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more thoughts on “worship”

June 4, 2009

one of the things i hear a lot on fostering a worship setting in church is we need to make sure its comfortable, inviting, singable songs, safe. and while i agree that these things, in part, are of great importance…thinking more aesthetically…i also disagree to an extent as well.

we cant sing that song in church. it might make some uncomfortable.

so what.

we couldnt even withstand the quickest of glimpses of our Heavenly Fathers face without it wrecking us from the intensity of His power and glory. what about His presence is comfortable?

yes…He invites us, He is loving, gracious and merciful.

but He is also way beyond anything we will ever be able to withhold on this earth. He is SO outside of anything we have ever encountered. HE IS GOD. to usher into His presence in a time of worship, through music, meditation, a sunset – whatever, wont always be comfortable. especially if we are not part of the equation.

worship isnt about us. it isnt about what we get. its about what we give. it isnt about a feel good song with adult contemporary approved words and phrases to make us get warm fuzzies. worship is far much deeper than that and should be held in high regard.

to be able, by His gift, to come to the throne in worship is one of the highest honors we have on this planet. an honor undeserved given to us by a very Holy, Righteous and Sovereign God. that aint comfortable – it is beyond this world.

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57 Comments leave one →
  1. June 4, 2009 10:00 am

    Couldn’t agree anymore, which is why it makes being a “worship” leader such a tough job.

    Are we really “worship” leaders or just music coordinators. I mean sure we WANT our gatherings to be times of worship, right? Especially our times of musical worship.

    But because of the expectations and/or the structure (format) of our gatherings it’s actually very hard to actually have full on worship. We try to package every spiritual discipline we can into 1.5 hours on Sunday morning. It doesn’t work.

    Something lacks somewhere. Instead of wonderful time of celebration and worship, we have 20 minutes of rushed “praise and worship.” But it’s for a good cause right? Got to get people’s hearts ready for the Word.

    Instead of a time of digging in, reading, discussing, and really being taught God’s truth from Scripture we have a canned 30 minute sermon that makes us want to “be” better Christians…which is impossible by the way. You can’t change someone’s life in 52 weekly sound bites.

    Instead of a time of focused prayer and intercession, ya know really dedicated prayer, we have an opening prayer and a closing prayer. Oh, sure, we might have a pre-service prayer time with light music playing in the background or a holy huddle before we go on stage, but when do we ACTUALLY pray together as a church?

    Instead of a group of people pursuing God together during the week, sharing communion, fellowshipping, praying, sharing God’s truth (inside and outside the group) alongside each other, studying the Scriptures AS A FAMILY of faith – instead of those things, we rush to the church building, say a casual “how are you” answer a few of those ourselves, and then get antsy when someone actually NEEDS to tell us how they really are.

    Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE church. I love what it could be. I love the impact that we DO have in our communities, but I know that SHE’s broken down. I know that the Church in America isn’t running all cylinders, she’s on flat tires, she’s still moving, but not like she could be.

    Like you said SHE shouldn’t be a place that coddles and caters to. She should be a family that challenges and dares us to live dangerously, on the edge, to become more Christ like, and to pursue a GOD that is a tempest of unending love for us side by side, together.

    *****

    Oops. I totally just got on a soapbox there.

    • June 4, 2009 11:13 am

      I will stand beside you on your soapbox… just so no one else can throw things at you!! 🙂

      Sometimes I wonder just how badly we have messed up what it was that God meant for His people. I have experienced Acts 2 type church when I was on an international mission trip… but I don’t know that I have seen much of it in the United States. Of course, I can only comment on the churches that I have been exposed to… hopefully there are some out there.

      I think part of the problem is that we separate ‘church’ as a time and place we do something on Sunday morning as one of the activities in our real lives. A.W. Tozer spoke to this in his book The Pursuit of God… we try to live two lives, the secular and the sacred. It wasn’t supposed to be that way. It was just supposed to be life.

  2. lazrus2 permalink
    June 4, 2009 10:52 am

    Russ, YES!!! to all of your comments, as well as your agreement with Tam’s original concept of it not being about the congregation (or the leaders either for that matter) feeling ‘comfortable’! Isaiah didn’t – (Is. 6), but it was an essential part of his commissioning for service). Should it be any different for us? – and yes, it definitely takes more time in His presence than 1.5 hours on the weekend.

