Showing posts with label worship. Show all posts
Showing posts with label worship. Show all posts

Monday, January 4, 2021

Jump Up and Shout

Every season of each year brings various sporting events, whether, baseball, football, soccer, hockey, tennis and so on. Events like these are considered team or individual sports. That mean that there are two different teams or individuals competing against one another. It also means that there are spectators that are cheering for their favorite team or individual. When the contest is close or especially when those who are competing score points, the spectators most likely jump up and shout. For the most part, there is nothing wrong with having a favorite team or person that you want to see win the contest. But as Christians, do we tend to shout more for achievements of people who have no ability to save, heal or deliver another person from the bondage of sin and Satan than we do for the Lord and Savior of all men? I believe the best way to answer this question would be to take some Sunday's and visit several church congregations to observe the peoples response or actions during worship.

Praise and worship is a powerful way for believers to express their humble adoration as well as their jubilant admiration for all that God is and what He has done through Jesus Christ. Jesus is the champion of all champions. No one in the history of mankind has ever gained such an incredible victory or as it were, scored more points than He, and yet most Christians approach to praise and worship is just singing nice songs. We disguise our lack of passionate, energetic, heartfelt praise and worship by saying "we are showing our reverence toward Him" and yet without hesitation, will clap and shout aloud at a sporting event. Case in point. I recently attended what was called "Grandparents Day" at a Christian School. There were about 300 in attendance. The students sang numerous songs with lyrics about Gods magnificence, splendor and glory. Song of the greatness of the Lord Jesus Christ and yet the atmosphere was quiet and reserved. Even at the end of each song, with the exception of myself, there was no shouts of "amen, praise the Lord, hallelujah" or any such thing. 

One of the greatest accounts recorded in the Bible that reveals uninhibited praise and worship is found in 2 Samuel 6 and 1 Chronicles 13, "And so it was, when those bearing the ark of the LORD had gone six paces, that he sacrificed oxen and fatted sheep. Then David danced before the LORD with all his might; and David was wearing a linen ephod. So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the LORD with shouting and with the sound of the trumpet." (2 Samuel 6:13-15) "Then David and all Israel played music before God with all their might, with singing, on harps, on stringed instruments, on tambourines, on cymbals, and with trumpets." (1 Chronicles 13:8) Try to imagine what was taking place. Israel, led by David the king were transporting the Ark of the Covenant which included the Mercy Seat, to the City of David. To Israel, this sacred piece of furniture represented the presence of God. 

Notice, "David danced before the Ark with all his might while all Israel played music before God with all their might." This should strike a chord in our heart. Again, the Ark represented the presence of God not the indwelling, empowering presence of God that comes to all those who confess with their mouth the Lordship of Jesus Christ, receive Him as their Savior and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Think about it. Jesus had not yet become mans substitute for sin, therefore not one person at this time was born again and filled with the Spirit, yet the leader of Israel, King David thought nothing of dancing before Israel and the Ark with all of His might while Israel played music with all their might. 

Some may say that it was a cultural thing, but I contend it was a God thing. They were celebrating "The God Who Sees" (Genesis 16:13), "Almighty God" (Genesis 17:1), "The Lord Who Provides" (Genesis 22:14), "The God Who Heals" (Exodus 15:26), "The Lord Who Sanctifies" (Exodus 31:13), "The God Who Keeps His Word and Makes it Good" (Numbers 23:19), "The Lord Who is Peace" (Judges 6:24), "The Almighty Who is Excellent in Power, in Judgment, and Abundant Justice, Who does not afflict" (Job 37:23), "The Lord the Shepherd" (Psalm 23:1), "The Lord Who is Good" (Psalm 34:8) "The Lord Who Delivers" (Psalm 34:17), "The Lord Who is Merciful and Gracious" (Psalm 103:8), "The Lord Who is full of Compassion" (Psalm 145:8). 

Of course if we do not know God's true nature and character, as revealed in the above scriptures which are just a few examples of many, then it becomes difficult to let go and worship Him as Israel did. However, let's keep in mind, "For I am the LORD, I do not change..." (Malachi 3:6), "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever." (Hebrews 13:8), "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning." (James 1:17) God has not, nor will He ever change. In fact He reveals His will, nature, character, purposes and plan through Jesus Christ more than the Law or the Prophets or any one else (Hebrews 1:1-4). 

