Summary: What does real worship look like?
"In the experience of too many Christians, Sunday morning starts at 11:00 AM sharp and ends at 12 o'clock dull." - Anonymous
How can we avoid the experience of dull worship? Learning how to make worship meaningful is the goal of this series on Real Worship. (READ TEXT) Today, let's consider what constitutes Real Worship.
1. Real Worship is personal - v. 1 - "I saw the Lord."
When Isaiah went that day to the temple, a place of public worship, he had a very personal experience with God. Such should also be true of us. When we come to the worship services of our church, we should each have a personal encounter with God if we have really worshiped. Yet, all too often, such is not the case. We come to the house of God, sing songs about God, hear the Word of God, yet never personally encounter God.
Dennis Wise wrote an article in the Boston Globe in which he told about his love for Elvis Presley: "I loved Elvis. I followed him his whole career. I have every album he ever recorded. I've seen every movie that he ever made. I once even bought some boots when I was in junior high school that looked like his. My classmates made fun of me, but I didn't care, they looked like Elvis. Later I got a face lift and a hair contour like his. I have won Elvis look alike contests and wanted him to notice so I would storm the stage during and after his concerts so he would notice me. I don't think he ever saw me. I have ticket stubs from his concerts, Elvis clippings from programs all over the world, I even have some Elvis pillows from Japan.
Yeah, Presley was my idol. My only regret was that I never really saw him. I mean, really saw him. Sure, I went to his concerts but there was no contact. I once even climbed the walls around Graceland to catch a glimpse of him. I think it might have been him that I saw walking through the house as I looked through my binoculars, but I never really saw him. It's funny, all of the effort I put in following him and I never could seem to get close."
Too many are like this man when it comes to worship. They go through all the motions yet never "see" the Lord in it all. Why? Because unlike the Elvis fan, there is no passion to see the Lord.
The key to experiencing personal worship is passion!
"You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart." - Jeremiah 29:13 (NIV)
"Too many of us worship our work, work at our play, and play at our worship." - Anonymous
Jim Smith went to church one Sunday morning. He heard the organist miss a note during the prelude, and he winced. In a song that featured the playing of drums, he thought it was entirely too loud. He saw a teenager talking when everybody was supposed to be bowed in silent prayer. He felt like the usher was watching to see what he put in the offering plate and it made him boil. He caught five grammatical errors in the sermon by actual count. As he slipped out through the side door before the closing prayer, he muttered to himself, "Never again! What a waste of my time!"
Ron Jones went to church one Sunday morning. As he joined with the congregation in singing "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God," he thrilled to the majesty of it. He heard a young girl take a moment in the service to speak of the difference her faith made in her life. He was glad contribute to a love offering his church was taking for missionaries in Nigeria. He especially appreciated the sermon that Sunday - it answered a question that had bothered him for a long time. He thought, as he walked out the doors of the church, "How can a man enter this place and not feel the presence of God?"
Both men went to the same church on the same Sunday morning. And each found what he was looking for. Oh, may we approach our worship service with the passion of the Psalmist, who said:
"O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water." - Psalm 63:1 (ESV)
2. Real worship is corporate - v. 1 - "the temple"
Isaiah had his experience of personal worship in a place of public worship. Which highlights the fact that God has ordained that His children worship Him corporately. Why? Because there's an experience of God's presence found when we gather together with God's people for worship that is not experienced in private worship.