    D-

  3. Heidi permalink
    June 4, 2009 11:55 am

    Worship is worship.

    I would like people to just shut up and stop whining about song content, if it’s too loud, or whatever.

    WE NEED TO SIMPLY WORSHIP… I listen to Reggae, Rap, R&B, Folk, HARD rock and even hymns. I don’t care what it is, as long as I can walk, jump, dance, clap, holler, or whatever for the sake of WORSHIPPING my risen King.

    If people would only understand that. If they want to be catered to, start their own church, WE NEED MORE churches to get God out there. But, if you are a phariasee or a sadduccee get off your soap box and get a church, leave worship leaders to do what they are CALLED to do…

    Lead people to worship

    • June 4, 2009 12:37 pm

      I like your energy 🙂 and I agree that worship has little to nothing to do with music style.

      Curious though, as soon as someone states a preferred style are they asking to be catered to? Its a question that I have mulled over for years now… and I can’t come up with a satisfactory answer.

      Also curious… when you say worship is worship, what does that mean to you? I love the topic of worship because it is sooooo biiiiigggg and we limit it to such a small thing as just music.

      We use the word A LOT but I have a sneaky suspicion that people struggle with the fullness of the meaning of worship.

      The Hebrew word for worship in the bible is shachah which means to prostrate oneself. It was a visible image of the ‘shock and awe’ that people experienced when facing a Holy and Righteous God.

      The Greek word most used in the New Testament is proskuneo which can also be translated as a prostrating or ‘kissing towards’ action.

      James 1:27 says that Pure and Undefiled RELIGION is this… and he gives two examples of what that is. The word RELIGION in that verse is translated to worship in other places of the New Testament and its meaning in James 1:27 is about the actions carried out as part of the ceremonies of the church. Oh, and the two things that James mentions are Taking Care of the Needy (loving others) and Staying Unstained from the World (Honoring God through our Life Styles).

      I could do a whole 6 week lesson(and have) on worship just from the verses found in John chapter 4. There is a very, very important lesson about true worship in those verses. True worship begins with KNOWING the person being worshiped. Paul talks about the value of knowing Christ in Philippians 3:8. Worship comes from the older word form WORTHSHIP meaning to have value.

      Worship could be defined as our every act in response to the value we perceive in the knowledge of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

      Little knowledge = Little worship
      Big knowledge = Big worship

      Oh.. I better stop before I go on and on. 😉

      • June 4, 2009 3:13 pm

        ooooh … that’s touching on such a powerful truth of Scripture – the link between knowledge and intimacy. Huge. Integral. Powerful.

        and completely underrated.

      • Heidi permalink
        June 5, 2009 9:37 pm

        Tony, please excuse my lateness, I am not feeling well and planning my daughter’s graduation.

        I believe totally that worship is active. It’s personal and it happens every day of our lives. Some of my best worship moments are when I am walking in the surf of the Pacific ocean. I wrote this at the beach today :Wherever you are, be all there,” is possible as I give worship for what is just now. This is meeting God who is the great I AM. I AM fills the present moment. I am learning that worship ushers into the grandeur of He who spills with glory now. Worship is a way to be all here, a way to meet the I AM who is here.

        But He too is the Alpha and the Omega, the One back there on the road, the One further up. He is both ahead and behind. We can rest in the memories of His past faithfulness , trust in the hope plans He has for our futures. So we are released to the joy of simply staying all here, knowing His goodness wherever this moment has us.

        On a ordinary day, the clouds racing overhead, I find the sacred in the ordinary. The practice of worshipping for wherever I am, and whatever I have, this is to pray constantly, to meet God and live in His presence.

        I have met God as alive, breathing, moving, gloriously animate. So I have come to this place, wondering if it may merely be a place of semantics (and yet appreciating how words are our tools to express reality). God is not a thing to be practiced. His presence is everywhere. What of it requires practice? His presence needs no practice on our part for improvement, no human effort to be massaged to life.