There are numerous Bible references revealing the presence and power of God released when His people truly praise and worship Him. The picture painted in Revelation 4 - 5 of worship in heaven before God is a tremendous sneak preview of what the saints will be doing for eternity. So, if we are going to shout at the achievement of men, then it is time to shed our fears and inhibitions and as the children of God, lift up our voices and shout even louder to Him Who sits on the Throne and unto the Lamb. Someone shout, "PRAISE THE LORD."          

Monday, July 9, 2018

How is the Atmosphere

For our uses of the word, the word "atmosphere" is define as, the pervading tone or mood of a place or situation; the dominant mood or emotional tone.What is the atmosphere of your time in the worship of the Lord? Let's look at some things to challenge us in creating and atmosphere in our services for the Lords presence to be in our midst. True worship reveals the existence of God, that is, no one can know or experience genuine worship apart from the one true God because He alone can reveal it to us. True worship is beyond the realm of natural knowledge. Whenever true worship occurs, God will manifest Himself to us. Therefore, true worship reveals the living God; it testifies of
His existence. The Psalmist says it this way, "The heavens declare His righteousness, and all the peoples see His glory." (Psalm 97:6)

Another aspect is, true worship focuses on God, not self. Sadly, in many Christian circles today, genuine worship has been replaced with songs with lyrics such as, touch me; bless me; heal me; deliver me, which do not exalt the Lord and His majesty. Songs like these are out of purpose and focus. Some people create these songs so their music can be commercialized, but they don't realize that, in doing so, they are setting God aside and turning the needs of people into an idol. Now I know this may offend some, but true worship is about God alone, what He has done; who He is. If we truly know God's Word and exercised faith, believers would know that He already has and continues to, touch us, bless us, heal us, delivers us. We simply appropriate these things by grace through faith, that is, believing that what God said was, is and will be, period!

True worship brings the presence of God. The primary purpose of worship is to bring the presence of
God in the midst of His people. If the worship leader and or worship team or band (whatever term you use to describe the singers and musicians) loses this objective, we can expect nice songs, nice music and a switch of focus from God, to self. This type of situation will prevent believers from experiencing God's presence, which should be the only thing that we should desire in our corporate worship times. This is why I firmly believe that our purpose in worship is to create an atmosphere that invites God's presence to descend. Only in His presence will we be transformed so that we can take the same power of transformation to others.

True worship exalts the name of Jesus and the Word of God. Today, many worship songs used in churches or played in various Christian circles lack power because they are not based on the Word of God. We must write scriptural songs that exalt and magnify the Lord. Songs that truly minister as to what God has done and who God is. Many of David's psalms are such. Therefore, true worship is also based on the Word of God and flows from an understanding, a revelation, of His Word.

True worship transforms the believer. The Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul tells us, "But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord." (2 Corinthians 3:18) Although this does not specifically refer to worship, nevertheless, the Lord wants to transform us into His image. Pressing into His presence in worship is one of the ways He can do this. As believers, we do not just worship at a church service. Worship is a lifestyle. As we die to self and offer God love, reverence, and honor, we will experience transformation.

True worship creates intimacy with God. This leads us to our final and perhaps greatest revelation
of worship. Jesus tells us, "I am the vine, you are the branches...." (John 15:5) In this perfect oneness with the Lord we become one with His heart, His plans, His sufferings, His vision, His struggle, and His victory. This is why worship cannot be quick or mechanical. When God's presence does not manifest, it is usually because we have not created an atmosphere where He is welcomed, honored, adored and exalted. The Psalmist tells us,  "But You are holy, enthroned (Inhabits) in the praises of Israel" (His people). (Psalm 22:3) Inhabits is defined as, to dwell; to remain; to sit; to abide. The word enthroned is define as, to exalt to an elevated place or seat.

When we enter into true worship, the Lord touches us, He will dwell with us; He remains with us; as we worship and exalt Him to an elevated place or seat. Through true worship, His presence will
manifest among us, but how can we expect His presence to manifest when we offer Him something mechanical, that is, simply going through the motions of worship or singing self focused songs? I believe the day is coming and in some places is here when worship will not be merely a service
starter in our churches but the most important part of the service because it is what brings God's presence. If we want to live in His presence, we will always have a new song in the spirit playing inside of us. Corporate worship in churches will also become the longest part of the service because the people will enter into His presence and stay there. God will speak to His people, to each person, as a son or daughter. Then the transformations of the heart will accelerate, and, among other things, it will not take years for believers to develop spiritual maturity.

