Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Worship - What is it?

Praise the LORD!
 Praise the LORD from the heavens;
 praise him in the heights!
 Praise him, all his angels;
 praise him, all his hosts!
 Praise him, sun and moon,
 praise him, all you shining stars!
 Praise him, you highest heavens, and you waters above the heavens!
 Let them praise the name of the LORD!
 For he commanded and they were created.
 And he established them forever and ever; he gave a decree, and it shall not pass away.
 Praise the LORD from the earth, you great sea creatures and all deeps, fire and hail, snow and mist, stormy wind fulfilling his word!
 Mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars!
 Beasts and all livestock, creeping things and flying birds!
 Kings of the earth and all peoples, princes and all rulers of the earth!
 Young men and maidens together, old men and children!
 Let them praise the name of the LORD, for his name alone is exalted; his majesty is above earth and heaven.
 He has raised up a horn for his people, praise for all his saints, for the people of Israel who are near to him.
 Praise the LORD!
 (Psalm 148 ESV)

 These are my favorite Psalms! I love them because they capture the essence of worship and who should worship God. I've been a worship pastor for 8 years this month. I've seen trends in music come and go. I've seen a lot of people worship and had a lot of people tell me how I should worship. However, my position as a worship leader does not mean people don't worship unless I'm around. People WILL worship. The question is who or what do you worship. Thus the purpose of this post. My thoughts on worship.


 To really understand this idea of worshiping we should look at the words for worship. I have chosen some of my favorite words for worship, both of them being Greek

Doxazo - to render or esteem, glorious, honor, magnify, full of glory From where we get the word doxology - it means to esteem, or honor.

Megaluno-to make or declare great, increase or extol, enlarge, magnify, show great This word is where we get magnify - to make great, to show the greatness.

 See these words for worship don't say "to make melody" or "to sing about" or "learn a new Hillsong tune", they mean something more. See in my life I have had the tendency to use the word worship in reference to a style of music. This is extremely unfortunate given the fact it means so much more than, singing songs while looking at words on a screen and trying to stay focused on the song instead of who is looking at us. This idea of worship refers more to something like an arrow pointing at something. When we are in a "worship setting" it generally means a setting that is about a god (I say a god because there are many religions that have "worship settings"). It means we are getting ready, as a group, to focus our attention on one being. Christians focus on the triune Godhead, Muslims focus on Allah and Muhammad, Catholics focus on a number of beings, and sports fans focus on teams and or players, gym rats focus on their body and the bodies around them. In putting our focus upon something, either spiritual or not, we are showing the people around us what is important to us. We, in a sense, point people towards what we consider important. In the case of our spiritual lives we have limited worship to a 15 - 45 min. set of songs with which we "worship." This is what has become to general use of the word worship in the Christian world. I am not condemning all people who use the word worship in reference to music, I am asking if we should return the word worship to its actually meaning so that we can better understand what it means to be a "Worshiper." Let us understand worship better so that it can be the act of living that it is supposed to be! In the Psalms I posted above, it refers to all of creation praising God. You may ask yourself "how are they supposed to worship?" thats perfectly fine to ask. How does a tree worship God, how does a squirrel worship God, and how does my dog worship God? The answer to that is "General Revelation."

 You see, God reveals himself to all people in two ways "General Revelation" and "Specific Revelation". Specific revelation is God revealing himself through scripture, I won't spend very much time on this but if your want more information on this check out this video by Pastor Mark Driscoll. General Revelation is God revealing himself through his creation. When we look at creation we see a vast expanse of created things, as Christians we believe that God created these things. God created dogs, cats, and cows. These animals, by way of existence, point towards their creator, God. This in effect is giving Glory to God. Given that these creatures point toward their creator, they are giving the glory of their creation to God. They are worshiping him by there very existence. They have not been given a free will to choose who they will worship like we have. Therefore, every second of everyday, 365 days a year animals worship God by existing. By way of General revelation animals and creation worship God.

 HOW DO WE WORSHIP GOD? God, because of his love, has given us a free will. This means that we can worship what we want. Given the fact that we are sinful by nature, and ever since we were born we were enemies of christ (Philippians 3:18, Colossians 1:21) we have made the decision to not worship God... This is what has condemned us to death. We make the decision to choose something other than God we make the choice to die. Choosing to worship anything other than God is in the 10 commandments (Exodus 20:3) therefore punishable by death. "But Seth, I have never made the choice to worship anything but God!" Really? Let us think about what I have stated previously. If you are worshiping God, your life is pointing towards him. Worshiping is merely that, your life pointing toward who your god is. Every one of your actions is proclaim a god and if your actions are pointing towards Jesus then you are worshiping him. But, what god are you proclaiming when you lie to your boss about being sick, or when you are speeding down the highway breaking the law, or when you stay in bed instead of intentionally going to worship God with other believers? In those moments, who are you proclaiming? When you make it difficult for the Church to its job of making disciples, is that an act that proclaims God to be who He says He is? We must understand that our every action is a proclamation to those around us as to who our god is.

 These are my thoughts on worship. It's is not my desire to make you questions your life choices or to stir up disdain or make you feel bad. I am merely seeking to encourage people to question themselves, "who is my god?" "What or who do i proclaim?" Yes you may sing songs on sunday and raise your hands or even playing in the band, but if you do not live a life that proclaims God to be who He says He is, you are in fact, NOT worshiping the God of the Bible. We need to ask ourselves questions like this everyday. The question of do I actually worship God? Because those who are around us can tell who your God is.

 For me, my temptation is to make my things and myself in an idol. At one point I had realized that every status update on my social media, all the pictures I was posting. None of them, we're about my relationship with Christ. Not that social media is the end all be all of determining where one's heart is. However, social media is a window into what is important to someone. For me, you will see hundreds of pictures of motorcycles, baseball, music and my family. All of which, if I am not careful to seek God, can become idols.

 Here's the solution. Seek Jesus. When you have truly saught after Jesus and experienced his grace, realized his work for you, you have no trouble worshiping him. Just like you would have no trouble making your appreciation for someone whose taken a bullet for you know. If you know and believe that Jesus saved you and spend time seeking him daily. Well, then you'll know what I talking about when I say worship is an overflow of the heart. What you believe in your heart to be true will, without trying very hard, come to the surface for those around you and the world to see. I hope this encourages you and causes you to consider where your heart is.

Seek Jesus. You'll enjoy it. He'll be glorified.