        One wakes to Him. Rouses to Him, rises to Him, falls in love with Him. Opens eyes and become present to His presence so close His breath falls warm. Surely perceptive:

        I was just trying to make a point that our leaders need us to stand beside and worship and support them. Complaining and whining and being politically correct all of the time only does one thing it causes division. There are plenty of churches out there, find one that meets your need and then worship.

        God is worship, the more the we fall in love with Him, prostrated like You said Tony, the more He comes alive in us.

    • June 4, 2009 2:06 pm

      Which is why the dilemma is so prevalent from church to church…

      People don’t really know what worship is. Sure we “teach” on worship, we might even build teachable moments into our musical worship times, but if I had to give our times of musical worship a numerical value (0 being no worship at all and 10 being full on spirit and truth worship) and factor in the number of people in our groups that actually worship on Sunday mornings, I’d have to say that the number would be no where near 10. It might even be down below 5 somewhere.

      Now, obviously I’m not talking YOUR worship or MY worship, but the American church at large. And of course I’m just guessing based on my own experiences as a worshiper so this can’t be taken too seriously, but it’s the principle.

      Part of me wants to say the problem is that we continue to base our “success” on the wrong growth indicators: Attendance, finances, outward worship expressions, addition of ministries, small groups, etc.

      When I believe a truly “successful” worship gathering is one that is small, and continues on throughout the day and all throughout the week. There is NO way in the world that we could possibly “walk” a whole life worship journey with all the people that come through our doors every Sunday.

      My soapbox for the week (and season of life) is TOGETHER-NESS.

      I think one of the reasons why people whine so much is because they don’t place high priority on family. The faith family that is.

      Great points all around!

      • June 4, 2009 7:50 pm

        Russ,

        I would love to hear your thoughts on my post from today… My Two Bag God Theory… its speaks directly to your questions about how we measure success.

    • June 4, 2009 6:15 pm

      I believe it irresponsible and poor stewardship of those who are in charge of the volume control to persist in trying to destroy the gift of hearing by screaming loud music. God isn’t deaf, neither am I AND I don’t want to be!!!! I can choose to avoid rock concerts but it’s pretty difficult to find a church that doesn’t think they are one.

      • June 4, 2009 10:30 pm

        lory, thank you for your comment. although im not exactly sure it speaks to this post…but it certainly makes me think of the post my husband just wrote.

        maybe you should read it http://brentinworship.com/blog/2009/06/everyday-i-struggle/

      • June 5, 2009 4:31 pm

        This all started by me responding to a comment by our music
        leader. My response was:
        COMFORTABLE-for who?
        INVITING-to who?
        SINGABLE? not sure what that means. “I” do prefer songs where I can close my eyes and focus on how the words glorify God rather than having to focus on reading the screen or chase around an unfamiliar tune.
        SAFE-for who?
        Worship is for God and Him alone. We are lifting our voices in praise and worship to Him. … Read More
        Worship is not to make people “feel” good. It’s for God!!!
        I don’t know who’s saying these things but they almost sound like advocates for the politically correct. I never read where God was concerned with political correctness. We are to be in the world but not of the world. We are to be set apart. Our efforts to please should only be that which brings glory to God and not man.
        She then asked me if I had read the posts. So I did.
        I’m new at this blog/post thing and am not sure I’m even using the correct terminology. I thought the post was about the “do’s and don’ts” of worship. Althought I was trying to respond to Heidi’s comments

        “Worship is worship.
        I would like people to just shut up and stop whining about song content, if it’s too loud, or whateverit’s too loud, or whatever.
        WE NEED TO SIMPLY WORSHIP… I listen to Reggae, Rap, R&B, Folk, HARD rock and even hymns. I don’t care what it is, as long as I can walk, jump, dance, clap, holler, or whatever”

        I would have to disagree with her on some things. We are to worship God on His standards not ours. I love Tony’s comments.

