Pella Chronicle

May 23, 2013

What is worship?

By Rick Cowman
The Chronicle

Pella —

Last week I gave you some things to think about regarding worship.  The  point I made was that worship isn’t about style or music!  It’s about the  heart!   We looked at Jesus’ words in John 4, verse 23 (NIV):   “A time is  coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in  spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.”  So, if I understand it correctly, true worship happens when our spirit  connects with the Spirit of God!  It’s not about the music!  It’s not about  the building we meet in!  It’s not about our style or expressions of  worship!  It’s all about the HEART!  It’s about our hearts connecting with  God’s heart!  And Jesus said He seeks that kind of worshipper! 
So, how does that affect me?  This week’s installment of An Encouraging Word  attempts to offer some thoughts about what worship is.  And, just to  clarify, there is no way for our finite capacity to think and reason to  completely embrace what our infinite God has intended through our worship of  Him.  But please indulge me a little as I offer some suggestions about  worship, and hopefully make us think a little bit! 
One of the most common definitions of worship is, it is the attributing to  God worth or value.  It‘s sometimes referred to as “worth-ship”.  How about  a couple of other definitions of worship for you to chew on a little?  Rick  Warren, Pastor of Saddleback Church in California, says:  “Worship is  expressing our love to God for who He is, what He’s said, and what He’s  doing.”   Darlene Zschech‘s definition (worship leader at Hillsongs Church  in Austrailia):  “Worship is when one’s spirit adores and connects with the  Spirit of God, when the very core of one’s being is found loving Him, lost  in Him.”  And my thoughts:  “Worship is the focusing of who we are and what  we do on who God is and what He’s done!” 
How ever it is defined, worship ultimately involves you and me connecting  with the Spirit of God in a way that affects how we live our lives!  We tend  to relate worship to an event involving a group of people coming together in  a certain place one a week, but a serious study of the Psalms shows that  praise and worship is more than a planned public event.  The Psalms reveal  the heart of the one worshipping!  Listen to the praise on David’s lips and  you will hear his personal heart’s cry to his God, regardless of where he  was.  The words of the psalmist were not recorded at an organized gathering,  but in the midst of the issues of his life!  What I’m saying is that the  declarations of praise and worship in the Psalms were expressions of the  attitude of David’s heart.  And those expressions of worship were a normal  response to the events of his life. 
We also see that while many of the expressions of praise in the Psalms were  solemn moments of worship, far more of them were exclamatory shouts of  praise to the God who had proven Himself faithful!  Here’s a few examples:  “I will offer in His tent sacrifices with shouts of joy (Psalm 27:6).“  “Shout joyfully to God, all the earth;  Sing the glory of His name;  Make  His praise glorious (Psalm 66:1)!“  “Let us shout joyfully to the rock of  our salvation...let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms…(Psalm 95:1-2)!“  “Shout joyfully to the Lord...come before Him with joyful singing (Psalm  100:1-2)!“  Over and over we hear encouragement to “shout joyfully” to our  Lord! 
It’s funny how passionate and extroverted we are when we’re talking about  sports or other areas that interest us, but as soon as we enter the doors of  our churches, we act differently.  I think part of the problem is that we  refer to the assembly auditorium as the “sanctuary”.  Folks, Jesus didn’t  die on the cross so He could dwell in an auditorium;  He died for us so He  could live in our hearts!  If you’ve trusted in Jesus’ sacrificial work on  the cross, then your HEART is His sanctuary where He lives and dwells in you  every moment of every day!   Jesus goes with you every where you go, not  just into a worship service on Sundays!  Now, that’s exciting!
Next time, more thoughts about worship.