Thursday, January 10, 2008

Worship Journal Entry 1

Okay, here's the very first part of my worship journal from last summer.

It happens each week across our country. Groups of people gather for "choir practice". Some are highly trained and skilled vocalist, while others have no formal training. In those same churches, former band members are dusting off their horns and retraining their chops in orchestra rehearsal. There are no individual stars, no attitude or humility issues, just hundreds of people praising God. All with a common goal of leading their congregation to throne of Almighty God. Right?

In a perfect world yes that is exactly what happens. But we don’t live in a perfect world. Even in an environment of Christians, people who have chosen to follow Jesus there are issues of pride, jealousy, gossip, discontentment, etc., etc.

We walk into rehearsal acting as if we have it all together, but our minds are in a thousand different places. Some worried some hurting and each one busy. Sometimes to busy to really absorb what we are singing or playing. We get right down to business, don’t want to waste a second we’ve got a lot to cover in a short amount of time. This may be accurate, but is it right? I would venture to say it’s wrong and that it grieves God’s heart.

We miss the words, we miss the message but more importantly we miss Jesus. We walk away frustrated and no different than when we walked in and our testimony? Well it’s lacking to say the least. Where’s the passion? What’s the meaning to this? Why do we continue to walk through the motions of worship leading when we have no idea what that means.

Now, I’m all about a productive focused rehearsal. It’s vital that we pound parts, and rehearse rhythms. We serve an excellent God and He demands excellence in our worship. But I have to wonder what would happen if we were real with each other and ourselves. Admitting we don’t have it all together. What would happen if we cried out to God with our whole being in each and every rehearsal? What would God do within our worship ministries if we were to seek Him, beg Him to move in our lives and in our rehearsal time? I don’t ever want to just read words or sing/play the notes. I’ve done that, there's not much to it.

Worship must be important to God, it is what He has planned for us to do for eternity. Here’s some of what Webster has to say about worship:

Noun
1. The activity of worshipping.
2. A feeling of profound love and admiration.

Verb
1. Love unquestioningly and uncritically.
2. Show religious devotion to
3. Attend religious services; "They worship in the traditional manner".

That’s too much “churcheese” for me. Worship is a bowing down of ones self. It is a sacrifice of praise, regardless of our circumstances. Okay, that’s still a little to Sunday morning Sunday School lesson, so let’s make it even more elementary. Here’s how I describe it to my children. Worship is choosing to tell God how good and awesome He is, even when we don’t feel like it. (Like when someone really hurts your feelings and you don’t understand why.)

I’ll never forget one of the first worship services with my oldest daughter. She was almost 4 and we had just started taking her into worship on Sunday evenings. I was singing on the praise team and could see her with my husband about halfway back of the section in front of me. She was standing on the pew next to my husband. (No, he wasn’t on the pew his feet were firmly planted on the ground. No pew jumpers at this church!) She had her little hands in the air looking at the ceiling singing her heart out. People around her were beginning to look and grin. It was precious, such a pure picture of what a real worshipper looks like. She didn’t care who watched honestly, she wasn’t aware that anyone was watching because she was so focused on God! It was all I could do to sing.

Later that evening I asked her why she had her hands in the air. I fully expected her to say that it was because she saw other people doing it and figured it was what she should do. Nope, not my firstborn. She was raising her hands to God to “show Him that I really needed Him”. We were singing “In the Secret”. Not the usual fast version, we had slowed it way down. It was a very intimate moment and she was sensitive to that. Her little heart was feeling the tug of the Holy Spirit to enter into worship and she did.

My question to you today is simple. Do you sense the Holy Spirit when you come to worship? Do you engage, or do you simply participate in a sing-along? I pray that each person who chooses to be a worship leader, does so out of an overflow of the profound love they feel for our Savior.
----------------

For those of you who read this little blog and aren't musical, let me just say that you don't have to stand on a platform or in a choir loft to be a worship leader. If you're a mommy or daddy, you are a worship leader. You are teaching your children how to worship! Also, worship is so much more than music. It's a lifestyle. Worship is acknowledging God in every aspect of your life. We worship God by working for His glory, by being a cheerful giver...... it's so much more than 20 minutes on Sunday morning!!

10 comments:

jennyhope said...

i left you something on my blog

Fran said...

WOW! Just beautiful Stephanie!!
I'm going to email this to a couple of people who will be completely blessed by it.

Thank you! I don't want to be a "sing-a-long-er" in worship. I want to worship His awesomeness!

Just beautiful..
hugs~
Fran

Mariel said...

Absolutely beautiful post! My firstborn has the same untamed love for Jesus..isn't it incredible? And convicting! Thank you for sharing...I will carry this thought with me to church Sunday!
Mariel
growingingodliness.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

Thanks Mom So much.
I don't remember Doing anything like that.

Thank you,
Chloe

Stephanie (Ocean Mommy) said...

Chloe,

You were 4 years old and you don't remember it because it's just the way you are. You don't know any different so it wasn't a "big event" to you. We'll ask Jesus to watch the DVD in heaven okay!

Love you
mummy

Carol said...

Oh, Stephanie. That was BEAUTIFUL!!! You need to share that with John. Oh my. That is all I can say. I can totally see this in a book called "Here I am to Worship" by Stephanie! I love it. :)

Heather C said...

What a beautiful post! Can't wait for the next installment!

Something I constantly remind myself of is that we are not just worship leaders... we are called to be lead worshippers. If I think of it in those terms, it helps to keep it in perspective.

Great blog, Stephanie!

Heather

Earen said...

What wonderful thoughts on worship. I love music & I love to worship the Lord. I was actually the worship leader at my highschool (long time ago) and so enjoyed it. My heart can relate so strongly to what you expressed today. I can't wait to worship the Lord face to face!!

jenmom said...

Stephanie,
I agree with the book remark by Carol! My husband leads worship/associate pastor duties in the churches we have served in and the "worship wars" so grieve our hearts! You have the right perspective and it needs to be shared with so many! May I use your comments as commentary on a sunday school lesson I'm preparing? Love ya, Jennifer
jenmom1707@yahoo.com

Angela @ Refresh My Soul Blog said...

Great words girl. Love your thoughts.
It is neat to see what we have journaled looking back.
Much love,
Angela