Bloggite Question: Can We Talk About Worship?

February 5, 2008 at 12:03 pm 17 comments

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Can we talk about worship? I really want to.  I mean REALLY.  In the context of more modern worship services particularly, what should worship look like?  

Ray Man locally gave some great thoughts this week.  He said,

“Worship should look happy.  You all don’t look happy today.  Get healthy so that we can bring joy to worship.” 

(Broad translation of the quote from my memory there, but close enough to get us started).

How does that hit you?

I’m taking a slower blogging week, so really give this priority thought.  Answer some questions for me and we’ll see what we come up with.  I want us to build vision and keep building it for worship.

Take as much space as you want.  Here are the questions: 

  1. What should we expect good corporate worship look like?  Why?
  2. What should it feel like?  Why?
  3. What should corporate worship do that individual worship cannot?   
  4. How does the worship of others affect you? 
  5. How could/should it?  (You may have already answered).
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Entry filed under: Worship. Tags: .

The “Quiet Time” Never Surfaced We’re Fine

17 Comments Add your own

  • 1. ~E  |  February 5, 2008 at 12:20 pm

    Interesting you should bring that up. Our church is doing a series (sermon) on worship this month. I will try to comment more later and answer some of your questions. My lunch break is over!

  • 2. Suzanne  |  February 5, 2008 at 12:40 pm

    This is an issue very near to my heart, Mags. I’m glad you brought it up.

    1. Good corporate worship should look like people are engaged in being real with God. It will look different for each person. I’d much rather see a handful of people sitting quietly in their seats with tears in their eyes than everyone standing with their hands waving in the air and knowing it’s all for show (or because their worship leader said they had to look happy…sorry).

    2. I am reading a great book right now, 31 Days of Praise by Ruth Myers. There’s a quote in it that really brings the ‘feeling’ part of worship into focus for me. “‘To give thanks when you don’t feel like it is not hypocrisy; it’s obedience.–Dr. Jack Mitchell.” Ain’t that the truth!

    We can’t simply worship because we feel like worshipping. We worship because we were made to glorify God – no matter how we feel. When we read the Psalms, we can get a picture of what praise should look like. Just read Psalm 43. David is seriously hurting and pours out his pain to God. After railing about the injustice being perpetrated on him, he finishes the Psalm in praise. He takes it all to his Father and thanks Him for the priveledge. That’s worship.

    3. During my private worship time, I can focus only on God and me. I love that time! However, when we are worshipping as a body, as a family, I need to be sensitive to others around me. I’m usually not as demonstrative during public worship time as when I am alone. I don’t want my actions to be a distraction to the worship of others. In other words, I want them to be focused on God, not on me. Also, when others are truly worshipping, we can often read the pain (or happiness) in their faces. I need to be praying for those who are struggling and make myself available to them if for no other reason than to give them a shoulder to cry on, the Lord knows I appreciate when a shoulder is offered to me from time to time. Corporate worship can bring us together as siblings in Christ, allowing us opportunities to thank God for His mercy and to show that mercy to others. I love it when He lets us get involved in ministry like that!

    4. I think 3 & 4 go hand in hand for me. It is the way corporate worship connects us not only to our savior but to each other that affects me most.

    5. I look forward to reading what others have to say when answering this question. What more should corporate worship do than draw us closer to God and to each other?

    Thanks, again, for asking the questions!

  • 3. awomansdevotion  |  February 5, 2008 at 12:54 pm

    My experience has shown me that “corporate worship” can look and feel many ways. It does not matter the type of music, the format, band or no band–what matters is how I come to worship.
    Several years ago, I did a children’s moment at church that ended up being a great lesson for me. I talked about how we come to worship and in short this is what I learned:
    If I come to church bitter, resentful, half-heartedly–then regardless of the type of worship around me, my heart is like a rock and unable to “soak up” what I need. However if I humble myself, open myself up and make my heart like a sponge–regardless of the type of worship, God drenches me and fills me–so much that I overflow. I think when the congregation comes to worship like that, then the “happiness” occurs.

