Worship Pastor / Composer Travis L. Boyd and his wife, Cynthia, provide inspiration and resources for the worship community and all believers through sharing the blessings of worship, faith, family, ministry, music, love, & life. We also share information about Worship Sounds Music, which can be found on our Worship Sounds website at worshipsounds.com ~ Downloadable Choral Anthems * Solos * Orchestrations * Worship Songs * Accompaniment Trax

Posts tagged ‘worship is giving’

WORSHIP…it’s all about Giving!

The one true God,
the Creator of all that is,
has given to us everything that we have ever known.

Our lives,
our very breath,
our families,
our gifts and talents,
our earthly home,
sunshine and rain,
all of creation,
the capacity to love and be loved,
our minds and bodies,
our eternal souls,
His great love and mercy,
salvation,
and even His only Son

… all these are given to us from the hand of God the Father, the maker of Heaven and Earth.   What do we have that we can give to him?   Can any gift from the created ones be of value to the Creator of all that is?   After all, what do you give to the One who has absolutely everything?

God has shown us His eternal and pure love through the giving of all that He is. 
He has given us His message, the Word, both in the form of the scriptures and in the form of the Living Word, Jesus;  He has given His creativity, order, power, brilliance and majesty in Creation; He has given His love, mercy, grace, forgiveness, and patience in allowing us to choose whether to love and serve Him.  He has given us new life and purpose and an eternal home in Heaven through the gift of salvation.   He has given us His only Son, the most precious gift ever given, when we, as the recipients of this gift, were lost in sin and ugliness and the filth of selfishness.

As we think about the giving and loving nature of God, it follows that if God is our model for giving, there are certain facts that are always evident about the kinds of gifts that truly make a difference.

First of all, His giving is sacrificial to an extent that we are unable to fully comprehend.

Secondly, His giving always has our best interests at heart.

 Thirdly, God is ever present in His giving.

*  He gave us the earth as our temporary home, but he sustains it so that this life can continue according to His plan

*  He gave us himself in the person of His Son, God with us, Emmanuel.

*  He gives us salvation and comes to live within us.

With every gift, God also gives Himself.  If we are to give a gift that has meaning and value to Him, we must also be very present in the giving, not just for a moment in time but for a lifetime.  Though none of us will be able to perfectly fulfill the goal of giving our all to the Lord, we must press on and continue, with God’s help, to focus upon Him and diligently seek Him, striving to grow in our relationship with Him and to surrender all that we are to Him day by day and moment by moment.

What does the Bible have to say about our giving and how we must be present in the gift, in other words, giving ourselves? 

From Romans 12:1 & 2, the meaning is abundantly clear:

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

Because of God’s mercy, we know that He is good.  Our response to His goodness (as it has been revealed through His choice to show mercy) should then be (according to this scripture) our true and proper
(in some translations, “reasonable”) worship:
the giving of ourselves.

This is to be a sacrificial gift, and yet we are allowed to continue living this earthly life.  We become living sacrifices, giving up our own will for His good, pleasing, and perfect will.  We allow Him to transform us through His Spirit.  As our mind is renewed, we gain some level of understanding of His purpose and His will for our lives.  As we give ourselves to Him, all that we are is changed and made new.  (II Corinthians 5:17  “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”)  This new, spirit life within us causes us to want to live in a manner that brings honor and glory to the Lord, and this desire changes the focus of our lives.  We are no longer focused exclusively upon self and the world as it relates to our selves.  Instead, we begin to become aware that all that we think, say, and do has eternal importance.  Though we will never achieve perfection in this earthly life, we still seek to give to the Lord an intentional living sacrifice with every choice that we make.  We have the power of God through his Holy Spirit within us to help us follow through with our commitment to live for God’s glory, so we do not have to strive in our own strength.  We are to live as to the Lord, and not unto men.  (See Colossians 3:23 & 24)

When the very living of our lives has become an act of worship, recognizing God’s supremacy and worth in every decision and thought, worship is no longer an action but rather a lifestyle.  It’s a 24 / 7 / 365 … every moment of every day … goal of intentionally expressing God’s glory in all that we do, think, and say.**   In living out this lifestyle and this heart commitment to the One who has given us His all, we give the only gift that we can give to our Creator and Savior:  the gift of a transformed life that brings Him glory and joy!

CORPORATE  WORSHIP  AND  GIVING…

What about when we come together to worship the Lord?   How will we give to Him a time of focused worship that is meaningful and reverent, joyful and celebratory, and based upon what we read in the Bible about the types of giving that should characterize a gathering of God’s people for the purpose of worshipping Him together?  What are some of the Biblical references that could be applied to our efforts to give of ourselves to the Lord through worship?

