Monday, May 21, 2012

Idol Worship

Over the last few seasons, my wife and I have enjoyed watching American Idol.  We pick our favorites and then yell at the TV screen when our guy or gal doesn't advance.  As a person who can’t sing a lick, I am downright envious of these kids’ marvelous talent.  What I would give to be able to… …that’s another post.

Jordin Sparks became the American Idol – 2007 version.  She’s soared to well-deserved fame.  That fame has a value, or so thinks Beats Audio, who pays her to star in one of their ads.  If you’ve seen even ten minutes of Idol, you’ve seen this commercial.

The spot is intentionally ironic.  The one, true performer is physically present, but the listener prefers a reproduction.  That’s okay for Beatbox, but do you realize we often do the same thing with God.  A word from OUR One, True Sponsor will explain:
But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. (John 4:23)
…you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you. (John 14:17)
Right now, I’m wrestling with the inclination to pick on the prototypical church service – 25 minutes of signing songs that the “worship” leader wants you to sing and 35 minutes of hearing words the preacher wants you to hear.  I do think that is a problem, but I’m convicted to keep this personal and positive.  I want to challenge you.

Do you worship God?  When?  Where?  How?
Does God know that you are worshipping Him?
What does spirit and truth worship look like?
Do you know God by the way He abides in you?

If your only experience of worship is corporate singing at church, I humbly suggest you’ve missed something important.  Singing is a wonderful thing to do, but it’s a dusting of snow on top of the tiny tip of a giant iceberg.

God wants you to realize that He is spiritually present in your life RIGHT NOW.  He is not a Sunday morning experience.  He’s not someone you talk at just before you eat.  Real worship is living that demonstrates God’s worth as a present force in your moment-by-moment life.  Worship is a relatively new word, only about 700 years old.  In the Bible, words now translated as “worship” actually meant things like “sacrifice” and “service”.

If you “sacrifice” an hour a week to sing songs at God, I challenge your concept of “worship”.  If you can only remember a time or two you served someone in need, I challenge your concept of “worship”.

Me?  If I’m so bold as to challenge you, shall I prove up my “acts of worship”?  (Wow, I have a pretty demanding readership.)  I recommend you read one of my former posts on this topic – it explains my concept of worship. 

I believe I worship by wrestling every day with God regarding my attitude.  To see people God’s way and not my way is worship – it demands that I confess the worth of God’s opinion over my own. 

I believe I worship by constantly considering how I can help others.  That’s not my natural temperament.  I’m the baby of the family and more often than not I've been the “star of the show”.  In the last ten years, God has impressed upon me that I am a better and happier human when I am lifting others up.  May not sound like much to you, but to me, that’s a transformation that has allowed me to discover real worship. 

I also believe I worship God when I consider the world with Grace.  Righteousness is my inclination – if something (or someone) is wrong, I hammer on it until it is right.  God wants me to love righteousness AND love grace and mercy.  Like Jesus treated the woman caught in the act of adultery (John 8), God wants me to balance righteousness and grace the way He does.  Accepting His worth to change my heart is my most important act of worship.

To put it simply, WORSHIP is the attitude that God is worth more than you.  You down with that?

God’s preferences for your relationships are worth more than yours.
God’s desire for the words that go in your ear and out of your mouth is worth more than yours.
God’s wisdom about your finances and worldly possessions is worth more than yours.
God’s choices for what you do with your body and mind are worth more than yours.

Jesus calls you to follow Him into a lifestyle where EVERY moment of your life is a “not my will but thine be done” moment.  How are you doing on that act of worship?  Privately list the ways you defer to God’s will.  Who has more sway in the business of your life, you or God?  That’s when we find out whether you worship God or not.

To find more worth in your preferences, your desires, your wisdom, your choices, well, that’s the definition of another important word, the opposite of worship – idolatry.  It makes for a great TV show, but as far as relating to God, having an idol (especially yourself) is not the way to go.

Clark H Smith

Monday, May 14, 2012

Come To Your Senses

Let's lighten up this week with a quick game of
"One Of These Things Is Not Like The Other".

So, of these three, which one is the misfit?

You know me, the answer will surprise you.
Email me your thoughts.

Clark H Smith