Cross Purposes

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.
1 Peter 2:9

If you browsed through The Economic Times last October, perhaps you saw the editorial titled “Life Has No Purpose.” The writer said, “The most significant thing to remember is that life is not a business. It does not exist for any particular end. It exists for the sheer joy of existing. There is no goal as such.”[1] The writer blasted the concept of purposefulness, saying life is supposed to be nothing but sheer joy, playfulness, fun. It’s not to fulfill some purpose, just to be fulfilling within itself.

Most people don’t state their philosophy of life that plainly, but that’s a fair description of how much of the world lives.

“But you are not like that, for you have been chosen by God himself—you are priests of the King, you are holy and pure, you are God’s very own—all this so that you may show to others how God called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light” (1 Peter 2:9, TLB).

What a blessing to know that God has a purpose for each of us.

[Worship] is what we were made for.
Vernon Whaley

  • David Jeremiah

God and God Alone

Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord our Maker. For He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture, and the sheep of His hand.
Psalm 95:6-7

There’s a philosophy blowing around the Church that we should worship God because of what it does for us. This philosophy shows up in some of our modern songs. Other times the idea may come from our pastors or worship leaders: “Let’s praise the Lord and worship Him, for worship breaks down our barriers, removes our chains, conquers the enemy, brings our hearts from the dust, and wins our victories.”
Those things may truly be byproducts of worship, results which God ordains for our benefit; but they are never the reason for our worship. We worship God for who He is—the eternal Creator, robed in light, crowned with glory, transcending the universe, yet loving His creation. We praise the three-in-one God for His inexpressible greatness and His endless layers of infinite qualities. We worship and bow down before the Lord our Maker.

Yes, as we worship Him, our own hearts are restored. But never confuse the byproducts with the reason. The reason is—God and God alone!

Let everything that lives reserve its truest praise for God and God alone.
Phill McHugh, “God and God Alone”

  • David Jeremiah

Joy in Worship

Also that day they offered great sacrifices, and rejoiced, for God had made them rejoice with great joy; the women and the children also rejoiced, so that the joy of Jerusalem was heard afar off.
Nehemiah 12:43 
In the history of the Church, a variety of forms and styles of worship have been employed—never more so than in today’s twenty-first-century worship services. Historically, some churches have sung only the Psalms; some have sung acapella, without instruments; some have had choirs, while some have not; some have used only a piano or organ for accompaniment. Today, many churches have worship teams that include singers and bands, and some have full orchestras.
The New Testament doesn’t prescribe how “psalms and hymns and spiritual songs” are to be sung, but it does say there should be “singing and making melody in [our] heart to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:19). Nehemiah 12 is an example of the extent to which songs of praise and thanksgiving can be offered: multiple choirs and instrumentalists marching around the walls of Jerusalem before settling into the temple.

Are you an enthusiastic worshiper of God? Whatever your church’s style, let your voice resound with praise to our God. Our praise should be the outward manifestation of our inner joy and gratitude to God.

What or whom we worship determines our behavior.
John Murray

– David Jeremiah

5 Things to Do when the Church Service Seems to Lack “Fire”

By Chuck Lawless

Some church services are cold – and I don’t mean the room temperature. Instead, there simply is little sense of Christian warmth, little indication of Holy Spirit-given “fire” when the congregation gathers. If that’s sometimes the case in your church, maybe one of these suggestions will be encouraging to you:

  1. Pray you’re reading the situation properly – but, more importantly, be sure to pray for God’s love and power to be evident in the congregation. My goal is that we would not get discouraged by the situation, but that we would instead pray God’s blessing on the group. In general, it’s a good rule to pray first for the Lord’s wisdom and insight before we reach conclusions.
  2. Remember that all kinds of things can contribute to an apparent lack of “fire.” It could be that the church is dealing with internal conflict. It could also be they’re dealing with corporate grief over some tragedy in the church family or the announcement of a departing staff member. Maybe the church has spent little time praying together. Or, it could even be that a bunch of folks are just tired . . . . My point is that we may not know the cause of the coldness, so we should not immediately make a judgment about the church.
  3. Pray specifically for those who lead the worship service. They may or may not recognize the coldness. But, my experience has been that the leaders are often aware when something is amiss. In fact, sometimes our own situations and struggles contribute to the problem. Pray your church leaders would not be distracted or discouraged as they lead the congregation to encounter God.
  4. Give yourself fully to the worship experience. Regardless of your assessment of the situation, don’t be part of the problem. Come to the service with your heart in tune with God. Pray before you join other believers, and ask the Lord to give you godly expectation for the service. Bring the “fire” with you.
  5. Watch for “glimpses” of God’s work among the congregation. I’ve previously written about the value of daily seeing the glimpses of God’s glory in our lives, but it’s especially important to watch for them in worship. Sometimes a fire starts with just an ember – with a spark of the hand of God moving in a life. You may not immediately see that spark, but you’ll approach the service differently if you believe God is still doing that kind of work. And, He is . . . .

Readers, let’s agree together to pray for the “fire” of God to be evident in the services of all our churches this weekend!

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A Song of Gratitude


“… For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful. Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts.” Colossians 3:15-16 (NLT)

Music and song often express the deepest emotions of our hearts. Personally, my time of worship is one of the main elements in my relationship with God. During this time, I have written song lyrics, composed music, or I simply mediate on the words of so many amazing songs of worship to God. Worship songs help me express what my brain cannot put into words at the moment. This is especially true in moments of sadness or grief.