  • 4. Misty  |  February 5, 2008 at 2:08 pm

    Hmm, another deep post. I don’t have quite so deep answers, but I’ll give it a shot:

    1. Corporate worship should look genuine, not necessarily everyone “happy”. But you should tell that people WANT to be in the presence of God, and WANT to give Him praise, despite heartbreak, sickness, and pain. I’ve seen some beautiful examples of genuine worship, where someone was crying tears of pain, but holding their hands up to heaven or singing along–worshipping their Creator despite the troubles of life.
    2. I kinda answered that already–it should FEEL genuine, not just robotic. I like being in a place where people aren’t snoring, chatting during the sermon, or staring at every newcomer, assessing their fashions. They are there to worship God, to be in His presence with other believers.
    3. Corporate worship should draw us closer to our fellow church members as we worship together. It should also make us aware of others’ needs as we talk together and hear prayer requests, etc.
    4. Sincere, joyous worship just makes me want to worship all the more. It gives me something to look forward to each worship service.

    I think that’s about all I can come up with. Zoe just peed on herself 😦

  • 5. "Maggie"  |  February 5, 2008 at 3:23 pm

    Loving each individual slant on this…keep it coming.

    Read this post today by Crown Laid Down today:
    http://crownlaiddown.blogspot.com/2008/02/commercials-on-display.html

    Does it change your thoughts?

  • 6. Jenn  |  February 5, 2008 at 4:26 pm

    I’m going to think on this today and come back hopefully with some semi-intelligent answers tomorrow, but another question…What should worship look like when we take into consideration that unbelievers may be there watching. Should this affect how we worship? I’m often aware that we might look like some crazy cult to an unbeleiver, but am I too wrapped up in what they may think?

  • 7. awomansdevotion  |  February 5, 2008 at 7:46 pm

    Maggie–the quote you gave, at the time it was said, do you think he meant happy literally?

    When I read the quote I never thought he meant it literally. To me the happy he was talking about was much like what Misty said–People WANTING to be in the presence of God and wanting to give Him praise regardless of what else is happening in their lives. I think that praise can be in many forms–hands lifted, tears streaming, whatever the Holy Spirit moves you to do.

    Jenn–I have often thought about that same point. I think if we are truly listening to what God wants of us in worship at that particular moment and we listen–we can’t go wrong. If God is telling us to raise our hands–then we should do it. If He is telling us to walk over to someone and pray–then we should do that. I think we have to follow His lead and not worry about what it looks like to others (not there yet but I am trying :))

    Thanks for an awesome topic Maggie!!!!!

  • 8. Kevin Eby  |  February 5, 2008 at 9:06 pm

    I think Suzanne has got some great points. I like it when there is diversity in worship and no expectations.

    I am crushed when the body is instructed how to worship and usually can’t recover until later in the day. I’m all about diversity, freedom and expression in worship.

    It is great for worship leaders to have great expectations for the body, but they need to count on God to deliver even greater change in worship.

  • 9. tunz4jesus  |  February 6, 2008 at 8:02 am

    I have nothing profound, except for the opinion that worship is fluid. Worship is like water, it will fill up whatever space we carve out for it.

  • 10. morselsfromgod  |  February 6, 2008 at 9:51 am

    I gotta think about this one….

  • 11. Shawn  |  February 6, 2008 at 2:44 pm

    I ran across your blog site while looking for the lyrics of O Praise Him by David Crowder Band. And, I don’t know if congratulations are in order, this is my very first blog… but a topic I could not pass up.

