From the desk of Andrew Burchett:
Last weekend I, Andrew, had the honor of officiating the funeral of Bill Bagby, one of the spiritual fathers in my life. Bill was a cowboy, a pastor, a writer and a friend. He wrote a series of small booklets that he called, “Seeds of Wisdom.” As I am preparing to preach this Sunday on worship, I read one of his seeds, and thought I would post the contents here for you to read…
“The Awesome Weapon of Worship”
Some year ago, someone sent me a formal looking greeting card. On the front were simply the words, “Keep Looking Down!” I thought, “What a weird card!” But I couldn’t help but smile as I turned the page and read the message inside. “You are seated in the heavenlies with Christ!”
No matter how hopeless things may look to us, when we finally see them as God sees them, our whole perspective changes. That is why becoming a true worshiper is so critical. Rather than letting fear focus us on all the things we can’t control, we lift our eyes and let faith focus us on the One for whom nothing is impossible. Hallelujah!
A missionary from India once spoke of how he was so overwhelmed by the darkness and poverty around him that he didn’t even know how to pray. But one word from the heart of God changed his whole perspective. “Never pray because of the darkness of the night! Pray because of the brightness of the Light!”
Nothing keeps your life in better perspective than heartfelt worship! At a time when I was working through an issue in my own life, the Lord taught me something about worship I have never forgotten. For a couple of days in prayer, I kept getting the same three Scripture verses and always in the same order. “Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:1. “In Your presence is fullness of joy.” And “But you are holy, who inhabit the praises of Israel.” Psalm 22:3. Since I didn’t grasp what He was trying to show me, He said: “Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10. “In your presence is fullness of joy.” Psalm 16:11 and “But You are holy, who inhabit the praises of Israel.” Psalm 22:3. Since I didn’t grasp what He was trying to show me, He said: “The times that lie ahead will require great spiritual strength. The source is of that strength is My joy. And the way you enter into My joy is by coming into My presence through praise and worship.”
As the Body of Christ, we have tried to reduce worship to a whole series of rules, methods, rituals and legalistic formulas.
But true worship is not about how old or how new the song is; the form or skill of presentation; the decibel level or instrumentation; the size of the group gathered or our own personal preferences in music. It’s about heart to heart communion with the One who alone is worthy of all our affection and adoration.
A woman from a very structured denominational background once asked me what I thought about the way a particular prayer group worshiped. Since she knew I had attended some of their meetings I answered, “You know, I don’t think it’s particularly important what I think about the way they worship! And no offense, but I don’t think it matters what you think! What matters is what God thinks! In ouor arrogance and need to be in control, we forget that it’s not about us, it’s about Him.
Each form and style of worship has its own merits, but if we want the Lord to truly be enthroned upon our praises, we must ultimately give up our need to control and let the Holy Spirit guide us into His wonderful presence.
Maybe of all of the passages on worship Psalm 150 best expresses God’s desire for a people who would abandon themselves to all expressions of worship: “Praise the Lord! Praise God in His sanctuary; Praise Him in His mighty firmament! Praise Him for His mighty acts; Praise Him according to His excellent greatness! Praise Him with the sound of the trumpet; Praise Him with the lute and harp! Praise Him with the timbrel and dance; Praise Him with the stringed instruments and flutes! Praise Him with the loud cymbals; Praise Him with high sounding cymbals! Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord! Psalm 150:1-6
Maybe a question we should each ask ourselves is, “Do we know better than the Holy Spirit what would please the heart of the Father today?
Worship is also one of the mightiest weapons we have been given for dealing with the forces of darkness that surrounds us. “O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is Your name in all the earth. You who set your glory above the heavens! Out of the mouths of babes and infants You have ordained strength (praise) because of Your enemies, that you may silence the enemy and the avenger.” Psalm 8:1-2
Tired of being tormented by the enemy’s lies of fear, condemnation, depression and shame? Silence him by becoming an extravagant worshiper. Meditate on these and other passages on praising, blessing and worshiping God until it becomes as natural to you as breathing. Let worship become your life-style.
2 Chronicles 20:12-25, Psalm 34:1-10, Psalm 103, Psalm 117, Psalm 139, Psalm 148, Psalm 149, Isaiah 61:1-3, John 4:23-24, Ephesians 1:3-6 and Revelation 5:11-14