1.  We are to give God THANKSGIVING and PRAISE!

* Psalm 100:4   “Enter His gates with thanksgiving And His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name.”

* Psalm 9:1 & 2   “I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart: I will tell of all Thy wonderful deeds.  I will be glad and exult in Thee, I will sing praise to Thy name, O Most High.”

2.  We are to give God GLORY!

(or, glorify Him)

* Psalm 86:12   “With all my heart I will praise you, O Lord my God. I will give glory to your name forever.”

* Psalm 96:6 – 9   “Honor and majesty are before Him, strength and beauty are in His sanctuary.  Give unto the Lord, O ye kindreds of the people, give unto the Lord glory and strength.  Give unto the Lord the glory due unto His name; bring an offering, and come into His courts.  O worship the Lord in the beauty of Holiness; fear before Him, all the earth.”

3.  We are to give God AWE and REVERENCE, acknowledging Him as the Lord and Creator of all.

(In some verses and some translations, “the fear of the Lord”)

* Psalm 111:10   “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding. His praise endures forever!”

* Psalm 86:9 – 12   “All the nations You have made shall come and bow down before You, O Lord, and shall glorify Your name.  For You are great, and You do wondrous things; You alone are God.  Teach me Your way, O Lord, that I may walk in Your truth; unite my heart to fear Your name.  I give thanks to You, O Lord my God, with my whole heart; and I will glorify Your name forever.”

4.  We are to give God BLESSING.  (Bless the Lord, bless the name of the Lord)

* Psalm 103:22   “Bless the LORD, all you works of His, In all places of His dominion; Bless the LORD, O my soul!”

* Psalm 28:6 & 7   “Blessed be the Lord!  for He has heard the voice of my supplications.  The Lord is my strength and my shield; in Him my heart trusts; so I am helped and my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to Him.”

5.  We are to give Him EXALTATION!*  (or exalt Him, exalt His name)

From the www.thefreedictionary.com, here are the applicable definitions:

1. to raise or elevate in rank, position, dignity, etc.
2. to praise highly; glorify; extol
* Psalm 34:3   “Oh, magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together!”

*NOTE:  The word ‘exaltation’ sometimes gets confused with ‘exultation’, for which the definition is “to rejoice greatly, be jubilant or triumphant (or, as in triumph.  We rejoice greatly in His triumph.)  — same source

6.  We are to give Him SERVICE (giving of our hearts, our time, our gifts, and our lives in serving Him)

* Joshua 24:15   “If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”

Lift up His name!

7.  We are to give Him WORSHIP!

True worship rises up from the people of God, who are choosing to intentionally express His infinite worth! **

**(see note at end of post)

You have probably noticed by now that there is some overlap in the various types of giving to the Lord.  For example, in singing praise to God, we can bless His name.  In the worship category of giving, there is overlap with all other types of giving.  All of these ways of giving to the Lord are worship (lifestyle worship) when we are giving with the purpose of bringing glory to God and expressing His infinite worth through giving our best to God in every area of our lives.

* Psalm 29:2   “Honor the LORD for the glory of His name. Worship the LORD in the splendor of His holiness.”

* Phillippians 3:3   “For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.”

John 4:24   “For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.”

8.  We are to SING UNTO HIM!

* Psalm 5:11   “But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them sing joyful praises forever. Spread your protection over them, that all who love your name may be filled with joy.”

* Psalm 30:4   “Sing praises to the Lord, O you His saints, and give thanks to His holy name.”

* Psalm 59:16 & 17   “I will sing of Thy power; yes, I will sing aloud of Thy mercy in the morning; for Thou hast been my defense and refuge in the day of my trouble.  Unto Thee, O my Strength, will I sing; for God is my defense , and the God of my mercy.”   Psalm 59:16 & 17“I will sing of Thy power; yes, I will sing aloud of Thy mercy in the morning; for Thou hast been my defense and refuge in the day of my trouble.  Unto Thee, O my Strength, will I sing; for God is my defense , and the God of my mercy.”

9.  We are to give Him TITHES and OFFERINGS!

* Malachi 3:10   “Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house.  And thereby put me to the test, says the LORD of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.”

* Exodus 35:29   “The children of Israel brought a voluntary offering to Jehovah, every man and woman whose heart prompted them to bring for all manner of work, which Jehovah, by the hand of Moses, had commanded to be done.”

10.  We are to give Him HONOR!

* Revelation 4:11   “Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created.”