Whether you are alone or in the midst of fellow believers, God desires us to worship him. But what kind of song is pleasing to God? Does he prefer hymns, contemporary, with instruments, acapella…? Actually, these distinctions are not what matters to God. He wants to hear our hearts. He wants our expressions of praise to be humble and authentic.

Worship should not be about us, but rather express our gratitude for all that God has done for us in Christ. Our goal is to exalt the goodness, grace, and unconditional love of God with grateful hearts. Constantly proclaiming his faithfulness to us in every season.

  • from Faily Encounter

True Worship

“Among the greatest privileges afforded to man is the opportunity to worship the Creator–to bow down before him in reverent acknowledgment of Who He is, to thank Him for His goodness, and to offer Him our praise,” wrote Dan Petty in the introduction of the 2005 Florida College Lectures, “True Worship.

“Worship,” Dan wrote, “gives meaning to a life devoted to serving God.”

Dan Petty’s words reminds us that Lord’s Day worship is not to be regarded as a weekly ritual in which we follow a traditional routine without thought, feeling or involvement.

Jesus’s words to the Samaritan woman emphasize the elements of the Scriptural worship.

But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” (Jn, 4:23-24).

Three important thoughts from this passage merit our consideration.

#1 Worship is absolute.

The word “worship” literally means “to kiss the hand towards.” It has to do with awe, homage and adoration.

The old English word was actually spoken as “worth-ship.” It expressed the idea of one’s worth. God is worthy of our worship.

The worship assembly is not to showcase the oratory skills of the preacher, the musical ability song leader or the eloquence of the one leading in prayer. Worship is God-directed.

In the Old Testament God demand absolute reverence when He commanded “You shall have no other gods before me.” He expects no less today.

#2 Worship must be accurate.

From the early worship of Cain and Abel, to the worship of Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihu to the idol worship during the Judges, Scripture impresses us that God wants us to worship as He authorized.

God cares about correctness. Truth. Accuracy. And worshiping Him as He directs us in his Word.

The book of Acts along with the Epistles reveal that New Testament Christians engaged in communion each first day of the week, praised God in song, offered their heart-felt prayers, financially contributed to support the Lord’s work and listened to the Word of God proclaimed.

Call it tradition, if you want, but it’s an inspired apostolic tradition.

#3 Worship must be Authentic.

Accuracy is not enough. Worship that is spiritless, without passion, and devoid of any feeling is not authentic worship. Christianity is a heart felt religion.

Worshiping God ought to evoke feeling. Joy. Thankfulness. Appreciation, Affection. Awe. And love are all emotions that should stir us in our worship to God.

We ought echo the attitude of the Psalmist who exclaimed, “I was glad when they said unto me, let us go into the house of the Lord.”

“If we want to worship in spirit and in truth,” wrote David Jeremiah, “we need to rediscover the capacity to wonder that God placed within each of us.”

–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman

Worship God Only

James 4:4-8 You are as wives and husbands who are not faithful in marriage and do sex sins. Do you not know that to love the sinful things of the world and to be a friend to them is to be against God? Yes, I say it again, if you are a friend of the world, you are against God. Do you think the Holy Writings mean nothing when they said, “The Holy Spirit Whom God has given to live in us has a strong desire for us to be faithful to Him”?

But He gives us more loving-favor. For the Holy Writings say, “God works against the proud but gives loving-favor to those who have no pride.” So give yourselves to God. Stand against the devil and he will run away from you. Come close to God and He will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners. Clean up your hearts, you who want to follow the sinful ways of the world and God at the same time.

When reading in the Old Testament, we might not understand why people would bow down before idols they had made. But we make a similar mistake, placing too high a value on things like money, relationships, appearance, and power. Though not bad in themselves, these can become objects of worship if we prioritize them above God. That’s why He is jealous for our heart.

There are two reasons the Lord doesn’t let His children’s devotion stay out of balance. First, He deserves the glory, and second, He loves us and wants the best for us. Praising God above all else is actually in our own best interest, so when our heart does not belong solely to Christ, He disciplines us. This might mean He allows challenges to remind us who is the one and only God. Hardships are not pleasant, but we can be encouraged that God is making us complete in Him.

This week, notice where you spend your time and money and what dominates your thoughts. Even if your pursuits seem good on the surface, ask the Lord to reveal whatever has become an idol in your life. Confess any misplaced affection, and ask for help in making God the object of your devotion.

Don’t Worship Wrongly!

David Jeremiah
Let no one cheat you of your reward, taking delight in false humility and worship of angels.
Colossians 2:18

What would you do if you encountered an angel from heaven? One would not be blamed for falling down, prostrate, before such a magnificent being. If one fell down out of fear, that would be understandable. But if one fell down in worship, that would not be appropriate. The apostle John discovered that when he bowed down to worship an angel in heaven and was reprimanded—twice.

John had seen a lot of “falling down” in heaven, specifically the four living creatures and the 24 elders worshiping before the throne of God. So when John himself encountered a mighty angel, he fell down at the angel’s feet to worship (Revelation 19:10; 22:8-9). But in both cases, the angel told John to stand up because “I am your fellow servant….Worship God.” This testimony could not be clearer: Angels are worshipers, like us. Multitudes of them circle around the throne of God and worship Him (Revelation 5:11-12). Angels are not to be worshiped.

All of creation—in heaven and on earth—bows a knee before Jesus Christ and Him alone (Philippians 2:10).

What or whom we worship determines our behavior.
John Murray

10 Thoughts About Worship I Wish I’d Known Earlier

Why Does God Require our Love, Worship, and Praise? Is God Insecure?