When Times Are Tough

When Times Are Tough

Many of us may be feeling oppressed these days.  With the global pandemic, hurricanes in the Gulf, and all of the unrest and division in our country; it is hard not to feel overwhelmed.  There is great news.  We have a place of security and safety we can run to.  Actually, it is not a place.  It is a person – Jesus Christ!

“The Lord also will be a stronghold for the oppressed, A stronghold in times of trouble;” Psalm 9:9 NASB

What is a stronghold, exactly?  According to Webster, a stronghold is defined as 1) a fortified place; 2) a place of security or survival[1]. Jesus is our stronghold! When times are tough and we feel overwhelmed, Jesus is right there with us.  He is in those times of trouble with us and will help us come through the tough times.               

Did you notice the verse said, “times of trouble”, not just “time of trouble”? It’s because tough times come to us several times during our lives – it is not just a one-time event. Wouldn’t that be wonderful, if we only experienced trouble once in our lifetime and never faced it again! Unfortunately that’s not how this fallen world works. Trouble can come to us daily, and even many times a day. Trouble often comes unexpectedly, and at times it seems to be waiting for us around every corner.

Times of trouble come for all of us – no one is exempt- but when these times do come, we are not at their mercy. We know that He is also our stronghold, our refuge at all times.  Jesus does not  pick which troubles He will help with. He is a refuge to us each and every time we face trouble.

Are you feeling overwhelmed by the things going on around you? Are you facing financial difficulties, relationship issues, feelings of depression and hopelessness?  There is a place of refuge, a stronghold you can run to for help. Jesus will make His presence your place of refuge. Go to Him and find help, safety, comfort, strength, guidance, whatever you need to make it through these times.  You can’t seek His help too many times! There is no trouble too small for Him! It doesn’t matter how many times you go to Him because He wants you to come to Him.

So, again, if today you are in one of these tough times, remember you have a stronghold- Jesus!

 

[1] Merriam-Webster. (n.d.). Stronghold. In Merriam-Webster.com dictionary. Retrieved September 21, 2020, from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/stronghold



What Would Jesus Do?

            Do you remember the “WWJD” bracelets of the 90’s?  Those letters stood for the question: “What Would Jesus Do?”  Thirty years later, some think the answer is rioting, looting, and burning.  A tweet from comic book artist Dean Trippe equating the violent riots to Jesus overturning the tables in the temple has gone viral and is (for some bizarre reason) gaining a lot of traction among Christians.

            To make his case, Trippe referenced the accounts in Matthew 21:12-13 and John 2:13-17. When Jesus arrived at the temple in Jerusalem, he found it in bad shape. Money-grubbers had overrun the house of worship and turned it into a marketplace. In response, Jesus drove them out, saying, “My house will be called ‘a house of prayer,’ but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.’”

            There is no similarity between that and the violence happening today.  The comparison is ignorant on a number of levels.  Trying to compare Jesus pointing out and removing the corruption from His temple to what is happening today shows an ignorance of what the Bible teaches completely.  He is God and has every right to clean His own home. He didn’t violate anyone’s rights. It’s Jesus’ house He was cleansing!  The idea that we could then turn that into looters going into other people’s houses and businesses and destroying them is absolute insanity and it shows a total ignorance of the biblical worldview. It was His house. 

            When we see people, that profess the name of Jesus, inciting riots and looting and trying to help with that and trying to put a Christian veneer over it, it breaks our hearts.  God abhors racism and His Word is very clear about victims’ rights.

            The only answer is Jesus!  God is holy; we are sinners. We are rebels against a holy God. We deserve hell. And all these things we see in our nation right now is an expression of the evil and wickedness that comes from within people’s hearts. It’s coming from deep down within and the only escape from that is through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ.