* Psalm 96:6 – 9   “Honor and majesty are before Him, strength and beauty are in His sanctuary.  Give unto the Lord, O ye kindreds of the people, give unto the Lord glory and strength.  Give unto the Lord the glory due unto His name; bring an offering, and come into His courts.  O worship the Lord in the beauty of Holiness; fear before Him, all the earth.”

* Proverbs 3:9   “Honor the LORD with your wealth and with the first and best part of all your income.”

Just as we would honor a guest in our home by seeking to serve our best meal and prepare diligently so that all will be able to enjoy the best time of fellowship, we choose to give unto the Lord the best of all that we are and all that we have for His honor.   We honor the Lord by giving, just as He has chosen to honor us by seeking fellowship with us and reaching out to us through the gift of His very best.

Psalm 8:3 – 5  

When I consider Your heavens,

the work of Your fingers,

the moon and the stars,

which You have set in place,

what is man that You are mindful of him,

the son of man that You care for him?

You have made him a little lower than the heavenly beingsc

and crowned him with glory and honor.”

11.  We are to give Him LOVE!

The words of Jesus Himself in Mark 12:30   “AND YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH.”

* Psalm 31:23   “Love the LORD, all you his saints! The LORD preserves the faithful but abundantly repays the one who acts in pride.”

* Joshua 22:5   “But be very careful to obey all the commands and the instructions that Moses gave to you. Love the LORD your God, walk in all his ways, obey his commands, hold firmly to him, and serve him with all your heart and all your soul.”

* Psalm 116:1   “I love the LORD, because he has heard my voice and my pleas for mercy.”

Give Him your heart

12.  We are to give Him OUR WHOLE HEART AND LIFE!

* I Chronicles 28:9   “And you, Solomon my son, know the God of your father and serve him with a whole heart and with a willing mind, for the LORD searches all hearts and understands every plan and thought. If you seek Him, He will be found by you, but if you forsake Him, He will cast you off forever.”

* Psalm 86:9 – 12    “All the nations You have made shall come and bow down before You, O Lord, and shall glorify Your name.  For You are great, and You do wondrous things; You alone are God.  Teach me Your way, O Lord, that I may walk in Your truth; unite my heart to fear Your name.  I give thanks to You, O Lord my God, with my whole heart; and I will glorify Your name forever.”

* Colossians 1:10   “And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God.”

* Psalm 56:13   “For you have rescued me from death; you have kept my feet from slipping. So now I can walk in your presence, O God, in your life-giving light.”

* Mark 8:35   “If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it.”

In demonstration of His infinite love for us, God continues to give.
In response to our efforts to give, He gives again in return.  It is impossible to give more of ourselves that He gives of Himself.  For God and for Jesus, demonstrating perfect love for us has been, is now, and will always be about giving.  For us, in giving to God honor, blessing, exaltation, thanksgiving, praise, glory, awe and reverence, love, honor, service, tithes and offerings, songs, and all that we are in life and in our hearts is our gift of worship and devotion to Him.  Again, he responds with more giving.  He gives His presence in response to true worship, and all Heaven breaks loose!  The Bible is full of promises for those who will give to the Lord their all.
Giving is about worship, and worship is all about giving.

“Honor and majesty are before Him, strength and beauty are in His sanctuary.  Give unto the Lord, O ye kindreds of the people, give unto the Lord glory and strength.  Give unto the Lord the glory due unto His name; bring an offering, and come into His courts.  O worship the Lord in the beauty of Holiness; fear before Him, all the earth.”‘   Psalm 96:6 – 9

GOD HAS GIVEN HIS ALL…may we follow His example.

<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>

**Here is a link to John Piper’s devotion where this definition of worship, paraphrased here, can be found:  http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/taste-see-articles/bodies-breakfast-and-the-marriage-bed

The wording of the original definition (directly quoted) in the first paragraph of this devotion is as follows:

“Worship” is the term we use to cover all the acts of the heart and mind and body that intentionally express the infinite worth of God. This is what we were created for, as God says in Isaiah 43:7, “Everyone who is called by my name, and whom I have created for my glory…” That means that we were all created for the purpose of expressing the infinite worth of God’s glory. We were created to worship.”

<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>

This post was written by C. Boyd.

For other posts on worship, view our category called “Worship with Wonder” at https://worshipsounds.wordpress.com/category/worship-with-wonder/

We also have a page entitled “Lifestyle Worship”  at this link:  http://wwwworshipsounds.wordpress.com/lifestyle-worship

The titles of additional pages related to worship ministry (on topics such as creative worship ideas, worship planning and preparation, and avoiding burnout in ministry) can be found in the header on our home page at the bottom of the scenic photo.

<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>

Do you know Jesus?

