“Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.” Heb 12:28-29 (ESV)
You get two posts this week. Don’t forget to check out the latest Friday Chronicle!!
Please watch and listen to this song. Read the words and soak it in. Then continue on to read this post.
The more I listen, the more I learn. Ever since I have been here, God has been teaching me about worshiping Him. He’s been showing me that it needs to be the priority of my heart. It’s bringing Him glory, and from that I can obey Him. Throughout my life, worship has had many different meanings. Each building to what I know it as now. I find it amazing to see the journey.
When I was very young and in church or at church camp, worship was just singing songs I knew. I never understood why people raised their hands. In fact, I was quite embarrassed to even consider doing it. I had a warped sense of a lot of things because of what I was taught. I was never really challenged to question what I was taught until my church went through a radical change when I was about 12. Even then, I never understood worship. I started loving the songs and what they were saying, though.
I went through life like that until I graduated high school. My church was a very small Pentecostal-type church. I did not grow up Baptist (gasp! :-D). Once I left high school, I pretty much stopped going to church. It wasn’t out of rebellion; I just was lazy. Naturally, worship fell off my radar. Little did I know that not worshiping would lead to an unexplainable darkness. We are not called to neglect gathering together to worship. Well, if I actually read my Bible, I would know that. I was lacking in all aspects of worship. I held fast to what people would call morals and values. I can’t really explain why except that God refused to let me slip in that sense. He is my ultimate protector. I fully praise Him now for it, and I know why He did it. That’s another story for another day.
I walked through life for a couple of years in a kind of technical Christian fog. I can’t tell you how many times I prayed because I don’t know if I did. I more than likely didn’t crack open my Bible. Worship was non-existent for me. There was a point in my life that I realize through the grace of God that I needed Him to pull me out of this stupid mess I’d gotten myself in. There was no way I could survive living in the darkness that I was in.
Without warning, I was thrust into the light. Everything became clear. It hurt my eyes, but I could see. I was in a church at a retreat signing praises to God as I never had before. I craved it. I don’t understand it to this day. From then, corporate worship took on a whole new meaning. I devoured all the teachings. God opened my heart to take Him in. He took something I was afraid and embarrassed of for most of my life and showed me how wonderful it is.
Since then, He’s been fine tuning me. I’ve learned that worship is not about feeling good for me but for abandoning myself to praise Him. I’ve learned that bringing glory to His name is my purpose. Sometimes I sit all by myself wanting to go meet Him so that I can sing my heart to Him for all eternity, and I know that one day that will come true.
This experience in Germany has really opened my eyes to what worship is. It’s private and intimate time with God, and it’s an open expression of love for Him in front of others. Worship how you will, but never neglect it. Pour out to God what He has given you. Worship is all about glorifying God. When you glorify God, your heart becomes one with His, and His desires become yours. Only then can you truly obey Him. That’s where answering the call comes in. When your heart is in line with God’s, you will know His call upon your life. It may not be the big picture, in fact, it probably won’t be.
This is where I am right now. Now you know why worship means so much to me. As long as you are truly worshiping God, it doesn’t matter what it looks like. Don’t hold back from praising God. If you worship in a big church with ultra-contemporary music or in a small church singing from a hymnal, it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter what other people think of you or your style of worship. Just worship.