            Would you join with us in praying for a spiritual awakening and revival in the hearts of His people?  Here is a list of Specific Prayers For Revival and Spiritual Awakening:[1]

  1. Ask God to bring deep conviction of sin, spiritual brokenness, a holy fear of God and genuine repentance among His people. There will be no revival without these elements and only God can produce them in His people. After all we cannot program or work up genuine brokenness and repentance. (2 Corinthians 7:10)
  2. Pray for deep cleansing, genuine repentance, and spiritual power to engulf pastors and Christian leaders. Revival and spiritual awakening are extremely unlikely without a mighty move of God in pastors and Christian leaders. Renewed pastors are absolutely crucial to a move of God in our day! (Ephesians 6:14-20)
  3. Pray for God to bestow spiritual hunger in His people and draw them to fervent intercession. God has to grant people the genuine faith and the fervent desire for prayer. With all our promotion and programming, we cannot “produce a genuine prayer movement. (Philippians 2:13)
  4. Pray that God will bring loving unity in our churches and a deep harmony between our churches. Many churches need healing among members and many churches need to stop competing jealously with other churches. (John 13:35)
  5. Pray for God to fill His people with a passion to see people saved. (Only God can give a genuine burden for souls.) Until God’s people intensely pray for the lost and do aggressive soul winning revival will tarry. Be sure you are constantly praying for many lost people by name. (Romans 9:1-3)

[1] https://www.absc.org/articles/10-specific-prayers-for-revival-spiritual-awakening/



“Tune My Heart”

           I have been thinking.  Having been a Worship Leader, I realized that we could get away with a lot in the first song each Sunday, if I really wanted. Very few would even notice.  People are coming in late, trying to settle their kids, silencing their phones, checking their phones, wrapping up conversations, or just generally disoriented.

            The truth is many of us walk into worship not quite ready to worship. We need a little time to center and focus ourselves. Some of us are frustrated with our kids. Some are disheartened about our work. Some are stressed about the demands of school or the deadlines of our jobs. Others are depressed or apathetic about life. Yet others are fearful, distraught, or mourning. Weekly worship calls us back into a story with the emotional highs and lows of sin and salvation, so we all need to recalibrate.

            The beginning of worship is a critical moment when we release everything else demanding our attention into the capable hands of the very One we are preparing to encounter.

Tune My Heart

            Some historic hymns seem to run on an endless tank of fuel. No matter how many times we sing them, they speak to us, stir us, and lead us to worship. “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” is one of those hymns for me.

Come, thou fount of every blessing,
Tune my heart to sing thy grace.

          Tune my heart. It’s like guitar in its case, or left out on a stand, it’s not the same guitar. When it is picked up a few days later and strummed, it’s out of tune. Because of forces inside (wood, tension, aging strings) and forces outside (temperature, humidity), a guitar left alone will always fall out of tune.

The same phenomenon happens in our hearts. Between Sundays, we get knocked around, and the forces inside and outside of us — our sin, others’ sin, and the fallenness of the world — send our hearts in all kinds of directions. When we come back to worship together, and the Holy Spirit begins to strum the strings of our hearts, we hear dissonance. Hearts always require re-tuning.

            Because this kind of calibration is critical, but can be difficult, consider a few tips for how to prepare your hearts well for worship.

Worship starts before you enter.

            As many have said before, we don’t enter into corporate worship and begin to worship. We come into the space already worshiping. Our hearts have been loving and desiring in all kinds of directions this week. The first step is to simply recognize and confess that fact, praying that the Holy Spirit would increasingly narrow the gap between the worship offered on Sundays and the worship offered Mondays through Saturdays. The worshiper who grows in orienting their heart toward God Monday through Saturday (whole-life worship) will find themselves more calibrated for Sundays (gathered worship).

Center your heart before worship.

            Before a worship service, all of us can do things that make entrance into worship easier. We can meditate on a verse or two in Scripture or pray through a psalm. We can listen to music that stirs and orients our hearts. Perhaps just ten minutes of quiet is what we need. Certainly turning our phone to “do not disturb” (or even off) can be a helpful, intentional practice to calm our frayed, distracted minds.

Arrive early.

            Few things make it harder to fully engage in worship than arriving just on time or late. Arriving early gives us plenty of time to find a place to sit, and then center our hearts through the word and prayer.

