|Someone wondered about my notes. I take them in longhand, and just listen and write lots. Some of it is scribbles, so I transcribe them to help me to remember them. And I take down the Bible verses, and later go to my Bible and copy them out for you. I figure it makes it easier for you to read if the Scriptures are on the screen. I count myself blessed to have such good teachers. The Word comes alive when you have good teachers.
WEDNESDAY BIBLE STUDY 8/16/06
The topic is: Praise and Worship taught by Pastor Don Moore. I think I would call it SPIRITUAL JAZZ.
Pastor Don stated that when we enter into praise and worship, we enter into a place where we can get our prayers answered. There are different levels and types of praise and worship, but all praise and worship is a prayer. If it is not directed to God, it is just praise and worship to edify ourselves. The Church spends a lot of time edifying itself, and not as much time edifying God.
Praise and worship is not confined to one hour on Sunday, we can have praise and worship in our car, at home, when we talk to ourselves, when we talk to our mate, at work. In fact we can have praise and worship anywhere, anytime. We want to let our life be a praise offering.
Many of our praise offerings probably are depressing to God, if all we are talking about is our problems, complaints, and things that affect only us.
There is no clear line between prayer, praise and worship.
Prayer is talking to God, meditating upon God, and communicating with a Supernatural Being-God. There are different types of prayer: prayer of dedication, of supplication, of service, of intercession, of consecration, of healing, of faith. When we pray in a positive way we reach the heart of God with our heart.
Sometimes when we worship in church prayer becomes a performance. Some pray to get an emotional reaction from people, to emotionally stir up the people and stimulate them. This is not really the heart of God. Others pray – oh poor me, pity me. One example of that kind of prayer is a prayer that continually asks God to forgive me, a wretched sinner. When we got saved God forgave all, while we repent of the sins we do now, we are no longer a wretched sinner – God either forgave us or he didn’t, he either cleansed us completely, or he didn’t. To keep praying the wretched sinner prayer is implying that God didn’t completely die for our sins.
Worship services usually kick off with conventional praise – and is a member to member thing. We talk/sing about our struggles, and what we have been through, how God has saved us. We were miserable, now we have God and things are better. I have Jesus to see me through. This is not really praise of God, but it is praise of what God has done in our lives. It is more focused on us and our lives and what God has done for US.
Pastor Don sang a few of the lyrics of – Reverend Paul Jone’s song “I won’t complain” Here are the lyrics as an example.
I’ve had some good days
But when I look around
Sometimes the clouds are low
He dried all of my tears away
These kinds of songs talk of suffering, but unless Jesus has asked us for a testimony, they are self-centered praise songs. Focusing more on the person, their suffering and victory than on worshipping God.
Pastor Don says that there is a place for these songs in the service – it isn’t as if they are “bad songs” and many are very beautiful. They are good for starting to pull people together to praise and worship – but they aren’t pure praise songs, there is still too much of a “me” factor, not just focus on God. They are songs that talk to the emotional condition of the human being. And they do serve a human purpose. Amazing Grace is another example of this kind of song.
These are great songs, but they are not Praise as Praise is described in the Bible. The purpose of these songs is to begin to tie people together, to get them settled down into one accord, and to prepare them for real praise.
Praise is directed at pure adoration of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. Giving accolades of praise to God, defining His nature, dying to ourselves and focusing on Him. He is King of Kings, Lord of Lords.
Real praise is a description of love and adoration, pouring from my heart to the heart of God. To Him is all the glory. How wonderful God is. “Jesus, there is something about that name” is an example of such a praise song or “Be Magnified.” These kinds of praise and worship songs take our focus off of our individual human suffering and misery and give praise to Him. He inhabits the praises of His people, and Grace stoops down when we praise, and He listens to us, hearing us. So often, when we get out of the way and just praise Him, our problems resolve themselves.
A good flow of praise and worship in a church service goes from individual, to group songs for the people, then praise, which leads to worship. It is a natural flow.
When our worship is focused on glorification of God, He bends down to listen, and you communicate heart to heart with God, it is a humbling of ourselves, and we are not expecting a response from God.
I see the Lord High and Lifted Up. When we worship, we are in the grandeur of the presence of His Glory. It is a love song to God when we worship.
When we praise and worship God, we enter into his inner court in praise and adoration. Given we are the temple of God, we enter into our inner court in praise and adoration of God.
An example is Psalm 51 – where David comes to God, saying he messed up, asks forgiveness, and basks in God’s glory.
We have to ask what we are doing in our praise and worship. What is the Church doing? When we are in worship, sometimes the repertoire that we set up to follow will fall apart and we will be operating in Spirit order. God is waiting for us to get into His inner court where there is no rigid order (not that there isn’t order, but it is God’s order). Pastor Don calls it the place of snot and tears. He also called it a kind of Spiritual Jazz – where musicians and worshippers can play, pray, and flow in the Spirit, in the order of the piece they are playing, but according to the flow of the Holy Spirit.
We will see this in the Old Testament when the Priests and Levites knew what they had to do – what their jobs were, but they still left room for the Holy Spirit to work.
Christian entertainment has it’s place. It is far better than secular entertainment, but we also have to get beyond a place where we are waiting to be entertained. That doesn’t mean that we don’t make plans. Jesus, when He had to speak to a large crowd of people, planned the best place to speak and stood up in a boat to preach – He needed to do that to get His message across, water carries sound very well.
We looked at an example of Old Testament Praise and Worship, in great detail. The passages we studied concerned the dedication of the Temple of Solomon. David was unable to build the Temple, even though he had a heart to do so because David’s life was so filled with war, and that was not what God wanted in His Temple. So Solomon was to build the Temple and then Solomon consecrated it. If a warrior had built the Temple, there would have been a spirit of war within the walls, and God did not want that.
Pastor Don mentioned that we need to worship in our individual lives, not just when we gather to church. If we could get deep into worship, not get distracted by things, by our coffee, our phones, the TV, but really spend a few minutes, 10 minutes or more in pure worship, it would cross over into our day-to-day lives.
Tomorrow we will look at Worship the way God shows us in the Old Testament. I know you will be blessed.
Have a blessed day.
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