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Published by Regal Books A Division of Gospel Light Ventura, California, U ! A Printed in U !

A
Regal Books is a "inistry of Gospel Light, an evangeli#al Christian publisher dedi#ated to serving the lo#al #hur#h $e believe God%s vision for Gospel Light is to provide #hur#h leaders &ith bibli#al, user'friendly "aterials that &ill help the" evangeli(e, dis#iple and "inister to #hildren, youth and fa"ilies )t is our prayer that this Regal book &ill help you dis#over bibli#al truth for your o&n life and help you "eet the needs of others *ay God ri#hly bless you For a free catalog of resources from Regal Books and Gospel Light, please call your Christian supplier or contact us at +',--'.'G/!P0L All !#ripture 1uotations, unless other&ise indi#ated, are taken fro" the New King James ersion! Copyright 2 +343, +3,-, +3,5 by 6ho"as 7elson, )n# Used by per"ission All rights reserved /ther versions used are8 690 *0!!AG0'!#ripture taken fro" "#$ %$&&'G$! Copyright 2 by 0ugene 9 Peterson, +33:, +33., +33; Used by per"ission of 7avPress Publishing Group (hillips)"he New "estament in %odern $nglish, Revised 0dition, < B Phillips, 6ranslator 2 < B Phillips +3;,, +3=-, +345 Used by per"ission of *a#"illan Publishing Co , )n# , ,== 6hird Avenue, 7e& >ork, 7> +--55 2 Copyright 5--- by <a#k $ 9ayford All rights reserved Revised and e?panded edition *orship #is %a+esty &as originally published by $ord Publishing in +3,4 Cover Design by @evin @eller )nterior Design by Robert $illia"s Revised 0dition 0dited by David $ebb
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS CATALOGING-IN-PUBLICATION DATA

9ayford, <a#k $ $orship 9is "aAesty B <a#k $ 9ayford CRev and e?panded ed p #" )!B7 -',:-4'5:3,'= + GodC$orship and loveCBibli#al tea#hing I. 6itle B!;.. 9:3 5--5., :'d#5+ + 5 : . ; = 4 , 3 +- ++ +5 +: +. +; B -; -. -: -5 -+ --

33'-;33-3

Rights for publishing this book in other languages are #ontra#ted by Gospel Literature )nternational DGL)76E GL)76 also provides te#hni#al help for the adaptation, translation and publishing of Bible study resour#es and books in s#ores of languages &orld&ide For further infor"ation, &rite to GL)76, P / Bo? .-=-, /ntario, CA 3+4=+'+--:, U ! A >ou "ay also send e'"ail to GlintintGaol #o", or visit the GL)76 &ebsite at &&& glint org

CONTENTS
Prefa#e ' God,&haped (lace )ntrodu#tion %a+esty Chapter + Reformation -Chapter 5 -t *as %eant to Be &o .ifferent Chapter : *orship is for (eople Chapter . "he Key to New Life Chapter ; Fum/ling Forward in Faith Chapter = 0nshackling 1our Future Chapter 4 Royal Bridge Building Chapter , &am2s &ong of Renewal2s *ays Chapter 3 Boards and Big *heels *on2t %ake -t Chapter +.ancing Kings and Barren 3ueens Chapter ++ "he Life,Begetting (ower of &ong Chapter +5 Beyond 'll *orlds !!! #ere and Now Chapter +: Remem/ering *hat to Remem/er Chapter +. #is %a+esty &peaks 4 ++ +4 54 .+ ;: =+ 4; ,4 33 +++ +5+ +:3 +=+ +44 +3;

Appendi? + ' "heology of *orship Appendi? 5 *orship -n &pirit and "ruth Appendi? : Leading *orship in the New %illennium Appendi? . &hake .own the "hunder4 *orship, *arfare and "he #ar5est 0ndnotes

5-; 5-3 5+; 55; 5:+

PREFACE

A G/D'!9AP0D PLAC0
)n a tropi#al rain forest a tribal #hieftain bo&s before a #rude figure fashioned fro" sti#ks and stones bound together by Aungle vines !o"e&here in Asia in a fantasti#ally ornate te"ple a young "an burns in#ense before a lavishly de#orated Buddha )n the heartland of A"eri#a, a s"all group of lo#als "eet in an unobtrusive building in a s"all 7ebraska to&n to sing and pray together A "an in the suburbs of Detroit spends the entire "orning "eti#ulously &ashing and &a?ing his foreign'"ade sports sedan, &hile his teenage daughter spends hours in a poster'plastered roo" listening to CDs by her favorite ro#k superstar All of these people are &orshiping )n so"e #ases the

WORSHIP HIS MAJESTY

&orship follo&s a pres#ribed for"ula &ithin a for"ali(ed setting and is relatively easy to identify as &orship /thers of these "any &ould generally hesitate to #all &orship at all But &hether or not &e re#ogni(e the for" it takes, every one of us &orships so"ething or so"eone And you should understand that &ho" or &hat you &orship e?erts tre"endous influen#e over &hat you areCand &hat you &ill be#o"e

DEFINING WORSHIP
*an is a &orshiper by nature $hether &e a#kno&ledge it or not, &hether &e re#ogni(e the obAe#t of our affe#tions as a deity in the stri#t sense of the &ord or not, &e all &orship so"ething !o"e people &orship at the altar of their Aobs !o"e of us &orship "oney, others their possessions !o"e people &orship ideals, goals or desires, &hile others &orship pleasure !o"e of us even have the auda#ity to &orship GodH *any people don%t re#ogni(e the fa#t that they are engaged in the pra#ti#e of &orship be#ause they don%t have a #lear idea of &hat &orship "eans Understanding the "eaning of &orship is a good beginning pla#e for a book about &orship, be#ause until &e understand its "eaning, &e &ill never understand its e?er#ise 6he &ord I&orshipI is derived fro" the old 0nglish &eorths#ipe and "eans to as#ribe &orth unto a being or obAe#t $e%ll look at this #on#ept "ore in depth later, but the essential idea is that &hatever you value "ost highly or pla#e the greatest &orth upon, that is &hat you &orship !o you #an see that people &orship "any different things, although &e #an Austly say that &orship rightfully belongs to God alone, for 9e is the Creator of all things and all people 7o one else but God #an truthfully lay #lai" to the position of highest value in any person%s life

YOU BECOME LIKE THE GOD YOU WORSHIP


Psal" ++;8.', is one of the "ost insightful passages on the subAe#t of &orship found any&here in the Bible8

A GOD-SHAPED PLACE

6heir idols are silver and gold, 6he &ork of "en%s hands 6hey have "ouths, but they do not speakJ 0yes they have, but they do not seeJ 6hey have ears, but they do not hearJ 7oses they have, but they do not s"ellJ 6hey have hands, but they do not handleJ Feel they have, but they do not &alkJ 7or do they "utter through their throat 6hose &ho "ake the" are like the"J !o is everyone &ho trusts in the" )n this passage, the psal"ist des#ribes idolatry and the inade1ua#y of the false gods &orshiped by the heathen 6hen he "akes a very i"portant observation8 6hose &ho "ake idols are like the", and so is everyone &ho trusts in the" )n other &ords, you shall be#o"e like the god you &orship Let "e say that again be#ause this point #annot be overe"phasi(ed8 1ou /ecome like the god you worship! 6he a#t of &orship "eans you are developing a set of valuesJ you are deter"ining &hat you desire "ost $orship "eans you are #hoosing prioritiesJ you are establishing &hat #o"es first in your life $orship "eans you are deter"ining &hat you are to be#o"eJ you are #hoosing in &hose i"age you &ill be "ade <ust as God #reated "an and &o"an in 9is i"age, the gods &e #hoose to &orship "anifest their attributes in the &orshiper !o in de#iding &hat or &ho" to &orship, you are "aking life de#isions regarding your values, your priorities and ho& you are to live >our &orship &ill deter"ine &hat flo&s fro" your life 9u"ankind%s highest attain"ent #o"es through glorifying God &ho is &orthy of all glory !o"e "ay find te"poral glory in their &orks or pursuits, but that kind of glory fades !o"e "ay even be re"e"bered beyond their lifeti"es for a#hieve"ents in

10

WORSHIP HIS MAJESTY

the arts, the s#ien#es or sporting events But all the a##olades, all the "edals, all the re#ord books &ill "ean absolutely nothing &hen &e stand before the Audg"ent seat of Christ But those &ho &orship the LordClooking to the unseen rather than to the seen as &e go through our present trialsC&ill find &hat Paul #alls an Ieternal &eight of gloryI &orking in their lives D5 Cor .8+4E 6hose &ill possess a glory that endures

WHAT DO YOU WORSHIP?


!o you #an see that so"e very signifi#ant issues are raised by ho& you &orship 9ave you deter"ined &here you are going to bo&K By bo&ing ) don%t Aust "ean a physi#al posture but a stan#e of the soul $ho" do you seekK $hat do you pursueK 6o &ho" or &hat do you sub"itK 6he goal that you press to&ardCthe obAe#t of your &orshipC&ill be the guiding for#e of your life 6he one &ho seeks the Lord &ill find 9i" Dsee Deut .853EJ he &ill dis#over the true purpose for &hi#h he &as "ade and, ulti"ately, &ill e?perien#e the fulfill"ent of that purpose 9e &ho follo&s another god &ill dis#over &hat that god provides, &hether it is &orry, de#aden#e or e"ptiness < B Phillips has said there is a God'shaped va#uu" in every one of us, a va#uu" that only God #an fill $orship is a &ay to fill that pla#e &ithin us Augustine said, ILord, >ou%ve "ade us for >ourself, and our hearts find no rest till they find it in >ou I $e &ere #reated by 9i" and for 9i", and the fulfill"ent of our hearts% longing #o"es as a dire#t result of our approa#hing 9i" and #o"ing to kno& 9i" 7othing else #an fill that God'shaped pla#e in usC only the Lord 9i"self God reveals 9i"self to those &ho bo& before 9i" and seek 9i" )f you truly seek 9i" &ith all your heart, you &ill find 9i" 6hen &hen you dis#over &hat 9e%s really like, glorifying 9i" &ill be the only natural response $orship &ill lead you along that path

INTRODUCTION

*A<0!6>
$e stood in silent a&e, sensing God%s presen#e as shafts of sunlight arro&ed through the gra#efully ar#hed &indo&s high in the vaulted to&ers of the va#ant abbey 6he British #ountryside &as &el#o"ing another su""er%s "orn as &e a"bled through the partially restored ruins of this an#ient house of &orship Although for the "ost part it &as a disheveled and dilapidated site, a dignity re"ained &hi#h &as only a tra#e of the beauty it had kno&n si? #enturies before at its dedi#ation For t&o &eeks "y &ife, Anna, and ) had been probing the #orners of !#otland, $ales and 0ngland in our tiny rental #ar, setting our o&n pa#e as &e drove fro" pla#e to pla#e $e &ere slo&ly be#o"ing a##usto"ed to a left'hand'drive road&ay syste", but #aution and patien#e &ere still re1uired !o &e #hose a leisurely pa#e, visiting #astles and #ottages at our &hi", no

12

WORSHIP HIS MAJESTY

de"ands di#tating our s#hedule e?#ept that &e be at /?ford the third &eek of <uly ) &as to parti#ipate in a #onferen#e there, studying the pheno"enon of spiritual a&akenings in a se"inar under Dr 0d&in /rr%s dire#tion, after &hi#h &e &ould return ho"e to Los Angeles 6hat su""er the &hole nation &as enAoying a #ertain regal festivity in anti#ipation of the silver anniversary of 0li(abeth%s #oronation as 1ueen, and it &as a"id this prevailing air of reAoi#ing in royalty that &e &ere introdu#ed to 0ngland Landing in Glasgo&, after +- days of prea#hing in Den"ark, &e began our AourneyCsa"pling the variety of #li"ates, #usto"s, #uisine and #lothing styles fro" )nverness to 0dinburgh to Llangollen to the Cots&olds By the ti"e &e arrived in London, a spe#ial sense of &onder had overtaken us /##asionally ) atte"pted to put into &ords the e"otions ) felt as history spoke to "e at every turn $hether &e &ere 1uietly sitting in a park, reading an engraved pla1ue antedating us by #enturies, strolling beside the 6ha"es or pushing our &ay through the #ro&ds shopping at 9arrod%s, an illusive sense of the grand, the regal and the no/le #aptured "y i"agination, although eluding "y efforts at definition 9o&ever, on a side trip &e "ade into /?fordshire, that definition #a"e by surprise and in#luded a lesson ) hadn%t e?pe#tedCand resulted in a song ) hadn%t sought )t happened the day &e drove to Blenhei" Blenhei" Pala#e is the "assive estate built at Lueen Anne%s order in the early eighteenth #entury !he presented it to <ohn Chur#hill, the first duke of *arlborough, in honor of his leadership in the "ilitary vi#tories against !pain 6&o #enturies later, $inston Chur#hill &ould be born and raised here, and during $orld $ar )) &ould fre1uently retire to this site for rest fro" the rigors of leadership )t &as at Blenhei" that "any of his stirring spee#hes &ere &ritten, spee#hes that su##essfully inspired the 0nglish people to sustain their efforts at staving off 9itler%s Luft&affe &hi#h &as #lose to suffo#ating their &ill to survive

MAJESTY

13

A PERSON OF DESTINY
9o&ever, $$ )) &as a full generation past no&, and &e &ere &alking through the spa#ious pala#e &hi#h had taken "ore than +, years to build But it &as after &e passed outside and surveyed the spra&ling grounds, so "eti#ulously groo"ed and "agnifi#ently flo&ered, that the undefined feeling no& surfa#ed and blosso"ed into a #lear, #o"plete thought $hile overlooking the pala#e and grounds fro" the south&est and #onte"plating Chur#hill%s for"er presen#e on the paths and fields, ) "used aloud, IBeing raised in su#h an environ"ent &ould #ertainly "ake it far "ore #redible for a person to #on#eive of hi"self as a person of destiny I 6he idea efferves#ed &ithin "e ) see"ed to have tou#hed the nerve of a #on#ept that had to do &ith far "ore than Blenhei" and Chur#hill )t had first to do &ith that something Anna and ) had felt these &eeks as &e traveled around Britain But it also e?tended to a funda"ental issue of hu"an nature8 the grounds for self'&orth and the purpose of hu"an e?isten#e All tied in together &ere unspoken 1uestions and partial ans&ers #on#erning ho& people per#eive the"selves and God%s order of things )n so"e spe#ial &ay there &ere tra#es of a larger and "ore #o"plete path&ay to an individual%s dis#overing his true identity and purposeCso"ething reali(ed in an unde#lared but real national #ons#iousness )%" not presu"ing that in one instant ) plu"bed the depths of a nation%s psy#he But ) did feel that so"eho& "y single observation began to e?plain a great deal of the spirit that per"eates this s"all nation of su#h histori# #onse1uen#e 9ere only a generation ago an outnu"bered band, surpassed by superior te#hnology, &ithstood the "ost sinister and vi#ious "anifestation of evil in history to date *otivating the" &as an inherent sense of righteousness, but driving the &ill to hold their ground &as an a&akened sense of destiny #oupled &ith a histori# sense of royalty as a #lan 0ven as ) stood there, "illions of #o""on folk of ordinary "eans &ere enthused and e?#ited about #elebrating one &o"an%s royal as#ent a 1uarter of a #entury earlier 6his &asn%t a #ase of idolatry, nor &as it an instan#e of the "indless "asses #o&ering before a ruling tyrant &ith no #hoi#e of doing

14

WORSHIP HIS MAJESTY

other&ise /n the #ontrary, the people &ere reAoi#ing 6he entire kingdo" &as buoyed by a general "ood of personal and national signifi#an#e And it see"ed ines#apably linked in so"e "ysti#al &ay to the fa#t that ea#h person per#eived hi"self to be #onne#ted to and personally represented by the one &ho &ears the #ro&n and bears the s#epter Visitors fro" another #ountry re#ogni(e a national dignity that flo&s to the general #iti(enry fro" the regal offi#e of a single individual &ho reigns over the", e?er#ising authority as an ennobled friend rather than as a feudal overlord 6hen a se#ond thought e?ploded to #ons#iousness8 6his is the essen#e of the relationship <esus &ants us to have &ith 9is Chur#hH 9e &ants the fullness of 9is po&er, the ri#hness of 9is nature, the authority of 9is offi#e and the &ealth of 9is resour#es to ennoble our identity and deter"ine our destinyH 7ot&ithstanding the deep e"otion filling "y soul, a holy #al" and genuine Aoy possessed "e !tanding there, "y ga(e s&eeping the s#ene on#e againCverdant, lush fields, fragran#e of roses every&here, "agnifi#en#e in ar#hite#ture &ith the stateliness of histori# bearingC) gently s1uee(ed Anna%s hand I9oney, ) #an hardly des#ribe to you all the things that this setting evokes in "e,I ) said I6here is so"ething of a ma+esty in all this, and ) believe it has a great deal to do &ith &hy people &ho lived here have been of su#h #onse1uen#e in the shaping of history ) don%t "ean that buildings and beauty #an beget greatness, but ) do feel that so"e people fail to per#eive their possibilities be#ause of their dis"al surroundings I As &e #ontinued our &alk, ) spoke further of "y #on#erns &ith &hi#h she agreed !he felt, as ) did, a pastoral longing for people to understand the fullness of <esus, to per#eive 9is high destiny for ea#h of the"Cto see that our self'reali(ation only #o"es through a real reali(ation of 9i"H 9o& #o"pletely and unselfishly 9e invites us to partnership &ith 9i" in 9is @ingdo"H 9o& "u#h of 9is @ingdo" authority 9e &ants to trans"it to and through us as a flo& of 9is life, love and healing to a hopeless and hurting &orldH 7o& so"ething e?panding and deepening that understanding &as &elling up &ithin "e $hat had been undefined but sensed for "ore than t&o &eeks of va#ation

MAJESTY

15

Aourneying &as no& distilling into a single "o"ent of a&areness %a+esty! 6he &ord &as #risp in "y "ind %a+esty, ) thought )t%s the 1uality of Christ%s royalty and @ingdo" glory that not only displays 9is e?#ellen#e but &hi#h also lifts us by 9is sheer gra#e and po&er, allo&ing us to identify &ith and share in 9is &onder %a+esty! As Lueen 0li(abeth%s throne so"eho& dignifies every 0nglish"an and "akes "ultitudes of others partakers in a #o""on&ealth of royal heritage, our as#ended !avior sits enthroned and offers 9is regal resour#es to ea#h of us !o e?alt, lift up on high the na"e of <esus *agnify, #o"e glorify, Christ <esus the @ing %a+esty! As a nation rose against the personifi#ation of evil in the 7a(i s#ourge, ignited to a#tion by a leader &ho per#eived hi"self a person of destiny, #reated by a #hildhood identifi#ation &ith the "aAesti#, so "ay the Chur#h arise Kingdom authority! I)n *y na"e they shall #ast out de"ons,I the @ing de#lared And in going forth by the po&er flo&ing fro" 9is throne, the Lord &orked &ith the", #onfir"ing the &ord &ith signs follo&ing Dsee *ark +=8+4,5-E 6he #ro&ds &ere in#reasing at Blenhei", and the "arvel of the "o"ent see"ed no less real for be#o"ing less inti"ate ILet%s go, honey,I ) said, and &e started for the #ar *y soul &as still resonating to the sound of a distant #hord stru#k in heaven but still a lost #hord to "u#h of the Chur#h

WORSHIP HIS MAJESTY


As Anna and ) drove along the narro& high&ay, the road undulating fro" one breathtaking vie& to another, ) said to her, I6ake the notebook and &rite do&n so"e &ords, &ill you, BabeKI

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WORSHIP HIS MAJESTY

) began to di#tate the key, the "usi#al notes, the ti"e value of ea#h and the lyri#s Dand she still insists that she &rote the songHE8 *aAesty, &orship 9is *aAestyH Unto <esus be all glory, honor and praise *aAesty, @ingdo" authority, Flo&s fro" 9is throne, unto 9is o&n, 9is anthe" raise !o e?alt, lift up on high the na"e of <esus *agnify, #o"e glorify, Christ <esus the @ing *aAesty, &orship 9is *aAesty <esus &ho died, no& glorified, @ing of all kings As the event a#tually happened, ) #o"pleted neither the lyri#s nor the "usi# until &eeks later after &e returned ho"e 6he pie#e &as refined and edited at the piano in our living roo", but the song &as born in a "o"ent of envisioning the po&er of the "aAesti# to transfor" a people and infuse the" &ith a sense of signifi#an#e and destiny At a ti"e in history &hen "ore and "ore people la#k this sense of &orth, at a ti"e &hen the Chur#h is uni1uely e1uipped to address that e"ptiness, this song sounds forth a propheti# "essage8 Rise, / Chur#h, &orship 9is *aAestyH >our strength is to stand before your @ing, For fro" 9is throne all po&er in heaven and earth flo&s unto 9is o&n &ho &orship 9i" 9e &ho died has as#ended 0?alt 9i", for in so doing 9e &ill e?alt 9is o&n and "ake the" triu"phant in this their hour of high destiny and purposed vi#toryH $orship 9is *aAesty 6he song has begun 6his book elaborates its "eaning for all &ho sing it

<AC@ $ 9A>F/RD
6he Chur#h /n 6he $ay 6he @ing%s !e"inary Van 7uys, California

CHAPTER 1

R0F/R*A6)/7 ))
#e who has an ear, let him hear what the &pirit says to the churches!
R 0 V 0 L A 6 ) / 7

:8=

) propose &e drive a nail in the altar /r the pulpit /r the #o""union table /r the organ ben#h or pipes /r the #hoir"aster%s "usi# stand Any pla#e both visible and suffi#iently sho#king to provide a #ounterpart to the an#ient door at $ittenberg

18

WORSHIP HIS MAJESTY

$hen *artin Luther nailed his I7inety'Five 6hesesI to the university entry&ay, the sparks fro" his ha""er ignited the Refor"ation 7early a half'"illenniu" ago the Chur#h &as shaken to its roots, dragged by the nape of the ne#k to #onfront the reality of God%s $ord and for#ed to fa#e the fa#t that its for"s had #hained its people rather than freed the" 6he dual truths of IAustifi#ation by faithI and Ithe priesthood of the believerI &ere tru"peted forth and the true Chur#hCthe people of GodC&as released through a re#overy of the revelation of God%s $ord $e%re overdue for another event su#h as this /r are &e in the earth1uake throes of a ne& refor"ation right no& but haven%t yet defined its epi#enterK ) think so ) think the t&entieth #entury &as a +--'year travail that has given birth to "ore than Aust a 6hird *illenniu" A"id ne& life being birthed into her by the 9oly !pirit, ) believe &e are about to see 6he Chur#h Glorious e"erge on the &orld s#eneH ) do not doubt that Christ #ould #o"e again today $hether 9e does or not, one thing is #lear8 6he 9oly !pirit already has, and 9e%s "oving through the 6e"ple and turning over tables 6he surging &aves of rene&al%s tide are flo&ing deeper and deeper until, no&, the only &ay to es#ape is to flee to the high to&er of traditionalis"

TRYING TO "KEEP CONTROL"


6here is an unholy propensity in hu"an nature to se#ure itself in history rather than open itself to si"pli#ityCthe si"ple tou#h of God or the su""oning voi#e of the !pirit <ust as in the ti"e of the Refor"ation, e##lesiasti#al and theologi#al resistan#e sustains its posturing against the ne&, the fresh and the #hildlike 6he effort to Ikeep #ontrolI breeds the forging of ne& instru"ents of do#trinaire do"ination over the Chur#h8
!i"ple openness to the 9oly !pirit is assaulted as

Isatani#I be#ause Pente#ost%s tongues o##ur again that salvation%s progra"

!uggestions

intends

the

REFORMATION II

19

reinstate"ent of hu"an dignity a##usations of Ihu"anis" I

are

barraged

by

Distorted appli#ations of God%s pro"ises of health and

abundan#e "ay have been denoun#ed, but any even' handed atte"pted to &el#o"e 9is blessing is also "ade suspe#t the day, that so#ial and politi#al transfor"ation are possible through inter#ession, are dee"ed presu"ptuous

Proposals that ne& di"ensions of prayer Aust "ight turn

Pro#la"ation of a bright hope for to"orro& rather than

the dis"al prospe#t of defeat and deterioration is said to s"a#k of Isedu#tion I

$ar"th of e"otion, e?pressiveness or spontaneity in

&orship is #hallenged as being fanati#al, superfi#ial or insin#erely #asual

6raditionalis" de#ries these signs of voi#es I#rying in the &ilderness,I #alling for a preparing of the &ay of the LordCthe &ay for 9is Chur#h to "ove into a ne& era *any the"es are suggested by the brief observations )%ve Aust "ade, but ) a" only dealing &ith one of the" in this book

A REFORMATION IN WORSHIP
) do not propose that this book is the #ounterpart to Luther%s theses, but ) &ould hope that it "ight be#o"e one of 3; Dor "oreE state"entsCa #o"posite of #alls fro" "any 1uarters #ontributing to a ne& Refor"ation ) &ant to unders#ore that the refor"ation in &orship is in progress )t%s already begun, and its fruit has been tested and proven &orthy in a suffi#ient nu"ber of situations to sho& &e are not si"ply dealing &ith a fad ) do believe in the vision of 6he Chur#h GloriousCthe here' and'no& unveiling of the Bride of Christ in a di"ension of purity and po&er unkno&n heretofore ) don2t believe in triu"phalis"Cthat pretend &orld of the religious idealist &ho supposes a band of supersaints &ill rise to take the earth by for#e and do"inate so#iety through supernatural po&er or politi#al #ontrol But there is a kingdom to be taken, and there is a force to

20

WORSHIP HIS MAJESTY

be e?erted, and the people of the 9ighest are the ones to do both

REDEFINING, UNWRAPPING, UNSEALING


) believe the path&ay for the Chur#h%s "oving into its full destiny in God%s #ounsels, &hile retaining a pra#ti#al sanity and spiritual balan#e on earth%s surfa#e, lies in our ability to per#eive the true purpose and spiritual dyna"i# in &orship $hat has been defined for so long as an hour%s e?er#ise on !unday, pa#kaged by en#ulturated tradition and preserved in do#trinaire posturing, is being redefined, unwrapped and unsealed today $orship is being redefined in ter"s of its for" and fo#us )t isn%t that valid traditions "ust be s#orned or dis#arded but that ne&ness "ust refill the" &ith "eaning )t isn%t that the obAe#tive adoration of God is being traded off for a shallo& subAe#tivis" on the &orshiper%s part Rather, si"ple, fulfilling inti"a#y is being dis#overed by "ore people as they praise 9i" $orship is being unwrapped in the re"oval of se#tarian preAudi#es that have pree"pted interdeno"inational parti#ipation in bibli#al pra#ti#es of &orship heretofore labeled and shelved by feuding parties in the Body of Christ Upraised hands are less and less a badge of the #haris"ati#, instead be#o"ing a si"ple sign of Christian praise A learned appre#iation for the dignity of liturgi#al life is in#reasingly finding a pla#e a"ong people &ho other&ise &ould have dee"ed it lifeless $orship is being unsealed as &ell A theology of &orship is #o"ing into perspe#tive that lends bibli#al di"ension to the &hole refor"ation pro#ess 6he lid of traditional theology is being lifted8 $orship is being proposed as a dignifying, e"po&ering a#t for man! And yet God is not being "ade "an%s servant 6he histori# approa#h to the do#trine of &orship has fo#used so "u#h on God, in an effort to verify 9is glory and unders#ore "an%s un&orthiness, that an un&itting surrender to I&orksI in &orship has resulted For e?a"ple, the honest 1uest to &orthily &orship God as 9e deserves to be &orshiped easily be#o"es perfor"an#e'oriented and her"eti#ally sealed to keep out si"ple

REFORMATION II

21

love, &ar"th and e"otion 6he intelle#tual and artisti# de"ands of religious duty "ay intrude upon the best intent of the &orshiper, and suddenly &e be#o"e those &ho dra& near &ith their lips but &hose hearts are far fro" God Dsee *att +;8,E 6he fruit of the Refor"ation of Luther, Calvin, M&ingli, @no? and 9uss%s ti"e &as the un#haining of God%s people A ne& faith, not in Chur#h tradition but in the person of <esus as the Austifying !avior, filled the hearts of "illions $ith that releaseCto stand #ons#ien#e'free before the <udge of the universe and look up into 9is fa#e and live in 9is pea#eCthere #a"e a ne& sense of destiny 6he sha#kles of e"otional, intelle#tual and spiritual slavery &ere #ast aside and a renaissan#e of learning and so#ial advan#e"ent &as reali(ed ) believe a ne& refor"ation in &orship &ill a##o"plish the sa"e thing 6his #o"es at a ti"e &hen the relevan#e of the Chur#h is being ne&ly #hallenged by an intelle#tually astute and te#hnologi#ally advan#ed, yet relationally disintegrating and spiritually thirsty, so#iety An a&akening to the po&er of &orship to reinstate God%s divine intent for "an #an ans&er #onte"porary 1uestions as to hu"an purpose A drug'drunk, sui#ide'prone, binge'oriented generation lives on that ragged edge be#ause it has be#o"e dissipated by its e"pty affluen#e of infor"ation, e?perien#e and pleasure )n the "idst of everything, so fe& have anythingJ and the 1uestions arise again and again8 $hat are &e here

$/R!9)P 9/LD! 690 !/LU6)/7 6/ 690 D)L0**A /F *A7@)7D

22

WORSHIP HIS MAJESTY

forK $hy are things as they areK 6his is not an e?aggeration of the proble" &ith people today, and neither is it an e?aggeration to say that &orship holds the solution to their dile""a

THE BITE IN WORSHIP


6he refor"ation breakthrough ) propose &ill re1uire a #onfrontation &ith the tidiness of our syste"s <ust as Luther%s voi#e provoked e?isting religious stru#tures, so it see"s to irritate so"e today &hen the neatness of pres#ribed &orship ideas and "ethods are #onfronted &ith fresh approa#hes and ne& insights 6he IbiteI in &orship presses in, #alling for the sa#rifi#e of everything in us that seeks to se#ure itself in hu"anly devised syste"s of thought and pra#ti#e 6his bite #alls us to "ove fro" our presuppositions into an honest #onfrontation &ith &orship%s foundational re1uire"ent8 sa#rifi#e !a#rifi#e has al&ays been involved at the heart of all &orship of the *ost 9ighJ it is the bite in &orship By bite ) "ean the #ost Cand the pri#e is usually blood Blood, that is, as in lifeCthe laying do&n of &hat &e s#rea" to preserve or spare in our o&n interest $ith Abel it "eant an ani"al%s blood $ith Abraha" it "eant #ir#u"#ision $ith )srael it "eant the Passover $ith David it "eant e?uberan#e $ith 0(ra it "eant #onfrontation &ith opposition $ith <erusale"%s "ultitudes it "eant pal"s and shoutings $ith Pente#ost%s parti#ipants it "eant supernatural praises $ith Paul it "eant singing &ith gra#e in one%s heart you $ith Peter it "eant a totally ne& priestly order involving

)n every #ase there &asCthere is)a bite in &orship, a pri#e that #onfronts the #ultural tastes of "an As "u#h as &e &ant beauty and as beautiful as &orship "ay be, &ith God, beauty is al&ays se#ondaryClife pre#edes loveliness 9e resists &hatever obstru#ts that life, no "atter ho& IbeautifulI the hu"an option

REFORMATION II

23

"ay appear Cain preferred the beauty of the bloodless !o#iety "o#ked the "utilation of Abraha"%s I"ark I 0gypt s#orned the bloody doorposts of the 9ebre&s *i#hal &as disgusted &ith her husband David%s dan#ing to God 0(ra%s spiritual &arfare'unto'&orship #ro&ds our religious #o"fort (one 6he Pharisees &ould have had a "ore orderly 6riu"phal 0ntryCif one at all 6he analysts of Pente#ost deter"ined the &orshipers &ere drunk Paul%s song &as redu#ed to a for" rather than released in the !pirit Peter%s Iliving stoneI'built san#tuary has be#o"e petrified in tradition "radition! $e love it and &e hate it $e &ould die for it, but &e #an%t live &ith it )ts role in &orship is pervasiveJ no part of hu"an e?perien#e is "ore shaped by tradition than the &ay &e &orship 0ven in the Body of Christ, fre1uently the for#e of tradition overrides the truth of God%s $ord $hether &e like to a#kno&ledge it or not, &e prefer &orship styles that suit taste and tradition first, and the truth is often 1uite se#ondary &here &orship%s de"and, or bite, is #on#erned Dis#erning bet&een the prin#iples of &orship and the pra#ti#e of &orship is the de"anding #hallenge &e fa#e And to do so is to risk dis#arding our se#urity blanket of I&ar" fu((yI feelings about &orship and to press for the fashioning of a ne& &ardrobe of priestly gar"ents As &ith any &ardrobe, &e need a pattern to follo&

A PATTERN OF PURSUIT
I6o 9i" &ho loved us and &ashed us fro" our sins in 9is o&n blood, and has "ade us kings and priests to 9is GodI DRev +8;,=E 6hese &ords supply a pattern for our 1uest of refor"ed

24

WORSHIP HIS MAJESTY

and refined &orship First, this pattern e?alts the person &e &orship8 <esus, &ho died to redee" us fro" the sin #urse of eternal death and &ho did so at the e?pense of 9is o&n lifeblood shed on the Cross !e#ond, it 1ualifies the practice of our &orship8 a priestly "inistry, prioriti(ed by this designation to re"ind us that &orship involves the priestly traits of duty and purity $e do &ell to heed the lessons of )srael%s priesthood8 9aving been I"adeI priests unto our God and !avior, &e have a lifelong #all Done never outgro&s &orshipE and a holy #alling Dpurity and piety are not optionsE 6hird, this pattern presents the perspecti5e on &orship8 kingshipH )n one verse, &e are sho&n ho& 9e &ho has &ashed us fro" our sins and "ade us priests unto God has also a##o"plished yet a third "ira#ulous transfor"ation8 9e has "ade us kings under the @ing of kings *ost literally, the te?t des#ribes us as a kingdo" of priests, or to use Peter%s &ords, Ia royal priesthoodI D+ Pet 583E But the "aAesti# i"agery of #ourts and kingdo"s, of regal po"p and #ir#u"stan#e, is used of us nonetheless 6hough it "ay fit fe& of us fro" our vie&point of ourselves, still this funda"ental thread of thought portraying royal i"agery "ust be dealt &ith )t%s at the heart of grasping 9is *aAesty%s #all to &orship 9i" as priests and as kings @ings have to do &ith ruling, &ith kingdo"s, &ith authority and, very often, &ith &arfare 6oo seldo" has &orship been seen as related to spiritual &arfare and #on1uest But &orship is intended to introdu#e God%s kingdo"'po&er throughout the Chur#h and to e?tend that po&er through the Chur#h @ingdo" authority is the issue 6he &orship of Christ should sho& itself in "ore than aestheti# brillian#e or do#trinal e?#ellen#e )t is intended to distill the authority of <esus a"ong and upon the lives of the &orshipers, to infuse their lives so that it "ight influen#e everything they influen#e 6he botto" line is Kingdom authority! *aAesty, &orship 9is *aAestyH Unto <esus be all glory, honor and praise

REFORMATION II

25

*aAesty, @ingdo" authority, Flo&s fro" 9is throne, unto 9is o&n, 9is anthe" raise )t is the Refor"ation perspe#tive of this hy"n that all praise and &orship are due to God%s !on, &ho alone is the Lord of our salvation and the one "ediator bet&een God and "an But it is also the IRefor"ation ))I perspe#tive of this hy"n that God%s &orship plan ushers in a present release of 9is po&erCan operational di"ension of 9is love and lifeCin the "idst of all &ho &orship 9i" in spirit and truth A refor"ation in &orship &ill apply its bite Refor"ations do thatCpressing against any resistan#e of hu"an pride and pushing us past any personal preo##upation &ith our I&ar" fu((ies I

CHAPTER 2

)6 $A! *0A76 6/ B0 !/ D)FF0R076


$5ery 5alley shall /e e6alted and e5ery mountain and hill /rought low !!! 7and8 the glory of the Lord shall /e re5ealed, and all flesh shall see it together!
) ! A ) A 9 . - 8 .

Ri#hard and *i#helle%s baby died )t &as a #ase of #rib deathCthat une?plained, invisible suffo#ator of infants Besides being devoted parents, Ri#hard and *i#helle &ere also faithful servants to the #ongregation to &ho" they "inistered as pastoral assistants 7o& as ne&s spread of

28

WORSHIP HIS MAJESTY

the baby%s tragi# death and as people in the #hur#h sear#hed for ans&ers, a #lutter of 1uestions &as bu((ing overhead like a s&ar" of flies8 I$here is God &hen things like this are happeningKI I6hey%re su#h a s&eet #ouple $hat did they do to deserve thisKI I$hy does God allo& these thingsK After all, the little thing &as so helpless I I!he &as su#h a s&eet baby 9o& &ill they handle the painKI But Ri#hard and *i#helle didn%t have any 1uestions /nly tears Grief &as deeply and understandably present, but so &as a &ar", very hu"an and unpretentious si"pli#ity of faith 6hey kne& @irstin%s death had nothing to do &ith GodJ 9e neither &illed her death nor took her life, nor did 9e &at#h the passing of their #hild &ith indifferen#e $ithin their sorro& and undiluted by their tears, a 1uiet #onfiden#e reignedCa kind of rule &hi#h prevails &hen people understand that su#h situations are neither God%s &ill nor God%s fault, that tough things happen be#ause our planet is sadly out of Aoint &ith God%s intended order of things 6hey kne& the fa#ts that pertain to hu"ankind%s forfeited rulership of a &orld entrusted to the" by the Creator, and understood the proble"s of living in a &orld no& Ion its o&nI by "an%s o&n &illful #hoi#e 6hey kne& the truth that people have be#o"e painfully vulnerable to the #onse1uen#es of a lost govern"entCa "averi#k unpredi#tability no& prevailing all too often 6hey kne& that in 9is original design God "eant everything to be 1uite different Ri#hard and *i#helle dis#overed these truths in learning to &orship 6hrough years of preparation for "inistry they had gro&n in Christ and in understanding And they had gro&n in a pattern of giving and serving in <esus% na"e 6heir baby%s death staggered the", but they didn%t stu"ble, instead e?hibiting a steadfastness that &as neither feigned nor for#ed 6hey had a solid perspe#tive on I"an as he &as "eant to be I

IT WAS MEANT TO E SO DIFFERENT

29

6he role of &orship in their lives &as foundational and essential to their stability, for at its #ore, &orship is not a kind of #hur#h servi#e so "u#h as an understanding of lifeCho& to rule in life rather than being ruled by itCeven &hen tragedy strikes

THE PRIMAL TRAGEDY


*ost people &ho kno& the Bible per#eive that the presen#e of all adversity in our &orld dates to the pri"al tragedy8 the fall of "an fro" his first estate in #reation%s order 6he opening pages of !#ripture su##in#tly set the stage for our understanding of God%s love'plan of re#overy for our ra#e God%s $ord des#ribes the reason for the hu"an dile""a 6he bibli#al re#ord of D+E #reation%s perfe#t and original order, D5E "an%s intended destiny and D:E the fouling of the" both does "ore than "erely pla#e bla"e 6his re#ord of failure also introdu#es hope And it establishes the foundation of purpose and pro"ise for our lives by introdu#ing us to &orship At the root of God%s revelation to 9is #reation, &orship is sho&n as the prere1uisite for "an%s ability to re#eive and live &ithin the high possibilities and ri#h benedi#tion of God%s plan >et even though the opening #hapters of Genesis set forth &orship as the foundation for building a su##essful life, until a fe& years ago, ) had never before seen this truth ) tra#e "y blindness to this perspe#tive to an inade1uate e?planation ) had been given for "an%s #reation8 the &idely 1uoted and generally a##epted half'truth that IGod #reated "an for fello&ship I 6hat state"ent is so often glibly repeated by Christians that one "ight think it &as in the Bible >et it%s only a fra#tion of the &hole truth and it%s drasti#ally less than &hat the Creator had in "ind &hen 9e #reated "an /f #ourse fello&ship &ith God is a ri#h part of the privilege granted to hu"ans But there is so"ething of an underlying shallo&ness to the proposition that fello&ship &as God%s sole or pri"ary purpose in "aking us )t so"eho& presents the pi#ture of a loneso"e deity &ho #onAures up #reatures to ensure 9e &ill have friends present at 9is &eekend parties 6he Bible tea#hes differently God%s o&n $ord #learly reveals that 9e &as #reating people

30

WORSHIP HIS MAJESTY

not so "u#h for fello&ship as 9e &as establishing the" for rulership)granting us a relationship &ith our Creator that &ould give us the ability to #arry out our intended role on earth8 to be#o"e rulers

CREATED FOR RULERSHIP


$hen the 6hree'in'/ne deter"ined to I"ake "an in /ur i"age,I a reason &as given8 ILet the" Nhu"ankindO have do"inionI DGen +85=,5,E God%s purpose for #reating "an and &o"an, &hile in#luding fello&ship, &as definitely "u#h "ore God &as inviting us into partnership &ith 9i" $e &ere being "ade kings, and our do"inion &as to be all the earth 6he di"ensions of God%s do"ain and ours &ere vastly different God &as and is Creator and Ruler of the entire universe, &hile &e &ere #reated to be rulers over one planet Dsee Ps ++;8+=E But there is no es#aping one a&eso"e fa#t8 $ithout Aealousy for 9is o&n po&er and at great risk and potential #ost to 9i"self, God not only #reated a being &ith #ertain #apa#ities "u#h like 9is o&n, but 9e also &el#o"ed that #reature into a kind of #o'regen#yCat least insofar as 0arth &as #on#erned 6he privilege of rulership &as our assigned role, but resour#e for its perfor"an#e &as dependent upon a foundational relationship8 /ur rule &as to be sustained by our &orship of 9i" 6he #reator'#reature relationship "ade &orship appropriate, and our finite resour#es "andated it !o it &as at the beginningJ so it is today 9e &ho &akened to his being in the garden looked into the fa#e of the /ne &ho had breathed e?isten#e into hi", and he kne& beyond 1uestion the sour#e of his life 6hanksgiving for his being initiated "an%s &orship 9e stood upright as no other #reature and ga(ed beyond the hori(on of his earth'ho"e to behold the stars, and he intuitively kne& the heavens &ere the handi&ork of the /ne &ho had for"ed his physi#al fra"e 9u"ility and a&e at the Creator%s po&er &ere added &orship the"es a"id the garden 9e &ho re#eived the first #o""and"entsCbe fruitful, "ultiply, replenish the earth, subdue it and e?er#ise do"inionC &as sensiti(ed to the reality that a&eso"e po&ers had been

IT WAS MEANT TO E SO DIFFERENT

31

entrusted to hi" A#kno&ledged dependen#y &as the only possible response to the "agnani"ity of a Creator &ho shared su#h po&er &ith 9is #reation 9e &ho heard the sole restri#tion in#u"bent upon hi"CI/f the tree of the kno&ledge of good and evil you shall not eatI DGen 58+4ECper#eived his finiteness and his a##ountability to /ne &ielding infinitely higher authority than he @no&ing that true &orship re1uires the #on#lusive and ulti"ate response of obedien#e, "an the &orshiper obeyed For ho& long "an &alked &ith God in this relationshipCa relationship founded on &orship and daily responding &ith thanksgiving, hu"ility, a&e, dependen#y and obedien#eC&e have no kno&ledge But there &as an unble"ished era of obedien#e &hen "an the &orshiper of God partnered &ith the Al"ighty as "an the ruler 9e tasted the delight of #o"plete fulfill"ent, broad authority, &ide possessions and personal signifi#an#e $ithin the #ir#le of a relationship that released his highest potential, he also enAoyed a #o"panion'like fello&ship &ith the Al"ighty /ne, his "aker And then "an fell 6he one #ondition on &hi#h rested the Aoy derived fro" his relationship and his rulership &as violated $hen Ada" disobeyed, he severed the bond of obedient &orship 9e no longer &orshiped in the spirit of thanks, hu"ility, a&e and dependen#y 9is relationship &ith the Creator &as broken 9is pristine dignity &as lost and his authority for rulership surrendered Be#ause the da"ning a#t had been the result of obeying the serpent%s lie, he had both yielded his trust and forfeited his rule to the te"pter of "ankind 6his double tragedyCthe loss of "an%s rule under God and its pla#e"ent into the gnarled #la&s of the dragonC#onstitutes the basi# e?planation for the deadly, the destru#tive and the da"ning a#ts that daily &reak havo# upon our &orld + At this point in the narrative, &hat &as lost through the violation of &orship%s proper order see"s hopelessly gone But God%s $ord i""ediately introdu#es hope8 6he Creator is about to dis#lose a plan by &hi#h "an%s intended purpose in 9is &ill #an be regained 6his plan &ill involve the reinstate"ent of "an and &o"an through the reestablish"ent of pure &orship

32

WORSHIP HIS MAJESTY

BEGINNING REINSTATEMENT
6he &onder of God%s infinite &isdo" lies not so "u#h in 9is po&er to #reate as in 9is po&er to redee" Genesis : is at on#e the foundation of "an%s horror and the fountainhead of his hope God%s love and &isdo" shine forth in the speed &ith &hi#h 9e #onfronts the disaster sin has introdu#ed to the hu"an ra#e 9e i""ediately sets for&ard a pro"ise and a provision for "ankind%s rede"ption /nly divine &isdo" #an "ove so 1ui#kly, #over so thoroughly, deal so #onsistently and love so gra#iously )n laun#hing a progra" of forgiveness and rede"ption, nothing of 9is foundational order is violated $ith one stroke, God deals &ith "an%s fall )n both Austi#e and "er#y 9e #onfronts the sin and ad"inisters spe#ifi# Audg"ent on ea#h party involved and then turns to solve the long'range need of the lost pair $e see in this passage a holy deter"ination that all God intended shall be re#overed 6he Father insists that "an%s destiny shall not be destroyed by hell%s plot An eventual #on#lusive blo& shall be stru#kCa Redee"er'!eed &ill be born &ho &ill break the po&er !atan has sei(ed Dsee Gen :8+;E And &ith this pro"ise 9e unfolds a provision for the t&o &ho stand before 9i", asha"ed, bereft of for"er glory, severed fro" God and stripped of the ruling po&er 9e had given the" $hile the brevity of the Genesis re#ord does not relate the #onversation &hi#h follo&ed, let us not "ake the "istake of supposing too "u#h or too little fro" the te?t8 Also for Ada" and his &ife the L/RD God "ade tuni#s of skin, and #lothed the" DGen :85+E Fe& &ords report the provision "ade for #lothing the #ouple and )%ll not suggest that an elaborate outline of rede"ption%s plan &as given But &e do kno& one thing8 6hey understood that the offering of a sa#rifi#e &as "ore than a "eans for #lothingJ it instituted the path of &orship by &hi#h their re#overy &ould be reali(ed 6he eviden#e of their understanding is #onfir"ed in the follo&ing #hapter Fallen "an had been given understanding as

IT WAS MEANT TO E SO DIFFERENT

33

to the signifi#an#e and substan#e of his &orship, his offerings to God 6hat is &hy Abel obediently pra#ti#es the &orship that had been taught to hi" by his parents 6hat is &hy CainCfully a&are of &hat God e?pe#ts in &orship and fully &arned not to violate the pattern he also had learnedCis Audged so sharply Dsee Gen .8+'4E 6he issue is #ru#ial and is also #lear8 $orship &as the foundation of "an%s being and potential 6hus God%s rede"ptive progra" is founded in &orship

P/$0R FL/$! FR/* $/R!9)P

6here is an i"pressive sy""etry in this *an%s relationship and rule under God had been rooted and sustained in &orship 7o&, Aust &hen both see" to be irretrievably lost, God sets forth a re#overy plan $ith unsurprising #onsisten#y, yet &ith an a"a(ing si"pli#ity, this plan also #enters on &orshipH 6here is no sho& of po&er 7o display of #os"i# al"ightiness 7o instant s"ashing of the serpent 7o fury leveled at the guilty )nstead there is an introdu#tion to a hu"ble a#t of &orship 6he Redee"er%s gra#e see"s to e?#eed even 9is po&er as 9e sets forth to re#over for 9is beloved #reatures all that has been lost >et the progra" is not as one "ight e?pe#t, for its hidden po&er is in the reinstate"ent of &orship rather than in a de"onstration of "ight 6he "ightiness &ill flo& fro" &orship

34

WORSHIP HIS MAJESTY

LOST AND RESTORED


/bedien#e &ould have been better than sa#rifi#eJ but &hat disobedien#e lost, sa#rifi#e is going to restoreH 6he slain ani"al &hose skin provided #lothing for the glory' stripped #ouple fore#asts ho& the #o"ing of the !eed &ould van1uish the snake For the pro"ise Aust given &as that "o"ent being fulfilled in part $hat the serpent had done in brea#hing the relationship bet&een "an and his Creator, God &as undoing &ith the sa#rifi#ial provisionC9is fore#ast of an ulti"ate annul"ent of the evil po&er &hi#h had intruded into the divine order 6urning several hundred pages to the Gospel a##ounts, &e leap through the #enturies to &here &e see so #learly the a"a(ing #onsisten#y in God%s order 6he sa"e issue is present in the &ilderness as in the garden $hen the !eed and the snake have their first head'to'head en#ounter, the issue is still relationship and rulership $orship is the su""ons and nothing less than &orld rule is at stake Again, the devil took 9i" up on an e?#eedingly high "ountain, and sho&ed 9i" all the kingdo"s of the &orld and their glory And he said to 9i", IAll these things ) &ill give >ou if >ou &ill fall do&n and &orship "e I 6hen <esus said to hi", IA&ay &ith you, !atanH For it is &ritten, %>ou shall &orship the Lord your God, and 9i" only you shall serveI% D*att .8,'+-E 6his pre#ise sy""etry is foundationally i"portant to our &hole understanding $orship &ill only "ake complete sense &hen &e understand its pla#e in God%s complete plan 9e did not give &orship as a test of &ills but as the sour#e of our potential 9e has not #reated "an as a pa&n or a plaything but to be#o"e a partner in 9is highest purposes <ust as defiled &orship broke "an%s relationship and forfeited his do"inion, restored &orship is intended to redee" both relationship and rulership God%s forgiveness of our sin establishes relationship, and 9is reinstating our intended purpose pro"ises the rulership *ankind is being offered both deliveran#e fro" evil and

IT WAS MEANT TO E SO DIFFERENT

35

do"inion over itCa #ontinual &alk &ith God and gro&ing triu"ph over hell As in the beginning &hen the foundations for "an%s lifeChis purpose and fulfill"entC&ere laid in &orship, so rede"ption%s progra" seeks to reinstate "an by restoring those foundations 6hough "an%s foundation%s &ere #ru"bled by his fall, <esus 9i"self has established a ne& beginning point for perfe#t &orship 9e is the sa#rifi#e 9e is the high priest 9e is the leader in &orship, restoring any "e"ber of Ada"%s ra#e &ho &ill return to relationship &ith God But restored relationship through reestablished &orship is not the su" of the rede"ption plan 6he full s#ope of the divine progra" of retrieval "ust not be narro&ed *an%s restored relationship &ith God is intended to restore his rulership as &ell8 IRepent, for the kingdo" of heaven is at handI D*att .8+4E Repentan#e is in essen#e the rene&al of &orship Be#ause repentan#e resub"its us to God%s rule, t&o lost possibilities reappear8 the resurre#tion of our relationship with 9i" and the restoration of our rulership under 9i" /ur return to our intended pla#e of obedient &orship not only pla#es us under God%s kingdo" rule againJ but it thereby also "akes possible a reinvest"ent of that rule a"ong hu"ankind /ur full understanding of &orship%s intended potential for our lives is diluted if &e "iss this point <ust as relationship &as not the sole purpose of our #reation, so our re#overy is not the sole purpose of our salvation $e &ere also #reated for rulership, and full salvation in#ludes the restoration of that ruleC do"inion, authority, #reative responsibility and a##ountability Although the fullest i"pli#ations of our restored rule &ill not unfold until our eternal future, believers are #alled now Ito reign in lifeI DRo" ;8+4ECto begin relearning the di"ensions and the e?er#ise of the do"inion first granted to us )n our present lifeti"e, gro&th in this plan begins and e?tends as &e learn that &orship is the &ay to all rulership being e?er#ised and all do"inion being e?panded

WHAT RULE? WHAT DOMINION?


