Monday, June 05, 2006

Musings – White-hot Worship of God

The quote that was used in worship in the 11:00 service Sunday morning was one that grabbed my attention. Pithy statements like that deserve meditation, so I asked Ed to send it to me so I could do just that. I have yet to spend long on it because we are very short staffed here this week and I feel like a one-armed paper-hanger.

“All of history is moving toward one great goal, the white-hot worship of God and his Son among all the peoples of the earth. Missions exists because worship doesn’t. Worship is ultimate, not missions, because God is ultimate, not man.... When this age is over, and the countless millions of the redeemed fall on their faces before the throne of God, missions will be no more. It is a temporary necessity. But worship abides forever.” ~ John Piper, Let the Nations be Glad

One winter in Wilkesboro, we had scheduled a touring youth choir to lead us one Sunday morning. They had come up to the Boone area on Saturday to ski and were going to spend the night in Wilkesboro, share with us on Sunday morning in our 8:30 service, then head back to Alabama. Being from warmer climates, however, they did not realize that diesel fuel congeals below a certain temperature. When they got ready to leave Boone, their bus would not start. They were stuck and could not get to us for Saturday night and Sunday morning. As I was chatting with one of our early arrivers that Sunday morning before the 8:30 service, I let him know of the change of plans. His response left me almost speechless: “Well, who’s going to entertain us in their place?” I don’t remember exactly how I responded, but I know I said something about the purpose of worship. If worship were a variety show, I would have scrambled to fill the slot; but worship is about us connecting with God, not seeing how entertaining we can be to each other.

We tend to become dissatisfied in worship when we allow things other than God to occupy our central focus. God is ultimate, not man. As I have written before, it is His opinion of our worship that matters most. Some re-reading that I’m doing lately reminds me that God intends for our worship to be a celebration of what He has done for us, what He is doing in us, and what He will do in the future. There are so many things we allow to get in the way of that … song preferences, style preferences, furniture arrangement, clothing, time … the list is almost endless.

The challenge for us as worship leaders is to create an environment that enables us to more easily focus our attention on God. The challenge for us as worshipers is to broaden our appreciation for ways in which that can be accomplished. That’s enough to think about for now …


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