        Per your husbands comments: Having parents with hearing aids, too soft/not loud enough is something I hear from them but never about the music. Only about people speaking.
        I finally just started wearing ear plugs during the music portion of our service.
        One person had said to me “but it’s below the ear damaging decibel!”
        I thought, what kind of an attitude it that? It reminded me of James Dobson talking about how a child will put their toe right on the edge of a boundary line and possibly edging it across to see how far they could push.
        As the wife of a music leader, maybe you can explain to me the purpose behind loud music. I wonder when and where it started? If “worship leaders” went to “worship seminars” and that’s where it was promoted? Why do they find it necessary and most of all, if it causes physical discomfort and possible hearing damage, is it pleasing to God? I’m not speaking of the kind of discomfort God uses to develop our character. This is discomfort inflicted by man. Some people may enjoy it but if your child enjoyed eating 10 Snickers a day, would you let them? Most parents wouldn’t because they know it’s not good for them and in the long run may cause compromise their health.

        • June 5, 2009 5:02 pm

          hi there again 😉

          i noticed you didnt comment over on brents post, which is where i still think your concerns could better be addressed. you are speaking ot much of what he wrote in that post. i’ll just have him come on over here and you two can discuss in this thread.

          i’ll let heidi know that you responded to her too.

          im glad you came back by and i hope we can answer some of your questions and speak to some of your concerns.

          and i would love to chat with you regarding your last comment but im having trouble following it. particularly this part…

          “Worship is for God and Him alone. We are lifting our voices in praise and worship to Him. … Read More
          Worship is not to make people “feel” good. It’s for God!!!
          I don’t know who’s saying these things but they almost sound like advocates for the politically correct. I never read where God was concerned with political correctness. We are to be in the world but not of the world. We are to be set apart. Our efforts to please should only be that which brings glory to God and not man.
          She then asked me if I had read the posts. So I did.
          I’m new at this blog/post thing and am not sure I’m even using the correct terminology. I thought the post was about the “do’s and don’ts” of worship.”

          it seems like youre talking about a few different things, instances, maybe even quoting someone and then responding to it. im not sure. can you help me with that?

          • Heidi permalink
            June 5, 2009 9:42 pm

            Tam,

            I love you sis. Sorry for creating a fuss.

            • June 5, 2009 10:08 pm

              heidi – there isnt a fuss goin on here at all.

              really.

              sweety – you didnt do anything wrong 🙂

              • Heidi permalink
                June 5, 2009 10:18 pm

                Aww, My mom says it’s not woman like to say shutup in public 🙂 LOL

          • June 6, 2009 9:02 am

            Tam,
            ok, let me see if I can clarify my thoughts. I wish I could highlight or color the font to make it easier but I don’t see anything that gives me that option.

            Our music director posted a post that appears to have come from you:

            by tam

            one of the things i hear a lot on fostering a worship setting in church is we need to make sure its comfortable, inviting, singable songs, safe. and while i agree that these things, in part, are of great importance…thinking more aesthetically…i also disagree to an extent as well.

            we cant sing that song in church. it might make some uncomfortable.

            My reply to her was:

            “Worship is for God and Him alone. We are lifting our voices in praise and worship to Him. Worship is not to make people “feel” good. It’s for God!!!
            I don’t know who’s saying these things but they almost sound like advocates for the politically correct. I never read where God was concerned with political correctness. We are to be in the world but not of the world. We are to be set apart. Our efforts to please should only be that which brings glory to God and not man.

            She then she asked me if I had read the posts.
            So I did. I saw Heidi’s comments, and made a response to the loud music portion.

            You responded:
            lory, thank you for your comment. although im not exactly sure it speaks to this post.

            My response was:
            I thought the post was about the “do’s and don’ts” of worship.”

            You also wrote:
            but it certainly makes me think of the post my husband just wrote.

            maybe you should read it http://brentinworship.com/blog/2009/06/everyday-i-struggle/

            I did and focused on:
            I also struggle heavily with a church that seems to appreciate comfort more than character. Too many/too little words. Too many new/old songs. Not enough/too many hymns. Not enough fast/slow songs. Too loud/soft.

            Especially the “Too loud/soft” portion, since that is what I focused on from Heidi’s post, because that is MY biggest complaint of today’s churches. I can tolerate the different types of music and enjoy much of it. I do find it sad that people try to eliminate and/or change hymns. They are too rich to eliminate. But that again is a different topic so I’ll not go there.

            Hope that helps.

