Not Many Wise -

Faith and spirituality in a modern world


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What does it mean to worship – part 1

Table of contents for What does it mean to worship – part 1

  • a) What does it mean to worship – Bringing in God’s Presence:
  • b) What does it mean to worship – Songs that touch our beings:
  • c) What does it mean to worship – Aiming for reality – we want joyful worship!
  • d) What does it mean to worship – Aiming for reality – we want ordered worship!
  • e) What does it mean to worship – Non-stop songs in church!

a) Bringing in God’s Presence:

What does it mean to worship - Hands lifted high in worship?
What does it mean to worship – Hands lifted high in worship? Worshippers at Kingdom Life 1978.

How do we bring in God’s Presence?
Well some may say that He is everywhere so how can we do such a thing?
But in the Bible there are examples of where God manifested a greater Presence, for example to Moses:

And the Lord said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the Lord, in your presence.””
Exodus 33:19

This is something we cannot manufacture, but we can energise peoples faith so that they are more aware of His Presence.
How can we ignite peoples faith?
There is no better way than by Scripture (the Bible):

…how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness…”
2 Timothy 3:15-16

The Bible is God breathed – it is the Word of God and it lifts and feeds people like nothing else!
Bible verses can be used very powerfully within church worship to lift the congregation.

b) Songs that touch our beings:

Some songs speak to us in a very powerful way, they seem to be ‘anointed’ by God, but they are just for a season.
So instead of trying to find more and more new songs, why not use them every week and get all that goodness out of them that God wants to feed us with?
Repeating good things is not bad – that was the Apostle Peter’s way was to keep reminding them of gospel truths:

Therefore, I will always remind you about these things—even though you already know them and are standing firm in the truth you have been taught.”
2 Peter 1:12 (NLT)

c) Aiming for reality – we want joyful worship!

I expect we have all been in a church situation where everyone is expected to bounce around on a Pogo stick – regardless of where people are at and then some will feel guilty for being sad.
Remember what Paul says:

Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.”
Romans 12:15

That doesn’t mean chucking out all the bouncy songs!

But whatever we do, it must be real.
Look at Naomi, she had lost her husband and then her only two sons.
Did she pretend everything was great, no she was honest and real:

Don’t call me Naomi,” she told them. “Call me Mara, because the Almighty has made my life very bitter.””
Ruth 1:20

Did that mean that she lost her faith? No!
Ruth was not an Israelite but she was able to see the light of God within Naomi and was willing to give up her own country and friends to be with her.

She was in a hard place and she had to work through it, but she didn’t step into unreality.

In our church worship, we need to draw people into God’s Presence and then whatever their reaction, it is likely to be genuine.
We need to hold onto God’s promise:

The Lord upholds all those who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down.”
Psalms 145:14

d) Aiming for reality – we want ordered worship!

In very formal services you could be bursting with a passion for Jesus, but there is no outlet – it seems that all emotion is not spiritual.
In the last Psalm in the Bible, you don’t get a feeling of cold formality, there is dancing and clashing cymbals, etc:

…praise him with tambourine and dancing, praise him with the strings and flute, praise him with the clash of cymbals, praise him with resounding cymbals.
Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord.”
Psalms 150:4-6

e) Non-stop songs in church:

In many of the less formal church services, there can be solid blocks of songs.
It can be good, but it can feel quite claustrophobic – our senses are bombarded.

Sometimes it would be good to stop and think about what we have just sung.
Could God be saying to us:

Be still, and know that I am God…”
Psalms 46:10

Noise can shut out His voice and sometimes it is good to wait and look for Him:

The eyes of all wait for You [looking, watching, and expecting] and You give them their food in due season.”
Psalms 145:15 (The Amplified Bible)

For Part 2 see: What is acceptable worship – Jesus the High Priest.

Peter Reason

October 2014

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