The decision to ask Jesus to come into your heart and life as your Lord and Savior is the best decision you could ever make!  The one true God is ready to give you forgiveness and eternal life as soon as you understand your need for Him and believe on the name of His only Son, Jesus, for your salvation.  Here’s a blog page link to help you find the answers to your questions about Jesus.  http://www.worshipsounds.wordpress.com/do-you-know-jesus/

<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>

WORSHIP in the New Testament

“And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.” Matthew 26:30

We know from Romans 12:1 & 2 that worship involves more than just the corporate gathering of God’s people.  Giving glory to God through the way the we live all of life should be the motivation for all we do as believers (lifestyle worship).  We also know that, according to Hebrews 10:25, God has set a priority on meeting together regularly.  Certainly, though we are to worship God intentionally every day as we seek to glorify Him in all that we say and do, corporate worship remains very important.  So, what can we glean from various scriptures regarding what took place in the earliest days of the church; and how do these truths apply to us today as individual worshippers and as members of a corporate body who meet together to worship?

There are five major areas of worship mentioned in the New Testament.  I will list the implications of each of these areas for church families as a whole (corporate worship) and for individuals who are part of a worship leadership team.

Prayer

PRAYER IN THE NEW TESTMENT CHURCH – Acts 4:23-31—The church was literally fighting for its existence in the early days.  They were constantly threatened with terrible punishment or even death because they were believers.  This fervent prayer expresses their desire for God to show Himself strong in the midst of difficult times.  The New Testament Christians, however, also were aware of the greatness of God.  Therefore, they would submit themselves to Him in humble and fervent prayer.

PRAYER IN THE CHURCH TODAY-  Prayer was first and foremost in the life of the New Testament church, and our communion with God must be a top priority in the life of our church today.  It must become the priority of our individual lives and the times that we spend together.  We are just as desperate for God to do a work as the New Testament church was.    

THE WORSHIP TEAM IN PRAYER – We must commit ourselves to regular, fervent prayer.  Our rehearsals must become permeated with prayer.  We must realize that the time we spend practicing music is secondary to our need for prayer.  God can do amazing things through us if we will commit to a faithful prayer life. 

Preaching

PREACHING IN THE NEW TESTAMENT – Acts 20:7-12 – The Apostle Paul was evidently both a very effective evangelist (Acts 14:1) as well as one who traveled about to various churches teaching them from the Word of God.  This remarkable passage makes note of the length of his message for the church at Troas on this particular occasion.  Peter was also well-known for his sermon on the day of Pentecost, and there must have been countless others who proclaimed the word of God through preaching.

PREACHING IN THE CHURCH TODAY – There are plenty of comments and opinions about what constitutes good preaching and what some consider to be not as good.  However, our only measuring stick must be the Word of God.  Is the Word being handled accurately by the preacher?  Are the truths explained in an understandable way, and is there a practical application being made to modern day life?  We must remember that our focus should be on what is being taught rather than focusing on the one who is doing the teaching.  Until we mature enough as believers to do this, there will always be people who think that sermons are boring and irrelevant, not interesting, not funny enough, and always too long.  God help us to fall in love with His Word!

PREACHING AND THE WORSHP TEAM – We must lift up our preachers in prayer faithfully.  As worship leaders, we are responsible for focusing our attention on the scripture texts as well as the explanations and applications associated with them.  Instead of talking about superficial things, such as what is being worn or not being worn, how effective the sermon delivery may have been, or the length of the sermon, we must talk about what we learned from God’s Word and what kind of an impact it will make on us in the days to follow.

Praise

PRAISE IN THE NEW TESTAMENT CHURCH — (Acts 2:46) – The church made praising God a regular part of their corporate worship gatherings.  An interesting thing to note is that the Bible does not specifically say that when the believers praised God that they were always singing.  There are times when singing is specifically mentioned, such as Acts 16:25 (Paul and Silas in prison), but spoken praise is mentioned in the book of Revelation 4:10-11.  In Ephesians 5:19-20, singing is specifically mentioned; and in chapter 5 of Revelation, there are specific references to singing “a new song” (Rev. 5: 9-10) and singing loudly (Rev. 5:12-13)

PRAISE IN THE CHURCH TODAY –While our lives must reflect praise to God at all times (Sunday through Saturday), there is something unique, powerful, and mystical about God’s people joining together in corporate praise.  Whether it’s two believers singing hymns and praying in a Philippian jail cell, or 15,000 gathered in a mega-church, God inhabits the praises of His people.  We must explore ways to praise God as a church, and we must be willing to concede that “our way” is not the only way that is valid.

