In the unique position that I’m in I’ve had the privilege of receiving emails, overhearing comments, and observing the flightiness of people as it directly relates to the subject of worship. After being without a worship pastor for over a year now, our volunteer worship leaders have done an exceptional job in keeping things together and moving forward as the search process continues. Before we began the official search we didn’t do anything except pray for 6 months. Then in March of this year we began to conduct an official search which has been one of the most challenging things I’ve ever had to do. One day in the near future I will write a post on How We Found Our Next Worship Pastor?, but until we find that next worship pastor I believe as a church God is longing to take us beyond the music.
I am reminded of Matt Redman’s infamous song The Heart of Worship, a song that I believe is easier to sing than live out.
When the music fades
And all is stripped away
And I simply come
Longing just to bring
Something that’s of worth
That will bless your heart
I’ll bring You more than a song
For a song in itself
Is not what You have required
You search much deeper within
Through the ways things appear
You’re looking into my heart
I’m coming back to the heart of worship
And it’s all about You
All about You, Jesus
I’m sorry Lord for the thing I’ve made it
When it’s all about You
It’s all about You Jesus
Could you imagine if our worship was all about Jesus? What would happen if our worship was more than a song? How about if we understood it was our attitudes that we bring to church that has the most influence in creating the atmosphere of powerful worship? If our worship was more than just about who was leading and more about who we were being led too! Would church be simplified if we focused more on glorifying Jesus than gratifying our desire to have the right vocals, the right volume, the right songs?
I think of times when I’ve ministered at a Teen Challenge chapel and the clapping of hands and the pure hearted efforts of a few men attempting to make a joyful noise did more for my soul than a perfectly executed crescendo at the conclusion of our church’s worship time. I’m not discounting the importance of anointing and skill in worship, but I am discrediting the trend and warning of the danger that I see worship becoming; that if it’s not a great performance I can’t find His presence. If experiencing His presence for us only depends on someone else’s performance what is our responsibility? As temples of he Holy Spirit we all have a part in hosting God’s presence, but how do we go beyond the music, beyond Sunday mornings, beyond the iPod, beyond the latest free download?
Let me give you a three ways I get beyond the music:
1. I Check My Motives- I just purchased Practicing the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence for a high school graduate last week. When it comes to worship, no other book has impacted me more. Brother Lawrence learned to worship God whatever He was doing. What mattered the most was his motive behind everything he did.
For Brother Lawrence, “common business,” no matter how mundane or routine, could be a medium of God’s love. The sacredness or worldly status of a task mattered less than motivation behind it. “Nor is it needful that we should have great things to do. . . We can do little things for God; I turn the cake that is frying on the pan for love of him, and that done, if there is nothing else to call me, I prostrate myself in worship before him, who has given me grace to work; afterwards I rise happier than a king. It is enough for me to pick up but a straw from the ground for the love of God.”
2. I Change My Attitude – As I mentioned above, my attitudes create my atmosphere. What’s happening in my heart has a lot more to do with my personal experience in worship than what’s happening on the platform. My intentional sacrifice of praise may be the key to opening up the windows of heaven over my life instead of the latest worship hit that gives me Holy Ghost goose bumps. Again, I like goose bumps and love the latest worship, but my worship cannot be based on how I feel. The litmus test of the level of my intimacy in worship with the Lord is when I don’t feel a thing. Will I be obedient or will I whine?
3. I Challenge My Methods – I know we say that worship is more than music, but what does that look like. For me I worship God with my body by exercising and taking care of it. I love the Lord my God with all my mind by filling it with knowledge and learning His ways, I praise God with my strength by understanding that I worship Him through my work, and I venerate Jesus with my soul by allowing Him to change me into the person he is calling me to be.
When I am deliberate in doing these things weekend worship becomes only 1/7 of what worship looks like in my everyday life. How about the other 6 days? What do they look like for you?
I encourage you go beyond the music and behold Jesus Christ in your everyday life!