What Does Worship Mean to You?

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Written by: Michelle Brainerd

“So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”

1 Corinthians 10:31

 

I grew up hearing this verse every week as my coach taught my team to live our lives, even on the soccer field, to bring glory to God. Before each game my coach reminded us that at the end of the day, what mattered most wasn’t the score or how well we played, but that we had played with the right attitude. He showed me how something as seemingly insignificant to my faith as a high school athletic competition could be a form of worship.

 

Now life is much busier and more challenging than it was in high school. Often I struggle to weave the all-encompassing nature of worship through my life. On Sunday mornings I love standing in the gathering, singing and worshiping. I love listening to the band and congregation gathered together lifting their voices collectively as one body. I enjoy hearing Todd share the Word and challenge us with his message. But then I go home and I face the stack of grading and piles of laundry. On Monday morning I wake up and dread the long commute into work. If I’m honest, I don’t always feel like worshiping. Too easily the two hours on Sunday morning get drowned out by the other one hundred and sixty-six hours of the week.

 

This is why worship is a discipline; it’s an attitude that leads to a lifestyle. A habit is not formed in one day; rather it takes time and repetition. In the words of Elizabeth Elliot, “Worship is not an experience. Worship is an act, and this takes discipline. We are to worship in spirit and truth. Never mind about the feelings. We are to worship in spite of them.” Worship means choosing to focus on God in the moments when I want to focus on myself.  Worship means giving God the glory no matter where I am, whom I’m with, what I’m doing or how I am feeling. I cannot constrain worship in my life. I am called to do everything for the glory of God; not when it’s easy but in everything and at all times. 

 

It’s in the moments when worship isn’t easy that I have to remind myself Who God is. God deserves my honor and praise because He is my creator and sustainer. When I study the goodness of God I am compelled to respond. When I reflect on God’s provision in my life I want to declare His faithfulness. God is worthy of my worship because He is sovereign, righteous, merciful, eternal, all-powerful and holy. My external expression of worship on Sundays begins first from an inner heart of worship cultivated by seeking to know who God is.

 

To me worship means acknowledging God in everything I do and altering my whole lifestyle to make God’s glory known through my attitude and actions. It does not always come easily. I have to repeatedly return my focus to Christ. I have to remind myself of who He is and why I worship Him. But every time I consider the goodness of God I know that He is worthy.

 

So now I challenge you - take a moment to pause and reflect. What does worship mean to you?

Seeking to Please Man or God?

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WRITTEN BY JESSE DISNEY

"For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ." Galatians 1:10

    Even after years of leading worship, I still deal with nerves behind a mic. I used to be reluctant to sing when I was younger. I still am hesitant when I speak in front of crowds, and I used to be paralyzed at the thought of being in a place of such vulnerability around hundreds of people.

    I still frequently hit sour notes when I play, get shaky when I sing a new song, and stumble over my words and thoughts (often times making no sense whatsoever due to nervousness) during welcome times or worship thoughts. I've never, nor will I ever, be the best singer, guitarist, or public speaker. I will probably deal with faux pas, make a fool of myself in front of hundreds of people, and maybe even be judged every time I mess up.

    But here's the thing - I do it because I am called by the Lord and aim to please Him. He showed me who He is, and in response it led to an overwhelming desire to worship Him. He then chose to give me a liking to musical worship and the discipline to practice it even though I am not the most innately talented musician. God then chose to put this awkward, nervous, turning-red-at-any-point kid in leadership during worship and I have not looked back since.

    Whenever I sing or play, I am not doing it for the audience. I am not smiling, jumping around, crying, or singing to entertain you. No, I do it because God alone is worthy of my praise. I can feel the joy of my Savior when I am with Him in worship.

    Why would I put myself in a position where I can embarrass myself, be judged by many, and even be made fun of for my slip ups? Because God is worthy and I aim to please Him.

   Why spend many hours a week practicing and sacrifice time to refine something that I may or may not mess up later? Because God is pleased with my heart for Him, not my ability to hit a note or play a guitar.

    God is pleased to use the unlikely, the weak, the foolish, those lacking to make much of the name of Jesus. Why? Because we can not boast in ourselves, but in Him. So, my boast is in Christ.