            We’ll also have a chance to prepare for worship by greeting others. Some people think the only way to prepare for worship is to quietly pray and ignore everyone else. That’s a one-dimensional way to approach worship. Because worship is both vertical (us and God) and horizontal (one another), greeting the people worshiping next to you is a wonderful way to calibrate your heart for corporate worship.

Make the most of the first moments.

            Jump into the deep end. Let the call to worship and the opening hymns or songs flood your mind and heart. Sing loudly, breathe deeply, feel passionately. Sometimes, participating physically actually leads our affections to engage spiritually. Recognize that the opening of worship is meant for our calibration, and let it prepare our hearts to worship.



Pure Worship

Going organic has become all the rage now.  People are more than willing to drive the extra mile and pay the extra money for it. The dictionary defines organic as “constitutional or inherent in the basic structure of something; fundamental.”1  So those who take those extra steps to get it want to be assured of getting a product that is as close to nature as possible from a source they trust. They also, more than likely, handle it in such a way as to protect its purity.

This got me thinking; “What if we applied this “organic” concept to our worship – what would it look like? How could we have worship that’s pure, untainted – as God intended?”

Organic worship would be a worship that is grounded and nourished in the Word of God.  It is where we experience His love, learn His ways, and discover His purposes. It’s where we hear the story of His pursuit of us and His call for us to pursue Him.  It is also where we learn how to live a life that is pleasing to Him.  Allowing the Spirit to guide our day-to-day life, including our worship.

God’s Word is also where He reveals His purpose for us.  It is where we can learn from the first worshipers.  We can hear their hearts and see their faith.  It is also where we get a glimpse of His amazing response to their worship.  If we take in all that His Word teaches us regarding worship, we won’t want to just settle for anything less than what He desires.  The attitudes of ignorance, apathy, or callousness would be wiped away.  We will come to the realization that, a focus on ritual, self, or anything else other than our Almighty God just work.  We will not want to “go through the motions” anymore.  Once we get a taste of true, organic worship, and realize that it is so much better and accomplishes so much more, nothing else will do.  We will not get hung up on the things that do not matter or that seriously hinder us.  We will just want to get to the feet of Jesus.  Remember – the WORD is ALIVE! (Hebrews 4:12) It pierces our hearts. It diminishes the glories of this world and raises the glories of our King – giving us a greater passion to worship Him!
 
“What is the cost?” you may ask.  It does cost a little more.  If we haven’t had to go the extra mile to get there, chances are it is not organic. True worship involves sacrifice.  Once we understand the value of true, organic worship, there is no cost too high or sacrifice too great.  We know that He alone is worthy!  We know that His sacrifice was far greater.

“How do we pursue this organic worship?”  Here are a few steps that will help:

  1. Do our homework: Know what the Bible teaches regarding God, your relationship to Him, and worship.
      1. “Like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation” 1 Pet.2:2 NASB.
      2. “O send out Your light and Your truth, let them lead me; Let them bring me to Your holy hill And to Your dwelling places” Psalm 43:3 NASB.
  2. Pay attention to the source: Allow the Holy Spirit to reign in your life and trust His guidance of your worship.
      1. “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship” Romans 12:1 NASB.
      2. “But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” John 4:23-24.
  3. Don’t taint it: Pursue a pure, singular focus on God Almighty in worship.
      1. “Who may ascend into the hill of the LORD? And who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, Who has not lifted up his soul to falsehood And has not sworn deceitfully. He shall receive a blessing from the LORD And righteousness from the God of his salvation” Psalm 24:3-5 NASB
      2. “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect” Romans 12:2 NASB.
      3. “For we are the true circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh” Philippians 3:3 NASB
  4. Pay the price: Sacrifice the time and attention necessary to pursue an intimate relationship with God and to worship Him.
      1. “Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name” Hebrews 13:15 NASB.
      2. “Willingly I will sacrifice to You; I will give thanks to Your name, O LORD, for it is good” Psalm 54:6 NASB.

1 – https://www.vocabulary.com/dictionary/organic

 


My Relationship With God Is Cold

My Relationship With God Is Cold

 

“How did you get close to God again? I’m not sinning, like doing drugs or drinking or swearing, but I get mad easily and don’t feel that connection with God. I just want my relationship with God back.”

