Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Wide Open Worship - Pt. 2

A friend of a friend of mine literally puts his life on the line for the Gospel. He enters particular countries and gets Christian material to underground churches. For his safety, I don't want to specify where he goes or how he gets in. He has been doing it for years and plays an integral role is facilitating revival in those countries. If he were caught, it would be certain death. There are things going on elsewhere that we like to think do not happen anymore. Atrocities go on in these countries that meet or even surpass the Holocaust in terms of cruelty (probably not in terms of numbers...yet). I tend to forget how much of a privilege it is to have the freedoms that I have living in the United States. It is so easy to take those freedoms for granted.

A few weeks ago I had lunch with the friend who knows this man. Apparently the guy is looking for one or two people to accompany him on these trips. I did not (and still don't) feel a leading to be a part of it, but it did get me thinking about my knowledge of the Word, my prayer life, and my worship. If I knew my life was in danger because of my beliefs and the sharing of those beliefs, I would not speed through my Bible reading, my prayers would be much more fervent, and my worship would be on a completely different level. It got me thinking, "Why am I not reading, praying, and worshipping like that now? If I tried to hide some sort of media in a guitar case, got caught by the authorities, and had the opportunity to play/sing one song with guns are pointed at my head, what would I sing? More importantly, how would I sing (and play) it?" I have been pondering that for weeks now and it is out of those thoughts that I came up with Part One of this post - describing worship that is focused, sincere, reckless, reverent, and passionate. I want my worship, whether private or public, to be full of every one of those ingredients. To a certain extent, it is uncharted territory.

Two or three weeks ago in church I started worshipping as if my life depended on it. In a way, it was scary. I say that because I am used to being in control. Tears often fall when I worship, but I hit the point where I was a step away from just falling to the ground and bawling. I pulled back because I usually sit in the 3rd row at church (1st two are reserved for staff) and therefore am easily seen by those behind me. I'd like to say that I just didn't want to distract others, but I know part of it was being concerned with what others might think. Sure, there is a responsibility on all of us not to ruin the worship experience for others by doing something that distracts them, but I still should have let go more than I did. I guess the point is that I want to reach much higher in my praise and worship. My heart's cry is to sing in such a way that it grabs God's attention and invites His power to fall. The walls in my life will crumble. The chains in my life will be loosed. I wonder...What would happen if every one of us worshipped like that? What would happen if worship leaders led like that? What would happen if we as the Body of Christ all truly connected with God in worship instead of "playing church" or simply offering lip service? It starts with you and me.

9 Comments:

At 4/25/2006, Blogger Kitty Cheng said...

Amen! Great post Mark. Yes it starts with you and me. Let's worship our Lord in Spirit and in truth, love Him passionately and resolutely, with all our hearts, with all our souls, with all my minds, and with all our strength.

 
At 4/25/2006, Blogger The Curmudgeon's Rant said...

Keep Chasing after God.

Every now and then, in worship, He lets you catch Him.

It's sooo worth it!

 
At 4/26/2006, Blogger jel said...

hey mark d,
great post, it hits home!

thanks

and God bless

 
At 4/26/2006, Blogger Sojourner said...

My heart's cry is to sing in such a way that it grabs God's attention and invites His power to fall. The walls in my life will crumble. The chains in my life will be loosed. I wonder...What would happen if every one of us worshipped like that? What would happen if worship leaders led like that? What would happen if we as the Body of Christ all truly connected with God in worship instead of "playing church" or simply offering lip service? It starts with you and me.

Good stuff, Mark. I used to lead worship in a church where it was "acceptable" and appreciated. In fact, the majority of the congregation would follow the heart and the spirit of the leader. Unbelievable worship times.

Now, my older daughter leads worship in a church of 1,000 or so and is even more radical. And God is blessing. No coincidence.

Thanks for the post and for stopping by. I'll be back. ~Tim

 
At 4/26/2006, Blogger Rulan said...

wow, if all the Christians worshipped as we should, this world would tremble and knees would quake.

Great post. I will be back and I'm going to link my blog with yours.

Mighty is our God.

 
At 4/28/2006, Blogger wilsonian said...

Two thoughts...

It's not just about what happens when music is being played. Our lives are to worship Him. What would that look like?

If we spent our time alone with God in wide-open worship, it would migrate into our corportate worship time. I think what happens on a Sunday is a pretty good reflection of what is happening in each life through the week. Vibrancy, honesty, transparency... will come from being practiced in worship of God daily. Can't be turned on like a tap on Sunday.

Just my two cents.

 
At 4/29/2006, Blogger Mark D said...

Erin, VERY good points. I didn't intend to limit it to a corporate, church setting (Paul and Silas were definitely not in church), but I can see how it may have come out that way. Thanks for the reminder. Worship should be a continuous flow and not a turn on/off tap.

 
At 5/01/2006, Blogger Godwyn Lim said...

Dear Brother Mark,

I tear as well when I worship the Lord as at times I still cannot bring myself to believe a man call Jesus gave up His life for me...what have I done to deserve it? Then I know it's all about Jesus & His grace...that's the turning point.

As for your brother in Christ who goes through such danger to share the good gospel of Jesus Christ, the Lord will be Him as ALL battles belong to the Lord, but ALL the victories are for us to claim!

When I fear in someway or so, at times warfare come direct at me with 'full force'. I will remember Jesus's Promise,"...for He Himself has said, "I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU", so that we confidently say, "THE LORD IS MY HELPER, I WILL NOT BE AFRAID. WHAT WILL MAN DO TO ME?"...Heb 13:5-6 [NASB]

Above all promise, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday & today & forever. Heb 13:8 [NASB] He is our eternity...:-)

 
At 6/09/2006, Blogger melinda m said...

Yes, Yes, Yes total abandonment with our gaze fixed upon Him and only Him.....it's mindblowingly awesome to say the least......My heart nearly exploded the other night in worship (alone in my bed) Just think, we're just practicing down here on earth for the real thing in Heaven.........and there, we'll have no distractions.........wooooo hooooo! Halelujah to the KING OF KINGS!
Blessings to you!!! great post!

 

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