At the heart of worship
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I invited my son, Craig, to be a guest blogger.  I am a proud mom!  (Well, except for the comment on my singing…but I raised him to tell the truth!)  Enjoy this…I sure did! J-

I want to begin by thanking my mom for giving me the chance to speak my heart.  While my dad has been the source of so much theology over the years, as well as countless other great things in my life, it’s always been my mom who would have hard, honest conversations with me about God.  Love you Mom.

Now that I’ve got you all in tears, let’s get to something I feel God has placed on my heart.  It centers on one important question: what is your worship like?  I’m not talking about musicianship.  I understand if you can’t carry a tune.  I grew up sitting next to my mother, whose inability to sing is probably well known to you all by now.  I’m talking about something deeper.  What happens when you worship?  Do you feel God’s smile?  Do things in your life seem to fall into the right places?

It’s at this point that you might be thinking I’m going to teach you how to worship better.  Well, I tried to worship better and got nowhere.  Instead, I’m going to tell you that, if not much happens when you worship, it’s not your fault.  In fact you cannot switch good worship on and off at all.  The reason: you aren’t the source of good worship, God is.  Now that I’ve probably got you a little confused and skeptical, let’s look at what I mean.

1 John 4 is one of my favorite passages in the Bible.  John writes, “We love because he first loved us” (v. 19).  Before you can truly worship you have to allow God to love you.  Here’s another kicker.  1 Corinthians 13 says, “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or clanging cymbal” (v. 1).  If we can’t love until we receive God’s love for us, and without love our worship resembles a gong or cymbal, we should not worship without a true revelation of his love for us.

What an interesting concept, a worship leader telling people not to worship.  I hope I don’t lose my worship leader license over this!  I went years without having authentic, intimate worship.  I’m talking years and years.  I simply didn’t know how to let God love me.  I had been told God loved me my entire life, probably from some of you, but I didn’t really know that he did.

Then one day, he broke through and spoke to my heart.  It began as I had the revelation that Jesus died for me specifically.  It was in that moment, as I began to really thank him, that his sweet, loving voice spoke to my heart, “You were worth it.”  Whew!  Now I’ve got myself in tears.  Jesus says I am worth it.  My worship hasn’t been the same since that time.  There is no way it could be. 

Have you ever just let God love you like that?  Your life won’t be right until you do.  If you don’t feel like you are really having true worship this Sunday, just sit down in your pew or seat and talk to God first.  Don’t spend another minute clanging cymbals together.  Just simply let God remind you how much he loves you. Let him remind you that he died for you.  Then stand up and worship the true, living God who gave up everything for you and for me.  That’s what God wants.  He is after your heart.  It’s what he has always wanted.

P.S.  If you are looking for some extra help in this area I want to recommend to you Brennan Manning’s book, The Furious Longing of God. He does a great job of demonstrating God’s true heart for his people and this book has been a huge help in my life.

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