Barb's Space

Observations about life, family, church...anything else that is on my mind from the perspective that God rules, no matter what

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Location: Indianapolis, IN, United States

I am a 66 year young woman who has changed much in the last few years. I'm single again. I changed jobs twice (learned new skills), had a serious stroke in 2008, "retired" and after getting better started taking up new interests, and am continuing to get more fit. Some things have matured. I've enjoyed watching my three guys grow into men I respect and am proud of. One waited 11 years to have his first birth child. Today I'm a grandma of six (four boys and 2 girls between two families) with a third girl on the way. I have learned to love Jesus even more, and I have regained my sense of adventure. Someone said, "The best is yet to be."--I believe it, if I keep an open mind and heart and keep growing and walking with God.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Wasted Worship, or Wasted Worship? Part 1

Tuesday, April 25, 2006: It's finally time. I'm ready to begin talking about it. "It," the thing in dispute all over the land in one way or another, is worship. This is a very hard subject for me to nail down--the whole idea is bringing me warfare in the form of confusion, distraction, and other priorities as I try to write. In my view that's one very good reason to pursue it. It wouldn't be so difficult if there wasn't something to be gained. So here goes (the rest was finished on the date above shown for this post):

Lately I've been thinking about a post on my son's blog called Wasted Worship. (By series' end, I hope to have explained my title.) Worship takes many forms--and there is always worship of some kind expressed in our lives. I believe the desire to worship is encoded in our spiritual and emotional DNA.

Today, as in every age, the act of worship is very much a battleground in the whole church, exhibited by the just-under-the-surface battle over musical preferences and the temptation to mindlessly participate, in the ever-present attack of the enemy on worship leaders to lead worship by rote (religious form over substance which dulls the mind and never gets in contact with God), or the very real battle against pride and showmanship that attacks those who dare to lead worship. Motives are all important in either winning or losing this battle--they also determine whether our worship is
given in spirit and truth, or whether we are participating in "strange fire" or "polluted" worship. That being the case, it would be a good idea to take a long look at worship, firstly what it is, and secondly its expressions.

Here is one dictionary's definition of worship: [from Adapted from:WordNet 2.0 Copyright 2003 by Princeton University All rights reserved.]

Etymology: Middle English
worshipe worthiness, respect, reverence paid to a divine being, from Old English weorthscipe worthiness, respect, from weorth worthy, worth + -scipe -ship

2: reverence offered a divine being or supernatural power; also: an act of expressing such reverence
3: a form of religious practice with its creed and ritual
4: extravagant respect or admiration for or devotion to an object of esteem
<worship of the dollar>

There are many today who refuse to acknowledge (definition #2) God (the divine being/supernatural power) and Jesus Christ His Son come to earth to show us God's heart and character, how to walk with Him daily (worship?), and to make a way back so we can be reinstated in right relationship with the Father. Many others sincerely believe there is a power that we can't really know, or else that He is inside all of us, and we just have to search for that part of Him in ourselves. But the real truth is spoken very well by one of the Bible writers
well over 1,500 years ago to a culture not unlike our own in character. He leads into that subject this way:

Acts 17:22-23 NLT--"Men of Athens, I notice that you are very religious, (23)for as I was walking along I saw your many altars. And one of them had this inscription on it--'To an Unknown God.' You have been worshipping Him without knowing Who He is, and now I wish to tell you about Him." (If you want to know more, there's plenty in verses 24-31--for the purposes of this train of thought, however, I will assume you already know about Him, or even better, that you have a relationship with Him.)

There are other people who claim to be Christians who worship Him only with definition #3 (a form of religious practice with its creed and ritual). Yes, it's possible to worship Him that way, for in the above verses even Paul acknowledges that the Greeks were worshipping this Unknown God. The problem though is that God (see Hebrews 13:8) by definition doesn't change--E V E R. That means the only response in our relationship with Him that will transform religious acts into real live worship is for us to get to know Him well, and let His influence over us be the influence that counts in our lives.

When we don't know God Whom we say we worship, we are dishonoring instead of respecting Him by only giving Him mental assent. To the degree that we don't get to know Him deeply, we are offering God "polluted" worship. We pollute our worship with man's ideas, trying to conform our image and worship of God to our own lifestyles and beliefs. James, another Bible writer says even God's enemies, demons, recognize His reality--but that it won't get them anywhere: James 2:19-20 NLT--Do you still think it's enough just to believe that there is one God? Well, even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror! 20...When will you ever learn that faith that does not result in good deeds is useless?

Worship (even worship with feelings) can result in a God-dishonoring life--unless we allow Him to do what He came to do--change us into His character likeness day by day. Only then will our expressions of worship unite His people and accurately reflect God's worth (worthiness to be worshipped) back to Him.

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