Saturday, August 28, 2010

WORSHIP IS NOT ABOUT DOING

It was blessed week to have the privilege to host pastor John W. Stevenson the author of "Worshiper By Design - A Unique Look At Why We Were Created" who was ministering in Singapore. I met pastor John twenty years ago and it was certainly no coincidence to cross path again to be inspired with a message concerning worship and the worship life of the church which the Lord has placed in his heart a mandate to be shared to the Body of Christ.

Pastor John in his book defines a worshiper as:

one who is INTIMATELY ACQUAINTED with, and has a DAILY RELATIONSHIP with GOD exhibited through OBEDIENCE.
He said, “You were NOT created to DO, you were created to BE”.
The first time you find ‘worship’ in Scripture is in Genesis 22. It reads:

" 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 )

Be A Worshiper \0/\0/\0/
TPWC

5 comments:

neli said...

I love this Ricky... Pstr John's definition is succinct and so based on the fact that Jesus paid it all ORREDDY!

It's been a major paradigm shift for me in the last season, especially to learn not to, as Bob Fitts would say, "quantify worship".

We live in the shadow of everything done in and through the cross! Everything else we do is a mere response

Popoola Fotitohan Oni (UK) said...

True worship is not confined to what we do in church or open praise. It is the acknowledgment of God and all His power and glory in everything we do. The highest form of praise and worship is obedience to Him and His Word. To do this, we mu...st know God; we cannot be ignorant of Him (Acts 17:23). Worship is to glorify and exalt God—to show our loyalty and admiration to our Father.
Romans 12:1-2 describes true worship and all the elements of true worship. First, there is the motivation to worship: “the mercies of God.” God’s mercies are everything He has given us that we don’t deserve such as eternal love, eternal grace, the Holy Spirit, everlasting peace, eternal joy, saving faith, comfort, strength, wisdom, hope, patience, kindness, honor, glory, righteousness, security, eternal life, forgiveness, reconciliation, justification, sanctification, freedom, intercession and much more. The knowledge and understanding of these incredible gifts motivate us to pour forth praise and thanksgiving—in other words, worship!
True worship is God-centered worship but most christians tend to get caught up in where they should worship, what music they should sing in worship, and how the worship looks to other people. Focusing on these things completely misses the point. Jesus tells us that true worshipers will worship God in spirit and in truth (John 4:24). This means we worship from the heart and the way God has designed. Worship can include praying, reading God's Word with an open heart, singing, participating in communion, and serving others. It is not limited to one act, but is done properly when the heart and attitude of the person are in the right place.
It’s also important to know that worship is reserved only for God. Only He is worthy and not any of His servants (Revelation 19:10). We are not to worship saints, prophets, statues, angels, any false gods, or Mary, the mother of Jesus. We also should not be worshiping for the expectation of something in return, such as a miraculous healing. Worship is done for God—because He deserves it—and for His pleasure alone.

Adeola Williams (USA) said...

I like this ...Worship involves faith, sacrifice and obedience...thats really deep..thank you for this admonition.

Brendell Hall (Bermuda) said...

My Lord how painfully true, although I have learnt that the pain is only because the flesh is being denied and as you endure, it all becomes second nature. Wow just received a great revelation about "He was going up there to put the most tr...easured possession in his life to death, simply because God ask him to do it"

Albert Kang said...

Have you heard of the Missional Church? Missional worship integrates all of life. The musical worship on Sunday is a only a rehearsal for the life-worship during the weekdays. This type of life-worship is done in the presence of God and also the world. Our faith, sacrifice and obedience are thus put on public display... thus encouraging the rest of the world to encounter this life-worship experience.