Tuesday, June 8, 2010

You and I were made to worship

A while back I was watching and listening to Hillsong’s “Glory” on Youtube.
Listen to it here
... and these were some of the thoughts I wrote down while I listened ...

Such a blessing it is to see people worshiping God freely!! The song itself is a vehicle to bring the heart back to what’s most important.

Often, people in the course of a week can accumulate layers of caked-on filth, like people long ago used to accumulate on their feet when they walked in sandals on dirt roads. Praise and worship – especially worship – is like the water that washes that contamination off. More often than not, it takes a good soaking to loosen the dirt of cares and burdens that comes from our contact with the world, and let it be washed away. In practical terms, two or three songs often isn’t going to touch that place in us that really needs to be touched and cleansed so that we’re receptive to what God wants to do to move us inside the outer court of our flesh, into the spirit realm where He can meet with us.

I'm now listening to "related links" - as one song finishes I click on another in the same theme.

We underestimate the amazing power of corporate worship. We underestimate it because that’s what the enemy of our souls wants. He used to lead worship in God’s throne room, before his fall to Earth. He knows how powerful it is. That’s why satan targets worship and worship leaders before anything or anyone else. He knows that in real worship (there with unveiled face beholding a reflection of the glory of the Lord) we are touched in our spirits and there, transformed from glory to glory. That’s the last thing he wants. So he uses our human need for structure, perhaps our concern with how we are being received by people, and our tradition – especially our tradition (focus on time constraints, order of service, doing the “right things”) – to fool us into thinking that worship is what we do to get ready for the sermon, or to fill in time until everyone else is there. Even if we understand the power of worship, he uses our discouragement that nobody else is “getting it” to make us not pursue the face of God ourselves or be interested in pushing past the barrier of the layers of self-protection that people bring to church.

As I’ve been typing, and therefore distracted somewhat (aren’t we all distracted somewhat when we come into the sanctuary on Sunday morning, distracted from the happenings of the week in our various backgrounds?), I have been listening to song after song, and now it’s some six songs I’ve heard. At first I was opening my eyes to the beauty of people worshiping. Then my mind was challenged by the message I knew I had to communicate regarding the importance of worship. Only now am I opening my spirit to the presence of the Almighty One. And I’m musically oriented. Music is who I am, what I do, how I identify myself.

How much we miss, how greatly we rob ourselves of experiencing God’s vast and amazing love and grace ... by not tarrying in His presence!! It’s all well and good to preach and teach, to exhort people in righteousness, but the power to do all that comes from the Spirit of God. Without connection with the Spirit – through intimacy with God (and one powerful vehicle for that intimacy is through worship), there is absolutely no power to accomplish the things we are told we “should” do...and we end up frustrated and desolate inside. That’s no way to live. I know because that’s where I lived for decades. No more.

The services at our church used to start at 11 am. Sunday school at 9:45. Then church at 11. Then we moved Sunday school to Wednesday night, and moved church from 11 to 10:30, a half-hour earlier. Why? Because we wanted to be able to devote more time to worship and still have people out of the building by 1 p.m. One o’clock. Not twelve. Same reason for moving the evening service from 7 to 6:30. I remember – I was there. After a while, people forgot the reason, and thought it might be a good opportunity to have more time for themselves Sunday afternoon and Sunday night after the services.

Have we in the Western church become so paralyzed by the clock, by tradition, by our own little schedules, that we are afraid to go beyond our comfort zones?? Have we forgotten what it’s like to be so enthralled with God that we feel that the line-up at Swiss Chalet can go fly a kite?? Have we stopped expecting God to show up in power and anointing in our meetings?? If we have, then why would we go? As Moses said, "If You don't go with us, Lord, we don't want to move forward at all."

These are some of the thoughts I’ve had during the last few weeks, thoughts which have been slowly gelling.

Be blessed with the awareness of His presence, today and always.

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