I believe we will see unusual miracles, signs, wonders, and transformations that have never before been seen as the presence of God, in an atmosphere created by praise and worship, through believers who will not settle for less than His presence in their midst. God is ready and anxious to manifest Himself, and all He needs is for us to build the throne. We must give God and His worship top priority. We must take all the time we need to worship Him until His presence manifests, regardless of how long it takes. For many today, it will take the putting away of our agenda's; the turning away from religion; putting a stop to church as usual; and mostly, the dying of self. So, let us pull out the stops, the inhibitions, the limitations, and church as usual mindset and let us create an atmosphere of true worship where God can arise in the midst of His people.

Monday, May 21, 2018

What's The Hurry

I believe the first and foremost ministry of the church, every believer, is that of praise and worship. I am not talking about simply singing songs, but heartfelt, exuberant, awe struck, adoration of the Lord God Almighty. God spoke of David the king as a man after His heart. (1 Samuel 13:14; Acts 13:22) This has absolutely nothing to do with David being more special to God than anyone else, because we know the God is not a respecter of persons, He does not show partiality. (Acts 10:34; Romans 2:11) Showing no favoritism, David still knew how good, wonderful, glorious and spectacular God was (is) and reveals it in his heart of thanksgiving to God. Many of the Psalms that David wrote reflected this in the way he let go of all inhibitions in his praise and worship to God. For instance...

"Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands! Serve the Lord with gladness; Come before His presence with singing. Know that the Lord, He is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures to all generations." (Psalm 100) Looking at only this Psalm, it should cause believers to at least question ourselves as to why most in congregational gatherings, approach praise and worship emotionless, lifeless and with time restraints. Here we see David, a man like any other man, who was not born again, who the Holy Spirit was with but not in, who was under a lesser covenant with lesser promises, showing us the heart of praise and worship to the Lord.

When David led Israel to transport the Ark of God in the proper, prescribed way, to Jerusalem, he was not embarrassed, he was not concerned what others might say, he simple, "...danced before the Lord with all his might..." (2 Samuel 6:14) There were no hymnals, no smoke or flashing lights and there were no time limits placed on praising and worshiping God. I am not trying to be critical, but thought provoking in the following questions. What is the purpose of believers meeting together in what we call a church service, when we place restraints on praise and worship such as, no shouting, no dancing, no exuberant rejoicing, no clapping, bowing and worse yet, squeezing praise and worship into our time restrictions? Are we truly coming together to experience Gods presence or only having a religious convocation? Are we even expecting God to be apart of our services and manifest His presence among us? Do we believe as David also tells us, "But You (God) are holy, enthroned (Inhabit) in the praises of Israel (your people). (Psalm 22:3)  

I truly believe that God is raising up a new generation of people of all ages who will expect nothing less in a church service than to have the Lord presence. They will not be satisfied by simply singing songs, but have an insatiable desire to meet with the Lord. They will not be concerned with time or what others may say, but will praise and worship the Lord without restrictions and or restraints, knowing that He will show up where is exalted, honored and welcomed. This generation will thirst for His glory to manifest on earth. Although, the darkness in the world may become denser each day; although wickedness may multiply; the manifestation of God on earth will also become more powerful with each passing moment. This will be a generation of praise and worshipers that God will also say, "they are after my own heart." Therefore, this glorious generation who praise and worship the Lord like David, "with all their might" will impact the world and gather the greatest harvest of souls ever seen. 

I believe that entire towns, cities and nations will be shaken by God's glory manifesting and multitudes of people will recognize Jesus as Lord and Savior. I believe that the most remarkable manifestations of His presence will be seen through countless miracles, signs, and wonders taking place. We will see many believers in various congregations where these things are prohibited and even spoken against, who are hungering for these things, being led by the Holy Spirit to congregations who experience these very things now. I believe we will also see many of God's children who have left various congregations, who also are hungering for the Lord's presence, return and become a vital part of those congregations who experience these things regularly. 

