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Wednesday, May 10, 2006

"True Worshipers"

"Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks" (John 4:23).  "Praise Him for His surpassing greatness" (Psalm 150:2).

I heard an advertisement on the radio for a church with the incredible claim, "Worship - the way God intended it." Based upon other information in the radio advertisement I sensed this is a church that has a very modern type of worship with certain distinct expressions that are now very popular.  In fact it seems churches practically compete as to who has the more popular worship!

Another church I regularly pass by on a major four lane highway advertises on their church sign, "Not A Tame Church."  I really wonder what kind of people they are trying to reach with a slogan like that. Since the opposite of tame is wild I can't imagine saying to Brooksyne, "Let's stop by and visit this wild church!"

At a meeting last week I saw a humorous video that describes a sad element of what worship can become, if we're not careful. It changes the words to several popular worship choruses intended for God that instead express self-worship.

Worship takes on a lot of different forms. Some worship is quiet and reflective, other worship is loud and demonstrative and there's everything in between as well as extremes that I just need to leave in God's hands. 

Believers in Christ worship a lot of different ways all around the world. I just watched a video of my Chinese brethren in worship and it's different than anything I've ever seen here in America. I have been on mission trips to Latin America and my, do they worship in a style different than I am accustomed to.  In Africa they have distinctive worship expressions and styles.

The daily verse teaches that according to Jesus there are "true worshipers" and a kind of worshiper the Father seeks. "True worshipers" are those who worship God in "spirit and truth."  Thus from this Scripture we know that the Father is seeking those who will worship Him in spirit and truth. The emphasis is not on our preferred style but on His Person and surpassing greatness.

What about you and me today?  Are we true worshipers?  That's the kind I want to be.  Only the Lord knows the heart of the worshiper regardless of the type or degree of demonstration. But true worship, regardless of the outward demonstration, is truly all about Him.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen C. Weber

Brooksyne's Prayer:  Jesus, You've called your children to worship You in spirit and truth.  Sometimes I'm not always certain about what that entails, but I do know that it is within my spirit that true worship occurs. You take me to hidden places unseen by human eyes and reveal to me depths of supernatural understanding not written in a textbook. Lord, this intimate fellowship I have with You is not based upon my emotions or trends of my day but it is a relationship based upon Your character and the very foundations contained within Your Holy Word.  Reading, meditating, and memorizing truths from Scripture forms the unwavering foundation of my true worship with You.  I bring to You my tribute of praise as You have ransomed, healed, restored and forgiven me.  Praise be to You, my Master, for Your unsurpassed greatness in my life!

Note from Brooksyne:  Many of our readers, along with myself, are involved in leading worship in our congregations.  It is a wonderful privilege to be used of the Lord in this ministry and it certainly prompts me to earnestly pray and study God's Word as I select and prepare congregational music.  A serious struggle that crosses denominational lines exists in our generation where there is much difference of opinion regarding singing the classic hymns of praise or singing the contemporary music of our day.  Many congregations choose blended worship where they incorporate both styles of music so that all ages will enter into worship as they are familiar and comfortable with their preferred style of worship.

It takes a great deal of time, energy, and vision for praise teams to prepare, learn, and then lead congregations in worship especially teams with multiple singers and instrumentalists, etc. Criticism comes all too easily when the style is not to our liking (me included).  When tempted to do so, make sure it is truly from the Lord.  Check your spirit first and always go to God in prayer.  Sometimes the conflict is within ourselves and God will help us to see it.  If you feel led of God to speak to your worship leader do it in the right spirit and do not go to other congregational members which leads to disunity. God can use you to help the worship leaders to see where they can be even more effective in leading congregational worship.  If both worship teams and congregants are not acting in pride, but rather have the interests of the entire body,  God will bring unity and blessing in the church.

"It's All About Me"  Here's the short video clip I referred to in the message that reminds us of what the tendency can be in "worship".  (You may need to load some current free flash software to get this to play)

"The Heart of Worship" is a song that so powerfully expresses the nature of true worship.
Audio     Video

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission; and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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