PRAISE AND THE WORSHIP TEAM — We must understand our role as leaders of worship for the church.  We are truly servants who should seek to serve God and the people of this church by our worship leadership.  We must allow God to challenge us and change us into what He wants us to be.  We must be willing to listen to new things, try new things, sharpen our skills, put in the time it takes to lead with excellence, and find out how we can best serve our church as worship leaders.

Offerings

OFFERINGS IN THE NEW TESTAMENT CHURCH – It is interesting that financial offerings in the New Testament are generally spoken of in a very practical way.  (I Corinthians 16:1-3)   Aside from several Old Testament references, mainly in the book of Hebrews, the word offering is most closely associated with the life of the believer.  (Hebrews 13: 15-16, I Peter 2:5)

OFFERINGS IN THE CHURCH TODAY – We must not shy away from the practical nature of financial offerings.  God has determined that His people are going to finance His work.  We have to come to an understanding of our responsibility as believers to give regularly and generously.

OFFERINGS AND THE WORSHIP TEAM — It is criticially important that we offer to God all that we are and all that we have in order to be fully surrendered to Him.  That’s the only way that our lives will be open to his leadership.  In addition, it is hypocritical to think that we can be considered leaders in the church without being faithful in the area of financial stewardship.  Ask God to give you the faith to give as He intends for you to give.

Encouragement

ENCOURAGEMENT IN THE NEW TESTAMENT CHURCH – An important part of any corporate worship experience in the New Testament was the practice of believers encouraging (exhorting) one another through both spoken word and through the use of music.  The epistles of the New Testament were written forms of encouragement that were read in the various congregations.  While there are other worship acts mentioned in the New Testament, such as fellowship, prophecy, speaking in tongues, interpretation of tongues, lifting up holy hands, these really fall under the five major categories mentioned above.

ENCOURAGEMENT IN THE CHURCH TODAY—God knows that we need encouragement to live the Christian life abundantly.  We need encouragement from every angle.  We need to have sin in our lives pointed out regularly by God’s Word.  We need to celebrate victories in the lives of our fellow believers.  We need to cry with those who are hurting.  We need to be willing to take a chance to help a brother or sister in financial need.  We need to know that we are not in this thing alone.

ENCOURAGEMENT AND THE WORSHIP TEAM – As worship leadership team members, we have one of the most visible and influential platforms for encouraging the church!  Every anthem we sing or play, every image we put on the screen, every setting on the sound board should enable the encouragement of the church family.  We must strive to be outstanding encouragers in every way.  We must ask ourselves this before we open our mouths to share something with another church member:   “Will what I am about to say be encouraging or discouraging to the body of Christ?  Is this going to build up or tear down?”  Encouragement is contagious!

Each worship team member should make our leadership role in each of these areas of worship a matter of prayer and seek to consistently improve every area of servant leadership.  As you begin spiritual preparation for this week’s worship service, keep in mind the following thoughts:
*  True worship takes place when we realize the greatness of God and seek to glorify Him through our lives.
*  A regular gathering of the saints is necessary for our spiritual health!  Let’s be regular attenders!!
*  Every day of our life is an opportunity to live in such a way as to show our gratefulness for all of God’s blessings.
Remember, it’s not about the worship leaders.  It’s not about the preacher.  It’s not about the congregation.  It’s all about the incredible God we serve!

Post written by Travis L. Boyd as encouragement for worship leadership teams, first appearing as a devotional for our own worship team and as prayer reminders on our church’s worship team website.

<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>

Do you know Jesus?

The decision to ask Jesus to come into your heart and life as your Lord and Savior is the best decision you could ever make!  The one true God is ready to give you forgiveness and eternal life as soon as you understand your need for Him and believe on the name of His only Son, Jesus, for your salvation.  Here’s a blog page link to help you find the answers to your questions about Jesus.  http://www.worshipsounds.wordpress.com/do-you-know-jesus/

<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>

Understanding Worship

“I will praise Thee, O Lord my God, with all my heart; and I will glorify Thy name forevermore.” Psalm 86:12

How can we recognize authentic worship, and how can we make sure that we as individuals are authentic in worshipping our Almighty God?

 *  Is there a particular style or form of worship that is more authentic than any other?
*  Is there something that can be measured or seen in authentic worship?  

What is the focus of authentic worship, and what should be our understanding of what the word ‘worship’ really means?

Most importantly, HOW can our church experience the kind of dynamic worship that blows the doors off of our church buildings by spilling over and flooding into our daily lives and thereby impacting the community around us?

Perhaps, we need to look for the answer to this question:  “What did Jesus say about true worship?”

Jesus said that true worshippers will worship God in Spirit and in truth and that God seeks such worshippers (John 4:23 & 24).

What does it mean to worship God in Spirit and in truth?

