Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Where Is Our Focus?

Critics of what has become known as the Modern Worship movement (already an archaic term) say that it’s all about getting people emotionally hyped up. Unfortunately, there are enough “consumers” of the Modern Worship movement who make that accusation true by their own personal approach to worship. I recall a conversation with a friend in the ministry who told of one of his choir members who has to find a Beth Moore conference to attend every year. “I love the teaching, but I just have to have my Travis Cottrell fix.” Not a verbatim quote, but that was the gist.

Fix is an interesting word to use in the context of worship, having its origins in the drug scene of the late 20th century. The broader usage has tamed the word a little, but it still carries the connotation of addiction. Some say the addiction is OK, because in their minds they see themselves as addicted to Jesus. But there is reason to suspect that the addiction is actually to the feelings and emotions surrounding a certain type of worship experience rather than to the Lord of all creation. And it’s not just “Modern Worship” that produces such. I know people who are that way about Southern Gospel. Others think worship can’t happen without a majestic pipe organ. Does anybody need more examples to get my point?

I was reading this morning in Inside-Out Worship, a collection of essays on worship by some of the movers and shakers in the Modern Worship scene compiled by Matt Redman. Louie Giglio, founder of the Passion worship movement, wrote this:

Songs alone don’t change people. It’s the truth that sets us free. As lead worshippers, it’s essential that we immerse ourselves in His Word and allow His Word to reshape and contour our hearts. In fact, God only has one ultimate goal for us all – the goal of being conformed to the image of His Son (see. Rom. 8:29). To be conformed is a tough and arduous task, a journey that leads us to the anvil and the altar, moment by moment. It’s a process of transformation that results from consistently renewing our minds by God’s truth (see. Rom. 12:2)

If we’re not careful, we can quickly inhale the feelings and emotion we experience in corporate worship, only to go away with little lasting and substantive change in our souls. In other words, we are prone to joyfully utter the words of praise, while continually dodging the sword of the Spirit. As a result, our worship becomes a counterfeit shell while our hidden heart fails to embrace His truth for our lives.

So the question is whether we love God more than we love the way a certain type of music makes us feel. That’s enough to think about for now. The peace of Christ to you.


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