Archives For Worship

HeavensPraiseHave you ever felt like you’ve been wandering through life, not quite knowing what exactly God’s expecting from you? Sadly, many in God’s family spend much of their lives this way. They walk around with an I-hope-so approach to the Christian life—they hope they’re in God’s will, or hope they’re doing what is best and right. Many eventually become discouraged and quit even trying.

Other Christians seem to think the goal of their Christianity is to somehow please God through their endless strivings, as though God will only love them when they’re performing up to His expectations. Yet the Father is already pleased with us, not because of how much good we manage to do, but because we are His children.

Stop now and ask yourself this question: What should the goal of my Christian life be, as I live each day? Get an answer in your mind before moving on.

Now, look at your answer a little closer. Is your goal measurable? At the end of your day, can you look back and know for sure if or when you hit that goal? Perhaps more important, is the goal you just identified…

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20140611-072850-26930090.jpgHave you gazed at the sky lately? Have you noticed the amazing colors of an evening sunset? Have you been mesmerized by a gigantic rainbow with its backdrop of smoldering gray rain clouds? Our God is a magnificent designer! It’s as though every day provides Him a brand new canvas and He paints for us a new and original design from His endless palate of purples, reds, and blues.

Mandate

If one has ever questioned the need of visual art as a part of worship, all he or she needs to do is consider the priority our Creator placed on creativity and beauty when He made this universe and more specifically our world. His wonderful creation is awe-inspiring and breathe-taking!

Obviously, God’s creative handiwork is intentional. Look at the diversity and colors of animals, the sky with clouds and constellations, and even flowers and plants. God purposefully made what we see around and above us to be more than just functional. God designed everything, including all of nature, so that it would point us back to Him. No doubt that is what the shepherd, David, realized as he lay on a hillside night after night…

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Worship TeamBelow is a step-by-step plan to help your worship team members flourish in three fundamental areas—as worshipers, musicians and mentors. This approach can change the culture of your worship ministry and help your team grow spiritually and numerically—no matter the size of your church. I’ve seen firsthand the impact it has made in smaller congregations I’ve served in the past, and this same intentional process is making an impact in the megachurch where I’m worship pastor now.

Please note that these methodical steps may take you months to complete. Be patient, and don’t rush through them—and be sure not to skip any as you move along. Each step is crucial to your success in training your team to be ministers through music.

Step 1: Confirm your vision, values and philosophy.

  1.  Through prayer and Scripture. Your first and most important task should be to nail down what you value and what your specific convictions are for the ministry God entrusted to you. No vision, no values and no approach to ministry should be formed outside of clear scriptural confirmation and God-given direction.
  2.  Through careful research. Talk with other worship leaders and pastors in your area to learn…

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Shapes Toy

Several years ago I had a church search committee member call me to come to work for them.  This gentleman was the second caller of two from the same place.  Both were charged with the mission of convincing me to make a career move.  While it was an honor to be sought after, I knew it was best to come to closure quickly on a request like this. I have found that to have a divided mind in this line of work makes an already consuming job become completely suffocating.  Before even considering what kind of carrot is being dangled in front of my face, I need to ask myself a few fundamental questions: Do I feel a sense of closure where I am currently serving?  Have I done all that God intends for me to do in the fellowship where I work?  Have a learned from the Lord all that I am supposed to learn while in this place?

Back to the phone calls.  We exchanged tidbits about each other’s locations.  I conveyed that I felt extremely blessed to do what I do for a living and to be able…

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Worship

I’ve written two definitions I suggest for worship. I’ll unpack each of them in this article.

“Christian worship is the response of God’s redeemed people to His self-revelation that exalts God’s glory in Christ in our minds, affections, and wills, in the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Christian worship…is different from every kind of worship because it has been made possible through Jesus Christ (Revelation 5:9-10).

Is the response…God has already done something outside of us and inside of us that enables us to worship Him. We are not the initiators of worship; God is (Acts 17:24-31).

Of God’s redeemed people…Just as God delivered the nation of Israel from Egypt to worship Him (Exodus 8:1), so He has redeemed us as a holy nation to declare His praises (1 Peter 2:9). Worship of God is intended to be corporate, not simply personal.

To his self-revelation…we can’t know God apart from Him revealing Himself to us. He has shown Himself to us in creation, His Word, and ultimately His Son (Romans 1:20; Hebrews 1:1-4).

That exalts…the essence of worship is exalting—raising up, lifting high, submitting to, magnifying, making much of, honoring, reverencing, celebrating—the triune God (Psalm 71:19).