    In answering the five questions, there are a few thoughts I keep in the forefront as I engage in individual or corporate worship and I hope they are encouraging to those who read this.

    a. Worship is defined as giving honor to one who is worthy, or in the spirit of “Magnanimity”, WORTHSHIP. When we worship God we are expressing His worth and the measure that we worthship has a direct correlation to how much we value His mercy and grace. The greatest example of worthship in the Bible is the woman who anoints Jesus’ feet with perfume and wipes it dry her own hair signifying her beauty.

    b. As someone once stated, “Praise is the song of a soul set free.” Mediate on that one a bit.

    c. As a great hymn concludes, “demands my heart, my soul, my all.”

    d. The book of Revelation provides an “unveiling” of the Resurrected Messiah and the continual corporate worthship by the angels to the Lamb and His Father. The Lamb did not die for the angels but us! Let’s learn from this example provided by the Lamb to John, who was the one “in whom I loved.” This is the same John who leaned on Jesus chest at the Last Supper yet when John saw Jesus in His glorified state in heaven “he fell as though dead!” Jesus is worthy of our praise and worthship!

    So, let’s get to the five questions:

    1. Corporate worship should be orderly but passionate. I would love to see scripture verses either be read or displayed for each song. The verse should support the theology in the song and/or encourage engagement. David, the Psalmist, sang his songs to the Lord of which many were Messianic prophecies. This would speak to our soul and help us memorize the Word of God. In addition, it would expose the unbelievers who are present to the Word and the reason we worship.

    2. The Bible teaches “when two or three are gathered in my name there I am among them.” We know the Holy Spirit is present and we should welcome Him. The Holy Spirit’s presence is peaceful and convicting. There should be moments of celebration as well as healing of our souls – the seat of our emotion. As David expressed, “worship Him oh my soul”. The soul is our intellect and emotions, and is where the battle occurs between the flesh and spirit. We must speak to our soul and allow the Holy Spirit to do His work in us during times of worship. We should also rejoice in the victories that the Lord has accomplished the same way Moses did in expressing who God is and what He has done!

    3. Build unity in three areas: Husband/Wife, Family Units, Church Family. Jesus’ final prayer was that the church would be one “so that the world would know He is God.” In two words: Unity and Purpose.

    4/5. Encourages me to engage in worthship if it is sincere. How do we recognize sincerity is answered to whom is receiving the glory? Several years ago, our band led worship at a retreat where over 1,000 pastors and their wives were present. These couples were so engaged in sincere worthship that one could feel the unity and encouragement of the Holy Spirit to these pastors, some of which were hurting. It was humbling.

  • 12. Holly Smith  |  February 6, 2008 at 3:33 pm

    Aww, thank you! I stopped by to make sure my friend was safe from harm with the storms last night. The Lord kept me up praying for you and Dori, so I did happily. Thank God for make-up 🙂

    I hope that worship is my life. That’s what my deepest prayer is. Sometimes, though, I look at my life with the Lord looking on, too, and I think–uh oh, that didn’t look like worship, did it?

    My favorite thing is seeing our kids “catch” it. When they say, “Mom, look at the beautiful sky God made”–it causes me to be so grateful.

    Thanks again, Maggie! Much love to you! holly

  • 13. mandythompson  |  February 6, 2008 at 7:45 pm

    loving these thoughts as well!

  • 14. "Maggie"  |  February 7, 2008 at 7:38 am

    The thoughts on worship have so lifted me to read awaiting my moderation as I get my computer back on after several days with no power–sorry it took me a few days to moderate. I hope to get back to this week in terms of summary. If I do not get to that, I urge you to read over these.

    To clarify: our pastor said, “Get healthy so that you can be happy”. He went on to elaborate that if you spend week after week having trouble finding any sense of happiness that can be recognized by other people, get help. Get happy. He has taught us before that while joy is deeper than “happiness”, happiness is an important aspect of joy that we should not overlook. God’s people should be happy, living abundant, full, grace-filled, smiling lives. And out of that, others are comfortable to join us when they come worship.

    Maggie personal note: a seemingly uninvolved, arms crossed, unengaged, observer type of worship is what hope to address from what I understand and observe as a worship leader.

  • 15. Misty  |  February 7, 2008 at 12:05 pm

    “A seemingly stone-cold, uninvolved, arms crossed, unengaged, observer type of worship is what are addressing from my vantage point as a worship leader.”

