Originally Posted by Catt of the Garage
It occurs to me to add that if you feel harassed or hurt by what is being said and it is affecting your worship (which it sounds like it is), have you considered talking to your pastor? If one sheep is biting another's butt it's his job to take it aside and give it a smack.
Catt, I LOVED your post.
Here are my thoughts on authentic worship...
Worship, in my opinion, is simply a response to the awareness of God's presence in our lives. When we encounter the goodness of God... when we are embraced by the mercy & peace of God... when we have those moments of realizing we are not alone in the universe... In those moments, we are worshipping. Sometimes we sing, shout and dance joyfully. Worship might be a quiet prayer, it might be lighting a candle. Other times worship might simply be breathing in an awareness of God's presence.
Worship might be washing Jesus' feet with perfume and drying them with your hair.
Worship might be giving your lunch of fish & bread to Jesus.
Worship might be dancing, singing, and otherwise making a fool of yourself in front of the whole world.
As far as our ability to summon God's presence is concerned...
Is there any place where God isn't? Isn't it odd that on one hand we say that God is omniscient and omnipresent, that His presence is everywhere, yet we feel like we have to perfom specific detailed rituals, sing the right songs, have the right emotions, etc., in order for God to be thoughtful enough to grace us with His presence?
If our worship had to be "good enough" in order for God to let us experience His presence, I doubt that any human being would ever know what the presence of God is like.
The point is that God loves us with a crazy, amazing, and endless love. God delights in us. We are His children. Can you imagine witholding your affection or your presence from your babies? A loving parent wouldn't do that. And how much more does God love and care for us!
I believe the role of the worship leader is to help the congregation become aware
of God's presence. Most people, myself included, live our lives getting caught up in business and stress. We forget in moments of fear and worry to bring an awareness of God's presence into those situations. When we worship at church, we are just practicing bringing an awareness of God's presence and love into our lives. When we can do it at church, we learn that we can do it in the rest of our lives. And that is what worship is all about.
I grew up in a charismatic/pentecostal church and actually went to Oral Roberts University. I love praise & worship music... for years it was the only way I connected to God. Praise & worship can be a very authentic worship experience. Sometimes though, people can get caught up in having a high-energy, emotional experience and think that if that doesn't happen, then God didn't show up.
But we know differently, don't we.
When we teach people to worship in spirit and in truth, everything we do becomes worship. We could be singing from a baptist hymnal, praying a Hail Mary, or singing an exuberant praise song.
Worship brings our minds and spirits into an awareness of God's presence and love in our lives... It doesn't make God aware of us.
Who am I that you are mindful of me,
Matthew 18:19 "Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them." (NIV)
John 4:19 "Sir," the woman said, "I can see that you are a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem."
That you hear me when I call?
Is it true that You are thinking of me,
that You love me... It's amazing!!!
I am a friend of God,
I am a friend of God,
I am a friend of God,
You call me friend!
21 Jesus declared, "Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22 You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth."