WHAT MAKES OUR WORSHIP SERVICES GENUINE?
I was saved, became a true believer in Christ Jesus in 1972. Almost 43 years ago this August. My knowledge of church doctrine began and grew, increasing over the years.
And then, in 2006, my spiritual life took a 180 degree turn. [See my blog: My Spiritual “Rabbit Hole” and Taking the “Redpill” – https://theworddetective.wordpress.com/2011/05/06/my-spiritual-r…ng-the-redpill/]
Our Freedom of Worship and Praise Can Pose Perils–
WORSHIP must truly be worship!
TRUE WORSHIP isn’t religious excitement, nor appeals to the flesh. Our worship services may take undesirable directions–there may be formality with lack of spiritual liberty, or there may be lack of scriptural order and control.
Spiritual leaders are responsible in bringing people into God’s presence and making them realize “God is spirit, and His worshippers must worship in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24 NIV). But formality can develop in the ritual of the informal church.
Meaningless HABITS can be hard to break–
Neither Pentecostal routine nor ecclesiastical liturgy is TRUE WORSHIP. When we in the Pentecostal churches, or any Christian church throughout the world, follow an order of service that degenerates into meaningless habit, they have nothing more than ritual.
The apostle Paul outlined a beautiful WORSHIP PATTERN for the church: “When you come together, everyone has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. All of these must be done for the strengthening of the church” (1 Corinthians 14:26 NIV).
Notice TWO important words in Paul’s instructions: “everyone” and “all”.
Furthermore, he said: “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God” (Colossians 3:16 NIV).
Yes, while sitting, or standing in church during church services, we too can be the “spiritual leaders”.
We are told to EXHORT, urge one another, and not to forsake “giving together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:25)
CONGREGATIONAL WORSHIP DESCRIBED:
Our church services then, should all be based on scriptural instruction; that all members of the whole body of Christ should SHARE in worship as the Holy Spirit indwells them, and then yielding to Him. Then people who fill the church pews are no longer spectators, wondering how they will be entertained. They become “spiritual leaders.”
QUESTION: So why then, do we do what we do on Sunday mornings?
Assessing Praise & Worship On Sunday Mornings at Church –
Have we become so self-serving that a fellowship time, or lack of it, is a make or break thing for people in going to church?
What about where we put the offering, if we include it at the end of the service, as some would suggest, should I be so offended that I don’t go back to THAT church?
Her is another issue to think about. I know a good number of people who HATE to sing, so should we do away with singing because so many people cannot carry a tune and they are afraid someone might hear them?
I once had a pastor who said he was tempted to put up tables in the foyer of the church. A TABLE with hearing aids, for those who couldn’t hear; cotton balls, for those who said the music was too loud; binoculars, for those who couldn’t see, etc. In other words, “no excuse tables”– for people who needed an excuse for not attending the praise and worship services.
Excuses are always present…
I think any excuse could be made for not going back to church: the PREACHING is too long…or too short; the MUSIC is too loud or too soft; there are too many gray hairs…or young people…oh, and I cannot deal with perfume, I wish people would quit wearing it.
Even JESUS didn’t have everyone stay…He laid out the cost, and many left…so, a more important question to ask ourselves is,
WHAT MAKES OUR WORSHIP GENUINE?
“Worship is not dependant upon environment and circumstance but most people are not oblivious to environment.” ~ G. Raymond Carlson
Real, Genuine, Heartfelt, and Relevant Worship at Church Services –
“MEET & GREET” Purpose, or is there a specific purpose?
In a recent Twitter poll (not scientific), asking first-time church quests, what factors made them decide not to return. The surprise factor was the number one issue–Don’t like the time spent of stand and greet one another. *[See all 7 Answers to Twitter Poll–by Thom S. Rainer @ Christian Post Contributor]
According to the Twitter responses and comments, many quests really don’t like it, so much so that they will not return.
So what is it about this “stand and greet” time that many guests don’t like?
#7 Answer: Not only do some guests dread the stand, meet, and greet time, so do some members –
“I visited the church and went through the ritual of standing and greeting, but many of the church members looked just as uncomfortable as I was. We were all doing a required activity that none of us like.”