            • June 6, 2009 9:36 am

              So Lory, what I hear you saying is that your worship leader talked about comfort and how it was unnecessary and I see you saying the same thing. Am I right?

              Besides that, you just don’t like modern music?

              Lory, you said this, “Our music director posted a post that appears to have come from you:”

              Who is your music director??? Is there a link ot his/her post so we can read it?

        • June 5, 2009 5:04 pm

          also…your link isnt working. do you have a blog? id love to read it if you do 🙂

        • Heidi permalink
          June 5, 2009 9:41 pm

          Lory,

          I posted above, I hope that covers your question. I pray that you find a place or maybe you have already have, and just become unleashed before Him. He’s the one.

          • June 6, 2009 8:18 am

            Heidi, You rightfully verbalized your convictions and I have no problem with that. Just because we may not agree, doesn’t mean (in this case) either is wrong. There are many people I love, with whom we just have to agree to disagree and continue to love each other. The problem comes when it causes division in the relationships. Chances are that we are from different generations and backgrounds/exposures. It’s important to be diversified while maintaining the same core beliefs. You are able to minister to those I probably can’t and vice versa. I seem to be in the minority regarding loud music because it certainly seems to be predominate in the churches today. We really don’t know what the preference is because I’ve never seen a poll on it. I could say that people probably just tolerates what goes on because most don’t like to complain but I think the music directors would passionately disagree with that statement.

            • Heidi permalink
              June 6, 2009 9:07 am

              Lory,

              Personally, I’m just finding a voice about verbalizing convictions. Tam doesn’t have a clue how this one subject brought some healing and victory in my life.

              Yes, you are very right. We both can minister to the crowds different. We both can make a difference. I want you to know eventhough I like loud music and all, I do cherish the quiet ones also.

              I agree to a point on what you said about “tolerating” honestly Lory that’s in everything in life. I’m learning that real right now in my journey.

              But, I believe as I am learning, we need to be healthy about it. Church bashing, pastor bashing, the clics inside the churches, the secret meetings. They need to end. Together there is a common thread.

              We need God more than anything. Our communities need God more than anything, will it take an electric guitar or a soft piano. It’s a personal preference.

              We just need to worship again.

              • Heidi permalink
                June 6, 2009 9:16 am

                Lory, thank you!

              • June 6, 2009 4:57 pm

                My music director used the quote from the very top of this page which says “by tam”.
                My response to my music director was:
                COMFORTABLE-for who?
                INVITING-to who?
                SINGABLE? not sure what that means. “I” do prefer songs where I can close my eyes and focus on how the words glorify God rather than having to focus on reading the screen or chase around an unfamiliar tune.
                SAFE-for who?
                Worship is for God and Him alone. We are lifting our voices in praise and worship to Him.
                Worship is not to make people “feel” good. It’s for God!!!
                I don’t know who’s saying these things but they almost sound like advocates for the politically correct. I never read where God was concerned with political correctness. We are to be in the world but not of the world. We are to be set apart. Our efforts to please should only be that which brings glory to God and not man.

                She asked me if I had read the posts. That the comments were along the same line; that worship is not about us but about God. My first thought was “what posts” I had to play around with the page to even figure out what she was talking about.

                The whole interaction is in the above posts. The most recent is in my reply prior to this one. If you’re interested, you can read them.

                I DID NOT say that I did not like modern music. I said
                I can tolerate the different types of music AND ENJOY MUCH OF IT.

                Maybe the word “tolerate” bothered you. Well yes, there are many types of music that I prefer to avoid. Even as an unsaved youth, I didn’t enjoy hard rock. That’s why I don’t attend a church that uses that type of music. If others want to, let them, but I choose not to. They probably wouldn’t want to attend my church either. So be it. Does it please God? I don’t believe any division among believers does. But unfortunately that’s what it’s become.

                My only point was that I dislike loud music. It sure has gone beyond that.

                Aren’t blogs about verbalizing ones thoughts and feelings? This has been so blown out of proportion!

                Who is your music director??? Is there a link ot his/her post so we can read it?

                I have no idea if she has a link since I have little experience in this area. These comments were from me, not her. I will share with you what she said only.

                She said

                “Once again, Tam is inspiring a blog post.”

