Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth. (John 4:23-24)
I once went to a business conference where all of us were Christian people worshiping the Lord. I found myself with about 10 or more other men down the front lifting my hands singing to God with tears flowing down my face…time seemed to stand still and I lost track of what was happening around me…it was just me and Him…worshiping…totally free, not worrying about what other people thought. Towards the end I turned around and found almost everyone else doing the same thing. It will be something I will never forget.
David sang in a Psalm, I will enter Your gates with thanksgiving in my heart.
What can I give back to God for the blessings he’s poured out on me? I’ll lift high the cup of salvation-a toast to God! I’ll pray in the name of God I’ll complete what I promised God I’d do, and I’ll do it together with his people. When they arrive at the gates of death, God welcomes those who love him. Oh, God, here I am, your servant, your faithful servant: set me free for your service I’m ready to offer the thanksgiving sacrifice and pray in the name of God. I’ll complete what I promised God I’d do, and I’ll do it in company with his people, In the place of worship, in God’s house, in Jerusalem, God’s city. Hallelujah! (Psalm 116:12-19)
Sing a new song to the Lord! Let the whole earth sing to Him! ~ Psalm 96:1
I’m thinking of the effects ‘wind’ has on me…there are the blustery winds of spring. I call them ‘Winnie the Pooh days’. They bring anticipation of change and with it usually, the motivation to work…like preparing the soil to plant new crops or flowers. It is like an ‘awakening time’ that is also evident in nature; things coming to life, new beginnings. This brings to mind the times of worship when we just spontaneously begin to sing our praise to the Lord. A new, fresh song, birthed from the heart of our spirit. The melody and lyrics flow like the winds of spring, bringing a sense of refreshing and renewal. I love those times.
Be still, and know that I am God. Psalms 46:10
Over the past few months and especially the past several weeks I have been limited in the use of my right arm due to an injury and surgical repair of the rotator cuff in my shoulder. What was more of a nuisance as far as pain and limitations, at times became more intense, to say the least, after my surgery. I was told that the injury would not heal on its own but would have to be repaired surgically and then heal. The physical therapy is the most important part of reaching the goal of regaining the strength and use of my arm. The down side is that it is very painful! I have to willfully submit and be still and relaxed as the therapist manipulates my arm and shoulder instructing me in how to do certain routines of exercise. I now understand the cliche ‘No Pain No Gain’.
A few weeks ago I found myself reading a newsletter article, “The Next Big Thing,” several times. Did I understand correctly that this article was written by a successful worship leader in a thriving church? I went to his web site and looked for confirmation. I checked out the blog … did I read it right….did he really say, “I’m so impressed with NBT I’ve decided to join them?” I wanted to believe he was quoting someone else.
I have lots of struggles. Woe is me. Nothing like a good pity party is there? This is how it goes with a few of them. As a worship leader/song writer/worship team member I’ve often found myself making comparisons. You know, I compare my voice, musical ability, song writing skills and leadership style to others. I don’t make it easy on myself either. It’s always Matt Redman, Brian Doerksen, Chris Tomlin, Paul Baloche, etc. The “biggies” of course. And you know what? I never seem to measure up.
Did you ever notice that God doesn’t waste a thing? I’ve found that He will use anyone, any situation, any and all circumstances (be they good or bad) to burn off the impurities in our character. This process is known as refining or purification (Malachi 3:3). Let me assure you that it isn’t always a pleasant experience. It rarely is and I do have a few impurities. Let me give you a for instance.
Sing to the LORD a new song, for he has done marvelous things; his right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him. (Psalm 98:1)
God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth. (John 4:23)
True worship is born out of the Spirit of God. If worship is not born from the Spirit of God, it cannot, by definition, be worship.