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January Newsletter-Worship

‘…the time is coming, and now is, when true worshipers shall worship the Father in the Spirit and in Truth…God is Spirit and those that worship Him must worship Him in Spirit and Truth.’ (John 4:23-24) Worship definition: (in the biblical sense) to bow down with reverence to the One who is present.

Worship is connected to WBVN music and events. We grasp the words of Jesus in the above scripture eagerly. Having done over 220 events, I like the idea of ‘One who is present’ in each of our music concerts. There are two ways of experiencing that kind of moment: 1-we watch the artists do something that encourages us to go out into the world and do something, 2-we enter into the gift of participating in a moment where, with the Spirit of Christ living in our hearts, we are communicating with God, and we step into that expression with Joy and Love. Both descriptions are appropriate. Christ is the one and only High Priest; through Him we draw near to the Father. In the first definition, we can have that kind of response in our own and varied ways, sometimes expressed differently from denomination to denomination. The second kind, Spirit of Christ led worship, brings any divisions present in those different denominations into union. That’s often been our experience over the hundreds of concerts we’ve done for 33 years. Christ centered worship brings us together in moments of looking up, not looking side to side. In Hebrews 8:2 ‘We have such a high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; a minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man.’ The Greek word translated minister in that scripture defines and describes The Lord as ‘the leader of our worship.’ When Jane was paralyzed in the hospital in 2012, one of her expressions was that the worship she experienced always came from her right side. In her vision of the throne of God, that was the side Jesus occupies. In her expression, prayer and praise came from the right side of God and from no other source.

The motivation for why we did the first BVN concert, and have done 222 since, is the belief that worship of the second kind mentioned above, is possible. Worship is not just something believers do to please God, but worship can be The Spirit of Christ participating with us at that moment, leading us in celebrating the Love of the Father.

Today, we seem to be prioritizing on how to fix rather than the Who can fix many of the worldwide problems. Simply put, we’re struggling with how do we solve so many problems politically and economically without really considering Who can solve those problems. Stop and think about how the world would be characterized in Christ each and every day, in each and every situation. For sure, it would be a very different world than we’re experiencing. Instead, today we choose to worship the creation rather than the Creator. Fixing every physical or economic problem will not fix the problems the world faces. I remember Rich Mullins talking about what would happen if we got everything we want. How it seems each time we get what we need to be happy, the human mind simply comes up with one more thing that it needs. Happy is always ‘over there.’ The world needs more than that kind of ‘happy’ fix.

Worship has a connection, a role to play, in being satisfied in this life. Worship is bigger than just bowing down and identifying that kind of physical expression as true worship. Worshiping in Truth flows from the respect of Who God is and what He’s done: ‘I am the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob…I have loved you and redeemed you…I will be your God and you will be my people. Therefore, this is how you will worship me.’ Jesus came to not only redeem us but to establish Spiritual adoption, a New Life experience never experienced before by His creation, our adoption as children of God. Jesus emphasized that using Abba/Father, a Greek term never used of God anywhere other than by Jesus. Calling on us to pray with the simple ‘our Father’, terrified those present at that teaching. Addressing God as a Father, a God that Jewish tradition required not even saying His name, Jesus was suggesting a personal, intimate relationship with God? Christ baptizes us into being able to share with Him and communion with the Father.

Today, Christians are being challenged by the world to just be quiet. That’s a challenge to all of what might be called the worship community or Church. It’s an attempt to muzzle our opportunity to enter into a place we find the presence the Spirit of God and ‘bow down’ in celebration of His works. I re-read a quote the other day that I found stuffed in a book that I hadn’t picked up for awhile. It emphasized that today, just as thousands of years ago, man had a vision of creating his own empire; a man-kingdom in which he imposes his own will and his own inventions upon the earth. It’s similar to Nebuchadnezzar’s image described in the Old Testament and it’s being imposed on us today. Even thinking about that idea increasing every day, I’m not discouraged about the Gospel; it will be the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. The Gospel does not fail. Jesus is not going away. Sometimes I am saddened experiencing what the world brings. I think we should be disappointed that the world displays more and more of the anti-Christ, human made positions to promote and live by. As I mentioned in a recent letter, almost anything that Jesus said is now fair game to be laughed at and abused. The new world order is if Jesus said it I’m against it.

Result? It’s pretty graphically stated in Romans 1:18-32, God gave them over to themselves; worshipping the creature rather than the Creator. Eugene Peterson put it like this in his The Message Bible “What happened was this: people knew God perfectly well, but when they didn’t treat Him like God, refusing to worship Him, they trivialized themselves into silliness and confusion so that there was neither sense nor direction left in their lives. They pretended to know all but were illiterate regarding life. They traded the glory of God who holds the whole world in His hands, for cheap figurines you can buy at any roadside stand. So God said in effect, ‘If that’s what you want, that’s what you get.’…They traded the true God for a fake god, and worshipped the god they made instead of the God who made them…Refusing to know God, they soon didn’t know how to be human either, women didn’t know how to be women and men didn’t know how to be men…confused, they abused and defiled one another…all lust no love…God quit bothering them and let them loose. And then all hell broke loose.” It goes on but I’ll stop there. Peterson wrote that translation of the Bible in 2002, over twenty years ago and it’s even more symbolic of today. Paul wrote the Book of Romans while in Corinth 2000 years ago. He prophetically nailed the headlines of today, amazingly, significantly pinpointing the psychology and moralities of man in 2022. Isn’t it surprising that the world has walked right into those characteristics some 2000 years later just as Paul predicted?

Today, similarly as in the time of Nebuchadnezzar’s image of a great empire, we will need to depend and trust in a Stone not cut by human hands, but one that will, by the Spirit, smite man’s human empire and break it to pieces. Our confidence for today and tomorrow comes from knowing Him, trusting Him with our future. All you have to do is look around and see that our political, cultural, and economic systems suffer for not worshiping Him. The Gospel message is that we will succeed by knowing Him and succeed by no other way. (And pray His Kingdom comes.)

We will worship something, either the known God expressed by Jesus’ teachings or the unknown gods expressed by Apostle Paul. Worship is given to us as part of the creation, worship will happen, we just have to choose whom to worship. Worship was once (in O.T.) a physical, outward display. Worship (in the New Testament) became an expression of Spirit and Truth. Have you ever watched a musician use a tuning fork to find the frequency of a particular note? In a believer’s heart, we have a tuning fork. When the Spirit hits the frequency, when God speaks, our heart recognizes it and responds because our hearts are tuned to God’s frequency. And, even if it doesn’t always feel like it, or doesn’t seem to be in your plans, when that tuning fork goes off it’s a safe place for sure.

It’s so easy to hear a song that kind of vibrates our hearts in that same manner. God messaging us in music is not unusual – just ask Moses or David or Mary. I’ve heard my daughter mention how much Rhett Walker’s song “Goodness of God” means to her right now. I’m not surprised. That’s her tuning fork going off on God’s frequency. One of the early Old Testament exchanges that I’ve always thought was pretty precious is recorded in Exodus 33:18. Moses asks, “Show me your glory,” and God replies, “I will make my goodness pass before you..I will be gracious…I will show Mercy.” At that moment God was revealing Himself to Moses, His ways, His character, His heart. That’s the God we can easily worship. He is Spirit, His message to us is the Truth.

Posted on by Laura Posted in Newsletters

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