                This is what she posted, (which is the first paragraph on this page):

                “one of the things i hear a lot on fostering a worship setting in church is we need to make sure its comfortable, inviting, singable songs, safe. and while i agree that these things, in part, are of great importance…thinking more aesthetically…i also disagree to an extent as well.”

                I agree with most of what Heidi had to say. She seems like a very sweet young lady. I was simply sharing my feelings on one comment.
                I’ve explained myself as best I can. This has gotten way out of control. I’m done.

                • June 6, 2009 6:12 pm

                  Lory, I am not sure why you are so angry. I asked you a couple questions to better understand what you are saying.

                  If you choose to come back, I’d be happy to talk to you, but I can’t talk to someone until understanding them and finding some common ground.

                • June 6, 2009 7:34 pm

                  Hi there. I thought I’d help you out with directing us to your music leaders blog. 😉 You said “I have no idea if she has a link since I have little experience in this area”

                  All you have to do is type the website into this comment box. Her web address is in the navigation bar up top….that is how you get to her blog, yes? If not, go to her page, look at the “www.” address and type it in here. It is always interesting to see what posts people are inspired to write from other blogs they read. It’s nice to share that. 😉

                  Hope you come back.

                  • June 6, 2009 7:41 pm

                    hey bran! =)

                    i just figured out that its Jennifer from PersimmonPulp 🙂

                    http://blog.alexandari.com/question-of-the-day-week-life/

                    theres the link to her post. great girl…love her!

                    and lory…really…no one, not one of us, is trying to make things complicated or frustrate you. i promise. this has always been a safe place to share your thoughts. we’re just trying to understand what youre saying before we speak to it, thats all. nothing more than that.

                    so i hope we can all continue to discuss this.

                    love God – love people. thats what we need to do first and foremost.

                    have a great weekend 🙂

                    • June 6, 2009 7:52 pm

                      GIRL! YOu and I were there at almost the exact same time! I was just going to email you to say I found it! hahaha!!

                      Googling of quotes is amazing. LOL

                    • June 6, 2009 7:53 pm

                      p.s. if you look on her LIVE ACTIVITY FEED you’ll see we piggybacked eachother. haha!

                  • June 6, 2009 7:55 pm

                    stalker.

                    • June 6, 2009 7:57 pm

                      you know it

                      btw, that’s a LOVELY shirt you’re wearing tonight. 😉

              • June 6, 2009 5:20 pm

                Heidi,
                and good for you. I believe in the freedom to verbalize ones opinions without condemnation. The damage comes when we try to force others to agree with us.

                You said:
                “I agree to a point on what you said about “tolerating” honestly Lory that’s in everything in life.”

                Not to be legalistic but I will have to disagree about the word “everything”. There are many things listed in the Bible that we are not to tolerate. A good deep Bible study is important so that we are not able to be mislead. We are responsible to test everything we are taught against God’s word.

                You said:
                “Church bashing, pastor bashing, the clics inside the churches, the secret meetings. They need to end.”

                Yes, these are very damaging to the church as a whole. And the message it sends to non-believers is also detrimental. Hopefully this is not what you thought I was doing. I was merely voicing my feelings on loud music.
                I seem like a really sweet young lady. Guard your heart, know the Word, and grow in the truth and you cannot go wrong.
                Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

                • Heidi permalink
                  June 6, 2009 8:26 pm

                  Thanks for the response. Thank you for blessing me.

                  Mostly for the young sweet girl compliment. I am alot older than you think. My grays will prove it.

                  Lory have an awesome weekend!!

                  Come back this place is home to alot of us!!

                  • June 6, 2009 8:37 pm

                    Heidi, you look super young in your profile pic! 😀 love you!

                    • Heidi permalink
                      June 6, 2009 8:50 pm

                      You are a stalker!!!

                      Thanks!! I’m starting to blush.

                      That picture does not show you a woman who’s daughter is graduating from high school in 6 days and 12 hours (no I am not counting).