$hat are the i"pli#ations of restored rule, of rene&ed

36

WORSHIP HIS MAJESTY

do"inionK 6he &ords see" so to&ering, so potentially high'and' "ighty But the issues are intensely pra#ti#al and related to the basi#s of everyday living And this is i"portant, be#ause it is e?a#tly there that so "any believers &ho have relationship &ith God see" to fall short in regaining rulership Perhaps by looking at &hat &as lost through sin, &e "ight better understand &hat &e #an regain8 + %an lost his righteous relationship with God) eviden#ed by his a&areness of his nakedness and his flight fro" God%s presen#e Dsee Gen :84'++E %an lost his healthy relationship with his spouse) eviden#ed by a##usation and alienation bet&een the" and later by fa"ily strife bet&een their #hildren Dsee Gen :8+5,+=,5-J .8,E %an lost his a/ility to deal effecti5ely with his en5ironment)eviden#ed by the fa#t that his I&orkpla#eI #a"e under a #urse, redu#ing yield and thereby his relative su##ess Dsee Gen :8+4'+3E %an lost the promise of life)eviden#ed by the entry of disease, depression and death and, apart fro" rede"ption, eternal destru#tion Dsee Gen 58+4J :8+3E

6o su""ari(e, "an lost D+E #onfiden#e in his relationship &ith God, D5E the ability to rule &ell in his o&n household, D:E his fruitfulness and effe#tiveness in his vo#ation and D.E his #ertainty of hope for a life #hara#teri(ed by physi#al, "ental and e"otional health As &e #onsider the enor"ity of this loss, the $ord of God opens the &ay to an understanding of the pra#ti#al di"ension of do"inion &e #an e?pe#t to regain through &orship8 + .ominion o5er condemnation! $orship opens the heart to per#eive God%s love and gra#e in a gro&ing &ay *y full a##eptan#e in Christ%s righteousness establishes a foundation of #onfiden#e for living .omestic order! 9usband'&ife and parent'#hild relationships begin to #hange for the better in ho"es &here a spirit of praise and the si"ple, loving &orship of God prevail $conomic freedom! A person%s ability to su##eed in

IT WAS MEANT TO E SO DIFFERENT

3!

&ork and advan#e in his finan#ial situation is verifiable ti"e and again &here the prin#iples of &orship'&ith'finan#e are applied Di e , ste&ardship and givingE . (ersonal wellness! 6he praiseful person is destined to be healthier than the #yni# si"ply be#ause the syste"s of the hu"an body respond positively to a prevailing "ental and e"otional attitude

$hat &as lost through defiled &orship, God%s progra" of revived &orship in Christ #an restoreH 6his is &hat a gro&ing nu"ber of people are dis#overing today As the Chur#h e?perien#es a revival in &orship, a rene&ed sense of God%s rule is #o"ing into our lives )t%s a bibli#al prin#iple8 $here God finds people &ho &ill &orship &ithin 9is &ill, 9e e?tends 9is @ingdo" rule through the"8 For the eyes of the L/RD run to and fro throughout the &hole earth, to sho& 9i"self strong on behalf of those &hose heart is loyal to 9i" D5 Chron +=83E Ad"ittedly, a deli#ate balan#e "ust be "aintained here $e #an be assured of so"e restoration of all that &as lost in the Fall, but God%s $ord gives us no guarantee of perfe#tion in any respe#t until the #o"plete restoration of all things in 9is future @ingdo" 6here is a presen#e of 9is @ingdo" authority be1ueathed to 9is o&n no&, ho&ever Let none of us forfeit the present di"ensions of @ingdo" authority by not pursuing the re#overy of 9is rulership in our lives $e "ust not fear beginning that pursuit si"ply be#ause &e feel dis1ualified by our past failures or by a present sense of &eakness Rulership is a pro"iseJ it isn%t a presu"ptuous thing for a saved sinner to e?pe#t But ho& do &e begin that pursuitK $e shouldn%t be surprised to find that &orship is the key at every pointH As &e &alk in the 9oly !pirit'po&er of &orship, life as God "eant it to be can be re#overed $e #an re#eive all the fullness salvation holds for us as &e rebuild the foundations of &orship that God first gave to "an I$hen &e keep looking at <esus &ith a real openness to the 9oly !pirit%s "inistry, &e &ill

38

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begin to brightly refle#t the beauty of Christ and keep be#o"ing like 9i"I D5 Cor :8+,, author%s paraphraseE $orship re#overs all that Ada" lost )t is God%s &ay for ea#h of us to find a progressively restored do"inion in our lives 6here is no di"ension of Ada"%s loss that "ay not be re#overed no& in Christ 0ven the di"ension of death #hanges First, the hope of eternal life is pro"ised to us, #ertified &ith hard eviden#eCthe resurre#tion of our Lord <esus ChristH But &e all still have an appoint"ent &ith death Dsee 9eb 3854E 7ot even restored &orship #an re#over i""ortality this side of heaven And #ontrary to the opinion of a fe& sin#ere souls, no one #an #o""andeer a #ertain date or ensure a #ertain life span But &henever death does tou#h us through the passing of one &e love, the spirit of understanding in &orship #an transfor" the "o"ent 6hough tears "ay fill our eyes, do"inion has returned to our souls 6he true &orshiper is not ruled by death, neither by its for#e nor its fear 9e has do"inion over it

RULING IN LIFE
And so that do"inion prevailed &ith Ri#hard and *i#helle &hen baby @irstin died 6&o days after the baby died, &ith her pastor%s &ife, Be#ki, standing by her side, *i#helle &as looking at the s"all body in the tiny #asket 6he bereaved "other s"iled slightly )n a 1uiet yet strong voi#e, she spoke8 I>ou kno&, @irstin, ) thought you &ere going to be &ith "e all "y life ) thought &e%d bake #ookies together And ) thought you &ould &ear "y &edding dress But you &ere only going to be here a short ti"e, and ) didn%t kno& that I 6hen *i#helle turned to the &o"an beside her Be#ki%s ar"s had slipped around *i#helle%s &aist, her eyes filling &ith the tears of a "other &ho understands, and *i#helle said, IBe#ki, ) really only have one thing to say8 )t%s been &orth it all @irstin has brought Ri#hard and "e so "u#h Aoy in the short ti"e &e had her, ) #annot be anything but thankful I !he paused IAnd you kno& &hat, Be#kiK ) #an hardly &ait to get pregnant again I

IT WAS MEANT TO E SO DIFFERENT

39

""""" $orship is for peopleCpeople of Ada"%s ra#e, &ho" <esus Christ is tea#hing to re#over the lost do"inion God "eant for us all to have 6hings "ay not al&ays be as God intended Before the foundations #ru"bled under sin%s destru#tive blo&, life &as "eant to be so different But Aust as &orship #ould have preserved "an%s foundation for do"inion, &orship #an restore &hatever di"ensions anyone &ants to learn and rebuild Ri#hard and *i#helle learned &ell 6he 1uestion &e fa#e togetherClooking at &orship%s intended possibilities for restoring "an%s #reated role of rulerCis &hether &e%re ready for the ne& Refor"ation unto &hi#h it #alls

CHAPTER 3

$/R!9)P )! F/R P0/PL0

But John2s father told him the &teward would /e angry if he did not sit a/solutely still and /e 5ery good9 and John was /eginning to /e afraid, as he sat in the high chair with his feet dangling and his clothes itching all o5er him, and his eyes starting out of his head!
C ! L0$)!, THE PILGRIM'S REGRESS

) &asn%t yet tuned in to a &orship refor"ation or to the #on#ept of &orship as a "eans for releasing rulership ) &as, ho&ever, ready to #hallenge the I&ar" fu((iesI of "y o&n &orship

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tradition, and though ) didn%t kno& it, a pheno"enal develop"ent in "y understanding of &orship &as about to take pla#e )t all began &ith a #onversation in an elevator 6he a#ade"i# dean of the #ollege &as asking "e to tea#h a #ourse very una#ade"i#ally and un#leverly na"ed I!ong Dire#tion I ) didn%t like the idea )n fa#t, ) didn%t like anything about the #ourse as it &as stru#tured )t see"ed to approa#h #hur#h &orship servi#es as perfun#tory duty and #hur#h platfor" leaders as keepers of the "a#hinery of &orship I$hy do you &ant "e to tea#h itKI ) #o"plained I) really don%t &ant to 6here are lots of other fa#ulty &ho #an handle it at least as &ell as ) #ould I I6hat%s Aust the proble", <a#k 7o, there aren%t I ) &as flattered, at least until the dean #ontinued, IVirtually no one else%s fall s#hedule #an a##o""odate the ti"e fra"e opened for the #lass, and yours does Besides, you have a natural gift for "usi# andC&ell, you%re a #o"poser as &ell, and I ) don%t kno& e?a#tly ho& the senten#e ended ) &as busy trying to over#o"e the s#uttling of "y flattered feelings, no& reali(ing that "y pri"ary 1ualifi#ation for being sele#ted for this assign"ent &as si"ply "y s#hedule But the "inor la#erations to "y pride had been salved so"e&hat by the allusion to "y li"ited "usi#al skillsJ and &hen the ne& se"ester opened, ) &as on the spot ) had a##epted the assign"ent on the ter"s that ) &ould be allo&ed to restru#ture the #ourse 6he dean had approved "y syllabus, and &e #hanged the na"e to I)ntrodu#tion to $orship I 6his &as a re1uired #lass, so the sopho"ore students &ere trapped As they filed in that first day, ) #ould see that their #onversations &ith e?perien#ed upper#lass"en had not filled the" &ith happy e?pe#tations But as the #ourse progressed and &e began to take a fresh look at &orship, the dread turned into e?#ite"ent 6he basis of our e?a"ination of &orship #ould be e?pressed in one basi# 1uestion8 $hat are #hur#h servi#es supposed to be aboutK

WORSHIP IS FOR PEOPLE

43

6hat 1uestion spa&ned a see"ingly endless series of others, su#h as8 $hy do &e sing in #hur#hK $hy are Iservi#esI #alled thatK $hat are the s#riptural grounds for the a#tions and a#tivities our servi#es #o"priseK $hat is IliturgyIK Do only liturgi#al #hur#hes have liturgies or do &e allK $hat pra#ti#es do &e observe that have be#o"e "ere for"alis" or dead habitK $hy are they like that and ho& did they get that &ayK 9o&ever, as &e 1uestioned various &orship pra#ti#es, ) #autioned the students to resist an attitude of Audg"ental #riti#is" or s"ug snobbishness IAfter all,I ) said, Iit is &orship &e%re assessing, so let%s operate fro" this pre"ise8 Any &earying habit or dead tradition that &e note in our #hur#hes &as probably good at the start I 6hat approa#h did &onders, and ) still re#o""end it to people seeking rene&al in their #hur#h traditions $hen any of us sear#hes for the valid reasons that "ay have been behind our traditions at their in#eption, a hu"ble, seeking heart and sy"patheti# spirit of hunger for truth "ust be preserved A prayerful attitude &ill #ontribute to&ard the refreshing &e &ant And so as a #lass &e set out to find &hat generated #o""on Ispiritual life for"s,I &hen and ho& they &ere born and &hat bibli#al grounds supported those various pra#ti#es

A REFOCUSED VIEWPOINT
6he result of this approa#h &as su##essful, a#ade"i#ally speakingJ but beyond that, our 1uest proved to be e?perientially reAuvenating !o"ething started vibrating in the #lass as the students began to tune in to a real spirit of revival 6his &as "u#h "ore than ) had hoped for, and even the song'leading drill began to throb &ith life $e had gone beyond analysis to appli#ation, for in sensitively dis#ussing &hat a servi#e &as supposed to be, &e gained a perspe#tive on a t&o'edged truth &e all had sensed but never before defined8

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A &orship servi#e is #onvened D+E to serve God &ith our praise and D5E to serve people%s need &ith 9is suffi#ien#y 6here &eren%t any ne& ideas there, but that one senten#e served to refo#us "y idea of &orship *y approa#h had been pri"arily oriented to&ard a single purpose in #hur#h servi#es8 $e gather to &orship God But no&, &ithout supplanting the &orship of God, &e &ere adding a se#ond fo#us8 "an%s need and God%s ability to supply it $e had dedu#ed that &orship is to be to God and for "an For "e, that si"ple state"ent brought ne& insight into the #lassi# definition of hu"an purpose so fre1uently 1uoted fro" the $est"inster !horter Cate#his" D+=.4E8 I*an%s #hief end is to glorify God and to enAoy hi" forever I ) &as surprised 6he dual e"phasis had been there all the ti"e, but ) hadn%t seen it 6he #ate#his"%s &ords had al&ays see"ed to strike "y ear as e?alted and high'sounding $hile Ito glorify GodI is obviously a &orthy endeavor, all the su" of the Ito enAoy 9i" foreverI see"ed distant, reserved for our heavenly future But suddenly, to "y delight, ) sa& this #lassi#ally approved and theologi#ally a##eptable state"ent de#laring the sa"e dual truth &e &ere learning about in regard to &orship First, God is to be the fo#us of our praiseJ se#ond, 9e had al&ays planned that in &orship &e &ould find Aoy, blessing, fulfill"ent and purpose 6here &as a si"ple but fresh tou#h of life in this dis#overy )ndeed, &orship is for people, &e had #on#luded, but there &ere t&o tests &e needed to apply to our dis#overy8 6he first had to do &ith hu"an response, the se#ond &ith bibli#al truth First, ) proposed &e e?a"ine the ele"ents that "ost of our &orship servi#es #o"prised )f &orship is for people and if God "eant &orship to restore us, then &hy are so "any people "ore often bored than blessedK $hat "ust &e do to reverse our vie&point fro" &orship as re:uirement to &orship as opportunity; $e &ent ba#k to the basi#s ) &as #onvin#ed that the pra#ti#es of &orship &ere designed to fulfill people, and ) &anted to over#o"e any attitude that "ight di"inish that potential for Aoy !o &e turned to !#ripture

WORSHIP IS FOR PEOPLE

45

and revie&ed these &orship "andates8

"ASSEMBLE YOURSELVES TOGETHER" (HEB. 10 !"#


Could it be that God #alls people together to &orship 9i" and not to #ause in#onvenien#eK Could it be that 9e #alls us together, not be#ause &orship #an%t be done in private, but be#ause &e are #reated &ith so "u#h potential for fulfill"ent &hen &e #o"e together in the spirit of 9is loveK /n the #ontrary, ho&ever, if our gathering is "erely by #onstraint, "otivated by guilt or pa#kaged for the institution rather than for the individual, then &orship &ill soon dissolve into drudgeryCor slavery *any people e?#use the"selves fro" their a##ountability to &orship by saying, I) &orship God all the ti"e, in &hatever )%" doing I 6hat%s good $e should allo& everything &e do to be glorifying to 9i" But &e also have a need for regular ti"es of #on#entrated &orship &ith our fello& believers $e need to e?perien#e the refreshing at the soul level that #o"es fro" &orship and fello&ship 9ebre&s +-85; tells us this &ill be#o"e all the "ore i"portant as &e see the day of 9is glorious return approa#hingCthe day &e shall be fore5er together

"SING UNTO THE LORD" (PS. $% 1#


6here are ,; pla#es in the Bible &here &e are dire#ted to sing Could it be that God #alls people to sing their &orship to 9i", not be#ause 9e%s intent on in#reasing their #ultural a&areness or developing their "usi#al skills, but be#ause singing is a natural e?pression of hu"an Aoy and loveK /n the #ontrary, ho&ever, if song is re"oved fro" de#laring present insights, testi"onies and e?altation in God%s goodness, it &ill be#o"e less than reAoi#ing and soon stodginess or dreariness &ill take over God%s $ord repeatedly and dire#tly tells us that singing releases Aoy )t%s easy to sing &hen the Aoy of the Lord fills our hearts, but the Bible says to do it at other ti"es, too !tudying the Psal"s, &e see David singing to the Lord in the "iddle of so"e

46

WORSHIP HIS MAJESTY

very diffi#ult situations And the song he sings isn%t al&ays I9e has put a ne& song in "y "outhCPraise to our GodI DPs .-8:E !o"e of David%s songs say, I6here are people after "e, GodH Prote#t "eH Be "y shieldI Dsee Ps 4, for e?a"pleE )n other psal"s he e?presses #onfession or sorro& As &e look at the bibli#al e?hortations to sing, it be#o"es #lear that it is fro" "ore than a subAe#tive point of e?#ite"ent that &e sing !inging is so"ething the Lord has said to do be#ause there is po&er that is released through song 0ven &hen &e don%t feel like it, even &hen it "ay not be all that e?#iting at a parti#ular Aun#ture in our lives given the #ir#u"stan#es, to lift our voi#es to praise 9i" and &orship 9i" &ith song e?hibits &isdo"

"CONTINUING IN PRAYER, SHARING AND THE APOSTLES& DOCTRINE" (ACTS ! '!#


9ere is a #luster of three &orship'ti"e pra#ti#es, ea#h of &hi#h allo&s for the prospe#t that God "eant our ti"e of &orship to fulfill us even as &e &orship 9i" 0a#h opens the &ay to divine possibilities for our lives8 Prayer 6he language of &orship is found in prayer Psal" =;85 says, I/ >ou &ho hear prayer, to >ou all flesh &ill #o"e I 6he Lord does hear prayer, and our prayers are offered in "any different &ays >et all prayer is filled &ith &orship in this respe#t8 As &e pray &e are brought into sub"ission to 9i" 6he Lord%s Prayer #on#ludes, IFor >ours is the kingdo" and the po&er and the glory forever A"enI D*att =8+:E 6hat%s the &orship su""ary state"ent #on#erning our prayers8 0verything belongs to 9i" Let%s look at a fe& different aspe#ts of prayer and ho& they bespeak the language of &orship8 Confession! Although perhaps &e haven%t re#ently indulged in gross sin, &e need to #o"e si"ply before God ea#h day and say, ILord, )%" gro&ing in >our &ays, but )%" not there yet Forgive "y short#o"ings and #ontinue to shape "e into >our

WORSHIP IS FOR PEOPLE

4!

i"age I (etition! $e all fa#e needs for help, provision, strength, healing and &isdo" But &e "ay also in1uire, ILord, &hat &ould >ou have "e doK 9o& &ould >ou have "e arrange the details of "y lifeK ) sub"it the" to >ou and in all "y &ays a#kno&ledge >ou, that >ou "ay dire#t "y paths I (raise! Psal" +--8. says &e are to Ienter into 9is gates &ith thanksgiving, and into 9is #ourts &ith praise I /ffering praise to the Lord is not only a "eans of a##essing 9is throne but is also an appropriate &ay to re"e"ber 9is goodness every day 6hen stepping into 9is presen#e, &e &ait there to re#eive dire#tion fro" our living God %editation! 6his is not so"e trans#endental trip or a superstitious, "ysti#al e?er#ise *editation in its purest for" "eans to think upon &hat the Lord has said and then to &ait upon 9i", anti#ipating that 9e &ill speak to "e through 9is $ord and by 9is !pirit -ntercession! )t is the great privilegeCand responsibilityCof believers to #ontra#t &ith the Al"ighty for the invasion of 9is for#e and 9is "ight into any situation &here the press of #ir#u"stan#e or Audg"ent or the atta#k of the ene"y is #o"ing do&n on people For e?a"ple, + 6i"othy 585 dire#ts us to pray for our govern"ental leaders and all &ho are in authority Ithat &e "ay lead a 1uiet and pea#eable life in all godliness and reveren#e I 'doration! $e are #o""anded to e?alt 9i" and to adore 9i" &ho is &orthy Psal" 338; says, I0?alt the Lord our God, and &orship at 9is footstoolC9e is holy I 6he language of &orship is sensible Prayer is "an glorifying the living God and, in these &ays, &e #o"e appropriately before 9is throne in a sane, sensible and responsible e?er#ise of &orship As &e do so, the prayer di"ension in &orship speaks to us as &e speak to 9i" God is saying, I)%ve given this to you as a gift $orship is for you, as &ell as for *e I Preaching !o it is &ith prea#hing /ur &orship servi#es in#lude a ti"e for the opening of 9is $ordCa ti"e designed to inspire and uplift, to stir faith and to beget hope Prea#hing that only infor"s

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&ithout inspiring or that only #onfronts &ithout instilling hope "ay be orthodo?, but it "ay also be #ounterprodu#tive Long ago <esus, Aust prior to 9is as#ension, "et &ith the 6&elve as they gathered in Galilee 6here they &orshiped 9i" and it &as in that at"osphere of &orship that 9e taught the", saying, IAll authority has been given to *e in heaven and on earth N7o&O goI D*att 5,8+,,+3E 6o this day, &hen the Chur#h #o"es together to &orship 9i" and to hear the $ord, &e re#eive the flo& of 9is authority and 9is #o""ission to go and share <esus Christ &ith every person, transfor"ing our &orld &ith 9is po&er As &e #enter our &orship on the $ord, &e are in effe#t saying to 9i", I$e honor >our truth, >our revealed &ill and >our #o""ands I But "ake no "istake, 9e is saying in return, I6hose &ho honor *y $ord &ill be blessed 6hose &ho re#eive *y pro"ises shall kno& *y highest and bestHI Dsee )sa ;,8+:,+.E >es, &orship is unto God, but it is also a gift 9e has given to us 6his is e1ually true of the third feature of our &orship Presenting O r O!!erings 9ere &e see "an%s #all to open his heart and his hand Giving in #hur#h should not be seen as a supportive devi#e for God%s progra", as though our funds &ill keep 9is divine plans fro" teetering over the pre#arious edge of i"pending failure until the end of the "onth Giving is a plan a loving Father has provided to release 9is #hildren fro" selfishness and to allo& our entry into 9is #ovenant of "aterial blessings 6rue, at the heart of the offering of &orship is the offering of my life >et Paul%s &ords to the Corinthians note a dual di"ension8 9e &ho so&s sparingly &ill also reap sparingly, and he &ho so&s bountifully &ill also reap bountifullyI D5 Cor 38=E Paul kne& that giving &as a spiritual dyna"i# built into the very fabri# of life $hen &e give our offerings of &orship, &e give a part of our lives $hen &e give "oney, &e give a part of our lives 6he finan#es of nearly every ho"e represent an e?#hange so"eone re#eived for an invest"ent of his or her ti"e and talents $orship says, ILord, >ou are "y life >ou have "ade "e &hat ) a" and given "e the talents to do the &ork by &hi#h >ou provide for "e Be#ause >ou%ve been so faithful to "e, ) no& offer ba#k to >ou a token of &hat >ou have given "e I )n

WORSHIP IS FOR PEOPLE

49

offering to God &hat 9e has given us, &e open ourselves to a further flo& of 9is resour#es and &e a#kno&ledge that all of our life originates in 9i" But in the &ake of our so&ing &ith &orshipful, obedient giving of offerings, God de#lares, I7o& you are going to reapHI as though it &ere a delight to 9i" to #all us to &orship in "ultiple &ays so that 9e "ight respond &ith "ultiplied blessings

ANTHROPO(WHAT?!
>es, God has designed &orship to be fulfilling to "an But there is a "onstrous theologi#al fly in this oint"ent of prospe#tive Aoy8 anthropocentrism! Anthropo#entri# "eans to be #entered in "an )t%s a ter" brandished like a dagger by any theologian &ho is nervous about e?perien#e'oriented spiritualityCan anathe"a pronoun#ed upon anything per#eived as "aking too "u#h of "an Anthropo#entris" is #onsidered the unpardonable sin in so"e 1uarters of evangeli#al orthodo?y /n the one hand su#h &arnings are needed $e need to steer #lear of hu"anisti# syste"s that deify "an and redu#e God to a parlor pet, "aking 9i" so"ething slightly grander than trees and flo&ers )n that sense, anthropo#entris" des#ribes the "indset of shallo& pop theologies birthed in every generationC syste"s that satisfy "an%s desire to a#kno&ledge God yet still pursue his o&n indulgen#es $arnings against any deifi#ation of hu"ankind are indeed &ords of &isdo" But I"an'#enteredI is also a bu((&ord that is often shouted by #leri#s at the hint of anything re"otely hu"an happening in our #hur#hes8 people being Iblessed,I for e?a"ple, or holiness be#o"ing too Ihappy I 6here are so"e theologi#al purists &ho feel #alled to relentlessly defend God%s honor, even if their defense is leveled against so"e of 9is o&n people &ho not only si"ply love 9i" but &ho also love 9i" si"ply 6hus, it see"s predi#table that any #hallenge to a proposition that &orship is re1uired by God to be Isolely unto 9i" and for 9i"I "ight invite #harges of "an'#enteredness But Aust as the validity of the proposition I&orship is for peopleI is sho&n by the natural Aoy its e?er#ise generates, so the

50

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Bible de"onstrates its soundness 6rue &orship is a gift that blesses rather than a #hore that &e &earily fulfill A Bible'#entered approa#h to &orship #learly reveals that &orship is definitely not a God'ordained devi#e to #o"pel "an to stroke a heavenly ego 7either is it a su""ons to a &eekly reaffir"ation of one%s e?pertise in pre#ision'#ut de#larations of do#trinaire posturing )nstead, the !#riptures #onsistently sho& God #alling 9is people to &orship in 9is presen#e so that 9e "ight release, redee", rene& and restore the" -tem4 God respe#ted and re&arded Abel be#ause his &orship a#kno&ledged the one path by &hi#h "an re#eived God%s loving #overage for his sin 9is blood sa#rifi#e &as based on gratitude for the rede"ption plan initiated in the Garden, and his &orship fore#ast an e?pe#tation of an even greater e?pression of love Ca #o"ing Redee"er Cain &as reAe#ted, not so "u#h for his violation of a religious for"ula as for the s"allness of his Aealous heart that failed to grasp the largeness of God%s Dsee Gen .8.'4E -tem4 )srael &as #alled forth fro" 0gypt Ithat they "ay serve *eI D0?od ,8+E God%s plan that they serve 9i" &as not a relo#ation of slave labor fro" 0gypt%s bri#ks to !inai%s rituals God delivered 9is people out of

6RU0 $/R!9)P )! A G)F6 69A6 BL0!!0! RA690R 69A7 A C9/R0 69A6 $0 $0AR)L> FULF)LL

WORSHIP IS FOR PEOPLE

51

bondage into &orshipCbe#ause through &orshiping 9i", they &ould #o"e to kno& the heart and nature of the /ne &ho pro"ised, I) &ill bring you to a land flo&ing &ith "ilk and honeyI D0?od :8 +4E -tem4 /ne of <esus% "ost profound state"ents about &orship &as spoken to an i""oral &o"an8 IBut the hour is #o"ing, and no& is, &hen the true &orshipers &ill &orship the Father in spirit and truthJ for the Father is seeking su#h to &orship 9i"I D<ohn .85:E 9e &as #learly &el#o"ing this &o"an a&ay fro" her e"ptiness to be filled &ith the love of God &ho seeks the &orship of honest hearts like hers -tem4 Paul #alled the Ro"ans to present the"selves as people of &orship $hyK I!o you #an #o"e to kno& the goodness, the desirability and the perfe#tion of God%s purpose in your livesI DRo" +585, author%s paraphraseE 6he danger of falling prey to anthropo#entris" "elts &hen the $ord of God is at the #enter of our thought pro#esses 6hese brief e?a"ples are suffi#ient to illustrate that, a##ording to God%s heart and 9is $ord, &orship is for people >et the disposition of Chur#h history &orks against our pure responses to si"ple truth 6he flo& of hu"an traditions see"s to go fro" life to death !o often in institutions the tenden#y is that the pra#ti#es giving rise to the life of the organi(ation eventually degenerate until they are being done only for the sake of the doing Chur#h'based &orship is Aust one #asualty of this unfortunate hu"an tenden#y )nertia brings inevitable death $hat began &ith vital life has in too "any pla#es be#o"e a "ere for" &ith only an e"pty habit re"aining

PEOPLE AS A CENTRAL CONCERN


*y &orship #lass &orked through their se"ester reports, a##u"ulating insights and observations &hi#h indi#ated that #hur#hes, pastors, buildings, #hoirs and even liturgies &ere seldo" the #ause of ineffe#tive &orship A lost #ons#iousness of People &as as "u#h at fault as any lost #ons#iousness of God

52

WORSHIP HIS MAJESTY

$herever vital spiritual life &as found in a #ongregation, &orship &as serving as a "eans to "eet hu"an need 6his "ay have not been the studied perspe#tive in any of those #hur#hes, but intentionally or not, people%s needs &ere being "et 7o one see"ed to be using &orship as a self'serving tool, and the pristine vision of &orship unto the Lord &as not being #orrupted !ervi#es &eren%t "anipulated to serve hu"an &hi"s, nor &as God being e?pe#ted to Au"p through a hoop to "eet hu"an de"ands ) learned a lot &ith that #lass ) learned that our fello&ship &ith God in &orship &as a t&o'&ay street8 God desires to "eet our needs and fulfill us as "u#h as 9e desires to re#eive our e?pressions of praise and thanksgiving *y perspe#tive on the reason for &orship &as #hanged &ithout sa#rifi#ing "y essential Bible'#enteredness or "y God' #entered approa#h to &orship But ) &as #lear on this no&8 $ith God, we are at the #enter of 9is #on#ern, even &hen &e &orship ) didn%t kno& ho& "u#h "ore there &as to learn about it, but ) liked the idea of leading people to &orship ) liked it "ore than ) ever had before, be#ause ) kne& ) &as preparing so"ething in 9is presen#e that &ould "ean Ifullness of AoyI DPs +=8++E )t &asn%t long before ) &as able to apply these dis#overies, establishing the initial e"phasis in the s"all pastorate to &hi#h ) &as soon to be #alled

CHAPTER 4

690 @0> 6/ 70$ L)F0

<- wish you2d oil that lock,< - said! <-25e had a nasty time getting the key to turn=< "he proprietor looked at my key! #e smiled, took it and ga5e me another! <- should think it will he much easier now that you ha5e the right one,< he said!

Anna and ), along &ith our four #hildren, a##epted the little #ongregation in Van 7uys about a year later $e &ere there on te"porary assign"ent &hile ) &as still tea#hing at the Bible #ollege Although there &ere only +, "e"bers and our ter" of servi#e &as yet un#ertain, ) &as an?ious to try &hat the 9oly !pirit had been "aking vibrant &ithin "e ) &as ready to pastor &ith this proposition governing "y approa#h to servi#es8 *orship is an opportunity for man to in5ite God2s power and presence

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to mo5e among those worshiping #im! ) had also begun to see that sin#e &orship is for people, it #ould also be the key to evangelis" )t follo&ed that if God &ere to I"ove inICif 9e truly &anted to be present in po&er and bless 9is people at &orship servi#esCthen people &ould be dra&n to Christ 6he 1uestion &as, &ould previously unyielded hearts sense the reality of 9is presen#e and open up to 9i"K 6he laboratory of pastoral e?perien#e has verified that they do indeedH $e have found that &orship is the path&ay and the at"osphere for peopleCthe saved and the unsaved alikeCto dis#over
their royal #alling in Christ, their high destiny in life, their fullest personal &orth and their deepest hu"an fulfill"ent

But here again, tradition "ust be #onfronted and 1uestioned and adAust"ents "ade if God%s "a?i"u" benefits are to be reali(ed during &orship ) had been ignorant of &orship as a "eans by &hi#h God%s presen#e #ould be &el#o"ed #onsistently Conse1uently, ) had gro&n to depend on prea#hing alone as the instru"ent for bringing people to repentan#e !uddenly ) &as dis#overing a kind of tea"&ork bet&een the !pirit and the $ord Cthe 9oly !pirit softening hearts as &e &orshiped and the $ord opening people%s eyes in a ne& at"osphere of love 6his also #hanged the nature of "y appeal to the lost )nvitations, &hi#h early in "y "inistry ) had seen as &restling "at#hes of the &ill, &ere no& si"pler and approa#hed &ith a different "indset ) be#a"e #onvin#ed that God%s progra" of rede"ption does not re1uire of any "an a ritual denoun#ing his hu"anness, though it does re1uire that he renoun#e his sin Bibli#al repentan#e does not re1uire sub"ission to a predigested, di#tated, dehu"ani(ing re#itative that blasts the sinner for his sinfulness 9o&ever, it does re1uire a full'hearted turning fro" one%s o&n &ay to <esus ChristCto a#kno&ledge ourselves as lost and 9i" as the only !avior, to a#kno&ledge ourselves as dead in sin and 9i" as resurre#ted Lord 6he spirit of &orship "ade

THE #EY TO NEW LIFE

55

sure our evangelisti# approa#h &as not a hu"anisti# progra" of self'as#ent, &hile at the sa"e ti"e pree"pting a theologi#al progra" of self'debase"ent $hen &orship is &ar", it provides the ideal setting for getting evangelisti# results $here I&orship is for people,I "an%s highest possibilities are affir"edCtruly affir"ed as people #o"e before the throne of their Creator )t is there &e find #im &ho #reated us for Aoy )t is there &e find redemption fro" all that &ould destroy or di"inish our Aoy !u#h an approa#h in &orship be#o"es an honest and hu"ble, yet Aoyous and hopeful, a#kno&ledg"ent of
God%s great love for us, verified in 9is !on, <esus Dsee 0ph

58.,;EJ

God%s great forgiveness, ensuring a##eptan#e before 9i"

Dsee 0ph +8:'=EJ

God%s great purpose in us, establishing &orth and dignity

Dsee 0ph 58='+-EJ and

God%s great pro"ises to us, giving #onfiden#e for

to"orro& Dsee 5 Pet +8.E

!"all &onder thousands of souls have opened their lives to <esus in this &orship'filled at"osphereH

AND THEN, GROWTH


As the s"all pastorate began to gro&, the &orkability of the transfor"ed vie&point ) had gained &ith "y students &as be#o"ing ines#apably established Per"anent, enduring verifi#ation a##rued to establish a threefold proposition8 + 5 : $orship is for people $orship &el#o"es @ingdo" po&er $orship is the key to evangelis"

As ) led "y people in &orshipC&ith a #o""it"ent to glorify God but &ith an e1ual pledge to believe 9e &anted to save, satisfy and dignify "anCtrue personal fulfill"ent blosso"ed in an ever'gro&ing nu"ber of people *oreover, the

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9oly !pirit began knitting us into a "arvelously loving fello&ship, for &here God%s love is responded to, a love for one another overflo&s $e &ould sing8 Co"e, / Lord, and overflo& us &ith >our love, Co"e, / Lord, and overflo& us &ith >our love, For &e lift our hearts like vessels 6o the everflo&ing strea" Co"e, / Lord, and overflo& us &ith >our love And 9e &ould do itH As 9e did, ) &as a"a(ed at the re"arkable harvest of souls People &ere being saved, and the in#redible thing to "eChaving been raised on the notion that evangelisti# ser"ons are essential to evangelisti# resultsC&as that worship &as the sour#e of this "ighty "oving of the 9oly !pirit a"ong us People &ere re#eiving <esus Christ, not be#ause ) prea#hed the" under #onvi#tion, but be#ause they sensed the presen#e of God as &e &orshiped 9is *aAesty 6he $ord of truth ) taught be#a"e life in that at"osphere of praise, and that life &as begotten in the hearers as the &ar"th of God%s presen#e invaded our &orship ) a" totally persuaded that &orship is the key to evangelis" as &ell as to the edifi#ation of the Chur#h A"id #hildlike, full' hearted &orship, God%s love distills like refreshing de& upon us As &orship "oves beyond a "erely obAe#tive e?er#ise de"anded by theologi#al posturing and as it be#o"es a si""#e$ subAe#tive 1uest for God, 9e responds 9e ans&ers the hunger %! earnest hearts and reveals 9i"self in personal, transfor"ing and fulfilling &ays 6he hungry and thirsty are filled as &e seek 9i" in our &orship )n 9is loving "er#y 9e delights to #o"e into our "idst, to ignite 9is $ord, to pour out 9is !pirit, to breathe 9is life into those &ho seek 9i" and to tou#h the" &ith 9is hand of po&er

WHO&S INVITED?
$ho" do you &ant to #o"e to #hur#h, and &ho" does God &ant thereK 9o& you ans&er this 1uestion &ill deter"ine everything about ho& you &orship God &here people gather )f &orship is e?#lusively the privileged right of an approved "e"bership s#hooled in the a##eptable for"s of the group, an outsider "ay

THE #EY TO NEW LIFE

5!

A! $/R!9)P */V0! B0>/7D *0R0 0P0RC)!0 A7D B0C/*0! A !)*PL0, P0R!/7A L LU0!6 F/R G/D, 90 R0!P/7D!

be allo&ed to attend servi#es, but he &ill essentially re"ain Ioutside I 6he avo&ed poli#y that everyone is &el#o"e doesn%t sti#k if the at"osphere of &el#o"e is disallo&edCeven if it%s done unintentionally 9o&ever, &hen &orship is led in su#h a &ay as to be a##essible to all &ho #o"e, &hen an at"osphere of hope and Aoy is #ultivated, then #hur#h servi#es be#o"e an open door&ay, not a guarded fortress ) sub"it to you that &orship has never been intended by God to be an o##asion for proving one%s e?pertise in religion but for satisfying one%s hunger and thirst for God ) believe that !unday "orning &as never intended to be#o"e a &eekly test of personal orthodo?y but &as "eant to open to all a reservoir of refreshing by &ay of inspiration, insight and blessing ) #ontend that as long as &orship is fo#used on prote#ting God fro" un&orthy parti#ipants, it #an never serve 9is purpose as a resour#e for in#o"plete and broken "ankind to find #o"pletion and &holeness in 9is presen#e Again, ) believe that &orship is for people, not the other &ay around God does not first recei5e &orshipJ 9e first gi5es it <ust as the !abbath &as given to allo& re#reative reprieve for 9is "ost noble #reation, God has given &orship as a "eans for "an%s re#overy, restoration,

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WORSHIP HIS MAJESTY

reviving, rede"ption and refreshing And yet, Aust as the Pharisees had turned the !abbath into an i"possible syste" of ritual observan#e s1uel#hing Aoyous parti#ipation by the average person, so"e in the Chur#h today have elevated the idea and pra#ti#e of &orship to a pla#e fe& #an attain be#ause of the insistent de"ands of ritual perfor"an#e or theologi#al e?pertise !e1uen#e is the issue God%s gift is first God has given &orship to everyone as a privileged resour#e, not as a private regi"en to be perfor"ed for 9is s#rutiny 6he gathering of people in 9is na"e is still intended to be an o##asion &hen hungry and sear#hing souls find an at"osphere of &ar"th and a##eptan#e )%ve de#ided to risk the protests of the spiritual purist8 I9u"anisti#H )dolatrousH Anthropo#entri#H Vanity of vanitiesHI 9o&ever, before an e?plosion of flashing red lights and blaring kla?ons disrupts the halls of e##lesiasti#al orthodo?y, let no one "istake "y "eaning8 -n saying worship is for man, - ha5e not said that worship is to man! 'nd in saying that worship is a gift to man, - didn2t say it isn2t to /e e6pressed unto God! 9eCthe 6rans#endent and 0ternal /neCis still the obAe#t of our &orship and adoration But in approa#hing the task of leading &orship as ) have de#lared it here, ea#h ti"e ) step before "y flo#k, ) sense God%s pleasure ) a" leading the" to 9i", but ) a" doing it by "eans of a gift 9e has given for their blessing $orship is for them, and ) learned that they e?perien#e gro&th in every &ay as they re#eive this gift of &orship as so"ething that is theirs! ) think you%ll find the sa"e, for thousands &ho have Aoined &ith "e in this dis#overy have #o"e to attest to the vitality of these fa#ts8 + 5 God has provided &orship as a "eans of entry to our reAoi#ing in the presen#e of the Ulti"ate Reality $orship introdu#es di"ensions of possibility in

THE #EY TO NEW LIFE

59

every life that trans#end our sin and our self' i"posed li"itations as &e &el#o"e the 6rans#endent /ne : $orshiping God brings the highest sense of dignity hu"anity #an kno&, for the regal nature of 9is *aAesty begins to flo& do&n&ard and in&ard

6he greatest issue &e fa#e as a Chur#h is not so "u#h that &e i""ediately per#eive the depth of our sin and &eakness or even the greatness of God%s gra#e and po&er 6he pri"ary issue is &hether &e &ill #o"e $ill &e be led before 9is throne and seek 9i"K Be#ause if &e do, hea5en will /reak loose on earth= )n our #hur#h, the passage of three de#ades has seen tre"endous gro&thCan in#rease in attendan#e to nearly ,,--ea#h &eek D"id&eek and !unday servi#es #o"binedE and a garnering of nearly =;,--- de#isions for Christ during that ti"e spanCall flo&ing fro" this "ind'set #on#erning &orship%s priority and its purpose During those years, ti"e and again in "y study of the !#riptures, the 9oly !pirit has unveiled to "e notable personalities of the Bible &hose e?perien#es serve as #ase studies in the po&er and purpose of &orship )%d like to share so"e of these unveilings &ith you in the follo&ing #hapters

CHAPTER 5

FU*BL)7G F/R$ARD )7 FA)69


;

"he simple /eauty in the first tottering steps of a child, o5ershadowing all a/sence of grace and form, is seeing the sheer sparkle of +oy2s ad5enture in his eyes! "he progress is so small /ut the accomplishment so great!

Abraha" is a parado? in ter"s 9e is honored in the gallery of the faithful in 9ebre&s ++ despite the fa#t that he lied about his relationship &ith his &ife, virtually surrendering her body to the &hi" of a pagan king 9e is #alled the father of faith, but in an effort to beget a pro"ised #hild, he fathered a proble" #hildCand the diplo"a#y of &orld govern"ents is tested to this day as a result Dsee Gen +=8++,+5E 9o& does it happen that su#h a hu"an, fallible, fear'filled

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WORSHIP HIS MAJESTY

person gains a reputation for faithK $hile &at#hing a televangelist prea#h on IBoldness and Authority &ith GodI a fe& years ago, ) &as so"e&hat taken aba#k by his (ealous effort on the subAe#t /f #ourse, ) appre#iated his intent and ) &ouldn%t presu"e to #riti#i(e his spirit, but ) &as troubled at his approa#h I) &ant you to look at Abraha",I he e?horted I9ere is a "an of faithCthe %father of our faith,% the Bible says ) &ant you to see the authority of faith that he sho&s 9e gained su#h a pla#e in God that he entered into #onsultation &ith 9i" as to &hat God &as going to do in great #ities 9e boldly #alled on God to res#ue !odo" and Go"orrah )"agine it, saintsH /ne "an "oving God%s hand of a#tion 6hat%s faith 6hat%s boldness 6hat%s authority &ith God 6hat%s &hat )%" talking about I 7o&, so"e people "ight be irritated &ith every aspe#t of this prea#her%s &ords 6he &hole idea of su#h inti"a#y &ith and rulership under God is foreign to the per#eption of "any earnest believers But that isn%t &hat bothered "e ) do believe there is a grand arena of possibility for our inter#ession &ith God Cone that fulfills 9is higher intentions for us as 9is sons and daughters Rather, &hat disturbed "e &as the un&itting, but no less a#tual, dishonesty of the proposition as it &as presented Besides hinting that Abraha"%s intera#tion &ith God &as on the order of a brash kid issuing de"ands to his father, the &hole episode &as re"oved fro" the hu"an #onte?t in &hi#h the

$/R!9)P )! 690 @0> 6/ C/7LU0!6

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63

Bible #asts this re"arkable "an 9o&ever bold his inter#ession "ay have been, the &hole story not only depi#ts Abraha"%s approa#h as hu"bly hesitant, but the ne?t #hapter also #ites yet another instan#e of his fu"bling hu"anity 6he sa"e "an &ho is des#ribed in Genesis +3 as "aking a bold appeal for the sparing of #ities is seen in the very ne?t #hapter trading his integrity and his &ife%s #hastity to save his o&n ne#k 6his is hardly a pi#ture of an a##o"plished "aster of faithH ) strongly resist proAe#tions of Ithe faith lifeI su#h as the televangelist "ade, not be#ause ) &ould dis#ourage a bold, believing lifestyle, but be#ause the Bible doesn%t des#ribe su#h a life as superhu"an 6here is nothing "ore self'defeating in the #o""uni#ation of God%s #all to supernatural living than to suggest a grandiose or #ontrived, affe#ted piety that is outside the s#ope of &hat the Bible a#tually des#ribes ) like the proposition inherent in the book title $6traordinary Li5ing for >rdinary %en, an old book by !a" !hoe"aker God%s po&er in hu"an flesh &ill hopefully "ake us less I#arnal,I but it &ill never "ake us less hu"anH A #lose e?a"ination of Abraha"%s life does provide great lessons in faith%s gro&th, and the 7e& 6esta"ent does hold hi" forth as faith%s IfatherICone in &hose steps &e are to &alk Dsee Ro" .8++,+5E 9o&ever, this assess"ent of the patriar#h%s life is "ade after the fa#tCafter a lifeti"e of gro&th, after the final evaluation of a "an%s life follo&ing his very hu"an earthly soAourn Abraha" &as #alledJ he ans&ered 9e learned at ti"es and &as blindly doltish at others 9e su##eeded on so"e o##asions and failed on othersCal&ays "oving for&ard in faith but often fu"bling as he groped his &ay through life 6his isn%t to de"ean Abraha" or sho& disrespe#t for the "arvelous &itness he left to us God%s $ord endorses his life &ith these &ords8 9e Iobtained a good testi"ony through faithI D9eb ++8:3E )%" not suggesting anything less, but ) don%t believe the testi"ony of the faithful is given to inti"idate us 6he stories of "en and &o"en of faith are re#orded in the Bible in order to build our belief so that we #an obtain a good testi"ony through faithH

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)n Abraha"%s #ase, the hall"ark of a holy habit "erits our study here, for this #ontinuing trait of his helped to bring about his a##o"plish"ents in faith As &e look at the &hole of Abraha"%s life, &hat stands out is this8 $hether stu"bling, su##eeding, fu"bling or failing, the one outstanding, dis#ernible feature of his #hara#ter is that he li5ed his life /efore the altar of God! )n the do(en pages or so the Bible takes to tell the entire story of Abraha", &e see hi" &orshiping at an altar nearly a do(en ti"es 9is &orshipful &alk points the path to understanding ho& today%s believer "ay also advan#e in God%s &ill )t isn%t surprising to find in Abraha"%s life the sa"e issues that God began to re"edy in Ada"%s8 a restoration of fello&ship and fruitfulness, of relationship and rulership )n Paul%s #lassi# elaboration of Austifi#ation by faith, Abraha" is used as a #ase study of the gargantuan truth that faith, not &orks, establishes an individual%s relationship &ith God Dsee Ro" .E )n this #onte?t, the Bible des#ribes Abraha" as one &ho re#eived Ithe pro"ise that he &ould be the heir of the &orldI and that this sa"e pro"ise &as also to be Ito his seedI DRo" .8+:E 6hese are propheti# &ords speaking to us, today%s believers 6o be a &orld heir doesn%t re1uire the business a#u"en to #ontrol $all !treet or the savvy to su##eed in 9olly&oodJ but it does "ean &e #an over#o"e the ruling spirit of this &orld and Ireign in lifeI by the po&er of <esus Christ%s life &ithin us DRo" ;8+4E 6hus, Abraha"%s pilgri"age isn%t intended "erely as a histori#al studyJ it%s a "odel for our possibilities, tooH 6he su""ary Paul "akes of Abraha"%s life breathes of restored do"inion, of re#overed rulership 6he $ord here not only applies those prospe#ts to every believer but also #o""ands us to learn the &ay to the sa"e by &alking Iin the steps of the faith NofO our father Abraha"I DRo" .8+5E Upon e?a"ination, &e find his steps #onstantly leading to an altar of &orship, &ith ea#h e?perien#e tea#hing us ho& even the "ost hu"an and fu"bling a"ong us "ay find his or her inheritan#e as an Iheir of the &orld I Abraha"%s altar e?perien#es unfold like a #hain rea#tion of gro&th in faith, revealing a &orshiping believer &ho "oves for&ard to possess God%s purpose for his life 6hough his hu"an

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65

fallibility results in periodi# fu"bling, his #all as a &orld heir is ulti"ately uni"peded by that hu"anness as his e?perien#es at God%s altar progressively transfor" hi" Abraha" is proof that fu"bling saints #an find their &ay for&ard as hu"anness and holiness #onverge in the fragility of hu"an flesh 6he Bible sho&s us several altars in Abraha"%s e?perien#e, his &orship'&alk offering lessons for our o&n steps of progress Cfro" first being called to a life of faith to our eventual over#o"ing as vi#tors in faith Let%s look at the prin#iples of ho& &orship "oves us for&ard in faith

THE FIRST ALTAR ACCEPTING GOD&S PROMISES


6hen the L/RD appeared to Abra" and said, I6o your des#endants ) &ill give this land I And there he built an altar to the L/RD, &ho had appeared to hi" DGen +584E 6here is an abiding relu#tan#e in every thoughtful person that shies a&ay fro" pro"ises of personal signifi#an#e /nly the gullible leap at proposals of i"pending greatness a&aiting the"J only the naive believe &ithout hesitation >et ) have "et hundreds of people &ho have supposed that be#ause they at first doubt su#h God'given pro"ises, they &ere thereby per"anently dis1ualified for faith But the definition of faith is not &ide'eyed gullibility, nor do the pro"ises of God re1uire an instant Igo'for' itI rea#tion 6he first point of faith is si"ply to be open to God%s pro"ise, even &hen the pro"ise see"s beyond our ability to #ontain it But there is a better &ay to respond to God%s higher pro"ises than to re"ain hesitant $e "ust take the pro"iseCre#eive it, but take it to the altar of worship! Abraha" &asn%t having delusions of grandeur8 God was speaking to him! 7either is it a delusion that God still speaks to 9is people and #onfir"s to their hearts that 9is $ord holds high pro"ise for their o&n life situations in the here and no& 6here%s no &ay &e #an replay the "ental pro#esses of Abraha"%s thoughts to kno& ho& #losely they parallel our o&n &hen grand

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pro"ise a&akens hope in our souls But &e &ould not be un&ise to presu"e Abraha" &as sho#ked by God%s &ord Although the Bible says, I9e did not &aver at the pro"ise of God through unbelief, but &as strengthened in faith, giving glory to GodI DRo" .85-E, it doesn%t say he &asn%t surprised God%s #all to faith "ay stun us, but it need not stagger us Abraha" &as steadfast but not be#ause he &as less vulnerable to doubt than the rest of usJ he stood fir" be#ause he &ent to his knees at an altar, Igiving glory to God I 6his is the first prin#iple of advan#ing in faith8 $orshiping the giver of the pro"ise re"inds us of 9is po&er to perfor" and 9is faithfulness to keep 9is pro"ises

THE SECOND ALTAR LEARNING MORE OF THE PROMISER


And he "oved fro" there to the "ountain east of Bethel, and there he built an altar to the L/RD and #alled on the na"e of the L/RD !o Abra" Aourneyed, going on still to&ard the !outh DGen +58,,3E *ore than a #ontinuing pra#ti#e of altar'building and &orshiping is indi#ated here 6he distin#t state"ent that Abraha" #alled on the na"e of the Lord points to a gro&ing kno&ledge of God 6he na"e of the Lord refle#ts 9is nature, 9is person and 9is #hara#ter Abraha" &as Aourneying on&ard, but his travels did "ore than a#1uaint hi" &ith the tough issues of lifeJ he &as also learning the trust&orthy nature of his Lord !o"e ti"e ago ) &as #onta#ted by an irate person &ho, &ith te"per flaring, atta#ked the "inistry of the #hur#h ) pastor on the basis of one issue8 IA "e"ber of your pastoral staff said , I and the person &ent on to say &hat the staff "e"ber had said and done ) &as appalled 9is &asn%t a #harge of i""orality, finan#ial dishonesty or do#trinal error 6he #harge &as of gross insensitivity to&ard a person &ho had #alled for help )n responding, ) didn%t retaliate or deny the #hargeJ ) si"ply asked ho& "y present #aller kne& that had been said Although ) didn%t say it to hi", ) kne& the

FUM LING FORWARD IN FAITH

6!

