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, October 14, 2006

Wasted Worship, or Wasted Worship? Part 3

In this post, I would like to discuss the other half of my title. First though, let's review the definitions of worship we have been working from: Adapted from: Wordnet 2.0 Copyright 2003 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

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

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

The definition of wasted is
adj 1: serving no useful purpose; having no excuse for being;
"advice is wasted words" [syn: pointless]
2: not used to good advantage; ..."a wasted effort" --
Source: WordNet (r) 1.7

This definition of wasted indicates something is useless. However, there is a slang definition of "wasted" that means drunk or intoxicated. In thinking about that, I am reminded of the Book of Acts where the Holy Spirit falls on the waiting and seeking disciples. The Bible says to onlookers they seemed (in today's language) wasted, or (by inference) totally given over in this case to the Spirit of God rather than to alcohol or drugs. What does it mean to be totally "given over" to God? What is this kind of "wasted worship?"

In parts one and two of this series, I said I believe to have true worship we must know the God we worship as He reveals Himself, not as we imagine Him or desire Him to be. I also said we must agree with His view of us, as well as what He came to do for and in us. Thirdly, I said we must allow Him to do in us those things that He desires. This will either infuse life into our definitions 2 and 3 above, or totally transform us to #4. It will move our worship from the realm of lip-service to the realm of "life-service." It will move our worship from empty and powerless to relevant and meaningful. It will please God and it will change us. That's at least part of what the Bible calls worshipping in Spirit and in truth.

Other ways of describing this kind of worship are "whole life worship," "radical or extreme Christianity," or, as I titled this series, "wasted worship." It means I give up my agenda and desires to live for one goal, and that is as the apostle Paul says in Phil 3:10 AMP "[For my determined purpose is] that I may know Him [that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His Person more strongly and more clearly], and that I may in that same way come to know the power outflowing from His resurrection [which it exerts over believers], and that I may share His sufferings as to be continually transformed [in spirit into His likeness...]."

I notice here that Paul talks about his purpose--not as a finished product, but as a goal. As the Bible says, it is a progressive thing, both my knowing God and His transforming me. God doesn't expect perfection, just a heart that is willing to enter wholly into the process. He even makes provision for the times when I have a hard time being willing--Phil 2:13 AMP says, "It is God Who is all the while effectually at work in you [energizing and creating in you the power and desire], both to will and to work for His good pleasure and satisfaction and delight."

Paul also described the "how-to" of this process in another way that we mentioned in part 2--that of presenting ourselves to God for transformation in mind and body (Rom 12:1-2). - Isaiah, an Old Testament prophet must have done this. Below is a description of part of one "wasted worship" experience he had:

Isa 6:1, 5-8 NLT In the year King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord. He was sitting on a lofty throne, and the train of His robe filled the Temple. 5Then I said, "My destruction is sealed, for I am a sinful man and a member of a sinful race. Yet I have seen the King, the Lord Almighty!" 6Then one of the seraphim flew over to the altar, and he picked up a burning coal with a pair of tongs. 7He touched my lips with it and said, "See, this coal has touched your lips. Now your guilt is removed, and your sins are forgiven." 8Then I heard the Lord asking, "Whom should I send as a messenger to My people? Who will go for Us?" And I said, "Lord, I'll go! Send me."
--Sounds good, doesn't it? The only thing is that what the Lord tells him to do (I'm not even going to go there now) would be quite hard. It could only be accomplished with God's grace and help.

Another form of "wasted worship" is to be found in the book of Job after he's lost all his possessions, his children and his health. He didn't know why. In Job 13:15 NKJV, we see his response: "Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him." That, friends, is a real, extravagant, wasted worship response. It took God's grace to help him say that and mean it. Real, honest wasted worship takes us beyond who we are, what we want in our own selves, and what we can do by ourselves. It takes us into God's territory, and we get to see what He can do in and through us.

Want another example? (They are all through the Bible--just look at anyone who ever did anything big and you will first see the wasted worship experience either implied or spelled out.) In Habakkuk 3:17-19 NLT the prophet responds to God, "Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vine, even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren, even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, 18yet I will rejoice in the Lord! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation. 19The Sovereign Lord is my strength!"

The pattern I'm seeing here is that if one is really worshipping God as He intends, life will not be easy. He doesn't go easy on me because I choose to follow Him--far from it. Life will be quite challenging. But then, isn't it anyway? Life happens--what counts is my response to it and God. In relationship with Him, the things that happen will become fuel for growth instead of bitterness. If I enter into the right kind of "wasted worship," my life will not be pain-free, but it also will not be wasted in aimless wandering or futility.

Here's one (our last) example of wasted worship in the New Testament: Jn 12:1-5, 7a "Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was who had been dead, whom He had raised from the dead. 2There they made Him a supper, and Martha served, ... . 3Then Mary took a pound of very costly oil of spikenard (the NLT describes this gift as a 12-ounce jar of expensive perfume), anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil."

Let me pause here. This was an extravagant, over-the-top gesture, wasn't it? But the more practical minded didn't like her wasted worship and even had something to say about it. Verse 4: "But one of His disciples, Judas Iscariot, ...who would betray Him, said, 5'Why was this fragrant oil not sold ...and given to the poor?' "

Pause again. Note the heart of those opposed to true wasted worship. They have another agenda - not always a deceitful one, sometimes just an unenlightened or misguided one. I am not to judge them or let them stop me. Verse 7: "But Jesus said, 'Let her alone... .' "

Morals I draw from these true stories? True wasted worship will always look "out there" to those not involved. It may and probably will seem excessive. It may seem wasteful. But done with a right heart, it will please my Father God and change me. That's what I want. How about you?

P.S. I started part one saying that worship styles are being hotly contested in the American church. As I look at our working definitions, I see nothing about music or musical styles even mentioned. Worship is from the heart and life. Music is just one way it is expressed. I need to keep that perspective as I view our worship services. I think if we enter more and more into "wasted worship" as the Body of Christ, "worship wars" in the realm of music will become less and less prevalent. The Holy Spirit can and will unite those who are "of one heart and soul" as the Book of Acts describes. -bi

1 Great Ideas:

Anonymous James Ruark said...

Good article, Barb. It is important for us all to remember that to worship God is much more than singing at church, although verbal expression of His worth is probably the most powerful form of it. Everything we do is to be an act of worshipping Him, whether our work, our words, our driving, our upkeep of our house, etc... As has been pointed out, worship is a verb, not a noun. It is what you do.

July 21, 2008 1:18 PM

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