Friday, March 5, 2004

Worship Notes

** wow... been awhile since I wrote anything. I have just moved into a new home and the process of getting in has sapped my energy and time. Anyway, I have been thinking about worship a bit lately and thought I'd pass a few thoughts on... they may be somewhat disjointed but then again so are my thoughts. These are actually some excerpts from emails I have written over the last couple of weeks**

John 4:23,24 speaks of "true worshippers" worshipping in "spirit and truth". Am I a true worshipper? I believe that I am occassionally but probably more often I'm not... in reality I still approach worship on my terms and still approach the throne in my own flesh. Its a constant struggle to be first a spiritual being. In Psalms 27 David is obviously sensing peril... he feels overwhelmed by the challenges he is facing... particularly his enemies... very literal enemies seeking to take his life... and yet he comes back to the realization that his security is not in his own armies but in the Lord and in his presence. One thing I ask and seek... to dwell with you... to gaze upon you... that is incredible language for someone running for their life. He sees his security in spiritual realities... John 4 speaks to this "spirit and truth"... truth is not separated from spirit... Matthew 6 says "seek first the Kingdom and everything else will be taken care of" Spirit AND truth... truth is reality... spirit is reality... what we normally function in is a facade... a big untruth or lie masquerading as truth and even occasionally masquerading as spirit.Only by spending time in the presence of God can we know what is truth and stop "conforming to this world but be transformed by the renewing of our minds" (Romans 12:2)

For the most part we all segment our lives into nice little compartments. We have the spiritual person and the 'real' person. We have work lives and home lives... church lives and play lives... Worship just becomes one of those segments in our life. Worship must become our overriding motivation in all segments... not just a segment. We become whole creatures only when we stop segmenting and begin placing our entire person under the authority of Christ. Worship is truly just loving Jesus back because he first loved us... when we worship him in all areas... "doing all as unto the Lord"... "Praying without ceasing"... all these things speak to an unsegmented or whole person.

I would probably not separate the experience of feeling God's presence and the act of worship too much... God's presence is him loving me... worship is me loving him back... worship is almost an automatic response to his presence. God's presence is always there to be experienced but I'm not always in the mood or the mindset to experience it. Its virtually impossible for a minister or service to overcome my own attitude... our ability to receive from God in any environment is directly tied to our attitude, humility and expectancy.

Why do some not experience God on Sunday while others are overwhelmed by his presence? I believe everyone is touched by God but not everyone returns that touch... and most don't recognize the touch. (how's that for circular arguments) I believe that everyone who seeks the Lord on Sunday finds him... everyone who calls on him receives him... that is a matter of the individual and their desire.

Those who don't recognize the touch and WANT IT can be instructed and encouraged. I tend to believe that most people don't know how to enter into his presence and many of those don't really want to. I believe you can help by teaching them to begin with thanksgiving... praise... celebration... these things are said to cast off the spirit of heaviness... then we can instruct in focusing on God and hearing him... experiencing him. But that only goes as far as people are willing to follow.

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