    I agree–when I do happen to make it to church and on time *ahem*, I am often dancing around, clapping, singing, and just loving the praise. Sometimes I’m more distracted than others, but I don’t get the “stone-cold” folks. How can you not move when the worship is so uplifting and joyous?

  • 16. Suzanne  |  February 7, 2008 at 1:44 pm

    I have been leading worship when I see those “stone-cold”s. I have also been one of those stone-colds.

    People come to church for many reasons. Sometimes it is to be encouraged, sometimes it is a need for social interaction, sometimes they are there specifically to sing praise and worship songs, sometimes their loved ones have coerced them to be there, and sometimes they are there only because they know that is the right thing to do.

    It seems to me that, whatever the reason, they are in our church at that moment because God desires it. It is a divine appointment. When we encounter those people, it is our opportunity to follow God’s Greatest Commandment: to love our neighbor as ourselves.

    I used to become distracted and, if I’m being totally honest, annoyed when I saw people like that at church. I was of the opinion, though never articulated, that they were ‘bringing down’ the tone of the worship experience. Well, that’s just a bunch of hooey!

    These people are often hurting or damaged by the world in some way, but they have a hunger for Jesus that draws them to meet in a sanctuary anyway. It may be tension in their home, pride, or even unforgiveness that keeps their hearts hard during vocal worship times, but they ARE there. Even if their eyes are closed, they are listening. If they really hated that time as much as they look like they hate it, they wouldn’t be there. Once I came to this understanding, my reaction to such behavior changed.

    Now, my first instinct is to pray. I ask for the Lord to reach them where they are. I ask for them to be encouraged, to be blessed with at least one nugget of spiritual nourishment while they are in the building with the rest of their church family. Sometimes I even smile when I see them because I know-that-I-know-that-I-know they are being blessed on the inside, even if they don’t want to show it on the outside. Then I make a point to greet them with a smile before they leave the property that day.

    We just gotta love ’em. That’s what God told us to do.

  • 17. Rachel  |  February 9, 2008 at 7:51 am

    Great post. I have always been very charasmatic in my worship and used to feel weird like people were looking at me funny. Now I realize and people have come up to me and told me that the love the way I worship. I have also been told (by EX boyfriend) to not judge people based on how they worship. He said people don’t all have to have their hands raised or be all wiggly like me. That being said, I also think worship comes from deep within and if you heart is holding on to bitterness or anger or if you are in sin, it is very difficult to worship. Trust me, I know from experience.
    As for corporate worship, most times I love it at my church but I wished that sometimes we would not be so structured and would allow the Holy Spirit to direct it a little more. I know how hard that is especially since we want to be sensitive to the newcomer or new believer. My answer is this: I turn on my own worship music in my living room, get some socks on my feet (preferably ones without holes) and I crank up the music and get my groove on! I sing at the top of my lungs and dance around for my Jesus and I think sometimes He must look at me and think, this beloved child of mine is just plain nuts!

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ME: “MAGGIE”

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Sifting the joy from the mundane:

recording, photographing, learning, creating.

I am married to the love of my life, as we raise three children, learning the ways of grace.

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Magnanimity (derived from the Latin roots magn- great, and anima, soul) is the virtue of being great of mind and heart. It encompasses, usually, a refusal to be petty, a willingness to face danger, and actions for noble purposes. Its antithesis is pusillanimity. Both terms were coined by Aristotle, who called magnanimity "the crowning virtue."

Noah Webster's 1828 Dictionary of the American Language defines Magnanimity as such:

MAGNANIM'ITY, n. [L. magnanimitas; magnus, great, and animus, mind.] Greatness of mind; that elevation or dignity of soul, which encounters danger and trouble with tranquillity and firmness, which raises the possessor above revenge, and makes him delight in acts of benevolence, which makes him disdain injustice and meanness, and prompts him to sacrifice personal ease, interest and safety for the accomplishment of useful and noble objects.[1] (Source: Wikipedia)

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