#harge &asn%t true ) kne& it, not be#ause ) &as there, not be#ause ) presu"ed perfe#tion a"ong our staff, not be#ause ) &as defensive, but be#ause ) kne& the "an &ho &as being #harged ) kne& he &as in#apable of a#ting the &ay that had been des#ribed D)ndeed, &hen the &hole "atter &as resolved, &hat a#tually had happened &as not even re"otely related to the purported fa#ts that had been hurled at "e over the telephone E 6here%s a parallel reality every one of us fa#es regularly8 the reality that a liar, the Ar#h'De#eiver, is ever ready to #ontest the trust&orthiness of God, espe#ially &hen ti"e passes and pro"ises &e re#eived fro" 9i" have not yet been fulfilled 6rying #ir#u"stan#es so"eti"es for#e 1uestions about the strength of our faithCand the #ertainty of 9is faithfulness 6he A##user &ill #harge God &ith faithlessness, bo"barding our "inds &ith in#ri"inating re"arks, seeking to re"ove our sense of se#urity in the Father%s $ord $hen he atta#ks God%s nature or assails our sense of #onfiden#e, ongoing and sustained &orship is the key to #on1uest $hen ) &alk ea#h day into 9is presen#e, &orshiping 9i" and allo&ing the 9oly !pirit to "ake <esus% na"eC9is faithfulness, 9is healing, 9is loving, 9is keeping po&erCreal to "e, ) &ill re"ain steadfast @no&ing "ore of the Pro"iser keeps "e strong in trusting 9is pro"ises, even &hen "y hope is atta#ked and self'doubt seeks to do"inate "y spirit

THE THIRD ALTAR RETURNING TO "GO"


6hen Abra" &ent up fro" 0gypt to the pla#e of the altar &hi#h he had "ade there at first DGen +:8+,.E Fro" the pla#e of his se#ond altar, Abraha" see"ed to "ake a detour 9is trip to 0gypt appeared to be D+E undire#ted by God, D5E #hara#teri(ed by #o"pro"ise and yet D:E #li"a?ed by prosperity, although his ne& &ealth &as #oupled &ith e?pulsion Dsee Gen +58+-'+:85E $e #ould &ish for a detailed report filling in the "onths of Abraha"%s presu"ptuous des#ent into 0gypt 6he "otive is

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givenCthere &as fa"ine and he sought foodCbut his "ethod &as the pursuit of personal supply in the &isdo" of his o&n &ay 6he resultant #o"pro"ising of his integrity, involving the e?ploitation of his &ife%s beauty, &ould have brought further failure had not God intervened 9o&ever, the interposing sovereign gra#e dre& Abraha" ba#k to Bethel and ba#k to &orship $hatever "ay have been ignorantly lost through his fleshly efforts at self'provision &as gra#iously restored through God%s faithful prote#tionCand Abraha" &orshiped God, having returned to the pla#e of his beginning 9e is not alone in having drifted fro" God%s best through hu"anly "otivated enterprise 9o&ever sin#ere &e "ay have been at #ertain ti"es, all of us have stepped outside the &ill of God in &ell'"eaning atte"pts to solve our o&n proble"s 6he beauty of studying this event in the life of faith%s father is that it holds hope for "e 6he sa"e God &ho laid hold of Abraha", though faith faltered and he blindly sought his o&n &ay, is the /ne &ho today &ill bring ba#k anyone &ho &ill allo& it )n so "any ga"es &e learned in our #hildhood, returning to I!tartI "eant to lose everything one had gained to that point 6here are "any stu"bling believers &ho feel the sa"e &ay about God, as though 9is displeasure &ith their failures "eans they are fa#ed &ith a life of inter"inable frustration But &here God #an find a &orshiper &hose heart is bent beside his knee at an altar of praise to 9i" for 9is "er#y and gra#e, there is a "arvelously &onderful pro"ise8 ILet the la&less forsake his &ay and the unrighteous "an his s#he"ings Let hi" return to the Lord, and 9e &ill have "er#y on hi"J and to our God, for 9e &ill abundantly pardonI D)sa ;;84, #o"posite translation of Rhei"s, Berkeley and NKJ ?! Abundant pardonH 6here is no &ealth like this re&ard 6he oft'enAoyed ga"e of *onopoly in#ludes an interesting #ard that is dis#overed o##asionally &hen so"eone lands on IChan#e I 6he #ard reads8 IReturn to %Go%CColle#t Q5-- I 6he irony of the dire#tive is that in one respe#t it see"s to penali(e, but in another it re&ards And so it is &ith God 6here "ay be no &ay to forget the foolishness of our blind pursuits that end in #ul'de'sa#sJ but the God &e began &ith in &orship &ill seek us there and dra& us ba#k to the beginning

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$hen 9e does, &orship 9i" at on#e 9e doesn%t re1uire a &aiting period for returneesCa proving ti"e before their &orship is re#eived 9e &el#o"es your &orship and your return to fullness Aust as surely as 9e did before

THE FOURTH ALTAR ENLARGING YOUR HORI)ONS


And the L/RD said to Abra", ILift your eyes no& and lookJ all the land &hi#h you see ) give to you I 6hen Abra" "oved his tent and built an altar there to the L/RD DGen +:8+.,+;,+,E 6he "ost note&orthy trait of Abraha"%s &orship'&alk &as that it is al&ays a response God dealt &ith hi" and Abraha" &orshiped )n that, there is an unspoken &isdo" that "ight be overlooked unless it is underlined8 $orship trans#ends our &eakness &hile a#kno&ledging God%s po&er Reestablished in the land, Abraha" is later #hallenged again by the Lord God had earlier pro"ised this land, but no& 9e begins to spe#ify di"ensionsCInorth&ard, south&ard, east&ard, and &est&ard Arise, &alk in the land through its length and its &idth, for ) give it to youI DGen +:8+.,+4E $hat &as a general state"ent that allo&ed for Abraha"%s interpretation &as no& spe#ifi#ally designated, and the boundaries "ust have been "u#h grander than Abraha" had ever i"agined Abraha"%s story is one of the believing life $hatever Aoy, blessing and fulfill"ent any of us has dis#overed in our early &alk &ith Christ, inevitably &e #o"e to a pla#e of #onfrontation &ith God 9e &ho &ill never allo& us to stagnate or settle for the s"all or the shallo&, ever dra&s us to loftier heights and deeper depths 9ave you ever e?perien#ed 9is deeper #all to kno& 9i" betterK /r 9is higher #all to serve 9i" at ne& levelsK And ho& have you felt &hen 9e #allsK $eakK )nsuffi#ientK Un#ertainK 9esitantK

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)f so, let us learn together the lesson of Abraha"%s fourth altar8 $orship is the &ay to re#eive the pro"ise of possibilities larger than you ever i"agined $orship is the &ay to respond &hen you feel you are in#apable of all you understand 9i" to be #alling you to Respond to 9i" IFaithful is the /ne &ho #alls youC9e &ill also a##o"plish itHI D+ 6hess ;85., author%s paraphraseE

TOWARD WORLD HEIRS


6hese four s#enes fro" the life of Abraha" laun#h us in applying &orship to a &alk that "oves to&ard the &orld'heir life of do"inion and restored rulership that <esus died to give us 6o that end, &e learn t&o other po&er prin#iples fro" Abraha"%s e?perien#es that dre& hi" to the altar of &orship8 + "he principle of worshipful gi5ing in response to the /lessings of 5ictory and pro5ision Dsee Gen +.8+,'5-E Abraha"%s tithe to *el#hi(edek a#kno&ledged the Lord as Provider and Possessor of all things, the /ne fro" &ho" he re#eived the privilege of anything he &as given and everything he had "he principle of worship as spiritual warfare Dsee Gen +;8+-'5+E Abraha"%s sa#rifi#e &as offered to God and attended by a great pro"ise fro" God #on#erning the future of Abraha"%s offspring 6he effort of vultures to sei(e the sa#rifi#e so &orshipfully offered and Abraha"%s rising to drive the" a&ay provide a potent pi#ture of the believer%s #ontending in &orship against the hosts of hell &ho seek to overthro& God%s purposes for us, our #hildren and our households

Along &ith these prin#iples, three events in su##eeding #hapters of Genesis po&erfully de"onstrate the develop"ents that "ight be e?pe#ted to flo& fro" a "aturing &orshiper%s life 0a#h event is a &orship e?perien#e be#ause in ea#h a ne& sub"ission to God%s purpose is learned and a ne& po&er in God%s kingdo" is e?er#ised Chapter @A4 "he e6ercise of life,/egetting power! God #alls Abraha" to a##ept the sign of #ir#u"#ision as a token of the

FUM LING FORWARD IN FAITH

!1

#ovenant bet&een God and hi" 9e does so at the pri#e of blood, pain and the a##eptan#e of a &orld &hi#h "o#ked the pra#ti#e' thereby presenting his body as a living sa#rifi#e unto God Dsee Ro" +58+,5E and paving the &ay for )saa#%s birth and the fulfill"ent of God%s pro"ise Chapter @B4 "he e6ercise of intercessory power! God relates to Abraha" the i"pending doo" of !odo" and Go"orrah, entrusting to this "an'of'#ovenant the possibility of beginning to learn the ruling faith inherent in inter#ession Abraha" steps out in hu"ility and boldness, and the God he &orships unveils 9is heart of "er#y and effe#ts a divine res#ue of the fe& redee"able inhabitants of a reprobated #ulture Chapter CD4 "he e6ercise of healing power! God ans&ers Abraha"%s inter#essory prayer for the healing of the &o"en of Abi"ele#h%s householdCa notable e?a"ple of Abraha" as one &ho fu"bles for&ard in faith /n the heels of his reverting to earlier fear and #o"pro"ise, repentan#e brings a release of great faith and po&er and opens the door to his "inistering a reversal of his sin%s #onse1uen#es 6his progression of a "an "oving fro" his first steps in faith to his per#eption of hi"self as an inter#essor for nations and as a "inister of God%s healing po&er is indi#ative of the fruit of &orship 6his fruit is not an a##idental by'produ#t but a pro#ess originating fro" the divine intent of God /ur fo#us on &orship as the God'given "eans to return "an to rule is si"ply and pra#ti#ally "anifest in Abraha", the father of our faith, &ho" every 7e& 6esta"ent believer is #alled on to e"ulate

WORSHIP&S HIGHEST DOMINION SURRENDER


But the glory of su#h a &ay of vi#tory and do"inion #annot be #o"pletely learned until &e #o"e to Abraha"%s final lesson in &orship )t is here that our greatest understanding of ruling and reigning &ith Christ o##ursC&hen &e #o"e to learn that the highest do"inion is gained through our surrender of everything &e hold dear God tested Abraha", saying8

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WORSHIP HIS MAJESTY

6ake no& your son, your only son )saa#, &ho" you love, and go to the land of *oriah, and offer hi" there as a burnt offering on one of the "ountains of &hi#h ) shall tell you DGen 5585E Abraha" &as #alled upon to sa#rifi#e his son to his GodCan a#t "ost of us in this day and age &ould #onsider hideous, even barbari# $hat God &as asking "ust have see"ed a perversion of the Lord%s very nature as Abraha" understood it 9is "ind &as probably reeling at first as he saddled his donkey for the Aourney, &ith reason%s thoughts s#rea"ing, *hy, God;= .id 1ou not promise this son to me; *ill 1ou now take from me my +oy; But the heart "atured through years of &orship #an 1uell the "ind tor"ented by one day%s tur"oil Abraha" kne& &hat kind of God he served and obeyed the Lord, not&ithstanding the frightening vision of his only son &rithing in death on a pile of &ood and surrounded by fla"es Abraha" ans&ered the #all to &orship and, at a pla#e #alled *oriah, God "et hi"8 6hen they #a"e to the pla#e of &hi#h God had told hi" And Abraha" built an altar there and pla#ed the &ood in orderJ and he bound )saa# his son and laid hi" on the altar, upon the &ood And Abraha" stret#hed out his hand and took the knife to slay his son But the Angel of the L/RD #alled to hi" fro" heaven and said, IAbraha", Abraha"HI !o he said, I9ere ) a" I And 9e said, IDo not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to hi"J for no& ) kno& that you fear God, sin#e you have not &ithheld your son, your only son, fro" *eI DGen 5583'+5E )t &as there that the Lord provided another sa#rifi#e, a ra" #aught by his horns in a thi#ket Abraha" gladly offered the ra" in pla#e of his son, tea#hing us that salvation #o"es by a substituteCa savior dying in our pla#e

FUM LING FORWARD IN FAITH

!3

Genesis 55 is a love story and a #ase study of a &orld heir entering into his largest inheritan#e8
6he story reveals God%s love for Abraha" 9e invites hi"

to enter the fello&ship of the Father, as one &ho loves and trusts enough to sa#rifi#e 9is !on

6he story reveals Abraha"%s love for God, refusing to give

voi#e to his doubts even &hen it appeared that God &as about to violate 9is o&n nature in re1uiring hu"an sa#rifi#e

6he story reveals )saa#%s love for Abraha", in his

sub"itted trust that his father &ould only obey a God &ho had the best interests of everyoneCin#luding )saa#C at heart

9ere is true do"inion 6his is &orship rising beyond "ere po&er into the fullest di"ensions of partnership &ith GodCinto Ithe fello&ship of 9is sufferings, being #onfor"ed to 9is deathI DPhil :8+-E 6he &orshiper "ay learn to sur"ount life%s obsta#les, over#o"e his o&n fu"bling hu"anity and "ove into the e?er#ise of po&er' &ith'God, but he "ust never let the 1uest for ruling &ith Christ be separated fro" &orship &hi#h a#kno&ledges dying &ith Christ 6hey "ust be knit together and kept in a balan#ed perspe#tive, be#ause our ruling &ith Christ al&ays flo&s fro" a partnership of dying &ith Christ And you need not be a religious e?pert or "ysti#al saint to rise to su#h a height A very hu"an Ifor&ard'fu"blerI #an 1ualifyCif he keeps &orshiping

CHAPTER 6

U7!9AC@L)7G >/UR FU6UR0

"hine eye diffused a :uick2ning ray, - woke, the dungeon flamed with light! %y chains fell off9 my heart was free, - rose, went forth and followed "hee!
C9ARL0! $0!L0>

Non se:uitur! I$hat &ould you rather, or go fishingKI Non se:uitur! I) al&ays thought you had pretty eyes, but isn%t the so##er tea" going to play to"orro&KI Non se:uitur! I@en #alled and said the &eather"an predi#ted

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rain today ) really loved playing "arbles &hen &e lived on Le?ington !treet I 7on se1uiturs 6hey%re those abrupt, illogi#al turns of thought and spee#h that have no apparent relationship to one anotherCre"arks that have no bearing on &hat has Aust been said Be#ause non se1uiturs are usually indi#ative of the s#atterbrained or the irrational, &e don%t find the" in the Bible But there is one pla#e &here it see"s that one o##urs )n the "iddle of a #onversation bet&een God and *oses, an e?#hange takes pla#e that defies logi#Cunless &e are ready to #hange our thinking about &orship 6he setting8 *ount !inaiCalso #alled 9orebCthe *ountain of God 6he o##asion8 6he #o""issioning of *oses at the burning bush to go into 0gypt and #o""and Pharaoh to release the 9ebre& slaves *oses asks, I$ho a" ) that ) should go to Pharaoh, and that ) should bring the #hildren of )srael out of 0gyptKI D0?od :8++E 6he Lord ans&ers, I) &ill #ertainly be &ith you And this shall be a sign to you that ) have sent you8 $hen you have brought the people out of 0gypt, you shall serve N&orshipO God on this "ountainI Dv +5E Read it again And listen! Luestion8 I$ho a" ) to atte"pt so great a progra" of deliveran#eKI Ans&er8 I) &ill be &ith you8 >ou bring the people here to &orship *e I 7on se1uiturK )t see"s like one, doesn%t itK *oses% 1uestion has to do &ith his 1ualifi#ations, but God%s ans&er has to do &ith the issue of &orship 6he e?#hange bet&een the Lord and *oses isn%t illogi#al, but the po&er in the logi# and the lesson it #ontains #annot be fir"ly grasped &ithout our #onfronting a #o""on proble" of perspe#tive $e all tend to la#k the essential vie&point, and our usual approa#h to the book of 0?odus de"onstrates the need

UNSHAC#LING YOUR FUTURE

!!

THE TROUBLE WITH THE TEN COMMANDMENTS


6o the #onte"porary believer "he "en Commandments is not only the de#alogue ins#ribed on tablets of stone but also the title of a "otion pi#ture )t is an ines#apable proble" that probably "ore people envision the 0?odus as portrayed by Ce#il B De*ille than as reported by *oses, the prophet of God 6he story%s dra"a serves as the ba#kdrop for an atte"pt by 9olly&ood%s spe#ial'effe#ts artists to re#reate the pheno"enal and the "ira#ulousCso "u#h grist for the s#reen&riter%s "ill But 0?odus al&ays ends in the "ovieland versions as "erely the story of )srael%s deliveran#e fro" slavery )t%s "ore than that8 0?odus is a book about the po&er and purpose of &orship ) &as first stru#k by the real issue of 0?odus &hen ) &as Aarred by the apparent non se1uitur &hen a be&ildered *oses e?presses doubt about his o&n 1ualifi#ations and God replies, IBring the people to this "ountain I *y first rea#tion &as, God &asn%t listening to %oses! But &hen ) prayed through the te?t, so"ething #li#ked and "y perspe#tive #hanged 6hrough God%s apparently in#ongruous response ) &as brought to an a&areness that here &as hidden the se#ret of God%s purpose for )srael and 9is key to their destiny 6he path&ay to 9is purpose &as the path&ay to &orship 6he &ay of deliveran#eCof unsha#kling their futureC&as not so "u#h an open sea as an a&aiting "ountain 6here they &ould hear fro" God and #o"e to kno& 9i" as they &orshiped 9i" a##ording to 9is &ill and 9is &ay Let%s take a fresh look at 0?odus fro" this vie&point

WORSHIP IS THE REAL ISSUE IN E*ODUS


I6he "ost dra"ati# #o"ing'out party in historyI "ay see" an irreverent des#ription of )srael%s deliveran#e under *oses% leadership, but it%s #ertainly an apt one <ust as a young &o"an of &ealthy parentage enters the so#ial s#ene &ith a splash of splendor, God shook the status 1uo of the an#ient &orld and

!8

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"ade a state"ent about 9is po&er and 9is people 9e not only drained the resour#es of the ri#hest "onar#hy of the ti"e, bringing 0gypt to its knees, but also the display of 9is "ira#ulous po&er had su#h an i"pa#t that four de#ades later nations still tre"bled at the "e"ory of 9is &orkings Dsee <osh 58+-E As thrilling and as ele#trifying as the flo& of events is in the first half of 0?odus, the sensation turns our attention fro" the real issue 0?odus is pri"arily a study in the po&er of &orship to release people, but it%s hard to se#ure that fo#us &ith a 9eston' like figure loo"ing above you /ur vision of &orship blurs before the onset of overpo&ering s#enes as a to&ering figure stret#hes his rod over the stor"'tossed sea, "ira#ulously splitting it apart $e envision the sa"e figure #o"ing do&n the side of !inai like a giant &ith a glo&ing fa#e, gripping stone tablets under one "us#ular ar", their engraving still stea"ing fro" the tou#h of God%s o&n finger 6he over&hel"ing e?plosiveness of the plagues and the &onders of God render it so"e&hat diffi#ult to see &orship at the #enter of 0?odus But it is $orship is the heart, the core, the issue, the key, the destiny, the center and a/o5e all else in this book Consider8 *orship is at the heart of *oses% #o""ission8 IBring the people here that they "ay &orship *e I 6heir release is for the purpose of allo&ing their &orship, and God%s pro"ise is to "eet the" &hen they do 9e is not only #alling the" forth to liberty, but he is also #alling the" to inti"a#y 9e is sending a deliverer not only to free the" but also to bring the" to 9i"self !in#e God enun#iates 9is desire so #learlyCto liberate 9is people that they "ight #o"e to kno& 9is loveCit is #lear that &orship is at the heart of the "atter *orship is at the core of the "essage the Lord told *oses to give to Pharaoh8 And you shall say to hi", I6he L/RD God of the 9ebre&s has "et &ith usJ and no&, please, let us go three days% Aourney into the &ilderness, that &e "ay sa#rifi#e to the L/RD our GodI D0?od :8+,E

UNSHAC#LING YOUR FUTURE

!9

Pharaoh reAe#ted that re1uest not only be#ause he &anted to retain the #onvenien#e of slaves but also be#ause he kne& that a people free to worship God can ne5er /e /ound /y earthly powers! Be#ause the spirit of the &orld &ill al&ays seek to retain oppressive po&er over God%s o&n, &orship is at the #ore of God%s "essage *orship is at issue in the po&er struggle bet&een Pharaoh and God 6he "onar#h%s &illful resistan#e to the Al"ighty%s de#lared purpose rested on his o&n refusal to honor God8 I$ho is the L/RD , that ) should obey 9is voi#eK ) do not kno& the L/RD , nor &ill ) let )srael goI D0?od ;85E But God &ould have e?alted Pharaoh as &ell as delivered )srael had he listened and obeyed8 For this purpose ) have raised you up, that ) "ay sho& *y po&er in you, and that *y na"e "ay be de#lared in all the earthI D0?od 38+=E Pharaoh had the opportunity to be#o"e a &orshiper of the Lord God, and had Pharaoh done so he "ight have be#o"e kno&n forever as the greatest e"an#ipator in history )nstead, he #hose to resist God and be#a"e a study in hardness of the heart and the losing "onar#h in one of history%s "ost devastating defeats )n deter"ining &hether God%s de#laration &ill bring a "an blessing or Audg"ent, the 1uestion &ill be resolved by his releasing of a people to &orship their God Dand &hether he &ill a#kno&ledge God as greater than hi"selfE $orship is at issue *orship is the key to )srael%s prote#tion fro" the final plague as &ell as to the pra#ti#al provision of nourish"ent for the first stage of the Aourney ahead of the" 6he sa#rifi#e of the Passover la"b rene&s the an#ient blood #ovenant in for#e sin#e Ada" )srael%s enslave"ent had doubtlessly redu#ed the fre1uen#y of or re"oved the pra#ti#e of sa#rifi#e #o"pletely *any had even given over to the 0gyptian syste"s of &orshipJ blood on their door&ays #ertainly subAe#ts the" to "o#kery But it also de#lares their faith and ensures their deliveran#e $orship is the key *orship is the destiny of this people Follo&ing their arrival at !inai, the Lord says8 >ou have seen &hat ) did to the 0gyptians, and ho& ) bore you on eagles% &ings and brought you to *yself 7o& therefore, if you &ill indeed obey *y voi#e and keep *y #ovenant, then you shall be a spe#ial treasure to

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*e above all peopleJ for all the earth is *ine And you shall be to *e a kingdo" of priests and a holy nation D0?od +38.'=E God%s obAe#tive in liberating the 9ebre& slaves, van1uishing the 0gyptians and bringing 9is people to !inai is to establish a spe#ial relationship8 I) brought you to *yself >ou shall be a spe#ial treasure to *e I $ithin this #ovenant relationship &ill unfold a national destinyCa priestly "inistry to the &orld 9ere is to rise a Ikingdo" of priestsICthe one people on the earth &ho &ill not only &orship God for the"selves but &ho &ill also serve as priests to lead others to do the sa"e $orship is their destiny *orship is at the center of their lives 6he "any "onths at !inai are given to the stru#turing of a "agnifi#ent "obile &orship #enter8 the 6aberna#le )t is not a great hall for the asse"bling of "ultitudes but a pla#e of personal en#ounter &here &orshipers "ay bring their #ovenant offerings IAnd let the" "ake *e a san#tuary Na sa#red pla#eO, that ) "ay d&ell a"ong the" And there ) &ill "eet &ith you, and ) &ill speak &ith youI D0?od 5;8,,55E 6he arrange"ent of their tribes lo#ated three #lans ea#h to the north, east, south and &est, &ith the 6aberna#le in the "iddle of the" all God 9i"self dire#ted their tribal arrange"ent so that &orship &as at the #enter *orship is o5er and a/o5e all in the #alendar the Lord outlined for the ne&ly enfran#hised so#iety of for"er slaves 6heir #alendar &as built upon &eekly sabbaths of &orship, "onthly ne& "oons of &orship and seasonal feasts of #elebrative &orship $ith this, the year is t&i#e highlighted by spe#ial IbeginningsI8 the Passover to #o""e"orate their deliveran#e and the Day of Atone"ent to sustain the fo#us of their attention to&ard holiness of heart and life Further, the invitation of their offerings of gold, silver, Ae&els and other pre#ious obAe#ts for the building of the 6aberna#le, along &ith their offerings of "eal, oil and ani"als, all for" an essential part of their redee"ing fello&ship &ith God 6here is no part of their life unaffe#ted by &orship, and &hen the 6aberna#le &as set in pla#e, God #ro&ned it all 6he glory of the Lord filled the 6aberna#le, and as they &ould travel the #loud of God rose above, both for their dire#tion and their prote#tion $orship &as over and above all

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REFORMING OUR PERSPECTIVE


*y personal #onfrontation &ith the real issue in 0?odus led to the above #on#lusions $hat ) had previously vie&ed as a non se1uitur &as the result of "y orientation to think of serving God as so"ething ) did rather than so"ething ) &as to /e)that working was servi#e rather than worshiping! A fresh analysis of 0?odus had outlined the relationship bet&een deliveran#e and &orshipCthe se#ond being the key to the first /n#e ) #a"e to understand that, God%s purpose for 9is redee"ed people #a"e #learer8 IAnd you shall be to *e a kingdo" of priests and a holy nationI D0?od +38=E God had intended )srael to be#o"e a kingdo" of priests 9is original plan &as that they be#o"e a nation of &orship leaders, all of the" helping and tea#hing the peoples of the &orld to understand 9is heart and &ays and to &orship 9i" 6he substan#e and style of their &orship &as intended to sho& all "ankind the &ay to God, and therefore &orship &as the intended vehi#le for fulfilling their "ission of evangeli(ingCthat is, bringing people into the light of God%s love 6his &as never reali(ed 6he in#ident of the golden #alf dissolved this plan 6he breakdo&n o##urred at the foot of the sa"e "ountain &here God had #alled 9is people to learn of their purpose 6he goal had been for a whole nation to serve as a priesthood to the nations! 7o&, &ith sin seeping in at the edges, *oses #alls out for repentan#e8 I$ho is on the Lord%s sideKI Dsee 0?od :585=E 6he plan #ould have been reinstated, but sadly and signifi#antly, only one tribe ans&ers the #all As a result of Levi%s response, the Levites alone be#a"e the priestly tribe 6he sad result is that an entire nation intended for global priesthood is redu#ed to a sinning people, barely able to sustain their o&n spiritual life A self'serving #y#le is set in "otion 6hey end up "erely "anaging their o&n &orship instead of leading the &orld to the &orship of its Creator $orship &as the "eans of their deliveran#e $orship &as to be their reali(ed destinyCthe key to thro&ing off their #hains and unsha#kling their future But the glory that "ight have been, never &as )t &ould have

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to &ait for people of another era &ho &ould learn fro" the "istakes of their an#estors and finally unleash the highest purposes of God

THE NEW PRIESTHOOD


6he 7e& 6esta"ent see"s to #hurn &ith state"ents about a people &hose unfulfilled destiny had not yet been reali(ed <esus des#ribes God%s #ontinued sear#h for a people &ho &ill &orship 9i" Iin spirit and truthI D<ohn .85.E 6i"e and again, Paul de#lares that a ne& era a&aits the Chur#hCan unfolding se#ret of divine destiny, #onfounding hell and populating heaven 6he pro"ises set forth in the 7e& 6esta"ent indi#ate a people &hose &orship invites the kingdo" of God in a present visitation of po&er and &hose "inistry is to de#lare the kingdo" of God as an eternal hope 6&o verses see" to e"bra#e the prospe#t of destiny fulfilled at long last8 7o& all these things happened to the" as e?a"ples, and they &ere &ritten for our ad"onition, upon &ho" the ends of the ages have #o"e D+ Cor +-8++E And all these, having obtained a good testi"ony through faith, did not re#eive the pro"ise, God having

$/R!9)P )! /UR *0A7! /F D0L)V0RA7C0 C690 @0> 6/ 69R/$)7G /FF /UR C9A)7! A7D U7!9AC@L)7 G /UR FU6UR0

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provided so"ething better for us, that they should not be "ade perfe#t apart fro" us D9eb ++8:3,.-E 6he first dire#ts us to learn fro" )srael%s &ilderness errorsJ the se#ond re"inds us that the ne& #ovenant holds forth possibilities in the 9oly !pirit that &ere not present under the old 6he first te?t shouts, IDon%t fall prey to the lust and #onfusion that ruins the priestly role of the &hole peopleIJ the se#ond says, I$el#o"e the 9oly !pirit%s ind&elling and overflo&ing to energi(e your life and e?pand your &orship I $ith these dire#tives in "ind, today%s Chur#h #ould begin so"ething refor"ational $e #ould begin to revive the destiny God intended for 9is delivered people long ago 9is #all and "ission for a kingdo" of priests is still "eant to be reali(ed )ts fulfill"ent si"ply hinges upon our &ill to let a refor"ation in &orship transfor" our thinking and lifestyle

THE WEAKNESS OF WORSHIP


6his refor"ation began for "e &hen ) started to look at &orship differently ) &as for#ed to a#kno&ledge that ) had not seen &orship8
at the heart of our #o""ission, as it &as *oses%J at the #ore of our approa#h to the &orld%s po&er syste"J at issue in our struggle &ith prin#ipalities and po&ersJ as the key to our personal deliveran#e and destinyJ as the goal of our being and be#o"ingJ as the #entral fo#us of our #hur#h%s lifeJ or as being over and above all in pra#ti#al, sa#rifi#ial &ays

) &as &illing to allo& &orship a pla#e ) &as &illing to a#kno&ledge its need and even its desirability But at the botto" line ) found ) had to struggle &ith "y #onvi#tions about the relative po&er of &orship in ter"s of #hanging, rea#hing, #onfronting or sa5ing the &orld ) no& #onfess ) had a great deal "ore #onfiden#e in evangelis" strategies and logi# in prea#hing than ) did in the "ira#le of

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&orship 6hus, ) vie&ed &orship "ore as a part rather than as the point of the Chur#h%s being $orship &as the gentle lady &e es#orted on !unday "orning, but our syste"s &ere the business heavy&eights &e depended on to get the Aob done Let%s fa#e it 9istori#ally, seldo" has &orship been #onsidered to be the Chur#h%s strength, let alone its front line of po&er $orship &ill never "ake points in the &orld syste" 6he &orld operates on the bra&n of bu#ks, bodies and bo"bs But God operates on the po&er of praise, sa#rifi#e and hu"ility of heart 9e &orks &ith sub"itted souls, singing saints and !pirit'filled san#tuaries During the intervening years sin#e "y o&n #onfrontation &ith the need to prioriti(e &orship, ) have dis#ussed this belief &ith "any people )%" no& of the opinion that any reti#en#e to&ard a refor"ation in &orship isn%t "erely be#ause of a la#k of perspe#tive ) &onder ho& "any of us si"ply fear the possibility that if &e allo&ed our &orship to be transfor"ed, God%s po&er "ight a#tually "anifest itself in a &ay &e &ould be unable to #ontrol But &e "ust let go $here on#e the Lord sent 9is deliverer to Pharaoh &ith the "essage ILet *y people go,I ) believe today he &ould say to 9is Chur#h, I*y people, let goHI Any Pharaoh in our o&n souls "ust be slain, for )srael%s e?odus speaks to today%s Chur#h, saying that &orship is the key to unsha#kling our future People &ho are led to &orship God &ill be delivered to reali(e their destiny 6he path that )srael &alked before a&aits those &ho &ill test its full potential8 Let God2s people put worship at the center of their li5es, and the glory of God will fill the house where they gather! $hen it does, others &ill behold God in their "idst and &ill be dra&n to 9i" $e "ust break free of the notion that today%s I0?odus people,I the Chur#h, #an be#o"e truly po&erful by strength of ar" or hu"an &isdo" *oses% "urder of the 0gyptian hastened nothing of God%s deliveran#e And &hile golden #alves heed the &orld%s tastes in &orship styles, a people of priestly kingdo"

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po&er &ill never be established that &ay *ake no "istake, these lessons point to &orship as our strength ) "ust reAe#t the idea that either "y strength D*oses% undue (ealE or "y style D#alves based on 0gyptian "odelsE is the key to influen#e and a##o"plish"ent $orship is &hat unlo#ks the doors to the highest release of Christ%s purpose a"ong 9is people $orship &el#o"es God%s presen#eJ and therein the glory of the Lord is revealed, and Iall flesh Neveryday hu"an beingsO shall see it togetherI D)sa .-8;E

WHEN FLESH BEHOLDS GLORY


I) &alked in and the instant ) stepped through the door ) kne& ) had #o"e ho"e I I) &as sitting there surrounded by the singing, and &hen you gave the invitation ) dis#overed ) &as raising "y hand in response I I) listened as the &orship ti"e #ontinuedC) kne& none of the songs but ) #ouldn%t stop #rying Pea#e filled "y soul be#ause ) kne& God &as in this pla#e I I*y &ife and ) had #o"e as a last'dit#h effort at keeping our "arriage together $e #ouldn%t e?plain &hy, but the presen#e of the Lord &as so strong &e &ere #hanged in our attitude to&ard 9i" and to&ard ea#h other I Re"arks like these fill letters to "y offi#e and #o""ents fro" our #ongregation 6hey are #ase studies in people seeing their futures unsha#kled 6hey si"ply arrived to find a &orshiping #hur#hCan approa#h to "inistry ) had on#e thought too &eak to be &orkable But even though the &eakness of for" and style see"ed defi#ient as a "eans of i"pressing either visitors or "e"bers, the po&er of God infused the pla#e to &hi#h they had #o"e 9u"an &isdo", skill or a##o"plish"ent &as not the pivotal "eans of se#uring results that unsha#kled people and released a &hole #hur#h to be#o"e &hat God intended Could this be &hat God "eant &hen 9e said to *oses, I) &ill have a people &ho is a nation of priests to the &orldIK Could these responses be the end result of &hat God "eant &hen 9e said, IBring the people to &orship "e and ) &ill lead

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the" to a land of fulfill"ent and a life of purposeIK ) think so And even though ) had thought God%s ans&er to *oses% 1uestion &as a non se1uitur, ) dis#overed that 9is ans&er, IBring the people to &orship *e,I &as the right ans&er, even if it defied hu"an logi# $orship usually does

CHAPTER !

R/>AL BR)DG0 BU)LD)7G


"he ele5enth commandment is, <"hou shalt not sweat it=<
R /> 9 ) C @ !

6here is so"ething about the &ord IpriestI that see"s to unsettle "ost people )f they%re "aterialists, IpriestI see"s entirely irrelevant )f they%re Protestants, IpriestI see"s #ategori#ally Catholi# )f they%re lay"en, IpriestI see"s Ibeyond "e I

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6o <oe Anybody, the "an on the street, the &ord IpriestI "ay evoke a spread of feelings fro" suspi#ion to reveren#eC fro" preAudi#e to respe#t For others IpriestI "ay a&aken "e"ories or e?perien#es that rene& the highest estee" or the deepest frustration 6he idea of a priest, in "any "inds, leans to&ard the i"pra#ti#al and the "ysti#al, #onAuring up notions of other' &orldliness or virtual passivity to&ard everyday realities All that, in spite of pontife6! (ontife6 is the Latin &ord for priest 6he beauty of the &ord is that by its a#tual derivation it "akes #lear that priest is an a#tive idea, its history revealed in a &ord of positive and po&erful purpose 6he real "eaning lies in the original definition of Ipontife?I8 Ibridge builder I 6he ety"ology of the &ord under'girds su#h 0nglish &ords as IponsI Da bridgeE, IpontageI Dthe toll for #rossing the bridgeE and IpontoonI Da floating bridgeE ) d&ell on all this to establish a point8 Priesthood &as al&ays "eant to be so"ething pra#ti#alCto help us #ross over, or to get fro" here to there 6hat%s one of the reasons IpriesthoodI &as one of the fighting &ords of the Refor"ation 6he Refor"ers re#ogni(ed that the priesthood had be#o"e a barri#ade to God rather than a bridge Ca blo#kage instead of a blessing 6he Chur#h%s oppressive #ontrol over the laity had bred horrible #onfusion and bondage 6he #onfessional &as #orrupted through "anipulation of the "ultitude, and sin &as li#ensed through the sale of indulgen#es 6he tru"pet #all to rally every believer to the a&areness of his o&n priestly role before God &as based on the great Refor"ation te?t, I6he Aust shall live by faithI DRo" +8+4E 6hat a&akening re#overed the truth of the priesthood of the believer 6he privilege of a##ess to God at a personal level &as affir"ed in Christ as people redis#overed their right to #o"e to God &ith no need for a hu"an "ediator of divine blessing Dsee + 6i" 58;E 6he bridge'building idea in IpriestI &as registered again Priesthood &as on#e again vie&ed as a personal, pra#ti#al privilege $ith praise to God for &hat that era re#overed, ) believe &e are ripe for a ne& refor"ation #on#erning the believer%s priestly "inistry ) see an a&akening about to e?tend the pra#ti#al

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potential of our priestly fun#tion as believers Five hundred years ago the issue &as relationship)restoring personal a##ess to God 6oday it is worship)revealing the potential in our praises /efore God

PRIESTS WHO REIGN


6he $ord of God dire#tly links the t&o offi#es of king and priest, "erging the" into one and #alling every believer to fun#tion in that Aoint role8 6o 9i" &ho loved us and &ashed us fro" our sins in 9is o&n blood, and has "ade us kings and priests to 9is God and Father, to 9i" be glory and do"inion forever and ever A"en DRev +8;,=E 6he i"portan#e of our being a&akened to this dual #alling' priestly kings and kingly priestsCis that it pla#es &orship at the heart of God%s progra" for restoring "an%s do"inion /ur role as &orshiping priests is the "eans to our role as reigning kings8 IBut you are a #hosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, 9is o&n spe#ial people, that you "ay pro#lai" the praises of 9i" &ho #alled you out of darkness into 9is "arvelous lightI D + Pet 583E 6he &ords Ikingdo"I and IroyalI in this te?t #learly indi#ate a regal aspe#t to the priestly "inistry of &orship 6hus, at the #ore of our life in Christ is a su""ons to re#ogni(e that our do"inion in 9i" dire#tly relates to our &orship of 9i" God%s original plan that )srael be#o"e Ia kingdo" of priestsI D0?od +38=ECa plan that &as short'#ir#uited &hen 9is people reAe#ted it at !inaiCis no& able to be fulfilled in the Chur#h 6he priestly "ission to lead the nations of the &orld to God by be#o"ing a people of &orship has been reissued 6he po&er of &orship to a##o"plish God%s &ill is only beginning to be freshly understood 6oday%s ne& refor"ation #o"prises a people Aust beginning to learn that @ingdo" do"inionCthe rule of God%s al"ightinessCis introdu#ed into life situations and settings as God responds to the &orship of 9is people8 For the eyes of the L/RD run to and fro throughout

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the &hole earth, to sho& 9i"self strong on behalf of those &hose heart is loyal to 9i" D5 Chron +=83E God%s response to our &orship is not a #ase of 9is de"onstrating 9is po&er Aust be#ause &e "ake 9i" feel good $orship is not the stroking of a Auvenile divine ego, nor is it the pra#ti#e of a priestly "agi# eli#iting "arvelous, #os"i# po&ers $hat the priest'king role of &orship does do is build a bridge bet&een heaven%s throne and earth%s need $orship &el#o"es God%s rule into "an%s #ir#u"stan#es Be#ause &e the redee"ed are privileged to be the ones e?er#ising the a#tion &hi#h issues that &el#o"e, a regal role is as#ribed to us by God 9i"self )t is again as it &as in the beginning8 *an%s assign"ent to rule "ay be regained be#ause his responsibility to &orship has been re#lai"ed 6he early believers &ere first to dis#over the priority of &orship as the key to re#overing &orld do"inion under God%s &ill 6hey &ere at &orship &hen the first great breakthrough in global evangelis" took pla#e8 7o& in the #hur#h that &as at Antio#h there &ere #ertain prophets and tea#hers As they "inistered to the Lord and fasted, the 9oly !pirit said, I7o& separate to *e Barnabas and !aul for the &ork to &hi#h ) have #alled the" I 6hen, having fasted and prayed, and laid hands on the", they sent the" a&ay DA#ts +:8+':E 6his thrusting forth of those t&o "en fro" Antio#h is as striking an event as any in the !#riptures )t shaped the &orld forever and set the dire#tion of history%s flo& And it o##asioned the turning of a #orner into an era of @ingdo" e?pansion that #ontinues to this day 9o&ever, &hat usually goes unnoti#ed is the fa#t that this s"all group%s strategy for global "issionary enterprise &as not the produ#t of hu"an ingenuity )t &as born si"ply as hu"ble believers sought God in &orship, fulfilling a priest%s "inistry des#ribed sin#e Aaron%s ti"e as I"inistering to the LordI Dsee 0(ek ..8+;, for e?a"pleE 7o& "ay be the hour &hen the Chur#h "ost needs this refor"ing truth $ith the te#hnologi#al, "edia and "e#hani#al resour#es available, there is a greater te"ptation than ever for spiritual

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leaders and #ongregations to atte"pt to a##o"plish the &ork of God by the resour#es of "an $e have al&ays had a frightening tenden#y to "e#hani(e spiritual enterprise in our (eal to a#hieve "ore for God%s kingdo" 9o&ever, so"ething else is being a##entuated by the 9oly !pirit today 9e is dire#ting our appoint"ent to priestly &orship for the release of @ingdo" advan#e"ent A ne& #ontingent of priests is being enlistedC e5ery believer is being #alled ane& to dyna"i# &orship Ans&ering that #all ought not be fearedJ this is not a for#ed retire"ent fro" sensible, pra#ti#al, businesslike behavior 6he Priestly "ission to &orship is not to resign responsible duty but to a#kno&ledge that &hatever &e seek to do for God #annot e?#eed &hat &e are to /e before 9i" $hat 9e has #alled us to be first is priestsCpraisersH )n 9i" also &e have obtained an inheritan#e, being predestined a##ording to the purpose of 9i" &ho &orks all things a##ording to the #ounsel of 9is &ill, that &e first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of 9is glory D0ph +8++,+5E >ou also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sa#rifi#es a##eptable to God through <esus Christ D + Pet 58;E )t is diffi#ult, &ithout see"ing rather "ysti#al, to elaborate on ho& the bridge'building "inistry of priestly &orship and praise is the "ost pra#ti#al thing today%s Chur#h #an learn !o"eone reading this book is sure to think ) a" #alling for "isty' eyed &orship to repla#e #lear'headed thinking 6hat #an happen, of #ourse, but it isn%t God%s &ay and it #ertainly isn%t "y point 6hrough &orship &e a##ess the finest of everything, for &hen &e &orship, a route bet&een the invisible and the visible is established $hen God invades the s#ene of our praise and visits us &ith 9is gra#e and po&er, 9is &orking does not overlook the obvious8
$orship is not a substitute for the tea#hing and prea#hing

of the $ord )t does pre#ede it, ho&ever, and so"eti"es

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WORSHIP HIS MAJESTY

is ent&ined &ith it $orship e?pands the possibilities of prea#hing be#ause it establishes an at"osphere of responden#y to God%s &ill 6he revelation of the inspired 9oly !#riptures is ignited to life8 illu"inated and unveiled, the truth lives a"ong usH
6he kind of &orship )%" talking

$/R!9)P )! GAR70R)7G A 9ARV0!6H

about is not an atte"pt to es#ape fro" attention to ad"inistrative pra#ti#ality or "undane responsibility !till, &hen &e learn to fra"e our business day in &orship, dis#overing the i"portan#e of pre#eding all &e do &ith praise Das opposed to a 1ui#k bless usI prayerE, &e &ill find that a re"arkable i"prove"ent in effi#ien#y #an be reali(edH

) think a broader a&areness of the believer%s priesthood in worship is a fulfill"ent of #ertain /ld 6esta"ent prophe#ies given by 0(ekiel and <ere"iah

DON&T SWEAT IT
I6hou shalt not s&eat itHI ) #hu#kled at the pun#hline given by the voi#e on the phone 6he setup 1uestion had been posed by a fello& pastor8 I9ave you heard the 0leventh Co""and"entKI Roy 9i#ks and ) had been talking about our Aoyous e?perien#es sin#e both our #ongregations &ere gro&ing so "ira#ulouslyChis in 0ugene, /regon,