God’s glory…

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Worship

Dutch humanist Desiderius Erasmus (1466-1536) once said “Every definition is dangerous.” That may explain why when we try to define a word simply and precisely we often end up missing significant aspects of the word we’re defining. Attempts at explaining worship as “love,” or “intimacy,” or “relationship” say something true, but end up leaving out more than they contribute to our understanding of worship.

In spite of Erasmus’ warning, over the years I’ve come across numerous definitions of “worship” that have caused me think about worship more biblically.

Harold Best, in his book Music Through the Eyes of Faith, defines worship in the broadest sense as “acknowledging that someone or something else is greater – worth more – and by consequence, to be obeyed, feared, and adored…Worship is the sign that in giving myself completely to someone or something, I want to be mastered by it.”1

We want to be mastered the objects of our worship. And indeed we are. We worship whatever rules our time, energy, thoughts, longings, and choices. “Those who make them become like them; so do all who trust in them” (Psalm 115:8, ESV).

A definition of worship that…

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Pastors Praying TogetherThere is nothing like seeing pastors praying with other pastors. I just returned from Little Rock, Arkansas, where I led a prayer gathering for 304 Arkansas pastors, church staff members, and ministry leaders. In light of this, I am reminded again of the value of praying with other pastors.

Prayer between pastors is needed

Every Christian needs someone to pray with from time to time. This experience is valuable, especially if you pray with someone who takes prayer seriously. Pastors have a unique need to pray with other pastors.

We need prayer. We believe in prayer. We need people to pray for us and with us.

Prayer binds pastors with other pastors

No one understands pastors like another pastor. The size of a church is really not a big deal to a pastor who walks before God humbly. Whether we preach to 25, 2,500, or 25,000 people a week, we all face challenges, criticism, and discouragement.

Prayer with another pastor binds us together. I have seen hundreds of pastors praying with other pastors, and I promise you, they form a strong bond between them.

Prayer with another pastor creates vision

When a man of God prays for…

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Awe Inspiring

One quiet morning a few weeks ago, I decided to take some time to pray alone in our sanctuary. But as soon as I sat down on the front row, my mind began racing about all the stuff that still needed to be done before our Easter services: “How will the lights be set?” “Where will the extra projectors be placed?” “How will we transition between the songs and videos?”

Then suddenly, a still small Voice broke through to my cluttered mind and said, “Dwayne, where’s the awe? Why can’t you simply be still and know that I am God? Here you sit in my presence; yet your attention is captivated by technical details. They’re important, but they’re secondary to your primary responsibility as worship leader. As you stand and lead all those people on Easter, the most important thing you can do is be in awe of me.”

Needless to say, I was convicted and challenged by the Lord’s gentle rebuke that morning. And it drove me to dig deeper into God’s Word about this idea of awe. Here are a few things I discovered…

1. The awe of God motivates us…

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Building Strong Worship LeadersOur goal for church musicians and worship teams should be that they become ministers through music. It isn’t enough to be good musicians or great performers. Worship teams need to minister.

Ministers through music have some excellent and unique characteristics. Imagine a worship team who’s passionate about what they’re doing, with a clear sense of their calling; they are faithful to practice, they’re full of integrity, and they clearly exhibit a servant heart toward God and others. What pastor or worship leader wouldn’t want a platform full of people like that! Sound too good to be true? It’s not! Conveniently, every one of these qualities comes along quite naturally as a result of one all-important process called spiritual growth.

The good news is it’s not up to us to change people. That’s God’s job. The powerful message of 2 Corinthians 3:18 is that we are being transformed: “And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes the Lord, who is the Spirit” (TNIV). According to Hebrews 12:2, Jesus is both the author and the finisher of our…

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Baptisms on Easter

Troy Page recently noted on TonyMorganLive.com, “Remember that the win is not how many people show up for Easter –  it’s how many people come back.Shoot for 75% of your Easter crowd.”

This morning I was sitting in our church parking lot waiting on my daughter to get out of her high school small group.  Waiting gave me a great opportunity to listen to the conversations of those leaving our church service.

The most impactful conversation took place between a father and his young daughter.  He asked the following questions:

  1. “Did you have fun today?”
  2. “What did you learn about Jesus?”

These two questions were a reminder of Page’s comments above and what constitutes a win for churches on Easter Sunday.

Whether you are a seasoned Christian parent(s) such as the father above or have little or no church background, most parents generally ask the same two questions of their children when they get in their car after church:

  1. Did you have fun?
  2. What did you learn?

Churches do a great job of putting significant effort into their Sunday worship services.  I would like to challenge all churches to put an equal amount of effort into your children’s classes…

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