If you are a mature believer, questions like this may be familiar. Here is an answer that has worked for me.

Do what the early church did.

42 They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” Acts 2:42 NASB

  • Devote yourself to the apostles teaching — study the Bible regularly
  • Devote yourself to the fellowship — don’t go it alone. We need one another. We need the accountability of the body and we need to share our time and stuff with one another in sacrificial ways.
  • Devote yourself to the breaking of bread — again, we need to worship the King together. We need to remember the sacrifice of the cross together with other believers.
  • Devote yourself to “the prayers” — the text and most modern translations say “prayers” not “prayer”. The plural is important. Most scholars will say that the meaning is not just to “saying your prayers” or praying and talking to God regularly. The plural has a very specific referent. Either it means the 3x a day pattern of Jewish prayer in the first century or, and more likely, it means they devoted themselves to the prayer book of the Old Testament, the book of Psalms.

My own experience is, that when my walk with God has grown cold or lukewarm, doing these things restores my passion and appreciation for the wonders of the gospel and the beauty of my Savior.

Give it time. Doing these things is not a shot of adrenaline. They are exercises for your spirit and will “pay off” over time (just like physical exercise) as you continually make the “devote yourself” investment.

Ask yourself this question, what commands of Christ am I not doing that I know I ought to be doing? Why this question?

Look at John 14:21

21 He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him.” NASB

Jesus ties further revelation of himself, greater intimacy with himself to our obedience to the commands he has given us.

Look at Galatians 2:20

20 I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and a]the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” NASB

Live your life by faith not by how you feel.

Train your heart to act on truth revealed not how you feel in the moment.

Finally, check out your love life?

Read Luke 7:38–50, especially verse 47.

47 For this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little.” NASB

“He who is forgiven little, loves little.” Whenever I, or any of us, forget how much we have been forgiven our faith will become stale and inconsequential to our lives; but when we go back to the cross, when we spend time meditating on how much we have been forgiven, new springs of joy will begin to arise in our hearts.



UpSide Down

Upside Down

“2020 will be known as a year of disruption. A global pandemic has monopolized our attention, blanketing media sources. Countries have spent weeks shut down, and COVID-19 brought travel to a halt, shuttered business, and consumed the attention of the medical world. A rapidly spreading virus truly has ‘turned the world upside down.’ Acts 17 uses that phrase as well but in a positive sense. Paul and Silas were preaching and ministering in the city of Thessalonica, to great success. Persecuted, their detractors said, ‘These that have turned the world upside down have come here too.’ (Acts 17:6 NKJV.) Against the backdrop of this pandemic, missionaries around the world continue to minister, bringing grace and mercy to a hurting and spiritually hungry world. They are turning their communities upside down by living out the gospel, being ready to give an answer to those with questions about their faith.”  
 
When minister Rev. Charles G. Finney began his evangelistic meetings in 1830 in Rochester, New York, so many came to Christ that bars closed, Sunday was a quiet day of rest, churches were full and crime diminished. One local historian recorded that “Rochester was shaken to its foundations.” It was a ‘world-turned-upside-down’ Holy Spirit happening.
 
When we hear and read about such occurrences we tend to think that such times are for mission fields and third world countries somewhere else, but from God’s perspective the whole planet is a mission field and the US is no different than Ghana in His eyes. This is a source of hope, because it means that the same Holy Spirit who is turning communities upside down elsewhere can also do it here in the US. God knows we need it at this time in our history.
      
Reflective question:  Will you believe that if a pandemic can turn the world upside down so can the power of the Gospel, and pray to that end for your community?
 
Reflective Scripture: Acts 4:31 – “After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and spoke the word of God boldly.”


Are There Ways To Worship God Other Than Musically?

 

“Are There Ways To Worship God That Do Not Include Music Or Singing?”

When many of us hear ‘worship God’, we equate it to corporate, musical worship in a church service. While this is an important aspect of worship, it is only one of many ways we can ascribe worth to God.

Romans 12:1 “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.”