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and "ine in !outhern California $hat hu"bled us both &as ho& it had all o##urred so rapidly and so easily, &ithout pro"otion or fanfare on our parts $e &ere very #ons#ious of the fa#t that a rene&al in &orship &as at the heart of this gro&th 6hat &as the #onte?t of his I0leventh Co""and"entI #ra#k )t &as a dire#t referen#e to our "utual #on#ern that &e not get in God%s &ay /ur ba#kground and e?perien#e in#lined us both to&ard energeti# pro"otionalis" But having begun to find a better &ayCGod%s &ayHC&e felt #autious that neither of us be#o"e even inadvertently guilty of substituting Is&eatI for the priestly servi#e of praise to God Roy%s re"ark &as derived fro" an e?pli#it dire#tive that God gave 0(ekiel )t #on#erned the #lothing to be &orn by those priests &ho &ould serve God%s 6e"ple at a future day8 I6hey shall not #lothe the"selves &ith anything that #auses s&eatI D0(ek ..8+,E Co""entators differ &idely on the "eaning and ti"ing of 0(ekiel%s predi#tions of a final 6e"ple to be built unto God in the last ti"es 9o&ever, none pree"pts a present fulfill"ent of the prophet%s vision in its i""ediate, spiritual sense 6he strea" of blessing that 0(ekiel sa& bursting fro" under the 6e"ple threshold is #learly a fore#ast of a great river of refreshing at the last ti"es !o"e students believe it is one of the te?ts <esus &as alluding to as 9e spoke of the breaking forth in Irivers of living &aterI &hen 9e &ould #o"e and fill every believer &ith the 9oly !pirit Dsee 0(ek .48+'=J <ohn 48:4':3E <ere"iah elaborates the sa"e #on#ept of a &orld&ide di"ension of blessingCa flo&ing together of people in praise at a great future ti"e of visitation8 6herefore they shall #o"e and sing in the height of Mion, strea"ing to the goodness of the L/RD their souls shall be like a &ell'&atered garden, and they shall sorro& no "ore at all D<er :+8+5E )n 7e& 6esta"ent ter"s, the referen#e to Mion does not re1uire a pilgri"age to <erusale" 6he &ords of 0(ekiel and <ere"iah #learly and bibli#ally relate to today, as verified by the &ay the &riter of 9ebre&s pla#es e5ery believer in Mion e5ery time &e &orship8 IFor you have not #o"e to N!inaiO But you have #o"e to *ount Mion and to the #ity of the living God, the heavenly

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<erusale" +58+,'5.E

to <esus the *ediator of the ne& #ovenantI D9eb

6his prophesied priestly a&akening &hi#h &e are seeing today is so"ething of a very real refor"ation and is o##asioning a breakthrough in "inistry and in spiritual lives 6he 9oly !pirit of God is sho&ing us the &ay to "ove all "inistry beyond "ere a#tivitiesCthose s&eat'generating pursuits of fruitless tradition and soul'&earying #hur#h"anship

MUCH WORK, MUCH WORSHIP


) &as so stirred on this the"e that the 9oly !pirit gave "e a po&erful analogy &ith &hi#h to e?hort our #ongregation8 God has given us much work to do as a people 6herefore, our fore"ost task is to be#o"e a people of much worship! $orship "ust precede all, and all "ust pro#eed &ith &orship Bibli#al ter"inology #alls a #ongregation a Ibody,I and as a body &e &ould be &ise to pursue our "ission in the light of a pra#ti#al point related to IbodiesI8 Bodies perspire )t has nothing to do &ith sinJ it%s Aust our physi#al nature But ) think that suggests a lesson about &orship Chur#h bodies tend to labor &ith perspiration' produ#ing earnestness 6hat%s no sin either But before all our bodies, &orship is the fragran#e &ith &hi#h &e "ust #over ourselves <ust as a hu"an body appropriately prepares itself &ith #olognes, deodorants and perfu"es, lest the unpleasantness of the natural odor produ#ed by &orking #auses the body to be#o"e obAe#tionable, so the Body of the Chur#h "ust pre#ede its God'appointed tasks &ith the supernaturally s&eet savor and in#ense of &orship )t%s our only se#urity against the s"ell of the flesh tainting the at"osphere &herein God seeks to display 9is glory $orship is basi# to the "ost rapid advan#e"ent of the kingdo" of God )t is #entral be#ause @ingdo" po&er is never generated by the energy of the flesh, but rather it is released by the po&er of the 9oly !pirit 6he priestly "inistry of the believer

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is #ru#ial and ne#essary be#ause our do"inion as kings rises fro" our &orship as priests, and be#ause it "akes roo" for God%s "ira#le po&er &ithout leaving a pla#e for flesh to rush to seek the glory )t &el#o"es the 9oly !pirit%s distribution of gifts &hile avoiding Corinthian #arnality or #onfusion As &e gro& in our grasp of God%s $ord, &e are fueling the fires of a refor"ation in &orshipCa re#ognition that &hat began nearly five #enturies ago has not e?hausted the ri#hness of the "eaning inherent in the &ords Ithe priesthood of the believer I $ith the ne& a&akening to priestly "inistry, Christians every&here are opening up to allo& for a bibli#al release in &orship As they do, it see"s a ne& era of evangelis" is beginning to take pla#e $orship is garnering a harvestH
Leighton Ford des#ribed his a"a(e"ent at a dis#overy he

"ade in )ndia, &here unbelievers &ere opening their ho"es at the re1uest of Christians Ithat &e "ight use your house for a &orship servi#e I $ith that re1uest, ho"es opened out of interest and #uriosity, &ith the results that "any have re#eived the gospel But the a"a(ing thing &as that their readiness to do so &as on the basis of their "erely seeing Christians &orshiping the Lord >ork, 0ngland, has e"ployed an unusual &orship ta#ti# !he has often led groups of the #ongregation%s #hildren through the park near their #hur#h, dancing their praise to GodH As a result, "any outsiders have been i""ediately attra#ted to the #hur#h servi#eCeven as the #hildren dan#ed in #hildlike abandon /n#e there, the visitors e?perien#ed the #ongregation at &orship and &ere led to salvation streets of A"sterda", &here the Aaded tastes of the &orldly &ise, #arnally sated and intelle#tually defiant have proven resistant to the #lai"s of the gospel >et as &orshipers si"ply lifted their voi#es in song, hearts have "elted before God as the 9oly !pirit invaded the "arketpla#e &here &orship had prepared a pla#e for 9is &orkings

*rs David $atson, &ife of the late beloved re#tor in

>outh $ith A *ission has taken &orship tea"s into the

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)n our o&n #ongregation, there have been fre1uent

o##asions &hen ) have follo&ed an e?tended period of &orship and praise &ith a si"ple invitation to re#eive Christ )t is not un#o""on to e?perien#e a do(en or "ore people at a ti"e opening up to the love of God and be#o"ing established in ChristCdra&n by the 9oly !pirit &orking through the spirit of &orship

6he re"arkable thing about these e?a"ples is that they do not involve espe#ially skilled perfor"an#es /f #ourse, the "usi#ians pra#ti#ed and the dan#ing #hildren rehearsedJ but these o##asions did not feature the unusually gifted as, for e?a"ple, at a gospel "usi# #on#ert As valid as the latter "ay be in evangelis", that is not &hat ) a" des#ribing here ) a" talking about the sheer po&er of praise and &orship to introdu#e the rule of God%s kingdo" po&erCthat thereby hearts are tou#hed at deep di"ensions, and salvation and deliveran#e are "ade "anifest

PRIESTS AND KINGS AT HOME


Believers are beginning to learn the po&er of &orship &hen applied to the everyday routine of their personal lives and #ir#u"stan#es 6his is not only #ontributing to the rise of ho"es filled &ith a holy happiness, but it is also resulting in ho"es &here the presen#e of God%s kingdo" #ro&ds out the efforts of hell to erode pea#e and the unity of fa"ilies Chu#k &as attending one of the *en%s Gro&th !e"inars &e #ondu#t ea#h "onth for the gentle"en of our #ongregation ) had taught on the po&er of praise as a "an%s "eans for e?er#ising his priestly role as spiritual leader of his ho"e ) based "y talks on God%s instru#tions to Abraha" to &alk through the length and breadth of the land pro"ised hi" Dsee Gen +:8+4E ) proposed that as Abraha"%s spiritual sons, &e should do the sa"e thing I9o& about &alking the boundaries of your property, ho&ever large or s"all it "ay beKI ) suggested IAs the priest and leader of your fa"ily, sing the praise of the Lord as you do it $el#o"e the rule of 9is kingdo" to reign over all and throughout your household I Chu#k &ent ho"e and shared the tea#hing &ith his &ife,

ROYAL RIDGE UILDING

9!

<udy, and they de#ided to take the si"ple truth in the literal &ay ) had proposed8 to apply it &ith &orshiping faith to their situation 6hey had been having a very real proble" &ith one of their teenage daughters and had rea#hed the end of their o&n ability to deal &ith the situation 6he ne?t day Chu#k rose before daylight, not &anting his &alking the boundaries of their lot to be seen and thought foolish or superstitious by their neighbors $ith songful praise and &orship, he #ir#led the peri"eter of his lot, believing that God%s ti"eless &ays apply today ILater that day,I <udy said, I&hile ) &as &orking in the kit#hen, ) felt the strongest pro"pting to go to @aty%s roo" As ) &alked do&n the hall, praying for her, ) felt dire#ted to open the top right'hand dra&er of her dresser and rea#h to the ba#k, beneath the things in the dra&er ) did so and &ithout probing at allCsi"ply doing as ) felt dire#tedC"y hand #a"e upon a #ellophane bag $hen ) re"oved it, ) &as sho#ked )t #ontained "ariAuana I $ithout detailing the story further, the thrilling out#o"e #entered on @aty%s response that evening after s#hool &hen Chu#k and <udy #onfronted her !he began &eeping and e?pressing her gratitude to God for leading her "o" to the pa#kage I*o" Dad >ou #an%t kno& ho& happy ) a" this happenedH >ou kno& )%ve never done anything like this, and ) didn%t &ant to no& ) kno& )%ve been giving you trouble but not this bad I/ne of the kids at s#hool gave "e that bag to get "e to #onsider trying it 0ven though ) didn%t, ) did keep it ) kne& it &as all &rongJ but in "y rebellion ) thought that if ) kept it available, ) "ight de#ide later to risk it I Bet&een sobs she &el#o"ed her parents% prayers &ith her as she #onfessed this and other sins /n the spot she returned to an obedient &alk &ith Christ For Chu#k and <udy%s part, it is si"ply a de"onstration of the po&er of &orship and praise &hen introdu#ed into the ho"e )s this kind of thing superstitionK Coin#iden#eK Fanati#is"K 7ot at allH 7ot &hen the spiritual intent of the old #ovenant%s priestly "inistry has been transferred to 7e& 6esta"ent believers as &e%ve studied

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)f Aaron%s bearing the fa"ily na"es of the tribes upon his shoulders before the Lord every day held inter#essory signifi#an#e &ith God then Dsee 0?od 5,8+5E, the glory of the 7e& Covenant holds at least as "u#h for those &ho #o"e &ith &orship and na"e their fa"ily daily before the heavenly throne )f Aaron%s rushing &ith in#ense into the "idst of the plague of Audg"ent a#tually stopped its spread Dsee 7u" +=8.=';-E, it%s not unlikely or presu"ptuous to e?pe#t today that the in#ense of God%s people at prayer and &orship #ould effe#t a reversal of the destru#tion ripping #ities and nations apart 6oday, the refor"ation truth of the priesthood of the believer is being broadened and heightened )t is e?panding &orship as the #on#ept is understoodCbuilt on the solid ground of God%s $ord *ore and "ore are #o"ing to relish and respond to the &ealth of "eaning in their priestly fun#tion, as praise and &orship are being applied &ith priestly effe#tiveness today $orship has the po&er to penetrate hearts, for the #hildlike beauty and authenti#ity of true &orship bypasses resistant "inds and tou#hes souls &ith the tender reality of God%s presen#e $orship has the ability to neutrali(e the po&er of de"oni# atta#k upon the people of God, for &herever the spirit of praise resides, God is enthroned and neither flesh nor devil #an su##essfully perpetuate its designs 6he ne& refor"ation in &orship is advan#ing 6he royal priesthood of the believer in Christ is beginning to a##o"plish &hat it &as ordained to do8 e?tend God%s rule through &orship 6his is bridge buildingCspanning the li"its of "an%s #ir#u"stan#e and &ith &orship &el#o"ing the entry of God%s unli"ited rulership )t%s a ne& govern"ent bringing the !pirit of life into a de#aying &orld 6his refor"ation is #ausing a revolution &hi#h, si"ilar to another one before it, is seeking Ito se#ure the blessings of liberty for ourselves and for our posterity I 6hose &ords &ere &ritten by "en &illing to e?perien#e a revolution in order to e?tend that blessing 6he ne& refor"ation in &orship invites us to do the sa"e

CHAPTER 8

!A*%! !/7G /F R070$AL%! $A>!


,

Let all the past /e /ut a holy prelude, Lord, "o the mighty fire and power 1ou now outpour on me! 'll,consuming flame come and o5erflow me, 'nd let "hy Kingdom come unto me this hour!

6he "ost unsung hero of the /ld 6esta"ent is !a"uel 9e bridged t&o erasCfro" the Audges to the kings 9e lived in purity &hile a de#lining priest bred a de#adent household 9e i""ortali(ed obedien#e in the "idst of a relativisti# so#iety 9e ordained the king destined to sire the *essiah and

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foreshado& 9is rule !a"uel is a study in si"ple obedien#e &ithout fanfare, of #o""it"ent &ithout apparent re&ard, of faithfulness to duty &hen no one else "u#h understood or #ared !a"uel is a study in the &ays of transitionCthe &ays of rene&al

SAM&S SONG
9annah &as tortured by barrenness, the affli#tion of #hildlessness that #aused any an#ient 9ebre& &o"an to doubt her &orth and &onder about her favor &ith God 6hough &ell loved by her husband, 0lkanah, she longed for a #hild 6his brought her near despair, and as so often is the #ase &hen hu"an beings turn to God in their plight, that despair begat a song of hope )t began &ith prayer and be#a"e "usi# 9er prayer for a #hild &as ans&ered, and upon 9annah%s ne?t visit to the 6aberna#le, no& situated in !hiloh sin#e )srael had entered the land nearly :-- years before, she &orshiped the Lord and said8 *y heart reAoi#es in the L/RDJ *y horn is e?alted in the L/RD ) s"ile at "y ene"ies, Be#ause ) reAoi#e in >our salvation 7o one is holy like the L/RD, For there is none besides >ou, 7or is there any ro#k like our God D+ !a" 58+,5E 9er song #ontinues for a full +- verses in the se#ond #hapter of + !a"uel, preserved there by her son%s pen as a #o""e"oration of his o&n birth /ne "ight #all it I!a"%s !ong,I the "elody of a &o"an &hose God had reversed her situation Revolution !a"uel is an e?a"ple of God at &ork overturning the verdi#ts of a lo&er #ourt <ust as surely as !a"uel &as an instru"ent of )srael%s turning fro" an era of politi#al and "oral la&lessness during the ti"e of the Audges, and returning fro" the spiritual e"ptiness during 0li%s high priestly rule, I!a"%s !ongI #onnotes God%s &ays to #ause a revolution

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101

Rene&al Resurre#tion Restoration 6hese are key &ords in God%s "ethods for reordering things 9u"an revolutions "ay #hange e?isting orders and po&er stru#tures, but they usually #arry the e?#ess baggage of bitterness, resent"ent, retaliation and bloodletting )nstead, &hen &e tune in to 9annah%s song as she revels in her restoration fro" barrenness, &e are re"inded that Iby strength no "an shall prevailIJ that the Lord is the /ne &ho Ilifts the beggar fro" the ash heap to set Nhi"O a"ong prin#es and "ake Nhi"O inherit the throne of gloryI D+ !a" 58,,3E 6he #o"ponents of 9annah%s situation, !a"uel%s birth and )srael%s "ove"ent to&ard the king &ho" God had in "ind "ay be signifi#antly analogous to ours <ust as she longed for a birth, ) have "et so "any &ho truly long for spiritual rene&al And as her #hild led the &ay to the anointing of God%s #hosen king, David, so those seeking rene&al are on tra#k to reali(ing a ne& entran#e to God%s kingdo" &ith love and po&er A #loser e?a"ination of this parallel holds &orth&hile lessons, and to begin, !a"uel%s life and leadership style reveal at least three points to tea#h any of us &ho seek God%s &ays into rene&al

THE DIFFICULTY IN RENEWAL


A person%s passion for rene&al and its pra#ti#al possi/ility are often "iles apart and radi#ally different )t%s one thing to hunger for a refor"ation and 1uite another to have one 7ot everyone enAoys the possibilities that ) did &hen ) #a"e to an al"ost none?istent #ongregation of +, "e"bers &hose average age &as over =Although ) &as a young pastor, ) &as also &ell thought of in "y deno"ination, and this disposed the handful of "e"bers ) inherited to give "e the benefit of the doubt 6hus it &as that ) e?perien#ed virtual hands'off freedo" in leading the" for&ard 7o substantial built'in stru#tures obstru#ted the path ) &as hopeful of dis#overing the possibilities in "inistry of &orship, and they &ere so fe& in nu"ber that they &ere glad to have a pastor at all *oreover, they &ere not a resistant people any&ay, so resistan#e &as out of the 1uestion 6hat is rarely the #ase

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) #onstantly "eet pastors and lay"en &ho re#ogni(e that a &orship refor"ation is in progress and they &ant to be a part of it 6hey are "otivated by "ore than novelty or a 1uest for su##ess 6hey genuinely &ant to be #enter'strea" in the flo& of the 9oly !pirit to today%s Chur#h

$/R!9)P GA)7! D/*)7)/7 B0CAU!0 690 $/R!9)P0R !ACR)F)C0! 9)! C/*F/R6 A7D C/7V07)07C0 CA7D ALL/$! G/D 6/ $/R@ B> 9)! *)G96, )7 9)! 6)*0

But

they fa#e resistan#e

!o"eti"es it%s found only in po#kets of the #ongregation they love At other ti"es it%s or#hestrated fro" the grass roots throughout every level of leadership in the lo#al #hur#h !o"eti"es it%s possible to dis#uss the subAe#t of the #ongregation%s need for rene&alJ other ti"es su#h dis#ussion is dee"ed the e1uivalent of #hallenging the truth of the virgin birth $hat #an be done &hen you%re in su#h a dile""aK First, &e #an al&ays find support in the Lord, Aust as 9annah did God has a heart for people &ho hunger for rene&al 9is faithfulness &ill al&ays pour forth the fulfilling ans&er to those &ho Ihunger and thirst for righteousnessI D*att ;8=E !till, it is i"portant to re"e"ber that &henever readiness on our part is not "at#hed by a readiness a"ong others, 9e is their God, too 9is patien#e &ith those &ho fear rene&alCeven those &ho resist itC&ill often re1uire 9is &aiting longer than you or ) &ant to &ait !o "any of us &ant to get on &ith it right now= But &e &ould do &ell to #onsider the differen#e

SAM$S SONG OF RENEWAL$S WAYS

103

bet&een God%s renewing &ays and "an%s re5olutionary "ethods !a"uel%s life is a good study in the spirit of faithfulness e?hibited by so"eone &ho longed to see God%s rule instituted but &ho had to &ait to see it a##o"plished in God%s &ay and in 9is ti"ing

BE CHILDLIKE, NOT CHIDING


6he story of !a"uel%s boyhood breathes a 1uality of #hildlikeness &orthy of our e"ulation At a very early age !a"uel &as brought and dedi#ated by 9annah and 0lkanah to the servi#e of the 6aberna#le Under 0li%s training and #are, !a"uel &as subAe#t to the high priest for several years of his early lifeCyears "arked by little other than his "other%s annual gift to hi" of a ne& robe )t &as a "iniature ephod)a priestly order of garb designed for his "inistry before the Lord During these sa"e years, 0li%s o&n sons &ere living #orruptly, despoiling pure &orship at the 6aberna#le, sedu#ing &o"en &ho #a"e there, serving their o&n greed and gluttony by stealing fro" the sa#rifi#es brought by the people $orst of all, these disrespe#tful young "en reAe#ted their aged father%s repeated efforts at #orre#ting the" 0li, &eakened fro" severe obesity, &eariness of years and despair over his rebellious sons, see"s to epito"i(e any situation needing rene&al *ean&hile, young !a"uel is #learly pi#tures1ue of the ne&Cthe freshly available, God'ordained rule of the 9oly !pirit that "akes rene&al possible )f ever a situation #ried out for revolution, this travesty in the 6aberna#le &as one But God%s &isdo" and patien#e, "odeled in !a"uel, "ay tea#h us if &e &ill listen8 6he &ay to rene&al is to be #hildlike, not #hiding 9e points the &ay to #ultivating a refor"ation &ithout gru"ping about its need or thu"ping our Bibles and pulpits and pronoun#ing our dis#erning perspe#tive on the situation 6here is a distin#t gra#e in being able to #ontinue in the "iddle of a situation that needs revival, deliveran#e or salvation Cand re"aining both tender in heart and #onstant in gro&th !o"ething about 9annah%s year'to'year gift of a ne& robe for !a"uel, Aoined to the phrase Ibut !a"uel "inistered before the L/RD, even as a #hildI D + !a" 58+,E, presents us &ith a lesson in

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patien#e God does not re1uire our assistan#e to for#e 9i" into situations that see" to have #ro&ded 9i" out 9e only needs so"eone &ho &ill #ontinue to keep freshly robed for &orshipC those &ho &ith si"pli#ity of heart re"ain #onstant in &orship before God, regardless of that &hi#h is polluted or dying around the" /ften, dear people #o"e to "e, troubled at the absen#e of spiritual vitality in the #ongregation they attend and speaking of ho& deeply desirous they are of revival ) understand their hearts and their plights, but "y #ounsel is that they learn fro" !a"uel Brokenhearted husbands and &ives des#ribe to "e the very real pain and agony of their dis#ouraging "arital situations, hoping against hope for a #hange and &ondering if so"e gra#ious e?it is allo&able ) #are about their pain and understand their #on#erns But ) al&ays en#ourage the" to try !a"uel%s style C&aiting, gro&ing individuallyCbefore they surrender to dis#ourage"ent or hasten out the door&ay of divor#e Rene&al is not so"ething solely needed by #hur#hes People need rene&al *arriages need rene&al <ob situations need rene&al And so do do(ens of other hu"an #ir#u"stan#es But the flesh is i"patient Revolution, not rene&al, is too often its #hoi#e /ur flesh &ants a#tion, even if it%s at the #ost of pain $e%re in#lined to #onsider this an a##eptable tradeoffC si"ply e?#hanging one kind of pain for another $e are &illing to take our lu"ps in hope that our revolution &ill se#ure a ne& day of God%s &ay But all too easily &e get our &ay instead, and apparent vi#tory be#o"es only another kind of defeat $hat rene&al "ight have brought &ith ti"e, revolution de"olished in our #arnal (eal for speedy results 6he &ay to avoid this delusion is to &ait in &orship /ne of the great prin#iples of &orship is that it gains do"inion not by the for#e of self'assertion but by the po&er of praise $orship &ins be#ause the &orshiper is &illing to sa#rifi#e his #o"fort and his #onvenien#eCand to "ake roo" for God to &ork by 9is "ight and in 9is ti"e

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105

!a"uel%s first lesson in rene&al is that the #hildlike, &orshiping believer, &ho keeps rene&ed fro" season to season through a fresh robing of his o&n soul in the spirit of faith, hope and love, &ill eventually see rene&al As 9annah did for !a"uel, the 9oly !pirit &ill provide ongoing ne&ness if &e &ill allo& 9i" )n the "eanti"e, as !a"uel &ith 0li, &e "ight be disappointed over #ir#u"stan#es that #ontinue &ithout #hangeJ &e "ay be &eary &ith those in authority &ho see" to la#k the boldness to effe#t #hange &here it is needed !till, the soul &ho &aits in &orship before the throne of God &ill re"ain at pea#e and be fulfilled in the "eanti"e And he &ill never be &ithout the #onfiden#e that the Lord ulti"ately is in full #ontrol 6he old hy"n IGod )s !till on the 6hroneI puts it like this8 God is still on the throne, and 9e &ill re"e"ber 9is o&n 6hough trials "ay press us and burdens distress us, 9e never &ill leave us alone God is still on the throne, 9e never forsaketh 9is o&n 9is pro"ise is true, 9e &ill not forget youJ God is still on the throne Chiding "ay provoke a#tion and for#e so"ething that looks like vi#tory, but #hildlikeness is the only &ay to ensure that &e a#tually &ill &in

ICHABOD IS ONLY A NAME


Chur#h traditions "ight be ter"ed Iindeter"inately spiritual I 6hat is, a given tradition "ight be dyna"i#ally valid in one setting and not in another )t is not a #ase of validity Dlike beautyE being in the eye of the beholder but of true po&er issuing solely fro" the hand of God 6hus, if #hur#h tradition has lost its #onta#t &ith God, it be#o"es a "ere for"ality, for God%s tou#h is no longer on it 9o&ever, it is a "istake to assu"e that any tradition is devoid of dyna"i# on the supposition that a present absen#e of po&er argues against the tradition itself Virtually any pra#ti#e that had on#e been an avenue of God%s visiting in dyna"i# po&er is al&ays a potential s#ene of holy lightning%s striking

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again )t%s &ise never to "o#k or "i"e traditions, be#ause you never kno& &hen you "ay need to see tradition a#tivated for real and holy purposesH $hi#h brings us to the Ark of the Covenant During !a"uel%s ti"e the ark &as the #entral feature of )srael%s &orship )t &as pla#ed in the holy of holies, the inner san#tu" of the 6aberna#le, and it #ontained the 6en Co""and"ents, a #o""e"orative portion of the "anna and Aaron%s rod that had budded 6he &hole of it &as #overed &ith a s"all, solid'gold platfor" #alled the "er#y seat, upon &hi#h the blood of atone"ent &as annually presented )f there &ere any 1uestion as to &hether this ItraditionalI bo? had any po&er #onne#ted to it, the "e"ory still re"ained in !a"uel%s ti"e that &here the ark &as, the presen#e and po&er of God had been "anifest in the past But so"ething had happenedCso"ething bad As &e have already noted, a high priest, &hose physi#al #ondition see"ed to bespeak his spiritual negle#t, had proven ineffe#tive at "aintaining God%s order in his o&n ho"e 9is sons, to &ho" his priesthood &as no& being be1ueathed, had sorely #orrupted their &ays and totally ignored the holy standards of the Lord Although &orship forms &ere still being "aintained, there &as no power present )srael had again be#o"e defenseless before her ene"ies, sin#e God is the only real defense available to any of 9is people )f they lose their vital tou#h &ith 9i", they lose tou#h &ith the sour#e of all their hope, purpose and po&er 6he events that follo&ed &ere a further #o""entary on the barrenness of spiritual leadership at that ti"e 0li%s sons bear the ark into battle, the )sraeli troops are defeated again, the ark is #aptured by the Philistines, 0li%s sons are slain, and he dies fro" a fall brought on by the sho#k of hearing the report of su#h a hu"iliating defeat and horrible disaster8 the Ark of the Covenant lostH 6he &hole s#enario o##asioned the na"ing of a babyCone of the best'kno&n na"es in the Bible8 )#habod )#habod &as 0li%s grandson, born pre"aturely on the day the ark &as #aptured 9is "other &ent into early labor upon hearing of the death of her husbandJ and although she &ould die in

SAM$S SONG OF RENEWAL$S WAYS

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delivery, she did na"e the ne&born boy8 ICall hi" )#habodCthe glory has departed fro" )sraelHI Dsee + !a" .85+E Cha/od is the 9ebre& &ord for glory )t is a &ord that refers to the idea of &eight "ore than to the Iso"ething shinyI &e #onne#t &ith the "eaning of Iglory I )n essen#e, the idea of glory relates to the substan#e, the reality of a person, pra#ti#e or institution 6he glory has to do &ith &hat it is that #auses a thing to e?#el beyond its #ounterparts For )srael, the glory &as the presen#e of the Lord 9e &as the /ne &ho offered the" 1ualities of e?#ellen#e as a people and po&ers of e?#ellen#e in battle But a battle had been lost, and the dying &o"an%s #ry, &hi#h labeled her son &ith a less'than'desired na"eC)#habod, or Ino gloryIC &as half right 6he glory had departed, but not si"ply be#ause the ark had been #aptured 6he real &eight of God%s po&er in )srael%s "idst had departed &ell before But !a"uel%s rising "inistry held pro"ise of a re#overy )n studying the life of !a"uel, &e #an learn a fe& lessons fro" revie&ing this part of his story8 + $e need never fear that the disappearan#e of God%s po&er and presen#e fro" a"ong us &ill ne#essarily dilute 9is purpose or destiny for our lives !a"uel%s life and destiny &ere not hindered or redu#ed by the sagging spiritual #onditions or the disastrous events of that day 9e &alked &ith and &orshiped God, and God%s purpose for hi" &as fulfilled $hen &e do the sa"e, &e &ill e?perien#e the sa"e *erely sustaining religious for"s and for"ulas argues neither for the presen#e nor the absen#e of God%s blessing and po&er But it is #ertain that into every situation of spiritual a##ountability a day of #risis &ill #o"e $hen it does, truth &ill be verified and sha" &ill be e?posed 7either you nor ) need to for#e the sho&do&nJ God &ill take #are of it in 9is ti"e and by 9is "eans $hen I)#habodI is pronoun#ed over a situation, it is i"portant to kno& that the absent glory does not reveal an absent God God is never absent, even &hen the spiritual e"ptiness of those still e?er#ising on#e'"ighty for"s of &orship disallo&s 9is display

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of po&er no& )t is this last point ) a" "ost interested in "aking, for there is an unfortunate habit a"ong spiritually in#lined people either to de"ean traditions or de"and too "u#h of the" /n the one hand, so"e are 1ui#k to deny the &orth of any for"J on the other, so"e e?pe#t the e?er#ise of religious for"s to "andate God%s response 6he I)#habodI of God "ay appear to be branded on a pra#ti#e, a pla#e or a people, but it is un&ise for you or "e to say as "u#h God is often far "ore present and ready to &ork than people reali(e Don%t e"barrass yourself by pronoun#ing the de"ise of 9is operations at a pla#e or in a situation &here you have given up Re"e"ber this espe#ially &hen you are te"pted to fault those &ho "aintain a fir" liturgy in their &orship )t%s a "istaken supposition that only high'#hur#h or Catholi# #elebrants #ondu#t a liturgy A liturgy is any order of servi#eC even the absen#e of oneCor fle?ibility in order as pra#ti#ed in the &orship of "ore #asual or spontaneous groups 0a#h of these is an order in its o&n right 0very liturgy is the fruit of a history lived out by a people &ho sought God and found 9i" 6he "ethods of &orship they used &ere invoked at the beginning be#ause they had found so"ething in 9is $ord that sparked their response and thereby shaped their pra#ti#e 9o&ever, as is so often the #ase given ti"e, for"s prevail and purposes be#o"e forgotten 6he I&eight of gloryI "ay thereby be drained fro" the pra#ti#e, not be#ause the liturgi#al pra#ti#e &as useless, but si"ply be#ause the perfun#tory e?er#ise of "eaningless "otions provides no resting pla#e for the &eight of God%s glory Be assured of this, ho&ever8 )f hungry and thirsty hearts &ill again sear#h the $ord and seek the Lord, an )#habod spirit #annot prevail )n an#ient )srael, God "ay have refused to bless a sinning people &ith vi#tory over the Philistines But &hen those sa"e Philistines foolishly believe they have added the Lord to their pantheon of deities in Dagon%s te"ple, they soon find out differently $hen !a"uel rises to &orship, God speaks again 7o, the glory of )srael had not departed God &as and is still alive and independently ready to display 9is po&er 9e%s si"ply sear#hing for those &ho &ill "eet the #onditions 0nter David

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THE PROMISE OF KINGDOM


!a"uel is #alled the king"aker be#ause he anointed the first t&o kings of )srael 9e anointed both at God%s #o""andCthe first, be#ause God per"itted the &ill of the peopleJ the se#ond, be#ause God%s &ill &as being done !aul is the greatest tragedy of /ld 6esta"ent history 9e%s the #ountry boy &ho had his #han#e at greatness, started &ell, be#a"e puffed &ith pride and turned into a "ali#ious, de"on'guided de"agogue &ho, sha"ed by his ene"ies, died in battle David started the sa"e &ay !aul did8 a strapping shepherd boy fro" the hill #ountry 6here is little differen#e in David%s story in ter"s of its parti#ulars Both he and !aul &on early vi#toriesJ both &ere heralded first by part of the people and later by all the people But there is a radi#al and #entral differen#e in their personalities8 David had a heart for God )n taking lessons in rene&al fro" !a"uel, distinguishing bet&een !aul and David is perhaps our "ost i"portant assign"ent >ou and ) "ay apply the first t&o lessons dra&n fro" I!a"%s !ongI8 + $e "ay be &ise to &ait &ith patien#e and &alk in &orship as God gro&s 9is purpose in us, refusing to for#e the issue of #hange and a&aiting God%s ti"e $e "ay be Audi#ious to re"e"ber that the se#ret of rene&al lies not in a parti#ular for" or the absen#e of one, but God%s glory &aits to visit and fill those &ho hunger and thirst for 9i"

9o&ever, if &e learn these points &ell and "iss the third, &e are in danger of finding the beginning of God%s @ingdo" po&er and still "iss its #ontinuation $e "ust be &ise at this point, for continuous pro"ise and blessing is the obAe#tive of God%s rule 9istori# in#idents or sporadi# o##urren#es are no substitute for an Iin#rease of 9is govern"ent and pea#e &hi#h kno&s no endI Dsee )sa 384E )t is a hard fa#t that the appearance of rene&al is far easier to produ#e than the real thing And a "ore de"anding truth is this8 6he a#tuality of rene&al does not guarantee its #ontinuity Conse1uently, the seeker after rene&al "ust learn these t&o dis#iplines8

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Let the Lord gi5e rise to 9is Kingdom demonstration! )srael%s pursuit of a king on their ter"s brought !aul into the pi#ture $e are no less #apable of #onAuring up a rene&al that looks like God%s &ill and isn%t (rioritiEe the heart rather than outward appearances! 6his is unders#ored in God%s $ord, as !a"uel speaks at the anointing of David8 I*an looks at the out&ard appearan#e, but the L/RD looks at the heartI D + !a" +=84E

6he "aintenan#e of a right heart re1uires only that our 1uest be solely for God and unto 9is glory 6he Lord #o""itted to David that the *essiah &ould issue fro" his line and that God &ould #ause that never &ould there fail to be a king on David%s throne 6his pro"ise &as based on David%s heart relationship &ith God !ustained blessing al&ays is 6rue rene&al comes &here hearts wait for God 6rue rene&al manifests &here hearts thirst for God 6rue rene&al stays &here hearts walk &ith God 9annah%s song set the the"e for her son%s life8 9e lifts up 9e gives strength 9e e?alts Dsee + !a" 584,+-E !a"uel learned that song and lived out its &isdo" Another "an learned it fro" hi" and "ade I!a"%s !ongI the the"e of a hundred psal"s 9e led )srael to a pla#e &here her &orship brought her to vi#tories unsurpassed in all her history 9e learned to link the &orship of God &ith the e?pansion of 9is rule through 9is people 9e did both &holeheartedly and vi#toriously 9is na"e &as David

CHAPTER 9

B/ARD! A7D B)G $900L! $/7%6 *A@0 )6

'nd to the angel of the church in (hiladelphia write, <"hese things says #e who is holy, #e who is true, 2#e who has the key of .a5id!2<
R 0 V 0 L A 6 ) / 7

:84

)t is no #oin#iden#e that )srael%s greatest develop"ent in &orship #oin#ided &ith her broadest boundaries of govern"ent

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David &as the leader for both 6he one'ti"e shepherd boy &ho stru""ed a lyre and sang to his sheep had risen to rule a nation and to tea#h God%s flo#k to sing 9is praise 6he youthful slayer of Goliath, &hose herois" and faith stirred an ar"y to boldness, #a"e to the throne and van1uished )srael%s ene"ies 6here is no "ore insightful study in &orship than the life and "usi# of David )n &orship he soarsJ &ith &orship he &ars 6he union of the t&o see"s parado?i#al, but this king &as apparently able to dis#ern God%s heart David kne& that God &anted to d&ell a"ong 9is people to bless, to give vi#tory, to sho&er 9is "er#y and lovingkindness upon the" all David represents the very pra#ti#al potential in broadening our hori(ons of &orship 9e forged a bold union bet&een &orship and &arfare, bet&een loving God and &anting 9is blessing, bet&een e?alting the Lord and asking for 9is help 9e bypassed the traditional theologi#al in#linations against su#h ra& re1uests as bless "e, help "e, heal "e, prosper "e *any in the Chur#h today #onsider su#h dire#t petitions la#king in spirituality 0##lesiasti#al #onvi#tions render any hint of Iseeking to be blessedI suspe#t of #arnal "otivation Further"ore, the &at#hing, listening, ever'#riti#al #iti(en of the &orld s#offs, I)f God does e?ist, 9e%s above hearing su#h "undane appeals fro" "ere "ortals I )%" #ertain David &ould fall &ell short of pleasing either of these #a"ps But God%s $ord has "ade another assess"ent of hi" entirely8 $hen NGodO had re"oved N!aulO, 9e raised up for the" David as king, to &ho" also 9e gave testi"ony and said, I) have found David the son of <esse, a "an after *y o&n heart, &ho &ill do all *y &illI DA#ts +:855E As God 9i"self #onfers su#h a #on#lusive #o""endation on David, &e #an hardly #hallenge his approa#h to &orship or attribute his appli#ations of it &ith anything less than nobility $hatever #heap or shallo& "isinterpretations of !#ripture "ay today invite believers to #haris"a &ithout #hara#ter or to prosperity &ithout propriety, David represented neither

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i"balan#e >et, David did e?perien#e abundan#e, su##ess and vi#tory upon vi#toryCand &orship &as at the heart of his "ove"ent into su#h bountiful living and leadership But ho& did it startK

THE SHAPING OF A WORSHIP LEADER


)t &ould be i"possible si"ply fro" his psal"i# referen#es to gain a full understanding of David%s dis#overy of an inti"ate relationship &ith God But he does "odel inti"a#y And &ith it, e"otion David e?hibits 1ualities of heart and pra#ti#es in praise that #annot be shelved or partitioned fro" our a##ountability to the truth they reveal A high vie& of the !#riptures re1uires a dual a#kno&ledg"ent that today%s Irefor"edI &orship "ust fa#e 6&o fa#tsCGod%s testi"ony to David%s understanding of 9is o&n heart, and the 9oly !pirit%s &ill to in#lude so "u#h of David%s &orship psal"s in the eternal $ordCAoin to for#e us to deal &ith these #on#lusions8 + 5 God not only is unopposed to e"otional &orship, 9e &el#o"es it God not only allo&s the &orshiper%s plea for su##ess, 9e re&ards it

6here is no eviden#e that David had a stru#tured agenda for applying these fa#ts, as though he Ikne& all along that God is like thisI or that he thought he #ould "anipulate the Al"ighty to serve his o&n private interests 7one at all But there is a #lear report in the revelation of God%s $ord, and there are net results to be totaled Bet&een these t&o fa#ts there unfolds the shaping of a "an &ho led his people to &orship God at even greater heights 6he publi# beginning of his leadership in &orship took pla#e after David had #on1uered <erusale" 9is #apital #ity established, he longed to bring ba#k the Ark of the Covenant to a taberna#led #enter &here )srael #ould again #o"e and seek God 9is approa#h to that "ission is "ost instru#tive

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THE TABERNACLE OF DAVID


6he 6aberna#le raised in *oses% ti"e see"s to disappear so"eti"e bet&een <oshua and DavidCan interesting pu((le for Bible students to atte"pt to solve After its establish"ent in !hiloh, follo&ing )srael%s entry into the land #ir#a +.-- B C , the 6aberna#le is "entioned only four ti"es After the loss of the Ark of the Covenant to the Philistines during 0li%s high priesthood Dabout ++;- B C E, it see"s that the absen#e of the very obAe#t &hi#h "ade the 6aberna#le ne#essary and &hi#h gave reason for its e?isten#e, o##asioned its virtual de"ise During !a"uel%s "inistry he operated fro" "ore than one &orship #enter, &hi#h apparently #onfir"s that the 6aberna#le &as probably not in a#tive use )n the "eanti"e, the Philistines had returned the Ark of the Covenant After #apturing it, they dis#overed to their dis"ay that >ah&eh &as not a di"e'store deity to be toyed &ith or to be added to a pantheon of #on1uered tribal gods 9e &as the Lord <ehovah, God of all #reation and )srael%s !avior 6he story of the plague upon their #ities and the e"barrass"ent of their god Dagon be#ause of the presen#e of the Ark of the Covenant &ould be hu"orous if it &eren%t so disastrous to the" and so laden &ith lessons for us Dsee + !a" ;E For "ore than 5- years, the ark had been in the village of @irAath <eari", &here it rested at the household of a "an na"ed Abinadab Dsee + !a" 48+,5E At this point &e are presented &ith a storyCa series of events that at on#e reveal David%s hu"anness, his anger and his #apa#ity for "isAudg"ent, as &ell as his heart for God, his passion for 9is presen#e and his hu"ility before the Lord

DAVID&S HEART FOR GOD


6here is a funda"ental prere1uisite for everyone &ho &ould &orship God or lead others to do so David abundantly "anifests that 1uintessential trait of a heart filled &ith a passion for God8 *y soul thirsts for >ouJ "y flesh longs for >ou in a dry and thirsty land &here there is no &ater !o ) have looked for >ou in the san#tuary, to see >our po&er and

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>our glory DPs =:8+,5E David reveals a largeness of heart &hi#h not only desires God%s &orking in his o&n life but also longs for 9is "anifest glory Iin the san#tuary I 6he deep #ry of su#h a leader%s soul for both his o&n need and that of his people &ill never go unre&arded !o David #alled the people to Aoin hi" in a 1uest8 I)f it see"s good to you, and if it is of the L / R D our God let us bring the ark of our God ba#k to usI D+ Chron +:85,:E 9is obAe#tive &as to bring the ark to <erusale", for David valued the &orship of God 9e kne& the pri#eless &orth of God%s presen#e &hi#h al&ays attends those &ho &orship 9i", and he prepared a ne& pla#e for the ark of God to d&ell Upon the ark%s arrival, David #ondu#ted a great feastCa "agnani"ous event &hi#h beautifully illustrates that &herever &orship is rene&ed, people &ill al&ays be both filled &ith Aoy and fed 6he #elebration &as also "arked by David%s introdu#tion of several ne& songs for the o##asion $e don%t kno& if David led the throng or if he sang the ne& songs hi"self But &e do kno& the "usi# of praise and &orship filled the feast ti"e 6he book of Chroni#les gives us portions of at least three psal"s that David had &ritten to the Lord All this ne&ness, feasting and reAoi#ing &ith high praises to the Lord are the #li"a? to the story But David "anaged to bring the ark to <erusale" only after e?perien#ing #onsiderable diffi#ulty

DAVID&S HUMANNESS AND ANGER


$hy in the &orld the idea &as ever hat#hed is diffi#ult to de#ide 6he only other ti"e in history that the Ark of the Covenant had been #arried on a #art &as &hen the Philistines sent it ba#k, fearful and un&illing even to be near it Dsee + !a" =8,,3E /bviously ignorant or forgetful of the fa#t that fro" the ti"e of *oses the Lord had #o""anded that the ark be #arried on the shoulders of the priests, David built a ne& #art and brought the ark out of the house of Abinadab, &hose sons then drove the #art Dsee 5 !a" =8:E 6he fashioning of the #art is a #lassi# e?a"ple of

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690 FA!9)/7)7G /F A CAR6 6/ CARR> 690 AR@ )! A CLA!!)C 0PA*PL0 /F *A7%! !)7C0R0!6 0FF/R6! PR/V)7G 9/RR)BL> /U6 /F !>7C $)69 690 D)V)70 /RD0R

"an%s sin#erest efforts proving horribly out of syn# &ith the divine order David%s #apa#ity for hu"an error glares forth hereCa rather #o"forting fa#t #onsidering the eventual out#o"e, even though the i""ediate results &ere horribly tragi# 6he great parade that had been planned to bring the ark to <erusale" hardly "ade it out of to&n $hen one of the o?en pulling the #art stu"bled, the great gold'#overed bo? started to slide off the #art U((ah leaped for&ard to se#ure it fro" fallingCand &as stru#k deadH )t%s a sudden end to a great planCa tragi# #on#lusion to &hat had see"ed the start of so"ething big Death see"s a be&ildering Audg"ent #onsidering all that &as being done in a sin#ere atte"pt to honor God And David be#a"e angry 9e na"ed the pla#e (ereE 0EEah, or Ithe brea#h of U((ah,I apparently feeling that a trust he felt he enAoyed &ith God had been brea#hed 9e be#a"e afraid, and in his despair he #ried out, I9o& #an ) bring the ark of God to "eKI D+ Chron +:8+5E 6he ark &as parked on the nearest property 6he parade ended U((ah &as buried and David sulked ba#k to <erusale", irritated and #onfused """"" ) have been so refreshed by the insights on this passage &hi#h t&o fello& pastors shared &ith "e, so let

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"e share their observations 6heir &ords taught "e &isdo" Aust at the ti"e ) &as (ealous of seeing a rene&al in &orship begun &ith "y o&n people 6hese pastors% insights into David%s &orship leadership "ight help you as "u#h as they helped "e Don Pi#kerill observed8 Look at David building the #art Can &e see ourselves in our dedi#ated diligen#e at #hur#h &orkK 9o& "any ti"es )%ve labored on the supposition that God%s presen#e #an be brought in on a Ine& #artICa ne& progra" of so"e kind Do you kno& &hat #arts are "ade ofK Boards and /ig wheels= 9ave you ever tried it like ) haveK )f &e #an Aust get enough IboardsI Dtea"s of people &orking on the proAe#tE and big &heels Da #elebrity or su##essful person here or thereE, then &e #an really get things going for GodH /h, ho& pitiful, Chur#h Boards and big &heels &on%t "ake it God%s presen#e travels on the shoulders of 9is priestsCthat is, on the praises of all 9is people, for we are the #onte"porary Ipriests of God I 9e doesn%t need our ne& #arts 9e si"ply &ants our priestly praise <erry Cook shared his observations on 5 !a"uel =8:,.8 I6hey set the ark of God on a ne& #art, and brought it out of the house of Abinadab, &hi#h &as on the hillJ and U((ah and Ahio, the sons of Abinadab, drove the ne& #art and Ahio &ent before the ark I $ill you look at the na"es of the t&o brothers IhelpingI the Ark alongCAhio and U((ah ) &as interested about this, and looking up the "eaning of their na"es ) dis#overed that Ahio "eans IfriendlyI and U((ah "eans Istrength I ) #ouldn%t help but laugh, be#ause it &as so sy"boli# of "y earliest #on#eptions of the &ay "inistry is to su##eedJ that is, to Iroll the old #art along I First, get an Ahio out in frontCyou kno&, so"ebody loaded &ith personality *r Friendly $e see" to think that &hat &e need to really su##eed D) "ean really=? is to #ultivate a top 1uality PR approa#hCpubli# relations

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6he #loser to *adison Avenue, the better, rightK 6hen, &ith PR, &e need a ba#kupJ &e need strength Cpeople &ith drive, dyna"is" and deter"ination 6hus, &hat &e #an%t a##o"plish by skill or personality &e%ll #o"pensate for &ith brute strength And &e try so sin#erelyCso 5ery sin#erelyCto bring the presen#e of God into our #hur#hes And sadly the #on#lusion is so often "u#h the sa"e as here 6he end of it all is death! 6he &ords of both these "en sting &ith the bite of Ar#ti# air after sitting in a stuffy roo" ) &as alerted and ) &as #ounseled as to e?a#tly &hy so"e of "y past (eal for God had been so unprodu#tive $e &ho &ould &el#o"e the presen#e of God into our beloved #hur#hes &ould be &ise to learn fro" David%s hu"an error $e "ay need to repent for the bitterness or angry be&ilder"ent &e feel be#ause God hasn%t blessed our ne&'#art efforts of the past &ith a visitation of 9is glory 9e is &aiting to bless, but hu"ble a##eptan#e of 9is ter"s is the only &ay rene&al #an be reali(ed

DAVID&S HUMILITY BEFORE GOD


Fe& things are "ore diffi#ult to do than to ad"it &hen &e are &rong )t isn%t so "u#h our un&illingness to a#kno&ledge failures or "istakes but our fear that if &e do so, no one &ill re"e"ber that &e meant &ell even though &e didn%t do &ell David &as &illing to be &rong and to start over After three "onths, a report rea#hed hi"8 6he far"land of /bed'0do", &here the ark had been left &hen U((ah died, &as being blessed &ith great fruitfulness 6he "essage &as #lear8 6he proble" &asn%t that God didn%t &ant to bless his effortsJ the proble" &as &ith not kno&ing ho& to re#eive 9is blessing Be#ause of this report, David #onsulted Madok and Abiathar, the leading priests 6hey e?plained to hi" the proper order for transporting the ark 6he pattern had apparently been overlooked be#ause the 6aberna#le &as in disuse and it had been so long sin#e the priestly "inistry had been e?er#ised in "oving the ark Madok and Abiathar had sear#hed the s#rolls and

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dis#overed that the ark "ust be borne on the shoulders of the priests Dsee + Chron +;85,+;E 6he issue is painfully #learCpainful to the point of U((ah%s death and David%s frustration God doesn%t need pushingJ 9e #alls for praise God doesn%t use progra"sJ 9e uses peopleC people &ho &orship 9i"H 6he ensuing s#ene des#ribed in 5 !a"uel =8+5'+; is aglo& &ith a #o"bination of ne& &isdo" in &orship and ne& reAoi#ing through praise8
)nstead of per#ussion and stringed instru"ents as at the

first atte"pt to "ove the ark, the silver breath of tru"pet sound fills the air DCould this #ontain a "essage on the differen#e bet&een the &ork of our flesh and the breath of the !piritKE

)nstead of #arnal efforts at se#uring God%s reputationC

U((ah%s atte"pt to balan#e the arkCsa#rifi#es are offered at regular intervals all the &ay to <erusale", fulfilling God%s $ord the "usi#ians% best efforts and the a##o"panying hoofbeats of o?en, this ti"e the instru"ental "usi# is Aoined by the throng%s raising their voi#es &ith resounding AoyH

)nstead of a vo#ally silent entourage, praiseless e?#ept for

9u"an #on#ern for retaining an air of sophisti#ation has been #ast aside And as though to #on#lusively verify the #hildlike passion and purity of "otive #o"pelling his &hole pursuit of God%s glory and his delight over anti#ipating broader blessing, David suddenly breaks into a dan#e )t &as not a #asual affair 6he king hi"self, usually garbed in regal #lothing befitting his offi#e, lays aside his outer gar"ents and begins to dan#e $e are not told the duration of his dan#ing, its te"po or its style But &e do kno& that David &as spe#ifi#ally reAoi#ing in the dan#e as an a#t of hu"ility before God 9e &as e#stati#, to be sure, but he hadn%t lost his "ind 9e had found the presen#e of GodH And thus the ark #a"e to <erusale" ListenH 6he dan#er see"s to be singing as he leads the &ay to a ne& 6aberna#le &hi#h he has prepared to re#eive the heavenly

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Visitor8 Praise is a&aiting >ou, / God, in MionJ And to >ou the vo& shall be perfor"ed / >ou &ho hear prayer, 6o >ou all flesh &ill #o"e DPs =;8+E Feasting &ill follo& )srael%s boundaries &ill #ontinue to enlarge $orship &ill be learned at di"ensions yet unkno&n a"ong the people, for a leader of &orship is the leader of the people 9is heart for God is single, his hu"an "isAudg"ents dealt &ith, his hu"ility before God a "odel for his people But there is one proble" that David &ill fa#e before nightfall8 6here are al&ays people &ho resist &orship, be#ause its pri#e involves ne& and rene&ing lessons in hu"ility 6here is al&ays a *i#hal

CHAPTER 10

+-

DA7C)7G @)7G! A7D BARR07 LU007!

