There I was singing in church, my hands in the air, my eyes closed. The Worship Pastor led well, the choir, praise team, and band were leading in a God honoring way. The words I sang were theologically rich. But my mind was hardly thinking about the Lord.
I was thinking how much time I had before getting up to preach, how cool the lights looked on stage, I even wondered how worshipful I appeared to others with my hands in the air and my eyes closed. I wasn’t connecting to God. I was focused on myself. I am embarrassed to even admit this.
Let me say this, I believe in the importance of worshipping each Sunday with your local church. Jesus died and rose again to build his body. For two thousand years, the body of Christ has physically gathered each Sabbath day to bring praise to Christ. This is how it should be. If anything, Christians today should renew commitment to this age old practice. It is certainly my favorite part of my week.
But we really must take it more seriously. We must assume personal responsibility for our focus in worship. Too often we come to a service of worship as if it were a show. It is not a show. It is a time to allow our Pastors and lay leaders to prompt us to fully and deeply connect with God.
It is sad how we get confused about what worship is.
Just a few years ago many churches were battling over an issue of contemporary worship vs. traditional worship. Many Christians were seriously conflicted over the issue. The debate typically centered on the weekend services and their music style. Do we sing hymns with an organ or choruses to an electric guitar? The unfortunate thing about this debate was that it distracted Christians from the real issue.
People were arguing that contemporary music was shallow and trendy or traditional music didn’t resonate with the postmodern unbeliever. But these were stylistic issues about music and had nothing to do with the ultimate definition of worship. Sure the issue was important in matters of cultural and generational relevance. But it mattered little in terms of a person’s personal commitment to engage with God.
We need to remember that worship is not singing songs. It is so much more.
God never said, “True worshipers worship me with organ music accompaniment” or “true worshipers sing to the sounds of electric guitar and drums.” He said they would worship “in spirit and truth.” I seriously doubt God looks down from Heaven on Sunday mornings and says, “Wow! I really love it when they sing “The Old Rugged Cross.” Nor do I think he says, “Man, that worship band really rocked today.” No, he asks, “Do I have their hearts? Do they love me with the totality of their souls? Have they given me dominion over their lives?”
Worship is not music, preaching, nor singing. These can serve as vital tools and activities that promote worship. But in and of themselves these are not worship. All of us know that we can sing a beautiful theologically rich song and hardly be exalting God in our spirits.
So what about the Sunday “Worship Service?” What is it for? First of all, it is not about maintaining stylistic traditions. Nor is it about grand standing the latest in contemporary Christian music. Pure and simple, the worship service is about connecting people to God. The central focus must always be on God, not the style of how we do that.
But here is my point. No one can connect you fully to God, not without your personal engagement. No dynamic Worship Pastor, praise team, or choir can create an atmosphere where you automatically are fully surrendered to Jesus. They can help. They can inspire. But you must be the one to engage.
That is what I had to realize that day in worship. I was being helped. I was being inspired. But I was not engaged and that was on me.
Would you do two things this weekend? Would you go to church, to a service of worship? And then would you engage? Would you say, “Jesus, I am here to praise you with my whole heart. I surrender to you my will, my life, and all my resources.” Would you truly worship God, deep in your soul?
Let’s truly worship!
Question: What are ways you get distracted in worship? What helps you get yourself focused again on the Lord? You can leave a comment by clicking here.