Are you willing to be transformed and join this new generation? If your answer is yes, God will take care of everything because He does not want you to waste your time following religious norms nor the new ideas and practices being implemented in many congregations that are used to simply grow numbers and not true followers of Jesus. He wants you to enjoy the highest dimension of His glory. Surely, no change is easy and for most, it is usually difficult and even painful for some. But if that is what it takes to enter into a new and greater dimension of God's presence, then I want it. 

David also tells us, "...In Your presence is fullness of joy..." (Psalm 16:11) Do you want this fullness of joy that only God's presence can bring? The Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul tells us, "Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord." (2 Corinthians 3:17-18) Do you also want to be changed under the glory of God? I want to encourage you right now, dare to let go; do not be in a hurry; let God arise; delight in the Lord; and let the freedom and joy that is experienced through worshiping the Lord in spirit and truth, release His glorious presence transforming us from glory to glory! Jesus tells us, "But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth." (John 4:23-24) God is still searching for true worshipers to worship Him. Are you one that He has found?

So, as David said, let us "Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands! Serve the Lord with gladness; Come before His presence with singing. Know that the Lord, He is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures to all generations." (Psalm 100) May the grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ fill you... 

Monday, February 24, 2014

The Power of Worship - Part 3

We have look at the power that true praise and worship has in releasing the power of God, defeating the enemy and blessings His people. Can we honestly say that the power of God is released in the average church worship service today? For most, it is not. So what is going on? For some time now, what is called contemporary praise and worship has infiltrated the church almost by storm. However, since the start of the 21st century there has come a noticeable difference in the lyrics that needs to be addressed. Revelation paints a glorious picture of the worship that take place before the throne of God, “The four living creatures, each having six wings, were full of eyes around and within. And they do not rest day or night, saying: "Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come!" Whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying: "You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power; For You created all things, and by Your will they exist and were created." (Rev. 4.8-11)

We see further, “Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song, saying: "You are worthy to take the scroll, and to open its seals; For You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, And have made us kings and priests to our God; And we shall reign on the earth." Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice: “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honor and glory and blessing!" And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying: "Blessing and honor and glory and power be to Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, forever and ever!" Then the four living creatures said, "Amen!" And the twenty-four elders fell down and worshiped Him who lives forever and ever.” (Rev. 5.9-14)

Although this praise and worship is taking place in heaven, it no way infers that praise and worship should be different on earth. The point in this is, true praise and worship comes from a heart that is filled with great reverence, awe, fear, joy, adoration and exaltation that is directed to the Lord. We are to praise and worship Him. If you listen closely to many contemporary songs that have filled many congregation today, it has become somewhat difficult to know whom the song is addressing. The name of Jesus is hardly ever spoken and there is rarely the acknowledging Him as Lord. There are also many songs that do not contain scripture in the lyrics, but many of the songs that use scripture in the lyrics tend to take the scripture out of context, which twists their true meaning. Another unfortunate aspect that we see in many contemporary songs today is the words, He, Him, His have been replaced with me, my, I.

It seems that once again in order to reach the lost soul, the church has cut the Lord out of the equation. Music is a very powerful medium and if the church is not willing to worship God in Spirit and Truth with their focus on exalting Him, then we cannot blame our children for listening to secular music that focuses on the works of the flesh. This is not to say that contemporary music should be eliminated from the church, but that those responsible for music in every congregation should scrutinize the lyrics of every song before they refer to them as praise or worship songs. This also does not insinuate that hymns are the only songs that are pure worship; on the contrary, some of the sweetest sounding hymns also have lyrics that are not focus on the Lord but on the believer. In addition, many hymns place the focus on the afterlife for the believer. Examples of this are, “When we get to heaven we will have the victory;” “When we get to heaven we will be new;” “When we get to heaven we will have rest;” yet God’s Word assures the believer of their victory, new life and rest in Christ right here on planet earth. Regardless of which style of music individual congregation’s desire, the church today must put its focus on the Lord if it is going to truly worship Him.