How A Family Dynamic Is Beneficial For Worship Teams

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Written by Mitchell Hartley

    Music has been a huge part of my life for many years. It has fascinated me with its ability to tell stories, invoke emotions, and connect with other people who are very, very different from me along with being a way God speaks to His people. I’ve played with countless people, penned many lyrics, and discovered various melodies. Over the years, I’ve learned and grown as a musician and a worship leader. Through everything, music and God have taught me so much and I realized two things that remain consistent, among other things, are the ideas that teamwork is necessary in music, especially in a ministry context, and a team best operates as a family. 

    We all need other people in life. The Bible makes this clear through many instances, especially with the fact that Jesus had his own group of disciples that traveled with Him. Jesus, the Savior of the world, chose to do life with people on a daily basis, setting the example for us to follow in our lives as well. This idea of community is also very necessary in a music ministry. A worship team would not be able to play and perform together on a stage to the best of their ability if they did not pursue teamwork. With teamwork comes roles and each member knows their role and what is expected of them. This means that along with being gifted with the ability to play an instrument, each person also knows how to play with each other in the best possible way to lead others in a time of worship to God and His heart. A guitarist does not do his own thing and have a raging guitar solo every five seconds because he knows that it would not benefit his team, but himself. That’s where a team best operates, in that space where they know they are not playing for themselves but for others and the One who gave them their ability. They also recognize that they are called to lead in this space as well.

    Along with this idea of teamwork being necessary, I’ve come to realize that a team should always have a family dynamic. What I mean by this is that essentially, a family is an intimate group of people who do life together. Adapted to Public Worship, this means that we know what each member likes and dislikes, how each one of us plays, what our skills and styles are, and where our hearts are. This family dynamic allows the team to perform their best each Sunday along with getting out of the way when leading.  Public Worship is a family of believers that play music, genuinely love each other, and want the best for one another. Because we know so much about each other, we are able to function as this family. A family that lifts each other up, grows alongside each other, and pushes each other to be their best. We also recognize that no one on the team is perfect, but we each believe in the best form of one another. When we get out of the way, we also allow the people we lead to see the Father through us and to experience Him. We are but vessels telling of His truth and love for others.

    Public Worship is truly a family that has impacted my life for the better. Each one of its members have encouraged me during darker times, as well as celebrated accomplishments I’ve achieved in my life. I am grateful to have each one of them in my life and I know because of them and the hearts they have for Christ and His Church, I’ve grown as a person.

How Do You Worship?

Written by Kristi Edwards

“Worship is our response, both personal and corporate, to God--for who He is and what He has done expressed in and by the things we say and the way we live.”                                                     -Louie Giglio

     Last night, I observed a children’s choir rehearsal at a church down the street for a class I am currently taking at Lee University. When I got there for the start of rehearsal, I was tired from the day and just wanted to get it over with so I could start the next task on my to-do list. What I did not plan was the fact that I would be instantly brought to tears by the sweet sound of 35 innocent voices singing about Jesus’ birth.

   All of a sudden, memories of my childhood came to mind. You see, at every church my father pastored at, my mother took it upon herself to start a children’s choir. Because I was their child, I, along with my 3 sisters, had to be part of the choir as well. I couldn’t tell you how many productions and musicals I have been a part of growing up, or even how many I helped direct when I got too old to participate. Little did I know the impact it would make throughout my life. I am now 20 years old, pursuing music at Lee and playing with one of the most fantastic worship teams (in my humble opinion), Public Worship.

   Since that rehearsal, I have been thinking not only about how my life has been impacted by choir, but about who gave their time to invest in the lives of so many children. Though choir helped me in my journey of becoming a musician, it also was a tool to help me learn about teamwork, obedience, and most importantly, about the Gospel. My mother always had a team of volunteers, and they diligently served to direct the choir every week. Their simple act of service to a group of children was their response to the gifts and talents God gave them. It was an act of worship.

   Worship is not just the songs we sing at a Sunday gathering. Like Louie Giglio said, it is how we respond to God and all he has done for us. Romans 12:1 explains it this way:

"Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.”

   My question to you today is, how are you worshipping God? Are you daily offering yourself to let God use you for His kingdom? As Christians, we must not be quick to hoard the talents, experiences, or resources God has blessed us with. We respond out of a posture of thankfulness by offering these things back to God to impact those around us. For Public Worship, our response is using (and developing) our God-given musical abilities to lead Public Church to the message and presence of Christ. For the corporate gathering, we respond in both singing praise to an all-deserving God, and listening to Pastor Todd’s message as He guides us in our walk with Christ. 

   Our individual act of worship is how we live day in and day out --offering up our lives for a mission greater than ourselves. Worship God today, and see how He uses you.