Wow…I actually made a three-part series. Absolutely crazy! This IS the final post on this. Basically, I got carried away and had to chop it into three parts! I really didn’t plan on a three-part series. But hey, a writer’s gotta write, right?
As before in Part 1 and Part 2, hopefully questions and thoughts are coming to the surface and you are taking them to Christ. Maybe you’ve read in these last two posts things you’ve only thought about but dared not to say in church. You are not alone. As always, I hope this post brings encouragement and most importantly, points you back to Him for the real answers and for real Life. It is important to use your God-given gifts of reason and logic, but it is as equally important to take these things to God and be led by His Spirit. So…shall we begin?
Truth, Life, the Omni-Present God and things you can’t do…
God is everywhere, always. This called being “Omni-Present”.
You cannot pray, praise, worship, jump around, sing songs enough to get God’s attention. Face it, you just…can’t…do it. It is through the Son that we have full, complete and unhindered access to God. Thinking that you have to do things to get His attention is at best Old Covenant thinking. If you could do anything to add to your salvation, righteousness or access to God, then Grace wouldn’t be Grace, because your effort is still in the mix.
Crazy, huh? That’s Grace for ya…it’s all God.
If the Truth is that God is in me, my wife and every other person. If the Truth is that God is Omni-Present. If the Truth is such that we are supposed to have Life to the full, because Jesus promised that to us. Then…
Then can’t I recognize His Presence within me, within my wife and within every nook and cranny of this very earth and live accordingly as He leads? These things take faith, and faith pleases Him, so… Isn’t this just as good as any church worship service?
Can’t I recognize His Joy in the laughter of my children or the people around me and simply thank Him, whether verbally or just within, isn’t that just as good?
Can’t I see and value every single life on this planet, regardless of if they agree with me or not, or if they are on the same political spectrum or not, or the same sexual orientation or not and allow God to show me how to love them to the fullest? Isn’t this a form of worship that is just as good?
If we realize and recognize the New Testament Scripture/promise/reality of “Christ IN us the Hope of Glory”, then, can’t worship transcend into something more than just merely singing songs in a worship service? Can’t it be better than what a mere worship service attempts to facilitate, lead and provide us with?
Wouldn’t it transcend into an actual expression of living our lives?
If the point of worship is to do something similar to what Scripture is supposed to do, and that is to point to Jesus, then…..?
You fill in the blank.
A Parental Perspective
Okay, think about this from a parental perspective for just a moment…
Say we were gathered together, enjoying time together over grilled food, a few choice beverages, stories, laughter and excellent conversation. Sounds good right? If it doesn’t, check your pulse… Now, say my youngest daughter comes over to me and gives me a hug, kissed me on the cheek and says: I love you Daddy, you’re the best! And then runs off. It’s precious, right?
Now, take it a step further.
Let’s say she didn’t stop. She just kept going and going, she wouldn’t let go and she kept telling me how great I am and how she loved me. At first it might be comical, but then as I couldn’t get her to stop it just becomes… awkward, doesn’t it? You would think that there is something wrong with her, wouldn’t you? I would. One of the first thoughts I would have is: Is she insecure in my love for her? Does she not know?
So let’s try and relate that to God, Our Father, Who lives in us and Who is with us always. Which would He value and enjoy more? Letting His children sing songs to Him over and over and over or actually interacting and enjoying life with His children? I can’t speak for God, but don’t you think He would value doing the latter?
What do you think He likes more? Having His Children be led by His Spirit where they realize, know, understand, accept and experience His Love for them and the reality that He is always with them? Or to continually, ignorantly do spiritual aerobics in a weak attempt to try to get His attention? I can’t speak for God, but don’t you think He would value doing the former?
Wouldn’t you think He would like to lead us into all forms of living life which from His viewpoint actually equate to real worship?
Are we so arrogant to think that when Jesus was talking about worshipping in Spirit and in Truth that he was talking about worship services as we have it now? Or worship services at all for that matter?
Didn’t he say that there wouldn’t be a specific place to worship in or at anymore?
Who then, is Spirit and Truth? None other that God Himself.