The church must never exclude an intimate time of ministering to the Lord through praise and worship. We must refrain from placing a limited time of praise and worship in our gatherings. We must reject songs that are not the Word of God as well as songs that do not directly exalt the Lord. To abandon true praise and worship for any reason is to say that God is not worthy of our admiration and we do not need His presences to have a successful church service. Again, church leaders must scrutinize songs so that the music and lyrics is completely God focused. Otherwise, we cannot say that we are worshiping the Lord. Church can no longer fall prey trying to please men instead of God or just sing nice songs if we truly want to experience the glory of the Lord in our congregations. I want to challenge you the reader to take time everyday in praise and worship to the Lord. So let us "Let God arise, let His enemies be scattered..." (Psalm 68:1)

Monday, February 17, 2014

The Power of Worship - Part 2

As we saw last time, when God's people look to Him and not their circumstances and begin to praise and worship Him, He moves in our midst defeating the enemy and bringing deliverance to His people. Another story that the Bible record showing us the power of praise and worship is seen in the Book of Acts as seen in the lives of Apostle Paul and Silas. They were taken into custody for casting a demon out of a woman who was used to earn money for her master, “Then the multitude rose up together against them; and the magistrates tore off their clothes and commanded them to be beaten with rods. And when they had laid many stripes on them, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to keep them securely. Having received such a charge, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks. But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone's chains were loosed. And the keeper of the prison, awaking from sleep and seeing the prison doors open, supposing the prisoners had fled, drew his sword and was about to kill himself. But Paul called with a loud voice, saying, "Do yourself no harm, for we are all here.  Then he called for a light, ran in, and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. And he brought them out and said, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" (Acts 16.22-29)

We see several things unfold in this account. Paul ans Silas were beaten with rods, placed into the inner prison and their feet fastened in stocks. This would mostly be enough for the average believer to murmur and complain to God for being abused in such a way. But instead of murmuring and complaining, "...at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God." What took place due to their actions of placing their focus on the Lord rather than their circumstances, we note that "...the prisoners were listening to them." This is an important lesson for us to learn. How many people, saved or unsaved are listening to our words without us even knowing? Let's be honest, most believers, way to often murmur and complain aloud about their circumstances not giving any thought to the damage their words are causing and the negative affect that their words are having. They must believe that God somehow does not know their struggles or worse yet, that God Himself has brought these circumstances upon them for some reason that only He knows.

If Paul and Silas murmur and complained instead of praying and worshiping God, the situation would not have had the impact that it had. The fact that they chose to pray and worship gave God permission and access to release His power. Remember Psalms 22:3 "But You are holy, Who inhabit the praises of Your people." Let's look at God operating in this situation, "Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone's chains were loosed." The power of God manifested right in the inner prison. Right in the midst of what we would consider a bad situation.

Finally, we see the distance that praise and worship can go in a situation such as this, "And the keeper of the prison, awaking from sleep and seeing the prison doors open, supposing the prisoners had fled, drew his sword and was about to kill himself. But Paul called with a loud voice, saying, "Do yourself no harm, for we are all here.  Then he called for a light, ran in, and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. And he brought them out and said, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved? The results of this situation is, “Now when he (the jailer) had brought them (Paul and Silas) into his house, he set food before them; and he rejoiced, having believed in God with all his household.” (Acts 16.34) Praise the Lord. The jailer and His household were saved opening a door for a church plant in Philippi.

Praising and worshiping God in any situation or circumstance unleashes the power of God. It defeats the
enemy and opens door for the preaching of the gospel and the salvation of lost souls. Next time we will take an honest look at the way most congregations today approach worship which will beg the question, "Are we really worshiping or just sing songs?" 

Monday, February 10, 2014

The Power of Worship - Part 1

During the ministry of Jesus on earth as the Son of Man, He had an encounter with a Samaritan woman who was from the City of Sychar. During His conversation with her He made this statement, “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth." (John 4.24) First let's look at what the word worship carries with it, to adore; to pay divine honors to; to reverence with supreme respect and veneration; to honor with extravagant love and extreme submission; to perform acts of adoration. In other words, worship is not just playing music and singing songs with nice lyrics, but is a deep heartfelt adoration for the Lord. To worship in spirit is to permit the Holy Spirit to move upon the believer’s redeemed spirit causing, honor, reverence, adoration and devotion to ascend to God. In other words, Jesus is saying that true worship only connects with God in the Spirit because He is Spirit.  We also see Jesus telling the woman that true worship to God is also through truth. In John 14:6, Jesus proclaimed Himself the ultimate reality of absolute truth. Therefore, the believer worships the Father by depending on and responding to the Holy Spirit then through Jesus Christ (the Truth) worship becomes genuine and acceptable to God.

