Please be praying for us tonight, and over the next couple weeks, as we move into this time.
So, a couple weeks ago, I taught a new song at our Catalyst service. It's called "Lift High". You can get it on itunes. The version that I have is by Eddie Kirkland, who wrote the song with Steve Fee. Both are Worship leaders at North Point (an absolutely incredible church in Atlanta). I love this song!!!!!
All throughout scripture, particularly in Psalms, we're told to exalt the Lord, to lift our voices to Him, to sing our praises. This song epitomizes all of that. If you are a worship leader, or just someone who really studies worship, this song should be in your top five in your ipod. The lyrics are simple, yet profound. I think I told you all about how my life was changed last year, when I happened upon a verse that I'd read a thousand times, but for some reason, that particular time, God made me stop and read it again, and again, and again. What ended up happening is, I spent the better part of a year living with that verse and trying to dissect it, and praying about it, and asking God to reveal to me what it truly means. The verse is John 4:19-26. It is also the verse at the top of this page! In it, Jesus is talking to a Samaritan woman when they get into a discussion of worship. He tells her (I'm paraphrasing) that God is not concerned with people who aren't willing to worship Him in truth and in spirit.
So, I spent the next several months praying and searching and asking God, what does that mean? To worship in truth and in spirit? I can tell you, the more people you ask, the more answers you get! But after a year of searching, this is what I feel like God is saying. Take it or leave it, but if you're going to leave it... then be responsible and pray about it until God gives you your own answer. Don't just leave it. You may have to give an account for that someday :) !
Anyway, this is what I came up with. We were created in His image. We were created for His purposes. That purpose is to love. For Him to love us, and us to love Him- completely, wholly, and without restraint, or restrictions. Therefore, we were created to worship. Erik Reed, the lead pastor of the Journey put it this way. He said, "We are created to worship. It's part of our genetic makeup. And we WILL worship something, whether it's money, sex, our job, or any number of a million other things. We WILL worship something. You just have to decide who, or what, it is that you will worship."
Often times in church we ask people to raise their hands or to sing out loud with us or to clap their hands. And the funniest thing happens. Many people get this horror-stricken look on their face, as if they are being asked to rob a bank or slap a complete stranger in the face for no good reason. Now, I'm not chastising anyone. I know that people have different personalities and some are introverts, some are extroverts. But that doesn't matter. I would suggest that if you are holding back, and God is prompting you to raise your hands, or fall to your knees, or to lift your head to look to the heavens, it is because of pride. Bottom line... you're afraid of what other people will think of you. When you let all of that go, and respond to the Living God, and allow yourself to worship Him, with no obstacles in your path, then, and only then, will you worship Him in truth and in spirit. Now, there's a whole lot more to it, but it's gonna take awhile to get through all of it. So, I'll leave you with that for now. We'll get into the rest later.
Know this though, I'm not saying that in order to worship God you have to lift your hands during praise and worship at church. DID YOU HEAR ME?????? :) That is only one component of the whole picture. That component is being obedient to God's voice. That doesn't mean that God is calling you to raise your hands or shout out loud or whatever! It just means that if you sit there, and you desperately want to do those things, because you know that, that is the outward expression that you feel like you want to show God, but you're afraid to because of what someone might think or say about you.... then YEAH! You're being prideful and it's keeping you from worshiping Him in truth and in spirit. And that means you're going through the motions and He isn't even going to acknowledge your efforts. (That's not me talking... it's Him. Says so in the book! Look it up!)
Over the next few posts, I'll continue to get into this a little bit more. I hope you find this interesting, and I hope you'll stay with me to hear about it. But more than that... I hope it disturbs you in a way that will cause you to ask, "what does it mean to worship in truth and in spirit?" And more importantly, "Do I worship Him that way? Or do I worship something else completely?"
Here's yesterday's songs from our Catalyst service:
"Salvation Is Here" (Hillsong), "You, You Are God" (Jeff Dio), "Lift High" (Eddie Kirkland), "Lead Me To The Cross" (Hillsong)