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July 13, 2014

Written by Jerry Carlisle. Posted in Pastor's Blog

Dedi and I have just returned from the Annual Gathering of the Baptist World Alliance in Izmir, Turkey. Meeting with leaders from Baptist groups around the planet is both humbling and exhilarating. Worship with believers who speak so many languages is more than a foretaste of heaven; it is a heaping dollop of what worship will one day be!

Marv Knox, editor of the Baptist Standard (access your free subscription at www.baptiststandard.com/freedigital) is my DFW Metroplex friend whom I typically see at BWA events. For the past several years, we’ve made it our practice to run together in the hour before dawn. We talk the whole time we run; we’re not sure why no one else joins us.

In a recent editorial, Marv wrote these paragraphs which I’ve adapted and will present to you as “Marv-elous Worship”:

Transcendent and propelling, worship proclaims to God and everybody our longing for divine grace, our mighty love for Jesus, our lament for a broken
world.
 
Worship matters. Deep within our DNA, worship means more than anything, because it’s how we commune with God. 
 
Have you heard about the actor-director-audience analogy of worship? Most people seem to think God is the director, the musicians and preacher are the actors, and the congregation is the audience. Since our sanctuaries resemble theaters, and the congregation sits in the seats, this seems reasonable. Seen from a biblical perspective, however, that’s not accurate. Worship is a gift we offer God. And so the worship leaders are the directors. Members of the congregation are the actors. And God is the audience of One. We worship for God. God’s opinion, not ours, matters.  And our worship is worthless if God does not care to attend. (If you doubt this, read Amos.)

We know worship reflects the deepest feelings and most profound longings of our hearts. We worship more fully when we participate in a style that resonates with our souls. We do well to seek such resonance. But we seek it humbly. Advocating for another’s resonant style is an act of true love.

We worship most fully when we refuse to contain worship to an hour or three per week. When we recognize worship as praise to God, we can worship in work, in play, in thanksgiving, in laughter with family and friends, in songs sung in the shower, in spontaneous prayer, in a bountiful meal.

Let's worship Him like that!