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Nov26WedNovember 26, 2014
Every so often I break down and read an article about worship. The last two I read confirmed how far away we are from true worship. Discussions about worship usually tend to focus on songs and style, likes and dislikes. This continues to boggle my mind as it really shows how shallow worship has become. For example one article I read on worship said, "Even I didn’t know most of the songs that we were supposed to be singing along to at the conference. I tuned out. I sat down. I tweeted. I texted my wife. I gave up.” This really isn’t about songs but a pathetic view of worshipping God with all our heart, soul and mind. I responded by saying does he not know how to read or listen. This actually surprises me because when worship songs became more popular than hymns, there was an uproar by the generation who grew up with them. They would say I don’t know the songs. This always confused me because I am not musical but even I can catch on to most songs, even though I don’t sing well. They would also say there is so much meat behind the lyrics of the old hymns as opposed to the new. Yes some songs are good and some are bad both new and old. But again true worship is obeying God. Daniel 7 “His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship and obey him.” Many churches that only sing hymns and many that only sing worship songs and many that sing both are imploding but that is not why they are dying, it is a failure of the heart. Take for example the song Michael W. Smith sings The Stand. “I'll stand with arms high and heart abandoned in awe of the one who gave it all. I'll stand my soul Lord to you surrendered. All I am is Yours.” That’s it. The lyrics are simple but how many people have totally surrendered themselves before God.
When you get a group of people together who can sing a great hymn like “And Can it Be”, singing all the parts in perfect harmony, it is majestic and everyone has felt, now that was worship. The same goes with newer songs with a full orchestra, worship team and huge choir. Yes based on sound it was fantastic but is God listening. Isaiah 1:13 “Stop bringing meaningless offerings! Your incense is detestable to me. New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations— I cannot bear your worthless assemblies.” Amos 5:21 “I hate, I despise your religious festivals; your assemblies are a stench to me. 22 Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them. Though you bring choice fellowship offerings, I will have no regard for them. 23 Away with the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the music of your harps.” This is how God responds when our hearts are far from him as He is not into “people honour Him with their lips.” We must understand that there is a difference between a gathering that sounds amazing and true worship of the heart. True worship always leads to repentance and humility not to record sales, and to emotional experiences. Just because you felt emotionally connected does not mean that you have worshipped. For years people have been flocking to concerts. I grew up with Gospel Quartets and the Gaithers, all flogging their wares for profit. Now not only do you have these but also you have every worship team from every church under the sun producing their product to sell. Some time ago Jim Symbala dropped a bomb at a praise gathering when he spoke of Matthew 21:13 “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it ‘a den of robbers” Jeremiah 7:11 “Has this house, which bears my Name, become a den of robbers to you? But I have been watching! declares the Lord.” We are robbing God because our hearts are not pure before him. Sadly nothing has changed as the entertainment industry has taken over worship. Everything is for sale from music to sermons to books. People are making millions off the gospel. It would be better to stick with Paul when he says, 2 Corinthians 2:17 “Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, as those sent from God.” Noticed he said as those sent from God.
Prayer: Lead us back to true worship by changing our hearts. Proverbs 3:5 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”