Getting back to the heart of worship

9.21.15 Let's get back to the heart of worship
"Give yourselves to God ... surrender your whole being to him to be used for righteous purposes." Romans 6:13 
The heart of worship is surrender.
Surrender is an unpopular word, disliked almost as much as the word submission. It implies losing, and no one wants to be a loser. 
Surrender evokes the unpleasant images of admitting defeat in battle, forfeiting a game, or yielding to a stronger opponent. The word is almost always used in a negative context. Captured criminals surrender to the authorities.
In our competitive world we're taught to never quit trying, never give up, and never give in - so we don't hear much about surrendering. If winning is everything, surrendering is unthinkable.
The Bible teaches us that rather than trying to win, succeed, overcome, and conquer, we should instead yield, submit, obey, and surrender. 
And by surrendering to God, we enter into the heart of worship. This is true worship: bringing pleasure to God as we give ourselves completely to him. 
Surrendering is best demonstrated in obedience, cooperating with your Creator. You say "Yes, Lord" to whatever he asks of you.
You can't claim Jesus as your Lord when you refuse to obey him. Peter modeled surrender when, after a night of failed fishing, Jesus told him to try again: "Master, we've worked hard all night and haven't caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets." Surrendered people obey God's word, even when it doesn't make sense.

For songwriter and worship-leader Matt Redman, this lesson came in a remarkable experience that was both personal and corporate. In the late 1990s, the preaching pastor at Redman’s church in Watford, England, sensed that their worship gatherings were going flat spiritually, that the congregation was going through the motions, and worship wasn’t flowing from the heart, like true Christian worship must.
“There was a dynamic missing,” says Redman, “so the pastor did a pretty brave thing. He decided to get rid of the sound system and band for a season, and we gathered together with just our voices. His point was that we’d lost our way in worship, and the way to get back to the heart would be to strip everything away.”
During this season, the pastor challenged the congregation to be participants in worship, not consumers. To come ready to engage with God for themselves, from the heart, not just watch with their eyes. He wanted them to come as worshipers, not as concert-goers. With the band and sound system gone, it made for an unforgettable time in the life of the church as they sang a cappella only — and for an unforgettable lesson about worship.
“Before long,” says Redman, “we reintroduced the musicians and sound system, as we’d gained a new perspective that worship is all about Jesus, and he commands a response in the depths of our souls no matter what the circumstance and setting. ‘The Heart of Worship’ simply describes what occurred.”

John 4:24, “God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” The essence of worship is not the many good externals, but heart and head. Spirit and truth. Our spirit, stirred by the Holy Spirit, in worship over true things about God, his Son, and his gospel.

The heart of worship is our heart, delighting in Jesus and expressing praise to him for the true things the Scriptures teach us about who he is and what he has accomplished for us. It is, then, “all about” Jesus, not us. It involves us, but we’re at the periphery. He’s at the center. He’s the focus. It’s his commands we consider first, not our preferences. Redman’s song is about refocusing, and re-centering, and reminding ourselves why we worship — and who we worship.

We’re so easily distracted from the main things — especially from the main person, Jesus. Hear these words in a spirit of worship and with a heart of repentance for how prone we are to wander and how often this has been not just Matt Redman’s story, but our own.

“The Heart of Worship”
written by Matt Redman

When the music fades
and all is stripped away
and I simply come.
Longing just to bring
something that’s of worth
that will bless Your heart.

I’ll bring You more than a song,
for a song in itself
is not what You have required.
You search much deeper within,
through the way things appear,
You’re looking into my heart.

I’m coming back to the heart of worship
and it’s all about You, it’s all about You, Jesus.
I’m sorry, Lord, for the thing I’ve made it
when it’s all about You, it’s all about You, Jesus.

King of endless worth,
no one could express
how much you deserve.
Though I’m weak and poor,
all I have is Yours,
every single breath!

I’ll bring You more than a song,
for a song in itself
is not what You have required.
You search much deeper within,
through the way things appear,
You’re looking into my heart.

I’m coming back to the heart of worship
and it’s all about You, it’s all about You, Jesus.
I’m sorry, Lord, for the thing I’ve made it
when it’s all about You, it’s all about You, Jesus.

So let's get back to the heart of worship even if we have to get rid of the instruments to focus on the words. We need to show God that we have a heart to worship just Him and Him alone. Let's practice not just going through the motions but true worship. Let's show the world that we really love God and we can't do that by frowning all the time. Show them that you are excited to be a child of God's.

 

God I come to you asking that you give me a true heart of worship. I only want to worship you. I want to show you that I worship you and you alone. God be with Ernest as he's looking for another job. Please put him where you would have him go. Lord please be with my friends and family and know that I love you. I ask these things in Jesus Name Amen.

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