Apr 23, 2006

it's sunday... but friday's coming!

Pick a church... any church. Charismatic or conservative, it doesn’t matter.

Now focus your attention on their typical worship service. Go on, you can do it. Close your eyes and picture the faces of the people worshipping God through song - the very God who created them and loves them unconditionally so much He took on brittle human flesh in order to perform the strongest act in eternity.

Imagine if we could listen in on the hearts of those praising their Savior and Lord...

Blessed be your name... in the land that is plentiful...” Gee, I wonder if I put plenty of water in the pot roast before I love.

Majesty... your grace has found me just as I am... empty handed but alive in your hands...” Look at that fool raise their hands. Come on, everyone knows what kind of a person they are. They're just here for the emotional fix... the hypocrite.

Here I am to worship... here I am to bow down... here I am to say that you're my God...” Man, this standing is killing me.

Then sings my soul.... my Savior God to Thee...” Wonder how long the message will take today.

Okay, maybe that’s an unfair synopsis of a church service... or maybe it's a little too close to home. And yet if you’ve ever led a group of Christians in worship you know that some people look like someone painted eyes on their eyelids while they sleep because there are absolutely no signs of life, emotion, or feeling behind their bodies. And yet others put more life into their quiet worship than all the enthusiam of those seeking to get the next dose of excitement from church.

What is it that allows some people to worship God through music more personally than others? It's not necessarily evaluated on the externals for any one of us can raise our hands in Sunday church and use those same hands for sin the other six days of the week. No, it’s not the worship style that we’re focused on but the personal attention the worshipper is giving to God.

Just a thought, but maybe we’d be more prepared to worship God with music on Sunday if we worshipped Him with our lives Monday through Saturday. Expecting someone to sing “How Great Is Our God” in a service when they’ve lived in defiance of God all week with any dose of personal conviction is like going to a circus for the first time and being asked to fill in on the trapeze. Unless you’re training for the moment all week, your offering will leave a lot to be desired.

Maybe that’s why I love it when older saints in the church sing hymns like “Great Is Thy Faithfulness.” There’s just something about hearing the conviction in their souls as each word is uttered... it just makes you know that there is a seasoned perspective behind every syllable. Perhaps the difference is that they have experienced Jesus’ faithfulness in so many ways that the words of praise fall off their tongue due to the abundance of certainty behind it.

How about you? Are you merely a church singer or a praise giver? Is your weekly life a consistent mode of worship through your daily choices in work, study, entertainment, and home?

After all, God is not just a Sunday God, but an eternal one.

Praise the LORD. Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens. (Psalm 150:1)


Melissa said...

All I can say is "AMEN, AMEN, AMEN!" Very refreshing to read your blog! God Bless!

Brian said...

So very well put Tony. I recently preached a sermon on this very thing..."Life As Worship" (http://ipastoraudio.blogspot.com/).

Our whole life must be a life of worship not just our "Sunday life." When that's the case, when Sunday rolls around, it is a real celebration!

thatcoffeeguy said...

What is it that allows some people to worship God through music more personally than others?

You know, I wonder if part of this "connection" with worship has a little bit to do with "connection" with music in general.

Stay with me here. Okay, as long as I have been alive, music has been a deep part of who I am. I feel music. I could play the piano at age 5 with no lessons. I played by ear. I taught myself to sing at a early age. I sang in choirs at church, at school, at college. Music moves me. I'll get teary-eyed listening to almost any emotional musical arrangement. I connect with God through music and singing and worship.

Contrast me to my friend Doug. Doug isn't musical. He never developed a love for music. He played sports. Music is for sissys. He can't sing or play an instrument. He listens to the radio and stuff, but music doesn't move him. He doesn't feel music. Because of this, the worship part of the service boars him to death. He's never "felt the move of God" in worship. It simply doesn't resonate with him.

Is that Doug's fault?

I used to work for THE worship music label Integrity Music. We were the leader in worship for years. We coined the phrase "lifestyle of worship." And I agree with everything you said in your post, Tony, but I wonder if some people just don't connect with music like others.

My grandparents learned hymns like they learned the books of the Bible. They were taught how to sing. They were taught how to read music (shaped noted) and singing was a vital part of the church experience. Pianos were a part of many people's homes.

Fast forward to today. Less musical instruction. Fewer youth choirs. More churches doing away with choirs in leu of praise teams.
Fewer homes with pianos.

Are there some people out there who might have been "turned on" to music, but who are missing the opportunity? Am I reading too much into this?

My guess is that people who are less musical, are less interested in listening to praise music throughout the week in order to maintain a lifestyle of worship.

What do you think?

Scott said...

"Medic! I've been hit!"

How true is this for people on a church staff like me. How can I worship God corporately on the weekends when Monday through Saturday is emptied by the business of 'ministry'?

Ouch this post hurt. I'm glad I read it, but kind of not . . .

Friar Tuck said...

I am both

Tony Myles said...

Sweet stuff... and I agree that music is more one person's thing than another, especially since for some of us we don't have the strong music background.

I think, though, all music aside that this issue of distraction can happen during the message, communion, or anything. Maybe the real question is what is our intended focus in a church service? And is it okay if it isn't God? What if it's just to look at other people?