By A. W. Tozer
Sunday, October 23, 2016
By A. W. Tozer
Monday, October 17, 2016
Earlier this year, a worship service in New York served as a modern day example of the lewdness involved with some worship. A new church was starting, a Hillsong church, and at the opening there was a women's conference which, of course featured Hillsong. Thinking about the passage in Exodus 32 and the lewdness portrayed there, this was similar. The article is found here, Please copy and paste:
Apathy and irreverent in worship, over time, will result in an "anything goes" and an "I'm doing this unto the Lord..." attitude. The Lord has said in his word how he is to be approached. Some churches might be a few years from this and others might be a few steps, but if Christians are not steadfast in the way they approach worship, God will not accept it and there will be dangerous consequences.
Saturday, July 30, 2016
Are Christian bands worship leaders? Are church choir directors worship leaders? Can anyone lead worship?
There is a big church not too far from me and routinely, there are "Christian concert" held there. There is a common argument that I have heard over the years, that these bands are, in a sense, worship leaders and do these concerts to lead people to the worship of God and it seems that fans are convinced that they are being led into worship and need to be led into worship. John 4:24, when broken down, states that they who worship MUST CONTINUOUSLY worship in Spirit and Truth. Furthermore, Romans 12:1 beseeches the believer to present himself as a LIVING sacrifice.
"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service."
But is there really such a thing as a worship leader? Growing up in a Bible-teaching, independent, fundamental and nondenominational church, I was unaware of the title worship leader. From what I understand and, infinitely more importantly, what the Bible says is that worship is strictly in the heart of a believer. (See post titled "Heart worship") The title worship leader is just that, a title. The real question is, can a person lead worship, especially if it's in the heart of a believer? I think it is safe to say that no one on earth can see into the heart of anyone else and so there are a few dangers in calling a person a worship leader. First, it is inaccurate, since no one can actually lead someone's heart to the worship of God. Second, a person may begin to, if there is consitency in being referred to as a worship leader, feel as though they are more capable than others in leading worship, which results in the thinking of entitlement. Finally and probably most importantly, over time, the consistency of being called a worship leader, will diminish the true and Biblical appropriateness and importance of personal worship to each individual believer and the reverence of corporate worship. The thought of "I need a worship leader so that I can worship" becomes more and more common. Somehow, thinking something more and more solidifies it to us and therefore if a person thinks they need a worship leader, over time they'll be convinced of that, that's it's true and that it's not up to them to personally worship the Lord, but that they NEED to be led into worship and only *this* band or *that* person (s) have the capability to do so.
However, there is a worship leader for the believer. The One who knows all. The One who knows exactly what the worship of the believer looks like, both outwardly, but more importantly, inwardly. The One who wrote the utmost and authoritative instruction book on worship and the One who does not waver in those Biblical principles of worship. Of course, I am referring to God Almighty. God wrote the one and only manual of how he is to be worshipped. Others have tried various ways and it has not ended well. In Leviticus 10:1-2, Nadab and Abihu, though sincere in there desire to please God, were instantly struck dead. There is no question that because God wrote the book on worship and will only accept worship that is biblical, there should be no compromise on the believer's worship. So why are there so many different ways that people worship? The main and number one reason is because of the sin nature. Sin is innate in man, and has been ever since Adam took of the fruit. Unfortunately, at the moment of salvation, the sin nature remains in the life of the believer. Thus the ever present struggle between right and wrong. One thing that is very evident in all people, to some degree, is selfishness. Selfishness to always want to do things "MY" way and that "MY" way is the best way or even just that "MY" way is how I want to express myself. The Lord commands believers to worship in a way that only God will accept. So, what does God accept?
See "Acceptable worship"posts.
Monday, May 30, 2016
Is there worship that God accepts, and if so, what are the key Biblical elements? Are there examples in scripture? Do we have a choice in how to worship God? These are a few of the fundamental questions I ask whenever I hear a new worship song. All of these answers are found in scripture and scripture is the fundamental basis and rule book on worshipping God. One verse that will help is found in Psalms 29:2.
"Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name; worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness."
