On my book shelf are two pictures. I keep them there because they remind me of what it was like to start as a worship leader at age 25. I look back and think, “Wow. I’ve been doing this worship pastor thing for a long time!”…18 years to be exact. And in the worship world, that is a long time!
In that time, I’ve noticed that people have different ideas about who a worship service is for. (That is “worship gathered“!) Many times we want to focus only on one audience. Now, (Don’t email me yet! Hear me out!) I don’t mean to create a problem with the word audience! I just mean our focus AND the first audience is obviously the Lord himself, right? But after that, there is the audience of both the church and the world. We’ll get to these eventually, but for now let’s talk about what it means to focus on the Lord in worship.
- First, God is the one who makes worship possible. We need to remember that the work of Jesus is what makes it possible for us to worship in spirit and truth. Before we are saved by God’s grace, through faith, we worshiped other things. (Ourselves?!?) But Jesus is the one who makes worship possible!
- Second, God is the “who” we worship. I think this is important to remember because it keeps our focus on the content of what we preach, pray and sing. God, and specifically Jesus who made true worship possible, is always the object of our worship. It’s tempting to sing about how much we love God and what we are going to do with our hands, but the focus needs to be on God himself.
- Next, (and these last two are for me) too many times we forget that God has all power. The God who created the universe, causes demons to tremble and will come again by riding on the clouds is the same God we worship. He can do all things.
- Lastly, I forget about God’s Presence. He has promised that he will never leave us or forsake us. Remember the first point? Jesus is the one who made worship possible and now we have a God who will always accept us There is nothing you have done that can separate you from the love of God. Nothing!
As I look back at those old photos, I am reminded that these things were true then, have been true for 2,000 years and will be true until Jesus comes again. So when we come to worship as a community, let’s seek God, knowing that as we worship, we are promised God’s presence and power…now and forever.
Ever wondered why we worship in community?
For more on this, check out Mike Cosper’s book, Rhythms of Grace.