Monday, January 19, 2009

Examining Worship: part III - Who is the focus?

This post is a follow up to Lecherous Worship

I think Louie Giglio put it well. "You know your church is healthy when people are going to lunch going 'God, how'd you feel about it. Did you like it? Did you get a lot out of it? 'cause we came for you.'"

In my last post in this series, I left out one category that could really have fit in either entry, the issue of over-emotionalism. I decided to address the problem of over-emotionalism under the heading of focus because it has a different effect than the other two. Songs and worship 'experiences' built primarily on emotions remove God and His works as the central foundation of our faith, and instead places our faith in how we feel. When our faith becomes captive to our emotions, our picture of Christ can become morphed and twisted to suit our desires. This is when we start hearing songs that talk about Jesus as though he is our boyfriend.

A close cousin to over-emotionalism is what I would call self-righteousness. It is singing to God of all the things we have done and will do on His behalf. This does not celebrate the Gospel of Grace. It is work righteousness.

Jesus Christ did all the work on the cross for us, while we were dead in our sins. Worship begins with a grateful recognition of who God is and what He has done. Yes, we can have emotions, and yes we can declare what we will do in response to God's work in our life, but it begins with God.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Practice Before You Practice!

Sorry I haven't posted very frequently. I have been wrestling with a long post for a week or two. So in the mean time I will leave this short word of wisdom.

I have been thinking about the idea of practicing before you practice. This is specifically aimed at musicians, but it may apply to other areas too. I will consider this the musical equivalent to "measure twice, cut once."

It is helpful to me when preparing for rehearsal to walk through each song in my head, and perhaps on my guitar so I have an idea of what direction I am going with it. I also can brush up on specific riffs and make sure I start on the right fret. When I do this, I can play what I intend to play during rehearsal without messing up (too bad), and I can hear if it works, and the rest of the worship team have a solid example to try their performance against. Then, if anything needs adjusting, it can be adjusted more easily and confidently.

I don't always do this, and it shows. I would encourage everyone to take 5 minutes when they see the set list to think through it so we can bring our best and be unified in our efforts.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

God of This City

I hear a lot of songs that do nothing for me, and God of this City is one of them. But I had an opportunity to see Chris Tomlin explain this song in concert and it clicked. I developed a picture in my mind of people in every city in the world looking to do God's work in that city, and how the work of each Christian where they are at could have a profound cumulative effect for the Gospel throughout the world.

So this week we are introducing "God of This City." I hope you are blessed by this song and are praying for God to reveal how you are to be used in your city.