The answer to this very important question often eludes God’s people, and sometimes there is very little attention given to the subject.   In over 35 years of active church life, since the time of our salvation, in the churches where Travis and I have served, we’ve heard very few sermons and Bible studies that specifically addressed the topic of worship in depth.  This topic may not be neglected in every congregation, but years of ministry have shown us that God’s people often have a lack of knowledge about true worship.  So many people seem to think that worship is a 25 minute time of singing just before the preaching begins in a congregational worship service.  Others have actually been told that the purpose of congregational worship is to “prepare the hearts of the people to receive the message from God’s word”  (preaching).  However, in reality, worship is worship!  Worship is our response to recognizing God’s ultimate worth.  The goal of worship is to give God glory We do not worship God in order to prepare for something else.  The preaching of God’s word is worship, too, when it brings God glory!   We worship through the proclamation of the word.  Unfortunately, many people have very wrong ideas about what worship is and how the concept of worship should fit into the everyday life of every Christian.

The primary focus for every Christian should be to relate to our holy God and worship Him, and yet we are woefully under-educated about how to do the very thing for which we were created and for which the church meets together every week.  In a corporate worship service and in the way that we live our daily lives, our focus should be on worshipping God and giving Him glory.   However, when we view God only through the lens of our own lives, what we want Him to do for us, and the blessings we seek, then our focus becomes all about us.   We become more concerned about what we get out of worship and not concerned at all about what we give!

The Bible tells us repeatedly to give God honor, glory, blessing, praise, worship, exaltation, joyful singing, thanksgiving, reverence, awe, and all that we are.  This is the key:  Worship (our response to our holy, almighty, and supreme God) is about giving!  It is not about us, or about our preferences, or about what we get out of the experience (although true worship does give back abundant blessings when we give Him the glory due His name!).

Worship is about seeing God for who He is…
the Creator of everything that is,
the Sustainer of Life,
the Holy and Righteous One,
the God of grace and glory,
the Merciful Father who sacrificed His one and only Son out of love for us!

Our response then becomes an effort to give all that we are to Him, seeking to bring Him glory in all of life.

That is worship.

Okay, so we’re supposed to give.  What happens when we come to a worship service without being ready to give?   There are a couple of scenarios.

A.  Sometimes we may feel that we have nothing to give.  God does not want our perfection…we have none.  He does not want us to pretend to feel anything other than what we feel.  If we are feeling lonely or sad, He wants us to confess that and give it to Him.  If we are struggling with trusting Him, He wants us to admit the struggle and ask Him to give us a heart of praise in the midst of it.  Whatever our burden may be, he wants us to lay it down and to exchange it for the garment of praise.  When we realize our need to be clothed with praise, intentionally seeking to give God glory in spite of circumstances, He can work in our hearts and lives in spite of any areas where we fall short of His will for us.  He meets us right where we are and continues to give the gifts of His presence, comfort, peace, assurance, gifts of the Spirit, and even quickens (wakes up and brings to life) His Spirit within us, enabling us to give and to worship.  Imagine what could happen when a whole congregations chooses the mindset of focusing on our Great God rather than on our problems, our faults, or the faults of others!  Wow!  That would be amazing!

B.  In contrast to this scenario, consider what happens when we sit down in the worship center and are not even aware that we could be bringing to God the offerings of praise, worship, our hearts and lives, exaltation, thanksgiving, and more through everything that takes place during the worship service (not just the singing!) ?   If we are not only unaware of our need to give Him praise but also unwilling to view the worship experience as one of giving, our focus is on self and ‘the Lord as He relates to me.’  Unfortunately, the end result of this approach is lifeless worship, selfish attitudes, and division within the fellowship.  If someone were to ask what we were doing, our response might be that we are giving God praise.  But unless we are truly praising God with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength and focusing on Him alone as though He were right there in the room with us (He is!), our words are nothing more that lip service.

True worship unites our hearts, because we all share a common focus…on Him!

Matthew 18:20 tells us that Jesus will be in our midst when we gather in His name!  Only as we lay aside every earthly attitude that would hinder true worship and put all of our focus on Him can we say that we are gathered in His name.  Without the presence of God, there is no power in worship.  The power comes from Him, not from us or from any specific forms of worship.  Whatever form our corporate worship service takes, if the people of God are not focused on bringing Him glory, then it is not really worship.

If I were a cartoonist, I would illustrate this post with some very meaningful cartoons.  These cartoons would depict how a fundamental misunderstanding of worship has resulted in a self-focus that is very harmful to the fellowship of the church.  The idea that the form or worship is the most important thing and the resulting attitude and fellowship problems can be well illustrated by several imaginary situations.

