why matt redman is my favorite

6 09 2011

As I have journeyed in learning about worship, one worship leaders/songwriter has stood out over all – Matt Redman.

When I went to Passion LA Chris Tomlin, Matt Redman and David Crowder led worship (if there were others I can’t remember, it was some time ago). I left further impressed by Matt Redman.

Why? If there is one thing I wish worship leaders would do more is praise and acknowledge God for all He is. If there is a second thing I wish they would do more is to address God in the second-person.

Why is second-person so important? We are in a relationship with God and our worship is for an audience of one. To make this idea more tangible let’s think about the repercussions of dialogue.

If I say to you, “You are amazing!” or “You are courageous!” or “You are beautiful!” how is that received? Now, if I say about you, “She is amazing!” or “He is courageous!” or “She is beautiful!” how is that received by you? When we are talking about someone or something in third-person we are not talking to that person.

If God is our audience then shouldn’t we be proclaiming to Him?

Why is Matt Redman my favorite? It has little to do with his style, and everything to do with his lyrics and his posture toward the greatness of God.

Seeing him lead live he spoke words that proclaim the greatness of God to God.

You should give a listen to 10,000 Reasons and take notice of how often we are led to sing to God. Yes, there is value in reminding each other of the greatness of God, which is the effect of singing in third-person about God .

I am not saying it is wrong to sing about God in third-person. What I am saying if we want the most intimacy and great face to face interaction with God, speaking and singing directly to God is the only way to do it.

Make it a practice to worship God – speak directly to Him, not just about Him. I think over time you will come to understand why I bother to bring this up.

Go for it! Jesus, You are…

 

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free to be awesome… or not

11 08 2011

Last week our worship leader sang amazing. Probably, the best she has sung in months, maybe in over a year, in my opinion/recollection. I was afraid to tell her that she sang better than she had in a long time, fearing I would imply that she hadn’t been singing to her potential.

Then two verses came to me. One of them was because my awesome worship leader sent a passage for the team to read: Hebrews 12. Verse 28 says, “thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe.” Then 1 Samuel 16:7 came saying, “the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.”

God showed me in worship sounding good or not is not the issue. It is our reverence and awe for God.

The worship leader’s family has been through some really tough times (saying “really tough” doesn’t do their life justice). To this day they submit to God – fear Him, revere Him and are in awe of Him.

This is why I love my worship team. Not only are the musicians good but their hearts are proper. Sometimes we sound OK, and that’s OK because God looks at our hearts. Sometimes we sound great, and that’s great because God looks at our hearts and on top of that we sounded good!

I am not saying, what is often mentioned, that you are free to be imperfect. What I am saying is there is no pressure to be great performance wise every time for fear of falling short either before God or the gathering. There is no pressure to be better. Being better is just gravy (or icing whichever you prefer).  When we are looking only to God in our worship we are free to be awesome… or not.





challenging popular lyrics

2 12 2010

I don’t have a conclusion on this.  I’d rather just start a discussion.

Where in the Bible does God claim Himself to be all we should want or need? Worship songs tend to use lyrics that proclaim God is all we need, but where does God say that in Scripture?

If there is one argument that comes quickly to mind it’s the beginning of Genesis. Adam was perfect. God saw it fit that He alone did not fulfill all wants or needs when He created Eve. All good things come through God and are found in God, but to say He is all we need or want, I’m having a hard time justifying such lyrics in worship songs.

Thoughts?





worshiping well for others

5 05 2010

On Easter my church had Easter in the Park.

After we ate my friend Nick Summers told me, “I like the way you worship.”

He proceeded to tell me how he liked it and just recently felt ready to raise his hand in worship. Nick was comparing how I worshiped with how he worshiped; and continued how he aspired to more freely express himself in worship.

What are you supposed to say to someone who likes you in worship when you really want people to focus on God?

I think the take away is that my being that active in worship made worshiping with hands raised seem conservative. The point is that when one starts being more extreme in the way one worships, whether it would be with all out dancing and hollering, or with absolute stilled focus on God, people can feel like they can move in that direction without being the “freak.”

I’ve felt like it was important that I worship freely not where I am not a distraction by hiding away somewhere, but where others can see me. This totally challenged my thought process because I wanted eyes to be on God, but I felt God encourage me to do this against my own desires for the sake of other people.

If I can help people move closer to where they feel they optimally express their worship for God by being a little bit of an eye catcher than, I’ll do it. My hope is that God would encourage the right people by their seeing me and help the right people not be distracted by what I do.

I may be wrong and that’s OK. This is just a thought really. I’m thinking that the way we worship can be not only for God, but also for others so that God would be most worshiped when others all freedom to express worship to God as their souls deeply desire.





worship is not an action alone

7 04 2010

Since I just did several posts on the oft quoted John 4:23-24 I figured I’d tackle another oft quoted passage for understanding worship – Romans 12:1:

Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.