The Believer's worship is not only unto the One, True Lord, who humbled himself for the salvation of all, and upholds our lives, and very beings, by his grace, but needs to be an appropriate reflection of the glory He should recieve. So how much of or what does this glory look like that God the Father so richly deserves? To begin with, God, the creator and sustainer of everything in life, needs to be given all the honor and respect that His children can give. Of course and unfortunately, being fallen human beings, this is limited. Not only should honor and respect be given voluntarily, but it is also commanded in numerous other passages. In previous posts, it was noted that worship is an appropriate expression of love towards God, and, in essence, an appropriate expression of love is obedience. There is one account in scripture that I keep being reminded of and that is found in Genesis 22, where Abraham is told to sacrifice Isaac. That obedience was not contingent on anything other than what God commanded. The feelings, emotions, thoughts, reasoning, and human common sense of Adam all went against God's command to sacrifice. Also, Abraham did not change anything. He didn't say to himself, " well, I'll just sacrifice Isaac's hand." Or "God doesn't actually mean that.....I'll sacrifice a lamb instead, like everyone else." Or even "God told me to sacrifice Isaac, but what he really means is that any form of sacrifice is fine, as long as my heart is right." No, when God makes a command, it is to be obeyed, wholly. This is what He expects, and commands, and this is what our reasonable response should be (Romans 12:1) and every effort to adhere to God's commands with appropriate responses, so to not cause confusion, is part of the responsibility of the believer. Since we are fallen humans, the demands of God also remind us how infinitely short we fall, and can not fulfill in and of ourselves and how infinitely understanding and gracious our Father in heaven is.
The middle of this verse gives believers a hint of the very appropriate practice that should be in our daily lives. I say "hint" because....well...believers won't completely understand worship until we are in glory. There are all types of worship described in the bible. On the other hand almost all of the "experiences" and various worship music found in today's contemporary worship movement, are not the various types of worship described in scripture. None of the worship found in scripture is contingent on the believer, but wholly on God's command. Scripture does describe different types of worship, as HEART worship, VOCAL worship, and worship in our THOUGHT life. A few of these do have in common that they're completely personal and no one other than the believer and God are the participants of that act of worship. The tricky thing is that no act of worship is separated into these 3. All of our worship includes all 3 of these and each of these are further elaborated on in earlier posts.
"Music is used as a tool to reveal God to man and as a tool for man to respond to God" from God's Word, The Final Word on Worship & Music - Dr. Dean Kurtz
The final thought in this verse is that the believer is to worship in the beauty of holiness. To find out the meaning of this phrase, we need to first understand what exactly the word holy means. In all its essence, holy means to set apart, but also it is a two fold meaning. Holy means to be set apart, but in two ways: to be set apart UNTO God, but also apart FROM the world. The Believer's worship needs to be holy. Also, beautiful. In God's eyes, worship that is holy unto Him is beautiful because there is beauty within holiness. For instance: God's creation is absolutely beautiful and spending a clear and cloudless night just looking at all the beautiful stars is beyond words. In order to get see all the beauty in the night heavenlies, it must be a clear and cloudless night, away from the city lights or other distractions. It's quite hard to see all the beautiful stars when there are lights from a big city, or even any artificial light. Some stars may be able to be seen, but those artificial lights are distracting from the pure beauty. God's creation is beautiful because God created it, not because we think or know it's beautiful. Beauty is not in the eye of the beholder, as the saying goes. The worship of the believer is similar in that any artificial distraction, detracts from the pure and beautiful worship that God intended for us to use to honor Him.
To learn more about worship, explore other blog posts, order my book, or simply study what God says about worship.
Monday, September 21, 2015
For the last 7 or so years, I've been enjoying the music of Benjamin Everson. He is a Christian musician who creates a capella arrangements of various hymns and other God-honoring music. The first arrangement I heard was "Complete in Thee". Ever since, I've been hooked. His latest arrangement, "What Manner of Man is This" is a song that emphasizes the person and work of Christ. Here is the YouTube link.
Saturday, June 6, 2015
If you have not heard, Clearwater Christian College announced that they will be closing the doors. Of course, there are many reasons for this, however this pastor's article briefly mentions the approval of CCM worship.
The Bible is clear on the way a believer needs to approach God. Many Christians believe that they can worship God their own way, based on how they feel or what the experience. No doubt that this article is saddening, but proves that biblical worship needs to be kept sacred.