Saturday, August 25, 2012


God has granted the opportunity to worship in a few different churches over the last few weeks due to work and vacation and it has been a good challenge for my heart.  Just to clarify here, when I say worship, I mean more than just the music.  Worship as I am mentioning here is the entire service and the interaction before and after.  Let me also mention, that I am not of the opinion that you ought to make your home church one that you do not agree with doctrinally or in the manner of worship.  Satan uses these kinds of things to divide the body of Christ and so, I believe we ought to choose a place of worship carefully based on the truths of scripture and what leads us to love and obey Him more.  Anyway, one of the churches was really not my preference for worship, one of the churches was very close to what my preference is, and another one was a mixture of both.  I knew before I walked into the first one that it was not going to be my preference, so the battle in my heart happened the night before.  I was faced with the question, what is worship?  Can I worship in a service where I don't feel like others are worshiping the "right way"? 

These were all great things to think through.  I have thought through these things several times before, but it was good to battle with them once again.  I came to the conclusion that if I can worship in a secular environment (all of life ought to be worship), then I can worship the One True God in any environment.  Obviously, this church was not a "secular environment", but it was helpful for me to take the extreme case so that my heart would not be distracted by things while at the church.  I didn't have to think about what others thought of me... I didn't have to agree with the pastor... I didn't have to agree with the music... I didn't have to care about what other people were doing or how they were doing it... but I did have to worship!  Worship comes from the heart. 

I'd like to take the time to challenge anyone that may happen to stumble across this to really consider what it means to worship the Lord.  Once that is determined based on the Word of God, my next challenge would be to consider if the local body of believers (church) that you worship with generally help you to worship the Lord from the heart, or if it hinders your worship.  Notice, I did not ask if you liked it.  The question isn't whether or not I like the worship.  The question is whether or not it is worship!  Am I just going through the motions of attending church and singing songs, or am I actually worshiping the Lord in Spirit and in truth?  One question I try to ask myself often is, "God, are you pleased by this?"  This same question can be applied to our worship.  Are we pleasing God or men?  My challenge to you is to take action.  It doesn't matter if "all your friends are doing it"... what matters is that you are worshiping the Lord with all of your heart and that you are being fed and guided by the Word of God through the teaching.  If you need to find a new church home, please do it!  For the sake of your heart, for the sake of your family, for the sake of honoring the Lord, do it!  If you need to bring some things up to the leadership of your church privately, do it!  Why would we wait to do these things when there is nothing more important than worshiping the Lord?  It's not about opinions or preferences, it is about honoring the Lord.

I'd also like to challenge those that are not attending a perfect church (yes, that makes all of us) to give grace to those that are in leadership. There will not be a perfect worship service until we worship Christ for all eternity in heaven.  It is not helpful for us to complain about that one song that was too loud, or that one person that was or wasn't raising his/her hands.  We are commanded to speak to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, making melody in our hearts to the Lord!  Encourage those around you.  Worship is not about me and it is not about you!  It is about the Lord.  Encourage others in their worship of Him.  Sing because He is worthy of our voices raised to honor Him.  You don't have to sound good.  He is pleased when we open our mouths to praise Him.  Do you need to quiet your heart before Him and worship in silence?  Do it!  Pray for opportunities to minister to people in your local body of believers and look for those opportunities.  The sum it all up, worship the Lord in Spirit and in truth because He is worthy of all of our worship and remember that you are not the only one that struggles with this.  Others need encouragement to worship Him from a pure heart.  Part of being in the body of Christ is the responsibility to encourage and exhort others to love and obey Him.  Do it because you love Him!

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