A Bigger Picture Of Worship

I’m going to jump right into things this week.  I’m discussing worship…a topic that’s near to my heart.  But before we get started, I have a few questions: 

What drives you to worship?  Not just on Sunday, but throughout the rest of the week?   

What keeps you in a frame of mind that is set upon worship? 

What is worship, anyway? 

If I am honest with myself, I struggle with answering these questions.  I’ve found there’s no easy answer even with many years of practice.  For some backstory, I’ve been involved with some level of “worship” (the part you see and hear on stage) since I was in my high school and college years.  I remember leading a youth group praise band with my electric guitar; my Epiphone Les Paul (oh yeah!).  And then in college, I led worship at my school’s Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship chapter.  I helped lead while attending North Dakota State and our worship team actually included the gal who is now my wife.  (Just fair-warning:  your future spouse might be someone who’s on your team!) 

With all that experience and many more years under my belt in ministry, you’d think I’d start to have a grasp of what worship is.  That maybe I’m at some expert or mastery level.  But in reality, I know I have as much to learn now as I did all those years ago.  Worship is so much deeper than what I think it is. 

I think those initial questions are hard to define because we speak of worship in somewhat ambiguous terms.  We talk about worship as a church service.  It can also be a song itself.  Or maybe even a style of music.  Worship as a music style has grown so much over the past 20 years that it has gained its own genre and subgenre within Christian music.   

But is worship solely limited to those things?  Just a song or style of music?  Or just the 20 minutes of time that lasts between the announcements and the sermon?  I surely hope not.   

Through my own study of this topic through books and the Bible, through hearing sermons, and by just being around other Christians, I’ve come to this conclusion:  worship is SO MUCH BIGGER than the box we put it in.  In fact, it’s really not about music at all.  It’s an attitude of the heart.  Music is one way to express our worship to God and it’s a great way to do it.  But I’ve come to embrace the fact that worship is all-encompassing.  Therefore, everything I do becomes an act of worship to God. 

That means how I serve my wife and kids is worship.   

How I spend my time and money is worship.  

How I treat my coworkers is worship. 

What words I allow to come out of my mouth is worship.   

Who I am when no one else is around is worship. 

In each of these things, I am allowing myself to ascribe worth and value to something:  hopefully in each case, to the Lord.   

I think if we come before the Lord each day seeking Him and pursuing a lifestyle of worship, it becomes that much easier to enter into worship and praise on Sunday.  When we’ve been living it in the trenches Monday-Saturday, we realize Sunday is just the capstone; the culmination of all we’ve already been doing throughout the week.  Through that, we praise and we thank God.  It’s as important to worship corporately (i.e. on Sunday) as it is individually (outside of church).   

This summer, I’m urging you to find space and margins in your day and week to reevaluate what worship looks like for you.  I find it especially important with the busyness of fall soon approaching.  Consider this a gentle reminder that we need to constantly and consistently pursue Christ and set aside time to seek Him and His will for our lives.  It just won’t happen by accident.  If you are struggling to find rest, to unplug and listen to the Lord, here’s a blog I wrote earlier this year that might give some guidance:  Learning To Rest.   

If I point a finger at anyone in all of this, it’s at myself to ask “How well am I worshipping today?  Am I giving God my best?”  He deserves our best but until we understand a bigger picture of worship, we run the risk of giving Him less than He deserves.  I don’t want to give God my leftovers.  I want Him to have the first fruits.  Worship is how we do that and it’s happening all the time…24/7. 

God bless you!  Much love to you and please know I’m praying for you! 

I can be reached at info@derekcharlesjohnson.com  

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

Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness. Psalm 29:2

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