Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Kiss That Worships

This week we bring you a guest blog post on worship from Jerry D. Scott, senior pastor of Washington Assembly of God Church in Washington, NJ. Read more of Pastor Scott's messages on his blog, "Coffeebreak with the Word" at http://jerryscott.blogspot.com.

The Kiss That Worships
By Jerry D. Scott
A Christian for my entire life, I have attended a lot of church services! Some have included worship, many have not! Sometimes the obvious focus is to entertain the audience, with a circus-like atmosphere of performing acts. Sometimes the service is more like a family reunion, the focus being on meeting the people who are present. Sometimes I’m puzzled why anyone shows up since the whole thing is pointless, wandering through a ritual that goes nowhere. And, sometimes worship really happens. The people gathered are purposefully focused on the Person and Presence of Almighty God, challenged by His Word, and left in awe. Now, that’s church!

This Fall, I am leading a Bible Study group through the book of the Revelation. Chapters 4 and 5 are John’s vision of the Throne Room. While the language is sometimes strange to my mind, the overall message is about worship. While meditating on those chapters, I have found myself in tears repeatedly – partially from awe, partially from longing for a more consistently authentic worship in my life. Read an excerpt.

"The Lamb (Jesus Christ) stepped forward and took the scroll from the right hand of the one sitting on the throne. And when he took the scroll, the four living beings and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp, and they held gold bowls filled with incense, which are the prayers of God’s people.

And they sang a new song with these words: “You are worthy to take the scroll and break its seals and open it. For you were slaughtered, and your blood has ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. … And then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea. They sang: “Blessing and honor and glory and power belong to the one sitting on the throne and to the Lamb forever and ever.” And the four living beings said, “Amen!” And the twenty-four elders fell down and worshiped the Lamb." (Revelation 5:6-9, 13-16, NLT)

Modern worship is frequently evaluated only by the experience of the worshipper.

• Was the band good?
• Did they sing songs I liked?
• Did I feel ‘blessed’?
• Were warm and fuzzy emotions stirred?

Those are all fine things, but they are not what worship is about. Authentic worship must have an upward focus. It focused on offering to Jesus the same adoration that is shown to Him in heaven! Imagine the Elders of that scene getting up from their faces and high-fiving one another saying, “I feel so blessed right now!” No way. They were not even thinking of themselves. They desired only to pour out their love to the Lamb, to give Him praise because He is worthy!

Worship is about creating awareness, but not self awareness. It is always about being more aware of God’s Presence, and as we are awed by Him, increasingly submitted to His will. If worship does not do that, it is misfocused at best, a profanity at worst! Jesus taught, "God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:24, NIV) The word that is translated as ‘worship’ is “proskuneo.” {pros•koo•neh•o} which means “to kiss the hand in token of reverence.” (Strong’s)

Disciple, have you leaned forward in worship to kiss the hand of God?
Have you taken your eyes off yourself, your circumstances, your needs to come to Him, just to offer up the adoration of your worship?
Remember, worship is first an attitude, then an action. An unsubmitted, self-willed Christian will not ‘worship in spirit and truth’ even though she may sing the right words and go through the motions of ‘worship.’ The heart must bow first, the will be submitted, and then worship will become worthy of its focus.

Lord, teach us to be worshippers, not just singers.
Bend our wills to Yours, draw our minds and hearts to You.
Our days are frequently a mad rush during which we forget
You and Your majesty, consumed by the things of ‘now.’
Forgive us for loving our lives so much that we fail to ‘kiss Your hand.’

Now, Lord, I join with all Creation to say:
“To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb
be praise and honor and glory and power, forever and ever!”

_________________

To bow and to kiss,
To pour forth our love,
The perfume of our adoration.
To wash with our tears
The feet that were bruised,
To bless and to serve and to gaze on.

To bow and to kiss,
To pour forth our love,
The perfume of our adoration.
To press to our lips,
The hands that were pierced,
To bless and to serve and to gaze on.

To bow and to kiss,
To pour forth our love,
The perfume of our adoration.
To reach up and touch,
The brow that was torn,
To bless and to serve and to gaze on.

Jesus, my Savior!
My life and my love!
You are my treasure,
My gift from above!

To Bow And To Kiss
© 2002 Life Unto Life Music
Andrea C. Hunter
Jeremy Michael Riddle

CCLI License No. 810055

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is so incredibly beautiful! Thank you for sharing it. I'll pass it on.
Etty Blaney

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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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