God desires that we give Him our full attention, adoration, and time. Everything we do in life should be an act of worship to Him because of all He has done for us.  In John 4, Jesus calls us to “Worship in Spirit and in Truth.” Jesus tells us that we are to worship the truth of who He is no matter where we are and no matter what we are doing.

While there are many ways to worship God outside of musical worship, let’s look at three key ways we can worship God with our whole lives: prayer, service, and giving.

Prayer

Prayer is very important to God because it is a way for us to love Him back through communication. Chronicles 16:28 says, “Ascribe to the LORD glory and strength.” God wants us to directly come before Him and recognize all He has done for us. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 tells us to never stop praying. This means that we should be constantly communicating with God in prayer throughout our day.

Serving

This not only includes how we serve in our church, but how we serve people outside of it. If we are followers of Jesus, we are following a Servant. Galatians 5:13 commands us to serve one another in love. When we choose to intentionally love and serve other people, we are also loving and serving God. Always be looking for ways to serve more in our church, community, and family.

Giving

There are countless Bible verses about how we give; but they inherently have the same message: Give to others because God gave to you. While giving financially is very important, money is not the only thing that we can give. We can also give of our time and our talents. Regardless of what we are giving, here are three tips to help us give well:

  • Give Sacrificially
  • Give Regularly
  • Give Proportionately

God has blessed us with many things, so He is pleased when we turn around and give to others. It doesn’t matter how much money, time, or talents we have, we can all give something. Only we know how generous we can be with the things that God has given us.

You can worship God with your life in these ways, as well as countless others. If you are unsure how to worship him throughout each day, begin by asking in prayer.



Getting Closer To Jesus

 

As many have noticed, we have had sort of a theme in our worship this month.  It revolves around wanting more and more of Jesus in our lives, both personally and corporately as the body of Christ.  This naturally led me to this question:

How do I get more and more of Jesus & how can I get closer to Him?

I have learned that the closer we get to Jesus, the stronger and happier we become. Sometimes in life we may not have that certain someone to encourage and push us forward, but when we experience radical intimacy with Jesus, every aspect of life seems to just fit in and fall into place. Getting closer to Jesus is an ongoing process that involves any number of steps.  Now, I am not claiming to be an expert on the subject by any means, but here are four simple things that the Lord put in my heart:

  1. Spend quality quiet time with Jesus. Quiet time can involve reading various gospel oriented books or listening to devotionals or even Christian music. Just taking some time off to sit and think about certain verses or passages from the Bible would also amount to quiet time. It’s frankly just isolating ourselves from this noisy world and letting God know that we are waiting on him. So quality quiet time would surely make us feel closer to Jesus.
  2. Attend church regularly. This doesn’t mean just taking up space in a pew hoping that Jesus will seep in through osmosis.  We need to be sure that we try to actively engage ourselves in the worship. When songs are being sung, sing along from the heart, when the Word is being preached, we need to listen intently and open our hearts to the message He has for us. Being engaged in church can have you leaving Spirit-filled and closer to Jesus.
  3. Read the Bible. The Bible is the inspired Word of God himself.  Consider, if you will, the following verses:
    1. John 1:1 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” KJV
    2. John 1:14 “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”
    3. Since we refer to the Bible as the Word of God, and the above verses tell us that “the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” & “The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us,” it is my humble opinion that the Bible is a manifestation of Jesus. Keep in mind that I am not a biblical scholar by any stretch.  The way I figure it is the best way to have an intimate knowledge of Jesus and to be as close as humanly possible to Him is to, not just read, but ingest, dwell on, meditate on Jesus, the Word of God.
  4. Talk to Him. The best way that I have found to get to know more about someone is to talk to them.  It is the same way with Jesus.  Jesus is our friend.  No, He is more than just a friend.  We are His family. We should talk to Him like He is in the room with us.  Jesus is always listening and will never leave us or forsake us.  Regular, meaningful conversations with Jesus are the best way to get closer to Him.


More Thoughts On Worship

 

What’s the first thing you think of when you hear the word “worship”?

