Monday, May 27, 2024

The Thing We've Made It (Part 1)


This post and subsequent ones are about our hearts of worship, and the thing we have made it. Listen to the words of the chorus of this old song by Matt Redman:

"I'm coming back to the heart of worship, And it's all about You, It's all about You, Jesus. I'm sorry Lord for the thing I've made it, When It's all about You, It's all about You, Jesus." 
Some folks may think me old fashion as I share some of my thoughts and observations about praise and worship in the corporate gathering. Let me say at the beginning that I realize that some things change over the passing of time. Trends come and go. Fads are in, then they are out. But...the principles of God's kingdom never change! The principles of the kingdom of God are outlined and emphasized in God's Word, and again they never change. And when they are applied God does exactly what He says He will do. Jesus said in (Matthew 24:35, Mark 13:31, and Luke 21:33), “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away." The Psalmist says in (Psalm 119:89), "Forever, LORD, Your word stands in heaven."

Those who worship God in the corporate gathering should worship Him according to His principles. The problem I have witnessed the past several decades is that corporate worship, as well as the way we generally do church, has sadly become based on the most current trends and the latest fads. Trends can be good, but they can also be bad because they can become means through which we compare ourselves with one another. The Apostle Paul said in (2 Corinthians 10:12a), "...but when they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they have no understanding."

Let me apply what Paul said above, to the way we worship in our gatherings. When we compare ourselves with others in worship, we are bound to the form of the latest pattern, not the direction of the Holy Spirit. Contrary to popular belief, your church and worship should not be just like every other church. The only category your worship ministry and your church should be in is the one referred to as "highly anointed by the Holy Spirit". God called your church and worship to be unique. If we strive to present our worship the way every other church does, we loose our individuality and uniqueness as the distinct LOCAL expression God designed for us to be.

Those in charge of the worship ministry should be the ones responsible for raising up singers and musicians, and teaching them the principles of worship from the Scriptures. The key to being powerfully anointed in worship is understanding not only what we do, but exactly why we do it. It's all based on the immutable Word of God.

Many churches, especially smaller churches, work hard to emulate larger churches. Why could be this be bad? Because the focus is on the trend, not on the Holy Spirit. It becomes more important for some to look, sound, and yes perform just like those we compare ourselves to. This takes priority over waiting on the Holy Spirit to move as He wills, in the time He desires. This is comparing ourselves with ourselves as Paul says. Unfortunately we end up asking Jesus to bless whatever we do, instead of doing what He blesses.

Let me dive deeper by making some observations that are most notable in a lot churches today. The music is too loud! Every instrument is running full-bore, all the time, through every song. The volume for the vocals has to be raised to ear damaging decibels to be heard above the sound of the instruments. The subwoofers are set so that the base frequencies literally, no I mean literally, penetrate and rattle the organs inside our bodies. The greatest tragedy is that you cannot hear the voices of the congregation. This produces the "Stage Presentation" mentality. You know, "You're up there performing. We're out here in the congregation watching the show." When I cannot hear my own voice in the midst of the congregation because the worship from the stage is too loud, I often stop singing. I'm pretty sure many in the congregation do as well. The worship leaders and team exist to "lead" those in the congregation into the presence of Almighty God through worship. And hearing the united voices in the congregation is crucial to the worship being taken to a higher level of anointing. Oh that pastors, worship leaders, singers, musicians, and sound engineers get it!

In many of the current revival outpourings, like Asbury and more, the voices of those gathered are uplifting because you can hear the voices of the congregants lifting up Jesus. I've learned from experiencing the applied Word of God in worship that the Holy Spirit enthrones Himself on the praises of His people whom He has purchased with His blood. (See Psalm 22:3)

I pray you understand this post is not to criticize those who provide the ministry of worship in our gatherings. My heart is driven to get back to the worship that knowledge and obedience to the Word produces. The kind of worship the Holy Spirit is drawn to so that He can glorify our Lord Jesus Christ in our midst.

Sadly, many folks believe that Holy Spirit becomes stronger in our midst as everything gets louder. They believe that riding upon the latest trend in worship means it is anointed. But the anointing comes when He is in our midst. Worship is all about Him, not what we can make it. We cannot create or manufacture anything in and of ourselves to bring Holy Spirit's anointing upon us in corporate worship. What we must do is yield our hearts completely to Him as we worship. And through our worship build a throne in our midst upon which He will enthrone Himself.

In part 2 I will share some of my observations that concern the sound and lighting engineers. And eventually I will discuss how our uniqueness and individuality should involve writing songs for our own congregations!

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