>nce told at 1ale is the story of a #ar5ard cheerleader who, impecca/ly dressed in tie and tans, arose to lead a yell, saying in a /eautifully modulated 5oice, <Come, deah students, let us gi5e three cheeahs foah deah old #ah5ad)not so loud as to /e /oisterous /ut sufficient to demonstrate ouah enthusiasm=<

*i#hal &as infuriated 9er husband%s partial disrobing before all his subAe#ts, &hen he stripped his royal outer gar"ent to allo& freedo" for dan#ing his praise to the Lord God of )srael, &as in her opinion

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ine?#usable 6he spe#ta#le had been e?e#uted &ith his a#tually &earing a light linen ephodConly a hu"ble priestly s"o#k instead of N*y dan#ingO &as before the L/RD, &ho #hose "e instead of your father and all his house, to appoint "e apparel befitting his high offi#e !he #o"plained8 I9o& glorious &as the king of )srael today, un#overing hi"self today in the eyes of the "aids of his servants, as one of the base fello&s sha"elessly un#overs hi"selfHI D5 !a" =85-E An uninfor"ed listener &ould have thought David guilty of e?hibitionis"Cof stark nudity and an obs#ene display But he had only dan#ed in Aoyous praise to God *i#hal had &at#hed it fro" the &indo& of their ho"e as the pro#ession dre& near <erusale", to&ard the 6aberna#le her husband had ere#ted to &el#o"e the ark of God%s #ovenant And lookH $ith all the people &at#hing, David &as Ileaping and &hirling before the L/RD,I and as she &at#hed, *i#hal Idespised hi" in her heartI D5 !a" =8+=E Upon the king%s arrival ho"e that evening his &ife unloaded on hi" And so she fa#ed another kind of "usi#Cbarrenness 6he su" of this story spells out a tale that has been told over and over again, and one that today%s refor"ation in &orship de"ands be told on#e "ore )t%s a "essage full of &isdo" and &arningCnot a &arning of i"pending divine Audg"ent, but one of &isdo" as to the i"pli#ations of pride )t%s a &arning of &hat #an happen &hen hu"an tastes reAe#t the #hildlike si"pli#ity and pra#ti#al hu"ility at &orship that pleases the divine Barren Childless Unfruitful and unprodu#tive 6hey all des#ribe *i#hal fro" that en#ounter for&ard 6hough she &as "arried to the king, fro" the day she so s#athingly assaulted her husband%s &orship, she Ihad no #hildren to the day of her deathI D5 !a" =85:E $e aren%t told if David reAe#ted any #onAugal relationship or if it &as a #urse that so"eho& #a"e upon her But David had responded to her #harges8 N*y dan#ingO &as before the Lord, &ho #hose "e instead of your father and all his house, to appoint the ruler over the people of the L/RD, over )srael 6herefore ) &ill play "usi# before the L/RD And ) &ill be even "ore undignified than this, and &ill be hu"ble in "y o&n

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sight D5 !a" =85+,55E /ne &ould have thought her heritage &ould have re#o""ended "ore &isdo" than *i#hal sho&ed !he &as daughter to the deposed @ing !aul 9er father had not only lost his throne but before his death had also sho&n hideous and unAustified Aealousy and hatred to&ard David, &ho &as guilty only of being a faithful &arrior 7o& &ith !aul%s entire house overthro&n by his o&n folly and defeat, his daughter *i#hal "ight &ell have suffered #apital punish"ent as the re"nant of a fa"ily kno&n to be hostile to David >et David #ontinues to sho& "er#y by sparing her life *i#hal &ill live, but she &ill live a #ardboard e?isten#e, bereft of all the Aoys that "ight have been

MY MAJESTY IN THE MIRROR


) have gro&n unable to read that story &ithout being re"inded of our hu"an preo##upation &ith dignity and of a brutal #onfrontation God brought "e to &ith this proble" in "y o&n heart Allo& "e to relate a personal story /ne is hard put at ti"es to kno& the best &ay to tell of personal en#ounters &ith the Lord 6o "any people, the "ere suggestion of so"eone%s saying I6he Lord spoke to "eI is roughly e1uivalent to #lai"ing they had tea that afternoon on the planet Venus &ith alien beings 6o others, opinions about the relative validity of su#h a report varyCfro" the notion that the entire #onversation &as #on#o#ted, to the #autious venturing of the possibility that God Aust might have spoken 6o &hatever #ategory "y testi"ony "ay relegate "e in your esti"ation, ) #annot des#ribe one of "y "ost i"portant e?perien#es in Christ &ithout telling you it began &ith a spe#ifi# set of &ords fro" 9i"CAust three &ords, follo&ing &hi#h neither the Lord nor ) spoke ) did argue, debating "entally in "y best forensi# style as ) re#oiled fro" &hat 9e had spoken But ea#h argu"ent &as instantly deflated by so irrefutable a rebuttal that "y debate &as silen#ed )t &asn%t 9e &ho returned "y argu"ent !i"ple honesty had "e #ornered ) si"ply and intuitively kne& that to re"ain honest &ith God%s dealings in "y o&n heart, ) had to obey the #o""and of that 1uiet internal voi#e ) re#ogni(ed so &ell

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IDan#e for "e,I the voi#e said 6hat%s right God told "e to dan#e ) had been at prayer for an e?tended period of ti"e one "orning, using the #hur#h san#tuary as "y prayer roo" 7o one &as there, e?#ept for staff people in several of the offi#es >ou #an possibly appre#iate "y dile""a 0ven if ) did respond to the voi#e and perfor" so"e holy AigCafter all, &ho #an say no to GodKHCthere &as a good #han#e it &ould not re"ain Aust bet&een 9i" and "e ) felt ) #ertainly didn%t need so"eone to step in and &itness the pastor #avorting about like a rank fanati#H )t%s diffi#ult to su""ari(e the thoughts ra#ing through "y "ind as ) futilely atte"pted to negotiate the situation &ith the *ost 9igh ) #ould instantly think of innu"erable reasons for not dan#ing8 )t &as i"pra#ti#al, unne#essary, undesirable and entirely unreasonableH And yet none of the reasons &as #onvin#ing, be#ause deep do&n ) kne& the real issue $hat God &as dealing &ith &as not dan#ing but "y dignityCfalse dignity Ra&, #arnal, fear'filled, self'#entered pride! ) &as the vi#ti" of *i#hal%s !yndro"eCthat not'so'rare affli#tion that #hara#teri(es those of us &ho are "ore preo##upied &ith our style, sophisti#ation or dignity than &e are &ith being #hildlike in praising God *i#hal%s !yndro"e is subAe#t to a &ide variety of Ie?pertI opinions Like #o"peting physi#ians trying to be first to identify a ne& virus, there are religious analysts &ho hasten to advan#e their varied opinions lest a #ontagion of si"pli#ity ra"page through the Chur#h 6heir opinions span the spe#tru" of tastes so "u#h so that if you si"ply, frankly, flatly don%t &ant e?pressive &orship, you #an al&ays find a spiritual e?pert &hose se#ond opinion &ill Austify yours8
I$ell, so"e people Aust need a lot of e?uberan#e /thers of

us don%t I D6he i"pli#ation is that mature people don%t E

I)t%s all a "atter of a person%s #ultural ba#kground >ou

and ) are #ulturally reserved I D6he i"pli#ation is that IreservedI is so#ially superior or #ulturally advan#ed E subAe#tive and &orship loses its obAe#tivity in &orshiping God and starts to #enter on "an I D6he theologi#al #on#ern

I>ou "ust &at#h out for e"otionalis"J it be#o"es so

DANCING #INGS AND ARREN %UEENS

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for God%s glory obviously "akes this righteously un#hallengeable E


I) believeCdon%t youKCthat everyone should &orship

God in his o&n &ay and a##ording to his o&n beliefs After all, to do other&ise is &ell, it%s it%s un#ivil I D>ou kno&, ea#h of us should &orship God a##ording to the di#tates of his o&n heart E &hat differen#e #an it "akeK God looks on the heart, any&ay All this a#tivity doesn%t add a thingHI D6he ease &ith &hi#h the leaderB#ounselorBobserver dis"isses this issue as irrelevant #onsoles our 1uest for an es#ape fro" a##ountability as to our o&n responsiveness E

D!"iling s"uglyE I) &ouldn%t let it &orry "e After all,

6he issue is e?pressivenessCopenness, forthrightness, any assertive display of praise in &orship settings beyond so#ially a##eptable, #ooperative singing )t begets a bevy of opinions fro" &ild support to angered resistan#e )t has "ade "e nervous "any ti"es, too !everal of the above argu"ents had registered &ith "e over the years, and ) #ould think of others 9aving had a broad "i?ture of #hur#h ba#kground, running the ga"ut fro" Presbyterianis" and *ethodis" to Pente#ostalis", ) kne& the do%s and don%ts of every #ir#le in evangeli#al Christianity $hen it #a"e to a##eptable and una##eptable &orship pra#ti#es, ) kne& dan#ing &asn%t one that any of the" s"iled on !o ) didn%t like the idea at all, and ) felt that God 9i"self &as bullying "e to the &all on an issue &e all had the right to differ over ) had "y theology to stand upon, too After all, ) kne& as ) stood thereCIDan#e for "eI still reverberating through "y brainCthat God%s a##eptan#e of "e &asn%t based on "y anti#s at praise ) kne& 9e doesn%t "easure anyone by a set of #alistheni#sH But Aust as all these thoughts ran through "y "ind, ) be#a"e a&are of one stark fa#t8 ) #ould &in this argu"ent &ith "yself, but ) &ould risk losing so"ething &ith God ) re#ogni(ed that "y potential IlossI &as a hard lesson in hu"ilityC in re"aining as a #hild before the Father, in keeping s"all in "y o&n eyes,

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in refusing the en#rustation of religious sophistry &hi#h #an inevitably #al#ify the bones of anyone%s soul and grip hi" &ith a spiritual arthritis !o, ) dan#ed ) didn%t do it &ell, but then, only God &as looking And &ithin "y heart ) felt the &ar", #ontented &itness that "y Abba Father &as pleased ) kne& 9is pleasure &asn%t be#ause 9e had &on an argu"ent but be#ause ) had &on a vi#tory ) kne& 9e &asn%t happy be#ause 9e had "anaged to e?ploit "y vulnerability but be#ause ) had #hosen to remain vulnerable ) kne& 9e &asn%t dangling "e as a puppet'like toy be#ause 9e needed "y dan#ing but be#ause ) needed to respond that &ay 9e kne& it &as essential to ensure "y future fle?ibility and "y availability for learning the path&ay of &orship'unto' fruitfulness 6hat last point is so i"portantC fruitfulness Be#ause the *i#hal !yndro"e #an lead anyone to a rationali(ed sense of superiority, it #an #o"e at the e?pense of a deadly, spiritual fruitlessness Barrenness is a high pri#e to pay for one%s dignity 6hat &as one #lassi# en#ounter &ith "y o&n pride, of seeing <my "aAesty in the "irror,I of #o"ing to ter"s &ith the horrifying po&er of self'#ons#iousness, of fear and pride to "arshal their for#es and su##essfully plead for their survival But seeing those liars parading as I"y "aAesty,I ) deter"ined to bo& to #is *aAesty instead ) share that testi"ony at "y o&n

$/R!9)P )7 !P)R)6 A7D 6RU69 )7V/LV0! 690 6/6AL 9U*A 7 B0)7G' !P)R)6, *)7D, 0*/6)/7! A7D B/D>

DANCING #INGS AND ARREN %UEENS

12!

e?penseCand very "u#h at the risk of sounding either disgustingly fanati#al or i"pra#ti#ally "ysti#al But ) relate it in order to help us hear "ore than "y des#ription of a "o"ent%s dan#e of death'to'pride Rather, ) invite our dis#ussion of one of the bibli#al fa#ts about &orshipCan issue that see"s inevitably to be#o"e a battleground 0?pressiveness Bold, lively, Aoyous #ongregational singing !poken, spontaneous praises a"id the #ongregation !houts of I9alleluAahHI or IPraise the LordHI Upraised hands stret#hed forth in &orship Clapping of hands, in te"po &ith the "usi# or as applause e?pressed to God 6he list #ould go on, but the essen#e of the proble" is on the table $e are at a great &atershed point of Christian &orshipC and fello&ship 6here are strong opinions, deep e"otions and intense boundary lines dra&n on this the"eJ and to espouse an open, free response is to invite a##usations8 ConfusionH DisorderH Charis"ati#H 0"otionalis"H But before #on#lusions or a##usations of silly or se#tarian pra#ti#es in#rease, "aybe it &ould be better to look into the $ord of God )n doing so, David is a good point of referen#e, for in hi" &e have a beautiful blend of D+E so"eone &hose heart attitude is attested to /y God and D5E so"eone &hose humility &as verified /efore God $ith his #o"bination of #hara#ter and #hild'likeness, and &ith the eviden#e of the $ord that flo&ed through his pen, &e have a solid sour#e of guidan#e to&ard a##eptable &orship

NEW TESTAMENT WORSHIP


Pe#uliarly, David presents us &ith a very New 6esta"ent &orship "odel 6hough he lived a "illenniu" before Christ, David%s dire#tives #on#erning &orship in its for" and pra#ti#e greatly influen#ed the &orship of the first'#entury Chur#h, inas"u#h as the /ld 6esta"ent &as all the Bible they had /pponents of e?pressive &orship &ill o##asionally #on#ede that the 7e& 6esta"ent does #ontain a fe& referen#es to

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forthright, open praise !till, the presu"ption is that e?pressiveness in &orship &ent out &ith the blood'sa#rifi#e syste" or that su#h unabashed physi#al e?uberan#e &as only a #ultural trait passed do&n by 9ebre& tradition )t%s as though the apostles dispensed &ith open, enthusiasti# praise at the sa"e ti"e they did a&ay &ith a#tual #ir#u"#isionH But the essen#e of sa#rifi#e has never left &orship, and it never &ill8 6herefore by 9i" let us #ontinually offer the sa#rifi#e of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to 9is na"e D9eb +:8+;E As to &riting off bibli#al e?pressiveness as an an#ient #ultural trait, &e "ust &restle &ith the 1uestion of God%s $ord and its authority to #o""and our behavior regardless of our #ultural environ"ent Any resistan#e ) "ay naturally feel to&ard open, e?pressive &orship is not Austified on an appeal to "y #ulture 6he tenden#y of "an has always been against the sa#rifi#e of our o&n &ays and against surrender to 9is 6he &illfulness of "y hu"an nature "andates that the Bible "ust re"ain the arbiter of "y tastes, not "y #ulture !o let%s look at the $ord together First of all, the 7e& 6esta"ent #ontains "ore dire#t referen#es to e?pressive &orship than usually "eet the eye !inging, praising, upraised voi#es, lifted hands, kneeling, offerings and reading of the !#riptures are all "entioned 0ven though these e?a"ples of e?pressive &orship are not "ore fre1uently "entioned in #urrent books and dis#ussion on the topi#, this does not eli"inate the fa#t that 7e& 6esta"ent &orship &as full spe#tru" 0very believer possesses the &isdo" to re#ogni(e that &orship is not a single'di"ensional e?er#ise of the hu"an personality $orship is #ertainly not a #erebral pursuit, so"e sort of "ysti#al #ons#iousness or an e"otional binge, although it does involve reason, spiritual intuition and e"otions A##ording to the !#riptures, &orship Iin spirit and truthI D<ohn .85:E involves the total hu"an beingCspirit, "ind, e"otions and body Paul registered a #lear'#ut appeal for this order of &orship 6he follo&ing paraphrase of Ro"ans +58+,5 D&ith parentheti#al #o""entaryE unders#ores the "ultidi"ensional nature of 7e&

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129

6esta"ent &orship and the re1uire"ent that &e go beyond "ere hu"an reasoning to enter in and parti#ipate8 6herefore, ) appeal to you brothers Dan e"otional #all based on the pre#eding revelation in #hapters +C++E, as you &itnessed and e?perien#ed God%s "er#ies Da further e?pression rea#hing to tou#h the heartE, that you bring before 9i" a sa#rifi#e of &orship fully alive at every di"ension'involving your body Dphysi#alE, your "ind Dintelle#tualE and your !pirit DspiritualE 6his is &holly a##eptable as a sa#rifi#e and is the "ost intelligent and spiritual &orship possible 6o a#hieve this you "ust break free of the &orld'"ind and allo& the !pirit to transfor" your thinking in order that you "ay dis#over the full #ounsel of God%s &ill 6he 7e& 6esta"ent &orshiper is, of #ourse, beyond the era of blood sa#rifi#e, for there is no longer any re1uire"ent of sa#rifi#es for sin Christ has fulfilled all su#h re1uire"ents as our !avior, the La"b of God But David foresa& our day and des#ribed in song the ti"eless spirit of sa#rifi#e that &ould ever and al&ays be essential &hen &orship is offered to the Living God8 For >ou do not desire sa#rifi#e, or else ) &ould give itJ >ou do not delight in burnt offering 6he sa#rifi#es of God are a broken spirit, A broken and #ontrite heartC 6hese, / God, >ou &ill not despise DPs ;+8+=,+4E !u#h sa#rifi#es are physi#al and they do re1uire hu"ility 6he basi# "eaning of proskuneo, the 7e& 6esta"ent Greek &ord for &orship, #orresponds to shawkhaw, the /ld 6esta"ent 9ebre& ter" Both "ean to prostrate oneself, or to stret#h out &ith fa#e on the ground in adoration or sub"ission $hile it is possible to a#tually do this in a private ti"e of devotion, the a#t of lying fa#e do&n on the #arpet is neither pra#ti#al nor re1uiredCnor is it generally re#o""endedC&hen believers are gathered in asse"bly 7evertheless, there is a prostrating that ought always to be re1uired8 the prostrating of pride and the flattening of the

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hu"an &ill, &hi#h so readily in#lines to assert its o&n dignity at the e?pense of hu"ble parti#ipation in full'hearted, spiritually alive and physi#ally e?pressed &orship

BODY LANGUAGE
*i#hal obAe#ted to David%s physi#al e?pressiveness in &orship 9e "ight have "ar#hed sedately, sung dis#reetly or thought noble thoughts inter"inablyCbut sparks fle& &hen he dan#edH 6hey still do People still be#o"e upset &hen physi#al or verbal e?pressiveness e?#eeds their learned li"its, and one #an find in the !#riptures e?#ess or tastelessness that #annot be rationali(ed But the irony of our rea#tion to e?#ess is that &e ra#e to&ard the other e?tre"e )f so"eone shrieks aloud in a fanati#al Dpossibly de"oni#E display, grossly interrupting a servi#e &here ne& e?pressiveness is being atte"pted, the likelihood is that the #ounter'"ove &ill be a virtual full retreatCan i""ediate return to #old reserve and the safety of relative silen#e And not Aust no& but fro" no& on 6he du""ies and the de"ons &in 6he sin#ere are silen#ed, as it see"s the only per#eived se#urity against fanati#al intrusion or noisy e?tre"is" is an e1ually ridi#ulous nothing! !o it is that verbal praising has be#o"e taboo in so"e #ir#les, and understandably so, given the bi(arre #ases of the never a#tually seen but oft'reported DI&e%ve heard that IE stereotypes &hi#h spook people fro" trying 6he sa"e goes for upraised hands or #lapping )t only takes one or t&o people in a group &ho flail their ar"s "indlessly during every song or &ho be#o"e #lap'happy at the drop of a phrase fro" the pulpit A single stupid display #an redu#e an entire #ongregation to absolute un&illingness to atte"pt &hat other&ise are very bibli#al e?pressions of praise and &orship )t &ould be best to leave this dile""a alone if it &eren%t for the fa#t that the issue tou#hes at the #ore of "y point >ou see, it is pre#isely at this pointCopen publi# e?pressivenessCthat our &ill to hu"ble ourselves is "ost deli#ately tou#hed 6he in#lination to preserve "y dignity or to reserve I"y right to not parti#ipateI is #onfronted by su#h dire#tives in the $ord as8

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131

/h, #lap your hands, all you peoplesH !hout to God &ith the voi#e of triu"phH For the L/RD *ost 9igh is a&eso"eJ 9e is a great @ing over all the earth DPs .48+,5E But suffi#ient internal and e?ternal reasons, as )%ve elaborated, survive to provide fully Austifiable e?#uses for "y not responding to God%s $ord &hen it e?horts8 ClapH !houtH 6here is an ines#apable sanity to the body language of applause at appropriate points in &orship 6he #o""and #alls for su#h praise on the basis of our Lord%s triu"phant vi#tory 6his should over#o"e any reserve &e "ight have on the supposition that su#h e?pressiveness is superfi#ial 9ave you ever heard so"eone say that people &ho applaud in #hur#h are not regarding God &ith suffi#ient reveren#eK )t "ay possibly be true that so"e are not But even if that &ere so, their shallo&ness does not Austify "y indifferen#e to the bibli#al #o""and $e are #apable of e"ploying an eerie kind of pride that e?#uses us fro" responsiveness be#ause &e feel so"eone else "ay be responding &ithout the depth of understanding &e feel &e have $e #an only nurse su#h false reasoning if &e are &illing to violate t&o other #o""ands8 D+E not to Audge others &hose hearts &e #annot see and D5E to present our bodies as forthright &orshipers 6he !#riptures #all us to glorify God &ith high praises &hen you and ) gather &ith the Chur#h8 Let the" e?alt 9i" also in the asse"bly of the people DPs +-48:5E ) &ill give >ou thanks in the great asse"blyJ ) &ill praise >ou a"ong "any people DPs :;8+,E *ake a Aoyful noise unto the L/RD, all the earth8 "ake a loud noise, and reAoi#e, and sing praise DPs 3,8., KJ ?! /f #ourse, InoiseI isn%t the obAe#t *ere noisiness is never a virtue )t is unfortunate, ho&ever, that reveren#e has #o"e to be #onsidered synony"ous &ith silen#e or, at least, as a reserved 1uietness 6o the #ontrary, there are so"e situations in &hi#h the least appropriate response is a reserved silen#e 6he #elebration

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of God%s lovingkindness, the "anifestation of 9is po&er, the testi"ony of 9is faithfulnessCall "ay inspire praiseful e?pressiveness Blessed are the people &ho kno& the Aoyful soundH 6hey &alk, / L/RD, in the light of >our #ountenan#e DPs ,38+;E 6hat Aoyful sound "ay be applause, laughter, praise or triu"phant song, but it #an only sound forth fro" a liberated, sensitive &orshiper David%s e?a"ple urges us to&ard being both, and it is possible to e?perien#e the release of that Aoy &hen dis#reet leadership and a responsive #ongregation Aoin heart and hands to do so &ith balan#e and beauty

THE CONGREGATION AS A CHOIR


)t is the uniting of a #ongregationCan asse"bled /ody of &orshipersC&hi#h allo&s for the "ost beautiful and dyna"i# /ody language! A #onfiden#e and freedo" #o"es &hen a group has "oved beyond being a "is#ellaneous assort"ent of &orshipers to be#o"e a #ohesive, &orshipful body As long as e?pressiveness is "erely tolerated and &idely s#attered, parti#ipation &ill al&ays re"ain sporadi# and at the &hi" of individual &orshipers, and the #ongregation &ill never dis#over real freedo" 6he 1uest for both liberty and unity re1uires that the leadership tea#h, define and dire#t 6his begins by distinguishing bet&een individuality and spontaneity )ndividuality #an be &hi"si#al, disordered or #ounterprodu#tive be#ause it prevents real unity in #ongregational &orship But spontaneity is not &hi"si#alJ it%s responsive And a &hole #ongregation #an be led together in spontaneous responsiveness Let "e elaborate Be#ause there are so "any verses in the Bible sho&ing "ore e?pressiveness than &e generally pra#ti#e in the Chur#h today, an honest reading of !#ripture leads "any earnest, hungry &orshipers to in1uire, I9o& #an we do thisKI 6heir I9o&KI is not so "u#h a 1uestion of for" as it is I9o& #an this be done in a de#ent and orderly &ayKI /f #ourse, that%s

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also a s#riptural #on#ern, for all things are to be done that &ay D6he Greek te?t of + Corinthians +.8.- is literally rendered Iin a gra#ious and #har"ing &ay IE 9o& #an su#h spe#ifi# pra#ti#es as upraised hands, #lapping or #on#erted verbal praise be Iin orderI or, for that "atter, Ide#entIK 9aving led &orship and observed its pra#ti#e a"ong "any different traditions, ) believe that &hat #onfounds the possibility of fullest release are false ideas about the supposed righteousness of individuality, i e , anyone doing anything, anytime he feels like it For so"e, #o"plete independen#e is their sole definition of liberty For the", sub"ission to headship "eans surrender to "anipulation, and they see agreed #ooperation &ith a &hole #ongregation as a sa#rifi#e of their liberty But honesty &ith e?perien#e reveals that &hen su#h a spirit prevails, the only IfreeI person in the &orship servi#e &ill be the one Itaking liberty I 6he rest of the asse"bly be#o"e boundCbound to endure &hatever the IliberatedI "e"ber does, inas"u#h as his individuality holds the" at his "er#y Be#ause ) longed to see our #ongregation "ove to&ard unity in an e?pressive, #hildlike, hu"ble and spiritually sensitive approa#h to &orship, ) kne& &e &ould have to deal &ith histori# false notions about individuality 6o #ir#u"vent that takeover spirit of Ido'"y'o&n'thing'is"IC&hi#h is nothing "ore than a tyranni#al la#k of #onsideration of othersC) introdu#ed the #on#ept of the #ongregation as a #hoir )t doesn%t take a great "ind to understand that a #hoir #ould never fun#tion in either beauty or &orshipfulness if its "e"bers operated independently of one another People #an easily see the in#ongruity of a #hoir%s fun#tioning in any other &ay than together, if &e de"onstrate illustrations of the point )t #an provide for #onsiderable hu"or and greatly strengthen the pointH 6ogetherness &as at the heart of the apostle Paul%s appeal to the #ongregation in Corinth8 IBrethren, when you come together!! I D+ Cor ++8::, e"phasis "ineE 9is &hole purpose in #hapter +. of his first letter to the Corinthians is not to re"ove liberty but to #all for it by tea#hing people the idea of order'or#hestration in &orship &ithout suffo#ation in spirit 9e dire#ted the" to an order that re"oved the #onfusion that had evolved fro" un&ise, i"pulsive pra#ti#es by individuals in the asse"bly 6heir

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sin#erity &asn%t in 1uestion, but the relative &isdo" of su#h independent behavior &as 6he agree"ent of a #ongregation to "ove together as a #hoir, under the dire#tion of their &orship leader or pastor, is not a surrender to "anipulation or "indless parti#ipation )t is an entry into unity and into a genuine liberty that be#o"es dyna"i# as sin#ere &orshipers parti#ipate together in praise, in song, in upraised hands, in applause or in a #on#erted shout I9alleluAahHI

THE PATH OF PRAISE


David taught )srael to &orship at ne& levelsCfro" ne& songs to ne& instru"ents to ne& de"onstrations of praise 6here is so"ething about David%s leading the people to a ne& 6aberna#le that has deep "eaning for us today )n A#ts +;, &hen the leaders of the 0arly Chur#h gathered to deter"ine in #oun#il to &hat degree Gentile #onverts &ould be re1uired to "aintain /ld 6esta"ent ordinan#es, <a"es addressed the situation &ith a 1uotation fro" the prophet A"os8 After this ) &ill return and &ill rebuild the taberna#le of David, &hi#h has fallen do&nJ ) &ill rebuild its ruins, and ) &ill set it upJ so that the rest of "ankind "ay seek the L/RD, even all the Gentiles &ho are #alled by *y na"e, says the L/RD &ho does all these things DA#ts +;8+=E <a"es%s insight applied the te?t fro" A"os 38++,+5 to help solve the 1uestion they fa#ed then, but interestingly that sa"e passage has another appli#ation for us today <a"es%s fo#us &as on all "ankind flo&ing together in the &orship of GodJ our fo#us is on the &orship itself )t e?#ites the i"agination to see that this prophe#y of God%s last'days gathering of the nations in#ludes a prophe#y of a last'days rebuilding of the 6aberna#le of DavidH David%s 6aberna#le &as, in his ti"e, "ore than a rene&alJ it &as a refor"ation 6here &as an adAust"ent for&ard and ne&ness every&here Prevailing above it all &as a hu"ble, #hildlike spirit of praise that paved the path to fruitfulness, Aoy and vi#tory David%s e?pressiveness &as at the heart of this

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breakthrough, Aust as *i#hal%s resistan#e &as at its throat But as surely as &e "ay avoid *i#hal%s !yndro"e and its #onse1uent barrenness, &e #an enter into the ne& refor"ation A &illingness to a##ept David%s heart attitude and #hildlike e?uberan#e in praise "ay bring us to a lo#al IrebuildingI of David%s 6aberna#le 6his holds su#h high pro"ise of real reAoi#ing and abounding fruit )t is &orth "oving to&ard the for"ation of a #ongregation &ho learns to &orship as a #hoirCsinging unto the Lord a ne& song, praising in unity, hu"bly #o"ing into God%s presen#e &ith freed e?pressiveness and thanksgiving 6he re&ard of &orship is God%s enthroned presen#e David sang, IBut >ou are holy, enthroned in the praises of )srael I 6his oft'1uoted state"ent fro" Psal" 558: deserves our greatest understanding, sin#e the i"pli#ations of the verb yaw, sha/ are dra"ati# 6hough the basi# idea of the &ord is to sit do&n, &hen the @ing of the universe is the subAe#t it is appropriately translated Ienthroned I 6his great truth resounds to every generation8 (raise creates a dwelling place for God in man2s present situation= David is not saying that praise "akes God bigger or "ore po&erful 7onsenseH 7or is he saying that praise for#es God to take any parti#ular a#tionC9e is !overeignH But the te?t does say8 $hen you praise GodC&hatever the situationCyou #an #ount on 9i" to "ove into the "iddle of itH 6hus it is understandable &hy a &orshiping, praising #ongregation is so desirable an entity8
)t is satisfying to God, &ho is seeking those &ho &ill

&orship 9i" in spirit and in truth blessing and in po&er

)t is fulfilling to those &ho &orship, for God visits the" in )t is inspiring to those &ho enter into su#h a setting, even

though they "ay be ne& to it

People &ill re#ogni(e God%s presen#e and they &ill respond to it, for there are fe& hu"an beings &ho do not deeply, honestly hunger for a vital tou#h fro" the Fountain of their being *y deep desire for the #ontinued prospe#t of 9is presen#e is &hat led "e to re"ind our #ongregation of the strong

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pro"ptings to praise &e have re#eived as the 9oly !pirit of e?hortation has operated a"ong us 6hat praise has been a hall"ark of our #orporate life at 6he Chur#h /n 6he $ay is kno&n to allJ that it is a generally a##epted pra#ti#e in our "idst is very #lear But praise "ust re"ain e"inent in our understanding and parti#ipation /ver the years so"e lovely truths have been &elded together as the !pirit has brought edifi#ation and #o"fort 9ere is the gist of so"e basi# "essages that have been delivered to us8 + 6he darkness surrounds this hour as it did Paul and !ilas in the Philippian prison 6heir praise brought God%s hand by an earth1uake and out of the night a hopeless Aailer &as saved 7o&, let your praises rise As you praise #ontinually, spiritual sho#k &aves go out into the &orld around you Continuous praise &ill bring your release and the release of "any into the kingdo" of God Dsee A#ts +=8+3':.E Praise is your path&ay through the "ired #ir#u"stan#es of the present &orld >our step &ill be un#ertain and your foot &ill slide unless you re#ogni(e that your praises for" stepping'stones by &hi#h the Father paves your &ay into the future purpose 9e has for you Dsee Ps 5=E IAs the "orning stars sang *y praise at #reation,I says God, Ia##o"panying *y great display of po&er &ith their &orship, let your voi#es Aoin &ith the heavenly song I Praise the Lord !ing unto the Lord !ing &ith your spirit and sing &ith your understanding For as you sing praises unto 9i", 9e #ontinues 9is great #reative &orking And in your "idst you shall see the "arvelous &orks of God, the Lord of the ne& #reation Dsee <ob :,8.'4E """"" ) on#e heard so"eone say, %ILet%s Aust praise the Lord% is a rather #losed vie& of things I ) understood their "eaning, for they had #o"e fro" a #ir#le of folks &ho neither praised the Lord &ith understanding, as the psal"ist #o""ands, nor did they have a #orporate IFor&ard, "ar#hHI "entality like the one David and

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13!

his people "anifested /ne is for#ed to agree that praise for praise%s sake #an be#o"e a &earying e?perien#e in redundan#y and pointlessness But there is a path of praise that leads to life, and "any are "oving for&ard on it &ith great Aoy, gro&th and rene&al David &alked that path and, in #hildlike abandon, broke into leaping and dan#ing 9is hu"ility of heart brought a ready response to the 9oly !pirit of Aoy "otivating hi"J and even though *i#hal protested, David%s 6aberna#le &as built, it housed the ark, and it &as filled &ith the praises of the Lord ) vote to help build it againH

CHAPTER 11

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&ing, > /arren, you who ha5e not /orne= Break forth into singing!!!! For you shall e6pand to the right and to the left, and your descendants will inherit the nations!
)!A)A9 ;.8+':

!he &as the pi#ture of shyness, standing at the door and bashfully glan#ing "y &ay, &ith one finger #urled to her lo&er

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lip and her eyes elo1uently in1uiring, Can - see you, (astor Jack; ) be#koned to her, and the eight'year'old &alked a#ross the prayer roo" to &here ) stood &ith so"e elders 6hough the servi#e &as about to begin, ) knelt to greet the #hild, so our eyes &ere at the sa"e level I9i, Ai"ee,I ) s"iled I$hat do you &antKI !he &as so s&eetly #hildlike IPastor <a#k, ) &anted you to hear a song the Lord gave to "e I 6he servi#e &as i""inent, but right then she see"ed a "ore pre#ious and urgent "atter than the "ultitude gathering for &orship I!ing it for "e,I ) said And she did )t &as a tender little tune 6he #hild%s loving lyri# voi#ed her &orship and gave e?pression to first dis#overies in the 9oly !pirit%s #reativity in song I6hat%s beautiful, Ai"ee >ou keep singing it to the Lord <esus, &ill youKI !he nodded and &e hugged ea#h other as ) &hispered, I6hank you for #o"ing to share your song &ith "e 6ell *a"a and Daddy hello for "e, and ,I ) paused and then added, I) love you I 9er s"ile &ould have "elted a "illion hearts as she said, I) love you, too,I and then slipped out the door and hurried to &herever her "o" and dad &ere seated 6here%s "ore to Ai"ee%s story, but for the "o"ent ) pause to unders#ore a #onvi#tion about &orship and song8 God wants to gi5e e5eryone his or her own song of praise to #im! 6he Creator, &hose $ord repeatedly says, I!ing unto the Lord a ne& song,I &ants to beget a ne& song on the lips and fro" the hearts of 9is o&nCa distin#tly ne& song of your o&nH 6his is not to suggest that everybody%s Ine& songI is appropriate for everyone else or that they should supplant those &e%ve learned together But "y response to Ai"ee%s song &as "ore than a pastor%s kindness to a #hildJ it &as "y #onfir"ation of a vital pra#ti#e !he had never heard "e en#ourage private song "aking in &orship, but at her tender age she &as e?perien#ing a #reative

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possibility open to us all $hile &e are not all #o"posers, able to refine "elody and lyri#, &e all have the potential to sing songs spontaneously to the Lord

THE FULL SPECTRUM OF SONG


$orship "ay be possible &ithout song, but nothing #ontributes "ore to its beauty, "aAesty, dignity and nobility or to its tenderness and inti"a#y 6here is a full spe#tru" of purposes and pra#ti#es of song in &orship 6he breadth of style, the endless "elodi# possibilities, the deli#ate nuan#es of #horal dyna"i#s, the brilliant luster of instru"ental arrange"ent, the soul'stirring anthe"s of anointed #hoirs, the ru"bling "agnifi#en#e of giant organsCall see" #learly to be God'given "eans for our endless e?pansion and #reativity in &orship 7e& "usi#al e?pression is fitting as &e ea#h dis#over ne& things about the "anifold &isdo" of the Lord our God God%s $ord is full of the "usi# of &orship fro" #reation to Revelation, and &hile songs of praise e?isted long before his ti"e, it%s to David &e usually turn in learning of song fro" the !#riptures 6he shepherd'boy'turned'"ighty'king apparently #ultivated the use of song in praise to a di"ension previously une?plored After raising the 6aberna#le in <erusale" and anti#ipating the building of the 6e"ple, David organi(ed and provided for the support of "usi# leaders and "inistries to enhan#e )srael%s &orship Dsee + Chron 5;85'4E Choirs and or#hestras not only &ere prepared to sing and play skillfully, but they also &ere sele#ted for their sensitivity to the spirit of prophe#y 6he #areful detail in the spe#ifi# listing of na"es tells us so"ething of the i"portan#e given to "usi# under David%s role8 N6heyO prophesied &ith a harp to give thanks and to praise the L/RD All these &ere under the dire#tion of their father for the "usi# in the house of the L/RD &ith their brethren &ho &ere instru#ted in the songs of the L/RD D+ Chron 5;8:,=,4E 6his des#ription reveals a blend both of spontaneity to the 9oly !pirit and preparedness for skilled "usi#al presentation 6heir prophesying involved "ore than setting e?isting !#ripture to

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"usi# 6hese "usi#ians &ere to &ait on the Lord for inspiration Cliving truth that &ould ignite &orship and Aoy in the hearts of God%s people But diligen#e to duty &as not negle#ted in the na"e of "ysti#is" 6hey &ere instru#ted in the Lord%s song in t&o &ays8 D+E in their &ork on instru"ents and voi#e and D5E in their &aiting on the !pirit of God Beyond providing insights into the obvious value of organi(ing #hur#h "usi# leadership, David%s e"phasis on and approa#h to &orship issues a su""ons to a&akening and advan#e"ent *oses longed for the day that all of God%s people &ould prophesy Dsee 7u" ++853EJ shouldn%t &e also e?pe#t our #hoirs and instru"ents to "inister &ith the gift of prophe#yK )sn%t it possible that the 7e& 6esta"ent restoration of the 6aberna#le of David "ay bring us to ne& di"ensions of 9oly !pirit'inspired praise and &orship in songK 6here is a lovely balan#e in David%s institution of "usi#ally skilled and spiritually anointed &orship 9is blend of order and fle?ibility is not easily attained in any era, but his approa#h deserves a fresh &el#o"e in today%s Chur#h $hat guidelines does the 7e& 6esta"ent offer us for e?pe#ting and #ultivating "usi# in #orporate and personal &orshipK )t is e?tre"ely signifi#ant that the apostle Paul t&i#e issues e?pli#it dire#tives to sing psal"s, hy"ns and spiritual songs 9e "akes it abundantly #lear that the purpose for this is to do "ore than belt out religious tunes, odes and dittiesJ in fa#t, song fuels spiritual gro&th8 ILet the &ord of Christ d&ell in you ri#hly singingI DCol :8+=E, and IDo not be drunk &ith &ine, in &hi#h is dissipationJ but be filled &ith the !pirit singingI D0ph ;8+,,+3E 6he first of these edi#ts establishes a dire#t relationship bet&een the $ord and &orship, &hile the se#ond #alls for the !pirit in &orship A #loser look at these verses not only establishes the value of "usi# in 7e& 6esta"ent &orship, but a ne& area is opened in &orship as &ellCso"ething &e "ight e?pe#t under the ne& #ovenant8 Let the &ord of Christ d&ell in you ri#hly in all &isdo", tea#hing and ad"onishing one another in psal"s and hy"ns and spiritual songs, singing &ith gra#e in your hearts to the Lord DCol :8+=E

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143

9ere, the fruitful i"planting of the $ord of God is linked to our singing and &orshiping *ost of us &ould think of these as separate operationsCthe $ord as instru#tional and song as inspirational But instead, hu"an intelle#t and e"otion are integrated through song, and effe#tive tea#hing is said to re1uire &orship for its fullest a##o"plish"ent 6he #o"ple"ent of &orshipful song is needed for the "eat of the $ord to be assi"ilated into our #hara#ter and #ondu#t <ust as our digestive syste"s pro#ess food and distribute nutrients throughout the body, so &orshipful singing is apparently essential for the integration of the $ord into our lives Could the "usi# of &orship be the "eans God has ordained for fulfilling the #ovenant "ade long agoK But this is the #ovenant that ) &ill "ake ) &ill put *y la& in their "inds, and &rite it on their hearts D<er :+8::E ) &ill put *y !pirit &ithin you and #ause you to &alk in *y statutes, and you &ill keep *y Audg"ents and do the" D0(ek :=854E Perhaps it%s true that !pirit'filled &orship is the distin#t "eans by &hi#h the ne& #ovenant trans#ends the old in ter"s of the $ord in our lives 7o longer is the $ord engraved on stone or #onfined to par#h"ent, but its pre#epts are being infused into the hu"an personality Re#ogni(ing the pla#e of song in this pro#ess #ertainly reveals the priority of &orship /ur singing be#o"es infinitely "ore than droning out another ode to orthodo?y $orshipful singing e?pedites a pro#ess that 1ui#kens our "inds to re#eive the $ord and sub"its our souls to the 9oly !pirit%s i"planting it &ithin us !pirit'filled &orship "ay be our insuran#e against "erely learning fa#ts fro" the Bible instead of re#eiving po&er through its tea#hing )n this light, Paul%s se#ond "ention of singing be#o"es all the "ore "eaningful First, t&o dire#t #o""ands stand in stark Au?taposition8 Don%t be un&ise Do kno& God%s &illH Dsee 0ph ;8+4E 6hen follo&s the #all to sing8 Don%t be drunk &ith &ine, it only dissipates youJ rather, keep on being refilled &ith the 9oly !pirit, a path pra#ti#ed best by #ontinued singing a"ong yourself of

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psal"s, hy"ns and spiritual songs D0ph ;8+,,+3, author%s paraphraseE 6here is no "ystery to the "essage here8 )f you &ant to &alk in God%s &ill and &isdo", avoid the &orld%s spirits and keep filled &ith God%s !piritCsong' filled &orship is the &ay to do bothH

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Any notion that "usi# is e?tra#urri#ular is destroyed in Paul%s dire#tives $orship is presented as essential to gro&th, &isdo", understanding and godly fruitfulness $ord'#enteredness and !pirit'fullness are Aoined at the altar of songful &orship, and this balan#e #onfronts anyone%s te"ptation to sa#rifi#e either sin#e both are "ade interdependent !o #lear an assign"ent and su#h potential fruit "andate our fa"iliarity &ith Ipsal"s, hy"ns and spiritual songs I $hat are they and ho& #an &e apply the" in &orshipK Singing Psa#&s 6he 7e& 6esta"ent Chur#hC<e& and Gentile alikeCa##epted and used the &orship literature of the /ld 6esta"ent 6he !#riptures &ere vie&ed as God%s inspired $ord, and &orship fro" this sour#e &as first and fore"ost !inging psal"s &as not only to sing the &ords of the te?t but also to sing the inspired utteran#es of GodH Psal" singing &as kno&n to be God'glorifying and life' instilling be#ause God%s $ord &as being breathed into the heart as it &as breathed out in song 6oday%s psal" singing is refle#ted in

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those songs that are essentially !#ripture set to "usi# 6he ne& refor"ation has sparked "ore singing of God%s $ord in the last 5- years than perhaps at any earlier ti"e in Chur#h history >et &hile this has been happening, a strange, fearful 1uestioning or resistan#e to this develop"ent is o##asionally found A pastor &ho had Aust a##epted a ne& #hur#h related to "e the anger of so"e of his #ongregation &hen he introdu#ed !#ripture songs into their &orship ti"e 9e hadn%t repla#ed the "usi# the people &ere fa"iliar &ith but &as only offering so"e ne& songs &ith bibli#al lyri#s /n o##asion, he asked the people to sing dire#tly fro" their Bibles as he taught the" lovely ne& "elodies, thinking they &ould appre#iate being able to #arry God%s $ord in their hearts through song 7ot so I$e &on%t sing it if it isn%t in the hy"nalHI so"eone spouted 6heir response &as in#redibleH 6ragi#ally, the #ongregation%s #linging to tradition had so &arped their vie&point on &orship that they didn%t reali(e D+E they &ere being led by a faithful shepherd to do e?a#tly &hat the Bible says and D5E ho&ever un&ittingly, they &ere s#orning God%s o&n $ord by their resistan#e Pe#uliarly, they e?alted a hy"nal of brilliant but human inspiration above the eternal $ord of di5ine inspiration ) happen to kno& that parti#ular pastor $ithout 1uestion he &as being sensitive &hen atte"pting to introdu#e ne& "usi# &ith his #ongregation 9o&ever, "any of us &ho have been through this pro#ess &ould have appre#iated guidelines for tea#hing any ne& for"s of &orship 6hese have proved helpful8 + Gi5e a /i/lical /asis for what you introduce! !ho& the idea in the $ord itself, and sho& its pra#ti#al benefits, tooH People usually respond to truth &hen they see it, espe#ially &hen seeing the potential pro"ises &ithin those things being taught .on2t try to accomplish too much, too fast! 6he Bible likens people to sheep, not horses or #attle Lead the" slo&ly !ta"peding or rushing the" #reates unrest and &ill likely bring failure Ne5er propose something new as an opponent of something old! $hen introdu#ing ne& "usi#, &orship for"s or songs, pushiness or arrogan#e about either

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the old or the ne& &ill never #o"e a#ross favorably Lead into the ne& fro" a positive base of love rather than fro" a negative base of #riti#is" of the old Singing 'y&ns /ur &ord Ihy"nI is derived fro" the Greek humnois, &hi#h is si"ply the &ord for a religious song 0very generation &rites its o&n songs about the Lord and to 9i"J and &hether in the first or t&enty'first #entury, hy"ns are songs of testi"ony, triu"ph, e?altation, adoration and #elebration 9y"ns &ere first defined to "e as being Da? great do#trinal state"ents set to "usi# or F/? de#larations of obAe#tive praise to God But ) later learned a broader definition that &as "ore appropriate 9y"ns span a &ide range of "usi#C&ider than so"e of us "ight like For "y part, ) &ould prefer I)""ortal, )nvisible, God /nly $iseI to I)%ll Fly A&ay, / Glory,I and IBlessed Assuran#eI to ILittle Bro&n Chur#h in the Vale I 7onetheless, an honest definition derived fro" the 7e& 6esta"ent &ord re1uires latitude beyond individual tastes 6he distin#t re1uire"ent of a Christian hy"n is not its #aliber or 1uality but its subAe#t "atter 6e#hni#ally, Ihy"nI refers to the lyri#s, &hile I"elody,I or Itune,I refers to the song But &hether sung or spoken, the subAe#t is GodC #is gra#e, #is &orks, #is purpose, #is people, #is po&er, #is glory or #is person ) don%t re#all being told this, but ) apparently #aught the basi# idea of hy"ns early in life, &hen ) thought of the" as 9l*sCsongs about the LordH )n so"e rene&al #ongregations, the "ore #lassi#, traditional hy"ns have suffered disuse of late, hy"nals often being dis#arded as irrelevant, "usty artifa#ts of an unrene&ed era But as surely as people be#o"e &hat they eat, a #ongregation be#o"es &hat they singJ and there is so"ething sturdy, durable and an#hor'like about the hy"ns born of earlier rene&als $e need the" fused into our souls along &ith the ne&er songs in vogue today /lder hy"ns so"eti"es IdieI in #hur#h be#ause of the &ay they%re sung A re"edyK Don%t drag the"H 6here is nothing reverent about slo& !o"e people reAe#t hy"ns si"ply be#ause they are bored by the", but interest #an be kept alive Brisk and bright is better than du"py and dead )%" not appealing for

THE LIFE- EGETTING POWER OF SONG

14!

