“God is pleased when our worship is accurate.” We cannot just “create our own comfortable or politically correct image of God and worship it. That is idolatry.”
“God is pleased when our worship is authentic.” “It is not just a matter of saying the right words; you must mean what you say. When we worship, God looks past our words to see the attitude of our hearts.”
Music can even hinder our worship. “Being emotionally moved by music and being moved by the Spirit are not the same. Worship happens when your spirit responds to God, not to music. Some sentimental, introspective songs take the spotlight off of God and focus on our feelings.” I don’t know about you, but I never thought of that. I have gone to churches where music was the biggest thing about the church service – the music lasted longer than the sermon, which I did find a bit different. I go for more of the message myself, not so much the music. Don’t get me wrong, I do love those old tyme church hymns, which do not only draw me closer to God and to worshipping; I am also reminded of my grandparents. I wonder if that’s a bad thing for my focus to not be completely on God.
Most interesting – the part about many forms of praise mentioned in the Bible – “confessing, singing, shouting, standing in honor, kneeling, dancing, making a joyful noise, testifying, playing musical instruments, and raising hands. The best style of worship is the one that most authentically represents your love for God, based on the background and personality God gave you.”
On Page 117, where Mr. Warren mentions Gary Thomas’ book Sacred Pathways, which ones do you find you relate? Which of those nine ways do you draw near to God? I am a combo package, I guess. I see myself as a Naturalist, as I am very inspired to love God outside, in natural settings. I love trees! I love mountains (although I don’t have any here…*sniff*), I love dirt, grass, birds, bugs, the sights and sounds, smells of nature, the crispness of winter air. I feel closer to God outside. I am also an Ascetic, since I appreciate loving God in solitude and simplicity. I’m somewhat of an Activist, who loves God through confronting evil, battling injustice, and working to make the world a better place.
“There is no “one-size fits all approach to worship and friendship with God. One thing is certain: You don’t bring glory to God by trying to be someone he never intended you to be. God wants you to be yourself.”
Being yourself. It means many things. Worshipping the way you are comfortable worshipping. Being true to yourself. Following the path you feel drawn or led to. No one can point this out to you. We all have to find our own way, our own path, which leads me to a little story. 😉
While Hallie was in ballet class (she trained from age 2 to 4) one evening, I spoke with a young girl that was hanging out, waiting for her little sister. She was a gymnast. I remember asking her, “Do you love gymnastics?” She looked at me with a painful expression, her face flushed and did not speak. Her mother was in the room, as well. 😦 Her mother spoke up, saying, “She’s been taking gymnastics for nine years and she’s not about to stop now! I don’t care if she hates it.” The young girl’s eyes held back tears. I could see and feel how trapped she was. She was not being allowed to be herself.
I do believe in follow-through. I’ve never allowed Hallie to join anything without telling her in the beginning that she’s going to stick it out for a complete season and if, at that time, she wishes to stop or continue, we’ll go from there. Hallie has participated in so many things in her 11 years – dance, karate, piano, guitar, voice, horse-riding, soccer, basketball, and Girl Scouts, just to name a few. She asked to take part in each activity. At times, when it was difficult for her, such as her fingers hurting at the beginning of guitar lessons (because she had to build up calluses on her fingers to strengthen them to manipulate the strings), she’d cry and beg for me to let her quit. It hurt my heart to tell her no, but I knew if she’d stick it out, she’d wind up loving it, and even if she didn’t, I wanted her to have follow-through and give it an honest chance. (By the way, she did wind up loving guitar after her fingers stopped hurting, which didn’t take long.)
When you get weak or tired or it’s too hard, you don’t give up (I’m talking, partly, to myself here), you stand strong, you keep going, you get it done, because you have made a commitment. You don’t break your commitment. Yes, I failed at many commitments. We all fail at different times – one thing or another. We are all going to fail at something; at so many things. It’s the effort you put forth that matters. Give it an honest try. Stick it out, at least for a season. If you did your best and you tried to love it and learn it and you aren’t having a good time, or you know it’s not meant for you, you need to find your way to what is meant for you.
