Have you ever paid attention in worship and realized there were moments when you could have praised Jesus? Ok, you’re thinking “all worship is praising Jesus”… But worship often comes in waves. I’m describing what happens in a worship service (not the type of worship as in how we live, our prayer life etc. The worship with music, the band and in a congregational setting.) And while it could be for the individual I’m writing this more from a worship leader stand point. Think about a sports event or a concert. Everyone is excited the entire time. There are “waves” of excitement happening when all of a sudden people get louder than they were and they it settles back down. In a worship service recently, I noticed a moment to pause the program and offer up an extra praise to Jesus had passed us by. I’m a huge fan of planning whatever it is I’m doing out – but leaving room for the Holy Spirit to move and make changes as needed. Who am I that I don’t change for the Holy Spirit, right?
But there are other moments where we miss an opportunity to praise Jesus. Maybe it’s with someone we work with. A chance to show HIS love through an action of our own. Perhaps, it’s offering up forgiveness to that one person you just let work your nerves. Maybe it’s sacrificing something of your own and giving it away because that particular item means SO MUCH to you – that giving it away to someone who knows that demonstrates your humility. There are countless opportunities for us to show the love of Jesus.
CHALLENGE: I encourage you today to step out of your box, find one person not in your “circle” and silently do something that shows the love of Jesus. The Bible says, “Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. Matthew 6:1”.
You could just save a life today – physically and spiritually.
Everyone wants freedom, but not everyone will surrender. I journal everything God tells me. Every once in a while I like to review what He has said for common themes. For a while, everything He spoke to me was about David and Joseph in the Bible. For where I was in that time – as usual – God was right on time. Recently, I went through and had a review session. Common theme? Freedom and surrender. This past Sunday, as I was onstage leading worship, we were in a moment of selah. I had my eyes closed and my head down. As I opened my eyes and lifted my head I looked out over the congregation and the Holy Spirit spoke clear as day to me… To have freedom, you have to surrender. Which makes sense. If we want FREEDOM, then we have to SURRENDER. If we want freedom from addiction, you have to lay whatever it is down. You have to surrender it. Freedom is an amazing experience if we can get there. My personal passion is for people to find their own personal freedom in worship. What do I mean by this… to be able to lift their hands, dance, get on their knees, even lay face down if they chose to in corporate and private worship. I am by no means saying this is how you HAVE to worship like this; however, I am saying people should have the ability to worship in a manner that is fitting for them and biblical. My personal passion is for people to overcome the thoughts like, “everyone is looking at me” or “what will others think”.
How many times do we find ourselves struggling to stay afloat, like we are being pulled down by weights tied to our ankles in an ocean. Gasping for what little air we can get every time we barely get our mouths above the water. But it doesn’t have to be like this. If we surrender to Jesus the things that are weighing us down, we can stay afloat easier. This doesn’t mean tidal waves won’t come and try to push us over, but it does mean we can float through it!
Consider where you are in life, take a moment. Maybe it’s time to let things go and surrender your life to Jesus. Or maybe, you believe in Him, you just forgot you can give Him all those things weighing you down. Then… you will find the freedom you have been searching for.
New International Version (NIV)
22 Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.
I feel like I am in a desert looking for water that doesn’t exist. I can’t bring myself to pray, or to read, or to even listen to music and just meditate. My mind can’t focus on anything long enough to actually complete a task. Instead, it runs 90 miles an hour circling the same path it has just come from. I’m starting to see grooves in the ground. I have felt “depressed” recently. I hate using that term because everyone automatically assumes you are clinically depressed and I am far from that. This evening, I drove to the gas station to get coffee for my wonderful hubby and Israel Houghton just happen to be playing. He was singing:
“To worship you I live, to worship you I live, I live to worship you.”
Simple right? It hit me like a ton of bricks. Of course I feel like this, I haven’t spent anytime with God! I hadn’t really realized I hadn’t spent time with Him. I mean, I read my daily verse and say my daily prayer but nothing beyond that. Shame on me. The medicine I need is right in front of me, literally staring me in the face. I feel like at any moment I could just break down and cry my eyes out. Maybe that would do me some good – get everything out, lol. So many say, “if you need to talk I’m here”. I know they mean it. There are some things you just can’t talk about. Some things only God and you can work out. When you can’t bring the words to your mouth to express how you feel or pinpoint the problem, it’s definitely a God situation. People can’t offer insight on something you can’t describe. (Without the Holy Spirit‘s help of course).
So here’s to trying to revive these dry bones. For water to run through them again and not feel so defeated. “Keep Your Head Up!” (literally!)
Sidenote: For whatever reason, I notice many Christians don’t admit when they are at this point. We are human, therefore we are fallible. It happens. So if you are reading this and feel the same way I do… you aren’t alone 🙂
Audience of One was begun this past January. Born from (literally) a vision of the Lord during a church service it is now an actual event. To give you a description of what the event is:
An intimate prayer service with live worship music to assist in your journey with the Lord. Intimate lighting makes it even more personal. It’s that simple. No children please. Nursery not available. This event repeats the 1st & 3rd Wednesday of each month. For location information, times of events or questions email email@example.com.
What the event “is” is no where as important as what the event “means”. Depending on your position in a service containing worship depends on what you are thinking regarding this question and yet so many positions hold the same perspective. During a service containing worship many people worship in different ways. Some raise their hands, some pray in tongues, some sit privately, some weep, others shout, and still others dance. But who do you do it for? Are you lifting your hands because your neighbor did? So you will fit in with those around you? Or are you doing it because you are giving reverence to Yahweh? Just food for thought. Your “audience” is not the people around you (or in front of you for worship leaders) but instead your “audience” is Yahweh. Hence, an audience of ONE. I have always said the only difference between performance and worship is the state of your heart. All other aspects of performance and worship should be the same (read this). If your focus is on the other people – whether you are in the group worshiping or the team leading – if you are focused on those around you – you probably aren’t focused on “one”. When you sing or pray or however else you choose to worship, make sure it’s only for Him. Honor Him, love on Him and devote all your time to Him.
God is our only audience member. We are to worship Him, not to entertain or receive attention from others. If you lead worship you are bound to hear the comment, “I loved your worship” or “You blessed me”, etc. These comments are okay as long as your heart was in the right place. If you lead worship seeking notoriety, then these comments are inappropriate. If you lead worship simply worshiping God then consider yourself blessed God used you and worked through you.