Aa#krabbit Aive or ra#ehorse rhyth"s, but turtle'like te"pos need to be sent out to sea foreverH Singing S"irit a# S%ngs 6here are &ide differen#es in definition of Ispiritual songs,I and ) don%t &ant to appear either ignorant or #riti#al of any of the" But ) &ant to dis#uss "y opinion that Ispiritual songsI &ere the apostle Paul%s referen#e to a distin#t "usi# for" uni1ue to the Chur#h )t &as one that &ould help fulfill the prospe#t of God%s &anting to give everyone his or her o&n song of praise to 9i" !piritual songs have been defined as infor"al #horuses, #horal anthe"s, si"pler and "ore personal state"ents of faith or brief and non#o"ple? odes of &orship But ) propose that they &ereCand areCa ne& "usi# for" unavailable until the 7e& 6esta"ent, until Christ%s full rede"ption allo&ed the 9oly !pirit to d&ell in "ankind Clearly, early believers sang Ispiritual songsI of &orship But &hat &ere theyK #odais pneumatikais, the e?a#t phrase used in both 0phesians ; and Colossians :, is usually translated Ispiritual songs I 6he first &ord is si"ply Iode,I the Greek ter" for any &ords that &ere sung But the se#ond &ord, pneumatikais, see"s to be the key to the full intended "eaning of this phrase (neumatikais)an obvious #ognate to pneuma DspiritECis "ost easily defined and understood by noting its use else&here in the 7e& 6esta"ent For e?a"ple, Paul uses this &ord &hen introdu#ing the subAe#t of spiritual gifts in + Corinthians +58+ Fpneumatika, or Ispiritual thingsIE Later, in his appeal to the Galatians #on#erning their duty to restore fallen brethren, the &ord pneumatikoi appears in the phrase I>ou &ho are spiritualI DGal =8+E Although pneumatika o##urs "ore than 5- ti"es in the 7e& 6esta"ent, these t&o te?ts give us so"ething of a basi# pi#ture (neumatika see"s to indi#ate 9oly !pirit'filled people of #hara#ter and #haris"a 6heir character is noted in the Galatian te?t8 Brethren, if a "an is overtaken in any trespass, you &ho are spiritual restore su#h a one in a spirit of gentleness, #onsidering yourself lest you also be te"pted DGal =8+E

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6heir charisma Din the sense of their fun#tioning in the gifts of the 9oly !piritE is indi#ated in their apparent a##eptan#e and response to spiritual things, i e , "anifestations of the 9oly !pirit%s gifts 6hese fa#tors alone &ould not finali(e a definition, e?#ept for the fa#t that in this sa"e #onte?t Paul dis#usses singing &ith the spirit )t is here in this #lassi# passage, + Corinthians +5C+., as the apostle #orre#ts the Corinthians% abuse of glossolalia DInative tongueIE, that he also dis#usses singing of a distin#tly 9oly !pirit'enabled nature8 For if ) pray in a tongue, "y spirit prays, but "y understanding is unfruitful $hat is the #on#lusion thenK ) &ill pray &ith the spirit, and ) &ill also pray &ith the understanding ) &ill sing &ith the spirit, and ) &ill also sing &ith the understanding D+ Cor +.8+.,+;E 9is distinguishing singing I&ith the spiritI fro" singing I&ith the understandingI points to &hat Ispiritual songsI "ay have "eant in the first'#entury Chur#h8 an e?er#ise separate fro", yet #o"ple"entary to, the singing of psal"s and hy"ns Be#ause the general passage beginning in + Corinthians +5 and the spe#ifi# te?t in + Corinthians +. both use pneu"atika to des#ribe the kind of subAe#t "atter being dealt &ith, it follo&s that the distin#t type of singing referred to as being I&ith the spiritI Dpneu"aE #ould be the sa"e as Ispiritual songs I ) &ould not be so bigoted as to oppose another interpretation, but ) propose that the &hole of the 7e& 6esta"ent #onte?t supports the definition of Ispiritual songsI as being 9oly !pirit'enabled utteran#es that &ere sung rather than spoken, &ere a part of one%s devotional life, &ere e?plained or interpreted if e?er#ised in #orporate gatherings and &ere so desirable as to have Paul assert his personal &ill to pra#ti#e the"8 I) &ill sing &ith the spirit I ) &ould not pre#lude the possibility or desirability of spiritual songs being in the native language of the &orshiper, nor &ould ) suggest that one &as preferable to another But it does

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see" #lear that the 9oly !pirit is at &ork in this &orship e?pression, doing so"ething distin#tly valid and valuable 6he pra#ti#ality of this e?er#ise is readily understandable &hen &e re"ind ourselves ho& God has given the gift of &orship for our edifi#ation as &ell as for 9is e?altation )t shouldn%t surprise us that the gift of song for &orship, praise, thanksgiving and adoration should provide at least one avenue for free, #o"pletely original, personal e?pression !u#h spontaneity in personal &orship "ay allo& "e the liberty of lyri#i(ing "y o&n heart%s Aoy or pain, lifting it on a "elody ) spontaneously breathe forth 6his kind of singing re"oves the restri#tions of poeti# rhy"e, "eter, rhyth" and for" A pra#ti#al, s#riptural and desirable thing o##urs8 A previously unsung songCa ne& songCissues forth fro" &orshiping lips, adoring 9i" and releasing the soul to broadened di"ensions of glorifying the Creator 6hus the spiritual song rounds out a triad of "usi# for"s given to the Chur#h8
)n psalms, &e de#lare 9is *ord in song $e learn and

rehearse the eternal, un#hanging $ord of 9is revealed truth in the !#riptures and revie& 9is attributes, testifying to 9is goodness as e?perien#ed over the #enturies pla#e to the 9oly !pirit%s refilling and "aking pla#e for 9is $ord to d&ell ri#hly &ithin

)n hymns, &e announ#e 9is works in song $e praise 9i"

)n spiritual songs, &e &el#o"e 9is will in song, giving

RE(CHOIRING THE CHURCH


$ith su#h a variety of "usi#al for"s available to us, &ith "usi# and song so universally enAoyed, &ith so unsurpassed an avenue for e?pressing hu"an thought and e"otion, &hy is "usi# so often the fo#al point of proble"s or diffi#ulty in the Chur#hK $hy is it so hard to get the people to learn ne& hy"ns, to sing Aoyously, to respond &ith spontaneity, to a##ept ne& "usi#al for"sK $hy is the #hoir too loud or too soft, too diffi#ult to understand, too ineffe#tive or too overpo&eringK $hy do &e think the "inister of "usi#, the #horal dire#tor or the organist

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Itoo de"anding,I Iso undependable,I Isu#h a pri"a donna,I Igiven to favoritis"I and so onK /ne approa#h that did "ore to e?pand our o&n hori(ons in #orporate &orship #a"e about through repeated frustration and failure Put si"ply, &e #ouldn%t get a #hoir to last 7o&, ) love #horal "usi# very "u#h ) enAoy hearing #hoirs and singing in the" !in#e "y first e?perien#e leading a "usi# group &hen ) &as si? years old, ) have helped for" and lead #hoirs for everything fro" radio broad#asts to #ollege tours, not to "ention #hur#h >et, despite "y best efforts, every early atte"pt to establish a #hoir at our pastorate in Van 7uys "et &ith dis"al results $e had no #hoir 0a#h ne& try involved #apable people 0a#h ne& beginning see"ed e?#iting for everyone But after three tries in as "any years, ) finally began to dra& the #on#lusion that God &as trying to tell "e so"ething !o, ) surrendered to the Lord the idea that &e needed a #hoir ) don%t suggest that &hat happened to us is the ans&er for every lo#al #hur#h e?perien#ing #horal proble"s But there is no 1uestion that God%s de#lared "oratoriu" on our efforts to for" a #hoir be#a"e the key to unleashing the song of our #ongregation, for ) asked the &hole #ongregation to be our #hoir )%ve already related ho& this ta#ti# has allo&ed a freedo" &ithout foolishness, but that%s ho& it all began ) began to treat the #hur#h the &ay ) &ould a #hoir ) started one !unday by des#ribing the #on#lusion ) had rea#hed follo&ing our repeated failures at #hoir for"ation ) didn%t believe the vision for a #ongregation'&ide #hoir &as "ore spiritual than the usual approa#h ) didn%t feel #hoirs &ere an unholy tradition that should be de"olished, but rather that &e &ere all to be the #hoir for that season in our body life DAlthough &e #ontinue to treat the #ongregation as the #hoir, &e no& have t&o adult #hoirs'one traditional and one gospelCas &ell as #hildren%s #hoirs and youth ense"bles E ) did a #ouple of things to help our body apply this #on#ept of the #ongregation as #hoir First, ) taught fro" the $ord of God 6he book of Revelation unveils a "assive angeli# #hoir of &orshipers in heaven8 IAnd the nu"ber of the" &as ten thousand ti"es ten thousand, and

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thousands of thousandsI DRev ;8++E But the book of 9ebre&s goes further, a"a(ingly putting us all a"ong that heavenly #hoir, there at God%s throne, sounding our praises beside the angeli# voi#es and Aoining in the ti"eless &orship of the *ost 9ighCright now !!! e5ery /elie5er= >ou have #o"e to *ount Mion and to the #ity of the living God, the heavenly <erusale", to an innu"erable #o"pany of angels D9eb +5855E As these and other truths of the $ord began to register, so"ething #a"e unsha#kledH !uddenly our #ongregation per#eived the"selves in a ne& light, Aoined to the heavenly #hoir of angelsH Bibli#al truth had set the" free to &orship &ith a ne& sense of privilege and responsibility ) so"eti"es &onder if, "ore than &e kno&, the presen#e of a good #hoir be#o"es an unintended substitute for a #ongregation%s #o""it"ent to "inister to the Lord /ur absen#e of a for"ed #hoir be#a"e a pivotal point to releasing everyone to be the #hoir !e#ond, even today ) often address the #ongregation as I#hoir I For e?a"ple, )%ll say, IGood "orningH As &e begin &orship today, &ill the entire #hoir stand &ith "e and I *y gesture #learly en#o"passes the &hole body and s"iles #o"e over their fa#es 0veryone kno&s &hat ) "ean, but if ) see a be&ildered visitor, ) &ill add8 IAt 6he Chur#h /n 6he $ay &e%ve de#ided that the &hole #ongregation &ill #onstitute the #hoir, so if you%re visiting us today, Aoin right in $e%re not an e?#lusive group )n fa#t, so"e of us have terrible voi#es, but boy do &e singH <oin in like you%ve been here a hundred years, and no one &ill kno& the differen#e I 6his approa#h has done &onders to&ard solving one of any #ongregation%s "ost #hallenging proble"s8 ho& to get the people to learn ne& songs and hy"ns *ost people are hesitant to atte"pt a ne& song ) guess &e all have a residual fear of appearing foolish Conse1uently, ne& songs are tough to introdu#e be#ause the pri#e of learning ne& "usi# see"s high And it see"s to take so long, going over and over a song 6hus, the flo& and "ove"ent of the servi#e suffers, espe#ially if the song is ineptly taught or inappropriately introdu#ed 9o&ever, on#e the #ongregation per#eives itself as the #hoir,

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a subtle but signifi#ant #hange o##urs in the #olle#tive "indset 6o introdu#e a ne& hy"n or &orship #horus, ) &ill say, IChoir, &e%re going to rehearse a ne& song Don%t &orry about "aking "istakesC&e%re all learning it together 6here%s Aust one re1uire"ent8 )f you "ake a "istake, "ake a loud one I People laugh 6he at"osphere is rela?ed, and &ith fear re"oved the learning pro#ess is speedy, fulfilling and, 1uite frankly, fun! !u#h a Ire'#hoiringI of the body opens the &ay to spiritual advan#e 6he #orporate gathering is released into praise and &orship, and ea#h individual believer begins to vie& hi"self "ore seriously as a genuine "inister to the Lord

THE SHEER POWER OF SONG


6here are pla#es in the Bible &here the sheer po&er of song e?plodes upon our understanding ) "ean far "ore than the po&er of song to e?press Aoy, reAoi#ing, praiseful thanks or unified &orship )%" talking about song as an instru"ent of "ira#lesCsongs be#o"ing &orks of po&er for /attle, for /reakthrough and for /irthing! The S%ng %! Batt#e 6he story of <udah%s @ing <ehoshaphat and his vi#tory over the invasion staged by the #o"bined troops of *oab and A""on is a great argu"ent against the supposition that history is boring Vastly outnu"bered by an alien host bent on their e?ter"ination, <ehoshaphat and his people "ade the Lord their first point of resort $ith prayer and fasting they turned to 9i", rather than appealing to a neighboring nation as a hired gun to #o"e and res#ue the" 6heir #all to God &as ans&ered8 Listen, all you of <udah and you inhabitants of <erusale", and you, @ing <ehoshaphatH 6hus says the L/RD to you8 IDo not be afraid nor dis"ayed be#ause of this great "ultitude, for the battle is not yours, but God%s >ou &ill not need to fight in this battle Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the L/RD, &ho is &ith you, / <udah and <erusale"HI Do not fear or be dis"ayedJ to"orro& go out against the", for the L/RD is &ith you D5 Chron 5-8+;,+4E

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<ehoshaphat and the people responded &ith a&e and praise, but &hat "akes this event "e"orableCand uni1ue in the annals of "ilitary en#ountersCis the strategy they e"ployed for battle 6he people of <udah took a pe#uliar a#tion based in the ra& #onvi#tion that God "eant &hat 9e said8 I>ou &ill not need to fight in this battle I <ehoshaphat appointed a #hoir to go out before the ar"y "he singers preceded the warriors=

!/7G )! A *)G96> *0A7! /F BR0A@69R/ UG9 A7D L)B0RA6)/7

6he Lord did not di#tate this arrange"entJ it%s Aust that the people #on#luded this battle &as different 9ere%s ho& it happened8 !o they rose early in the "orning and as they &ent out, <ehoshaphat stood and said, I9ear "e, / <udah and you inhabitants of <erusale"8 Believe in the L/RD your God, and you shall be establishedJ believe 9is prophets, and you shall prosper I And &hen he had #onsulted &ith the people, he appointed those &ho should sing to the L/RD, and &ho should praise the beauty of holiness, as they &ent out before the ar"y and &ere saying8 IPraise the L/RD, for 9is "er#y endures forever I 7o& &hen they began to sing and to praise, the L/RD set a"bushes against the people of A""on, *oab, and

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*ount !eir and they &ere defeated destroy one another D5 Chron 5-85-'5:E

6hey helped to

God%s people lifted their song of praise and e?pressed their belief in 9is pro"ise $hen they did, their ene"ies &ere so #onfounded by it all that they turned on one anotherH )t%s a great story, but is it relevant to us todayK Although so"e people are nervous about taking /ld 6esta"ent events and applying the illustrated prin#iples of faith to today%s #ir#u"stan#es, ) think there is truth here for us no& Let "e elaborate $ynne Le&is is the for"er pastor of London%s @ensington 6e"ple, &hi#h is Aust do&n the road fro" @ensington Pala#e 9e re#ently told "e of a de"anding season of spiritual struggle he and his #ongregation e?perien#ed so"e years ago An e?#eptional ti"e of evangelis" had brought burgeoning gro&th, attra#ting the attention of a band of spiritists in that part of London An entire #oven of &it#hes began atte"pting an infiltration of the servi#es at the Pente#ostal #hur#h Anyone &ho kno&s the #on#entrated po&er of evil &hen de"oni# po&ers are fo#used against a holy enterprise #an appre#iate the invisible &arfare that is ignited in su#h a setting $ynne told "e8 /ne evening as ) rose to prea#h, the oppression in the san#tuary &as so strong ) kne& ) "ust do so"ething before beginning "y "essage 6he building &as full, "ostly &ith Christians #o""itted to Christ%s testi"ony ) said, IBrethren and sisters, ) think you sense that &e are fa#ing a spiritual battle >ou and ) kno& that our strength is si"ply to lift up praiseCto sing the over#o"ing song of our Lord <esus% vi#tory on the Cross I ) began to lead the people, singing one song after another about the blood of <esus, kno&ing that the Bible tea#hes that hell is routed &hen believers e?alt the blood of the La"b at the heart of their testi"ony Dsee Rev +58++E

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As &e &ere singing, suddenly those &ho had been assigned to bind in an unholy agree"ent against God%s free and po&erful &orkings in that pla#e began to rise and run fro" the roo"Chands over their ears against the praises of the saints 7eedless to say, it &as a night of great vi#tory and salvation, and it brought a #on#lusion to that parti#ular season of spiritual skir"ish 6he song of the Lord is a "ighty instru"ent for spiritual battle 6he Lord &ould #all us to &orship 9i" &ith song &hen fa#ed &ith an ene"y that is too strong for us $e #an see our &orship be#o"e a "usi#al po&er play and find vi#tory in our #ir#u"stan#es as &e obey the dire#tive to &orship &ith song )t%s a ti"eless resour#e &hi#h God%s $ord reveals as a po&erful part of the arsenal 9e has given for our triu"ph in spiritual #onfli#t The S%ng %! Brea(thr% gh 6he breakthrough of the gospel into 0urope in the first #entury &as supernatural by every #riteria )t began as the result of a 9oly !pirit'inspired vision that led Paul and his party to "ove &est instead of east in their evangelisti# pursuits )t &as birthed at the edge of a river as God%s $ord &as prea#hed and #onfir"ed by 9is po&er and 9is follo&ers gained their first 0uropean #onverts 6heir efforts &ere assailed by a repeated and de#eptive testi"ony shouted fro" the lips of a de"on'possessed &o"an, &hose sor#eries had gained influen#e over "any in that area But the sor#eress &as delivered fro" satani# tor"ents &hen Paul #ast the de"on fro" her, setting the &o"an free to follo& Christ For their a#t of "er#y, "anifest in that a#t of e?or#is", Paul and !ilas &ere #ast into prison, a #lear effort of the re#ently e?pelled de"on to restrain further gospel advan#e into its prin#ipalityCthe door&ay to an entire #ontinent Fro" &ithin their prison #ell, the "issionaries began to sing praises to earth1uake shook the area, resulting Aailer%s repentan#e and the #onversion Dsee A#ts +=8+=':.E t&o beaten and bound God As they sang, an in the "ira#le of their of his entire household

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6his #luster of events burst forth like pressed grapes, letting flo& the &ine of 9oly !pirit operations of po&er that established a bea#hhead for the gospel on a ne& #ontinent 6hough it see"s i"possible to #ite any single event as pivotal in the spread of Christianity, one idea shines through #learly8 6he original breakthrough of the gospel &est&ard into 0urope &as not a#hieved &ithout an apostoli# e?perien#e in the sheer po&er of song 7ot every analyst "ay relate the singing of Paul and !ilas to their "ira#ulous deliveran#e fro" the Aail 9o&ever, note ho& the Bible supports the proposition that su#h "ay have been the #aseJ song is a "ighty "eans of breakthrough and liberation8 >ou are "y hiding pla#eJ >ou shall preserve "e fro" troubleJ >ou shall surround "e &ith songs of deliveran#e DPs :584E 6he L/RD is "y strength and song, and 9e has be#o"e "y salvation D0?od +;85E IBehold, God is "y salvation, ) &ill trust and not be afraid, for >A9, the L/RD, is "y strength and songJ 9e also has be#o"e "y salvation I 6herefore &ith Aoy you &ill dra& &ater fro" the &ells of salvation D)sa +585,:E A #lose e?a"ination of these and other passages sho&s that songs are not only offerings of praise for &hat God has done, but these are also instru"ents of our present partnering &ith 9is al"ightiness unto deli5erance! )n Psal" :584 &e are told that the Lord hides us and preserves us fro" trouble by en#ir#ling us &ith songs of deliveran#e !o"eho& in &ays &hi#h defy our analysis, the song of the Lord on the lips of 9is people has a potential for #ontributing to spiritual overthro&, upheaval and breakthrough <ust as "usi# in the physi#al real" "ay strike a &avelength that shatters glass, so songful &orship in the spiritual real" #an shake !atan%s do"inion, toppling prin#ipalities of hell and e?tending the kingdo" of God through <esus ChristH The S%ng %! Birthing )saiah ;. opens &ith a parado?i#al #o""andCI!ing, / barren, you &ho have not borneHICthe irony being that no one &ould

THE LIFE- EGETTING POWER OF SONG

15!

dire#t a despairing reAe#t to sing )n an#ient )srael, nothing pro"pted song less than the barren #ondition of a &o"an A &o"an &ithout #hildren &as disenfran#hised, dis#redited, suspe#t of spiritual un&orthiness and potentially subAe#t to divor#eCall on the grounds of her biologi#al in#apability for #hildbearing )nto this depressing situation of personal hopelessness, the prophet #o""ands the &o"an to sing and, in#redibly, dire#ts her to start preparing a nursery for there are babies DpluralE #o"ingH 0nlarge the pla#e of your tent For you shall e?pand to the right and to the left, and your des#endants &ill inherit the nations >ou &ill forget the sha"e of your youth For your *aker is your husband, the L/RD of hosts is 9is na"e D)sa ;.85';E An entire spool of thought unrolls a #ontinuous thread of blessing, &hi#h is pro"ised to follo& upon the heels of song aloneH A tapestry of Aoy in#luding "ultiple births is prophesied, #o"plete &ith pro"ises of &idespread fruit and Aoyous #onse1uen#es flo&ing fro" the "idst of the singer%s song 6his passage of pro"ise is far "ore than poetry 9ere is the de#laration of a prin#iple that shines fro" other passages in the $ord of God, for song and birthCpraises and ne& lifeCare linked together ti"e and again 6he #ause'and' effe#t relationship is not al&ays the sa"eJ but God being the author of all that is, the issue raised is not our se:uence in song but the suffocation of song 6he Bible reveals that songlessnessC depression, defeat, dis#ourage"ent, despairCrestri#ts the possible inflo& of ne& life 6he spirit of heaviness blankets souls and suffo#ates hope But song has a po&er to e?plode despair and e?pand a spa#e for hope to begin Fro" the IbirthI of #reation, &hen God%s #reative a#tivity &as a##o"panied by "usi#, as Ithe "orning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for AoyI D<ob :,84E, to the birth' ti"e songs of 9annah and *ary Dsee + !a" 58+'+-J Luke +8.=' ;;E, song and ne& life are Aoined together 6he distin#tive thing about )saiah%s &ords is that the song he #alls for is not Aust a Aoyous response to an i"pending birthJ the song de#lares the pro"ise and sets the at"osphere for its fulfill"entH 6here is a possibility in song%s sheer dyna"i# that #ontinues to this day

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WHEN THE BARREN SANG


)t doubtless see"ed like Aust another !unday as *ike and Cheri &ere seated &ith the #ongregation that day over a de#ade ago ) didn%t kno& the" at allCthey &ere ne& to our asse"bly, and it &ould be a full year until ) a#tually "et the" 6hey probably &eren%t thinking about the "atter that "orning, but the fa#t &as that *ike and Cheri &ere unable to have #hildren *edi#al e?a"ination had indi#ated that it &as very unlikely they &ould ever enAoy the parental privilege short of adopting a baby /f #ourse, ) kne& nothing of these fa#ts, nor of their prayerful desire that after ++ years of "arriage they "ight #on#eive a #hild 6hat day "y subAe#t &as I6he Con#eiving and Bearing of Life I )t &asn%t really a "essage on having #hildren but on over#o"ing any barrenness in the bleak spots of our lives )saiah ;. &as "y te?t, and ) dis#ussed God%s #all to &orship and to praise 9i" at any point of our lives that see"s hopelessly unfruitful During "y delivery of the "essage, so"ething very spe#ial took pla#e *y understanding of at least one "anifestation of the spiritual gift #alled Ia &ord of kno&ledgeI D + Cor +58,E is that the 9oly !pirit &ill give so"eone /oth supernatural insight and a #orresponding pro"ise fro" God regarding the issue being revealed 6hat%s e?a#tly &hat happened &hile ) &as prea#hing ) paused "id&ay through the ser"on, sensing the 9oly !pirit%s presen#e and pro"pting 6hen ) spoke IChur#h,I ) said, I) need to interrupt "yself for Aust a "o"ent I*y "essage has spe#ifi#ally not had to do &ith natural #hildbearing but &ith life flo&ing into barren parts of our lives in other respe#ts !till, the 9oly !pirit is i"pressing upon "e that there is a #ouple here this "orning &ho has longed for a #hild, &ho has been told they #annot have one and &ho" the Lord &ants to kno& 9e is present to speak to your need in a personal &ay this "orning 9is &ord to you is this8 %Begin to fill your house &ith song, and as you do, the life'giving po&er of that song &ill establish a ne& at"osphere and "ake &ay for the #on#eption &hi#h you have desired %I

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) didn%t ask anyone to indi#ate his or her personal situation or response to that &ord Rather, ) si"ply &ent on &ith the "essage as ) had planned, basi#ally forgetting about the in#ident until nearly a year later ) engaged *ike and Cheri in #onversation a fe& days prior to the !unday they &ere to present their baby girl for dedi#ation ) had never had a #onversation &ith the", and it &as espe#ially ni#e to talk &ith the" be#ause they &ere so e?#ited about their baby After brief opening e?#hanges, *ike #a"e to the point IPastor <a#k, &e &anted to talk &ith you for a fe& "inutes be#ause of this !unday%s dedi#ation of our baby 6here%s so"ething about it &e felt you &ould &ant to kno& I $ith that, he re#ounted the episode of that !unday about + + "onths beforeCof their #hildlessness, their prayer, the 9oly !pirit%s &ord to the" and their baby IPastor,I *ike #ontinued, I&e &ent ho"e that day and began to do &hat the 9oly !pirit instru#ted us $e began to fill our house &ith song Cheri and ) &ould &alk hand in hand into ea#h roo" and si"ply sing praises and &orship to the Lord $e Aust &anted you to kno& that the baby &e%re bringing for presentation to the Lord this !unday is the fruit of that song, that the Lord did fulfill 9is &ord given that "orning I Can you i"agine ho& ) reAoi#ed &ith the"K 9o& gra#ious our Lord and ho& tender 9is &aysH 6hat baby%s birth &as a holy pheno"enon not #onAured up by "an%s efforts or enthusias" But it &as the pre#ious fruit of one #ouple%s natural union that, until the divinely appointed song of the Lord entered their situation, had not found the fruitfulness for &hi#h they longed And so &e dedi#ated the baby But there%s one last footnote to the story )t%s about Ai"ee Re"e"ber the little eight'year'old girl &ho #a"e to the prayer roo" door and signaled that she &anted to talk &ith "e and &ho then sang "e the song the Lord had given to herK ) &as espe#ially tou#hed that "orning as little Ai"ee &ent ba#k out the door, for as her song &as e#hoing in "y ears, ) &as praising God for the life'begetting po&er of song ) &as reveling

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in ho& it #an trans"it fro" one generation to another &here si"ple #hildlike heartsCand #ongregationsC&ill &el#o"e it For, you see, Ai"ee is *ike and Cheri%s daughter !he is the baby &ho &as born as a result of their filling the house &ith song, even after years of barrenness &ithout hope !he &as the fruit of a songCa song that no& &as finding a pla#e in her young life $ho kno&s &hat ri#hness her song &ill bring in the years that follo&K $ho kno&s &hat a ne& song "ay bring to youK

CHAPTER 12

B0>/7D ALL $/RLD! 90R0 A7D 7/$


+5

'/o5e and /eyond all the realm of time and space, '/o5e earthly limits, /eyond this world2s em/race, ' life may /e found which with power will a/ound, -f you /elie5e, you can recei5e power to li5e a/o5e and /eyond!

6o say that he had been born &ith a silver spoon in his "outh &ould have e?aggerated the point, but there is no doubt that !olo"on had an edge over "ost of his #onte"poraries As the beloved Bathsheba%s son, he &as the living re"inder of God%s forgiveness and gra#e to&ard his father, @ing David 6hough he

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&as the se#ond #hild of a "arriage spa&ned in adultery and "urder, the guilt of the past had been flushed a&ay &ith the tragi# death of his brotherCthe firstborn to this union &hi#h &as tarnished in its in#eption and s#arred fro" its establish"ent But no& David &as dead )n a flurry of politi#al Ao#keying, in#luding the diplo"ati# intervention of Madok the priest and 7athan the prophet, the #ro&n &as #onferred upon !olo"on and the self'seeking takeover atte"pt of his half'brother AdoniAah &as averted $ith a hu"ility #hara#teristi# of his father, the fledgling ruler sought God%s &isdo" rather than &ealth, and the early stages of his leadership &ere "arked &ith divine blessing !olo"on finished the 6e"ple 7o greater "onu"ent #ould be built in testi"ony to the #o"bined devotion of both David and !olo"on 6he te"porary 6aberna#le David had established &as but a fore#ast of his highest desireCthe building of a per"anent d&elling pla#e for the "anifest presen#e of the Lord God of )srael 6hat for &hi#h David%s planning and finan#ial provision had paved the &ay, !olo"on pursued to #o"pletion &ith e1ual #o""it"ent And the day the 6e"ple &as dedi#ated, God%s pleasure &ith it all &as abundantly eviden#ed8 @ing !olo"on, and all the #ongregation N&ereO sa#rifi#ing sheep and o?en that #ould not be #ounted or nu"bered for "ultitude 6hen the priests brought in the ark of the #ovenant of the L/RD And it #a"e to pass, &hen the priests #a"e out of the holy pla#e, that the #loud filled the house of the L/RD, so that the priests #ould not #ontinue "inistering be#ause of the #loudJ for the glory of the L/RD filled the house of the L/RD D + @ings ,8;,=,+-,++E 6here is no 1uestion of God%s pleasure &ith the &orship, the &orshipers and the house of &orship 6he visitation of the Lord and the "anifestation of 9is glory in response to this o##asion fully verify the propriety of it all 7ot only is !olo"on%s desire to honor God #onfir"ed by the Al"ighty%s presen#e and display, but also the sa"e event ought to per"anently silen#e any proposition that large e?penditures for #hur#h buildings "ay

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displease God David and !olo"on%s &hole proAe#t translates to a #ost of appro?i"ately Q. trillionH

THE WORTHINESS OF WORSHIP


A spe#ial poignan#y surrounds that dedi#ation day, espe#ially in the a&e'inspired &ords of !olo"on%s dedi#atory prayer Dsee ) @ings ,855';.E @neeling and &ith his hands spread up&ard in &orship, he brings an i"passioned appeal that #alls for God%s presen#e, blessing and "er#y to reside a"ong his people *id&ay through the prayer, !olo"on "akes a si"ple state"ent &hi#h breaks the ba#k of any skepti#%s notion that )srael sa& >ah&eh "erely as a tribal deity 9aving invited the Lord%s abiding presen#e into the 6e"ple, he says8 But &ill God indeed d&ell on the earthK Behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens #annot #ontain >ou 9o& "u#h less this te"ple &hi#h ) have builtH Dv 54E )t%s here ) invite you to pause &ith "eChere at the dedi#ation of !olo"on%s 6e"ple 6o pause "editatively &here those &ords &ere first spoken is to be &isely taught, for the &orthiness of &orship is de"onstrated here as in fe& other pla#es 6he event yields a fourfold state"ent on &orth in &orship + A material de#laration of &orth is "ade in the enor"ous invest"ent the stru#ture represents, all of it being the dire#t result of offerings brought by devoted &orshipers of the Lord A spiritual de#laration of &orth is seen in the over&hel"ing nu"ber of sa#rifi#es offered that day as they san#tified this ne& house unto God A conceptual grasp of God%s &orth is eviden#ed in !olo"on%s state"ent on the grandeur of God%s person and nature, as his dedi#atory prayer a#kno&ledges 9is o"nipoten#e and trans#enden#e and rests its faith in the attributes of God%s love, "er#y and faithfulness A dynamic de"onstration of God%s de#laration of &orth shines forth in 9is visitation of glory, the seal

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of 9is presen#e and the affir"ation of 9is a##eptan#e of this &orship as truly &orthy

KEEPING WORSHIP WORTHY


6here is a t&o'edged proble" in seeking to ensure our &orship is suffi#iently &orthy /n the one hand, there is a #onte"porary tenden#y to&ard the inappropriately #asual, &hi#h "ay #lai" to be si"ple but a#tually be#o"es trite, glib and o##asionally #utesy at ti"es of praise and &orship 6he "ost sin#ere leader #an #ontribute to the evolution of a less'than'&orthy vie& of God a"ong those he leads unless #autioned against the possibility of people%s "isreading his #asual style 6he desire to sustain a bright, positive at"osphere #an too easily destroy o##asions for deep heart sear#hing and holy #onte"plation of God%s greatness and holiness An upbeat spirit and "ood is appropriate, assu"ing it doesn%t beget a deadbeat slovenliness of "ind to&ard God%s person and glorious attributes But sin#e a predisposition to&ard the infor"al #an un&ittingly #ultivate an insensitivity to&ard the /ne to &ho" &orshipers #o"e, ) &ant to lead to&ard and to parti#ipate in &orship &hi#h #o""ands our entire thought, our "ost sensitive devotion and our reverential fear /n the other hand, so"e rea#t strongly to per#eived shallo&ness allo&ed in #ertain settings ) "ust be #areful to guard against #riti#i(ing those &ithout the Itheologi#al enlighten"entI ) "ay feel is i"portant to &orthy &orship, lest su#h a rea#tion produ#e a self'righteous 1uest for e?#ellen#e that #an easily dissolve into an e1ual, though opposite, #arnality Pride is not superior to shallo&ness, and per#eived superfi#iality #annot effe#tively be #ountered by labored efforts at being Ideep I Depth is not the produ#t of brainpo&er or so#ial style but only results fro" a genuine desire for God%s honor and not a vindi#ation of vie&point 9o&ever great "y devotion to IredignifyingI &orship, God &ill never be i"pressed by "y &orthy efforts if they s"a#k of a se#ret sense of superiority above the &orship style of any other of 9is #hildren

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WEORTHSCIPE
*eorthscipe! 6hat /ld 0nglish &ord "eant Ito as#ribe &orth, to pay ho"age, to reveren#e or to venerate I )t inevitably turns up in any sear#h for the real "eaning of &orship, for it addresses the issue of &orthCof as#ribed &orthiness in &orshipCand it asks 1uestions of us &ho &orship8 + $hat value are you pla#ing hereK )s the "anner of honoring the /ne being &orshiped proportionate to 9is #hara#ter and attributesK Do our praises as &orshipers indi#ate an a&areness of the traits inherent in the /ne &e e?tolK $hat is present of adorationCof plain, heartfelt, e"otional love and affe#tionK Does our &orship involve genuine devotion or is it only intelle#tuali(edCin truth but not in !piritK 6he fuel of our &orship "ay be our understanding, but the fires of &orship are ignited fro" the heart and not the "ind

9o& shall &e bring &orthy &orship to the *ost $orthy /neK !olo"on%s 6e"ple is a good pla#e to #o"e to learn of &eorths#ipe )t is the s#ene &here three great the"es of &orship are sho&n, all of &hi#h e"phasi(e God%s &orthiness and ne#essitate a refor"ation in the &ay &e &orship Consider the transcendence, the transaction and the transformation involved in &orthy &orship The Transcen*ence %! G%* God%s trans#enden#e des#ribes 9is beyondness8 6hough 9e is present every&here 9e is also beyond all &orlds 9e &ho #reated all things is separate fro" and e?istent beyond 9is #reation $hen &e say God is present in the "idst of 9is #reation, it is not the sa"e as saying 9e is present within it 6he for"er "akes 9i" our present help, the truly personal being 9e is, &ho desires to d&ell a"ong 9is o&n and to "anifest 9is love and po&er in their interest 6he latter depersonali(es 9i", #lai"ing to #ontain 9i" &ithin 9is o&n handi&ork, as though God &as literally in the fragran#e of flo&ers, the tenderness of a

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baby or the grandeur of the starry heavens Anyone &ho supposes God to be a part of 9is o&n #reation is in error, but it is also erroneous to suppose it an e?altation of 9is greatness to forget or negle#t the truth of 9is i""edia#y, be#ause 9e is in fa#t personally interested in, #ares for and is &ith ea#h of us )t is &ell and &ise that in our &orship &e take ti"e to kno& and enAoy the &onder of God%s personal attributes 0ntire books are &ritten on the different aspe#ts of 9is nature, the 1ualities of 9is #hara#ter and the attributes of 9is being, for there is no &ay the "arvel of God%s greatness #an be e?hausted by hu"an analysis !till, theologi#al e?pertise isn%t a prere1uisite to &orship God, but a hunger to kno& 9i" is! )ntelle#tuali(ing God%s traits does not #ertify a "ore &orthy &orship, but passive indifferen#e or "ere e?#ite"ent &ill "iss the "ark, too $e are #alled to neither a "ind trip nor an e"otional binge Let 9oly !pirit'filled &orship be a blend of our highest thoughts and our deepest feelings so that one of the goals of true &orship be rea#hed8 the reshaping of our li5es! Be#ause hu"an nature inevitably be#o"es like the obAe#t of its &orship, an ever'deepening perspe#tive on our Father%s nature enhan#es the likelihood of those 1ualities being for"ed in us 6houghtful #o""ent by sensitive &orship leaders #an sti"ulate su#h gro&th, e?panding the praise and in#reasing the insight of those &ho Aoin the" in &orship $ell'stated, #on#ise re"arks in introdu#ing a #horus or hy"n help in this regard Anna is unusually gifted at this 6hrough the years of our "inistry, it hasn%t been un#o""on on a !unday "orning, as "y &ife leads our people in the sele#ted hy"n'of'the'day, for her to pause bet&een t&o verses and "ake a personal observation or relate a pithy ane#dote 6he effe#t is often dra"ati#, and the ne?t verse ignites as an aspe#t of God%s goodness is refreshed in our thoughts 6he se#ret to her effe#tiveness is her si"pli#ity and brevity !he kno&s this is no ti"e for a ho"ily, but her sensitivity overflo&s and a&akens that sa"e sense in the &hole #ongregation Let us learn to "editate on God%s po&er, 9is love, 9is &isdo", 9is holiness, 9is #hangelessness, 9is "er#y, 9is glory >ou "ight have the opportunity to invite other &orshipers to do

EYOND ALL WORLDS &&& HERE AND NOW

16!

so &ith you ILet%s pause before &e sing this again, and let the 9oly !pirit help you re#all so"e &ay in &hi#h God%s almightiness has "et you at spe#ifi# points I D6he sa"e #ould be done &ith any trait appropriate to the hy"n, #horus or song being sung E 9is personal traits &ill be "ost 1ui#kly per#eived &hen related to the &orshiper%s e?perien#e rather than related only as theologi#al #on#epts Living &orship #an be set afla"e &hen sparked by e?panding perspe#tives on our Father%s attributes An in#reased deepening of praise, &orship and thanksgiving is inevitable &here &orshipers are led to think on the "anifold splendor of the 0ternal /ne, our God Let us kneel to &orship let us rise to praise 9i"C the Al"ighty and !elf'!uffi#ient /ne, the 0ntirely 9oly 6hree')n'/ne, the *er#iful, the Righteous and the <ust, the All'@no&ing and All'$ise, the 0ssen#e and Fountain of Love, the Creator and Lord of 9osts, the Absolute and Changeless /ne, the 6rans#endent and the )""anent /ne, the 6rue and Faithful /neC &ho, in all 9is &onder, grandeur and e?#ellen#e, has #hosen to love us, has sought to redee" us and has sent 9is !on to us8 <0!U! C9R)!6 690 /70 A7D /7L> !AV)/R 9e has be#o"e our Father through the ne& birth 9e has "ade possible in Christ, &ho &as born of the virgin, lived sinlessly, taught truthfully and died vi#ariously for "ankindJ &hose blood and death are the ranso" pri#e paid for "e,

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providing #o"pletely for "y eternal salvation 9e is the !on of God, &ho literally and physi#ally rose fro" the dead, and &ho has as#ended to the right hand of the *aAesty on high &ho has poured out 9is 9oly !pirit of po&er upon us, that &e "ight live in gra#e both no& and forever Let the Father be praisedH Let 9is !on be &orshipedH Let 9is !pirit be "anifest a"ong usH O r Transacti%ns +ith G%* $orthy &orship begins &ith a fo#us on the greatness of God and 9is goodnesses to us But there is a #riti#al Aun#ture at &hi#h &orship re1uires a transa#tionCa very real pie#e of business "ust take pla#e !a#rifi#e /ffering 6here is no su#h thing as &orship &ithout there being so"ething very tangible brought fro" "an%s side $orship "ay be fulfilling, enri#hing, soul stirring, enlightening, healing, refreshing, restful, invigorating or any of the innu"erable other benefi#ial results that heartfelt &orship reali(es But be#ause God doesn%t re1uire pay"ent for 9is blessings and be#ause 9is gifts #annot be bought, &orship #an be#o"e a Aoy to our souls, a healing to our hearts and a bal" to our "indsJ and yet &e still have not "ade any definitive invest"ent ourselves As filled &ith blessing and beauty as su#h &orship "ay be for a season, if &orshipers are not brought to an understanding of their responsibility in giving, the loveliest &orship &ill eventually evaporate into thin air and thin souls !olo"on%s 6e"ple re"inds us that &orthy &orship involves a "aterial invest"ent )t is signifi#ant that this glorious stru#ture, so overflo&ingly filled &ith God%s far "ore glorious presen#e, &as built on the site of a business transa#tion "ade by his father DavidCa transa#tion "ade in the interest of &orship 6he 6e"ple &as #onstru#ted on land &hi#h had already be#o"e a pla#e of a rede"ptive sa#rifi#e in &orship and of a &illing

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sa#rifi#e of &ealth David said to Araunah as he sought to se#ure the property for the purpose of sa#rifi#e to God, I) &ill not offer to the Lord "y God that &hi#h #osts "e nothingI Dsee 5 !a" 5.85.E Araunah%s offer to freely give his king the land &as gra#iously reAe#ted by David 9e kne& &orship should have a &orthiness that in#ludes an open hand as &ell as an open heart $e #annot es#ape the need to repeatedly affir" the prin#iple of tangible, "aterial giving being properly asso#iated &ith &orship under the 7e& Covenant 9u"an nature instin#tively fears giving 6his is not so "u#h stinginess as self'prote#tion, and our &orship of God is a "eans for our deliveran#e fro" that fearCif &e%ll a##ept it 6he #ost is our honest #onfrontation &ith any residual fear of giving 6he tender tea#hing of the truth, spoken in the spirit of God%s love for us all, #an set people free to give in &orship and to live in &orshipful givingness 6he offering of an ani"al under the /ld 6esta"ent order &as sy"boli# of Christ%s then'future sa#rifi#e for our sin 6he gra#e it pro"ised &as not being bought thereby but being anti#ipated Be#ause of this &e often overlook a very basi# fa#t8 For all intents and purposes, the an#ient sa#rifi#e &as a I#ashI transa#tion )n an agri#ultural so#iety, nothing

1!0

WORSHIP HIS MAJESTY

represented a "ore spe#ifi# e?penditure of personal property than an ani"al fro" your herd As obvious as this is, hosts of 7e& 6esta"ent believers today live out a relatively unsa#rifi#ial lifestyle in ter"s of their &orship transa#tions At ti"es there see"s to be undue diligen#e in the atte"pt to de"olish bibli#al dis#iplines about "oney 7o subAe#t has been "ore debated or subAe#ted to self'styled privileges of personal deviation in pra#ti#e than #hur#h givingCofferings, tithes, spe#ial funds, et# A basi# tenden#y is as persistent today as it &as in Cain and Abel%s dayC&hile so"e give obediently, others still insist on their o&n opinions and de"and that God re#eive their offerings on their o&n ter"s Appealing to our no longer being under the La& regarding finan#ial sa#rifi#e see"s to violate the #on#ept of gra#e Pe#uliarly, so"e #ontend on the grounds of the 7e& 6esta"ent for the abolition of the dis#ipline of the tithe 6ithing is assailed as though its tea#hing &ere a dangerous legalis" rather than a liberating truth )%ve seen &orshipers, &ho are enAoying a refor"ation in freed and freeing song and praise, suddenly &in#e &hen tithes and offerings are re#eived, as though it &ere a "aterialisti# degradation of their Ipure &orshipICan i"position of legalisti# de"ands on other&ise liberated believers 6hat%s not a refor"ationJ it%s a rebellionH 6ruly refor"ed, bibli#al &orship is not se#ured in our souls until it #uts a#ross our fear and our selfishness Planned, persistent, dis#iplined, faithful, obedient giving is the s&ord that #an #ut a&ay superfi#iality, loose us fro" doubt and disobedien#e and #ause the spirit of sa#rifi#e to fuel a revival in our lives 6ithes and offerings are as in#u"bent upon the 7e& 6esta"ent believer as upon &orshipers in earlier eras $hyK
<esus 9i"self #onfir"ed the pra#ti#e of tithing as being

valid, Aoining to it the high pro"ise of God%s abundan#e being poured ba#k upon 9is dis#iples &ho &ould learn the release that #o"es through &orshipful giving Dsee *att 5:85:J Luke =8:,E Abraha", the first Bible #hara#ter to pra#ti#e tithing as a response to God%s blessing upon his life Dsee Gen +.8+,'55J

7e& 6esta"ent believers are #alled to &alk in the steps of

EYOND ALL WORLDS &&& HERE AND NOW

1!1

Ro" .8+5J 9eb 48.'=E


!yste"ati# and proportional giving &ere taught in the

Gentile #hur#h as dis#iplines that released the "inistry of the Chur#h to serve hu"an need 6his &as done &illingly even though al"ost all /ld 6esta"ent ordinan#es &ere unre1uired of the" Dsee A#ts +;855'53J + Cor +=85E the #hara#ter values of the /ld but enhan#es and e?pands the" )n ter"s of giving, &e &ould logi#ally e?pe#t an in#rease or, at the very least, no retreat or redu#tion of dis#iplined giving patterns Dsee 5 Cor :83,++E and offerings And they are not less appli#able &hen they are found in the /ld 6esta"ent Dsee *al :8,'+5J 5 Cor +85-E

6he glory of the 7e& Covenant at no point retreats fro"

6here are pro"ised blessings related to the giving of tithes

6he transa#tion of tithes and offerings is no s"all issue $here people are being refor"ed in &orship, giving is and &ill be dra"ati#ally released )f it isn%t, the &orship refor"ation "ay not be suspe#t, but it &ill be short'lived 6ithing and giving "ay not guarantee the presen#e of a spirit of &orship, but their absen#e #an guarantee its eventual &ithering But there%s even "ore to this "atter of &orship%s transa#tion """"" 6oday%s refor" is fostering a return in the Chur#h to bibli#al freedo" in the physi#al e?pressions of &orship <ust the other day ) had the privilege of &at#hing one of the e?e#utives in our #ongregation present a se"inar for other business leaders 6his "an represents one of today%s best'kno&n #orporations and travels internationally to help the" solve their proble"s As he began the se"inar, he looked out at these #ool' headed, #al#ulating e?e#utives and said, I)%" going to ask for your response, and )%" going to &ant you to put so"e "eat on the table I $hat he "eant &as that he &anted the" to act in response to his 1uestions and invitations to intera#tionCto a#tuate and a#tivate their thoughts &ith physi#al a#kno&ledg"ent 6his is the essen#e of God%s #all to Ipresent your bodies I 9e #learly &ants us to de"onstrate our

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understanding &ith responses that involve our hands as &ell as our hearts and our headsCour bodies as &ell as our beliefs 6he Bible is very e?pli#it that &e are to involve ourselves physi#ally in &orshipCanother #onfrontation &ith our fears )n Psal" ;-8; the Lord says, IGather *y saints together to *e, those &ho have "ade a #ovenant &ith *e by sa#rifi#e I )n the /ld 6esta"ent, &orshipers offered sa#rifi#es of ani"als and grain, but that &as not all that &as re1uiredJ the &orshiper also #a"e &ith praise and thanksgiving Dsee Ps +-4855E )n Philippians 58+4, Paul speaks of hi"self as being a sa#rifi#e /f #ourse, &hen he &rote to the Philippians, Paul &as in prison and kne& that i""inent death &as a very real possibility *artyrdo" is perhaps the "ost dra"ati# e?a"ple of sa#rifi#e and, yes, there are believers in the &orld today &ho live under oppressive regi"es, kno&ing that they "ay be #alled at any ti"e to "ake a literal sa#rifi#e of their lives for their faith But no "atter &here &e live, ea#h of us is dire#ted to no less than #o"plete sa#rifi#e of ourselves to the Lord8 ) besee#h you therefore, brethren, by the "er#ies of God, that you present your /odies a living sacrifice, holy, a##eptable to God, &hi#h is your reasonable servi#e DRo" +58+, e"phasis "ineE Physi#al e?pressions of praise that have traditionally been absent fro" our &orship servi#es, or #ategori#ally &ritten off as I#alistheni#s,I are no& be#o"ing a##epted as ti"eless and valid for the &hole Chur#h *any of us are learning to in#lude another transa#tion in our &orshipCthe offering of our bodies as a living sa#rifi#e, hu"bly presented in &orship @neeling &as on#e avoided by evangeli#al Protestants as being too Ihigh #hur#h,I reserved only for a penitent at the altar follo&ing an invitation 7o& its pra#ti#e is filling our &orship servi#es and prayer "eetings !u#h songs as ICo"e Let Us $orship and Bo& Do&n,I I) $ill Co"e and Bo& Do&nI and I7o 9igher CallingI point the &ay and en#ourage us to do &hat &e are singing Upraised hands, on#e resisted by "ost of the Chur#h and #onsigned to oblivion by all but Pente#ostals and #haris"ati#s, are reali(ing a beautiful and orderly use every&here People are responding to the apostle Paul%s &ish8 I) &ould that all "en

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every&here lift up holy handsI D+ 6i" 58,E Applause and rhyth"i# hand #lapping, the "ost natural physi#al e?pression of hu"an Aoyfulness, are being allo&ed in an in#reasing #ir#le of the faithful /n#e dee"ed irreverent or superfi#ial, the refor"ation is not only applying the bibli#al #o""and"ent to offer su#h praises, but it is also allo&ing the possibility that su#h hu"anness as I#lapping for AoyI is a God' #reated tenden#y put &ithin "an and, therefore, appropriate for praising 9i" 6hese physi#al e?pressions are part of the transa#tion of &orship be#ause they a#tually involve an invest"entCthe spending of "ore of our &hole selves, presenting our bodies, often at the e?pense of our pride A holy liberation is unleashing a full'spe#tru" &orship, e?pressed by the a&akening of the whole human /eing)spirit, soul, "ind and body O r Trans!%r&ati%n Be!%re G%* God gave the glorious "anifestation of 9is presen#e at the dedi#ation of !olo"on%s 6e"ple as "ore than "erely a resplendent, a&e'inspiring sight 6he !#riptures reveal God%s glory as "eant for usCto tou#h us, to affe#t and to transfor" us 6he ulti"ate purpose in God%s glory sho&n to&ard "an is defined in <esus Christ 9e is God%s #on#lusive display of glory, and &ith 9is #o"ing the 1ualities and purpose of that glory are des#ribed8 And the $ord be#a"e flesh and d&elt Nliterally, Itaberna#ledIO a"ong us, and &e beheld 9is glory, the glory of the only begotten of the Father, full of gra#e and truth D<ohn +8+.E 9is glory, filled &ith gra#e and truth, "akes God%s glory not only our obAe#t in &orship but also our sour#e of blessing 9is glory is given to overflo& us &ith gra#e and truthCgra#e &hi#h "eets us &here &e are and truth that sets us free to be#o"eH 9is glory is given to transfor" us, not entertain us $here bruise, bondage or affli#tion are present, &orship &el#o"es the glory of GodC9is e?#ellen#e of po&er to redee", restore and reinstate8 $here the !pirit of the Lord is, there is liberty But &e all, &ith unveiled fa#e, beholding as in a "irror the

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glory of the Lord, are being transfor"ed into the sa"e i"age fro" glory to glory, Aust as by the !pirit of the Lord D5 Cor :8+4,+,E 9e &ho trans#ends all &orlds #o"es to transfor" us 9e is here to liberateCto s#atter our fears, overthro& our doubt, strengthen our &eakness and e?plode sin and self'i"posed restri#tions /ur &orship is 9is "eans to lift us out of ourselves 7ot to so"e euphori# "ysti#is", #ultish "editation, de"oni# astral travel or hu"anisti# 1uest for supra'#ons#iousness, but to #o"e before 9is throne and per"it the glory of 9is po&er to progressively #hange our hearts, our attitudes, our thought patterns and our #hara#ter defi#ien#ies 9e "eans to transfor" us, turning our fears into our resting in 9is love, our pride into our &aiting at 9is feet, our &eakness into our dis#overy of 9is gra#e, our pain into a healing of our &hole personalities, our doubt into a ne& faith in 9is faithfulness 6hat%s &hat &orship%s transfor"ation is8 God%s &ay to trans"it &holeness, in &hi#h &e #o"e to reali(e the "eaning of &orshiping Iin the beauty of holinessI DPs 5385E

HOLY, HOLY, HOLY


)t &as a #entury and a half after !olo"on stood &ithin the #ourts of the ne&ly finished 6e"ple that another young "an &as at &orship in the sa"e building !uddenly, #aptivated by the spirit of &orship, )saiah sa& a vision of the Lord8 ) sa& the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of 9is robe filled the te"ple D)sa =8+E )saiah #ontinues by des#ribing the angeli# beings &orshiping around the Creator%s throne, &ho #easelessly lift their voi#es in #ontinuous praise8 I9oly, holy, holy is the L/RD of hostsJ the &hole earth is full of 9is gloryHI Dv :E )saiah relates his suddenly being stri#ken &ith a sense of his

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un&orthiness as the pure po&er of God%s presen#e shakes the pla#e $oe is "e, for ) a" undoneH Be#ause ) a" a "an of un#lean lips, and ) d&ell in the "idst of a people of un#lean lipsJ for "y eyes have seen the @ing, the L/RD of hosts Dv ;E As )saiah looks upon the holiness of the Al"ighty, 9is a&e in &orship suddenly turns to sha"e for sin 9e be#o"es deeply a&are of all the things he isn%t, as he looks upon all the things God is $hat follo&s is as heart'tou#hing a s#ene as any in the Bible, for it provides a lovely study in the transfor"ing po&er of &orship 6he response of the *ost 9oly God to that &orshiper%s #onfession is as "ighty in "eaning as it is "er#iful in "anner )saiah has #onfessed the i"purity of his lips, and the &ords of despair have hardly been spoken &hen instantlyC&ithout a &ord of #onde"nation or a "o"ent of hesitationCthe living God responds An angel is #o""issioned to take a #oal fro" heaven%s altar and apply its purifying fla"e to the point of )saiah%s #onfessed need and #on#ern 6ruth flashes here like lightningH 6he prophet%s e?perien#e tea#hes us for all ti"e that our failures are not barri#ades to our approa#hing the 9oly /ne $orship allo&s the un&orthy to #o"e before God in the full e?pe#tation that 9is holy &holeness &ill ans&er to our un&hole unholiness <ust as &ith )saiah, living &orship &ill in#rease our sense of 9is holiness and our un&orthiness, but it also "akes roo" for a transfor"ing en#ounter &hi#h &ill purge our sin )saiah found the fire of God applied to the spe#ifi# point of his need, and &e #an e?pe#t the sa"e 9e &ill halt the flo& of sinning fro" any part of our lives $ith )saiah it &as his lips $here do you need purifyingK At the #ross &e find saving forgiveness through Christ%s blood, but at the altar of &orship &e #an find san#tifying holiness through the 9oly !pirit%s fire 0n#ounters like )saiah%s re#eive the assuran#e of God%s love, forgiveness for sin and dire#tion for the future )n su#h transfor"ing &orship God reveals the &ay 9is trans#endent, glorious holiness has #o"e to penetrate our &orldCall of it

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9ear itH !ee itH )saiah invites us all to share his en#ounter &ith God%s glory Listen, loved oneH Glory is &hat &e all lost &hen &e lost tou#h &ith God Glory is &hat &e all seekCthe re#overy of that loss But our fu"bling, bu"bling &ays of going about regaining the glory is a study in hu"an frustration and in hu"an sinning *an seeks glory do&n labyrinthine &ays of selfish, &illful, prideful and blind pursuits 6he 1uest for &hat &e "ight be#o"e is so often pursued outside the presen#e of the very /ne &ho holds the key to our be#o"ing But no& 9e invites us to glory 6he heavenly #all to &orship is not the de"anding dire#tive of a deity #on#erned for 9is o&n glory 9is #all to #o"e into 9is glorious presen#e is born of 9is #on#ern over our gloryJ 9e desires that our loss of glory "ay be restored by our &el#o"ing 9is God is ready to pour 9is glory upon us, purge us &ith its fire, overflo& us &ith its po&er and bring us to 9is #reated purpose for our livesH 6hat%s &hy 9e keeps saying, IRe"e"ber I

CHAPTER 13

+:

R0*0*B0R)7G $9A6 6/ R0*0*B0R

0ntil #e comes again, #is death will - proclaim! - will eat this /read and - will drink this wine 0ntil #e comes again !!! until #e comes again!

