I mentioned yesterday that I tweeted recently that we are called to make disciples, not music. I mentioned that my expanded view is that we are really called to glorify God and that can come by making music or disciples. Today, I want to follow-up up a bit on that.
I once had a conversation with a family member who said that they would be happy if church services were only comprised of music. I just kind of shook my head, but realized that I was not that far from that view. I would be happy if church services were only made up of preaching. That’s just how I’m wired and geared.
We were both wrong.
Imagine if that actually took place. We would have churches full of people who were there only to hear preaching. Other would just be full of singing. Others might pray the entire service. Still others might take an offering…..and then what?
I’ll tell you. We would all miss out on different ways to worship. We would miss out on the various types of people. We would also miss out on the variety of gifts within the church.
Mostly we would miss out on being part of the Body of Christ. Arms don’t exist alone. Neither do legs, knees, throats, mouths and you think of a body part.
I don’t like all parts of church services. That may sound like sacrilege, but I’m just trying to be real. That doesn’t mean that I don’t see the benefit of the things I am not naturally inclined toward. Those things help connect me to other members of the Body. They help connect me to Christ. They help me maximize who I am in the entire Body of Christ.
I never was a Boy Scout.
I wanted to be. To be honest, I had no idea what Scouts did when I was a kid. I’m not sure why. I never thought to ask one what they did.
My imagination took control of what I learned about them from TV. I thought every weekend for a Scout was spent marching through the woods to another campsite.
Truth be told, I really wanted to be a Scout because of the uniforms. I’ve always been a sucker for uniforms. I used to use my version of the Internet, the World Book encyclopedia, to look at every military uniform available.
For whatever reason, though, I never became a Boy Scout and never learned what it meant to be prepared the way they were taught.
I ask myself all the time if I’m prepared for church when Sunday rolls around.
Did I get enough sleep?
Did I get my clothes ready the night before?
Did I eat enough so that my stomach doesn’t growl right in the middle of the sermon?
Those aren’t the most important questions, though.
Did I spend the week in worship so that I can worship on Sunday?
Did I spend time in prayer preparing for corporate worship?
Did I spend time in God’s word preparing for, well, everything?
I don’t like the answers to a lot of these questions. Why?
Because I’m not prepared to answer them.
Do you prepare for worship?
It’s been a tough week. It was really the first one lately of trying to get back in the routine shattered by the holidays. I’m plumb worn out and, as a matter of fact, I’m going to drink some chocolate milk and go to bed when I finish writing this one.
The week started out well, with a great day of worship through song and sermon with my church on Sunday. The question I have to ask myself is if I have worshiped the rest of the week as well.
Have I worshiped through my work? Did I work unto the Lord and give Him my best at my job?
Have I worshiped through my family? Have we spent time together that glorifies Him?
Have I worshiped through my finances? Have I been a good steward of what He has given me?
Have I worshiped through my fitness? Have I worked toward have a strong temple of the Holy Spirit?
Have I worshiped through my friendships? Have I loved my friends as I have loved myself?
Have I worshiped through my faculties? Have I tried to use my mind to grow in my relationship with the Lord?
Have I worshiped the Lord this week?
Have you worshiped this week?
I recently read a blog post about how we act in church. Specifically, about how often so many of us display our poker faces at church. The post him home as I read it and realized that described most Sundays for me.
I will high five strangers and kiss their babies at a football game. I don’t care to get up and act the fool at our quarterly corporate pep rallies. I can act stupid with the best of them when the need arises.
At church? I stand there and sing softly to myself. Nary a hand will be raised, much less two. A hearty amen? Forget about it. A tamer “That’s right!”? They would have to pry my cold dead lips apart.
There has to be several reasons why I am the way I am.
It was the way I was raised. My parents weren’t amen-ers in church. Those folks were gently poked fun of. I was taught that church was a time to be reverent. Heck, I couldn’t even walk fast in church, much less run.
I’m a bit of an introvert. I actually do like church to be quiet. We visited a church while we were searching a few years ago and it was too loud, too rock ‘n roll for me.
I can be loud among a small group of friends, but the larger the crowd gets, the quieter I become until , you know, I get among 100,000 Tennessee Vol fans at a football game. Then I can hide among the other idiots.
But here’s the thing. I really am excited when I’m at church. Often, fireworks are going off in my head. Someone could look at me and think I’m bored out of my mind.
That’s they great thing about church and worship. We all worship differently. The folks in front of me who raise both hands may appear that their worshiping and I’m not , but that’s not the case. I’m just worshiping my way.
So, yeah, I probably need to work on my poker face a little bit. I want Jesus to shine from me the way God’s glory shined on Moses’ face.
