Worship this morning at Charisma Church was awesome. God showed up and it was powerful. We had people down at the altar, bowing down before God, and He was changing their lives. And this was all before any sermon was given. This was simply just the Holy Spirit at work in people’s lives. It was one of those mornings where I wasn’t sure I wanted worship to end. I was enjoying being in the presence of God so much that I had no desire to leave it.
I haven’t always enjoyed worship music. I remember when I first became a Christian, I felt like I needed to buy a worship CD because that’s what you do. If you want to be spiritual, you need to buy a worship CD and listen to it every once in a while. So I went out and bought one of the Passion CD’s. It seemed to be what every one of my Christian friends had, so I thought it would be a good choice. I don’t remember what it was called, but I remember the CD was green. I put the CD in and listened to it. I didn’t like it at all. I forced myself to listen to it a few more times, but it never grew on me. It turned me off to worship music for a very long time (except for the first Sonicflood CD; that is a classic).
Over the past 5 years, I have learned to appreciate worship music. I think there are a couple reasons for this. One is that better worship music has been released. I am a huge fan of Planetshakers, Hillsong United, Starfield, David Crowder* Band, and Aaron Gillespie, to name a few. But the other reason is because I have learned what worship really is. Psalm 100:4 tells us to “Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise!” I have learned how to use worship as a tool to enter the presence of God.
A few weeks ago Starfield came out with a new CD called The Kingdom. It is a really good CD. When I got it, I was listening to it over and over in my car. One day on my way home I was listening to the song “Speak Now Jesus”. I was singing along, and about three-fourths of the way through the song, something hit me. I thought to myself, “What am I singing?” The chorus of the song says, “Speak now Jesus, speak into my heart. I am desperate to hear Your still small voice. I need to hear Your voice. Lead me Jesus, I need direction. I am so lost, without You guiding me. I need to know Your peace.” The power of those words hit me, and I realized what it was that I was singing. How could I just be nonchalantly singing that? Did I really mean what I was saying? What if Jesus really did speak to me right then and there? Was I really desperate to hear His voice? Did I believe I really needed to hear His voice? With all of this in mind, I decided to restart the song and listen to the lyrics this time. I wasn’t going to sing along. I was just going to listen and hear everything I had been singing to God. I invite you to check out the song and listen to the lyrics.
I was blown away. The lyrics to this song are powerful, but not easy to swallow. The verse says, “Say the words and I will listen.” The bridge says, “When you speak I’ll listen. Where you lead I’ll go.” How could I just blindly be singing that? It is bold to say that I will do whatever God tells me to. Sure, as Christians we will say that if God speaks to us we will do it, but do we really believe that? I began to wonder how often I do that. I wondered how many times that I sing in worship but don’t really pay attention to what I am singing.
I encourage you to evaluate the way you worship. Do you show up to church on Sunday and sing along because it is what you are supposed to do? Or do you show up and cry out to God? There are so many songs I could have picked as examples in this blog. “Speak Now Jesus” just so happened to be the one I was listening to when the revelation came to me. The words to so many worship songs are powerful and we shouldn’t just mindlessly sing them.
God doesn’t need you to sing worship songs. That isn’t what he is looking for. Psalm 51:16-17 says, “For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; you will not be pleased with a burnt offering. 17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” We can sing all we want, but if there is nothing behind the words, they don’t mean anything. God is looking for a broken and contrite heart. God is looking for us to cry out to him. Anyone can sing lyrics; God is looking for the person who means it.
This Sunday I went to church with that attitude. I was going to push all the distractions aside and focus on what I was singing to God. We sang a song called “This One Thing” by William Matthews. One of the lines says, “All I want is just your heart, yes I am living just to see your glory.” I began to pray that I would have God’s heart and that I would see His glory. I know that God’s heart is selfless, so I began to pray that God would use me to bless someone else. God spoke to me and said, “Someone here is desiring a breakthrough but won’t let go of the things holding them back.” Obediently I stepped forward and gave this word to the congregation. After I did, Pastor Sean opened up the altar for people to come down and lay those things before God and to receive breakthrough in their lives. Many people came down and received breakthrough in their lives from God. It was a powerful time of worship. It was amazing to see what happens when I really sing to God with all my heart.
I’d encourage you to not participate in empty worship. God doesn’t want you to sing, He wants your heart to be broken. The next time you are in worship, focus on the words you are singing. Focus on singing those words to God and meaning them. Don’t worship God because you think you need to, worship Him because you want to. I can promise you the results are much different. There is only one place I have ever been that I’ve never wanted to leave, and that is God’s presence. Real worship can get you there. If you are looking for some good worship bands check out some of the ones I listed above. I’d also encourage you to tell me who some of your favorites are. Just leave a comment and let me know!
until next time…