An ingredient that can even ruin your church's worship service if it's missing?
It's true. There is.
That secret ingredient is actually found in the phrase “your church's worship service.” You don't have to look for it. It's there … right in the first three letters of that phrase:
If you're anything like me, you go to church not only because God calls us to do so, but also because you're hungry. Desperate, even. You need a radical encounter with God. You want to get lost in His glory, worshipping with other believers.
Or maybe that's not you at all. Maybe you go to church because you're lonely, or because you know it's the right thing to do, but you don't really feel much. You don't engage. You're just there.
Either way, I'm glad you go to church at all. But the thing is: if you want to encounter God during your church's worship service, there's this one thing you can't leave at home: YOU. Yourself. Your heart.
Because worship is not a performance. It's not a concert. True worship is all about you and God. That's it. Just YOU plus God.
And if you leave yourself out of that equation, you'll get nothing out of your church's worship service.
The Greek word for “worship” in the Bible literally means “to kiss toward.” Worship is about kissing the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. It's about snuggling up in His arms, hugging His neck, and even bowing at His feet. It's personal. It's intimate. It's desperate. It's life-giving and life-changing.
But it requires that essential ingredient: you.
It's not about the band. It's not about the worship leader. It's not about the praise team. Oh, those things are helpful. Those people stand in key places ordained by God's pattern for worship in the Bible, and they should always be prayed up, worshipped up, and well-rehearsed.
But at the end of the day …
- It doesn't matter if the band plays the tightest groove you've ever heard.
- It doesn't matter if the worship leader is doing back flips over the pew.
- It doesn't matter if the praise team is jumping up and down in unison or the choir is swaying the same direction at the same time. 🙂
None of that determines YOUR encounter. None of those things will change your life.
The only thing that will heat that worship service up and draw YOU into a radical encounter with God is, well, you.
You have to be hungry.
You have to be desperate.
You have to be willing to offer God a sacrifice that costs you something.
You have to be willing to seek God, even if you don't feel like it. You have to be willing to pour out your heart to God, even if nobody else is. You have to be willing to kiss toward your Lord, no matter what.
And if you're not, your church's worship service won't do you a bit of good. You get out of worship what you're willing to put into worship. It's as simple as that.
But if you will give all of yourself to God during worship, you'll get so much more back.
- He will touch you.
- He will kiss you back.
- He will respond to your worship.
- As you pour your heart out on Him, He will pour His out on you.
If you will give all of yourself to God during worship, you will encounter Him face-to-face. Your life will be forever changed, even if you don't realize it. You will be comforted. You will be strengthened. You will be encouraged. You will feel the anxieties of this life fall away, and peace will settle upon you instead.
You will become more like Jesus than you were before.
I know worship is a sacrifice. It's meant to be. Worship is costly. It costs us our self-consciousness, our fear of man, and sometimes even our sense of dignity.
But the reward is worth it:
- The reward of encountering our Heavenly Father.
- The reward of getting a glimpse of Jesus in our mind's eye.
- The reward of feeling His big, fat, Daddy hugs.
Oh yes, there is a reward to worship. That reward is simply this: you get your Lord Himself. When we seek Him, we will find Him, IF we seek Him with all of our hearts.
King David said he wouldn't offer God a sacrifice that cost him nothing (2 Samuel 24:24). Our attitude must be the same. If you've never given all of yourself to God in your church's worship service, would you start now? You can worship Him at home, in the car, at work, anywhere.
And this weekend, when you're involved in corporate worship at your local church, you'll have another opportunity. What will you do with it?
Will you give all of yourself to God during your church's worship service this week?
- Get an inspiring mental picture that will help you worship here, in Worship Is Like Bird-Dogging.
- Also, if you're not sure how to enter into powerful worship, read my 3 fun ways you can have a deeper worship experience here.
Image courtesy of Dixon Drums on Flickr via Creative Commons license. Text and background for text have been added.