The Birthday Party
The first cartoon would picture a child’s birthday party where all of the guests have come wearing party hats with various slogans.  One hat pictures a chocolate ice cream cone with the slogan, “Just Say NO to Vanilla!”   Another hat says, “Bigger goody bags!”  Still another says, “More cake!”   You get the picture.  Unfortunately, the party guests would seem to have forgotten that the party is not about them and their preferences.  The purpose of the party is to celebrate and honor the birthday boy (or girl).   From experience as a party guest, I can testify that when one attends the party with the attitude that the party is for the honoree and that everyone wishes to contribute to the celebration of said person’s life, a guest can still have a great time and also the wonderful feeling of knowing that you helped someone you love have a really special moment in time.  There is joy in the giving because of  love!  Remember that God so loved that He gave!

Who is the guest of honor?

Who is the guest of honor?

God’s Sign
My second cartoon illustration would picture a congregation sitting in the pews, waiting for the service of worship to begin.  Several of the congregants are holding signs.  One sign says, “More hymns!”.   Another, “More worship songs!”, and still another, “More Southern Gospel”.  Other signs read, “More drums!’ and “Bigger choir!”   The second frame of this cartoon would show the platform area of the worship center.  Suddenly, a large cloud has appeared, hovering directly over the platform.  This is clearly not a normal cloud, for it is seemingly illuminated from within.   The third frame would show the startled looks on the faces of all of the members and ministers.  One person asks, “What in the world is that?”  In the fourth frame, an answer is given.  From the bottom of the cloud, a sign drops down with a 2 word message from God:  “More worship!”

Would we be worrying about our preferences if we could see Him?

Would we be worrying about our preferences if we could see Him?

In the Same Room
My third cartoon would again show a congregation in the pews (or chairs), with one very important difference.   This congregation is very visibly divided.  There are soundproof glass walls that extend all the way to the ceiling of the worship center and divide the seating area into sections.   Each seating area has it’s own mini platform in front, with a sign indicating the style of worship music that will take place in each section.  One section, labeled “Christian Rock”, has a full rock band set up, with lighting effects.  Another, labeled “Traditional Worship,”  has a choir and orchestra, and a piano and organ.   Another section, labeled “Southern Gospel,”  has a quartet warmed up and ready to sing.  Finally, the fourth section, labeled “Praise and Worship,”  has a praise band and praise team, a celebration choir, banners proclaiming God’s glory, and an incredible media set-up.   In the cartoon frame, a greeter has escorted a guest into the worship center.  As the guest takes in the scene, the greeter says, “Well, at least we’re still worshipping together!”   (Ouch!  Not really!)

[Note:  Remember that being together with our brothers and sisters in Christ is fellowship.  Worshipping together is divine communion.]

Techno Church
The fourth cartoon is unfortunately a really sad commentary and could take place not too far into the future.   In the first frame of the cartoon, each person in the worship center is wearing headphones and sitting in front of a screen.  You see, there is no longer enough unity to truly worship together, so the church of the future has settled for being in the same building at the same time.  Each individual controls their own “worship mix.”   At their personal computer screen, each person chooses which song videos they will see and hear on their screens and through their headphones.  They determine the style of the songs, which songs are sung, and even choose which group will perform them from a pre-recorded video menu.  Then, they can even choose their own sermon and preacher.  The middle frame shows everyone concentrating on their individual screens, isolated from fellow church members with their headphones and their individual worship service mix.  In the final frame, congregants begin to leave the worship center, having finished their ‘service’.  One shakes hands with another and says, “It was great to worship with you today.”   (Double ouch!)

I hope and pray that these last 2 cartoon depictions from my head don’t become reality!  We must begin to teach and preach and proclaim that true worship is about giving!   We’ll continue right down the slippery slope of demanding our own way and failing to extend any grace to other believers if we don’t begin to shout this message from the rooftops!  It’s not about me!  It’s not about you!  It’s not about one age group or another!  It’s not about a preferred musical style or your own particular list of favorite songs.  It’s not about formality or informality.  It’s not the style or cost of our clothing.

Worship is about Him!  It’s about giving God glory in every area of life, and corporately giving Him glory, honor, blessing, exaltation, thanksgiving, praise, and our whole hearts when we meet together to worship!  That, dear reader, is true worship!

Please, feel free to share this blog post with everyone you can think of!  God help us to worship Him in Spirit and in truth!

<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>

This post was written by Cynthia A. Boyd, with full responsibility and no apologies for its content.

Lord, please use the foolishness of bold words to draw hearts to yourself!

