2016MiriamWe were created to worship – to bring glory to God, putting Him first in all things and all areas of our lives. Not forsaking the gathering together, it says in Hebrews, but more than just ‘going to church.’

Before I served on a local church staff in weekend ministry, I entertained some crazy thoughts about when and how to worship our great God. I attended a traditional service where I thought, “If I sing louder, I’d be worshipping God more.” Nope. It was good, but that wasn’t it. Then I began attending a contemporary service where I thought, “If I stood more, I could worship God more.” Nope. It was good, but that wasn’t it. I even took sign language classes at the local recreation center, three seasons of sign language classes with my high school daughter, where I thought, “If I moved more, I could worship God more.” Nope. It was good, but that wasn’t it.

It really wasn’t until I studied Revelation 5 last year that I figured out a way that I could tell if I am really worshipping the Lord…not just a feeling, not just a noun, not just a service, but the when and how of worship.

“Then I (John) looked and heard, the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand (THAT’s community!). They encircled the throne and the living creature and the elders (serving a God of order.) In a loud voice they sang (singing is still a part): Worthy is the Lamb (Jesus) who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!” Revelation 5:11-12 NIV

This was revealed to John of how Jesus will be worshiped in Heaven. Doesn’t He deserve the same worship from me, from us, here on earth now? I am SO visual, it gives me a great picture of what it means to really worship our great God.

So I ask myself these questions:

How can I worship Him today in power? With my emotions. I have power over my emotions, my disposition, and whom I will please. What I have power over, I can worship Him in joyful obedience. Lord, break my heart for what breaks Yours. Then give me opportunities where I have the power to do something about it.

How can I worship Him today in wealth? With my money. We give because we serve a generous God and He desires for us be a generous people (John 3:16). He calls us to give regularly, in percentages, and cheerfully. He has chosen the local storehouse, the local church, and that is where we are to give. Returning to Him which was His in the first place is an act of trust and obedience. Giving is the act of returning. Giving is worship.

How can I worship Him today in wisdom? With my mind. Romans 12:2 reads, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Jesus understood that any authentic transformation will happen for all of us in our minds first. When I am regularly in The Word, learning the language and vocabulary of God, transformation takes place. This one is seriously on me. If I claim I am not hearing from God…If I state that ‘I don’t get fed at church’… If I hold on to the idea that my personal preferences for Sunday morning worship determines if I worship or not… I am SO out of sinc with what God intended worship to be. When in study, in bible reading, in Sunday school, in ANY way of learning the language and vocabulary of God, I am in worship.

How can I worship Him today in strength? With my body. I am 54 years old. I KNOW my triggers. Peanut M&Ms are my Judas sin…you know, sin that comes at you looking like a friend, kissing you on the cheek, then turning on you. I may not be able to scale a 10 foot wall, but taking care of my body is worship. Thank you, Fitbit, for the accountability help.

How can I worship Him today in honor? With my deeds. I honor our great God when I bake a cake, write a note, make a phone call, send an encouraging text, share a casserole (this is how we really share love in the south, right?), bring a flower, go above and beyond in my work, drop off a 24-pack of toilet paper when my neighbor has house guests due to a funeral or a wedding. How and when I serve should bring Him honor. Once a week, won’t cut it for me. God’s abundant love has ruined me for the typical, the ordinary, the mediocre.

How can I worship Him today in glory? With expressions of hope, encouragement, and forgiving well.  Glory has a weight to it, a leaning-in quality. Ephesians 4:32 reads, “Be ye kind, one to another, tenderhearted, and forgiving one another, just as in Christ God forgave you.” So I give Him glory when I extend the same forgiveness He gives me. This is when worship doesn’t come easy.

How can I worship Him today in praise? With my words and my speech. The power of words and the way words are shared move entire countries to do amazing things or bit by bit, inch by inch to tolerate and promote unbelievable atrocities. That may be taking it a bit too far, but this I know: my words can heal or hurt, my countenance when sharing those words can help or hinder, my heart is heard by my words.

I can worship our great God in ways that are measurable. Not in a legalistic sort of way, but rather, an accountability sort of way. And because we are ‘better together’, I can present this worship best in community. This makes me downright giddy!

Jesus alone is worthy of this kind of worship; God the Son. Worship is not where I go, it’s how we are to live. Not once a week, but every single day!

“Here I am to worship. Here I am to bow down. Here I am to say that You’re my God.” Phillips, Craig & Dean…now imagine Mr. Bob stepping out into the aisle to give me plenty of room to worship in sign.