When looking at praise and worship in the early church it is easy to imagine how intense and powerful it was. However, we must remember that the church started with the Jews at Jerusalem, a people who once had a king named David who was also a priest, prophet, warrior and most importantly, a man after God’s heart. The Bible records that as David brought the Ark of the Covenant to the City of David that he and all the house of Israel played music before the Lord on all kinds of instruments. (2 Samuel 6:5) This is important for us to see because it is quite sad that the church today differs on what instruments are considered appropriate and which ones are considered inappropriate when in fact we see that Israel played music before the Lord on all kinds of instruments.

Another thing that we should note, is David the king danced before the LORD with all of his might. (2 Samuel 6:15) Unfortunately, David’s wife Michal despised him for leaping and whirling before the Lord. (2 Samuel 6:16) She equated him to one of the base fellows shamelessly uncovering himself. (2 Samuel 6:20) However, when we take a closer look at the word praise, it carries with it some interesting ideas: to make a show; to boast; celebrate; virtue; excellence; manliness. So, let's put some of these words together, and see why David danced with all of his might before the Lord. He was celebrating, acting virtuous’, excellent and manly. I always find it interesting how the people in the Old Testament were bound by the Law, yet free to express themselves in praise and worship while believers today are free from the Law but seem bound to express their heartfelt adoration and jubilation for the Lord through praise and worship. The early church did not have this problem, because the King of Kings was the focus, not themselves nor anything else.

Let us look at an extreme situation and what happened when the people praised God, “It happened after this that the people of Moab with the people of Ammon, and others with them besides the Ammonites, came to battle against Jehoshaphat.” (2 Chronicles 20:1) Judah was facing annihilation, but the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jahaziel and he spoke to the people, “…thus says the Lord to you: 'Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God's.” (2 Chronicles 20:15) “You will not need to fight in this battle. Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord…” (2 Chronicles 20:17) We read further, “And Jehoshaphat bowed his head with his face to the ground, and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem bowed before the Lord, worshiping the Lord. Then the Levites of the children of the Kohathites and of the children of the Korahites stood up to praise the Lord God of Israel with voices loud and high.” (Chronicles 20:18-19)Notice in the midst of this peril, they stood up to praise the Lord God of Israel with voices loud and high.

Next, “And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed those who should sing to the Lord, and who should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army and were saying: "Praise the Lord, for His mercy endures forever." (2 Chronicles 20:21) Just as the prophet spoke, we see that the battle was the Lords, “So when Judah came to a place overlooking the wilderness, they looked toward the multitude; and there were their dead bodies, fallen on the earth. No one had escaped.” (2 Chronicles 20:24) With their focus on the Lord and lifting up loud and high voices, the Lord defeated the enemy. Do we see just how important praise and worship is? It is not about us, the instruments we use or don't use, it's about placing our focus upon the Lord, magnifying and exalting Him.

In this particular situation, we see God defend His people and defeat the enemy that was set against them. The same thing holds true today. When the church worships God as He has prescribed, in Spirit and Truth, then we are permitting Him to have access to our difficulties. We give Him permission to bring healing, deliverance, that is salvation in our midst. This is defeating the enemy who has brought these things upon God's people. Psalm 22:3 tells us, "But You are Holy, Who inhabit the praises of Your people." To inhabit means, to live or reside in; to be present in; fill. God does not just hear our praise and worship, but He enjoys being in our very midst. As we minister to Him as priests, He reciprocates and ministers to us His children. What a most wonderful thing to experience. But are you experiencing these things? Are you worshipping God in Spirit and Truth so that He can inhabit your praises?

Next time, we will look at another Bible example of the Power of Worship. In the meantime, "Let everything that has breath praise the Lord." (Psalm 150:6)   

Monday, September 30, 2013

The Purpose of the Church - Worship

I believe that the chief purpose for the church's existence is to glorify and worship God. My reasoning comes from what will take place in the presence of God at the end of time which is recorded in  Revelation 4:8-11 "Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come!"..."You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and by Your pleasure they exist and were created." Notice that worship is directed towards God alone. What I mean is that if we look at many of the hymns of old and most of what we call contemporary Christian music of today, we will find that the majority of the lyrics are not focused on God but on the believer. For instance, many hymns put everything that believers are entitled to in this life off until they leave this life for the next. Also, the larger portion of the lyrics of contemporary Christian music tend to be beggarly prayers, that is, pleading with God by asking Him to do something that He has already done and made available to believers through Christ. Some other lyrics have taken scripture out of context or have declarations that are never acted upon and sadly, the lyrics almost never mentions the Name of Jesus.

