29 August, 2005

Too Embarrassed to Praise?

It is obvious that there has been a real change over the past few months taking place in Harvest Church. It is actually a little difficult to put into words, but it is almost like an atmospheric change over the house. Divisions seem to be disappearing resulting in a new unity of the sort I have not witnessed since coming here as pastor. One of the most noticeable changes is in the area of worship. There seems to be a fresh wind hitting the house, and people are worshipping more openly and some with reckless abandon. I am not sure if the worship is ushering in the move of God, or if the move of God is inducing the worship; but either way, something is different. Still there are some (a good portion of the church) who just sit and observe, rather than participate. Last night during the worship, I looked out over the people, and I saw probably 40% of the people either sitting or standing and just watching the others worship. I wondered, "Why are they not worshipping too?" Suddenly the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart and said, "They are afraid of doing something which will embarrass themselves." I admonished the people to worship, and a few others did; still most remained in the role of observer.

After the service, I privately spoke to a few individuals and they confirmed that they were afraid to worship because they did not want anyone to laugh at them or think that they were odd. I pointed out first of all that they were admitting that this is a pride issue. They were more concerned with what people thought of them than they were with giving God the praise He deserves. Secondly, I asked them if they realized that they were actually in the minority of people in the house, that most people were in fact worshipping, and that they in fact stand out more for not worshipping than they would if they were participating. Isn't it funny that by not worshipping, they were in fact looking like the odd ones in the group? The devil plays this game with our minds and causes us not to see the obvious. He robs us from the freedom to worship God by telling us we will draw attention to ourselves, when in fact, people notice us more for sitting and not taking an active role in worship.

Church, it is time to stop letting the enemy of our souls put chains around us that not only rob us of the freedom and joy that our Lord wants us to live in, but those chains are also stealing the praise that our God deserves! You have no doubt heard me say this before, but it is well worth repeating. "You will never do in the church house what you are not accustomed to doing at home." What I mean by that is that you need to start worshipping God daily in your homes, in your car and where ever you go. If you are one who is too embarrassed to worship in public... start out by worshipping at home. Take time each day in the privacy of your home to praise the Lord. Put on some praise and worship music and just worship the King of Kings. Begin to lift your hands, speak of His goodness and give Him praise. Dance before the Lord. Before long, you will discover that it comes natural, because you were created for this!
A commercial from years ago said, "Try it... you'll like it!" Can I challenge you today to try praising the Lord... I promise you, you will like it. More importantly, our God will like it!


Shawn Karns said...

I just checked out this site. I couldn't agree more. All of us deal with pride in some way or another whether we are trying to stay "under the radar" or whether we're the ones "in the limelight" praising in front of each other. I think that is one of the ways The "Enemy" keeps us from doing anything. Or thinking we're "out of God's will" Most likely that is one of the issues with Galesburg! Too many people worry about what someone is going to think rather than what pleases God. So we don't do anything. We don't take risks; we want to be middle of the road not making waves.

Sometimes I think people want God to physically move them to prove He's real. Although I have seen this happen...I think God wants us to be creative in our praise. I mean he blessed us with creativity for a reason. We should use our creativity to grow in Him. I don't think God is looking for robots he is looking for us to develop skills in everything we do especially in our worship.

Libby Garrett said...

I like "The Blog". It helps keep me focused on what God directed during our corporate worship and study times.

As far as the "embarassment" issue, people do embarassing things all the time without giving it a thought. Look at behavior at ballgames. Even the most conservative of baseball "worshippers" will leap to their feet, clap and yell if their favorite team hits a grand slam. Football fans are even more extreme. Observers generally give no thought to these behaviors. It is considered normal because it is so common.
I believe our worship should be the same. It should be so common to see us Christians worhip that it is considered a normal behavior for us. The media doesn't consider it odd to see Jews at the Wailing Wall or believers of Islam to bow to the east and prayer 4 times a day.

Let's let worship become so common that others understand it as a normal part of what Christians do.

Neil said...

I have just returned from an extremely traditional COG where worship is certainly not a verb. Often it is not only fear that hinders people from worship, but a cultural and traditional teaching that states one must sit/stand, and wait for God to make you move, then you can worship. Combine that mentality with the fear you speak of and you have people living in bondage outside the joy God desires for them to have.

God gave us some breakthrough at the end of the meeting, I pray people everywhere learn to enjoy God's presence and the power of praise.

I like your blog too...Dawg!


Roughrider said...

In thirty years I have taught on worship, preached on worship, and tried to cajole and even shame into worship.
Needless to say these have no effect. David donned the garment of a priest and led in worship. This personal abandone led to a high point in his life where he danced before the Lord with all his might. Interestingly enough, the person who criticized him ended up barren. Hmmmm, no worship leads to a barren life. I think there is a correlation here.
Worship must be caught, demonstrated, and made part of a personal lifestyle. I loved the comment that said (in paraphrase) that you will do nothing in a public worship service that is not part of your private worship life.
Pardon me, I gotta go dance.

Sarah said...

I think what Shawn said [QUOTE] Most likely that is one of the issues with Galesburg! Too many people worry about what someone is going to think rather than what pleases God.[/QUOTE]holds a valid point. One of my best friends is from Africa and he said he had a hard time dealing with the fact everyone in Galesburg cares what everyone else does all the time. When we see someone walking, people take notice and want to know why they are walking. Is their car broke down? Did the bank take their car? Can’t they afford gas? When I go to Chicago nobody cares that I'm walking down the street. It never crosses their mind as there is a sea of people walking beside me. There is an anonymity factor that is comforting. One way to have that anonymity comfort in a praise and worship setting is what Libby referring [QUOTE] Let's let worship become so common that others understand it as a normal part of what Christians do.[/QUOTE] Personally, I find it to be a privacy issue. Praise and worship is something so intimate and personal that I have a hard time allowing others to be a part or witness something that is so private to me. In all that I do, I rarely enjoy public displays of attention. So I can imagine and relate to the unwillingness of entering into public something so important to me. Nevertheless, it still boils down to the people’s perception and giving them more authority than God who deserves it.