Thursday, January 17, 2008

Worship Journal -2

After our Pastor's sermon last Sunday I have been thinking about worship. I found myself going back to my worship journal from a couple of summer's ago. This is a re-post of the second journal entry. With so many church activities gearing back up for fall, I feel like it's time to post this again. It was a big old reminder to myself to remain focused on what worship really is.

When we take our place as a worship leader, it’s more than just standing in that loft or sitting on that platform. Satan would like nothing more than to use lead worshippers as a distraction. Do you realize that we are in a battle? And as musicians guess what…… we’re the first line of defense.

In the Old Testament, the musicians would lead the children of Israel into Battle. Think about the march around the wall of Jericho. (Josh. 6) Just how did that wall come tumbling down? God had them march around for 6 mornings playing their instruments with all their might. Don’t you know that got a little annoying to the people inside that wall. Talk about psychological warfare! Then day 7 rolls around and I’m sure by that time people were coming out early for the good seats. Pushing and shoving trying to get the best seat on the wall! Little did they realize that this morning would be different. The “show” would end differently today. Yes, they marched and played those trumpets. Then they gave a shout. (I wonder what they shouted.) Wouldn’t you know it, that massive, stone, man-made wall collapsed! Fell right down. God moved in a very visible way.

When the Priests were marching around the wall of Jericho, I’m sure they were being made fun of, yelled at, maybe even had things thrown at them. But they didn’t give up. Their minds were focused on what Almighty God had told them to do. March and play. March and Play. March and Play. Then shout. They did just what God told them to do and look at what happened.

Let’s apply this concept to us. We spend significant amounts of times “marching” (rehearsing) preparing for the “shout” (our corporate time of worship). We are obedient to rehearse, we pound out rhythms and notes. We sing or play the same line over and over until it becomes second nature to us. Then Sunday comes. We move into battle ready to deliver the shout.

One of two things can happen at this point. One, we come in with clean hands, a pure heart and "prayed up". We enter this time eager and anticipate the presence of God and what He is going to do during our worship time. When this happens, WOW!!! God is truly pleased with our worship. Our obedience and passion for the words we sing move from our mouth and memory to the deepest part of our being and God oozes out of us. Often times tears flow or hands go up. Sometimes we just have to get on our knees. Other times, things become quiet as the Spirit works in hearts and lives. Our man-made walls fall down. The Holy Spirit is free to move and work in lives. That’s what I long for every Sunday, how about you?

Most often the second thing happens. We rush out of Sunday school to warm-up. Grab our favorite spot. You know, the one you’ve sat in for so long that the seat has conformed to your image. We half-heartily run through the worship package and choir special. We file into the loft or take our seat on the platform, survey the congregation and go into auto drive. As quickly as we entered, we leave, no different than when we walked in.

Which service to do you want to be apart of? More importantly, which choir do you want to be apart of?

Oh, the first one. Me too. So what does "prayed up" look like you ask?

Well, it's spending time in the Word with the Father long before the pre-service prayer. It's asking God to tell you if there is any unconfessed sin that would hinder your praise and prayers from reaching Him, then confessing those things. It's being willing to follow His lead, even if it means the order of service is totally different than what is printed in the worship guide. Worship is our response to God Almighty. It's an act of adoration to the One who died to rescue us.

It's saying, "It's not about me or my tastes. This is all for You oh Lord."

Psalm 115 "Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name be the glory." (NIV)


Carol said...

No lie. This is the most incredible writing I think you've ever done. These worship journal postings are so awesome. You need to submit them somewhere. God was obviously moving in a big way when He had you write these. And by the way, I'm want the first choice - hand raising, tears flowing, "Jesus" shoutin' church!

Leah said...


I believe we all need to go into the worship service prayed up and ready to worship. Too many go into worship with the attitude of "i'm here, now bless me". Then when they are not blessed they blame the preacher or the choir or the deacons, when in reality they didn't do their part prior to stepping into the pew. This is a major soapbox of mine. I'll hush now before I step up higher on the soapbox.


Fran said...

WOW! Again, you've got it girl.
Sometimes, I just want to scream...
"SSSSLLLLOOOOoOOWWWWWW down people!" We are thinking that we've gotta do 101 things and be a certain way and look a certain way and do a certain thing that we forget to go into worship to be with Him. With Him. We get there and have we done anything to get ready to be there??

I'm tired and probably not making sense. I'll go to bed now! But, thanks to you, my mind and heart will be different when I head to church tomorrow.

May we all just slow down and let Him lavish us with blessings and love. "Tender our hearts Lord to be with You and You alone!"

Hugs and good night~

Angela @ Refresh My Soul Blog said...

I chose the first one too! Amen sister.

Also, when I first read this I thought this should be in a book!
Love ya!

BethAnne said...

Whether you are part of a worship team or not, these words are true. Many people rush into church and sit on "our pew" and just go through the motions until it's time to go eat. We dont expect God to show up and we dont expect Him to speak to us. I spent years coming to church and I didnt allow God to speak because I wasnt listening - I am thankful, He showed me the error of my ways - worship time is the best time of my week!
Thanks for the good word, sister!

Anonymous said...

Great post. Glad you are submitting this one. You are a blessing to me.


Angela @ Refresh My Soul Blog said...

I am proud of your obedience! You rock!
Love ya!

Celly B said...

What a thought-provoking post! I think this applies to us all as we prepare to worship!

Mariel said...

Great post...I aree with Leah...our hearts as we enter our churches on Sunday morning ought to be "how can I be a blessing?" reather than "here I am, bless me!" How that must grieve the heart of god! Thanks, Stephanie, for your sweet worship journals, they have been a blessing!

DeAnna said...

Girl, you hit the nail right on the head!! How many times have we done just what you said and filed in with all the worries and goings-on of our lives heaped like backpacks over our shoulders? How can we do what we are called to do in that very moment which is to worship our Holy Omnipotent Awesome God when we don't lay everything down beforehand? I know that I have been guilty of it many a Sunday morning. Thanks for such an awesome reminder.