Google+ 02/28/13 Don't Remove God From Worship!

1 Timothy 2:1-4

 

I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people.

Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them.

Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority

So that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity.

This is good and pleases God our Savior,

Who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth.  

 

There are as many approaches to worship in churches today as there are places to worship.  It is a wonder to me that we have as many "denominations" and "non-denominational" churches as we do. Somewhere along the line, we have forgotten how the Bible describes and designs worship.  Since part of my duties as a minster center around music,  I obviously think music in worship is important!  Just so you know, that was not my idea!!  The Bible speaks most often about praise and worship and singing, playing instruments, and making "a joyful noise" to God Almighty.  When I design a worship service, there will be more music than anything else, as this is the easiest and most effective way for God's people to fulfill His command to praise Him.  Paul tells Timothy in our Scripture today what needs to be the second most important focus of any worship experience.  We, as churches and ministers, would be well-served to listen and act quickly.  Paul admonishes Timothy to make prayer a primary focus of worship.  Quoting our Scripture, Paul does say to Timothy, "First of all."  Paul speaks of three kinds of prayers.  Timothy is to pray for general and specific help for the people, intercede through Jesus for all the people, and give thanks to God in prayers of praise.  Last Friday night in our worship services, the prayers took longer than the sermon!  According to God and Paul, that is exactly how it should be.  When Paul refers to living "peaceful and quiet lives," he is not referring to a life whose volume level never reaches above a "mezzo-forte (musical reference for all my performing arts friends!)."   Paul is referring to the peace and tranquility that comes from being in harmony and fellowship with God.  Please notice that God wants EVERYONE to experience this peace which is why Timothy is instructed to pray for all kings and people in authority.  In other words, God is an equal-opportunity joy-giver and there is plenty to go around!  Finally, Paul tells his young apprentice that  this is good and pleasing to God, who wishes EVERYONE to know the truth and be saved.  I am about to be very direct, because churches are really doing a poor job of worship today.  Worship services are not to be designed for just the people that go to church in a particular location!  Worship services are to be designed for effective fellowship with the one true God.  So, let's follow God's instructions instead of our own.  Make praise and worship the number one focus of every worship, and as God has instructed, do most of that through participatory music.  Pick songs that are easy to learn and can be sung by a large majority of people who wish to participate, rather than listen.  We make singing so complicated in churches today, that most people just don't, especially the men!  Next, immerse your worship in prayer.  Don't put time constraints on it.  Don't "recite" the same "prayers" over and over again every week.  Let the people pray.  Lead them in this prayer and watch God move.  Everyone who is coming to worship has much to say to God.  Sometimes they just need a little help getting started, so dial God's number for them!  I promise God will not put you on hold or not answer.  Finally, make the sermon what it was always designed to be, which was a Biblical story.  Remember, Jesus spoke in parables.  He didn't read from notes.  Jesus thought about what He was going to say before He said it.  Jesus truly called on "divine inspiration" and through the Holy Spirit, so can we as we preach.  The greatest compliment I have ever received from people is when they share with me that they think I am a great teacher.  Ministers should be great teachers first, and everything else second.  Why?  Jesus was, and tells us to be.  The Bible recounts in Matthew 13:10-17 Jesus' explanation of why He taught by telling stories.  If it is good enough for Jesus, it is certainly good enough for me!  So, if your worship service doesn't follow God's guidelines, why not change it?  The "liturgy" of any church was not written by God.  The Bible was and I am going to follow God and Christ's teachings as it applies to worship of THEM!!   God still moves, but often in worship, we don't let Him.  I know this sounds ridiculous, but it is true.  Worship is supposed to be about us joining together as the "Family of God" to praise, pray, worship, and give thanks.  How did we get so "far afield" from the Biblical concept of worship?  As for the worship I lead, every week we are "going back to the Heart of Worship" and say, "Jesus I'm sorry for the thing we've made it."  We will then sing loudly, "Jesus, it's all about You!"