if worship sucks, it’s because of you

18 11 2009

OK, I know some people who probably hate my title because they think “suck” is a bad word, but that is part of the trick. I want you to read what I have to say.

To be honest, I’ve been a little disappointed in my corporate worship experiences recently because it hasn’t been up to par.

Worship has been really good over the last year, year and a half, maybe two years…? Consistently the presence of God is felt. Some weeks are better than others, which is to be expected.

But over the last few weeks it has seemed to be a little flat. Here’s the deal, if we don’t buck the trend we will have a great sounding band, but God won’t be there in the way He has and that’s no good.

So, I’m contemplating what can be done to help us all worship better.

Here is where I think the problem lies: we think worship happens to us and that worship is on our terms.

I know we try to tell people that they can worship in whatever way they feel they need to, but what if they don’t even know how they could/should worship?

To be honest a vast majority of my worship experiences have not been good. And if my experience is reflected in any part by the people who come to the gathering, then we have an uphill battle.

We can’t just tell people to worship in a way they feel led. What if they don’t even know how to feel led?

Do they even know why they should worship?

So here is a call to all worshipers: know who you worship and why you worship.

I think the biggest reason why worship stinks is because people have no idea who they are worshiping. This is our Creator! The one who has always been. Never has anything existed that was not created by Him.

When we are about to meet some human that is amazing, whether it be someone who is exceedingly successful, has skills that seem beyond human, or has beauty that makes us melt, we get nervous. I am not sure about you, but for me I actually rather stay away.

But these people are nothing compared to God. God is the one from who all these people were dreamed of and created.

We are trying to approach a God who’s glory is so beyond us that He has to protect us from it or else we’d be eliminated from all existence. When Moses asked to see God, God protected Moses from seeing the full glory of His All Glorious Back Side! Exodus 33:18-23, read it:

Moses said, “Please show me your glory.” And he said, “I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name ‘The LORD.’ And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live.” And the LORD said, “Behold, there is a place by me where you shall stand on the rock, and while my glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by. Then I will take away my hand, and you shall see my back, but my face shall not be seen.”

Visualize it. You are Moses and you know God better than anyone. You get to converse with God very clearly (Numbers 12:8, Deuteronomy 34:10), and the Messiah is compared to you (Acts 3:22). You are a big shot in God’s eyes. (Well… as big as a human can get in His eyes) As good as you are, you are only allowed to see the back of God after He has walked away from you.

I’m not saying I get God better and therefore I’m a better worshiper. What I’m saying is proclaiming accolades to God should come from an understanding that THIS IS GOD we are encountering!

I think if we have an intimate understand who we are worshiping, then a lot of other things take care of themselves.

When we understand who God is then we understand why we worship, which is simply because He is.

Now, this get’s me to the issue of worship being sub par.

We need to honor God. He deserves more.

This is why sitting in worship is generally an action of the sub par worship performance. (I say perform because we as a body of believers are performing for God.) When is sitting ever an action of honor? If you have an example please tell me.

I discussed it before, but honor is usually demonstrated by standing or bowing.

To give you some context to think about let me tell of my heart for the University of Arizona football team.

I like the team. I went to the school, but I’ve never been to a game.

A radio talk show discussed why more people don’t go to the game. I’ll tell you why I don’t go. Because I’m lazy, and I don’t want to spend the money.

Making the game an event in my life takes work. If I really wanted to show dedication to the team, I’d show up, dress crazy and lose my voice every week.

I don’t, because I don’t care that much. If I wanted to show the team how much they mean to me I’d do everything I could to get in their faces and tell them I really appreciate them.

In a similar way worship is our way to give back to God.

We probably haven’t broken down in our minds that a church gathering consists of receiving and giving. The teaching is for us to receive something from God. Tithes and offerings are for us to give back, and worship is for us to give back.

I think our mindset is that we do church, and don’t see it as a receive and give with God.

When we worship we need give by putting forth a worthy effort. It won’t always be easy. Most of the time it probably won’t feel overwhelmingly worshipful before we start.

Worship is something we do toward God; it is not something God does to us. We are responding to who God is. God’s awesomeness demands we put forth a strong effort.

We make worship good or bad, not God. Will you put forth the effort to make it great?

This means we don’t always get to worship according to how we feel. Sometimes we just have to choose. Choose wisely.