Jay’s View of Worship and Thanksgiving
Good morning, my dear readers. You know, one thing that was heavy on my heart was the fact that my two grown children were not attending church services as regularly as they had been required to do when they were kids. Both children are married now and have their own families and life-problems, but I was still expecting them to connect with a corporate body of church folks. But this morning, the Lord ‘rung me up’ and shared an endearing message with me from the heart and mouth of my son, Jay.
Here’s how it all began. I prepared a cup of coffee, went into my office, sat down at my computer and began to compose Part 3 of my blog for this week on the Discipline of Worship. I had just finished praying a short prayer and had asked the Holy Spirit for His guidance when suddenly the phone rang. It was Jay. Now Jay is a retired executive from the corporate world who had just moved his family to a beautiful lake front property in North Carolina. And he wanted to call his mother and share with her the serenity of the majestic scene he was now privileged to view from his bedroom window.
I was awe-struck by the picture Jay was describing to me and the excitement that was in his voice. Mom, I can see for miles and miles up the river; all kinds of birds are swooping down over the waters; blue jays, blue birds, red birds, yellow birds and eagles. I can see the white feathers on their heads. And my little furry neighbors; the squirrels and rabbits and chipmunks running around. Mom, sometimes in the early morning there’s a lite mist hovering above the lake. Mom, you’ve got to see this. Everything is just so beautiful.
And with that introduction from Jay, it led us into an in depth conversation about God and his magnificent creation and His goodness He has allowed our families to share. After a time of giving Him all the praise, honor and glory we were both shedding tears of joy and thanksgiving. When I hung up the phone, I remained still and I heard the Lord say in a wee small voice, My child…NOW THAT’S WORSHIP!
The Discipline of Worship
To have a complete understanding of the Discipline of Worship means you must be able to define worship. What is worship? Worship is the human response to divine overtures and initiatives of love which come forth from the heart and dispensation of the Father. Consequently, true worship can come forth only after the Spirit of God touches the spirit of man. John 4:23, 24 – “But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
All corporate preliminaries that go forth to comprise a worship service such as the liturgy, singing of songs, scripture readings, prayers, announcements, etc., are just that: preliminaries. The component to remember for your spiritual life support system is that worship does not take place until the Spirit (God) touches the spirit (human beings). And the “touch” can come in places other than the sanctuary. (Just ask Jay.)
During the Discipline of Worship it allows our spirit to see God high and lifted up, to see His marvelous acts and how abundantly His grace abounds. One can do nothing short of praise. The Discipline of Worship also helps us put our priorities in order. Worship comes before service. So stop running around answering the call to service at the exclusion of ministering to the Lord. Mark 12:30, 31 – “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.”…and your neighbor as yourself.” And if I might add: in that order!
Corporate Church Services
When we gather in our sanctuaries for worship, we go forth in anticipation and great expectation that God will meet us there. We remember what we read in the History Books of the Bible. How God appeared in mysterious lightings, how foundations and walls shook, how people were slain in the spirit and just plain slain and how birds became your GPS system. Yes, we do come to a physical place in order to worship. But now we have learned how to go inside ourselves where it is quiet and still and we can listen for our Master Teacher’s voice.
You will recall in Part 2, at the time when we discussed the Discipline of Solitude we identified moments in your life when you thought God had left you. “The dark night of the soul.” It is during those times you are to initiate acute listening skills. Well, if God is expected to meet you at the traffic light, or while standing in line at the store, or while sipping your morning cup of coffee, surely He will meet you in corporate worship services at your church. So why not go into worship with great expectations? Just look what is at work here. Positive thinking, constantly engaged in holy communication, the ability to recognize the Presence of God and unspeakable joy when it all comes together in worship. It’s the epitome of Galatians 2:20…”I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me.”
Here is an example of what I mean. If only a minority of worshipers come into a public worship service with divine expectations they can supernaturally change the entire assemble. Those who are troubled and contrite are quickly drawn into a sense of the silent Presence of God. I personally have experienced and testified to God’s grace in this way: Often while the preacher is delivering his or her sermon and I receive a revelation identifying additional scriptures that will also align itself with the words of the preacher, I’ll pray that those words of God will also come forth…and sure enough, the preacher does deliver them! Another example is when one Sunday morning, just as the Pastor stood up to began preaching a baby started to cry. I immediately went into my quiet place and talked to God about it. The baby stopped crying instantly! Often similar distractions can interrupt the services, but did you know that you have the power through the Name of Jesus Christ, to marginalize or to suppress them, while at the same time continuing to worship God.
(I’m reminded of a non-biblical expression: “God Works in mysterious ways, His wonders to perform.”)
Yes, the Discipline of Worship takes work. But the Lord pours out blessings from the top of your head down to the hem of your garment. DO NOT BE AFRAID TO ENGAGE HIM!
In closing this blog, I want to challenge you to always look for and expect Jesus Christ in your worship services. If you are at mid week prayer service, listen for Him in the testimonies of others. If you are at an all night prayer vigil, expect to hear a prophetic word. If you are at a healing service, expect a miracle. If Jesus Christ is truly the leader during your worshiping experience you will see and hear all types of people offering up praise and worship. There should not be any big “I’s” and little “You’s”. And this is a quote: “Christ selects the human instrument He wants to play” in His sanctuary.
So, never humanly initiate spiritual activity in an attempt to aide the Holy Spirit. Let all of your expressions of praise be divinely prompted. Even if you don’t have a personal testimony, you can always praise the Lord with your body. You can raise holy hands, kneel, clap, sway, be in agreement by saying “Amen” or “Praise the Lord”. Yes, your Godly emotions need to be brought into your act of worship. Not just your mind and spirit. A quick vocabulary lesson teaches us that the Hebrew word translated “worship” is “to prostrate”. The Hebrew word “bless” literally means “to kneel”. And the Hebrew word for “Thanksgiving” refers to “an extension of the hand.” So there!
By Singing By Kneeling By Clapping By Raising Hands
The point is, without a doubt, we are to offer our body parts as well as all the rest of our being as we worship the King during the Discipline of Study, The Discipline of Solitude and the Discipline of Worship. Amen
TO REVIEW PART 2 OF THE DISCIPLINES, CLICK ON THE RIGHT, MARCH 2019 AND SCROLL DOWN. TO REVIEW PART 1 OF THE DISCIPLINES, CLICK ON THE RIGHT, SEPTEMBER 2018 AND SCROLL DOWN.
Scripture Lesson: “Where two or three are gathered in My Name there am I in the midst of them.” Matthews 18:20
Click http://www.tgifmasterminds.com every Friday for a new post from the Master’s servant manager…ME!