                      Loving YOU

  4. Nicole Wick permalink
    June 4, 2009 1:58 pm

    I couldn’t agree more. I think that sometimes we forget the true purpose of worship when we make it part of our routine or Sunday morning habit. We went to a church once where they changed the order of worship every Sunday for a few months just to see where the music most made sense. Everyone freaked out. It had become a stale habit. It was something that everyone just did for the first 15-20 mins of the service because that’t the way it was always done. Everyone was missing the true worship experience my placing it on their church check list. I like that we close our service worship and it goes on as long as we want it to. That way it truly is a response to the teaching of God’s word.

    Nicole
    http://nicolenwick.wordpress.com

    • June 4, 2009 2:22 pm

      isnt this kind of how matt redmans “heart of worship” came about?

      shaking things up can really open the eyes, hearts and motives of people. “Everyone freaked out” – i dont know why, but that made me laugh! 😉

      • June 4, 2009 3:17 pm

        Haha. Yeah, the Pastor’s son leads our Sunday night services. I think everyone on this thread would like him. 🙂 One night we went to church and he kicked off the service by preaching! He got up and said, “We’re going to do something different. We’re going to worship at the end today. So we’re going to hear the Word first. We want to make sure that we’re not getting so stuck on ‘the way it always is’ that are unwilling to change. So everyone’s fine, right? Gonna stay loose? Flow with the change?” haha. It was great. I loved it.

  5. June 4, 2009 3:18 pm

    LOVE your thoughts, girl. 😀 (We gonna haveta hang out in heaven. lol Or earth if we can ever manage it. But. Yaknow. It may happen. It may not. Either way. Heaven’s a date, alright?)

  6. June 4, 2009 3:48 pm

    Loving these posts Tam 🙂

    And on Russ’ point – there are reasons why in our church I’m the music director, not a worship pastor, etc.

    Hope to get time to come back and digest all this good food in detail soon.

  7. June 4, 2009 3:48 pm

    YIKES!!! Were we in each other’s heads today or what!? I know I should write it out but I couldn’t have said it any better!

  8. June 4, 2009 4:19 pm

    Good points one and all. We have often had the discussion of keeping the service shorter because people complain if we go longer than 90 minutes (seriously? oy!) which just irks me. Jesus gave His LIFE, God gave His SON… and we can’t be bothered to give Them more than 90 minutes once a week? you’ve got to be kidding me.

    With that in mind we started offering a worship service the last Sunday night of the month. There is music, scripture, time to truly prepare your hearts and partake of communion (20 minutes worth of music), and a time of guided, corporate prayer. We just had our last one for the Summer, and for I think the 2nd time had people attend that were not there b/c their spouse was helping to lead or they were an elder. We’ve been offering it since November.

    On the flip side, we had practice last night, and it was as deep (or deeper) a time of true worship as any “Sunday Morning Worship Time” that has occurred. There were 7 people there, and 1 amazing God.

    The American Church has gotten lazy. We want to be entertained. We want our ears tickled. Then we want to go back to our little lives and to be left alone.

    THERE IS SOMETHING WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE!

    How can we as leaders within our our churches and our own families help to change this? Personally we can spend more time with God. We can spend more time with God with our children. But what is the next step? How can we effect the American Church for God?

    That is my question of the week…

    *steps off the collective soapbox*

    • June 4, 2009 10:32 pm

      youre on fire! 😀

      i love to see people passionate about this…so long as it is directed at the right thing for the right reason…which i believe it is. but it is this kind of passion that propels us to action. love it!

  9. June 4, 2009 6:01 pm

    Love it!

    Totally agree.

  10. June 4, 2009 6:06 pm

    Jennifer – You are right in saying there is something wrong with this picture. The Western/American church is not, if I may be blunt, Biblical. Something has gone terribly wrong in our culture that craves institutionalized, assembly-line, cost-effective, ‘bang for the buck’ type of organizations that we call our churches or local congregations. I realize there are exceptions, but too many of our congregations – the members don’t know each other, in fact there is a certain anonymity that is expected. There is polite banter, and sometimes a clique here and there – but the masses put their “time in” on Sunday morning (and complain if it runs too long) , pay their dues… er, tithes and the rest of the time want to be left alone. We Americans are busy, and there are so many disctractions it’s no wonder that so many churches have turned to entertaining the congregations in order to keep the pews (or seats) filled in turn keeping the coffers filled to pay for the building, physical plant, sound system, and of course salaries and benefits for the staff.