I’ve given her these opportunities for many reasons. I wanted her to have all the opportunities I missed out on (not blaming here); I wanted her to find things in her life that she’s good at, that she loves, that bring her joy, that can possibly get her a scholarship – many reasons. She made many friends (Well, that pretty much happens everywhere the girl goes! She doesn’t meet a stranger.), she’s learned a lot; she’s learned what she’s not meant to do and she’s found some things that she loves, and some things that she’d like to try again. Point is, if it’s not meant for you, you pretty much know it in your heart. If you haven’t given it a season, you need to stick it out and you might change your mind and love it. If your child has done this thing for 9 years!!! and she absolutely hates it!!!!! please, let her choose her own path in life. She’s going to resent you for it, I promise you!
My mother was forced for years to play the piano. She hated it. My grandparents didn’t care that she hated it. She was going to play the piano anyway, whether she wanted to, or not. What do you think she did as an adult? She rebelled. When I had a dream of being a pianist (and oh! I wanted to play the piano for years), my mother would not allow it (not blaming here, only making a point), for one reason – she was forced to play; therefore, I would not be allowed to learn to play at all. Crazy, right? That’s how some of us work sometimes. That’s how some of our brains work. Our brains become wired, partly due to our earlier experiences.
Obviously, it wasn’t meant for me to become a famous pianist, and I’m totally ok with that . . . now. 😉 I have no regrets. Besides, I’m having way too much fun with my young’ne, watching her try on new things, seeing how they fit, hating them one minute, loving them the next, tossing some away, keeping others, and again, trying new things.
“God is pleased when our worship is thoughtful. If worship is mindless, it is meaningless.”
“God insists that our worship services be understandable to unbelievers when they are present in our worship gatherings. Paul observed, “Suppose some strangers are in your worship service, when you are praising God with your spirit. If they don’t understand you, how will they know to say, ‘Amen’? You may be worshipping God in a wonderful way, but no one else will be helped.” I’ve experienced this kind of worship. I could not get out of the service fast enough. Have you ever gone into a different sort of church, looking for a new experience with God or test out someone else’s way of worshipping? Have you ever gone to your friend’s church and it’s not like what you are used to AT ALL? Did it totally freak you out? I’ve been there. That was me running out the door with my eyes about to pop out of my head.
When I was younger, a friend of mine was forced by her parents to go to church with them, as long as she was going to live in their house. Her parents had recently converted to a different religion than she had been raised for the earlier 16 years. She did not want to go to this new, weird church (her words, not mine). (Several faiths speak in tongues, so this is not to put down speaking in tongues or any particular faith.) She went to this church and they were “speaking in tongues”, which to her was babblety-goo. By the end of this church service, she was speaking babblety-goo just to blend in, because she didn’t want anyone looking at her funny. Do you think this was wrong on the church’s part? On the girl’s part? The parents? Is it a trick question? What do you think? (For more on speaking in tongues, please consult the Bible, Acts 2:1-13; 1 Corinthians 14:2; 1 Corinthians 12:6-11; 1 Corinthians 14:23, 27-28. If ya need more, holla.)
“Being sensitive to unbelievers who visit your worship gatherings is a biblical command. To ignore this command is to be both disobedient and unloving.”
“God is pleased when our worship is practical. You have heard people say, “I can’t make it to the meeting tonight, but I’ll be with you in spirit.” Do you know what that means? Nothing. It’s worthless! As long as you are on earth, your spirit can only be where your body is. If your body isn’t there, neither are you.” Yeah, om, that’s right. *feeling a little guilt here*
I suppose when we get home, whether we are whooped from a late game of basketball, or not, we’ll go over our prayer list, no matter how tired we are. I need to learn what it means to be a living sacrifice. I’ll do it because it pleases him. I won’t find a way out of it, because I’m tired or feel I have no time or for whatever reason. I need to make more of an effort.
So sorry I’m late with today’s chapter. It was a busy day for us. I have plugged in different parts of today’s blog throughout different parts of the day, now I’m finally editing and revising and publishing. Better late than never? I’ll do better tomorrow. At least I did it and that says a lot about me, considering I have no follow-through. I’ve heard it said if you can do one thing, consistently, for 21 days, you can create a habit. Here’s to hoping I can stick to this daily posting. It’s actually driving me, motivating me. It’s quite enjoyable, reading this lovely book, making notes and journaling about what I’ve read and then blogging about it. I hope you are enjoying it. I’d love to hear from you if you’d like to share.
God speed. Sleep tight. Sweet dreams. G’ night. Hope to see ya here tomorra. Love ya! *hug*