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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!