Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Up, Down, Up, Out!

I was recently at a meeting where we were talking about worship.  One of the members of our worship team spoke about how she enjoyed practices more than actually Sunday worship as it was freer and Spirit filled.  Some others on the worship team agreed.  They actually stated that on Sunday's it felt like "a wall" between them and the congregation.  That corporate worship seemed to be "stagnant" (my words, not theirs).  There was no feeling, no connection.  At our church, we have a large senior contingent and our worship team is college and career age.  They have opposite expectations of worship, even opposite expectations of songs to sing. 

This isn't the first time I've heard people talk about this "wall" or even that  they "didn't really feel the worship today."    I remember when I was in BSF a few years ago and our teaching leader was speaking about our relationship with God.  She started talking about focusing our hearts up then  and only then can we focus out.  I think this applies for worship as well, we tend to focus out, but not up.  I think that's when the wall appears.  That's when we start focusing on how others are viewing us - am I on key, should I clap now, should I lift my hands, why is that person kneeling.  When we focus up, we focus on God.  We give Him all the glory and praise that He only deserves.  We give Him us - whether we're just standing there; sitting there; or raising our hands in praise. 

I think what confuses people about worship is how we give Him praise.  We all have OUR OWN expectations of what we view worship as -  hymns, praise music, dancing, clapping, opening our hymnals, etc...  These are OUR expectations.  God doesn't call any of us to these things.  He just wants our open and honest praise.    He wants us to focus on Him not on each other during worship.  He wants us to honour  Him with our voices and praise, no matter the music style. 

If you are feeling this "wall" when you worship, focus up, not out.  Worship isn't about a feeling.   It's not about us.  It's about God. 

 Lift your eyes and look to the heavens:
   Who created all these?
He who brings out the starry host one by one,
   and calls them each by name.
Because of his great power and mighty strength,
   not one of them is missing. 
Isaiah 40:26 NIV

I'm linking up with Jen at Finding Heaven for the Soli Deo Gloria Sisterhood.  Come check out these lovely sisters in Christ.


Bobbi said...

Our Pastor often prays on Sunday that we will put aside our "to do" lists and other things on our minds and focus only on worshipping God. Amen!

I think we need to be careful though...because some worshippers are selfish with attitudes like... "if I dance about in the aisles and that bothers you tough noogies Grandma" is NOT the greatest worshipful attitude out there. I've actually heard that sentiment after a service once. *Sigh...this is NOT love!

Thanks for reminding me to LOOK UP! HUGS!!

Rachy said...

Focus up. I love that! It really is about connecting with God in the way we best know how.

Donnetta said...

I firmly believe that we can't take anyone farther than we ourselves are or have gone/are going.

As our church music leader, I am often reminding the team that it is not about us. It is about leading the congregation to God and Him alone.

As we worship, it is then that we can usher and walk with others to His throne to bow at His feet.

kendal said...

love.this.post. have seen the wall. climbed over it. then walked out that door and into another where i didn't find a wall.

Jen said...

I think I've been guilty of going to church to be fed and completely forgetting that I'm also there to worship. So often, if I put the worship first, I am filled. Amazing!

Anonymous said...

Love this.

Look up and not out.

So true... I was on my old Church's worship team and after a few disappointing Sunday I started singing and looking up (or closing my eyes as I am very proned to do) and found such freedom in doing that.

Thanks for the reminder Michelle!

It's Grace said...

Sometimes my experience is a result of how I'm feeling or what I'm going through. But I need to remember that it's not all about me :) Great post Michelle :)

Abby said...

this IS a wonderful post...what is worship if it's not about Him??!!

everything. so, so good michelle.

i wish i experienced this freedom more...we were at a staff conference when we were fresh back from overseas and being called back, this summer, and i was so free. it was the sweetest worship time i've known in a long time...a fellow staff asked my husband if we had a charismatic background? haha:) not even close...just free...and sometimes free is sitting down or other things only He sees...

again, reverberating much...thank you for truth!

Anonymous said...


stephanie said...

I have often gone into church, and sat there thinking, I don't like this song, or I'm not in the mood. But...I always find that if I put my own selfishness aside and sing anyways, my heart and feelings soon follow. It is not about us at all, and it is about Him, even when we don't "feel" it. Thank you for this post, a very needed reminder.

Sisterlisa said...

Lots of churches experience this. Our human ways tend to fall into grooves from time to time. We have a home fellowship and when we sense the groove sucking us in, we break it up and do something different. We want to stay fresh in our fellowship and worship to God.

Thanks for coming by my blog. Many blessings to your church family.

Amy Sullivan said...

Finally make my way around all of the blogs from Jen's. Oh, it is my desire to worship up and not out!

Love your short and power packed posts!

Natalie at Mommy on Fire said...

SO true, Michelle. I love how God created each of us uniquely and just as different as we are from one another (thank Him for that, no?) He made us to worship Him in different ways as well. You know when I'm closest to Him? When I'm out running with praise music right at twilight. That's pure worship to me.

The song you mentioned yesterday? I have had it in my head all week and had no idea what the name or group was...Thanks for solving that mystery - I wrote about this funny "God moment" and you in my post for tomorrow. Love the way He works!

Pamela said...

Focus up. Simple yet profound. I find if I ask for pure worship before I enter the doors it is often waiting for me.

Andrea said...

I love this. "The fruit of our lips is praise.." When I find myself not "feeling it", it's usually because the object of my affection is wrong. Thanks for posting on this!

CindyC said...

That is very well said. As someone who has served on a 'worship team' for a number of years off and on, I completely understand both perspectives (those on the 'leading' side and those on the 'led' side). You're so right, though: The key is to focus on the perspective of the One Worshipped!

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