Pure Praise Week #7

I am writing this post while listening to the brand new worship album from New Life Church entitled “You Hold It All.”  What a fantastic album!  I highly recommend purchasing this worship project – especially if you are serving in the worship ministry at Academy Christian Church.

Stylistically, it represents a sound that I am very interested in emulating – soaring guitar riffs, delay that would make “The Edge” proud, melodies that are easily singable, worship choir harmonies, infectious piano and drums that drive the dynamics of the song!  Lyrically, I can’t say enough about what I’m hearing.  These songs are strong in the theology of God! Give “Our Messiah Reigns” a spin and see what I’m talking about.

We are actually doing “Great I Am” this Sunday at ACC.  The last time I was so excited about a song was when we did “Revelation Song” at our church.  (If you are in the worship choir and you missed last night’s rehearsal, I can definitely say it is your loss…this weekend’s service is going to be AMAZING…you should know that I don’t like using that word unless absolutely necessary!)

Quite fitting that week seven’s study is all about the “means” of worship music in the church.  Dwayne starts out on day #1 by saying “It’s not about style.”  The entire week is essentially saying that we need to get over the “worship wars” that have divides so many of our churches and get back to the “heart of worship.”  I thought Matthew 15:8 was a great passage for him to ask us to read.  Jesus quoted Isaiah when he told the Pharisees that they were honoring God with their lips but their hearts were far from Him.

The indictment is very true today.  If we are fortunate enough to worship at a mega-church with an awesome worship ministry, we  will tend to make idols out of our “rock star” worship leaders.  And if we don’t attend the mega-church (or work there) then we tend to gravitate toward one extreme or the other: (1) “big church” is bad and nobody there has the right heart, or (2) “big church” is so amazing that we actually wish we were “them.”

Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad New Life is less than a mile up the road from my church!  I had the pleasure of being at the live recording for their new worship project.  It was an anointed night of worship, as evidenced in the outcome of this CD which thoroughly captures the spirit of the evening.  My point is this: We all need to be careful to keep the “main thing” the “main thing” in our own hearts!  Are we guilty of honoring God with our lips but actually being very far from Him in our hearts?  I have to check this in myself…all the time!  And I suspect you probably have to check yourself, too.

I hope after reading this week’s study you will be convicted, as I am, to thank the Lord for your own community of worshipers.  Has God uniquely deposited people in your congregation with certain musical gifts, skills and tastes?  Absolutely!  And right now, in your church, He is weaving a tapestry unique to only one group of worshipers.  Guess who He is including in that master design – YOU.

I think that as we offer God our best in worship, humbly serving one another and looking out for their  interests above our own (as described in Philippians 2),  the end product is a beautiful, artful, masterpiece of hearts lifted up to God as a sweet sacrifice!  It is unique to us!  And God accepts it with joy because he is a loving Father who delights over His children, especially when He realizes they actually WANT to offer Him something from their hearts!

Think back to the last time your child brought you a “masterpiece” of stick figures lined up in a row from tallest to shortest, standing in front of a rudimentary drawing of a house with the sun shining down upon smiling faces.  I get these all the time.  And I LOVE every single one of them.  Especially when my child takes the time to write three simple words somewhere on that paper – “I LOVE YOU”.

That’s worship.

Let’s humbly serve our churches this weekend by putting aside our own needs and wants.  Let’s consider others as more important than ourselves.  Let’s offer to God our sacrifice of praise as we truly strive to worship HIM in Spirit and in Truth!  Let’s be done with worshiping “worship.”  Let’s be done with worshiping “worship leaders.”  Let’s be done with worshiping ourselves.

Do yourself a favor before stepping on stage this weekend: read all of Psalm 103.  Really meditate on it.  It is a pure psalm of praise to God!  There is no room for praise of man in this Psalm.

“Bless the Lord, oh my Soul, and ALL that is within me.  Bless HIS holy name.” (Psalm 103:1)

7 thoughts on “Pure Praise Week #7

  1. Here I am again, the first to comment. That’s a pretty inspiring and heart felt post, Adam, I had to read it a few times! The only thing I have to say is YES! I agree with everything you’ve said and can’t wait for this weekend when we bring “beautiful, artful, masterpiece of hearts lifted up to God as a sweet sacrifice” (I love that line by the way).
    Ps, everyone really should read Psalm 103. And not just once because it stirs me up inside every time I read it. Personally this is my favorite part of the chapter: “[Praise the Lord] who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion…. The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” This is the reason we should be worshipping this weekend! What an AMAZING (I believe I am using that word correctly, no?) portrait of our God! Seriously, just read that part over and over! WOW. See you all Sunday.

    1. Ok – so here’s my first post – hopefully I’m doing it right. Getting back to the “heart of worship” instead of the “worship wars”. Seems that in whatever venue you are in – small church or mega church, the important thing is to think vertically to who you’re worshipping instead of horizontally to everyone else around you. I know I get way too self conscious when I even think about people around me, but when I just let go and remember who I was created to worship I feel free to truly worship. I know I used to be so self conscious when we first started going to church that I could hardly sing because I was afraid someone might hear me! I did not understand worship at all. When I put everything out of my mind but Him, I feel a freedom I don’t normally feel and I can sing to the God I was created to worship and quit worrying about if anyone who happens to be around me will hear. I’m singing to Him and that’s what counts. I think that is what we are supposed to share and open others to so we can all share in the joy of pure worship together and God will hear and respond to a Spirit that was created by Him and is singing strictly for Him.

  2. Ok, this will be short and sweet….

    He doesn’t treat us as our sins deserve, nor pay us back in full for our wrongs. As high as heaven is over the earth, so strong is his love to those who fear him. And as far as sunrise is from sunset, he has separated us from our sins. As parents feel for their children, God feels for those who fear him. Psalms 103:10-13 MSG

    Our Dad…THE KING OF MAJESTY! Deserves worship…. He is the, GREAT I AM. The mountains shake before HIM, the demons run and flee, at the mention of His name! His NAME!! Our Dad! Hallelujah, Holy, Holy, God Almighty, The GREAT I AM!!

    SO, honored to worship with all of you. To worship, our father together. I actually lost my voice after yesterday. What an amazing time of worship….feeling so humbled…
    I love you all….

    At the cross…always,

  3. Better late than never……..I was really challenged by the four criteria Dwayne sites that need to be present in our worship services. Anything we do should EXALT the Lord, second it should EXHORT the church, third it should EVANGELIZE the lost, fourth it should ENGAGE the listeners…..and the last sentence,” it should be interesting and well done”…..what a call for me to do my best and give my all. And that transcends the notes I play, its also and more importantly about my own spiritual walk with Jesus. And I cant do it without Him!

    1. Mav – honest evaluation…please…how do you think we are doing on those four words in our corporate worship experiences?

  4. I’ve been repeatedly blessed by the humble creativity of various ‘megachurch’ artists. They inspire me…not to cover their songs, but to create worship of my own.

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