For the first few weeks, I want to cover the subject of worship and I promise to keep the teachings short and to the point. As a worship leader for the past 36 years, I have had the wonderful opportunity to walk through many seasons of worship as it has evolved in the church. What an amazing ride the Lord has given me. The first time I actually experienced someone leading worship from the piano was in Tampa, FL, at Tampa Christian Academy during my first year of teaching.
When I heard Linda play that piano and lead the children in singing, I knew then, right at that moment, that this would be my purpose in life. God spoke to me and I cried out in my heart saying, “This is what I am going to do.” I bought a used piano, continued to play my guitar and thus, began my 36-year journey in worship. I am grateful every day that our Lord has allowed me to lead so many into the throne room over the years. What an honor and opportunity to glorify His Name through worship. Today, I stand in awe of the great music and musicians God has raised up in the church and I know there are still songs to be sung and a room full of new melodies to be written. Lord, unlock heaven for us.
AN INTRODUCTION TO INTIMATE WORSHIP
The crowd was uncontrollable, stomping their feet and yelling so that even if it were possible, the stars would have shook. What a night! It was tense but the enthusiasm and excitement even exceeded the cold frost in the air. Nothing could keep this crowd in their seats. As the final minutes approached, everyone stood in awe, screaming in adoration as his or her team ran the winning touchdown.
There is a desire deep within each of us to attach worship to someone or something. Our world is demonstrating this need by our actions and lifestyle. This object of worship could be our favorite American Idol, an actor or actress, a friend or family member, an athlete or a team, government official and/or our profession. The list is endless.
I believe this intense, unexplainable longing to worship comes from another source. It is God the Father, the Creator and Source of all things who put this longing inside man. God is the One thing we should aspire to set our love upon because of His great love for humanity. He gave His only Son Jesus Christ so that one-day we would spend eternity in heaven with the Father.
Ephesians 2:3-5 describes God’s great love for us this way:
But God—so rich is He in His mercy! Because of and in order to satisfy the great and wonderful and intense love with which He loved us, even when we were dead (slain) by [our own] shortcomings and trespasses, He made us alive together in fellowship and in union with Christ; [He gave us the very life of Christ Himself, the same new life with which He quickened Him, for] it is by grace (His favor and mercy which you did not deserve) that you are saved, delivered from judgment and made partakers of Christ’s salvation). (AMP)
In other words, God loves us so much that He chose for His only Son to die for our sins. It is the greatest exchange in all of history. Jesus came – took sin on His back – went to the cross – died – rose again and now offers to us by faith, eternal life. Jesus paid for it and this gift of God’s grace is free but cost Jesus His life. The resurrection of Christ bought life to all who will receive it.
John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” (NKJ)
That is why worshiping Him brings us into close communion with His heart and opens a window to see Him in all His glory.
Matthew 4:10 states: “…You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him alone shall you sere.'”
To give an example, years ago while in my middle twenties, my life seemed empty and without purpose. Frantically trying to satisfy the emptiness with material things and hard work, I crashed, and the pain caught up with me. I realized that if this was what life was all about, I didn’t want it anymore. In that moment of desperation, I began to cry out to God and it was then that a friend shared with me the love of Christ and the power of salvation. I received Christ as my personal Savior and the emptiness and void that had been there were filled with His love. From that time on, my desire to worship Him became the passion of my life. Today, I want to give back to Him by sharing the immense joy I have found in worshiping Him.
Join me for Part I next week on the subject of worship. How is it biblically defined?
What does it look like? How can I enter into a deeper place in worship? All these and other questions will be answered in the days ahead as we come together to learn about the beautiful subject of “Intimate Worship.”