Let’s worship our way and support the worship of others. Let’s all shine Jesus’ light in all that we do in our lives.
Do you have a poker face when you worship? Or are you expressive?
I mentioned before that I grew up in the 70’s and 80’s. This means that I grew up in the church in the 70’s and 80’s as well.
One of the things I remember from that time is that clapping didn’t happen as often in church as it does now. In fact, when it came time to clap for something, I was taught specifically to not clap in church. I never did understand why, except that somehow God didn’t like it when we were in church.
Shortly after we began attending our church, something happened that I wasn’t sure about at first. Right there in the middle of the service, three girls walked up on the stage. The music began playing and they began doing their thing.
They danced. To Christian music to boot. Not in a separate service from “church.” Not in a separate location from “church.” Right there in the middle of worship service.
A few years ago I chaperoned the youth at a previous church when they went to a youth conference. I hadn’t been to something like this in years, so I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect.
The speaker was interesting. Besides being a preacher, he was a graffiti artist. For each session he led, he had a piece of graffiti art. For the final session, he even showed a time lapsed recording of him creating his art.
One session we had that weekend was also a performance from a church’s theater group. They performed the musical Godspell for this group of unsuspecting youth and chaperones.
My mindset for worship has changed a bit over the years.
When I clap in church, I’m not just clapping for what everyone can see is going on. I’m clapping for what God is doing in the situation.
I can clap for girls who can use talents they have developed for the glory of God.
I can clap for Godspell and graffiti.
How has your attitude over worship changed over the years?
I wrote the following tweet a few weeks back that approaches a thought I have about a subject:
Plenty of people enjoy singing songs in church. The question is do they enjoy worshiping the Lord.
Please don’t misunderstand me. I have no ability to decide who is one or the other. Do I have some guesses here or there? You bet. Can I know for sure? No way, Joseph.
Still the question remains. Are we singing simply for the enjoyment of singing songs? Or are we truly worshiping the Lord?
Sometimes I don’t know how to answer that question.
I’m a terrible singer. I sing in the shower. I sing in the truck at red lights. I sing in church with everyone else.
This past Sunday, I worshiped while I did it.
I’m pretty sure that there have been times when I haven’t.
Then again, I’ve worshiped while I wept in the presence of the Lord.
While running down the road.
While hiking in the mountains.
While reading my Bible.
And guess what? I haven’t as well.
I would love to say that every time I had a bottle of Diet Mountain Dew, I did it for the glory of God. I have. And I haven’t.
Life is weird and strange. It has its ebbs and flows. There are days that I feel like I’m worshiping in the presence of the Lord.
There are times I’ve felt far away from Him.
All I know is that sometimes I sing because I enjoy it. Sometimes I sing to worship the Lord.
Sometimes, it’s the same thing.
Do you find yourself in the same spots?
I wrote a post back at the end of 2013 where I asked the question, “What do you want to know?”
One of the questions someone posed was how I have so many ideas to write about. Obviously, that question has turned into another post.
My short answer is that the more I write, the more ideas I have. I don’t know how to explain that, but it’s true. It’s kind of like getting a water pump going. You have to prime the pump, but once the water starts flowing, it flows easily.
I used to think it was good if I had a couple of good ideas a week. I would think about those couple of ideas throughout the week. Then on the weekend, I would sit down to write. I would write two blog posts and post them immediately.
Then I began an experiment where I wrote everyday. I would open up my laptop and just write a post. I would publish it and repeat that the next morning. Honestly, that stressed me out.
Then I actually began jotting down my ideas in a book. I would try to capture my thoughts as quickly as possible. That was good, but my process continued to improve.
I began to write my idea on one sheet in my notebook. I began getting more and more. Where did they come from? Questions I had. Experiences I was going through. I would roughly outline many of these ideas until I was ready to write them.
Then I began to pray about them. I tried to let them sprout and grow. I thought that the Holy Spirit would be able to put better fertilizer on them than I could.
I quit waiting to be inspired. I grabbed ideas and worked on them. I put some blood, sweat and tears into them. I realized that I couldn’t just live off some sort of muse.
So, I write. Oftentimes, I write when I don’t really feel like it. I definitely don’t feel inspired. I just write. And write. And write.
That’s how I get ideas and write posts. I treat it a bit like a job. Do I worry that I will run out of ideas? Maybe. But I often sit there in church, worshipping, with ideas flowing through my head. That’s why I stick paper in my Bible now. I feel like capturing my thoughts and ideas is a form of worship now.
Am I afraid this will end? Am I afraid that worship will end?
Writing blog posts is worship.
What do you do that is worship?