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|Worship is a Verb [message #2015]
||Tue, 03 June 2008 22:22
Registered: January 2008
Location: Grand Rapids, MI
"...Yet a time is coming, and now has come, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. For God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth." John 4:23-24|
I've read and heard many different comments from former "faith message" people over the past year. Regardless of their perspectives on their experiences, I have noticed that there is one consistent positive comment that people have made: they really miss the way we would worship the Lord in church. It was heartfelt, spontaneous and fervent. On one hand, we were not bound to strict litergy and hymns only out of hymnbooks. On the other hand, it was not showy and artificial and self-absorbed. The beautiful melodies we used to sing were often written to scripture, and we have memorized passages based on those songs (remember Psalm 100 or Isaiah 41:10?). It was not about how slick or smooth the instrumentation was, nor did we showcase fancy guitar riffs. The Holy Spirit might lead guitar player to play skillfully like the Psalm says, but that was not our focus. We could sing loud (hopefully in tune), we could sing soft, we could clap, dance for joy, raise our hands, kneel (once people got freed up), pray, wait for the gifts of the Spirit to flow, etc...
I miss that. I think a lot of us miss that. The church that I am currently a part of has similar freedom, and in some ways even more, but I cut my teeth on the "faith" group. That way of worshipping the Lord in church became a part of my spiritual DNA.
Robert Weber wrote a book in the late eighties called, "Worship is a Verb." I never read the book, but the title speaks volumes. It caught my eye at a bookstore one day, and I was taken aback by it. As I thought about it later, I realized that he is right. Worship is always a verb in the Bible, never a noun. There is no such thing as "the worship". It is what you do. It is not this thing that we evaluate and judge and decide that this church has it and that one doesn't. We just do it. We are to focus on our risen Lord and not pay attention to whether or not others are doing things "just right". If you are worshipping the Lord with other Christians and they sing hymns out of a hymnal, join them and do it with all your heart, even if you feel like you can't raise your hands because of the hymnbook. Maybe you can it aside and raise them anyway. If there is a set liturgy, make the most out of it and worship the Lord wholeheartedly like Wigglesworth did when he visited the Anglican church. God's children are at many different places in their journey to heaven, and he meets them where they are, even if they are stuck in liturgy land. Yes, he loves us too much to leave us there, but our job is not to judge the way others worship, but rather to give Him our best wherever we are. Maybe people will follow our example. Maybe we will learn something.
It is always important that a church be open for the Holy Spirit to move and do something unexpected. He likes to interrupt the program. We sometimes had our own liturgy in the faith camp: a couple fast songs, then some slow, quiet songs, a time for some utterance gifts, a testimony or two, an "I confess such and such...", maybe another song or two, and usually a song about the blood of Jesus before the teacher came to the pulpit. If we were so set in that order that we could not follow the Holy Spirit to do something different, we were no different than Anglicans or Baptists or Reformed or whatever else that had their own set way of of doing things.
Even if you are in a fellowship that does not function in the gifts of the Spirit (not just the utterance gifts) during church, worship him fervently, anyway. Whatever you do, do with all your heart to the Lord. That is what He desires from us when we worship Him. It is what you do. Do it simply because He is worthy of it, regardless of what the people around you are doing or are not doing.
"Worthy, so worthy are you, Lord; worthy to be thanked and praised and worshipped and adored..."
Amazed smitten astonished stunned floored blown away astounded shocked flabbergasted surprised wonderfully devastated awed shattered overwhelmed incredulous speechless sense of wonder at the love of God.
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