My views are mixed about the practice. Would I not attend church because of the practice? No! But I do have issue with the timing, the placement in the order of the service, the interruption in my spirit after praise, more than the actual practice.
So I decided to ask my pastor for his views, his desires, within church services, why we do what we do on Sunday mornings
[PASTOR KYLE HOPKINS – Lead Pastor at Valley Church, located in Nooksack, Washington.]
I believe that everything has a practical purpose, but also a deeper spiritual purpose. i.e. the Meet & Greet: It practically serves a purpose, causing people to get to know each other, meet someone new, say “hello”, etc… It spiritually is an opportunity for us to speak into someone’s life, give a word of encouragement and share a message of knowledge/discernment; to briefly connect with someone who the Spirit would lay on our heart to meet up with them, pray for them, etc… The order is usually where does the Spirit want to lead us and practically, what makes sense to get us there. Like a piece of music, there should be a rhythm, a flow. I think it’s good for every service gathering to have a crescendo, building to a place that God desires to lead us during that time.
2 Timothy 3:5 (KJV)
“…having the appearance of godliness…”
ENTER HIS COURTS WITH PRAISE – Psalm 95 – “O COME,…”
The first thing I consider when driving to church on Sundays, listening to PRAISE MUSIC on the car’s CD player is, “whom is it I coming to see?”
We are supposed to be coming into the presence of the living God, the Author and Creator and Sustainer of the whole universe; the God who was, and is and always will be.
We are coming into the presence of the God about whom the songwriter said,
“Before the hills in order stood or earth received her fame,
from everlasting thou art God
and to endless years the same.”
THE FIRST THING to consider about being in our church services, in whose presence are we standing? Why are we even here for one hour or so? If we are attending church weekly, just to fill up a hour or so once a week… then leave and continue living in a godless world, forgetting who we are in Christ...then are we missing the point?
Let’s go over the Church Bulletin!
There are other aspects in the order of church services that vary from church to church. But let me throw one more element of ‘why we do what we do’ and the religious placement where it’s found.
The Tithes and Offerings…
Psalm 96:6-8 NIV Bible:
 Splendor and majesty are before Him; strength and glory are in His sanctuary.
 Ascribe to the Lord, O families of nations, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
 Ascribe to the Lord the glory due His name; …
Now see the flow, the “rhythm” of the elements place in order. No interruptions that I can see.
“…bring an offering and come into His courts” (verse 8 b.).
The OFFERING was given after the glory was given to His name–the BLESSING then the GLORY.
The Placement of “things we do” is Important on Sunday’s –
Although our singing can and should be the beginning to PRAISE–but it will not produce WORSHIP. And isn’t that what we are to suppose to be here for? The MESSAGE is important, but is it the point of our attendance?
John MacArthur gives this helpful clarification (on qty.org. “Messiah: The Living Water,” part 2):
“Worship, by the way is not music. Worship is loving God…Worship is honoring God…Worship is to know God for who He is, adoring Him, obeying Him, proclaiming Him as a way of life. Music is one way we can express that adoration.”
After all that is said concerning the answers to the question, “Why Do We Do the Things We Do…?”, I had to ask a follow-up question…“How much cultural freedom has been substituted for TRUE WORSHIP in our church services?”
Almost every Sunday morning after singing praises to my God, there is a sense of infilling of the Holy Spirit, a continuance of PRAISE so that I can fully WORSHIP HIM.
This is probably a poor analogy, but it is like God’s Spirit has inflated [“infilled”] my spirit with His breath, like the filling up of a balloon.
And then, STAND, MEET & GREET time begins, and afterwards…I feel like a deflated piece of latex.
Is what we do, when we do it, a PRIORITY on Sunday mornings? The more important question becomes, “Is what we’re doing, worshipping in spirit and truth?
If your answer is “yes,” then forget all that I’ve said. If your answer is “no,” then it’s time perhaps, to change the order, the placement of traditions on Sunday mornings, or whenever you are in WORSHIP & PRAISE.
Hand shake–Christian Post photo insert by Thom Rainer.
Other Photos by Google Search Images [Balloon images].
As noted– New International Version (NIV), King James version (KJV).