I’ll be brief. The word for worship here is used also in Hebrews 9:1 & 6. The word is in reference to the ritual duties of temple practices. So, this passage is saying that our act of being a living and holy sacrifice is seen by God as our version of Hebrew temple practices.

This passage does not tell us how we should define worship, but how we should define our version of Temple duties.

Worship is not the act, but the holistic proclamation of who is God by a person toward that person or thing.





are you God’s worshiper?

31 03 2010

I am finishing up my exposition of John 4:22-24. Let’s get at it.

John 4:24 – God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.

There really isn’t much to say since I already wrote about worshiping in spirit and truth last week.

One thing stands out in this verse that was not in verse 23: “His worshipers must…”

Must means there are no exceptions.

If we want to qualify as a 100% legit worshiper of the one true God then we must worship in spirit and in truth.

Sometimes truth can be tricky. A phrase like “all I need is Jesus” sounds great, but is it really true?

God created us not only to connect with Him, but also with other human beings. We need human community. We also need food, shelter, and water. We need air to breathe.

Loosely, it can be said to be true, in the sense that our eternal souls and spirits are only in need of Jesus.

I may be going too far with the truth idea, but the further I keep going in my journey in knowing God, it seems that God would really like for us to be more exacting in our lives as it aligns with Scripture.

Jesus really didn’t come down and say, “God is all you need” or “I am all you need.”

Jesus didn’t say all that matters is eternal life. So, focusing only on what our soul and spirit need is actually constructing a paradigm that Jesus never set up.

I’m sorry if this crushes your favorite song or wipes out half of the songs you sing, but we have please God with our worship. If God wants us to worship in truth, then we better take it seriously.





worshiping God in spirit & truth

24 03 2010

I decided to continue to dig into John 4:22-24 so today is John 4:23:

But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.

What does it take to be a true worshiper?

You have to worship in spirit and truth, but what does that require of us?

Truth is pretty clear: Psalm 119:160 says, “The sum of your word is truth, and every one of your righteous rules endures forever.” Jesus said “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.” Worship must be according to Scripture and must be in Jesus.

Worshiping in spirit seems more mysterious. First, if we are to worship in spirit we need to be alive in spirit, meaning we must be born of Spirit. Though we are born human, our spirit is dead until it is born. This occurs when we believe in Jesus. If we never choose Jesus as Lord, then we will never be able to worship in spirit.

To be honest I don’t really have any concrete idea about how to worship in spirit. When I think about spiritual gifts they seem to happen by the will of God. When I think about learning in our spirit, it happens because the Holy Spirit teaches us. So, worshiping in spirit probably depends on the Holy Spirit working in us and through us.

I know I tend to worship in spirit more and more, but I can’t say that I did anything to make it happen. If there is anything under my control for this it first came from a dependence on God to work in me and to teach me about worship and to ask Him to make me a better worshiper.

The next part I notice from this passage is that the Father is seeking people who worship Him in spirit and truth.

This part sounds kind of like 2 Chronicles 16:9, “The LORD’s eyes keep on roaming throughout the earth, looking for those whose hearts completely belong to him, so that he may strongly support them.”

If the Lord is looking for people whose hearts are completely belonging to Him, then being a true worship would be part of it.

For a while I’ve been thinking about why it is important to worship correctly. I think is seems reasonable to say that being a true worshiper is part of being completely belonging to God. Therefore, being a true worship will allow God to strongly support us.





worship does not require knowledge

17 03 2010

I’ve been reading through John and came upon chapter 4 and noticed something about worship. You don’t need to know God to worship Him.

Verses 23 and 24 tend to get all the attention because they tell us that true worshipers worship in spirit and in truth. Verse 22, though, seems to be skipped over.

John 4:22, “You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews.” I think the main point was that the Jews worshiped a God that they knew, but I want to draw out another point: we don’t have to know what we worship in order to worship.

To be a true worshiper we must worship in spirit and in truth, but worship doesn’t carry those requirements. A good parallel can be illustrated through fandom.

My friend Scott Appleman had a conversation with a so-called fan and this is what he shared on facebook (BTW I didn’t get his permission, but I figured he wouldn’t mind):

This is why I hate the Yankees:
Me (to guy wearing Yankee hat): “Can you name three Yankees?”
Guy wearing Yankee hat: Baseball players?
Me: (stunned silence) Yes, baseball players.
Guy Wearing Yankee Hat: Recent ones?
Me: Yankees. Guy Wearing Yankee Hat: Jeter, Babe Ruth, and that guy who’s sleeping with Madonna.
Me: A-Rod.
Guy Wearing Yankee Hat: Yeah, I have his bobblehead when he played with the Mets.
Me: He didn’t play for the Mets. He played for the Rangers.
Guy Wearing Yankee Hat: Yeah, the Rangers. That’s probably worth something, huh.