Neither the Old or New Testament reveal a specific form or order of worship, but there is a way that God is to be worshiped. In John's gospel Jesus encounters a woman from a city called Sychar near the plot of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph, by a well. Although she insisted that she, a Samaritan (basically backslidden Israelites) worshiped the same God as the Jews worshiped, Jesus gives her a revelation of true worship, "Jesus said to her, "Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth." (John 4:21-24)

Jesus reveals to the woman that God is Spirit. This removes any concept that God is an image or relic of any type. He also reveals that true worship of God will only be accomplished by worshiping Him in spirit and truth. Any other worship is actually idolatry. To worship in spirit believers must understand that God is Spirit and relates to humanity in the spiritual realm. With this knowledge, the believer then yields to the Holy Spirit who moves upon and energizes the believers recreated spirit to connect with God. God's Word is truth (John 17:17) so to worship God in truth means to worship according to His Word. In other words, the Bible records various ways to worship God, singing and speaking praise, shouting, lifting hands, clap, stand, bow, dance and playing a variety of instruments.

The bottom line is, worship is not just songs to sing that contain nice lyrics, but an attitude of the heart, exalting, honoring and adoring God Himself. The Holy Spirit speaking through the apostle Paul says, "For we are the circumcision, (Christians, circumcision of the heart) who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh." (Philippians 3:3) This too should challenge believers to lay aside all the songs that take the focus off of God and causes believers to petition God for all their needs, wants, worries and concerns that He has already met and provided for His children through Christ. We should also consider eliminating songs that put all the promises that God has made available to His children off until we reach heaven as well as songs that have taken scripture out of context. These things may sound callous and even difficult to do, but they are necessary if the church is to truly worship God. Let's look once again at the revelation that John received concerning true worship. 

"And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth. Then He came and took the scroll out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne. Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song, saying, You are worthy to take the scroll, and to open its seals; For You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and have made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign on the earth." Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honor and glory and blessing! And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying, blessing and honor and glory and power be to Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, forever and ever. Then the four living creatures said, "Amen!" And the twenty-four elders fell down and worshiped Him who lives forever and ever." (Revelation 5:6-14)


This my friends is worship!!!
      

Monday, May 6, 2013

Shout a Little Bit Louder Now

Every season of each year brings various sporting events, whether, baseball, football, soccer, hockey, tennis and so on. Events like these are considered team or individual sports. That mean that there are two different teams or individuals competing against one another. It also means that there are spectators that are cheering for their favorite team or individual. When the contest is close or especially when those who are competing score points, the spectators most likely jump up and shout. For the most part, there is nothing wrong with having a favorite team or person that you want to see win the contest. But as Christians, do we tend to shout more for achievements of people who have no ability to save, heal or deliver another person from the bondage of sin and Satan than we do for the Lord and Savior of all men? I believe the best way to answer this question would be to take some Sunday's and visit several church congregations to observe the peoples response or actions during worship.

Praise and worship is a powerful way for believers to express their humble adoration as well as their jubilant admiration for all that God is and what He has done through Jesus Christ. Jesus is the champion of all champions. No one in the history of mankind has ever gained such an incredible victory or as it were, scored more points than He, and yet most Christians approach to praise and worship is just singing nice songs. We disguise our lack of passionate, energetic, heartfelt praise and worship by saying "we are showing our reverence toward Him" and yet without hesitation, will clap and shout aloud at a sporting event. Case in point. I recently attended what was called "Grandparents Day" at a Christian School. There were about 300 in attendance. The students sang numerous songs with lyrics about Gods magnificence, splendor and glory. Song of the greatness of the Lord Jesus Christ and yet the atmosphere was quiet and reserved. Even at the end of each song, with the exception of myself, there was no shouts of "amen, praise the Lord, hallelujah" or any such thing.

