Saturday, April 15, 2017

Worship: A Meeting With God

During the 1980's, and well into the 90's the Church experienced a worship explosion that some called a Worship Revival, a Worship Renewal, and others just referred to it as new thing. It was in fact a large part of an overall restoration movement that was taking place during this time period, which also included the restoration of the prophets ministry. The prophet was the voice of God to the people of God. A large part of the Prophets Ministry, particularly when we study the old testament, was to make sure the people worshipped properly and to call them back to proper worship when they got off.
David the sweet psalmist of Israel who was also a prophet instructed Gods people to: Ascribe to the Lord,O sons of the Mighty,Ascribe to the Lord glory and strength Ascribe to the Lord the glory due to his name;Worship the Lord in holy array(Psalms 29:1-2).
The Prophet Hosea calls Gods people back to the worship if the true and living God with the following
instructions: Return,O Israel, to the lord your God, for you have stumbled because of your iniquity.
Take words with you and return to the Lord. Say to Him, Take away all iniquity, And receive us graciously, That we may present the fruit of our lips(Hosea 14:1-2).

With the restoration of the Prophets Ministry and a new emphasis on the prophetic realm, it became necessary to change the way the church was worshipping - and make no mistake it changed powerfully as the spirit of the Tabernacle of David (Amos 9:11) began to manifest among those who were open to receive what God was doing. Many congregations abandoned the hymn books and opted for a fresh Holy Spirit inspired approach to Worshipping God with new songs and new sounds. The traditional organ and piano sound was upgraded with the sounds of guitars, synthesizers, drums and various percussion instruments and even horn sections. Many began to experience the manifested presence of God like they never had before in the corporate gathering. Several major record companies and worship publishing entities emerged whose mission was to fuel and resource the church in its new commitment to worship God in a fresh new biblical way. But was all of this a true visitation of God? Was it a true restoration movement in worship? Absolutely!
Are We Worshipping our Expressions or Worshipping God?
As it has happens so often in the history of the church we can very easily lose sight of the pure and simple essence of why we do what we do, particularly as it pertains to worship. Too often we get caught up in the mechanics of what God is restoring and miss the essence of what he is restoring. In my own personal walk I have discovered how easy it is to miss the point.
One of the the most obvious mistakes we made in the worship Movement of the 80's and 90's was when we began to call the expressions: singing, clapping, playing our instruments, dancing etc. worship. Certainly I am not saying that these expressions are not important that would be going to an extreme because there are to many biblical instructions in the word of God that encourage and even command us to express our worship in these ways. I am simply pointing out that the expressions in and of themselves are not true worship and when we fail to understand this what started as a fresh wind of worship can easily become just another lifeless religious form. In the words of one modern Psalmist of our day we must return to the Heart of Worship. One of the most powerful examples of a worshipper in the bible was Abraham. I never read where Abraham sang to God or played an instrument yet he understood the essence of what it meant to Worship God. In Genesis 22:2 God calls Abraham to a meeting and God is very clear that the purpose of this gathering is to offer a sacrifice and God is very specific that the sacrifice is to be his only son Isaac. What a request! This text is pregnant with so much revelation; however, for our purposes lets focus on one specific point. In Genesis 22:5 Abraham makes a powerful statement, And Abraham said to his young men,Stay here with the donkey,and I and the lad will go yonder; and we will Worship and return to you. Wow! Abraham understood that what God was asking him to do was to come and Worship Him even though the offering of worship involved the sacrifice of his only son. The word Worship appears in the scriptures for the first time in this verse it means, to prostrate ones self in homage to royalty or to God in humility and in reverence. The emphasis of this basic definition for worship is not on any external expressions; rather it defines the heart attitude and the heart position of the worshipper before God. So then acceptable worship is not determined by the songs we sing, but rather by the condition and position of our hearts as we sing.
Worship is giving God what he wants
What did God really want from Abraham? Did God really want him to sacrifice his son? Was there something more profound in Gods request of his servant? In Genesis 22:10-12 we read, And Abraham stretched out his hand, and took the knife to slay his son. But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven, and said Abraham, Abraham! And he said Hear I am. And he said, do not stretch out your hand against the lad, and do nothing to him; for now I know you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son from Me. Right as Abraham (the willing worshipper) was about to carry out what he understood to be his worship requirement, God stops him, why? He had already given God what he wanted, which was a willing heart. Through Abraham we see three aspects of a worshipping heart.
1. Reverence - his heart bowed in respect and homage to God and his request.
2. Obedience -his heart was willing to do what God requested and required.
3. Faith -his heart believed God he trusted the integrity of God and he believed that God had a plan in what he was asking. He believed that God was able to even raise Isaac from the the dead after the sacrifice and his heart was settled and at peace concerning this (Hebrews 11:17-19).
Abraham certainly was not a Perfect man but his willing heart of worship earned him the title
the Friend of God (James 2:23). Worship has nothing to do with what we want it has all to do with what God wants.
The psalmist David discovered that more then religious forms and rituals God desires a broken(humble) spirit and a contrite heart (Psalms 51:16-17).
Getting back to the Heart of the Matter
Our Lord Jesus Christ who is the object of the Churches affections sums up the meaning of acceptable worship when he said, You Shall LOVE The Lord Your God With All Your Heart, And With
All Your Soul, And With All Your Mind (Matthew 22:37).

I have discovered that God more than my songs or my music, wants my heart. Jesus died to have My heart, My whole heart not just on a sunday during a worship service. True acceptable Worship is the daily pursuit of God. It is a deep spiritual and intimate connection with the God of heaven and earth and this is the reason why we were created. It has been aptly stated that The Chief end of man is to Glorify God and to enjoy Him Forever; this speaks of relationship not religious ritual. I am grateful for all of the advances that we now enjoy in our corporate worship experience. It is all relevant and all needful to support and enhance the atmosphere of our corporate gatherings, but what is more needful for us as Worshippers and facilitators of Worship is a fresh revelation of God and his desires. My prayer is that the Holy Spirit will give all of us a renewed understanding of the words of Christ when he said, But an hour is coming and now is,when the True Worshippers shall Worship the Father in spirit and in truth;for such people the Father seeks to be his worshippers. God is a spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.
God is raising up an army of passionate lovers burning with desire to Worship Him acceptably and intimately, those who are zealous for the advancement of his Kingdom in the earth. He has instructed me to invite you to come to a meeting with Him. The Spirit says come and renew your passion to Worship God.
Charles M. Smith is a psalmist, worship leader, songwriter, author and full time Minister. He is the founder of CMS Ministries and Clearzone Music Inc. In addition he serves as the National Director of Worship for the Liberty Temple International Network of Churches.
for more info visit [http://www.cmsministries.org]

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