Is it such a leap then, to think that worshipping in Spirit and Truth would equate to living your life, everyday, through the highs and lows, as a form of worship because you are now in Christ?
To Live Life…
You see, I want my cake and I want to eat it too. I want to live Life as He intends for it to be lived and worship Him. I want them to intertwine where you cannot tell the difference. To really be led by His Spirit. On the outside you may think I am just living my life, but from within…from within that wellspring of Life is erupting into a geyser of worship. Just not in the way church views it now… These are the things I am yearning for.
Ok…which is easier: Singing songs as worship or trusting in Him to lead you into a life of worship as He intends?
A church staff or church system cannot judge the level, depth or ‘anointing’ of worship by the latter way, because it cannot be seen from the outside. It cannot be gauged by how many times hands are raised, or people stand, clap, shout, jump or run around. At a worship service you ‘can’…but how do you gauge whether it’s the Spirit or just flesh?
I personally think that Life as He intends it and promises it isn’t actually lived inside the four walls of a church building and the multiple services, programs, schools and book programs offered ad nauseam. I also think that living our life the way He intends it is the best form of worship possible. For inside of that Life is Jesus, and Love, Family, Friends and Grace enough to extend to anyone who comes into contact with you… anyone. You and I, living our lives the way He intended and in the way He leads will automatically spill out into the lives of others. From how I see it…it has to, because it seems to be the only way that it would be natural and not forced.
Have I made it? Oh no…not yet. I’ve seen and tasted small fragments of it, but I’m not there yet. I wish I had a better answer. But with God all things are possible. I believe and accept by faith that He is with me, and (with a little bit of ‘fear and trembling’… see my heart here) I believe and accept by faith that He is leading me and raising me as a father would a son (something sticks out about growing into the full stature of Christ from the New Testament here…).
Nothing wrong with singing a song.
Now, don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with using a song to worship God. I’m not saying that. I have previously written about an intimate setting where one song was more than enough and it was perfect. Songs can have a beautiful way of expressing how you feel towards any particular person or thing. I remember reading through an old hymnal about a year ago and being blown away at how powerful the words to those old hymns were. How much better they pointed to Jesus, to the Cross, to Grace, to the Resurrection than most of the modern songs do. Seriously.
Worship in the form of song can be amazing. Worship songs can be a powerfully fast way to teach about Christ. But then again, it’s the Spirit that gives these things life. I just think there is too much emphasis on art forms and basically entertainment defining worship instead of letting our lives be the form and definition of worship. The focus seems to be off. Interpretive and or prophetic dance (with or without banners) and painting at these ‘worship services’ seem to just provide a level of entertainment as Tozer so eloquently put it. And those things are just distracting at best and awkward at the very least. Seriously those art forms are meant to be watched and appreciated, how in a corporate setting is that more for God than the crowd? Yeah, yeah…I know what David did. I don’t see people doing that now, though and using scripture to back it up.
If you see a church or know of one that really ‘dances like David danced’, let me know…I got two words for them: You Tube.
Look, I’m trying to find that better way, to walk in it and live it. I need Him, oh how I need Him to lead me and guide me, to teach me like a father to a son. That’s where me accepting by faith what He has done and reality as He sees it comes in. I’m not satisfied with just singing a song, feeling goosebumps and calling that being led in worship by the One who did everything to save me and included me in His family in such a way where there was nothing I could do to add to it.
Oh…to be led by the Spirit of God.
One can only trust and look to Him and let Him do what He promised.
Further questions to Ponder
I end this blog series with just a few more questions for us to chew on and hopefully, take back to Our Father in one way or another.
If God is after a relationship with his children as a Father relates to his children, then is one-sided singing or performing for Him really the way to enhance that relationship?
God showed us that He loved us by living among us, enjoying life with us, and most importantly dying for us. How is singing songs of adoration to him how he wants our relationship to be defined? (I’m not saying that Jesus wasn’t worshipped, there are a few accounts where He was… don’t get sidetracked.)
How does God want to spend time with His children?
And that concludes this long post! I hope this helps you as you walk with Him. I hope that you take these things to Him and let Him show you and illuminate things that He wants to say to you.