It's not what I have[.] It's what I have to give. A blog about resources--gaining, giving, and sharing.

29 November 2011

Worship: More than Church Karaoke – pt.4

12:01 AM Posted by steve flores No comments
[Part One]; [Part Two]; [Part Three]

The Pharisees were avid students of the Old Testament, so they had to have known what passage Jesus was quoting from. For us to fully comprehend the context of Jesus’ quote here is the passage in Isaiah: The Lord says: “These people worship me with their mouths, and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship is based on nothing but human rules. So I will continue to amaze these people by doing more and more miracles. Their wise men will lose their wisdom; their wise men will not be able to understand.” How terrible it will be for those who try to hide things from the Lord and who do their work in darkness. They think no one will see them or know what they do. –Isaiah 29:13-15 (New Century Version) 

To the Pharisees, to you and me, Jesus says, “You don’t think I see what you’re doing? You don’t think I am aware that you are trying to look like a worshiper? Your worship is nothing more than just a show. I see right through it." In other words, "It is church karaoke!" And, that’s heavy. If we allow that sink in, it should affect us and cause us to make a shift. Worship is more than church karaoke: it’s about surrender. When we fully grasp that worship is about surrender, then worship breaks out of the four walls of church and it becomes more than just following traditions to “welcome” His presence. Side note: Have you ever thought about that saying before?  “Let’s welcome the presence of the Lord,” or “Let’s invite the presence of the Lord,” or “God we need you to show up.” Those are strange terms for an Omnipresent God, who is already here, has been here, and will always be here. I feel like God would be completely justified to say, “Hey Steve, I invited you here. This whole, inviting me to the world I created is silly!”

Jesus understood surrender when he fell on his face and prayed in the garden at Gethsemane, Matthew 26:39, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”  Jesus had an idea, but ultimately knew it was God’s choice and he would choose to follow.

After Jesus walked off the mountain, where he gave the infamous Sermon on the Mount, a leper displayed surrender when he approached Jesus and asked, Matthew 8:2-3, “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.” And Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I will; be clean.” I’m sure the leper wanted Jesus to heal him, but what the leper didn't say was, “You better do this.” He said, “….if you will.”

Two iconic words are spoken by Jesus in the Gospels as he approached would-be disciples, “Follow me.”  The disciples followed, embraced surrender, and in the process discovered worship as a lifestyle.

Sometimes I wonder if we, Christians, fully understand the act of surrender. I don’t know if we do, because sometimes we get really demanding of God – “Do this,” “show up,” “move here,” “make this happen,” “Oh, and [raise hand in worship] I love you Jesus.” I know we would never admit this, but our prayers often communicate it: “God, give me…help me…show me…hear me… In other words, “God, meet my demands and pay attention to me. Isn’t that what You are here for anyway?”