$e &ere late for #hur#h As &e rather apologeti#ally slipped into a ro& near the ba#k, our five'year'old son, *ark, slid onto the seat ne?t to "ine Anna and ) &ere both so"e&hat bleary'eyed 6he &hole fa"ily had Aust been ravaged by a post'Christ"as siege of flu, and &e had thought at first &e &ould stay ho"e that "orning 0ither

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guilt or gra#e, ) don%t kno& &hi#h, got us going in ti"e to at least "ake the last servi#e )t &as 7e& >ear%s !unday And ) didn%t kno& a "ira#le &as about to happen Co""union is al&ays served at our #hur#h on the first !unday of the "onth $e #all it thatCCo""union, or the Lord%s 6able For others it%s #alled 0u#harist or the *ass, and it is observed at &idely differing intervals and in very different &ays, depending upon &hi#h group you &orship &ith As it turned out, this ti"e for us &as to be very "e"orable At that ti"e, ) &as tea#hing at L)F0 Bible College in Los Angeles and had no pastoral duties on !unday /ur tardy fa"ily &as seated near the rear in the spa#ious auditoriu" of Angelus 6e"ple &hen Co""union began to be served As the pastor read fro" !#ripture, ) listened again to the apostle Paul%s instru#tion8 For ) re#eived fro" the Lord that &hi#h ) also delivered to you8 that the Lord <esus on the sa"e night in &hi#h 9e &as betrayed took breadJ and &hen 9e had given thanks, 9e broke it and said, I6ake, eatJ this is *y body &hi#h is broken for youJ do this in remem/rance of %e!< )n the sa"e "anner 9e also took the #up after supper, saying, I6his #up is the ne& #ovenant in *y blood 6his do, as often as you drink it, in remem/rance of %e!< For as often as you eat this bread and drink this #up, you pro#lai" the Lord%s death till 9e #o"es D+ Cor ++85:'5=, e"phasis "ineE 6he reading of the passage refreshed "y "e"ory of the fa#t that Paul had #alled this event a pro#la"ation, a de#larationC literally a prea#hing of Christ until 9e returns again 6he Greek verb Paul uses, katangello, "eans to prea#h or pro#lai" and is dra"ati# in its ety"ology, as the se#ond part of the verb is the sa"e &ord as Iangel I !o"eho& that dra"ati(es the "essage' bearing potential i"pli#it in the a#tion of Co""union Paul taught that Co""union is a pro#la"ation, a ser"on, a

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1!9

prea#h"entCa "essage of life #entered in a #o""e"oration of a death 6he "orning &orship #ontinued Prayer &as offered, and as the #ongregation &as led to #on#ertedly praise God for the provisions of the Cross, a spirit of e?pe#tan#y filled the roo" $hile ushers began distributing the bread and the #up, &e sang a #horus of e?altation to <esus 9i"self 6here &ere "ore people there than on an average Lord%s DayCthere al&ays &ere on Co""union !unday /ur people see"ed to appre#iate the life and Aoy this feature of &orship al&ays held &hen &e #elebrated the Lord%s 6able *y "ind turned to "y son seated beside "e, at age five appearing rather oblivious to the pro#eedings of the "ade'for' adults servi#e in progress $e &ere so late that &e had opted against dropping hi" off in #hildren%s #hur#h $e &ere shortly to dis#over the gra#ious providen#e in that de#ision I!on,I ) said, anti#ipating the arrival of the bread tray &hi#h &as no& being passed do&n the ro& Aust ahead of us, Ido you kno& &hat &e%re all doing right no&KI 9e looked at "e rather blankly, his e?pression indi#ating that he really didn%t noti#e that anything &as happening no& ) #ontinued I$e%re having Co""union today and Daddy%s gonna help you, so you #an take Co""union &ith the rest of the people I 9e brightened, looking e?pe#tant IGood,I ) s"iled, a#tually &ondering ho& "u#h of *ark%s response "ight be his kno&ing he &as going to get to drink fro" Ione of those little glasses I 6hen so"eho& ) began to sense this &as "eant to be an unusual "o"ent and ) &ondered if ) shouldn%t take ti"eCthen and there Cto help hi" understand about those little bits of #ra#kers and tiny #ups ) took t&o pie#es of the bread in "y hand, and as the tray #a"e &ith the #ups, ) nodded to the usher I)%" e?plaining Co""union to "y son,I ) &hispered I)%ll return the #ups after the servi#e I 6he elderly "an re#ogni(ed "e, s"iled gra#iously and "oved on &ithout interrupting &hat turned out to be a "ira#le "o"ent in our fa"ily%s life

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Co""union is al&ays spe#ial And 7e& >ear%s !unday al&ays has a Ibrand'ne&nessI &ritten all over it But before this 7e& >ear%s Co""union day &as over, ) &ould be &alking ho"e beside "y sonCboth of us having shared a distin#tly Aoyous e?perien#e *ark re#eived <esus Christ as his !avior that "orningH /f #ourse, *ark &ouldn%t sayCno& or thenCthat he &as born again through taking Co""union Anyone understanding God%s $ord kno&s that parti#ipating in a Christian ordinan#e doesn%t gain salvation But the Lord%s 6able does prea#h it, and *ark heard the "essage loud and #lear that day )t happened as people &orshiped in an at"osphere of faith, fullness and Aoy and as ) took ti"e to e?plain the "essage in the ele"ents8 I*ark, this bread is to re"ind us of <esus% body 6his #up of grape Aui#e is to re"ind us of <esus% blood I ) spoke slo&ly, &at#hing his response as ) sought to help hi" understand the i"portan#e of partaking I$e want the Lord <esus to live inside us all the ti"e, !on I 9e re#ogni(ed the distin#tion bet&een a "o"ent%s observan#e of a ritual and the #ontinuing ind&elling of a reality ) &as being #areful, not &anting either to press beyond his ability to truly per#eive or to push beyond the 9oly !pirit%s di"ension of dealing &ith the young boy%s heart But it &as God%s "o"ent for *ark, and as 9e arranged it that &ay, everything "erged into a pre#ious, "e"orable e?perien#e for a dad *y little boy really &as saved that dayH 9e really did understand, and he really did re#eive ChristH

JESUS& SKIN?
6he servi#e had #on#luded no&, and as ) &alked to the front of the san#tuary to return the t&o #ups, ) invited *ark to &alk &ith "e )n our tradition, it is #o""on for those &ho respond to an evangelisti# invitation to #o"e for&ard for prayer and #ounseling As &e finished taking the bread and the #up, ) had said to *ark, I7o& that you%ve re#eived the Lord <esus into your heart, &ould you like to go up to the front and tell Dr DuffieldKI 9e had s"iled and brightly a#kno&ledged his desire to do so,

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and no& &e &ere there )t &as tenderly signifi#ant that this sa"e "an, &ho five years before had held *ark in his ar"s and presented hi" to the Lord in dedi#ation as Anna and ) brought our baby before the #ongregation, &as about to hear of another birth 9e had Aust finished e?#hanging re"arks &ith one of the #ongregation and then turned to us IGood "orning, <a#k I 6hen, grinning, he said, I9o& are you, *arkK Did you have a ni#e Christ"asKI *ark responded &ith a #hild%s usual bashfulness, and ) lifted hi" up on the altar rail, so he #ould speak fa#e to fa#e &ith the pastor ) handed Dr Duffield the t&o Co""union #ups, e?plaining, I$e Aust had a very spe#ial ti"e at Co""union, and *ark &anted to tell you &hat happened I I!on,I ) said, turning to hi", Itell Dr Duffield &hat you did a fe& "inutes ago I 6he s"all boy straightened and &ith #rystal #larity in his eyes, looked into the fa#e of the older "an 6hen, &ith a singular #ertainty that only the 9oly !pirit #an bring to any heartCa #hild%s as &ellChe said, I) asked <esus to #o"e into "y heart I Dr Duffield &as genuine in his Aoy I*ark, that%s &onderfulH )%" so glad for that I 9is responsiveness #learly sho&ed "y son that his de#ision &as as #redible as any adult%s I)%" so happy you #a"e to tell "e I 6hen &ith gentle pastoral sensitivity, he took the boy%s hand and offered a prayer of thanksgiving and assuran#e $hen &e had finished, ) thought )%d 1ui( *ark to let hi" sho& ho& &ell he kne& &hat the ele"ents of the Co""union table represented 6aking a pie#e of broken bread fro" one of the trays at the table nearby, ) gave it to hi" and asked, ICan you tell Dr Duffield &hat this stands forKI 9is ans&er has be#o"e a #lassi# fa"ily story, and it disrupted any possibility of san#ti"ony residing in the "o"ent I6his is <esus% skin=< Dr Duffield and ) e?ploded in laughter, our a"use"ent sparked by *ark%s #hoi#e of ter"s But ) e?plained the differen#e bet&een body and skin to *ark, and then &e said good'bye

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6aking "y son%s hand, ) started up the aisle thinking ho& grateful ) &asCso thankful to be part of a #hur#h that &orshiped &ith po&er and &hi#h also kept Co""union%s "eaning before its people

A LOST FOCUS
I)n Re"e"bran#e of *eI is #arved into the front of a "illion tables in a "illion san#tuaries around the &orld, the Lord%s 6able being the "ost thoroughly established tradition on this planet )n ter"s of the fre1uen#y of its observan#e and the sheer nu"ber &ho parti#ipate in it, Co""union doesn%t have a vital #ounterpart any&here )f there is any single, #entral point of Christian &orship, it%s the Lord%s 6able )t is also a #entral point of needed refor" be#ause of a #o""on proble" of lost fo#us in its observan#e $hen <esus said IDo this in re"e"bran#e of *e,I 9e obviously &as addressing the hu"an in#lination to forget, but &hat 9e &anted us to re"e"ber is not as obvious nor is it as &ell defined )%" #onvin#ed that "u#h of the Chur#h has a reverse vie& on the #entral point of <esus% #o""and, and the differen#e is bet&een life and death! /f #ourse, any lost fo#us isn%t due to a la#k of intelligen#e 6here are greater "inds than "ine presiding over the 6able at "any lo#ations in the Chur#h But ) do feel that a preo##upation &ith the details of the history of <esus% passion supplants 9is intentCthat &e re"e"ber the 5ictory 9e &on ) think a ne& refor"ation needs to i"pa#t the "ood of our #elebration, and that #an only pre#ipitate fro" a fresh assess"ent of Christ%s "eaning in instituting Co""union ) &ill ans&er these 1uestions later, but let "e stir thought &ith the" as a starting pla#e8 + 5 : . $hat does Christ &ant re"e"bered at 9is 6ableK 9o& best #an IthanksgivingI Dthe "eaning of eucharist? be pra#ti#edK $hat "ood ought to #hara#teri(e the re#eiving of Co""unionK 9o& #an the worship at Christ%s 6able be#o"e a witness of 9is po&erK

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A good beginning for any refor" at the Lord%s 6able "ight be in our studying the first refor" ever applied to it )t &asn%t in 0urope in the si?teenth #entury but in Corinth in the first 6he issue then &as also one of lost fo#us, and a look at Paul%s dealing &ith the Corinthians provides very &orkable insights for &orshiping at the Lord%s 6able today8 7o& in giving these instru#tions ) do not praise you, sin#e you #o"e together not for the better but for the &orse For first of all, &hen you #o"e together as a #hur#h, ) hear that there are divisions a"ong you, and in part ) believe it For there "ust also be fa#tions a"ong you, that those &ho are approved "ay be re#ogni(ed a"ong you 6herefore &hen you #o"e together in one pla#e, it is not to eat the Lord%s !upper For in eating, ea#h one takes his o&n supper ahead of othersJ and one is hungry and another is drunk $hatH Do you not have houses to eat and drink inK /r do you despise the #hur#h of God and sha"e those &ho have nothingK $hat shall ) say to youK !hall ) praise you in thisK ) do not praise you D+ Cor ++8+4'55E 6he people in Corinth had be#o"e #onfused about a nu"ber of "atters #on#erning the believer%s lifestyle and &orship !in#e the Lord%s 6able is so #entral to 7e& 6esta"ent &orship, it%s not surprising that they needed #orre#tion there, too 6he apostle%s approa#h to their "any proble"s &as #onsistently dire#t and patient )n &riting to #orre#t and adAust, he a#kno&ledges their unusual vulnerability to #onfusion by reason of their past8 IRe"e"ber ho& you &ere &hen you didn%t kno& God, led fro" one phony god to anotherI D+ Cor +585, "#$ %$&&'G$?! 6heir ba#kground had #olored and altered several foundational aspe#ts of their #orporate life as believers and the Lord%s 6able &as Aust one e?a"ple8 Co""union ti"e had be#o"e party ti"e /ne "ight first 1uestion ho& so "eaningful an observan#e as the Lord%s 6able #ould ever have be#o"e so &arped 6heir no& #onfused pra#ti#e, &hi#h Paul #lai"s to have originally introdu#ed the" to in a pure for", had be#o"e a #ross bet&een a pi#ni# and a so#ial spree 6he #onte?t sho&s that so"e &orshipers &ere being #o"pletely left out, &hile others &ere feasting as though invitations read, IB > / D CBring >our /&n DinnerH )f you don%t have it &ith you, you &on%t get any fro"

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"eHI 6he event had degenerated into so"e kind of bi(arre ban1uet rather than a "e"orial to <esus Christ 6he Corinthians had obviously forgotten at least one thing they &ere supposed to re"e"ber8 Christ%s Body is one! 7ot only had irreveren#e taken over at the 6able, but also disunity and selfishness )n#redibleH )n + Corinthians ++85+,55, Paul dire#ts people to eat at ho"e to ans&er hunger%s basi# need and to observe the Lord%s 6able &ith s"aller, representative portions Paul had to #ool &hat had be#o"e &ild enthusias" and #orre#t &hat had be#o"e ra"pant self'#enteredness Apostoli# #orre#tion in this situation &as very ne#essary, of #ourse, but it see"s that even to this day a residue of reti#en#e lingers around anything Paul #orre#ted in Corinth )f they e?aggerated it, it see"s the assign"ent in our ti"e is to underplay it 6he degree to &hi#h &e fear being ICorinthianI is not so "u#h refle#ted in our balan#e as in our tenden#y to run to&ard e1ually e?aggerated and opposite e?tre"es For e?a"ple, it has be#o"e traditional in the Chur#h to s#orn forni#ators rather than to s#old and then restore the" And it is &idely dee"ed "ore a##eptable to skip the ItonguesI altogether than to venture the possibility Corinthian ignoran#e on a given the"e see"s to breed #onte"porary ignoring of the sa"e 6his pattern holds for the Chur#h%s #onte"porary approa#h to the Lord%s

L06 U! /7C0 AGA)7 07</> 690 L/RD%! 6ABL0 A! A P/!)6)V0, R0V0R076L> R0</)C)7G, P/$0R' F)LL0D C0L0BRA6)/7 /F 690 CR/!!H

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6able 6he re"edial a#tion Paul took against the Corinthians% foolish e?tre"es see"s to have been interpreted do&n through the ages as outright insisten#e that Co""union al&ays be observed &ith #ool reserve /ur rea#tion to the #onfusion in Corinth has bred a Chur#h&ide relu#tan#e to cele/rate in the partaking of Co""union )t%s rare that &e see a#tual reAoi#ing at the Lord%s 6able Forthright praise or a plain sho& of hu"an Aoyfulness tends to be interpreted as potentially irreverentCrisky of a re#urren#e of Corinthian e?#ess Far too often, &hat <esus left as the Chur#h%s Ithanksgiving dinnerI is "ore of a postfuneral buffet Rather than #elebrating a vi#tory, so"ething of a pall hangs over the 6able But Co""union is a harvest'ti"e #elebrationH <esus &as so&n as a seed'unto'death and has been raised again as the Firstfruits of resurre#tion'life triu"phH >et instead of our #elebrating a harvest of life, our observan#es often see" "ore like the gathering of loved ones at a postinter"ent re#eption, &here it is #usto"ary for fa"ily "e"bers to speak in hushed tones of the one Aust buried Pe#uliarly enough, Co""union is often I#elebratedI in this sa"e heaviness of spirit, a pra#ti#e &hi#h has virtually been san#tified as though it &ere the essen#e of reveren#e ) propose that the Corinthians% loss of fo#us is not la#king a #onte"porary parallel 9o&ever, &here theirs &as a loss of perspe#tive on reveren#e, ) think ours has be#o"e a "isinterpretation of it <oy, triu"ph and a visitation of divine po&er hardly see" allo&able, and yet the #elebration of Christ%s #ross ought to o##asion the prea#hing of all threeC&ith a presiding spirit of vi#toryH 6o &hat degree &e "ay need a refor"ation in &orship at the Lord%s 6able "ight be eviden#ed &ith so"e self'analysis Ask yourself these 1uestions8
Do ) find the "usi# e"ployed at Co""union to be al&ays

subdued if not dirgelikeK

9ave ) noti#ed that an unnatural so"berness prevails over

the serving of the Lord%s 6ableK

9as so"ething of an e?aggerated #on#ern for the

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"a#hinelike distribution of the ele"ents be#o"e "ore i"portant than a sense of a #orporate partaking together Credu#ing to private a#tivity &hat is ideally an o##asion of being gathered for po&erK
Does the o##asion ever see" to breed guilt rather than

release deliveran#eK

9ave

) ever &itnessed the 6able being "ade a battleground of separation, rather than holy ground &here an invitation to life, forgiveness and unity is issuedK

VERBAL OR VITAL?
$hat is it Christ &ants to have re"e"bered at 9is 6ableK $e kno& the 5er/al ans&er8 #im! 9e said, IDo this in re"e"bran#e of *eI DLuke 558+3, e"phasis "ineE But the verbal ans&er is not the sa"e as the 5ital ans&er, and it in no &ay auto"ati#ally ensures our grasping the real point in Co""union )f &e #an re#eive the", ) believe Paul%s &ords (ero in on pre#isely &hat <esus had in "ind8 As often as you eat this bread and drink this #up, you proclaim the Lord2s death till 9e #o"es D+ Cor ++85=, e"phasis "ineE $hat is Paul proposing hereK 6hat &e retell the story of the Cru#ifi?ionK 6hat &e reena#t the suffering 9e under&entK /r are &e to de#lare the fruit of 9is deathK /n the surfa#e of the "ere &ords it #ould appear that IDon%t forget <esus% deathI "eant a sole"n, ritual revie& of the events on Calvary But ) think reason re#o""ends that Christ "eant us to observe "ore than a "orbid, funereal, #o""e"orative servi#e ) don%t think anything like that ever e?isted in any first' #entury #ongregation )f a #o""e"oration of death &as &hat <esus had in "ind and if that%s &hat the 0arly Chur#h #elebrated, then there #an be no rational e?planation for ho& the Corinthians ever arrived at so e?aggerated a feast 9o&ever, if early believers #elebrated Christ%s death &ith Aoy, re"e"bering the Cross as the God'given key to life, then it be#o"es plausible that a #arnal, pagan'Aust'turned'Christian

REMEM ERING WHAT TO REMEM ER

18!

#o""unity "ight have distorted so Aoyous a feast )f Paul had instituted a so"ber, #onte"plative observan#e of the 6able, it see"s unlikely that the festivities #ould have so evolved 9o&ever, if under Paul%s founding pastoral leadership the Corinthians had been led to the Lord%s 6able as an o##asion for re"e"bering the triu"ph of the Cross, the po&er of its provision and the Aoy of our hope, and if the #elebration &ere fo#used on &hat <esus finished for us at Calvary, then a disposition to&ard feasting be#o"es understandable )t is then i"aginable, &ith the passage of the five years bet&een Paul%s pastorate in Corinth and his first epistle to the", that a young #hur#h ne&ly birthed out of a ba##hanalian #ulture "ight lose its balan#e ) propose that the 0arly Chur#h #elebrated the 6able as a positive, pointed, reverently reAoi#ing, po&er'filled #elebration of the Cross 0ven though it "ight have deteriorated into a self' #entered feast in Corinth, ) doubt PaulCor GodHCever intended the pendulu" to s&ing to the other e?tre"e Generally speaking, ) believe a refor"ation in &orship needs to #o"e to the Lord%s 6able and shake off the sha#kles of suffo#ating "orbidity $e need to define "ore spe#ifi#ally the reason for the Lord <esus% #on#ern that &e re"e"ber 9i" 6his is "ore #ru#ial than so"e "ay suppose, be#ause a funereal approa#h to Christ%s 6able is not only depressing, but it also al"ost suggests a neuroti#%s self'#enteredness in <esus% &ords IRe"e"ber *eICan appeal that &ould be un&orthy of anyone, "u#h less the !on of God 6o observe the "ood of so"e Co""union servi#es )%ve #ondu#ted in the past, one &ould think the obAe#t &as to pa#ify a God &ho &as still irritated that &e #aused 9i" so "u#h in#onvenien#e and inAury Ask yourself8 -n commanding, <Remem/er %e,< did Jesus mean to direct us to periodically commiserate together and remem/er how /adly the cross hurt #im; .id #e mean to call us to #is "a/le to ceaselessly hound us4 <Remem/er, it2s your fault - had to go through all this, and - don2t want you to e5er forget it=<;

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9ave you ever &itnessed Co""union observan#es that see"ed "ore geared to self'flagellation than holy #elebrationK $hat #an be doneK

RESTORING OUR FOCUS


6o begin, let%s help &orshipers distinguish the differen#e bet&een so"berness and sobriety 6he t&o are often blurred, so"e&hat the sa"e &ay as reveren#e has been "ade synony"ous &ith silen#e 6he so"berness often do"inating Co""union is depressing, &hile a healthy sobriety of heart #an be dis#erningJ the latter is appropriate, but one 1uestions if the for"er e5er is /f #ourse, there &ill be o##asions "ore subdued than others For e?a"ple, our Good Friday servi#es usually in#lude the entire re#ounting of <esus% death and suffering !u#h a sensitive annual #o""e"oration is #ertainly appropriate and desirable ) personally observe a three'day fast leading up to Good Friday every year, essentially as a "eans of helping "e re"e"ber <esus% passion for "e ) do believe a sensible soul &ill periodi#ally refle#t on the physi#al agony and e"otional anguish <esus e?perien#ed for us in giving 9is life But in the "ain, it see"s diffi#ult to suppose <esus ever "eant our regular Co""union re"e"bran#e to fo#us on 9is agony in a &ay that &ould instill guilt in our souls in an at"osphere of defeat $e surely "ust ne5er take 9is suffering lightly, for the Cross &as a grotes1ue, torturous event, but re"e"bering 9i" doesn%t re1uire reliving its horror ) sub"it that bibli#al eviden#e reveals that <esus% IRe"e"ber *eI #alls for a vi#torious, regular re"e"bran#e fo#used on the a##o"plish"ents of 9is #ross ) propose that Paul, in dire#ting us to Ipro#lai" the Lord%s death until 9e #o"es,I "eant the pro#la"ation to be the sa"e good ne&s <esus announ#ed )n 9is o&n "inistry, Calvary has obtained and a##entuated the ongoing availability of this "essage of hope and pro"ise8 6he !pirit of the Lord is upon *e, be#ause 9e has anointed *e to prea#h the gospel to the poor to heal the brokenhearted to pro#lai" liberty to the #aptives and re#overy of sight to the blind to set at

REMEM ERING WHAT TO REMEM ER

189

liberty those &ho are oppressed DLuke .8+,E )sn%t it "ore likely that if <esus &ere to preside ne?t !unday at 9is 6able &here &e &orship, 9e &ould say8 I$hile you%re partaking, ) &ant you to re"e"ber &hat )%ve se#ured for you ) &ant you
to enAoy every benefit of forgiveness, to re#eive every provision of vi#tory, to enter into freedo" fro" every point of bondage and partake of *y healing presen#e and po&erHI

>f course #e doesn2t want us to forget= >f course 9e &ould say IRe"e"berHI 9e suffered death to "ake it all possible, and 9is 6able is 9is &ay of keeping the provisions of Calvary #onstantly before us /ur Great !hepherd has prepared a table before us in the presen#e of our ene"ies, and 9e invites us to it in order to anoint our heads &ith oil that our #up of reAoi#ing "ay overflo& Dsee Ps 5:8;E $e are not serving a neuroti# !avior &ho su""ons our nostalgia 6o urge the spirit of #elebration at 9is 6able is not to suggest &e are be#o"ing #asual about Calvary /n the #ontrary, &e #o"e to 9is 6able &ith Aoy to e?alt 9is na"e for 9is "assive vi#tory there Any residue of a "edieval "indset of "orbidity and false reveren#e deserves to be re"oved fro" Christ%s 6able and a holy #elebration reinstituted 6o point the &ay, ) propose these ans&ers to the 1uestions presented earlier in this #hapter *aybe they #an #onstitute a fo#al point helping us re"e"ber &hat ) think <esus "eant us to re"e"ber L *hat does Christ want remem/ered at #is "a/le; A 9e &ants us to re"e"ber that through the Cross a #o"plete a##o"plish"ent &as "ade of 9is perfe#t &ork of salvation, in#luding8
Full +ustification for every believer, rendering ea#h of us

not only as forgiven but also #ausing ea#h of us to be regarded in Christ as never having sinned at all Dsee Ro" :85:'5=J .85:';85J ,8+,5E

Full dominion over all the po&ers of hell, rendering every

bond of soul or spirit broken and bringing deliveran#e no& fro" every hellish affli#tion Dsee 0ph +8+,'5:J .84,,J

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WORSHIP HIS MAJESTY

Col 58+:'+;E
Full a5aila/ility of healing for every di"ension of our

personality, seeing that through 9is suffering, by 9is stripes, &e are healed Dsee )sa ;:8;J *att ,8+4J + Pet 585.E our souls &ith pea#e and to bring re#on#iling pea#e and restored unity to strained hu"an relationships Dsee Ro" ;8;J 5 Cor ;8+;'5+J 0ph 58+.'+4E

Full release of God%s love, poured forth by 9is !pirit to fill

L #ow /est can <thanksgi5ing< Fthe meaning of eu#haristE /e practiced; A 6hanksgiving #an best be displayed by a prevailing spirit of praise #hara#teri(ing the &orship &e bring to the Lord%s 6able 6his does not re#o""end or re1uire a giddiness, lightness or irreveren#e )t does re1uire a reassess"ent of tradition and an alteration of any of the "orbid, funereal or dirgelike habits &e have un&ittingly allo&ed to surround our &orship at Co""union L *hat mood ought to characteriEe the recei5ing of Communion; A A "ood of e?pe#tan#y, based on a #lear'eyed #o""e"oration of the pri"ary fa#t #entral to the Co""union table8 the "eaning and a#hieve"ent of 9is deathH )n our re"e"bran#e of 9is dying on#e for all, Christ has not #alled us to reena#t 9is death but to re"e"ber 9is triu"ph I)t is finishedHI &as not a &hi"pered #ry )t is the #all fro" Calvary that e#hoes a#ross the #enturies, do&n the #orridors of hell and throughout the ra"parts of heavenH <esus is both Lord and Con1ueror, and ea#h ti"e &e #o"e to 9is 6able &e need to re"e"ber that and allo& faith to fill our hearts for every need &e have or #ir#u"stan#e &e fa#eH L #ow can the &orship at Christ2s "a/le /ecome a &itness of #is power; A $orship and &itness #an fill our ti"e at Christ%s 6able by our e"ploying the observan#e as an opportunity to apply the provisions of Calvary, not si"ply to re"e"ber the" 6he bibli#al &ord Ipro#lai"I unders#ores a ministering of the "e"orial, not "erely an observan#e thereof Perhaps this "ight "ost be e?e"plified in the possibilities of seeing people brought to Christ by inviting the" to 9is feast

REMEM ERING WHAT TO REMEM ER

191

A TABLETIME INVITATION
$e have found Co""union &orship to be an ideal ti"e for evangelis" 6hat &as foreign to "y upbringing, and it took a refor"ation of sorts to release "e into su#h "inistry as our Itableti"e invitation I First, let "e say and e"phasi(e that ) feel keenly about and have al&ays been #autious about inviting any Ias yetI unbelievers to Christ%s 6able Dsee + Cor ++853E 9o&ever, ) began doing it, not&ithstanding "y #aution, be#ause no "atter ho& "u#h ) studied the !#riptures, ) #ouldn%t find anything prohibiting an unbeliever being invited to the 6able /n#e ) did that, ) found "any being born again there *y predisposition had been against the possibility of opening Christ%s 6able to too &ide a parti#ipation ) had gro&n so"eho& to see "yself as the 6able%s guardian against un&orthy intruders Any suggestion of an open table &as re#kless if not hereti#al, but an i"portant line of dis#ern"ent #hanged "y perspe#tive ) began to re#ogni(e the vast differen#e bet&een a sa#rilegious person and a sear#hing oneCbet&een the indifferent and the in1uiring ) be#a"e #onvin#ed that <esus &ould invite the sear#hing heart to partake at 9is 6able, for 9is o&n lifestyle and parables support an outrea#hing vie&point 9e ate &ith publi#ans and sinners, never #o"pro"ising, but ever rea#hing to the" 9is paraboli# tea#hing also indi#ated a &ide' openness in God%s heart, inviting people to 9is salvation feast8 ICo"e, for all things are readyCgo out and #o"pel the needy to #o"e inI Dsee *att 558.J *ark 58+=J Luke +.85:E As a result of be#o"ing #onvin#ed a&ay fro" "y tradition' fi?ed fears through a fresh e?posure to God%s $ord, ) began to prefa#e our #ongregation%s #orporate ti"es of Co""union like this8 IAs &e #o"e to the Lord%s 6able today, ) &ant to invite e5eryone &ho is here to partake &ith us )ndeed, ) &ant to urge you to do so, Aust as surely as if you &ere at our house at dinnerti"e I)t &ould be i"polite to not invite you at least 9o&ever, &e%re not "erely being politeJ &e honestly are &anting you to share &ith us $hatever your religious ba#kground or absen#e of

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WORSHIP HIS MAJESTY

one, you needn%t hesitateCyou%re &el#o"e here $e refuse to #lose this 6able to anyone, be#ause, in fa#t, it isn%t ours I6his 6able is Christ%s 9e is the /ne &ho provided this feast Ca feast of forgiveness 9e did it &hen 9e died to open salvation to us all, and 9e%s the /ne &ho #alls us all to #o"e here and re"e"ber that 9is $ord is #lear8 $hosoever &ill "ay #o"e Dsee *att ++85,':-J <ohn :8+=,+4J Rev 558+4E I) think it is obvious that it &ould be "eaningless and therefore &rong for anyone to partake disrespe#tfully or indifferently But barring that, let "e urge you to #o"e &ith us Let us #o"e and thank God for the gift of 9is !on, and thank 9is !on for the gift of 9is life for us I $ith su#h an approa#h to Co""union &orship, the &itness of <esus% love, life and po&er fills the roo" At so"e point during the a#tual ti"e of partaking, ) &ill invite those &ho Ieven no& are opening your lives to&ard <esusI to "ake a fir" de#ision )t is no &onder that al"ost every ti"e &e &orship at the Lord%s 6able, there are several first'ti"e respondents &ho a#kno&ledge <esus Christ as !avior Follo&ing this, an opportunity is given to pro#eed to the prayer roo" for #ounseling and they do goCthese &ho a#tually "ade their de#ision during the ti"e that they &ere partaking &ith us /ur invitation to the unsaved is only one &ay that 9is 6able "ay bear witness! 9ealing and affir"ation are also dyna"i# possibilities 6he &itness of Christ%s healing po&er #an be e?tended in si"ple faith by allo&ing believers to obey <esus% dire#tive8 I6hey &ill lay hands on the si#k, and they &ill re#overI D*ark +=8+,E /ften &hen the bread is being partaken, &e &ill pause and restate the verse8 I6his is "y body that is broken for you,I noting that <esus said 9is physi#al suffering &as spe#ifi#ally for usC that is, in our interest <ust as 9e died to save us fro" our sin, 9e also suffered to obtain and provide relief fro" our "ultiplied affli#tions /n these grounds, ) en#ourage &orshipers si"ply to lift a hand to indi#ate their desire to have nearby &orshipers lay hands upon the" in <esus% na"e )t is done &ithout ostentation or religious po"p, as a very brief ti"e is allo&ed for those &ho surround ea#h petitioner to pray over hi" or her 6he results are

REMEM ERING WHAT TO REMEM ER

193

re"arkable, and there are regular testi"onies of healing &hi#h flo& fro" this pra#ti#e And &hat a ti"e to love one anotherH 6his is the heart of our &itness to the &orldCthe unity of the Body living in the !pirit of <esus 9i"self $e nearly al&ays #on#lude our Co""union servi#e by rising together, taking ti"e to e"bra#e those around us and affir" one another in the love and Aoy of Christ 6here is a religious resistan#e to hugging in #hur#h, but this also needs to be refor"ed in the light of God%s $ord 6here are no less than five 7e& 6esta"ent epistles that command all believers to Igreet one another &ith a holy kissI DRo" +=8+=J + Cor +=85-J see also 5 Cor +:8+5J + 6hess ;85=J + Pet ;8+.E 6he ter" IkissI is appropriately translated to e"bra#e and therefore a hug is an appropriate #ounterpart 6he "arvel of su#h "eetings as these at 9is 6able is that an ele#tri# sense of vi#tory, healing, love and deliveran#e fills the roo" )f the &orship of <esus is #entral, nothing of irreveren#e or silliness #an #reep in 7o one is in any danger of forgetting either the pri#e of the Cross or &hat it pur#hased 6hese "o"ents of "e"orial have been given to re"e"bering &hat <esus &anted to be re"e"beredCand 9is people are fed at 9is 6able of triu"ph """"" 6hat &as the spirit of the "eeting the day *ark &as born again A five'year'old boy understood and though it &as his dad &ho gave the e?planation on that o##asion, &henever God%s people understand and #o""uni#ate Christ%s vi#tory, there &ill be a fresh e?perien#e of the sa"e 6hey &ill learn again &hat it "eans to be a part of 9is Chur#h, over#o"ing Iby the blood of the La"b and by the &ord of their testi"onyI DRev +58++E By reason of his li"ited e?perien#e, "y young son had used the &ord IskinI instead of Ibody,I and his i"pre#ision in ter"s had brought a #hu#kle to a pair of adults But in another sense, "aybe &e adults need "ore of <esus% IskinI in Co""union /ne &onders if Christ 9i"self isn%t desirous of a refor"ation in our &orship at 9is 6able, one &hi#h &ill let 9i" Iput skin onI 9is "anifest vi#tory by pro#lai"ing that triu"ph again and again, through and a"ong 9is people &ho #elebrate that vi#tory here and now=

CHAPTER 14

+.

9)! *A<0!6> !P0A@!

Behold, - make all things new= Belie5e it, for %y words all are true! 'nd that truth can /ring you into li/erty)Behold, - make all things new=

6here is no reason to doubt the "an%s testi"ony 9e had proven trust&orthy throughout "any years of fello&ship and servi#e But &hen so"eone #lai"s to have seen visions, &ell, it "ay understandably "ake any of us #autious And if he tells you he sa& <esus, ) suppose &e all &ould #onfess to at least a "o"entary t&inge of skepti#is" But that%s e?a#tly &hat the "an said8 I) sa& <esus I 9e told it this &ay

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IAs you kno&, vi#ious and agoni(ing perse#ution of Christians had #o"e to our area, and as a result of "y stand for <esus Christ, ) &as sent to an island penal #olonyCthis parti#ular gulag being not "ore than +-- "iles fro" "y ho"e I) had been there for several &eeks, feeling nothing unusual other than the loneliness, the lurking sense of depression ) suppose any prisoner feels /n this parti#ular day, the guards had allo&ed us a period of reprieve fro" our routine of labor, and ) had &andered alone to a se#luded spot ) sat do&n on a large stone, fa#ing the sea to the &est, the surrounding ro#ks #reating so"ething of a s"all, #hapel'like for"ation behind "e ) &as #o"pletely &ithout e?pe#tation or preparation for &hat happened, for suddenly ) heard a voi#e )t &as so loud ) &as literally shaken, totally re"oved fro" anything appro?i"ating a reverieCand that%s ho& ) kno& ) &asn%t in a tran#e of so"e kind 6he voi#e fairly shouted8 6here is nothing that pre#edes *e and nothing beyond *eH ) have al&ays been and &ill be &hen ti"e no longer e?ists ) a" here to re"ove your fears of the future, for ) too have been through the pangs of death and the horrors of hell, and )%" here to tell you8 All &ill be &ellH I) &as stunned, and even &hile 9e &as speaking ) began to turn around $hat ) sa& e?#eeds des#ription, for even though ) kne& it &as <esus, ) #ould not have i"agined nor #an ) ade1uately des#ribe the "arvelously trans#endent glory of 9is appearan#e /nly one &ord #an begin it8 %a+estic= I9is &hole being see"ed to be infused &ith lightCperhaps fire is the better &ay to state it A regal gar"ent that see"ed to be &oven of gold draped to 9is feetCfeet that ) #an%t forget, for though they &ere &ithout shoes, they shone &ith an unearthly brillian#e ) &as surprised that 9is hair &as &hite, but it &asn%t gray as though di""ed by ageJ it &as sheened as though silvered &ith glory I6he eyes &ere unforgettable 6hey see"ed as glo&ing #oals, not of a s"oldering, sinister 1uality, but e"anating a &ar"th, a po&er and a penetrating purity of sight &hi#h rea#hed into "y being &hen 9e spoke I Fro" this point, the "an #ontinued his a##ount of &hat

HIS MAJESTY SPEA#S

19!