<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>

There are several additional posts about worship on our blog.  Read the following posts and pages for additional perspective, practical ideas, and inspiration:

1.  “Lifestyle Worship”  (page focusing on giving God glory in all of life)   https://worshipsounds.wordpress.com/lifestyle-worship/

2.  “Creative Worship Ideas”  (page, self-explanatory)  http://www.worshipsounds.wordpress.com/creative-worship-ideas/

3.  “Worship ABC’s”   (good as a reminder or even for a dramatic or media presentation in worship)  post published Nov. 7, 2011  http://www.worshipsounds.wordpress.com/2011/11/07/worship-abcs/

4.  “Worship Planning and Preparation”  (a comprehensive guide, with lots of inspiration and things to consider)  post published Jan. 26, 2012   http://www.worshipsounds.wordpress.com/2012/01/26/worship-planning-and-preparation/

5.  “Worship is Joy!”   (post focusing on the joy of giving God praise when we worship Him for who He is)   post published 1-31-2012   http://www.worshipsounds.wordpress.com/2012/01/31/worship-is-joy/

6.  Music is a gift…Worship the Giver!  (self-explanatory, very thought-provoking)

7.  https://worshipsounds.wordpress.com/2012/03/22/worship-its-all-about-giving-2/   Our best post on what worship really is, with every point sharing solid scriptural truth.

In addition, our page entitled “Lift Your Voice” is an extensive resource page for worship related scriptures from both the Old and New Testaments.  Check it out at http://www.worshipsounds.wordpress.com/lift-your-voice/

<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>

Here’s a link to a great article on the subject of worship and preference and what the REAL worship war is all about, written by Stephen Miller and published by the online mag Relevant Magazine.

http://www.relevantmagazine.com/god/church/modern-worship-music-wars

<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>

Do you know Jesus?

The decision to ask Jesus to come into your heart and life as your Lord and Savior is the best decision you could ever make!  The one true God is ready to give you forgiveness and eternal life as soon as you understand your need for Him and believe on the name of His only Son, Jesus, for your salvation.  Here’s a blog page link to help you find the answers to your questions about Jesus.  http://www.worshipsounds.wordpress.com/do-you-know-jesus/

<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>

WORSHIP is Joy!

We all meet together at the foot of the cross, leaving behind anything that would hinder the worship of Almighty God.

What a privelege and joy it is to be part of something that is older than the earth itself!  According to the book of Job, the heavenly hosts were engaged in worship of the Living God long before the creation of our solar system.  (Job 38)  In the book of Revelation, we are given vivid descriptions of worship that is going on in heaven even now.  (Rev. 4 & 5)  When something significant happened to Biblical characters, their first thought was to build an altar and worship the Lord.

When the armies of Israel were to go forth in battle, they were always lead by a group of worship leaders.  Have you ever wondered why?  It is because they recognized that they were powerless without God’s help.  They knew that if they acknowledged God as their strength, He would bring them victory.  Any time they got away from this truth, they suffered great defeats.  It is no different [for God’s people] today.  In order for God to empower and strengthen us, we must acknowledge His all-consuming greatness and submit to Him as our Creator and our Redeemer.  We must have the walls of pride and self-sufficiency come down in order to experience God’s full power in our lives and in the life of our church.

When the church gathers for a time of worship, we are all given an opportunity to experience God’s power within a community of fellow believers.  Jesus spoke of the power of believers being physically and spiritually together (Matthew 18:20).  This is so important for the health of our spiritual lives and for the work of the  church.  Nothing else can substitute for being a part of a corporate worship experience.   Truly, the most foundational part of the Christian experience is worship of the Living God!  Believers need to rediscover the joy of worshipping the Lord with the church family.  True worship is a life-changing experience (that becomes a life style) of recognizing and expressing God’s worth.  He is worthy of our worship and praise!

“Let the righteous be joyful; let them exult before God; let them be jubilant with joy!  Sing to God, sing praises to His name; lift up a song to Him who rides upon the clouds; His name is the Lord, exult before Him!”   Psalm 68:3 & 4

<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>

This post was written by Travis L. Boyd and is adapted from his article, “Worship is Joy!”  in the April 8, 2010, edition of The First Word, the church newsletter of First Baptist Church of Duluth, Georgia.

<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>

Do you know Jesus?

The decision to ask Jesus to come into your heart and life as your Lord and Savior is the best decision you could ever make!  The one true God is ready to give you forgiveness and eternal life as soon as you understand your need for Him and believe on the name of His only Son, Jesus, for your salvation.  Here’s a blog page link to help you find the answers to your questions about Jesus.  http://www.worshipsounds.wordpress.com/do-you-know-jesus/

<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>

Tag Cloud

%d bloggers like this: