Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Worship in Spirit and in Truth

I was out of town this past weekend (in case anyone was missing me, haha). I went to my dad's beach house in South Carolina. Whenever we're at the beach, there is a contemporary, non-denominational church that we like to visit, which I did this past Sunday. Their style of worship is mostly music you would hear on the KLove Christian radio station. I was looking around and noticed the lights flashing, the smoke machines blowing smoke, the drummer beating the drums, wow, you get the picture? So much going on. I was thinking of how different it is from the church we go to at home, not to mention the church that I grew up attending.

My mom went to a Baptist church as a child, but we grew up in a Methodist church. My parents raised us to be christians or followers of Christ, so we never minded about denominations. In my later years I went to a non-denominational church, then to an Assemblies of God, now I'm in an international church that is part of the Every Nation Denomination. It really doesn't matter to me about the denomination, as long as I feel the Lord leading me there. I am NOT however, a Unitarian, or someone who thinks that all roads (religions) lead to Heaven, because they absolutely do not.

I think besides some small doctrinal differences, the main thing that distinguishes these churches from one another is the style of worship. I have seen people who barely sing out loud, who like to follow the hymnal, I've experienced worship where they feel free to lift their hands toward Heaven, I've also been in churches where they danced out in the aisle. I heard praise & worship on the harp, the flute, the violin, the drums, the electric guitar, with a praise team, with a choir, with a soloist leading worship, and I've been in conferences where there is no music, just the sound of thousands of women singing in unison to the Lord. I know that people have their preferences, and I honestly love a little bit of everything. I would NEVER presume that the style of worship that I enjoy is the RIGHT way to do it. You'd be surprised, this is the kind of thing that divides congregations & births denominations in the first place. Isn't some of the man made divisions, when it boils down to it, just about our personal preferences? Does anyone care to find out what God actually enjoys?

You see, I too had a brief moment this weekend where I thought, this is too much stuff. Why can't these people just quiet themselves down and enjoy God's presence. Why do they have to "dress it up" with all the props? Then I felt convicted as I looked at the people praising the Lord and I was reminded that not everyone comes to God in the same package as I did. People are all wired so differently, and what works for me, may not be what works for someone else. So, what is the common denominator that God is looking for?

I had to ask myself - is the name of Jesus being lifted up? Yes. Is their worship all about show, or do they seek to honor the King of kings? They were pointing to Jesus, not themselves. And this is only what I can see on the outside. Here is the true test, what's in their heart? The Bible says that no man can know what's in another person's heart, except that spirit within them. But God is spirit, and He is all knowing. It says in 1st Samuel 16:7 "...the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." He knows what is going on in our hearts at all times. He knows if our worship is in spirit and in truth (John 4:23) "...when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him."

That's what the Lord desires, that our worship, in whatever style we do it, will be in spirit and in truth. Not for others to see, not to feel better about ourselves, not to show off any talent we have, not to appear to be holy, not to go through some religious motion...but because we want to lift up the name of Jesus and give Him the honor He deserves.

Isaiah 58:13 says "If you turn away your foot from the Sabbath, from doing your pleasure on My holy day, and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy day of the Lord honorable, and shall honor Him, not doing your own ways, nor finding your own pleasure, nor speaking your own words, then you shall delight yourselves in the Lord, and I will cause you to ride on the high hills of the earth, and feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father. The mouth of Lord has spoken."

This is what I think is the most important thing to remember about going to Church. Honor the Sabbath as holy, a delight, doing things His way, finding out what pleases Him, and speaking His Word and not our own...worship in spirit and in truth, and who will really care if it's to hard rock music, or on a harp, an electric guitar, a violin, a piano or an organ?. . .


  1. Ha, I can just see you looking around at the smoke machines. lol I have no doubt it would have distracted me too. I'm still snickering about my seeker sensitive b ... comment. :o) Jesus never watered down the truth.

    Love your post. True, Jesus being lifted up ... the word being taught ...