Monday, April 4, 2011

True Worship

As the deer pants for the water brooks, so my soul pants for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God; when shall I come and appear before God?  Psalm 42:1-2

Exactly what is worship?  King David's defined it in these words,Oh magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt His name together.  Psalms 34:3
Worship is worthiness, respect, or reverence paid to a divine being. (Webster’s)  Worship is the natural response of man when he encounters Holy God.  In that response we declare His “worth”...His person, power, character and purpose.
Worship is not simply a mood; it is a response Worship is not just a feeling; it is a declaration.
Worship is not something we merely observe, it is something we are caught up inIt is an experience.
True worship is God-centered worship. People tend to get caught up in where they should worship, what music they should sing in worship, and how the worship looks to other people. Focusing on these things completely misses the point.  Jesus tells us that true worshipers will worship God in spirit and in truth. John 4:24 tells us God is a sheer being—a Spirit. Those who worship him must do it out of their very being, their spirits, their true selves, in adoration.  This means we must worship Him from our spiritthe heart, the way God has designed.
Max Lucado in Just Like Jesus shares the following illustration.
People on a plane and people on a pew have a lot in common. All are on a journey. Most are well-behaved and presentable. Some doze, and others gaze out the window. Most, if not all, are satisfied with a predictable experience.
For many, the mark of a good flight and the mark of a good worship assembly are the same. "Nice," we like to say. "It was a nice fight/it was a nice worship service." We exit the same way we enter, and we're happy to return next time. A few, however, are not content with nice. They long for something more.

The boy who just passed me did. I heard him before I saw him. I was already in my seat when he asked, "Will they really let me meet the pilot?" He was either lucky or shrewd because he made the request just as he entered the plane. The question floated into the cockpit, causing the pilot to lean out."Someone looking for me?" he asked.  The boy's hand shot up like he was answering his second-grade teacher s question.  “I am!”  “Well, come on in."With a nod from his mom, the youngster entered the cockpit world of controls and gauges and emerged minutes later eyes wide. "Wow!" he exclaimed. "I'm so glad to be on the plane!"No one else's face showed such wonder. I should know. I paid attention. The boy's interest piqued mine, so I studied the faces other passengers but found no such enthusiasm. I mostly saw contented: travelers content to be on the plane, content to be closer to their destination, content to be out of the airport, content to sit and stare and say little. There were a few exceptions. The five or so middle-age women wearing straw hats and carrying beach bags weren't content; they were exuberant. They giggled all the way down the aisle. My bet is they were moms-set-free-from-kitchens-and-kids. The fellow in the blue suit across the aisle wasn't content; he was cranky. He opened his laptop and scowled at its screen the entire trip. Most of us, however, were happier than he and more contained than the ladies. Most of us were content. Content with a predictable, uneventful flight. Content with a "nice" flight. And since that is what we sought, that is what we got. The boy on the other hand, wanted more. He wanted to see the pilot. If asked to describe the flight, he wouldn't say "nice." He’d likely produce the plastic wings the pilot gave him and say, “I saw the man up front."
Do you see how people on a plane and people on a pew have a lot in common?  Enter a church sanctuary and look at the faces. A few are giggly, a couple are cranky, but by and large we are content.  Content to be there; content to sit and look straight ahead and leave when the service is over; content to enjoy an assembly with no surprises or turbulence; content with a "nice" service.  Seek and you will find, Jesus promised;' and since a nice service is what we seek, a nice service is usually what we find.  A few, however, seek more. A few come with the childlike enthusiasm of the boy. And those few leave as he did, wide-eyed with the wonder of having stood in the presence of the pilot himself.
Once you have experienced true worship you will not be content to simply sit idly by.  Worship is a verb and not intended to be a spectator sport.  To experience true worship, you have to take an active part.  When you have felt this kind of worship, it will never be the same for you again. 
Scripture to Claim:
I will bless the LORD at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. Psalms 34:1

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