Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Losing Ourselves in Worship

As artists we have been given gifts and talents and as Christians, we offer them back to their creator to worship Him. Many of us use the arts to lead others in worship, in church services or at special events like conferences and retreats.
In all our efforts, we must be diligent to always put God and His purposes first.

It's so easy in this field to allow pride to surface, sometimes without our even noticing. We must never forget the source for any gifts we have received, nor that the use of them during worship must be for Him and only for Him. "Excellence" has become a rallying cry in many churches. And excellence should be our goal when serving the King of Kings. But excellence for its own sake, or to impress worshippers or other churches with what you can do diminishes the focus on God. I have experienced some beautiful worship by some singers or musicians who may not be able to rock me out of the house with the best solo, but who offered the song to Lord and caused me to know that He was in the House and was pleased to be seated in the place of honor.
The best way to make sure you'll remember to put God first while leading worship is to make sure you've put Him first in your heart. If you haven't spent any time with Him in prayer and in His word this week, if you've been so busy working or rehearsing that you haven't noticed or acted to help your neighbor in need, how practical is it to assume that you'll be able to lead others to Him this Sunday?

Worship isn't a performance. It's not even just a congregation getting together to for a service. It's a great celebration of knowing who God is and exultation at being in His presence. As leaders of worship, we should see ourselves as honored guests ushering others into an audience with the Most High. Remember the words of John the Baptist:
"A man can receive only what is given him from heaven. You yourselves can testify that I said, 'I am not the Christ but am sent ahead of him. The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom's voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. He must become greater; I must become less." (John 3:27-30 NIV)

People should leave worship services saying, "God is great," not "the band was great," or "that soloist was great." Leaders who continuously worship all week long will lose themselves in it-- and God will be all that people see.

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Daily Inspiration

The Blind Side

Read about the real life mom from "The Blind Side."

Lifeway: http://www.lifeway.com/article/?id=169816

Guideposts: http://www.guideposts.com/story/sandra-bullock-blind-side-football?page=0,1

Read Matt Mungle's review of the movie at http://www.buddyhollywood.com/.

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Lauren Yarger, Bio

Lauren Yarger has written, directed and produced numerous shows and special events for both secular and Christian audiences. She co-wrote a Christian musical version of “A Christmas Carol” which played to sold-out audiences of over 3,000 in Vermont and was awarded the 2000 Vermont Bessie (theater and film awards) for “People’s Choice for Theatre.” She also has written two other dinner theaters, sketches for church services and devotions for Christian artists.

Yarger trained for three years in the Broadway League’s Producer Development Program, completed the Commercial Theater Institute's Producing Three-Day Training and produced a one-woman musical about Mary Magdalene that toured nationally and closed with an off-Broadway run.

In 2008 she was a Fellow at the National Critics Institute at the O'Neill Theater Center in Waterford, CT. She writes reviews of Broadway and off-Broadway theater with a Christian perspective for Reflections in the Light (http://reflectionsinthelight.blogspot.com/) and is editor of The Connecticut Arts Connection. She also is a contributing editor for BroadwayWorld.com

She also reviews books for Publisher's Weekly and is a member of the National Book Critics Circle. She formerly was Connecticut theater editor for CurtainUp, a national theater web site bsed in New York and a reviewer for American Theater Web.

She also served as Executive Director of Masterwork Productions, Inc. and worked in arts management for the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts in Hartford and the Hartford Symphony Orchestra.

She is a freelance writer and member of the Drama Desk, The Outer Critics Circle, The American Theater Critics Association, The League of Professional Theatre Women and The CT Critics Circle.

A former newspaper editor and graduate of the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism, Yarger lives with her husband in West Granby, CT and has two adult children.

Copyright Notice

All contents copyright © Lauren Yarger 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013. All rights reserved. For reprint permission, contact masterworkproductions@yahoo.com.

Scripture from THE MESSAGE Copyright 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

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