Pastor John in his book defines a worshiper as:
" And Abraham said to his young men, "Stay here with the donkey; I and the lad will go yonder; we will worship and return to you ." (verse 5 emphasis added)
It is important to note that Abraham was not going up yonder with a musical instrument to sing a song with Isaac. He was going up there to put the most treasured possession in his life to death, simply because God ask him to do it! So as you can see worship involves faith, sacrifice and obedience. These three elements set the foundation for all Christian worshipers.
God never intended for worship to be ‘synonymous’ with music and the arts. Christians tend to ‘compartmentalise’ worship. For example worship seminar tends to focus on the "doing" rather than Christian living. Why do worship workshops attract only musicians, singers and worship leaders? The reason is that Christians have drawn a line of demarcation between worship and the Christian life. True worship is a life of obedience and out of that life will flow songs of worship, which will delight the heart of God, rather than repulse Him as in the following Scriptures:
"Away with your hymns of praise! They are only noise to my ears. I will not listen to your music, no matter how lovely it is. Instead, I want to see a mighty flood of justice, a river of righteous living that will never run dry"(Amos 5:23-24 NLT).
You see, there really is no difference in singing a song out of a hymnbook or singing a song that is projected on a screen. The real difference is in the heart of the person singing. Singing "worship" songs does not make you a worshiper! Having a worship team does not make you a worshiping church! All of that can become religious exercise if we are not intentional to keep our hearts engaged in the exchange and remain in passionate pursuit of the ONE we are worshiping - JESUS! It is our daily relationship with Jesus that makes our worship of God genuine and authentic.
I believe the church has entered a season in which the Holy Spirit is confronting us about the things we have taught in many ways have moved us away from a worship relationship and a worship life to a place more focused on worship activity. If we are going to help bring about change in the Body of Christ, it must start with changing our own models, our vocabulary, and our teaching on worship.
Worship is not about doing! It is a lifestyle that flows from dwelling in the very presence of the Lord. The worship life of the believer is living with the awareness that we are daily in that Presence. It is living in the reality that we are in Him and He is in us. When we worship Him, we are not trying to work our way into His presence. we are acknowledging that we are already in His Presence and our worship of Him is what gives us access to relate to Him.
What does it take to be a worshiper of God? Considering our definition of a worshiper, we realize that to focus on the elements of music and the arts is to reduce worship to something less than God intended and something far less than He deserves. If a worshiper is one who is INTIMATELY ACQUAINTED with and has a DAILY RELATIONSHIP with GOD exhibited through a life of OBEDIENCE, we must move beyond songs, instruments, banners and art to something deeper and graner; we must move to something encompasses all of life and it involves faith, sacrifice and obedience!
WORSHIP IN NOT ABOUT DOING - IT'S ABOUT BEING!
(an extract from Worshiper By Design: A Unique Look At Why We Were Created by John W. Stevenson - for more information: www.jwstevenson.com )
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