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The ‘Worship’ Cocktail

worshipPREFACE: In an earlier in post, I determined to share about different areas and seasons in our life that often need holy intoxication. When we allow ourselves to become inebriated with God’s Word and fully embrace it, we experience divine liberation.


I just read about a church in Atlanta, Georgia that is adding skimpily clad aerialists as part of their Sunday morning worship. Don’t bother checking Snopes, it’s true.

Satan is one smart cookie. In this last decade, his deceptive powers have increased a hundredfold. He knows the return of Christ is imminent. His purpose is to use current trend antics to erode the foundation of salvation with distractions that turn church services into a masquerade of worship.

Nowhere in scripture do I find Jesus using strobe lights, bump and grind music and digital sideshows to proclaim the gospel. But, it’s happening every day in churches worldwide. In an effort to draw in the masses, churches are resorting to making worship service a (all-in-the-name of Jesus) three ring circus act.

The applause that follows isn’t in tribute to our Lord; it’s a tribute to the entertainment provided by the master of ceremonies: Satan.

The Master said:
“These people make a big show of saying the right thing, but their hearts aren’t in it. Because they act like they’re worshiping me but don’t mean it, I’m going to step in and shock them awake, astonish them, stand them on their ears. The wise ones who had it all figured out will be exposed as fools. The smart people who thought they knew everything will turn out to know nothing.” Isiah 29:13

Christians, OPEN YOUR EYES to the cunning and deceptive methods Satan is using on the stages of today’s churches. It’s a debauchery to Jesus. The pastor at the Georgia church cites that God gifts us with talents and they should be used to praise and worship God. That is true, but not all talents are appropriate to showcase at a church service.

I just don’t see a silk rope draped around a scantily dressed woman, or a shirtless man in tight fitting stretch pants, as a ministry based talent. I know a talented tattoo artist…you see where I am going with this.

If is entertainment based and doesn’t incite heart-felt contemplation about the condition of our heart and need for salvation, it is deceptive and just plain WRONG.

This scripture sum up God’s idea of true worship before Him:

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:1-2  

There is a growing trend to make worship services entertainment based. Our focus of praising God for His mercy, forgiveness and redemption of our sin in an expression of reverence and thanksgiving to Him are lost in theatrics.

And then, there is the Beyonce Mass at a California church where hundreds gathered to worship God while listening to her songs.  Go ahead, shoot your arrows at me, but this is massnothing more than a Satan-ordained crusade to dilute the Gospel of Jesus and masquerade a pop star as an idol of God-ordained worship.

People of God, this is not of God. Let me put it another way: STOP embracing these popularized trends as a way to point generation X,Y and Z to Jesus.

The complacency within so many churches is grievous. Maybe it’s time to turn off all the microphones and silence the instruments and let God hear our imperfect voices lifted in praise to Him.

“Be still, and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world.” Psalms 46:10

Much to our chagrin, God doesn’t need us or our praise and worship. He doesn’t proof in worship of our talents and showmanship. Kick your pride to the sidelines. What God desires is a “eyes wide open” approach to worship.

Today’s Prayer:

Father God, cast out any ‘thinking outside the box’ views that are not in agreement with scripture. Remind me that the simple message of your grace and salvation doesn’t require theatrical displays or backdrops.

Open my eyes spiritual eyes to see that Satan stands ready to disguise the gospel of Christ with current trend antics that redirect focus from the life-saving power of the cross and the blood shed for our salvation.

Fine-tune my worship of you to align with God’s Word. Let your spirit reveal worship that is counterfeit and manufactured by the great deceiver, Satan.

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COLORFUL PRAYERS

IMG_3640There is so much going on in the world and with all the fast and furious news coverage, it can all be draining to the spirit. When the demonic savagery of this Godless world seeks to destroy my hope, I create something and I tend to hum quite obsessively in the process.

My soul is soothed as my hands and mind work in unison to create and re-purpose objects abandoned and deemed unworthy by others. As I work and hum, the light of my Savior’s hope and promises overpower the shadows of darkness this world casts upon me.

Today, as I paint and refurbish a piece of outcast furniture into a beautiful princess chair for my granddaughter, I will replace my obsessive humming with colorful prayers. The princess chair has six different colors and I will lift a prayer before the Throne of God for every color used.

