Christian Worship: More Than A Slow Song
I had a conversation recently with the worship leader of my church about the modern worship service. He and I was discussing how it has changed over the last 50 years. Being that I was raised in the church. My memory takes me back to the early 70's I can remember when things like drums and electric Guitars were outlawed because they looked to much like the world. I remember when only hymns and some choruses were sung, when the piano, and organ were the only instruments heard within the majority of churches. In my lifetime I have watched as the modern worship service evolved and I have asked, on more then one occasion, if the singing portion of the service is really worship. I am wondering how many Christians today think of a slow church song when they hear the word worship.
This brings to mind the words of that song by Matt Redman called "The Heart of Worship". One of the lines in that song reads “I’ll bring you more than a song, for a song in itself is not what You have required.”
begging the question, what has He required?
1 Samuel 15:22: So Samuel said: “Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, As in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice,And to heed than the fat of rams."
True worship is obedience and humble servanthood. It is placing our wants and needs secondary to Christ's. It is something we must do everyday not just when we go to church.
Worship songs are simply tools that aid in our meditation and instruction in God's Word. They are prayers of thanksgiving and expressions of the joy we have in Christ Jesus. Indeed there are times when our circumstances are painful and it is difficult to offer up a word of praise to God. Obediently voicing our praise despite our circumstances or in the midst of the trial can be worship. But let us not stop with a voice of praise and thanksgiving. Worship is so much more then a slow song. Let us offer up our whole bodies into service of God on a daily bases. Let us walk in obedience to God's Word and will every day and in every way. Let us be about the Lords business. Let us love our enemies, pray for those who hate and persecute us. May we turn the other cheek and die to ourselves.
Let us take up our cross and follow Jesus.
Paul Appeals to Caesar
As a young teen, My parents would send me to the Assemblies of God's summer camp at Mount Lassen in Northern California. I always had a wonderful time. That youth camp had a huge impact on my life. On one occasion, our youth pastor was teaching on true worship. He drilled into our heads the reality that Christian worship is a life of obedient servanthood, willingly offered as our gift of love to God. He used as his example Paul's appeal to Caesar found in Acts 25 to illustrate that sometimes our worship, our service to God, will cost us. He explained that when Paul appealed to Caesar, it meant that he would spend several years in prison. In hindsight, we know that he died there after writing the majority of the New testament. Our teacher explained that if Paul had not appealed to Caesar, he would have been set free sooner than later. However, he believed he was to take the Gospel of Christ all the way to Rome and ultimately to Caesar, so he remained obedient to his calling to bear witness for the Lord from prison. (Acts 23:11)
It was here that our Youth Pastor asked us the question that has stuck with me all these years. He got quiet then asked very soberly, "Are you willing to go to prison to preach the Gospel? If given Paul's choices, would you have appealed to Caesar?
I was maybe 14 or 15 and the question echoed in my ears. I answered naively to myself. Absolutely! Lord, I could do that. Over the years I have seen how easily I complain when my commitment to Christ becomes inconvenient. In those moments I remember Paul and his determination to worship. I imagine him dictating to Tertius those words which have become so engraved into my heart:
Romans 12:1-2 "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God."
For men like Paul, worship is much more then a slow song, or word of praise in a dark time, it is their life purpose and their greatest joy. Hebrews 12:2
Jim Elliot: He is no Fool
When my children were young, I wrote a song called Be Ye Glorified. It offered different ways God's people could Glorify His name. It was a little ditty that had verses sung by each members of the family. The verse that was to be sung by my youngest, who at the time, was only 6 years old went like this:
Be ye glorified. Here's my fingers here my toes. Use my arms and use my nose. Here I am Lord be glorified.
The verse that was to be sung by me went:
Be ye glorified. If by death you have chose, and to the cross I must go. Here I am Lord Be glorified.
Obviously I haven't been asked to give my life for the Gospel of Christ. However, on January 8,1956 Nate Saint, Jim Elliot, Pete Fleming, Ed McCully, and Roger Youderian glorified God by giving their lives.
Of the five martyrs, Jim Elliot is the best known. His wife Elizabeth Elliot has written a book called "Through The Gates of Splendor" that tells how Jim and the other 4 men gave their lives in the Jungles of Ecuador at the hands of the Auca Indians. The very people they had come to minister to.
"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose." Jim Elliot
Both Elizabeth and Jim believed God had sent them to the Auca Indians. They understood the danger before they went. After Jim's death, Elizabeth remained obedient and successfully took the gospel to the group of Indians that had killed her Husband. As God gave her the opportunity, She obediently responded with love and self sacrifice. In time, she saw their salvation. It is an incredible story.
Jim and Elizabeth Elliot teach us that worship is selfless and sacrificial. Often hard and sometimes deadly. Even in the face of death my we be able to say as they did, "Here I am Lord, Be ye Glorified."
He Is No Fool by Twila Paris
In case you are wondering, I love the modern worship songs, I like having drums and electric guitars in our worship services. They are a blessing. I am simply reminding folks that worship is much more than the song portion of the Sunday service. It is more then raising our hands or weeping before God. Worship is an action, a life purpose, and a frame of mind. It is a life of loving devotion, determined dedication, and Holy resolve. Worship is about dying to self and living for God.
Your brother in Christ
other Hubs by Abrushing1968
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