- A few weeks ago, I preached in one of our new church plants deep in the hills of Eastern Kentucky. The building is a 25 ft. x 40 ft. concrete block structure. The music and preliminaries definitely reflected the culture of the area.
- Two weeks later, I preached at an Evangelical Methodist Church in Bayou La Batre, Alabama. The building is a beautiful steel structure that is beautifully appointed. The ambiance of the service had the flavor of the Deep South.
- Recently, I attended a Maronite Catholic Church in Houston, Texas. The cathedral-like structure was huge and radiated classic elegance. The ethos of the service reflected its Lebanese heritage.
- This past Sunday, I was at Champions Cowboy Church in Waller, Texas. The building was a contemporary metal building with plain, unfinished wood trim and open ceiling trusses that were painted black. It had a real cowboy feel.
- A final example in my mind is the Free Methodist Church I attend when I’m at home in Wilmore. The building is a lovely white structure in a traditional style. The services typify its denominational ties.
The services in these churches range from traditional hymns with piano and organ to guitars, fiddles and gospel music. Music varies from well-rehearsed choirs and lofty hymns to praise bands and contemporary music. The formats reflect an array of approaches from scripted liturgy, to mainstream denominational services, to a free and unstructured style. The dress standards varied from ministers in clerical robes with the congregation in dressy clothing and suits and ties, to jeans and western shirts without a tie in sight, including the pastor. The preaching styles of the ministers are as different as the choice of appropriate dress and range from manuscript, to computer-assisted outlines, to extemporaneous delivery.
Psalm 95:6 says, “O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.” What is worship? I suppose all of us have a general idea of what worship should be, but we might be well served to consider worship in more depth. Jesus insisted that worship was something infinitely more than being physically present in a place dedicated to God. One can be physically present in church and engage in the form and ritual without a true worship experience with God. John 4:22 (EVS), “ The hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship Him.” ll Timothy 3:2-5 (EVS), “ For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.”
What does genuine worship look like?
- Genuine worship is both an attitude and an activity. It is an attitude of reverent awe felt in the presence of the Holy God. Isaiah chapter six reflects this concept. We sense a need to bow low because of who HE IS.
- Genuine worship is the adoration and profound appreciation of the heavenly Father as we think of His love, mercy, and grace. Too often we explode into His presence with a ‘want list’ and assorted demands. We come, not so much with thanksgiving, but with things we desire from Him.
- Genuine worship is an experience of communion with the Triune God. It is a time when our soul communes with the Eternal. We, by grace given through Jesus, may enter into experiences Adam and Eve enjoyed before the Fall.
- Genuine worship is that time in which we make every effort to give ourselves wholly to the Lord. Romans 12:1 (ESV), “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.”
There are too many benefits from true worship to enumerate, but let me share just a few:
- When true believers worship in spirit and truth, they will discover increasing harmony between God’s will and their will. In turn, this produces peace of heart and mind rather than the discord that follows an insincere time of worship.
- True worship will bring a sense of security and freedom from fear. Doubts will be dispelled and comfort will come. “What a fellowship, what a joy divine, leaning on the everlasting arms.”
- True worship can deliver a person from the tyranny of material things. The world outside of true worship gives a never-ending bondage to the desire for ‘things’. The want of more and better occupies time belonging to Him. Through true worship a person is redirected to things that are eternal.
- It is in times of true worship that answers to prayers are experienced. There is wisdom in following the pattern of Jesus. He intuitively turned to the heavenly Father when faced with trouble and trials.
O worship the Lord in the beauty of Holiness (Psalm 96:9)
~ Brother Roy