“If the Christian life has become the path of ease and fun in the modern West, then corporate worship is the place of increasing entertainment.
The problem is not a battle between contemporary worship music and hymns; the problem is that there aren’t enough martyrs during the week. If no soldiers are perishing, what you want on Sunday is Bob Hope and some pretty girls, not the army chaplain and a surgeon…
Worship is the display of the surpassing worth of God revealed in Jesus Christ…
Faith-filled suffering is essential in this world for the most intense, authentic worship…
Our problem is not styles of worship. Our problem is styles of life. When we embrace more affliction for the worth of Christ there will be more fruit in the worship of Christ.”
John Piper, The Hidden Smile of God, pp 167-169
Listen to Brian K. Rice’s (Leadership ConneXtions International) response:
Pretty powerful words.
It is the quality and integrity of one’s Christian life in the world that shapes what one looks for and needs in the time of corporate worship in the sanctuary.
How you live shapes how you worship and how you need to worship.
Sometimes I come to the worship service and my heart is cool, my mind distracted, my passion for Jesus tempered and my previous week lukewarm.
Pity the worship leader and team… for now I expect him or her to entertain me, pick me up, charge me up… and of course I’ll be the critic and judge for lights, sound, style, energy, mistakes…
Other times I come to the worship service and my heart is aflame for Christ, I am in the midst of challenging times and heavy demands, I know my need, I long for God.
Pray for the worship leader and team… for now I need her or him to create a sacred space and a pathway of worship so I, weary and worn from battle and costly service, together with others, may meet with God.
If one is seriously following Christ in the world, passionate about His glory, and devoted to accomplishing His purposes . . . then you are going to have some trial and tribulation, you are going to face obstacles and enemies and then you are going to need a fresh and real encounter with the Sovereign God in worship to sustain you on the journey and in the fight.
How do you come to worship? Seriously. Do you find yourself critiquing the choir or cultivating a life with God? Was it wasted space or sacred space? Did you leave the same as you came in or did those moments in God’s presence become a shaping influence in your life? Every week you get to choose which it will be.
So good and so what I needed to hear! I appreciate your thoughts and heart! Love you!
Thank you for posting these ideas. They’re simply very powerful and so true. I believe God is calling people out into a worship revival. An awakening from all this commercial and shallow worship that many of us have been offering during the last decades. I am starting out a ministry that helps worship teams grow spiritually as well as technically. If you happen to speak spanish here’s our blog: proyectobases.blogspot.com. Perhaps you can find something useful as well. God continues pouring His blessings upon you!
Gail: Your post struck a “chord” in my experience at a worshipper and worship pastor. I whole heartedly agree with the idea that “Faith-filled suffering is essential in this world for the most intense, authentic worship…” When I am intensely aware of my need, I intensely long for God – the music, quality, worship leader and team don’t matter nearly as much as the opportunity they help create for me connect with God.
Great thoughts, Tina. SO TRUE when you said, “When I am aware of my need, I intensely long for God.” Ask anyone who has gone through cancer or the loss of a loved one, they would agree. In this way, our trials and hardships become environments where, if we are attentive and open, we encounter God in a real, life-giving way. Thanks, Tina.