I have spoken a lot over the past months about practical preparations. We all must be working and striving to improve the skills and abilities entrusted to us. We have them for a reason, they are to be valued, and we should be honing and exercising them! No matter how much time is put to skills practice, the neglect of one thing will prove to make you ineffective. “What’s that one thing?” I’m glad you asked!
Let’s begin here
As many of you have probably heard before, the word worship in the Bible is not a passive word. It is a verb. An action-oriented word. It is something you do. So here’s the first question, how’s your worship-doing going? Recently Pastor Scott preached from Psalm 47. He discussed how the opening passage instructs us to clap our hands in praise to God. He went on to encourage all of us to clap our hands in worship. Some of us come from very conservative backgrounds. The culture of our area is more reserved and conservative and not “showy”. I completely understand all that because I was raised in a similar culture. I still question, can anyone use culture as a valid reason to not follow instructions from scripture? Do we believe that we are exempt from demonstrating our worship by instructions such as “sing”, “praise”, “shout”, “clap”, “bow down”, and many more?
Furthermore, we all know that worship is bigger than just songs and what we do when we gather on Sunday’s. Worship is, or should be, what we do in our everyday lives. The saying that used to be printed on T-shirts comes to mind, “worship is a lifestyle”. Take Jonah for example. In Jonah 1:9 he describes himself, “I am a Hebrew and I worship the Lord, the God of heaven…” (NIV) He is describing himself by the manor of his lifestyle. His on-going being and doing. Paul said something similar in Acts 24:14, “…I worship the God of our ancestors as a follower of the Way…” David’s language in many of the Psalms gives the same indications of his living as a worshiper.
So, do I believe that Jonah, Paul, and David walked around clapping, hands raised, shouting “Praise God” every moment of every day? No, of course not. But what I do see is that they had vibrant, personal devotion to God, and they worshiped every day. They knew God, not just knew about God. The question for us is, how can we also grow as daily worshipers?
First, we need to pray and read. I can almost hear the sigh from some of you as you read that! To those of you, I get it. I honestly do. I will admit that I’m one of those people who have been frustrated over the years. Praying and reading seem so passive. They can also seem like an impersonal way to have a relationship. Almost like the epitome of a one-sided relationship. But during our “would you speak to me God” frustration, we hold his spoken words in our hands. We just need to read them. Granted, there is more work involved to read, understand, and apply what has been delivered to us, but that is part of our doing of worship.
In his book I Exalt You, O God: Encountering His Greatness in Your Private Worship, Jerry Bridges writes,
“The vitality and genuineness of corporate worship is to a large degree dependent upon the vitality of our individual private worship. If we aren’t spending time daily worshiping God, we’re not apt to contribute to the corporate experience of worship. If we aren’t worshiping God during the week, how can we expect to genuinely participate in it on Sunday morning? We may indeed go through the motions and think we have worshiped, but how can we honor and adore One on Sunday whom we have not taken time to praise and give thanks to during the week?”
Watered seeds grow
Some of you may have read to the this point and still feel unresolved. Something like what happens when we end a song on something other than the root! You’re wondering, “what is that one thing you mentioned earlier?” It is personal spiritual growth. Our church can do many things for us, but church can’t make you a worshiper against your will. To make our team and our church grow as worshipers, we as individuals need to commit to growing as worshipers. I will be covering a few more ways we can live as daily worshipers in the coming installments of The Woodshed. Till then…
(Note: I used to have comments open on these posts and really appreciate input from the team. However, due to the ridiculous amount of spam the open comments section generates daily, I’ve closed them. If you have questions or comments, feel free to email them to me.)