faith, worship

In Spirit and Truth

Social media and I go way back.

I first joined Facebook in 2008 – long before any family or friends joined the platform. Prior to that I was on MySpace. And, before that I lived for Message Boards. Yeah, remember them?

As such, I often find it humorous looking back at Facebook Memories. Some of the things I posted oh so many years ago…oy vey!

But, I came across a series of posts that had me saying AMEN all over again. This was back when Facebook had more of a character limit, so it appeared in multiple posts.

The thoughts came – in 2010 – after an email I received from a couple I respected. It had nothing to do with what they said in an email. It was something that began stirring in my soul afterward. It read…

I’m going to post something next that for those who are or have ever been involved in church music ministry should ponder. It came in an email I get from some people I have a great deal of respect for. I trust what they have to say about ‘worship’ more than anyone else. (but it won’t fit on here)

Intercession should be included with worship and worshipers (musicians), in the rank and file of the administration of churches; it probably should fall under the worship department as they should be going hand in hand. Not all intercessors are musicians but ALL MUSICIANS SHOULD BE INTERCESSORS IF THEY ARE TO BE CALLED WORSHIPERS, in the second order of priesthood.

ALL MUSICIANS (vocalists included) SHOULD BE INTERCESSORS IF THEY ARE TO BE CALLED WORSHIPERS. That is SO huge I can’t even explain it!!!! You can be a musician or a singer but a true worshipper will be an intercessor as well. If not, IN MY OPINION, then you are a musician/singer first not a worshipper first. And you MUST be a worshipper first in order to lead the people!!!! (Selah)

((yes I’m going to bed but I had to share that)) Too many singers & musicians in the church, not enough worshippers. Too many people want to lead or be in control and don’t want to just let God do what He wants to do through them. Drives me crazy. Intercession is the KEY!!!!!!

((sigh)) It makes me sad.  [see prior posts] ..ok now I’m done. Good night.

Quite an opinionated lass back in the day. Sheesh!

Without going too far off on a tangent, I am sometimes amazed at how arrogant my opinions were when I was younger. I think that’s how we all are in a way. We have our ideas, ideals, thoughts, opinions and there’s no persuading us otherwise. It’s our way or the highway.

We grow up. We mature. We gain wisdom, but only if we are willing to gain it. That means allowing for dialogue.

However…

Twelve years later, I still believe in what I wrote.

*

I grew up playing sports. But, music – as I have written before – has played a key role in my life for as long as I can remember.

Singing while in the shower, roller skating in an empty pool (a story for another day) or driving in the car were my norm all while listening to music. I connected with the words or stories being told. There was a passion in the voices and sounds I heard.

Music kept me sane and alive.

Then I met Jesus and music took on a whole new meaning.

I began singing songs about life and love instead of broken hearts and drunken stupors.  Songs that talked about forever and hope. It was music that gave me a purpose.

Inviting Jesus into my life identified my purpose – I was a worshiper.

Worship, as defined by Merriam-Webster, is: to honor or reverence as a divine being or supernatural power OR to regard with great or extravagant respect, honor, or devotion to perform or take part in worship or an act of worship. 

Music is what drew me to Jesus.

I understood the power of it to ease and soothe a troubled mind and soul (see King Saul & David playing the harp). Over the years, I’ve come to recognize it as a weapon too. A weapon to battle the thoughts in my head that tell me I’m a failure, I’ll never measure up, I’m a hypocrite, I’m destined to a life of sorrow,

“But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up” Mark 9:27

Music continues to draw me to Jesus.

*

Here I sit, many months after I started writing this post again and God is continuing to talk to me about this. What does it really mean to do this Christian thang we do called “praise & worship” or “have a worship service”?

Not long after saying yes to Jesus, I began singing on stage. It wasn’t about me. It was about Him. Any church I’ve attended – a story for another day – I wound up singing on stage. Mind you, I wasn’t a trained singer. I didn’t grow up singing in choirs or taking vocal lessons. I’ve just always loved to sing.

God put me on stage, not people. It wasn’t because I was a great singer. No. He put me there because He was who I was singing to. He is who I was worshiping when I would lift my hands to heaven. He is who I was praising when I danced before Him. I sang to Him an He wanted others to see that.

I don’t boast about myself. Far from it. If you knew how much internal wrestling, spiritual wrestling I’ve had to do to be seen on stage with a microphone in my hand, you would understand that it is not self-boasting. I loved sports. I wasn’t a singer.

Yet, on stage is where I found myself.

He put me there.

God did.

*

songs in heaven

So, what is all of this leading to, Sunny? To be honest, I’m not sure.

There is a churning inside of me when it comes to what the church today calls “Praise” or “Worship”. I’ve been wrestling with it for a while now (12 years!!) and will continue to do so until the revelation is made whole.

For now…

God is talking to me about worship. Some of that has to do with what churches call worship services during their weekend services. But, He’s also been dealing with me as to what it actually is.

You see, I would say 90% of the Christian and gospel songs on Christian playlists or radio are not necessarily praise and worship songs to God. If you listen closely to the lyrics, sure God is mentioned, but the main focus of the song is “I”, as in me. As a worshiper, and someone who gave her heart to Jesus because the words of a song penetrated my soul, this concept has driven me crazy for years. 

As I was walking home from the store recently, however, I am seeing another side to this revelation. Although many of today’s songs are more about an individual’s relationship with God more than it is about God himself, the Holy Spirit told me that many of these songs were more declaration songs.

Declaration songs? What does that mean, Lord?

