Sunday, August 11, 2013

Worship Music: Who Are We Really Worshiping?

Worship Music: How much of what we hear and sing is truly directed toward God?

I was in my car running some errands and turned on a talk radio program. I'm not even sure what program it was. The program was more than half over and the host introduced a young woman. She said something that struck a chord (no pun intended) with me. She said something to the effect that most of the Christian "worship" music we hear on the radio is all about what God can do for me.

Ouch! Sadly, that is true. Also sadly, I've been such a needy child of God for the past year that I really have been guilty of spending more time focused on my needs and neglecting to send back that thanksgiving and praise to Whom it belongs.

Heal me. Make me feel better. Take away these hurts. Show me what You want me to do. Help me understand. Protect me. And the list of needs goes on and on...

Don't get me wrong. All of these are legitimate needs and sincere requests to be made of God. But, they can definitely get us "out of balance" if it's always one-sided. (FYI: I'm not condemning modern Christian music.)

Someone once pointed out that very few songs are written with the singer giving direct praise to God. Most are written with a "let's all praise God together" focus. Even the Doxology, "Praise God to Whom all blessings flow," is all about us telling each other how great He is. Corporate worship is great, needed, and Biblical. I also need intimate worship where I am directly telling God how much He means to me. This also put God back in the throne where He belongs. Singing "How Great is Our God" together is fabulous. But sometimes I need to turn that into "How Great are YOU, God!" By the way, I can do this corporately or alone in the car!

If you begin reading through all the Psalms, you'll notice that most of them will include a good balance of all these things (Psalm 109). And some are strictly all praise focused toward God (Psalm 104).

I realized today that I need to be more intentional about worshiping God directly, praising His name, and exalting Him because... "It's all about you, Jesus." This means in song and in prayer, "May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer." Psalm 19:14.

The speaker on the radio said something else that was very interesting. She sometimes likes to listen to Christian rap music. Why? Because with that type of music she is unable to sing along with it. It forces her to listen to the words. Hmmm. Interesting.

That got me to thinking about my own life. I'm a singer and help lead music at my church. I've been doing it for a long time and truly love singing. However, last fall I sensed God was leading me to make a few changes. I simply did not feel like singing any longer, so it was time to step down from my leadership position and take a sabbatical.

I did just that and an amazing thing happened: I listened. I tried to sing, but could not bring myself to do so most of the time. So I really listened. However, I did sing inside my heart and mind. I paid close attention to the words and I still worshiped. I particpated even though my mouth wasn't moving.

This listening was not limited to church services. The same thing happened to me when I was in my car. Instead of singing along with songs on the radio (which I always do), I listened. All of this listening was part of the long process that God was taking me through to give me rest, but it was also a time when He wanted to teach me. In the process I was being spiritually renewed. (I'm slowly going back to singing and serving again.)

Well, just wanted to share these things that I'm pondering in my own life. What do you think about all of this? Or have you ever thought through any of these things?

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