BlogPost

24 Aug

Worship & Hearing the Voice of God Day 2

WHAT IS WORSHIP

Ok, so what worship is to me has always been synonymous with music and praise.  After all, we have worship music and I remember some debate we had during preparations for Unusual Praise that there should be more emphasis on worship and not praise. People were a bit confused over that comment and relegated it to agreeing that there would be more slow-paced music instead of fast music. As Day 2 of the parish seminar unfolded, I came to a better understanding that worship goes far beyond the pace of music. It is total. It is what God requires of His people who do not follow the crowd.

 

THE CROWD

The speaker started out by explaining the obstacle of the wealthy man in Luke 19:1-10 – Zaccheus.  He was inhibited from seeing and encountering Jesus due to two things – his stature and the crowd.  What are those things that constitute a crowd in our lives which prevent us from encountering Jesus?

He urged us to know who we are and know the power which resides in each and every one of us. We can only be aware of this when we remove the distractions or crowd in our lives in order to focus on God like Zaccheus did. He overcame them by swallowing all pride and mounting a sycamore tree. Imaging a Lagos big boy climbing a tree to see someone famous…I’m sorry, I just cannot imagine that, but that was Zaccheus. He did not care in spite of his wealth.  He wasn’t just rich – he was wealthy but he chose to eliminate the crowd and surmount all to encounter Jesus. Can we do that? Do we?

The crowd may be social media, television, your clothes, your work, your car or even friends who sow seeds of doubt in your spirituality. Bro Ambrose stressed the need to know who we are in Christ when he told of an incident with his mother-in-law whom he had planned to take to the hospital due to her ill health, but was unable to do the following day due to her slumping. He could not find a pulse but instead of entering into panic mode, he recalled who he was in Jesus and spoke the life-giving words of Scripture over her, commanding her to rise in the name of Jesus. She did.

I could almost hear a pin drop in the hall as he said that. I am not sure if they thought the speaker had gone crazy or was exaggerating, or whether they were simply in awe that such miracles could still happen and apparently did, from this very man who was talking to them. This man had raised the dead? Suffice to say that he explained that as you lead the holy life of worship, God can cause His glory to descend upon you in ways unimaginable and yes, this included raising the dead! Do you believe that?

He stressed that worship is the food of God and sacrifice of the heart which God longs to receive from us all. Worship makes God come down BY HIMSELF – not the angels, not the saints – God Himself! When God comes down, the miraculous happens as His glory fills the place.

 

SURRENDER IN WORSHIP

The speaker then went on to explain that God is a covenant-keeping God as seen in Psalm 11 and that He is in control so if we are to be considered worshippers, we must trust God radically. Yes, I know I trust God but is my trust radical? He explained that if we are living a life of worship, we would always hear God, as in, always because He is a God who loves relationship and He desires intimacy with us.

Psalm 148 was mentioned as a psalm of worship and one upon which we should meditate. I had encountered it at mass for the first time in a school where the boys chant it after communion and I was amazed by it. It talks of all creation being made to give praise and worship to God  – this is the essence of their existence and so it should be the essence of our being. The speaker warned that God could cause stones to replace us  if we do not worship Him so we should step up; Luke 19:38-40 – “…and they cried out, “Blessed is he who comes as king in the name of the Lord”…Some Pharisees in the crowd said to him, ‘Master, rebuke your disciples!’ But Jesus answered, ‘I tell you, if they were to remain silent, the stones would cry out’.”

 

IDOL WORSHIP

Webster’s Dictionary defines worship as a performance of a devotional act in honour of a deity. The speaker asked us again to identify the crowd in our lives and to do determine who or what we worship.  He gave examples of material possessions such as cars, phones, clothes and challenged us to give away any clothes or apparel which we had not used in the past six months.

He also mentioned that your character could be your idol, as you may take pride in having a particular trait such as hot temper. He stressed that such traits which are vices should be uprooted from us and we should seek the help of the Holy Spirit in this.  I also thought of other traits which may not be vices, but which we consider to be so part of us that we cling to them and this attachment may become an idol as we refuse to submit to what God wills us to be.

He stated that idol worship would not come into play where we have a deep hunger for the presence of God which we all should yearn for since God created us for relationship. It is at this place of worship where we meet the heart of God and where we hear God speak to us. He pointed out that God has put something in each and every one of us for us to worship Him with and we should not let pride take it away from us. This thing placed within us is meant to bless others and in so doing, worship God.

 

WHAT WILL YOU OFFER

The offertory hymn comes to mind when the speaker asked us what we would offer God:

“What shall I offer to the Lord to make Him happy (oh tell me)
What shall I offer to the Lord to please Him } *2

{I may give Him the best of my clothes
He may not take it.
I may give Him the best of my shoes
He may not take it } *2

{A loving heart (He will love), a patient heart (He will love)
A humble heart (He will love), a caring heart He will love}”

God wants our heart of worship.  We should go back to the heart of worship. Another song which springs to mind is that of Matt Redman called ‘The Heart of Worship” which I implore us all to listen to as we meditate further on this.

The speaker asked us whether we were a willing horse. You see, I always loved horses – their grace and strength comes from an inexplicable place. I remember going to stables when I was younger and going on horseback rides and it was such an amazing feeling but I also remember how difficult it  was to get the horse accustomed to me. I would have to cajole it with cubes of sugar and stroke the back of the horse until it would get comfortable enough to eventually allow me to mount. Now, for the horse to move required another set of cajoling until it would eventually become relaxed with you guiding its movements.

How willing are we to be used for God to ride us into Jerusalem? Jesus ushered in His kingdom of peace on Palm Sunday riding a colt which had never been ridden.  As the speaker mentioned, to ride a colt which has never been ridden is almost impossible as it needs to get used to the foreign blanket and harness first on its back and then get used to the additional weight of someone mounting it. Yet, Luke 19:30-36 gave no record of any issues – Jesus simply mounted the colt and rode into Jerusalem. The colt was willing to be used. Are you? As a true worshipper, we must be tied down for God who is the rider.  A true worshipper is not selective so whatever the Master gives is what we should receive and wherever the Holy Spirit leads us to is where we should follow. That is true worship!

 

CONCLUSION

The speaker concluded that we must strive to offer things to God because when we do, they becomes holy. We should not misuse them or else we would pay the consequences.  Rom 12:1 talks of offering ourselves as a “living and holy sacrifice.” When we do, we too become holy and the more we become holy, the more we become worshippers and the more we hear the voice of God –

“Offer yourselves as a living and holy sacrifice, pleasing to God; that is the kind of worship for you.”

Let us do away with the “crowds” and distractions in our lives which prevent us from hearing God. Let us worship God as we call to mind who we are and why we were made.

O Heavenly Father, you created all things to give you praise and to worship You so that You can be one with us. Help us to remove those things which are preventing us from uniting with You and make us willing to be used to this end, in Jesus name we pray. Amen. 

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2 Recent Comments

  • John

    Thanks Didi.

    Worship is a wholestic and total offering of oneself unto God.

    I wasn’t there but you put in a position of those who were there or even better off.
    I say thank you and remain blessed

  • Ellen

    Crowds… seemingly normal to every day life but inhibiting to a fruitful life and walk with God. Lord help me know my crowds that I may remove them.

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