Christ said to hi", but insofar as the ele"ents of his vision &ere #on#erned, that%s &hat he said he sa& And no&, having relayed his testi"ony to you, ) &onder &hat your feeling is about itK ) "ean, #an you a##ept it at allK )t%s probably an unfair 1uestion >ou%re probably the sa"e as ) a" in su#h regard 0ven if &e allo& for the possibility of visions as being real and not i"agined, &e &ould both probably reserve Audg"ent until &e "et the person #lai"ing to have had one 9o&ever, in this parti#ular #ase, ) think you%ve already passed Audg"ent ) suppose you already believe it, for the report above is a#tually one you%ve probably read before in other ter"s )t &as &ritten less than +,3-- years ago, and the "ore #o""only read version goes like this8 ), <ohn &as in the !pirit on the Lord%s Day, and ) heard behind "e a loud voi#e, as of a tru"pet, saying, I) a" the Alpha and the /"ega Do not be afraidJ ) a" the First and the Last ) a" 9e &ho lives, and &as dead, and behold, ) a" alive forever"ore A"en And ) have the keys of 9ades and of Death $rite the things &hi#h you have seen, and the things &hi#h are, and the things &hi#h &ill take pla#e after thisI DRev +83'++,+4'+3E

690 9/L> !P)R)6 )! $A)6)7G F/R 90AR6! 69A6 9U7G0R A7D 69)R!6 F/R 9)* 6/ BR)7G A7 U7PR0C 0D07 60D V)!)6A6)/7 /F G/D 6/ /UR G070RA6)/7

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WORSHIP HIS MAJESTY

6he apostle <ohn &rote these &ords on the )sle of Pat"os &here he &as e?iled by the i"perial Ro"an govern"ent be#ause of his leadership and influen#e for the gospel of <esus Christ 9is narrative of the vision he had of <esus #ontinues in the book of Revelation8 6hen ) turned to see the voi#e that spoke &ith "e And having turned ) sa& seven golden la"pstands, and in the "idst of the seven la"pstands /ne like the !on of *an, #lothed &ith a gar"ent do&n to the feet and girded about the #hest &ith a golden band 9is head and hair &ere &hite like &ool, as &hite as sno&, and 9is eyes like a fla"e of fireJ 9is feet &ere like fine brass, as if refined in a furna#e, and 9is voi#e as the sound of "any &atersJ 9e had in 9is right hand seven stars, out of 9is "outh &ent a sharp t&o'edged s&ord, and 9is #ountenan#e &as like the sun shining in its strength And &hen ) sa& 9i", ) fell at 9is feet as dead But 9e laid 9is right hand on "e, saying to "e, IDo not be afraidJ ) a" the First and the LastI DRev +8+5'+4E

A TWENTY(FIRST(CENTURY VISION OF JESUS CHRIST


6here is a reason ) have sought to lead you into <ohn%s vision by an apparent detour, as though relating to you so"e #onte"porary vision of Christ )%ve done it be#ause ) think &e need it ) think &e need to be re"inded that <esus has been kno&n to appear to people, to stir the" afresh &ith a vision of the Chur#h as it is and the Chur#h as it #an be ) think &e all need a t&enty'first'#entury vision of <esus ChristCat least in ter"s of hearing 9is #all to a ne& era of #on1uest unveiled by a ne& en#ounter &ith 9i" in &orship )s that #redible to youK /r do our traditions disallo& the e?pe#tation of our being i"pa#ted Aust as <ohn &asK Does it disturb you as it does "e that ) #an #o"fortably read of <ohn%s personal en#ounter and be un"oved by its i"pli#ations for "eK 6hat%s &hy ) think &e need to e?perien#e our own vision

HIS MAJESTY SPEA#S

199

$hen ) say &e need a vision, the obAe#t is not sensation' seeking, e#stasy or es#apis" )t%s confrontation)a stark, ra&, earth'1uaking, staggering shake'up of our senses and our sensitivities through a fresh, brutally realisti# en#ounter &ith the @ingC9is *aAesty, <esus, Lord of the Chur#h A literary e?#ursion into rephrased history "ight briefly help us #onsider the possibility of su#h a vision, but the real and lasting &ay to "eet and be "et by 9i" is through a "ore #ertain and attainable "eans than seeking our o&n private visions 6hat &ay is worship! $orship rid of its ta"eness, its predi#tability, its nu"bing for"ality and its prisonlike presuppositions of propriety !u#h a total and #o"plete upheaval as ) need in "y o&n soul &ill probably never allo& for this en#ounter to take pla#e in publi#Cnot be#ause ) fear being hu"bled before others, but be#ause <esus has a &ay of dealing &ith ea#h of us so uni1uely that a private setting be#o"es ne#essary 6he purpose of su#h an en#ounter Dand the reason ) invite you to Aoin "e in su#h a 1uestE is that the sa"e realities lay hold of our souls Aust as they gripped <ohn%s8 6he reality of Christ%s "aAesti# person 6he reality of Christ%s authoritative position 6he reality of Christ%s #onsu""ate po&er ) a" #onvin#ed the 9oly !pirit is &aiting for hearts that hunger and thirst for an unpre#edented visitation of God to our generation, displaying 9is glorious po&er and "ight to every #ulture and in every #hur#h And ) a" e1ually #onvin#ed that the one path&ay to that visitation%s taking pla#e is a refor"ation in the &orship life of the Chur#h, Aust as dra"ati# and dyna"i# as the refor"ation in the theology of the Chur#h &as five #enturies ago

SEEING JESUS& PERSON


<ohn sa& <esus as 9e is, the "aAesti#, e?alted, enthroned @ing 0a#h trait of 9is personality see"s to be e"bla(oned in the very flesh and sine& of 9is glorified body that radiates regality and do"inion

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WORSHIP HIS MAJESTY

) &ant to be a #andidate to look into 9is eyes and be purified by that fire that &aits to surge into "e and purge all of "e ) &ant to bo& at 9is feet, not only to tou#h the "arks of an#ient &ounds, but also to be re"inded that their brasslike #hara#ter de#lares 9is #o"plete 1ualifi#ation to bring all prin#ipalities and po&ers beneath the" ) &ant to fall before 9i", dead to "y self and sin and alive to re#eive 9is trans"ission to "e of 9is authority to "inister it in 9is na"e ) &ant 9i" to lay 9is right hand on "e, Aust as 9e did <ohn, and to so #learly speak 9is #ertainty of triu"ph into "y soul that &hatever trial, &hatever test, &hatever pain, &hatever assault of hell ) fa#eCor ho&ever despondent, depressed or despairing ) "ight be#o"e under duress of diffi#ultyC) &ill be steeled against defeat and stand unshakable through 9is $ord

HEARING JESUS& VOICE


<ohn also heard <esus speak fro" 9is position as Lord of the Chur#h, and ) bo& in 9is presen#e to hear those sa"e &ords again
9is "essage to 0phesus is 9is #all to "e8 Co"e a&ay

fro" the de#eptive supposition that do#trinal purity or diligent labor &ill ever substitute for passionate devotion 6he ti"eless #all to us is IRepentH Return to your first loveHI Dsee Rev 58+'4E neither no& nor ever in "y a##u"ulation of "aterial things but in that pure gold of #hara#ter that flo&s out of the refining fires of struggle and tribulation'trial through &hi#h 9e guarantees to bring "e if ) &ill keep tuned to the !pirit%s voi#e Dsee Rev 58,'++E that ) give no pla#e to the sensuous and the sedu#tive, &hi#h in every age &ill seek an avenue of Austifying #arnal indulgen#e and rationali(ing se?ual e?#esses Dsee Rev 58+5'53E hu"an supposition that an established reputation a"ong

9is "essage to !"yrna is 9is re"inder that "y &ealth is

9is "essage to Perga"os and 6hyatira is 9is insisten#e

9is "essage to !ardis is 9is #o""entary on the shallo&

HIS MAJESTY SPEA#S

201

"ankind is in any &ay i"pressive to God 6he 1ualifi#ations for re#ognition on 9is ter"s are al&ays the sa"e8 a #ontinuously shapeable, tea#hable, hearing heart that &alks in repentant response to the present &ord the !pirit is speaking to the Chur#h, and a si"ple &alk in faith &hi#h over#o"es the spirit of the &orld Dsee Rev :8+'=E
9is

"essage to Philadelphia is 9is #onstant en#ourage"ent to "e, for 9e never forgets or overlooks "y deep desire to please 9i", and 9e pro"ises to open door&ays unto "y ne?t real" of vi#toryCdoors &hi#h on#e 9e opens, no po&er #an resist Dsee Rev :84'+:EH vulnerability of "y flesh to enshrine su##ess as though gain &ere God 9e #alls "e fro" the #hilling effe#t of su#h blindness and pro"ises to anoint "y eyes, #lothe "y nakedness and refire "y soulJ and 9e pro"ises to enter the open door of "y &el#o"e to 9i" Dsee Rev :8+.'55E Co"e in and dine &ith "e, <esus

9is "essage to Laodi#ea is 9is agelong re"inder of the

Refor"ed &orship is refired &orshipH )t &ill bring us into Christ%s presen#e to &itness 9is *aAesty, and it &ill bring us to 9is feet to a#kno&ledge 9is Lordship

E*PERIENCING JESUS& POWER


<ohn%s vision in#luded one "ore thing8 9e sa& the #onsu""ate po&er of Christ through to the end of all things 6he &hole book of Revelation unfolds the "essage that al&ays and ever, #onsu""ately and ulti"ately, <esus Christ is Lord and @ingH 9e is God triu"phantH And &ith that vision, one &onders if <ohn &ere dra&n ba#k to another dayCa day &hen the bree(es flo&ing do&n fro" 9er"on brought a rhyth"i# s&ay to the grasses so freshly garbing the Galilean hillsides that spring 6he sa"e settings &hi#h had &itnessed su#h a "agnifi#en#e of divine gra#eCthe healings, the tea#hings, the deliveran#es, the re#overy of the brokenCall see"ed relatively silent no& 7o #ro&ds &ere present, but there &as a s"all gathering of al"ost a do(en "en &ho see"ed to be re"inis#ing on golden "o"ents of "any

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WORSHIP HIS MAJESTY

"onths before 6hen, 9e #a"e !o si"ply did 9e arrive, not one of the" #ould be sure if 9e had slipped up fro" the flank of their "ountaintop situationC .id #e come from the gro5e of trees o5er there;) or if 9e Aust appeared "ira#ulously $hen they sa& 9i", they &orshiped 9i"J but so"e doubted And <esus #a"e and spoke to the", saying, IAll authority has been given to *e in heaven and on earth Go therefore and "ake dis#iples of all the nations, bapti(ing the" tea#hing the" and lo, ) a" &ith you al&ays, even to the end of the ageI D*att 5,8+4'5-E 6here%s an ineffable glory to this "o"ent, but there is also a distin#tly plaintive tone to the te?t8 I6hey &orshiped but so"e doubted I !o"e doubtedK >es and so"eti"es so do &e $e need not belabor those "en Aust being birthed into an age "ankind #ould never have i"agined 6heir doubt o##asioned no #riti#is" by the !avior, for 9e understood the a&eso"e transitions they &ere being #alled to a##eptCthe overthro& of presuppositions about ho& *essiah%s rule &ould be e?tended, as &ell as their #all to open the"selves to a ne& po&er sour#e in the 9oly !pirit being pro"ised the" )t &as all so ne& and so"e doubted But they &orshiped 6heir dignity and the release of their destiny &as that they &orshipedCand so "ay it be &ith us )t &as unto that &orshiping band Din spite of those lingering doubts &hi#h shortly &ould be abolishedE that <esus did t&o things8 9e #o""issioned the" and 9e #onferred divine authority upon the" All authority has been given to *e D*att 5,8+,E But you shall re#eive po&er &hen the 9oly !pirit has #o"e upon you DA#ts +8,E

HIS MAJESTY SPEA#S

203

As the Father has sent *e, ) also send you D<ohn 5-85+E Go into all the &orld D*ark +=8+;E 6he real" of rule on#e lost by "an &as "ade potential again to the redee"ed $orshipers &ere "ade re#ipients of @ingdo" authority at Pente#ost, that they "ight be e1uipped to fulfill 9is *aAesty%s #all to e?tend the do"inion of 9is throne to every person possible until 9is return And, thus, &e are #alled $hatever re"ains of the present age until 9e #o"es again, this "u#h is #lear8 9is !pirit is &orking ne&ness today &herever open hearts are pliable 9e no "ore re1uires our instant "astery of lingering doubt than 9e did those early apostles 9e only #alls us to &orship, to offer up all glory, honor and praise For it is there, as &e e?alt and lift up on high the na"e of 9is *aAesty, that doubts &ill be s#attered like shado&s For it is there that 9is po&er &ill be poured out like ne& &ine and that @ingdo" authority &ill flo& to us For it is there that <esus &ho died, no& glorified, &ill be revealed a"ong us !o "agnify, #o"e glorify <esus $orship 9is *aAestyH

APPENDI' 1

A 690/L/G> /F $/R!9)P
"he following summary has /een used /y the author for conducting seminars on worship and for directing interaction with 5isiting pastors at the Jack *! #ayford &chool of (astoral Nurture, a di5ision of "he King2s &eminary in an Nuys, California!

An Outline for Thought and Discussion

As God above all, the Lord Al"ighty is our Creator, !ustainer, Redee"er and DeliverJ and as the !overeign of the universe, 9e is &orthy of our &orship and deserving of our praise As 9is #reatures, &e are #alled to &orship Fa? by the logi# of our dependen#y upon 9i", F/? by the glory

206

WORSHIP HIS MAJESTY

of 9is e?#eeding beauty and goodness and D#E by the gra#e and love of 9is redee"ing kindness to&ard us : Despite these fa#ts, it see"s "ost Christian &orship is approa#hed as an a#ade"i# duty'affir"ing faith through holy observan#e, rather than as a dyna"i# "o"ent anti#ipating life through holy e?pe#tation 6he obAe#tive in our &orship is not "erely to fulfill a prere1uisite a#kno&ledging our pla#e in the #reated order, but &orship is a God'ordained "eans for advan#ing our restoration and reinstate"ent in that order $orship is God%s gift to us for our blessing "ore than 9is 9is obAe#tive is not the se#uring of our adulation but our dis#overy and reali(ation of advan#e"ent in 9is intended purpose for our fulfill"ent $orship is not only a "eans of reaffir"ing "an%s relational dependen#e upon, sub"ission to and obedien#e before GodJ but it is also the "eans Dthrough gra#eE to the reinstate"ent of "an%s partnership &ith God in ruling the earthCone &hi#h begins in a present, pra#ti#al, yet partial, reali(ation, and &ill su##eed after Christ%s #o"ing unto a #o"plete and full reali(ation For the redee"ed, &orship is the essential key to &el#o"ing the rule of the kingdo" of God into hu"an e?perien#eCi e , our daily affairs, our ho"es, our #ongregations, our business affairs and our #ities and nations 6hus, &orship is the pri"ary "eans for the establishing of an at"osphere Fa? for the transfor"ing entry of God%s presen#e, F/? for the #lear entry of God%s $ord, D#E for the loving entry of God%s !pirit and Fd? for the dyna"i# entry of God%s &orks of po&er A##ordingly, &orship should be approa#hed by the leadership &ith #onvi#tion that &e are not providing an optional "o"ent, but &e are deter"ining a

A THEOLOGY OF WORSHIP

20!

pivotal "o"ent +- $ith this understanding, &e "ust #onfront the fa#t that bibli#al &orship Da? &ill al&ays re1uire the hu"bling of hu"an pride through &orship, F/? "ust appropriately be #ondu#ted a##ording to divine guidelines for &orship and D#E &ill regularly "anifest in the transfor"ing Aoy and hu"ility distilling fro" &orship

APPENDI' 2

$/R!9)P )7 !P)R)6 A7D 6RU69


"he following is adapted from an article /y the author which first appeared in the &pring @GGG issue of Leadership magaEine and is reprinted here /y permission!

)n "y e?perien#e, theologi#al dis#ussions about &orship tend to fo#us on the #erebral, not the vis#eralCon the "ind, not the heart 6rue &orship, &e are often taught, is "ore about the "ind%s thinking right about God Dusing theologi#ally #orre#t language and liturgyE, rather than the heart%s hunger for 9i" But the &ords of our !avior resound the undeniable #all to &orship that trans#ends the intelle#t8 IGod is !pirit, and those &ho &orship 9i" "ust &orship in spirit and truthI 0ohn .85.E

210

WORSHIP HIS MAJESTY

$e have been in#lined to #on#lude that mind is the proper synony" for spirit here, but the Bible sho&s that the heart is a better #andidate 6he &ords Iin truthI #ertainly suggest parti#ipation of the intelle#t in &orship, but it ines#apably #o"es se#ond and is dependent upon the heart%s fullest release first 6his priority is usually held suspe#t 6he heart is said to be governed by affe#tions and thus is "ore vulnerable to de#eption than is the intelle#t But to base &orship on our intelle#ts is to entertain a dual delusion8 first, that the "ind is less subAe#t to de#eption than the heartJ se#ond, that the "ind is the "ain "eans to #onta#t God in &orship Dnote verses like <ob ++848 ICan you sear#h out the deep things of GodKIE >es, hu"an intelligen#e #ontributes to our &orship, but God%s $ord indi#ates 9e is not looking for so"ething brilliant but so"ething broken8 6he sa#rifi#es of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a #ontrite heartCthese, / God, >ou &ill not despise DPs ;+8+4E 6he e?er#ises of our enlightened "inds "ay dedu#e God, but only our ignited hearts #an delight 9i"Cand in turn e?perien#e 9is desire to delight usH

HOW GOD EVALUATES WORSHIP


6o be "ore spe#ifi#, ) believe that to please God, &orship "ust do four things8 + Tr e ,%rshi" Treas res G%*-s Presence. God &el#o"es those into 9is presen#e &ho &ant 9i" 6he 1uest "ay be one of desperation or of delight, of franti# need or of loving hunger for fello&ship, but the "otivation is #learCand so is 9is pleasure &ith it )n 0?odus :: and :., a tender and po&erful e?#hange takes pla#e bet&een God and *oses, spanning the e"otional range fro" an inti"ate fa#e'to'fa#e en#ounter to a dra"ati# de#laration by the Al"ighty But #entral to the en#ounter is the #ry of *oses8 I7o& therefore, ) pray, if ) have found gra#e in >our sight, sho& "e no& >our &ay, that ) "ay kno& >ou and that ) "ay find gra#e in >our sightI D0?od ::8+:E

WORSHIP IN SPIRIT AND TRUTH

211

6o &hi#h God replies, I*y Presen#e &ill go &ith you, and ) &ill give you restI Dv +.E !hortly follo&ing this, God displays 9is glory to *osesCas sure a sign of 9is pleasure and presen#e as 9e ever gives Dsee 0?od .-8::':,E ) had been in pastoral leadership for nearly +; years &hen "y thinking about #orporate &orship &as transfor"ed Rather than tightly regi"ented gatherings #on#erned &ith aestheti#s, "e#hani#s and a#ade"i# theology, &e began to provide an unpressured portion of the servi#e for free'flo&ing songs of praise and adoration $ithin t&o years, our #hur#h began to e?perien#e God%s glory and gra#e in ne& and "ore profound &ays, an e?perien#e that #ontinues to this day $e%ve been vigilant in seeking #onstant rene&al of the pra#ti#e be#ause &e kno& that even the finest spiritual habits are vulnerable to the arthritis of ritualis"Cthe point at &hi#h for" loses its fo#us But &ith gentleness, the 9oly !pirit has a &ay of dra&ing us ba#k to our Ifirst loveI DRev 58.ECto a rene&ed hunger and thirst for the Living God !u#h &orship en#ourages people to fall in love &ith God )f the phrase Ifall in loveI offends anyone Das it on#e did "eCit &asn%t suffi#iently obAe#tiveE, perhaps &e "ight learn to be e1ually offended by IreasonI that distan#es the heart fro" a passion to si"ply kno& and love God 5 Tr e ,%rshi" ' &.#es the 'eart. )n )saiah =8+',, the abAe#t #ry of a sinful "an, I$oe is "e, for ) a" undone,I &as not an a#hieve"ent of intelle#tual analysis but of self'dis#overy "ade upon entering God%s presen#e )saiah says I) sa& the LordI &ith neither apology nor arrogan#eJ it &as a breakthrough of gra#e that produ#ed a breakup of pride )saiah, a "e"ber of the #ultural, edu#ated elite of <udah, de"onstrates a #hildlike hu"ility and tea#hability in this passage 9is #ry, &ithout a vestige of style #ons#iousness, reveals an unreserved availability to God 6his is the very thing to &hi#h <esus #alls us all8 Assuredly, ) say to you, unless you are #onverted and be#o"e as little #hildren, you &ill by no "eans enter the kingdo" of heaven 6ake heed that you do not

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WORSHIP HIS MAJESTY

despise one of these little ones, for ) say to you that in heaven their angels al&ays see the fa#e of *y Father &ho is in heaven D*att +,8:,+-E Be#ause of the i"portan#e of hu"ility, years ago ) began en#ouraging people to be#o"e "ore e?pressive, both vo#ally and physi#ally, in &orship Fe& things #hallenge our pride "ore than the si"plest su""ons to e?pressiveness ) #arry no brief for or#hestrated #alistheni#s in #hur#h, as though a set of e?er#ises "ade for superior liturgy But ) have learned that #areful tea#hing and "odeling #an help people "ove beyond self' #ons#iousness Dand #hallenge the adult preo##upation &ith self' i"portan#eE so that they #an e?perien#e a #hildlike liberty in e?pressing the"selves in &orship /ne of our "e"bers, &ith the best of "otives, on#e suggested, IPastor, if you didn%t tea#h and invite people to lift their hands in &orship, ) think our #hur#h &ould gro& faster,I and then added, I) think you "ight inAure so"e people%s pride I <-n+ure prideKI ) said gently I$hy, ) &as hoping to kill it altogether I ) &ant to respe#t hu"an dignity, but there is su#h a dispositionCens#on#ed in the Chur#h as surely as in the &orldC that e1uates dignity and pride 6his is a false e1uation )t is be#ause ) value ea#h individual in "y #ongregation that ) tea#h and "odel a &ay for us to #o"e as #hildren before the Father Be#ause pride tends to insist on finding a &ay to Austify and preserve itself Deven in #hur#hE, ) try to help people learn the hu"ility of )saiah /nly this &ill help the" vie& God afresh and pave the &ay to deeply felt #onfession and purifi#ation : Tr e ,%rshi" Sacri!ices S%&ething !r%& G%*. an* Then E/"ects

9ebre&s ++8= puts it #learly8 I9e &ho #o"es to God "ust believe that 9e is, and that 9e is a re&arder of those &ho diligently seek 9i" I 6he te?t presupposes that &orship al&ays brings a sa#rifi#e to GodCthat he &ho #o"es to the throne, &hether &ith praise, &ith an offering or by Ilaying do&nI so"ething instru#ted by the 9oly !pirit, is presenting so"ething of hi"self to God !i"ultaneously, &e are told that the &orshiper is to believe

WORSHIP IN SPIRIT AND TRUTH

213

so"ething &ill be given in return by God 9i"selfCso"ething re&arding, benevolent and good !o"e try to defend God against hu"an selfishness and refuse all talk of re&ard But the truth is, God freely offers the re&ard of 9is blessingCand delights to do so 9e doesn%t grouse, IDon%t you dare give *e so"ething and suppose you are "anipulating *e to give it ba#kHI )nstead, 9is $ord si"ply says, in effe#t, I!in#e you #o"e to *e, ) &ould e?pe#t you to believe ) &ill re&ard your 1uest I /f #ourse, tithes or offerings D&hi#h are appropriate and bibli#al Isa#rifi#esIE aren%t to be a tit'for'tat bargain &ith GodH But God%s #all to &orship is attended by 9is o&n #o""it"ent to bless us 6he pro"ise of God in *ala#hi :8+- DI6ry *e no& in this if ) &ill not open for you the &indo&s of heaven and pour out for you su#h blessing that there &ill not be roo" enough to re#eive itIE reveals a largeness in the heart of God to&ard hu"an givingCand the Austi#e of our e?pe#ting a blessing in return $orship is God%s gift to us, intended for our blessing and benefit 9e doesn%t need itJ &e do . Tr e ,%rshi" E/ten*s G%*-s L%0e. )f God'pleasing &orship addresses hu"an need, it also &ill e?tend God%s love to others )t is therefore unsurprising that the greatest #o""and"ent issues into the se#ond, &hi#h Iis like itI in i"portan#e Dsee *att 558:,,:3E 6he verti#al "andate, to love and &orship God, is also hori(ontal, to love our neighbor 6his "eans su#h things as
Forgiving others, seeking pea#e and re#on#iliation day by

day

Gra#ious lifestyle evangelis" in both #ondu#t and

#o""uni#ation, living out a believable, &inso"e &itness

Unselfish, servant'"inded attitude in assisting others in

need, in#luding a heart to #are for vi#ti"s of negle#t and inAusti#e

6his need for us to rea#h out drives the prayer #ir#les &e have in nearly every &orship servi#e at our #hur#h I*inistryti"e,I the for"al na"e, lasts about +- "inutes as the people are dire#ted to for" s"all groups, share their needs and

214

WORSHIP HIS MAJESTY

then pray 6his pra#ti#e is essential to our effe#tiveness as a #ongregation *inistryti"e a##o"plishes four things8 + 5 : . )t is a prag"ati# &ay to e?press God%s love evoked during &orship )t helps people use their "inistry gifts in the asse"bly )t allo&s people to e?press the"selves personally and to #are and pray for one another )t lays the foundation for the invitationCit is infinitely easier to invite people to re#eive the love of God in <esus Christ after they have had a personal en#ounter &ith so"e people &ho have sho&n itH

$hat is birthed in the heart, then, finds e?pression in the handsChands that rise in hu"ble praise, give in si"ple e?pe#tan#y and serve &ith gentle gra#e $ith su#h sa#rifi#es, God see"s to be &ell pleased

APPENDI' 3

L0AD)7G $/R!9)P )7 690 70$ *)LL077)U*


"he following is adapted from an address deli5ered /y the author to the -nternational *orship -nstitute in .allas, "e6as, on July @H, @GGG!

As &e begin a ne& "illenniu", ) a" filled &ith great hope and e?pe#tation for ne& di"ensions of @ingdo" life to flo& fro" the Chur#h of <esus Christ At this sa"e Aun#ture ) have #on#erns in regard to the pla#e &here "u#h of these ne& develop"ents and gro&th &ill originateCin the &orship life and leadership of the Chur#h

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WORSHIP HIS MAJESTY

$hen ) say #on#erns, )%" not intending #riti#is", and ) &ant to be deliberate at the outset to differentiate bet&een the t&o *y #on#ern and analysis are for the purpose of assisting today%s &orship leader to&ard a #orre#tion or i"prove"ent and not to beat anyone over the head &ith harsh and har"ful #riti#is"

THE FOCUS OF THE WORSHIP LEADER


$orship leaders are not "erely enAoying their o&n &orship e?perien#e Ion stageI as a de"onstration and e?a"pleJ they are leading people into the presence of God! $hen ) lead a #ongregation in &orship, ) a" not being insin#ere or si"ply going through the "otions, but ) have had "y personal ti"e of &orship /efore ) get on the platfor" )f a leader be#o"es lost in a personal ti"e of &orship, the leader isn%t really able to lead 6he leader "ust be keenly a&are of D+E the response of the #ongregation, D5E the level of their response and D:E &hat should be done to lead the" to the ne?t stage of the pro#ess for the progress of the "eeting 6he &orship leader shepherds the people ) have &at#hed ine?perien#ed yet sin#ere leaders be#o"e lost in &orship >ou "ay be asking, I)sn%t that &hat &e should doKI *y reply is a definitive I7o I !hepherds do not go out to lead the sheep and "arvel at their surroundings, enAoying the pastoral e?perien#e &hile losing tra#k of the sheep /n the flip side, a leader #an be#o"e overly #ons#ious of the people, not for the sake of leading the" into the presen#e of God, but be#ause of self' #ons#iousness ) vividly re"e"ber &hen the Lord #onfronted and e?posed this self'#ons#iousness in "y o&n life 6he year &as +3;+ and ) &as playing in a band at our #hur#h in /akland, California $e had really ni#e unifor"s and everything about the band &as really sharp and professional ) played the vibraphone, an instru"ent &ith pedals and golden keys si"ilar to a ?ylophone )t%s a beautiful instru"ent that isn%t used "u#h any"ore /n !unday nights our #ongregation hosted huge evangelisti# servi#es and usually 5- to 5; people &ould re#eive the Lord )n the early part of the servi#e, there &as a ti"e of singing old'ti"e

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gospel hy"ns and ) &ould play the Ivibes,I "oving the pedal and #hanging the #hords 6he nature of the instru"ent re1uires #onsiderable "ove"ent by the player, so ) &as one of the "ost visible "e"bers of the band along &ith the song leader and tru"pet player ) &as very #ons#ious of this and it &as heady stuffCand ) kne& that ) &as looking good ) had been raised to be #areful and #autious to guard against that sort of pride, but ) had be#o"e blinded to it As the band gathered to pray in one of the "inistry roo"s before one !unday night servi#e, the 9oly !pirit sla""ed "e right in the gut &ith the revelation8 1ou2re more e6cited a/out going out there for the way you look than you are for what you2re going to minister! 6he band &ent out, but even though ) kne& "y absen#e &ould leave a gaping hole on the platfor", ) didn%t go &ith the" 7obody noti#ed ) &asn%t going and &hile they &ere taking their pla#es on the platfor", ) got on "y knees and began to &eep ) said, ILord, ) never &ant that to happen I ) repented for the pride that had overtaken "e and &as heartbroken over the self'#ons#iousness that had supplanted "y ability to lead people in &orship ) did not kno& then that the original &orship leader in heaven, Lu#ifer, had be#a"e so #aptivated by the splendor of his o&n a#hieve"ent that he finally be#a"e an ene"y of the Lord and led rebellion against 9i" ) did not kno& ho& satani# "y pride in &orship &asJ ) only kne& it &as &rong ) #ould have pushed this #onfrontation aside, to deal &ith it at a later ti"e, and attended to "y responsibilities in the band >et this in#ident &as so #onfronting and revealing that ) re"ained in that prayer roo", allo&ing the Lord to do a vital and ne#essary &ork >ou #an rationali(e anything you &ant, any &ay you &ant and end up Austifying &hatever you &ishJ but if you do this, you &ill fail to #onfront the pride that &ill lead to eventual rebellion if left un#he#ked $orship leaders are e?tre"ely vulnerable in this area, for they lead the people before the throne of God and are the ones the Adversary &ould "ost like to oppose God%s throne &as the fo#al point of !atan%s rebellion, and &hile that battle has been &on through the Cross, !atan #ontinually &ants to keep people fro" approa#hing the throne 0veryone involved in &orship leadership has to #o"e to ter"s &ith this spiritual

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#hallenge in one &ay or another >our proble" "ay or "ay not be as severe as "ine &as and subse1uently not re1uire as "u#h attitude shaping 9o&ever, please hear "e8 6he subtlety, the #onniving and the #leverness of the Adversary, along &ith the sinister devi#es that he &ill e"ploy to get you preo##upied &ith yourself, are unending in their #reative and i"aginative &ays 9e is endless in the 1uest to distra#t and deter you in your ability to lead people in &orship

THE WORSHIP REPERTOIRE


) a" #on#erned &hen ) visit a #hur#h and hear nothing but songs &ritten by the &orship leader or by the #ongregation )f your &orship repertoire is e?#lusive, #o"prising only songs #o"posed by your #ongregation, then you are not "i?ing and intera#ting &ith the larger Body of Christ Praise God for the #reative things that are birthed in your o&n #ongregation 6hank God for those #horuses that bring freshness and life to your body /ften there is a propheti# 1uality to the" and the Lord speaks to your #ongregation through your "usi#ians and #o"posers 6hat is a &onderful thing, but if that is all you do, you are failing to re#ogni(e the need to be open to &hat the 9oly !pirit is saying in the real" of praise and &orship in other parts of the Body of Christ !o"e "ay not &ant to open up to other &orship songs and #horuses due to dishonesty in their o&n heart over the fa#t that they are Aealous those songs have broader #ir#ulation than their o&n $e "ask our Aealousy and e?#lusivity &ith good and noble endeavors su#h as advan#ing Iour "usi#I the Lord has given us! $e should be e?#ited, but &e should not be e?#lusive, for it is one of the &ays &e begin to divor#e ourselves fro" involve"ent &ith the larger Body of Christ

STYLE AND PRODUCTION CONSCIOUSNESS


!tyle #ons#iousness o##urs &hen you be#o"e overly #ons#ious of ho& good you are getting )t is both &onderful and legiti"ate to be happy and to reAoi#e in the in#reased e?#ellen#e, beauty and

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substan#e of your &orship and your &orship tea"%s #apa#ity to lead the #ongregation )t is good and right to be i"proving and gro&ing, and it is good to thank the Lord for these develop"ents 9o&ever, &hen your positive response be#o"es so"ething other than happy and thankful, you need to deal &ith it )t%s so"ething that rises up &ithin you internally and other people "ay not noti#e it 6he 9oly !pirit "ay reveal the unpleasant truth to you about your attitude as 9e did to "e that !unday night in +3;+ )f you re"ain open to 9is &ork in your life, 9e &ill #o""uni#ate the truth to you 6his revelation "ay #o"e to you at a ti"e &hen you are apparently doing great things and &hen you start to run ahead of God%s plan for pro"oting &hat 9e has given to your #ongregation People #onstantly send "e books and CDs and ) a" grateful for and value ea#h one *any of these are produ#ed and pro"oted by lo#al #hur#hes, but as &orthy and often &orth&hile as these proAe#ts are, ) feel a sense of #aution &hen a #hur#h puts out its o&n #assette or CD 6his is not be#ause ) don%t think they are potentially &onderful resour#es for the larger Body of Christ /ftenti"es they are 1uite good and benefi#ial 6hankfully, &e live in a day &hen it%s relatively easy to produ#e a 1uality CD ) &ant to be the first to en#ourage you to do all that God puts on your heart to do 9o&ever, on#e you do, inevitably the te"ptation &ill be to put out another one 6he first one &as si"ply to bless and serve the Body of Christ But &ith the ne?t one you "ay begin to feel as if you &ant to "ake your "ark so to speak on a larger s#ale, seeking out publishers or other "eans of pro"otion )f the Lord intends for your "inistry to go national, 9e &ill bless it and "ake it happen 9o&ever, it is probably "ore likely that the &orship songs and #horuses God gave you &ere for your o&n lo#al #ongregation /n#e you start thinking InationalI there #o"es a #onsu"ing desire to in#rease the 1uality of produ#tion, and you "ay begin to lose the sense of si"pli#ity and spontaneity of &hat God gave you ) a" really #on#erned be#ause ) have &at#hed this happen $e have never produ#ed a &orship albu" e?#lusively

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#o"prising "aterial fro" our o&n #ongregation at 6he Chur#h /n 6he $ay, even though so"e of the finest "usi#ians, singers and instru"entalists in the Body of Christ attend our #hur#h 6he only &orship re#ordings &e produ#e are #assettes of the songs &e sang last "onth as a #ongregation /n these tapes the voi#es of the #ongregation are louder than that of the &orship leader 6hese are IliveI re#ordings &ithout enhan#e"ents, and if the people listening to the" have any taste for or kno&ledge of produ#tion 1uality, they likely &ould re"ark on ho& unre"arkable it is 9o&ever, these tapes are not intended to be re"arkable or to be &idely distributed ) have no argu"ent against 1uality produ#tion, and ) don%t &ant to dis#ourage anyoneJ but ) do &ant to urge you not to lose sight of &hat God &ants to do in your #ongregation be#ause you are preo##upied &ith rea#hing a larger audien#e

IN PRAISE OF HYMNS
) &ant to talk about hy"ns By broa#hing this subAe#t ) run the risk of sounding old and anti1uated, for &hen you "ention hy"ns, people so"eti"es hearken ba#k to days gone by &ith fond re"e"bran#eC&hile others think, Good riddance= ) a" not lobbying for a return to hy"nals, but ) think &e probably #ould all afford to have one at ho"e for our private devotions Frankly, it &ould be great if everyone in the Body of Christ had a hy"nal at ho"e, &hether or not it &as ever sung fro" 6here is a treasure trove of substan#e, &ealth and truth #ontained in these hy"ns, &aiting to be redis#overed and pondered during devotional ti"es 6he verses and #horuses have greater depth and insight than "u#h of #onte"porary &orship "usi# For e?a"ple, IA *ighty Fortress )s /ur GodI is a hy"n &ith great "eaning and spiritual insight, yet it is not often sung today A #ouple of years ago, 6o""y $alker rearranged this hy"n for a Pro"ise @eepers% rally !tadiu"s a#ross this #ountry &ere suddenly filled &ith "en singing this hy"n and de#laring the truth it #ontains 6here are profound i"pli#ations &hen the Chur#h of today links &ith the Chur#h of yesterday, singing hy"ns born out of past revivals and #ontinuing &hat has been vital in the life of the Chur#h

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0very hy"n &ritten is an e?pression of revival )n our "odern age &e "ust be #areful not to dis#ard these ri#h and beautiful lyri#s in our effort to break free fro" dead tradition ) en#ourage you to tap in to the spirit of revival these hy"ns &ere birthed fro", to &rite ne& "elodies for the lyri#s to update the style and transfer the &ealth of these hy"ns to this generation of the Chur#h 6he ter" Ihy"nI refers to the lyri# and te#hni#ally the hy"n is not the "elody )n fa#t, if you look through old hy"nals, you &ill noti#e a nu"ber of hy"ns that are &ritten to the sa"e "elodyJ therefore, the updating of the "elody of the hy"n is not a departure fro" an essential 1uality of hy"nology As a young pastor and #o"poser ) &as #hallenged to #o"pose a hy"n )t &as +3=5 and Cliff Barro&s, the song leader for the &hole of the ;- years of Billy Graha"%s #a"paign "inistry, &as speaking to the 7ational Fello&ship of Chur#h *usi#ians ) did not attend that #onferen#e, but ) did read about the #onferen#e in .ecision "aga(ine and learned that Cliff had #hallenged several hundred &orship and evangeli#al leaders in attendan#e, saying, I6here%s no #onte"porary hy"nody being &ritten I 9e &ent on to say, I) &ant to #hallenge you "en and &o"en to &rite hy"ns of this generation I As a result, the 7ational Fello&ship of Chur#h *usi#ians asked .ecision "aga(ine D&hi#h at that ti"e had far &ider #ir#ulation throughout the &hole Body of Christ then it does no&E to help sponsor a hy"n'&riting #o"petition $hen "y "other found out about this, she #alled "e and said, I<a#k, if you &ill send in a hy"n for this #o"petition, you%ll &in I 6his publi#ation rea#hed the "aAority of the 0nglish'speaking &orld, but you kno& ho& "ost "others areCthey think their #hildren are the greatest !he suggested ) sub"it a hy"n ) had #o"posed &hile at a #onferen#e in the Colorado Ro#kies /n that o##asion ) had been so deeply "oved by the #lassi# hy"n I6o God Be the Glory, Great 6hings 9e 9as DoneI that ) &as inspired to &rite so"ething &ith a si"ilar spirit and "ood entitled I$e Lift /ur Voi#e ReAoi#ing I 6o please *a""a, ) sent it in ) dis#overed later that "ine &as one of 3=: entries fro" around the &orld 6he absolutely in#redible thing &as that *a""a had prophesied the truthC) &on the hy"n #o"petition 6his &as the greatest thing that had happened in "y life up to that ti"e, and ) &as over&hel"ed

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*y Q+-- in pri(e "oney &ould translate to about Q;-- dollars today ) have #ontinued to &rite hy"ns For the Fourth of <uly, ) &rote so"e spe#ial lyri#s for our #ongregation to sing as an inter#essory prayer for our nation to the tune of IA"eri#a D*y Country %6is of 6heeE I 6he lyri# began8 I*y #ountry, %tis for thee, ) bo& to inter#ede before "y @ing I /ur #ongregation &as on their knees on )ndependen#e Day, singing that #lassi# "elody &ith a #onte"porary lyri# that ) had &ritten for the o##asion ) have also &ritten lyri#s &ith "elodies, and ) deeply believe in the need for the Chur#h to #ontinue to #o"pose ne& hy"ns )n fa#t, Cliff Barro&s%s #all of +3=5 #ontinues to resonate today8 *e need to write hymns for this generation!

WHAT MAY BE LACKING IN CONTEMPORARY WORSHIP SONGS


6here are #onte"porary &orship songs that inspire and "ove the individual but do not ne#essarily have &ords &hi#h &ere intended to tea#h, rea#h, enri#h or edify a group of believers ) have no doubt that those &ho #o"pose these songs &ere edified as the 9oly !pirit gave these parti#ular songs to the" for their o&n private &orship 9o&ever, a proble" arises &hen any song is introdu#ed to a #ongregation &ithout the benefit of editing or refle#tion A song "ay have a ni#e "elody and godly &ords and #ould have potential to be developed into so"ething that &ould "inister to people in a lasting and effe#tive &ay But if the song is not developed, it &ill tend to la#k substan#e and therefore not really add anything to the depth and develop"ent of a #ongregation%s understanding of the Lord Unfortunately, so"e songs #ir#ulated &ithin the larger Body of Christ la#k this develop"ent and #areful editing 6hese songs are not essentially bad lyri#ally, but they #ould say so "u#h "ore )n "u#h of #onte"porary se#ular "usi# there is a tenden#y to&ard "indless repetition that inhibits the #apa#ity of the individual to think analyti#ally and stru#turally !o"eti"es the repeated phrase is so sedu#tive and suggestive it%s no &onder &e have the teenage pregnan#ies &e do 6he pervading attitude of

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our #ulture is progressively and in#reasingly be#o"ing anti' ChristJ and the "indless repetition of #onte"porary "usi# nu"bs people%s "inds and disables their thought pro#esses, and eventually people fall prey to the ulti"ate de#eption and are "anipulated by !atan 6he spirit of the &orld also seeks to distra#t and disable dis#iples of <esus Christ God is not against good feelings and entertain"ent, and this is not intended to be a diatribe against se#ular or popular Christian "usi# 6here &ill be songs that #ause us to feel good, but the Chur#h needs songs to take us further than the feel'goodsJ the Chur#h needs songs that disciple! Do not be #onfor"ed to this &orld, but be transfor"ed by the rene&ing of your "ind DRo" +585E 6he rene&ing of our "inds re1uires thought, and developing dis#iples are thinking people 7o&, ) a" not advo#ating intelle#tuali(ed &orship 6here are si"ple but profound songs that "ove "e to "y knees and allo& "e to e?press "y feelings of love and affe#tion for <esus *u#h of Christian "usi# today takes its #ue fro" the #ulture of popular "usi# and therefore rea#hes the &orld in the sa"e di"ension $hile &e need to be #ulturally relevant, &e need to dra& #ulture further than it arrives on its o&n Christian "usi# produ#ed today is undoubtedly spiritual "usi# &ith a spiritual "essage, but be#ause "u#h of it la#ks lyri#al depth and re1uires little thought fro" the listener, it is a poor dis#ipleship tool 6he "usi# birthed fro" the hearts of believers #an and should do so "u#h "ore to strengthen the Chur#h Again, ) a" not advo#ating a departure fro" popular, #onte"porary #ulture Christian #o"posers, lyri#ists and artists #an in#orporate so"e trends in popular "usi#, but they should not entirely depend upon the" For e?a"ple, the song I) Could !ing of >our Love ForeverI by the British &orship group Delirious in#orporates repetition but does not depend upon it ) have been delighted to &at#h young people in our #ongregation sing this song, and it is obvious they are &orshiping ) a" happy be#ause ) kno& that they are being dis#ipled by our youth pastors and that they have their "inds on <esus &hen they sing this song

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A FINAL WORD ON PARTICIPATION IN WORSHIP


Parti#ipation is key $e "ust be &ary of allo&ing our #ongregations to si"ply enAoy the splendid "usi# of gifted &orship tea"s and not re1uiring #orporate parti#ipation A #ongregation of observers is definitely not the ai" or goal of a &orship servi#e As ) "entioned at the outset, the &orship leader leads the #ongregation before the throne of God and it takes sound leadership to bring the people to all God has for the" )t is fro" this pla#e that the Chur#h &ill advan#e the kingdo" of God in strength and po&er in the "illenniu" set before us

APPENDI' 4

!9A@0 D/$7 690 69U7D0R8 $/R!9)P, $ARFAR0 A7D 690 9ARV0!6


"he following is adapted from an article /y the author which first appeared in the &eptem/erI>cto/er @GGG issue of %inistries "oday and is reprinted here /y permission!

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A very uni1ue sense of destiny is upon "e these days Perhaps you feel so"ething of it, too Be#ause any thoughtful leader "ust sooner or later #o"e to grips &ith this fa#t8 *e are pri5ileged to /e Church leaders at what is un:uestiona/ly the most pi5otal time in human history! 6his isn%t hyperboleCit%s reality Around the &orld there is a global restlessness As <esus predi#ted, &e are seeing an intense tide of nationalis"Cnation against nation Dsee *att 5.84ECs&eeping the globe, bringing the Idistress of nations, &ith perple?ityI DLuke 5+85;E to a #res#endo 6he #ultural agenda is again being set by #onfli#t but not at the superpo&er level )n lieu of the five de#ades of tortured pea#e the #hara#teri(ed the 0ast'$est standoff, &e are no& subAe#ted to frighteningly unpredi#table and politi#ally un"anageable s#enarios At any "o"ent, the &orld #an e?pe#t to be vi#ti"i(ed by the &hi"sy of a regional #hieftain via a deadly a#t of terroris" Any politi#al #ult, ho&ever bi(arre, #an disrupt an entire nation%s e1uilibriu"Cand #an pur#hase a nu#lear devi#e to destroy it 0ven "ore terrifying is the fa#t that they don%t need a stealth bo"ber to deliver it A suit#ase &ill do And yet so#iologi#ally there is a global sense of anti#ipation Can al"ost "ysti#al sense of the approa#h of great hope Dor great horrorE ) a" a"a(ed at the lengths to &hi#h people &ill go for a "e"orable or "eaningful e?perien#e $ho #an fatho" "illions of dollars that &ere spent as "ultitudes #onverged on I"illennial sitesICfro" the top of the $orld 6rade Center to the Great $all of China'on De#e"ber :+, +333K )t is in this spiritual environ"ent that &e find the seeds of a vast global a&akening A #entury of &orshiping the hu"an intelle#t has ushered in an international fa"ine, begetting a desperate 1uest for spiritual "eaning 9aving been on a so#iety' &ide for#ed diet rooted in the vain supposition that edu#ational, s#ientifi# and te#hnologi#al advan#es #an satisfy the hunger of the hu"an soul, innu"erable hosts, like #onfused sheep, are sta"peding to&ard anything that offers the slightest pro"ise of spiritual fulfill"ent At the sa"e ti"e, the 9oly !pirit has been surging through the Chur#h for an entire #enturyCspreading revival and rene&al &hile advan#ing #is refor"ation 7ot sin#e the first #entury have the people of God been so ready to "eet the #hallenge of rea#hing and feeding the "ultitudes 01uipped and ignited by

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the gifts and fire of the 9oly !pirit and instru#ted in God%s $ord as never in history, "illions &ithin Christ%s global Body are poised for an unpre#edented harvest

NO AUTOMATIC HARVEST
Clearly, the harvest be#kons us >et for all our analysis and enthusias", &e re1uire a strategi# sensitivity 0?uberant rhetori# de#laring I6he end ti"es harvest is hereHI #an neither produ#e nor garner a single grain 6his harvest &ill not be reaped through the si"ple pursuit of a golden opportunity )t &ill be reali(ed only by e"ploying God%s strategy8 6he harvest &ill spring fro" living &orship and be possessed by dis#erning &arfareH 6his #all to strategi# sensitivity vibrates &ithin the deepest di"ensions of "y soulJ ) feel ) a" tou#hing the pulse of God%s heart as ) &rite on the the"e at hand 6he Chur#h "ust rise to stand in &orship and in &arfare if &e are to "ove beyond e?pe#tan#y As in the &ords of )saiah, the Chur#h has been like a pregnant &o"an &ho has gone &ay beyond ter" but not given birth8 As a &o"an &ith #hild so have &e been in >our sight, / L/RD $e have been &ith #hild, &e have been in painJ &e have, as it &ere, brought forth &indJ &e have not a##o"plished any deliveran#e in the earth D)sa 5=8+4,+,E )n short, the opportunity &as there, a travail &as entered, but no real life has been birthedH )f &e #ontinue on this path, &e are far #loser to e?perien#ing fruitlessness in the ne& "illenniu" than &e are to reaping a harvestCunless &e hear and heed a heavenly tru"pet #all

THROWING DOWN A GAUNTLET


6o #apture the uni1ue spiritual opportunity before us at this "illennial turning point, ) a" persuaded that the entire Body of Christ needs a spiritual shake'up and a shakedo&n By a shake' up ) "ean to be purged to the core of our beings 6hen &e "ust Ishake do&n the thunder,I as in the #lassi# lyri# fro" the football

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fight song that proposes passion in pursuitCnot business as usual + Re#ent observations #o"pel "e to #ry out, not as anyone%s Audge or #riti#, but as a knight thro&ing do&n his gauntlet to #hallenge an offender of his regent%s lady )n both areas of truth and pra#ti#eC&orship and &arfareC) have &itnessed the rise of a "o#king spirit that seeks to #o"pro"ise <esus% Bride 0ven as the 9oly !pirit%s purifying &ork is a&akening &orship in "any 1uarters, there has risen a trend to&ard prioriti(ing sound over spirit, style over substan#e, perfor"an#e over parti#ipation and personnel over po&er 6his disturbing trend is #hanging the definition of &hat our people #all &orship *ore and "ore &e are hearing I&orshipI defined as the music presented by a group and its leader, rather than as an entrance into the throne roo" of God by a #ongregation Foot'tapping giddiness and &ar", fu((y feelings is not &orshipJ life'transfor"ing Aoy and abAe#t hu"ility in God%s presen#e is )f you are a pastor or &orship leader, your leadership "andate is for long'ter" results, not short'ter" sensation or e?#ite"ent 7o "atter ho& nifty &orship looks in "y #hur#h, ) "ust re"ain sensitive as to &hether "y #ongregation%s &orship habits are "anifesting in a "o"entary bu(( of e?#ite"ent or an Ieternal &eight of gloryI D5 Cor .8+4E 6he sa"e goes for Ispiritual &arfareICa phrase that has be#o"e both s#orned and elitist a"id in#reased dis#ussion of prayer, fasting and inter#ession !#orn is leveled by theologi#al #riti#s &ho Audge the subAe#t of spiritual &arfare as a provin#e of the ignorantly e?#itable &ho have "issed the deeper "eaning of Christ%s #on#lusive triu"ph /n the other hand, elitis" distills in so"e #ir#les &here there is displayed an air of "ystery and #ondes#ension to&ard those seg"ents of the Chur#h that are apparently less insightful But the Lord is #alling us to lead the &ay to&ard the Isi"pli#ity that is in ChristI D5 Cor ++8:E &ith regard to &orship and &arfare $hat &e do or do not do in the #o"ing years &ill deter"ine &hether the harvest is to be &atered and reapedC being #on#eived in &orship and possessed through &arfareCor to be left to &hither and die

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PERFECTING PRAISE
6hree de#ades of leadership in the arenas of &orship and &arfare have taught "e one thing8 6here are no a##o"plished e?perts ) a" persuaded that all our e?perien#e in &orship and &arfare "eans littleJ ) #an never gain seniority in either field, for ) a" #alled to enter both e?er#ises as a #hildCevery ti"eH /ut of the "ouths of babes and infants you have ordained strength, be#ause of >our ene"ies, that >ou "ay silen#e the ene"y DPs ,85E <esus des#ribes this #hildlike &orship as Iperfe#ted praiseI D*att 5+8+=E 6hose &ho are &illing to be#o"e as babes are the ones &ho &ill reali(e the harvestCnot by their "ight or po&er, their style or sophisti#ation, their insights or dis#ern"ent <ust as the Lord of the harvest has #alled us to lift up our eyes and see the fields of opportunity Dsee <ohn .8:;E, so the Lord of glory is #alling us to Ilift our heartsI in &orshipful hu"ility DLa" :8.+E and to lift up our hands in prayerful inter#ession unto evangelis"%s breakthrough Dsee + 6i" 58,E As a leader, there is a passion and a pattern ) dare never presu"e )%ve "astered

E + , + - . / 0

07D7/60!
Chapter 1
+ Revelation +583 tells us that !atan, the serpent and the dragon are one and the sa"e <esus not only treated the devil as a personal being and a#kno&ledged his te"porary #lai" to po&er on this planet Dsee *att .8+'+-E, but 9e also spoke of Ada" and 0ve as being a#tual people Dsee *att +38.,;E Both fa#ts re"ove the "atter of evil%s sour#e and "an%s beginning and purpose fro" the real" of "ythology or spe#ulation

Chapter 2
+ 6he Lord repeatedly e"phasi(ed that the priests% "inistry &as to serve 9i" Dsee 0?od 5,8+, :,.,.+J 538+,..J :-8:-J .-8+:,+;E 5 0(ekiel .-C., elaborates details of this 6e"ple%s #onstru#tion and "inistry

Chapter 3
+ 6he death of 0li%s sons at this sa"e ti"e probably #aused the absen#e of an adult in the role of high priest, &hi#h &as a hereditary position 5 Co"pare + Chroni#les +=84':= &ith Psal"s 3=8+'+:J +-;8+'+; and +-=8+,.4,.,

232

WORSHIP HIS MAJESTY

Cha"ter )4
+ !ee Luke 5.8;-J A#ts 58.=,.4J .85.J 5-8:=J + Corinthians +.8+;J +=8+':J + 6i"othy 58,J 5 6i"othy 58+; 5 Author%s paraphrase of Ro"ans +58+,5 6he Aoining of IintelligentI and IspiritualI is #onsistent &ith the dual #o"ponents #ontained in the Greek &ords logiken latre ian!

Cha"ter )1
+ "he >pen Bi/le, $6panded $dition, notes on + Chroni#les 538.,4

A""en*i/ 5
+ 6he lyri# is fro" the fabled I7otre Da"e Vi#tory *ar#h I $ritten by t&o brothers, )rish alu"ni *i#hael < !hea and <ohn F !hea, the song debuted in +3-,, &hen *i#hael played it on the organ of the !e#ond Congregational Chur#h in 9olyoke, *assa#husetts 6he lyri#s begin ICheer, #heer for old 7otre Da"e $ake up the e#hoes #heering her na"e !end the volley #heer on high !hake do&n the thunder fro" the sky I

6o #onta#t the author or for "ore infor"ation about Living $ay *inistries or about 6he @ing%s College and !e"inary, #all or &rite8

Living $ay *inistries +.,5- !her"an $ay Van 7uys, CA 3+.-;'55:: Phone8 D,--E 44=',+,&&& living&ay org &&& kingsse"inary edu