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Christian Blog worship

Strike Up the Band!

My best friend in college went to a large high school who had a major cross-town rival. Each fall, the annual football game between the two schools was an epic event.

Game day at my friend’s alma mater was a sight to behold! The whole school shut down after lunch to hold a huge pep rally for the game. After a boisterous cheer fest in the gymnasium, all 1000+ students lined the hallways in anticipation.

“What’s going on?” I asked my friend. “Just wait,” he said. Sure enough, in a few minutes I heard the 85-member marching band coming down the main hallway blasting the school fight song. Everyone was chanting and cheering and shouting at the top of their lungs!

Yet amid such pandemonium, I heard God’s still small voice. As the band came into view, the Holy Spirit whispered, “I wish someone would do this for me.” And like the prophet Isaiah, I heard myself saying, “Here I am, Lord. I’ll do it!” (Isaiah 6:8)

At the time, I was the 19-year-old music minister at the little Baptist church where I grew up. It was a wonderful, loving congregation. But most of our worship services started at 11 o’clock sharp and ended at 12 o’clock dull.

I had no idea how to translate the atmosphere at the school into a church environment. We didn’t have a band. The only shouting was when one of the deacons called out an occasional, “AMEN!”

Over time I realized you don’t need to recreate the ambience of a raucous school pep rally to honor God. You just have to want to. True worship is a “pedal to the metal” reality—whatever form it takes. God seeks authentic, heartfelt praise. THAT’s what He wanted me to know.

“Shout with joy to God, all the earth! Sing the glory of His name; make His praise glorious! Say to God, “How awesome are Your deeds!” – Psalm 66:1-3 (NIV)

“O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together.” – Psalm 34:3 (NKJV)

Strike up the band!


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This piece originally appeared on Devotional Treasures as a guest post. If you don’t already follow Alan Kearn’s excellent blog, please check it out!

Categories
Christian Living worship

The Kind of Worshippers God Seeks

Sally, from Theology of a Newfoundland Housewife shared a post yesterday, Praying Twice, about an enthusiastic singer at her church who was regularly off key. As often happens here on Word Press, this brought to mind a similar circumstance. One that God used to teach me a valuable lesson.

As a singer in my church’s choir, I always keep my eyes and ears open for potential members. One Sunday, as we walked in to the sanctuary (singing the first hymn), I noticed a man on the second row—singing and praising God with great fervor. “O boy, we’ve found ourselves a new member!” I said to myself. But when I passed by the gentleman, he was TERRIBLY off key. “How embarrassing,” I thought.

I know, that wasn’t very nice of me. God didn’t think so either. Because after we got to the choir loft, the Holy Spirit said to me, “David, just who do you think you are?” The worst angel in my heavenly choir can sing circles around you! Do you think I’m looking for perfect notes? I seek perfect hearts.”

Ouch!!

You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of others, but God knows your hearts. What people value highly is detestable in God’s sight.

Luke 16:15 (NIV)

Jesus said this to some Pharisees who were sneering at Him, because He told them they couldn’t worship God and money at the same time.

Which brings to mind the following thought: when it comes to the Kingdom of God, people don’t naturally know how to keep score.

Many churches take pride in their buildings, budgets and baptisms. Yet God looks for humble and contrite hearts (Isaiah 66:2). We worship to the music of professional level praise bands and choirs, but are we TRUE worshippers—in spirit and truth? (John 4:23-24)

Of course, God is the ultimate judge of such matters. However, my encounter with the enthusiastic off key singer was a wake up call. The Lord is most interested in right hearts; all the other trappings of our worship are secondary.

As Sally concluded (in her post I mentioned earlier): God inhabits the praises of His people (Psalm 22:3)—even when they don’t get the notes right.

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

Note to Doris, my choir director: right notes ARE important—if you have the ability to sing them.😃