There is a spectrum of devotion when it comes to fans. Some are hardcore. They know almost everything. They have enough knowledge to make a good Wikipedia entry. They know the history and the current happenings.

Some are born into fandom. Someone in their family is a fan of a team, so they are fans. They don’t know a lot, but they are loyal.

There are casual fans, they joined because they had to be a fan of something and they followed along.

Some are bandwagon fans who join when someone is winning.

Some are posers. They wear the stuff, but that’s about it. They don’t know anything.

Now, I wouldn’t call the Samaritans posers, but Jesus told the woman that she didn’t know God. She was more of the family fan, born into fandom. She didn’t know God.

Jesus, though, wanted her to be a hard core fan. She needed to know God and not just enough for a Wikipedia entry, she needed to experience God.

We can worship God, and not know Him, just as we can be a fan of a sports team and not know a thing about them. But when confronted by someone who knows the subject, we get exposed as posers.

There is an observation I made when processing Scott’s story. People don’t really like posers. We can be posers when we worship God. We can go through all the motions, where the clothes, talk the talk, but when it comes down to it, we really don’t know much.

Something else seems to happen when we are posers. Scott didn’t say that he hated Yankee fans; he hated the Yankees.

Is it possible that people hate God because of posers.

When we claim to follow something yet know nothing about it, we show that either we are not really followers, thus liars, or that whatever we are claiming to follow is not worthy of our pursuit.

When we fake full allegiance to God  it turns out bad. Either God has not transform us (which is supposed to be one of the reasons to follow Him), or He is not amazing enough to be pursued.

So, being a true worshiper not only is good for us, but good for God’s glory.





defining worship 2.0

3 03 2010

Sometimes we miss the obvious in Scripture. God has to bonk us on the head through the Holy Spirit and we find truth that transforms our lives.

I had previously posted a definition of worship. I thought it was good, but I have a new simpler definition, which actually frees up an avenue to explore praise. (I’m actually working on posts for praise, but they aren’t ready to go yet.)

First, though, I’d like to show that God is awesome and how this has nothing to do with me being smart.

I asked God what it would take for me to get to another level of depth in my maturation process. One of the things that God told me to do was to pray Scripture after I read through it – every time. I also realized I don’t know much about the Law; so, I combined the two and started praying Psalm 119, which often asks for revelation of the Law.

After doing this God brought to my mind the Ten Commandments.

(There is no Hebrew equivalent of the English word “worship.” Translators have chosen to take the words that are more literally “bow down” and ” serve” and use the word “worship.”)

Exodus 20:3-5:

“You shall have no other gods before Me.

“You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth.

“You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God…

“Worship” shows up in verse 5 with the direct object “them.” The antecedent of “them” is “idol.” When observing the verses in context we see that God is comparing His position as God in their lives to idols/other gods.

It happened in a flash. God showed me something so simple: to worship is to declare something or someone god.

Whether we understand what worship looks like is not important in defining it. Worship is the internal or external manifestation that someone or something is our God.





don’t lie in worship – it’s your choice

16 02 2010

“Christians don’t tell lies – they just go to church and sing them.” – A. W. Tozer

When first I heard the quote from A. W. Tozer I smiled because it’s true. It’s not that Christians don’t ever lie, but the point is that they sing lies. Now, I must be a little more forgiving. The definition of “to lie” is “a false statement deliberately presented as being true.” I don’t think people really are trying to deceive God or other people, but I think often words are said without believing them.

Watch this:

Speaking truth during worship cannot be over emphasized. John 4:23-24 states

But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.

The last line says “those who worship MUST worship in spirit and truth.” There is no provision for worshiping without truth. Simply stated we cannot lie in worship.

But what about the person who wants to sing the song, but doesn’t feel like the lyrics are true in their soul. Though their mind may agree that the lyrics are true, they may not be true for them in their heart. Likewise, what about when a person sings a song and feels they are true, but the mind hasn’t taken the journey?

Sometimes feelings come first and sometimes thoughts come first. They don’t have to coincide in order for them to be true for us. When we move by faith we move according to God’s word because we believe it is true. Sometimes feelings aren’t there. Likewise there are times we feel like something is right, but we don’t understand why it is, which is equally as right.

If either feelings or thoughts precede the other it is not as if we are lying. Ultimately, it is the intention and direction of a person that determines truth. God’s word is truth; if we are agreeing with it in thought or feeling then we are pleasing God.