of the Catholic Church, he was asked to recant his
statements. Luther’s response was:
Since then your imperial majesty and your lordships demand a simple answer, I will give you one without teeth and without horns. Unless I am convicted of error by the testimony of Scripture or by manifest evidence...I cannot and will not retract, for we must never act contrary to our conscience....Here I stand. God help me! Amen! (Roland Bainton, Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther, 144)
Martin Luther’s stance mirrors Peter’s proclamation to the Sadducees found in Acts 4:19, 20):
Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God’s sight to obey [man] rather than God. For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard [meaning the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus].
Peter was empowered by the Holy Spirit and boldly proclaimed what was right. Luther filled with the Holy Spirit stood up for what was scripturally right. And all Christians who are filled with the Holy Spirit are empowered, through the Hope of Christ, with boldness to declare to the nations the justice and peace of the One True God (2 Corinthians 3:12)!
So what are you waiting for? Go forth, be a lion, and proclaim God’s message with boldness!
After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the Word of God BOLDLY (Acts 4:31).
Boldness requires courage. It is neither reckless nor impulsive. It requires us to push through our fears and apprehensions and just do what's right! That's what Peter and John did. They would not be swayed by the chief priests and elders during their detention. Yet proclaimed, "For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard" (Acts 4:20)! In other words - WE CAN'T KEEP QUIET!
Has your courage to speak boldly waned? Then do as Peter and pray that the Holy Spirit empowers you - enables you to speak God's Word with "great boldness." That He would "stretch out [His] hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of [His] holy servant Jesus" (Acts 4:29-30). And then look for opportunities to act. After all it is the Book of Acts - not intentions.
Abraham – GET OUT – GO from the land of your fathers for I the Lord your God has great and wonderful things planned for you! (Gen 12:1 my paraphrase)
It’s been said that we only have to take one step – God will take all the rest. He wants us to be obedient and to know He can trust us with what He has in store for us. To do that we must be willing to GO! We can’t continue to sit around and wait for God to do it all – we have to take ownership. The Holy Spirit empowers us to follow through with the action to back up the call. Yet even in the times of the early church (see the books of Acts), the leaders had to get out of their homeland – out of where they felt the most comfortable and do something! And boy did they! The Gospel message spread fast those first 30 years and now even – to the ends of the earth!
God wants more for us! He wants us to do great and marvelous things in His name – He even said we’d be able to do “greater things”! (John 14:12) Greater than what He did while with us in flesh. Don’t you want more? I know I do! If you want more, tell God, “Bring it on!”
Job got to his feet, ripped his robe, shaved his head, then fell to the ground and worshiped. Job 1:20 The Message
Have you ever felt like you just couldn't go on any longer? Ever wanted to just lie down and give up? Have you ever been in a place where you feel like you are not worthy to worship God? Job was there. You see, Job lost everything - EVERYTHING! All of his livelyhood was killed or destroyed, his home - gone, his children - dead, even his wife lost faith in him and told him to "curse God and die!" Now that's a low place. I don't think I've ever been that bad off, but there have been times where I just wanted to pull the covers up over my head and stay in bed forever.
Let's look at Job as the example of what to do. After his world crashed in around him, he got up! He got up!!! Then showed how upset he was by tearing his robe, then he shaved his head - he sounds a little crazy now, huh? Well wouldn't you be if you lost everything that was dear to you? But listen, it gets better - "then he fell to the ground and worshipped." He worshipped. In his sadness, he worshipped. In his loss, he worshipped. In his brokenness, he fell before God Almighty and worshipped.
We are a chosen people, a royal priesthood called to worship our Great Priest. We should never allow our circumstances to dictate how we feel about God. You see praise and thanksgiving are when we acknowledge God for what He has done for us. In these moments of brokenness, we aren't very happy about what has happened to us. Yet, worship is acknowledging God for who He is. And that should be done at all times.
He is the Great I AM. He is the Suffering Redeemer. He is Savior. He is Healer. He is the Lamb of God. He is Most High. He is my Rock. He is my Comforter. He is my Daddy Abba! And More and More! So if you are in a broken, battered point in your life, worship Him. I mean really press in and worship your Saving Grace - Jesus Christ!
Lord, I pray belessings on all those who read these words today. Father God, help us - me included - to worship You in all moments of our lives. The times when everything seems to be going well and the times when it all seems to be falling apart. I know that You are my Redeemer! And I will fall before You, honor You, praise You, thank You, and most of all WORSHIP YOU! Amen.
Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast Your presence or take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. Psalm 51:10-12
David - the one who God said was a man after His heart - flawed. How can this be? The great King David from the family of Judah, and Jesus...flawed? Indeed, as we are all. Yet, he held a humility that drew him to God even in sin. You see David committed a terrible sin, one which cost him the life of his first born son. Yet in this Psalm, he begs God for forgiveness. He admits that even though he committed a wrong against another person, his greatest sin was against God (vs. 4) David recognizes that only the God who created us can recreate us from the inside out and restore us to true Godliness.
David asks God to do several things: create, teach, wash, purge, restore, and save. And God listens and shows mercy, love and compassion and restores David to where he belongs.
Here the great worship leader, David, finds joy. A joy derived from brokenness and then he opens his mouth and declares God's praise! (vs. 15) The flawed singer finds himself at his Maker's feet with a broken spirit and contrite heart - the true sacrifice to God (vs. 17).
And like the flawed singer, we can become whole through the saving grace of God.
This past year has not been the best for blogging. I have really fallen down on the job. With the new year upon us, I plan to be more faithful in my endevore, and hopefully you, my readers, will benefit from my ramblings.
As I think on this past year and the many changes that have happened, I am constantly reminded that God is good and faithful and just. He wishes that none of His children stumble and left behind. With this in mind, I am resolved to do my part. I will listen closely for that still small voice and respond as He desires. This is my new year's resolution, to be all He has called me to be - to reach my full potential in Christ. And to NEVER look back!
Will you join me? Will you step out of your comfort zone and embark upon this journey as well? Will you be RESOLVED?!
I am resolved no longer to linger,
Charmed by the world's delight;
Things that are higher, things that are nobler,
These have allured my sight.
I am resolved to go to the Saviour,
Leaving my sin and strife;
He is the true One, He is the just One,
He hath the words of life.
I am resolved to follow the Saviour,
Faithful and true each day;
Heed what He sayeth, do what He willeth, He is the living way.
I am resolved to enter the Kingdom,
Leaving the paths of sin;
Friends may oppose me, foes may beset me,
Still will I enter in.
I will hasten to Him,
Hasten so glad and free;
Jesus, Greatest, Highest,
I will come to Thee.
Palmer Hartsough, 1896