Sometimes, we Christians can get too far away from God or His presence. We need something to remind us of Him and get us back to where we need to be. These declaration songs can help us to re-center or refocus our eyes on God instead of self or the things going on or wrong in our lives. We sing the words to a declaration song and it’s hard not to start thinking about God, even if it is a song about “me”.

Does that mean these declaration songs are okay to sing in church?  Well, let me ask you this question that I’m still trying to answer. How many of these actual songs sung in churches today will we sing in heaven? 

Stop and think about that for a moment. How many of today’s songs sung in churches are heaven-worthy? 

Let’s be clear here – heaven is not about us.

Let me say that again. Heaven is NOT about us!

Heaven is all about Jesus.

As such, a true praise song or a true worship song must be about Jesus alone, not us. No ifs, ands or buts. Heaven is about God.

Thinking about this more, I believe God calls true praise and worship songs “heaven songs”. Ones that are truly about Jesus are heaven songs. They are not of this earth or world. They can be sung in spirit and truth (John 14:24).

Declaration songs or much of what we hear today are earth songs or songs of this earth or world. They are not meant for the afterlife in heaven. We are meant for eternity not this life on earth.  

Think about it, Christian. How many of us are really going to sing “Reckless Love” in heaven with words like, There’s no shadow You won’t light up, Mountain You won’t climb up, Coming after me”? Or, “The Blessing” talking about God’s favor being with you and a thousand generations or His presence going before you. 

Not in heaven we won’t.

There’s nothing wrong with these songs, per se, but they’re the mindset of earth – God chasing after us or blessing someone else. That’s an earthly mindset. The Bible talks about being in this world but not of it…

And there’s the next revelation. 

Because we are in this world, we need songs to remind us of God and who He is and what He has done. We need help to get our minds right or get us back into alignment with God‘s image. As much as I dislike much of what is sung in churches today, we live in a world that is broken and fallen. We live in a world full of hate, rage, strife, famine, disease, bitterness, hypocrisy, self-righteousness…and that’s just me.

Like it or not, we need these declaration songs to remind us of who we are in Him. We are children of God, who often go astray. We belong to Him. He is our defender. He does surround us. He is preparing a table. He does come after His lost sheep. 

But…

While I acknowledge the “need” for these songs, I also believe that it shows what state we are in as American Christians.

More and more songs are being sung in churches or on radio/playlists today that sprinkle just enough of God in them to be called “Christian” or “Gospel”. More and more people are put on Christian stages or church platforms that are musically talented, but they have yet to fully grasp what it means to worship Him in spirit and truth.

*

At some point, I will expound on John 4:21-24.

Today, is not that time.

A short time ago I was singing the song, “Goodness of God”, as I listened to it on YouTube. As the song neared the end, I felt centered. I felt at home – yes, I was at my physical home at the time – and at peace. Praising God. Worshiping Him for who He is and thanking Him for what He has done…I was being who I am…a worshiper.

Immediately, I moved to another song, “Raise A Hallelujah”. As I stood there singing it, I felt my feet moving as if I was marching. Just like Joshua and the city of Jericho.

Now the gates of Jericho were securely barred because of the Israelites. No one went out and no one came in.
Then the Lord said to Joshua, “See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and its fighting men. March around the city once with all the armed men. Do this for six days. Have seven priests carry trumpets of rams’ horns in front of the ark. On the seventh day, march around the city seven times, with the priests blowing the trumpets. When you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, have the whole army give a loud shout; then the wall of the city will collapse and the army will go up, everyone straight in.” Joshua 6:1-5 (NIV)

When we jump down to verse 20 where, after marching for six days, on the seventh day, it says, “When the trumpets sounded, the army shouted, and at the sound of the trumpet, when the men gave a loud shout, the wall collapsed; so everyone charged straight in, and they took the city.”

In 2 Chronicles 20:21,

When he had consulted with the people, he appointed those who sang to the Lord and those who praised Him in their holy (priestly) attire, as they went out before the army and said, “Praise and give thanks to the Lord, for His mercy and lovingkindness endure forever.”

Those who sang to the Lord and praised Him in their holy (priestly) attire.

Who sings to the Lord? A worshiper.

Singing that song and feeling like I was marching, I went into battle mode. I began praying in the spirit. Praying for whomever the Holy Spirit brought to my mind. I was warring for them.

Praise – as in, praising God – is a weapon. Worship – as in, worshiping God – is a weapon. That is why the songs we sing in church are so extremely important. We change the atmosphere when we sing to the Lord.

I’ve stood on stages and I could sense people who were struggling. I could tell when people needed prayer. I knew people needed breakthrough, and being led by the Holy Spirit, even while singing a song, I would battle for them.

Nobody taught me how to do that. I just knew, so I battled like in Ephesians 6:12.

Some days in this chaotic spiritual battlefield we call earth, we need to sing, “Reckless Love”. And then there are days we need to sing, “He Is the King” or “All Hail King Jesus”.

But, what is right for a church setting? Well, being led by the Holy Spirit is first and foremost. I can remember choosing songs, led by the Holy Spirit, and they tied in seamlessly to what the pastor was teaching on.

Go figure.

That wasn’t me. That was Holy Spirit leading the way.

But, what else? I think this Instagram post from @worshipleader is a great place to start.

Know and understand what we are singing.

I am continually teaching myself to learn how to yield to the Holy Spirit no matter what the song is that is being played. No one ever arrives. We must continually learn how to pray, read the word, praise and worship the one true God.

In spirit and in truth.

That means less “I” and more of “Him”.

***

Knees Down, Prayers Up

Sunny

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