Summary: Few purposes of the church create more tension in a local body than worship. Churches are struggling to avoid the land mines associated with the Worship Wars. This happens because churches often have an erroneous perception of what God-pleasing worship re
1In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. 2Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. 3And they were calling to one another:
“Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.”
4At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.
5“Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty.”
6Then one of the seraphs flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. 7With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.”
8Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”
When was the last time you did something for the first time for Jesus’ sake? It is too easy for our Christianity to become routine, vanilla, and canned. We serve an infinite God and yet our Christianity can become so familiar.
What is true of our Christianity is equally true of our worship of God. It is easy to assume that a “one-size-fits-all” approach to worship is what God prefers. Nothing could be further from the truth. God is honored when we recognize that He loves diversity and has created many ways to be worshipped. God’s Word includes a long list of ways to magnify God’s name: standing silently, shouting loudly, bowing humbly, singing joyfully, and dancing victoriously.
Gary Thomas, a friend of Rick Warren, noticed that many Christians were stuck in a worship rut. He raised the question, “Since God has intentionally made us all different, why should everyone be expected to love (worship) God the same way?”(1) Gary has discovered that for 2,000 years Christians have used many different paths to enjoy intimacy with God. In his book Sacred Pathways, Gary identifies nine ways that people draw near to God:
· Naturalists love God best when they are outdoors.
· Sensates love God best when all their senses are engaged.
· Traditionalists love God best when they are able to stick close to ritual, symbols, and familiarity.
· Ascetics love God best in solitude and simplicity.
· Activists love God best when they are battling injustice and evil.
· Caregivers love God best through caring for those who hurt.
· Enthusiasts love God best by experiencing celebration.
· Contemplatives love God best through adoration and meditation.
· Intellectuals love God best when their mind is fully engaged.
Did you find your favorite approach to loving God? Have you figured it out yet? It is not about style. So what is it about? It is about, how much of you does God have when you worship? This is critical because God is looking beyond our style to the attitude of our heart. We shouldn’t be surprised at the constant struggle we have with superficial concerns in worship because the Bible reminds us, “Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7b)
If you can worship God in authenticity and genuineness, then you have discovered the kind of worship God loves. Your favorite worship experience may include A Mighty Fortress Is Our God, Heart of Worship, or the remake of the Beetles, Let It Be. If the worship style you enjoy contributes to you being yourself in a setting where it’s tempting to be “man-pleasing,” then God is pleased.
Misconceptions About Worship
There are several misconceptions that draw us away from the real heart of worship. These include:
· Worship always includes music.
· Worship that pleases God has a unique style.
· Worship’s purpose is to make me feel good.
Few purposes of the church create more tension in a local body than worship. Churches are struggling to avoid the landmines associated with the Worship Wars. This happens because churches often have an erroneous perception of what God-pleasing worship really looks like. Before we can build we have to blast away the misconceptions about worship in the church.
The reason many get caught up in the issue of style in worship is they fail to see God’s purposes for worship. Style is a self-centered issue, and it assumes that the worship experience is complete when the last verse is sung. The worship experience is only the beginning of a deeper journey that takes us into the very presence of God so we can be changed.