Unfortunately, for most people that have been raised in a church, the word has become synonymous with singing or meeting together for a service. Since I have been the Interim Worship Leader here at Orchard, I have had a revelation.  I have realized that I am not concerned about what we are singing as much as I am concerned about what we are seeing. I realize that people worship at different levels. If you have not seen the One you worship, then you will always struggle in your response.

11 Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. 12 In a loud voice, they were saying: “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!” 13 Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying: “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power for ever and ever!” — Revelation 5:11-13

I love that this scripture gives us a picture of what worship is like. They are not just singing a song they were taught, but they are describing the One that they are looking at. It’s also a great description of what we should give in response to His greatness. Things like power, wealth, wisdom, strength, honor, glory and praise. That pretty much means He deserves everything we have.

I had an encounter with God at the age of 26 that changed me forever. God became more than a history book. He was no longer a God that seemed so distant and unresponsive. The God of the universe revealed Himself and everything inside of me changed. Worship was no longer something I could just do, but it was something I had to become.

The word worship can be defined as “worth-ship”. In other words, the daily activity of my life, reveals the worth of the God that I serve. This is why it is so important to be a person of character when proclaiming to be a Christian. The world is watching us and they determine who God is by the actions of His followers. We are the representatives of God on the earth. What do we want people to believe about Him? How much is His image worth to us?

When we choose to love instead of hate, to be patient instead of reacting, to be joyful in times of trials, or to be strong in the face of fear, then our response is an act of worship. Our response reveals His worth.

Challenge Question:

In what ways have your daily responses revealed your own worth instead of God’s? Write down 3 ways you might reveal God’s worth in your daily life.



Thoughts About Worship

 

Thoughts About Worship

Question: “What is the difference between Praise and Worship?  Aren’t they the same?”

Answer: Understanding the difference between praise and worship can bring a new depth to the way we honor the Lord. Throughout the Bible, the commands to “praise the Lord” are too numerous to mention. Angels and the heavenly hosts are commanded to praise the Lord (Psalm 89:5103:20148:2). All inhabitants of the earth are instructed to praise the Lord (Psalm 138:4Romans 15:11). We can praise Him with singing (Isaiah 12:5Psalm 9:11), with shouting (Psalm 33:198:4), with the dance (Psalm 150:4), and with musical instruments (1 Chronicles 13:8Psalm 108:2150:3-5).

Worship, however, comes from a different place within our spirits. Worship should be reserved for God alone (Luke 4:8). Worship is the art of losing self in the adoration of another. Praise can be a part of worship, but worship goes beyond praise. Praise is easy; worship is not. Worship gets to the heart of who we are. To truly worship God, we must let go of our self-worship. We must be willing to humble ourselves before God, surrender every part of our lives to His control, and adore Him for who He is, not just what He has done. Worship is a lifestyle, not just an occasional activity. Jesus said the Father is seeking those who will worship Him “in spirit and in truth” (John 4:23).

In Scripture, praise is usually presented as boisterous, joyful, and uninhibited. God invites praise of all kinds from His creation. Jesus said that if people don’t praise God, even the “stones will cry out” (Luke 19:40). The tone changes when the Bible mentions worship. We read verses like; “Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness” (Psalm 96:9). And, “Come let us worship and bow down” (Psalm 95:6). Often, worship is coupled with the act of bowing or kneeling, which shows humility and contrition (2 Chronicles 29:28Hebrews 11:21Revelation 19:10). It is through true worship that we invite the Holy Spirit to speak to us, convict us, and comfort us. Through worship, we realign our priorities with God’s and acknowledge Him once more as the rightful Lord of our lives.

Just as praise is intertwined with thanksgiving, worship is intertwined with surrender. It is impossible to worship God and anything else at the same time (Luke 4:8). The physical acts often associated with worship—bowing, kneeling, lifting hands—help to create the necessary attitude of humility required for real worship. Wise worship leaders know how to structure a worship service to allow participants to both praise and worship the Lord. Often, services begin with joyous praise songs and transition to a quieter, more introspective opportunity for worship.

Worship is an attitude of the heart. A person can go through the outward motions and not be worshiping (Psalm 51:16-17Matthew 6:5-6). God sees the heart, and He desires and deserves sincere, heartfelt praise and worship.