One of the greatest accounts recorded in the Bible that reveals uninhibited praise and worship is found in 2 Samuel 6 and 1 Chronicles 13, "And so it was, when those bearing the ark of the LORD had gone six paces, that he sacrificed oxen and fatted sheep. Then David danced before the LORD with all his might; and David was wearing a linen ephod. So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the LORD with shouting and with the sound of the trumpet." (2 Samuel 6:13-15) "Then David and all Israel played music before God with all their might, with singing, on harps, on stringed instruments, on tambourines, on cymbals, and with trumpets." (1 Chronicles 13:8) Try to imagine what was taking place. Israel, led by David the king were transporting the Ark of the Covenant which included the Mercy Seat, to the City of David. To Israel, this sacred piece of furniture represented the presence of God.

Notice, "David danced before the Ark with all his might while all Israel played music before God with all their might." This should strike a chord in our heart. Again, the Ark represented the presence of God not the indwelling, empowering presence of God that comes to all those who confess with their mouth the Lordship of Jesus Christ, receive Him as their Savior and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Think about it. Jesus had not yet become mans substitute for sin, therefore not one person at this time was born again and filled with the Spirit, yet the leader of Israel, King David thought nothing of dancing before Israel and the Ark with all of His might while Israel played music with all their might.

Some may say that it was a cultural thing, but I contend it was a God thing. They were celebrating "The God Who Sees" (Genesis 16:13), "Almighty God" (Genesis 17:1), "The Lord Who Provides" (Genesis 22:14), "The God Who Heals" (Exodus 15:26), "The Lord Who Sanctifies" (Exodus 31:13), "The God Who Keeps His Word and Makes it Good" (Numbers 23:19), "The Lord Who is Peace" (Judges 6:24), "The Almighty Who is Excellent in Power, in Judgment, and Abundant Justice, Who does not afflict" (Job 37:23), "The Lord the Shepherd" (Psalm 23:1), "The Lord Who is Good" (Psalm 34:8) "The Lord Who Delivers" (Psalm 34:17), "The Lord Who is Merciful and Gracious" (Psalm 103:8), "The Lord Who is full of Compassion" (Psalm 145:8).

Of course if we do not know God's true nature and character, as revealed in the above scriptures which are just a few examples of many, then it becomes difficult to let go and worship Him as Israel did. However, let's keep in mind, "For I am the LORD, I do not change..." (Malachi 3:6), "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever." (Hebrews 13:8), "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning." (James 1:17) God has not, nor will He ever change. In fact He reveals His will, nature, character, purposes and plan through Jesus Christ more than the Law or the Prophets or any one else (Hebrews 1:1-4).

There are numerous Bible references revealing the presence and power of God released when His people truly praise and worship Him. The picture painted in Revelation 4 - 5 of worship in heaven before God is a tremendous sneak preview of what the saints will be doing for eternity. So, if we are going to shout at the achievement of men, then it is time to shed our fears and inhibitions and as the children of God, lift up our voices and shout even louder to Him Who sits on the Throne and unto the Lamb. Someone shout, "PRAISE THE LORD."          

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Let Us Worship Jesus Our King

The word worship means, to honor, revere, adore, pay homage, render devotion and respect. In John 4 Jesus encounters a woman from a city of Samaria called Sychar. The conversation leads to a discussion about worship. We see that the women states that Jews and Samaritans worship God just in different places. But Jesus says that the Father was seeking those who would worship Him not in a specific place but in spirit and truth. It’s not a matter of playing music and singing songs with Godly lyrics, it’s whether believers do it Gods way or not. To worship in spirit, is to allow the Holy Spirit to move upon the believer’s redeemed spirit causing , honor, reverence, adoration, devotion and respect to ascend to God. To worship in truth is to worship according to the Word of God which is Gods way.

We see in Luke 24:53 "And were continually in the temple praising and blessing God. Amen." The early church was able to see God in all things because He is LORD of heaven and earth. God was showing Himself through signs and wonders, He had moved on the hearts of the people where they had a common cause, they participated in mutual assistance, they ate meals together, they were excited and they showed it with an attitude of gratitude. Although this move of God had not been called Christianity yet, it would become a new culture that superseded all other cultures. They were the family, the children of the living God. The church was not an institution made up of buildings in various locations, it was people from various location that formed a living body. That living body was one filled with praise and worship.

"Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord." (Colossians 3:16)
"Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name." (Hebrews 13:15)
"But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;
(I Peter 2:9)

As the early church, we to are called to proclaim Gods glory by ascribing praise and worship to Him continually. So let's lift up our voices, shout it loud and sing praises to whom all blessings flow!!!