Colorful Pryaers

  • Bright Pink:
    The Haiti Mission trip sponsored by The Rock Church in Fenton
  • White:
    There are plenty of white areas which allow ample prayer time for friends, family and community.
  • Turquoise:
    Our President, congress and senate
  • Apple Green:
    Our US troops and law enforcement officers
  • Light Pink:
    Friends and family of friends battling cancer
  • Silver:
    Praise and thanks for the mercies of God and the salvation gifted to the world through the death and resurrection of Jesus.

If you think you don’t have time to pray, think again. There are so many idle moments that fill our day; opportunities to speak our heart before God even if it’s just an inaudible or whispered prayer. Heartfelt colorful prayers are God’s specialty.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:6

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THE DUSTY HYMNAL

HymnalSheetMusic

I had no idea what to expect at the casual Christmas song fest at my church, but I soon found out. A song fest is the opportunity to sing a few verses from any song found in the hymn book. Members of the congregation share their favorite hymnal number by raising their hand.

Christmas carols dominated the first half of the hour long service, but soon we were singing other favorites like How Great Thou Art, Amazing Grace, In the Garden, Blessed Assurance, and It Is Well with my Soul. They were songs that rekindled memories of my childhood years when Sunday school, Sunday evening and Wednesday night services were mandatory.

I was surprised at how well I remembered the words of these long forgotten hymns. The last time I picked up a hymn book was over 40 years ago, yet each stanza flowed from my mouth like it was yesterday. There was a sense of pride in knowing the hymn book was optional; it gave claim to my P.K (preacher’s kid) heritage.

And then comes the dusty years.

With the advent of the Charismatic movement in the early 70s, traditional hymns were soon replaced with more upbeat worship songs with words that struck a chord with the younger generation. The Vietnam War had brought about revolution and change and church services were not exempt from those changes.

Christian coffee houses were birthed with the purpose to seek out a diverse group of individuals like the church had never seen. Long hair, short hair, drug addicts, alcoholics, the homeless and displaced were welcomed by these coffee houses where the gospel of Christ was shared over coffee.

There were no pews, only a few folding chairs and the floor; but no one seemed to mind.  The Friday night services consisted of acoustic guitars, simple choruses of praise and God’s plan of salvation. There were no hymnals; no overhead projector to display the words to a song. When I look back, those coffee house years cemented some of the best friendships and memories of my life.

Sadly the church hymnal gathered dust during those coffee house and Jesus movement years. It wasn’t until this recent Christmas song fest that I was reminded how much I love the classic hymns I sang as a child. The Christian community is gifted with many outstanding Contemporary Christian artists, but on occasion I like to revisit the hymns to which I know ALL the words.

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WORSHIP FROM THE HEART

I just finished reading a book called ‘Waking Up in Heaven’. It is true-story of one woman’s near death experience and her account of what she saw in heaven. It was an interesting read and what struck a chord in my spirit, in my soul, was her first-hand glimpse of worship and praise in the hereafter.

We become infused by God and every fiber of our soul wants to endlessly …praise and worship Him. The author shared that heavenly praise is driven by an immense love for God.  We willing desire to love, worship and praise God with a new found sense unlike any sense we have on earth.

Heaven introduces us to new senses, the author shares that we aren’t limited to just five senses; we experience countless senses not known to us on earth. Imagine not just sensing light, but tasting it; touching and feeling it.

I remember reading another account of a near death experience where the individual mentioned there were colors in heaven never before seen on earth. In heaven, our senses are intertwined with God; we view our surroundings in an entirely new way. Those countless new senses elevate our worship to a level of sheer ecstasy. All I can say is WOW!

Our worship and praise toward God should be a natural response from the heart. When you read the narratives by those who have visited heaven, it is clear praising, worshipping and glorifying God is 24/7. We have an intense, driving desire to give thanks and worship the Most High.

Worship in the heavenlies is different. There are no interruptions, frantic busyness, texting, to-do lists or fighting kids to overshadow alone time with God. Our worship isn’t just contrived lip-service. But does that excuse us from worshipping from the heart?  I believe the answer is NO.

“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (I Thessalonians 5:18)

“‘You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind…” (Luke 10:27)

God Word requires us to give thanks at all times and in all circumstances. We are to love, praise and worship Him with all our soul and strength. I’m fairly certain when scripture mentions “all circumstances” it means just that.

Exposure to near death experiences by others causes my spirit to cry out, “Examine me, O God, and know my mind. Test me, and know my thoughts” (Psalm 139:23). It brings a desire to surrender my heart in total worship, gratitude and love for my Lord. Not just when it’s convenient or fits my schedule, but at all times.