Worship Challenge, Week 1

February 9, 2008 at 5:37 pm 2 comments

simply-worship.jpgYou guy’s comments on corporate worship were awesome.  Isn’t it hard to know how to respond authentically and genuinely to the Lord, and yet be sensitive to those around us?  One person said, “to not draw attention to self and distract from attention to the One whom we worship.”  I’ll talk about my perspective on that in coming weeks.

The first Saturday, I’ll address the the challenge our pastor gave us.  “Happiness in worship”.  I addressed it in comments, but may have been missed. 

When he said, “get healthy so that you can bring joy to worship”, he is speaking I would guess to people who stay chronically unable to be active in worship due to some distraction, some mood, some feeling, some opinion, some “something”. 

There comes a time when we need to “get healthy” so that we can respond in joy instead of out of fatigue, attitude, worry, frustration, distraction, or whatever it is.  Get balanced.  Get prayed for.  Get hope…but snap out of it.  Too many of us have been “stuck” for too long.  There is help.  Our countenance reveals where we are.  If it’s not great, then let’s get it dealt with.  If too many of us bring unresolved issues to worship, those feed into the worship.  We are not worshipping in freedom because our mess is still unsorted, undealt with, and we can’t open up or risk anything.  The Christian life involves a lot of risk.  It involves dealing with fear and doubt and other people’s responses.

Worship should be the safest place we have to practice love for our Lord.  It ought to be the training ground for boldness.  It ought to be the place were we can practice professing our faith and feel that well up within us.  But, we are not.  We are stoically determined to stay the way we are.  I heard once that if you keep doing the same thing you’ve always done, you’ll likely get the same results you’ve always gotten.  Risk something.  Be sensitive to others around you, yes…but be willing to sing.  Be willing to move.  Be willing to respond.

Somewhere in the week, get your stuff out on the table and gain some new perspective.  It will make you happy.

We’ve all, most of us, heard that joy and happiness are not the same thing.  Yet in a Bible study meeting a couple years ago, this same minister said, “Let’s not negate happiness, though!  Happiness IS an expression of JOY.  A needful one!  You should not hide your joy,  just as you should not hide light under a bushel.  Of what benefit to the world is that?  Deep and abiding joy is invaluable.  But, so is it’s expression of happiness.  Strive for both.”

A very serious challenge.

Many of us have been so “hit” or “hurt” by life that we are genuinely afraid to be happy.  We don’t value it.  We’d rather stay grim and not risk losing what we’ve got.  We don’t want to be misunderstoof.

But, God calls us to joy and happiness.  To smiles and gratitude.  Not to worry and cynicism and doubt and fear.  Those negative experiences are very “real”, but they need to be dealt with so that we can experience, for the most part, joy in his presence and a restoration of happiness.

The word says:  “There is joy in your presence, eternal pleasures at your right hand.”    

Picture a date with someone who never spoke to you, never gave you any indication of involvement in the evening, never smiled.  They seemed to be saying by their presence “I’m here, now you see if you can do it for me.” 

Not much of an “interactive” occasion.  I see people bring that approach to worship.  At the end, they seem to be saying:  “Yup, that did it.” or “Nope, that didn’t do a thing for me.” as if it’s a one sided show rather than a dynamic, two-sided experience and conversation.

We engage in conversation just as we “engage” in worship.  If the “worship conversation” stinks, perhaps that is because we are collectively adding so little to it.  Conversation takes two.  Worship takes you.

I don’t have an answer to all the worship challenges in this post, but I hope to post a little something about worship each week just to challenge you to think about things in perhaps a different perspective.   Go to worship tomorrow, no matter where you are, or how you feel with the “intent to engage.”  Engage with other people.  Engage with the Lord.  Open your heart to whatever He has for you. 

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Release Worship, Sunday, Post Tornado

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Stacey  |  February 9, 2008 at 6:26 pm

    My biggest challenge lately has been to have a peaceful Sunday morning. We have such a difficult time getting everyone ready and in the car with our books and bibles and full bellies, snacks, etc… without biting each other’s heads off. I have started waking up earlier, cooking something, having my coffee and having some quiet time and time to pray for our morning. It helps to put me in a better frame of mind… otherwise, I am in no condition to worship. :(

    That is part of my “getting healthy”. I need to do whatever it takes to not be rushed, to not be irritated, to just be and be free to worship on Sunday morning.

    I love that about our church though. If it takes putting us all in jeans and t’s in order for us to not be so rushed that we lose the meaning of worship and why we are at church, then so be it. Jeans and t’s it is and noone cares what we are wearing. :)

    Maggie: Great solutions. Exactly what is meant by “getting healthy” for young moms. Great job! As a young mom, my best worship HAD to come in phone calls with friends who’d pray with me, and in personal worship for those reasons. Sitting by friends who loved my kids on occasion, or by a family member also helped a lot. My husband and I tried to rotate who was “on call” depending on which of us needed a greater grace refuel..

  • 2. Holly Smith  |  February 10, 2008 at 11:06 pm

    I that one hurdle for me is loving my family in such a way that I worship God by loving them and much as I love others. Sometimes, I can be harder on my own dear family…and in essence strap their hands so they cannot worship as well, because I can put weights on them by my actions or words. So I pray that I will throw off what entangles me and thus them, so I can worship in spirit and in truth to the inmost part–so can they!

    Maggie replies: That was deep. I’ll have to think on that.

    Immediately, I think worship is up to each of us to shake off whatever chains that bind us.

    Certainly, we don’t want to exacerbate the problem, but the challenges of motherhood make the lack of any weight hard.

    Very good insights to ponder.

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