    The Bible says we [Believers] should not give up meeting together. It says of the early church: “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people.”
    It also says, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. ”

    I think ‘breaking bread’ means they shared a meal together – not a thimble full of grape juice and a crouton. They were in each others’ business, they knew each other – and those who had means shared with those who lacked. It was organic, and vibrant, and people were filled with awe.

    While there is a good reason why all of the traditions, rites, rituals, even sacraments came about – the meaning has been largely lost on the masses (and even many of the leaders) that these things were intended to be tools to point people to God. In fact, the ‘things’ themselves have become the sacred.

    For instance, where in Scripture does it even mention that music should be associated with worship at all? Rather than argue about what types of music are appropriate for worship – why not ask the question why music at all?

    Why hymns? Why “praise” songs? Why organs? Why guitar? What is sacred? What is not?

    How can we effect the American Church for God? One person at a time must deny themselves and put forth the needs and interests of others. Remove “I” and “me” from our vocabulary (and our songs of praise and worship). Obey the commands of the Christ. Don’t wait for someone else to do it – do it yourself. Make a difference and do it God’s way, and people will notice.

    • June 4, 2009 7:05 pm

      In essence, they lived life together. The KNEW each other and were in each others business (and I’ll argue they took that business before God for one another too!)

      We are not called to warm a seat for 90 minutes once a week. We are called to give ourselves over to the will of an awesome and powerful God who loved us enough to let us join with Him! He doesn’t need us, but He loves us. He created us to worship Him… and I don’t mean to sing some pretty songs once a week.

      The bigger question I think is this – What Is Worship?

      Sorry Tam, thought I’d bring some of David’s brand of “light & fluffy” to the table 😉

  11. June 4, 2009 7:23 pm

    Maybe the question should be, “What isn’t worship?”

    • June 4, 2009 10:58 pm

      id say worship isnt about us. we dont need anything (assistance) to worship. i dont need rituals, music, poetry, how to books, any of that. and honestly…worship comes most when ive not sought it out, planned it.

      we’ve had some pretty intense storms here lately, intense for us 😉 , and just the other day i was stopped in my tracks outside looking up at the sky – the huge, magnificent clouds blanketing the surrounding mountains that were being lit up with the brightest most intense lightening strikes ive ever seen. i stood there and cried. i shook. i was literally reduced to…nothing. i couldnt even speak to Him. i couldnt speak of Him. all i could do…in my heart, my spirit, was recognize that He is responsible for that. He is THAT powerful and i am a lowly, feeble little girl standing in the magnitude of His greatness. a little girl He could pluck right out of existence if He so choose. and in that moment…i stood bare. no annoying wants or perceived needs…just in complete awe. that, i believe, was a moment of worship.

      • June 5, 2009 6:06 am

        Absolutely. I have moments like that when I hold my granddaughter.

        There are no words.

        Simply awe.

      • June 8, 2009 1:32 pm

        Amen.

        To worship all we need is… God.

        Everything else is just the icing on the cake.

        Does the icing enhance? Absolutely! But it can also detract. There’s the rub. We need to guard our hearts against letting the “rituals” become the thing we worship. It is so easy to get our hearts off of God and onto making sure everything is running smoothly and we are on time. Ugh. Potholes and stumbling blocks abound!

        Worship is, should be, NEEDS to be all about God.

        That being said, I still think that we should strive for excellence within our craft, but only so that He gets even more glory! That can also become an object of worship in our lives.

        It’s a dangerous road…

        • June 8, 2009 1:47 pm

          i love this comment jennifer! your point about worshiping the “things”, all the bells and whistles. yah…easily done. yet…we serve an amazing excellent God and creator. we should definitely be bringing Him excellent and amazing things.

          yuppers.

  12. June 4, 2009 7:28 pm

    Tam – STOP MAKING ME BLOG!

    Ok, don’t. It’s thought provoking and good for me.

    I didn’t want to fill up your comment space with this one, so if you want to read, it’s over here…
    http://blog.alexandari.com/question-of-the-day-week-life/

  13. June 5, 2009 10:05 am

    Thank you for writing this.

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