The Posture of Worship Pt. II

 I'm coming back to the heart of worship
And it's all about you
All about you, Jesus.
I'm sorry Lord for the thing I've made it
When it's all about you,
All about you ,Jesus.
~Matt Redman

Imagine for a moment on Sunday morning....there is no Praise Team, no band, no sound system, special effects, or no flags, streamers, banners or beautiful garments for the dancers. Could we still offer extravagant praise to God without any of these things? How many times after praise and worship have we complained about the way the musicians played, or how the worship leader switched gears in the middle of the song, or even worse, forgot the words to the song  and threw everything "off"? Could it be, that we have taken ownership of the worship time and made it about us, instead giving worship to the One who made heaven and earth? Unfortunately, many of us have been guilty of grieving the Holy Spirit in this way.

The story of  the song: The Heart of Worship tells of how the songwriter's pastor in England got rid of the sound system and band in the church for a short time, to allow people to worship from their hearts. He asked the church members one question: "When you come through the doors on a Sunday, what are you bringing as your offering to God?" The article states that the congregation was uncomfortable at first without their music and sound, but they learned how to really honor and reverence God in a way that they never had before. In other words, the people put their focus back on God, and not on acting out what they thought was praise and worship. Matt Redman wrote the song in his bedroom as his response to what he learned from this experience, and it subsequently became popular around the world.

Worship is all about God, and who He is. Now imagine again...that everyone came to worship Him just because He is God. What kind of atmosphere would be in our gatherings if we all did that? God is calling. Let's go back to the posture of worship!

What may I give to the Lord for all the good things which he has done for me?  I will take the cup of salvation, and give praise to the name of the Lord. (Psalm 116:12-13)

Footnote: Song Story: Matt Redman's The Heart of Worship,  by David Schrader (http://www.crosswalk.com/)


The Posture of Worship Pt. I

"Come let us worship and bow down...let us kneel before the LORD our maker, for He is our God" (Psalm 95:6-7).

There are so many things that can be said about what worship is, and what it is not. Let's look at the definition of worship from Webster's Dictionary: worthiness, respect, reverence paid to a divine being; reverance toward a divine being or supernatural power, or the expression of such reverence; extravagant respect, admiration or devotion; to honor or reverence as a divine being or supernatural power.
It's very interesting how the word "reverence" is repeated several times in the definition of worship. This means that our worship is to honor or respect the supernatural Divine being, Creator of the Universe, the True and Living God. Notice that it says nothing about what we do when we worship, the garments we wear, the banners, flags, tabrets, streamers, or anything else that accompanies our worship. The true worship of God starts in our hearts, and everthing else follows. Over time, we have become so preoccupied with external things, that we have forgotten about the One whom we are worshipping. Worship time is now on the clock, and has to fit in with everything else that goes on in a service. It has taken on a life of its own, and sometimes has all of the characteristics of a staged show. Many times before a worship service, dancers are waiting "in the wings" talking about everything else but God, and say a quick prayer before going back to their original conversations until "showtime".

Worshipers, this should not be! If we are going to give honor and reverence to the supernatural Divine being, the posture of our hearts, as well as our bodies should be one of quiet meditation, even if we are going to dance to an upbeat song. Our worship is spiritual warfare, and lets the enemy know that our God is greater than anything he would try to perpetrate in our midst, on the people or in the atmosphere. We cannnot do this without starting from the posture of worship.

God has given us the awesome opportunity to publicly lead others into worshipping Him. Let's not be guilty of reducing worship down to another performance, or something we do because we are part of the Praise Team. We are all called to give extravagant respect, admiration and devotion to the Maker of heaven and earth, from the posture of worship! Selah...

*Thanks to Lynnea Johnson of Baltimore, MD for permssion to use this picture.


So Much to do...Not Much Money?

This is a repost...but it never gets old.

      There are so many classes, workshops, retreats and conferences going on, but most of us have to choose between attending only a few, or none at all. We can't be everywhere all the time, due to job and family obligations, and if an event involves travel, that's an added expense. Of course when we arrive at our destination, we need to have money to purchase food (if not included) books, resources and most importantly have emergency funds -- just in case.

     How do we do this, in the midst of economic challenges? In her e-book, Garments of Glory, Jocelyn Richard (http://www.thepraisedancelife.com/) has many fundraising suggestions for your ministry. A few of her suggestions are:  Having a ballroom dancing class for married couples or seniors; a silent auction; a car wash; sponsor a walk; a dance ministry concert;  a baby praise ballet class for preschoolers, and temporarily cutting back on items that are not important for a worthwhile cause (From Garments of Glory, page 19). There are so many creative ways to generate funds, if we plan ahead.  One of the ways I save money for a special occasion is to put all of my spare change aside, and not spend it unless I absolutely have to. It is surprising how quickly those quarters, nickels, dimes, and pennies add up! We can also save rebate checks and money saved from store coupons.  If there is recycling in our area, we can utilize that resource. How about  not going to that weekly $12 movie, or taking lunch and snacks to work instead of stopping at that fast-food place?  So much of our money that could go towards things that have eternal value for us and others is being wasted, because it's going to the wrong places.  Some of us can always find money to shop at the mall and spend, spend, spend...but when it's time to get equipped for Kingdom business, we complain about how expensive it is. It's time to rethink our priorities and put our money where God's heart is. And remember, if we consistently give to God and share with others, it will come back to us when we need it (Matt. 6: 28-33).

     If there's an event that we would like to participate in that will especially enhance our training, we can write fundraiser letters for sponsorships to help us attend. After we have prayed and saved all that we possibly can,  people who know what we do, know our character and are able to help will be more than willing to contribute.  If we want something we never had, sometimes we have to do something we have never done before!

    So, next time there is a conference, retreat, class, or workshop that you feel is out of reach, think again. Where there's a will, there's a way!

Calling all worship dancers! Get ready for The Sound...at Greater Allen Cathedral of New York, July 25-29, 2012. Conference fees: Adults - $300; Teens $275. Group rates and payment plans available. More info to follow. Start planning now...