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Brandon Andress is the author of AND THEN THE END WILL COME! (April 2013) and Unearthed: How Discovering the Kingdom of God Will Transform the Church and Change the World (2010). He lives in Columbus, Indiana and writes for his popular blogs Brandon Andress and A Joyful Procession. Brandon earned his MBA from Indiana Wesleyan University and his BA in Psychology from Hanover College. He loves the outdoors, hiking, camping, and traveling. For more information visit: www.andthentheendwillcome.com

the position of worship…

we celebrate our options and choices…and we believe we deserve them.  we are Americans…and we deserve life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  it is ingrained in us…it is in our collective DNA.  the market responds to our wants, needs, and desires.  it is like a vicious cycle.  we demand…the market provides.  we consume…they feed.  it is an insatiable appetite continually reinforced by the corporate angel choruses, “have it your way”, “your way…right away” and “you deserve a break today”.  the competing songs ring louder and louder so as to never let us forgot that we deserve everything we want to have…our way…of course.  and we are not afraid to remind anyone of our wants, needs, and desires…whew…now take a breath.

this consumerist identity is not seperate from our everyday lives.  it is a deeply ingrained collective sense of entitlement that infiltrates every part of our lives.  for capitalists…this is a dream come true…a way to market to individual wants, needs, and desires…and make loads of money.  for faith communities…this is a nightmare.  the unfortunate consequence of the two…and what we are witnessing in the United States in the Christian church…is a tragic intersection between two distinct social entities: businesses that try to satisfy consumer wants, needs, and desires, and churches filled with consumers who are ready and waiting to consume.  the result is a vicious cycle in the north american church of satisfying the wants, needs, and desires of their consumers, which many times takes a church to places not originally intended.

worship…for instance…has become synonymous with music and singing.  we have “worship” time during our church services…which means we sing together.  Christian record labels promote “worship” albums.  we cater stylistically to those of the traditional worship persuasion…or the contemporary worship persuasion…or the post-modern worship persuasion…heck…we might even have a “blended” worship service for those who can’t make up their mind.  we have churches that advertise through their church name what type of worship they have (there is a church that is called The Country Gospel Music church…i am not kidding!).  our understanding of worship has been completely limited to music…and since we are driven by our individual wants, needs, and desires…it ONLY MAKES SENSE THAT THE CHURCH SHOULD OFFER WORSHIP THAT PLEASES ME.

in the new testament…there is a greek word used for worship: proskuneo.  proskuneo means to lie prostrate before someone who is worthy.  did you get that?  it means to take your body and lie flat with your face pressed to the ground in submission to one who is worthy.  when i have that sort of understanding about worship…it sounds selfless.  it sounds sacrificial.  it sounds like i need to understand my position before this worthy one.  it sounds like i need to remember that i am dirt with Divine breath.  it sounds like it has nothing to do with my wants, needs, and desires…because i have set them aside for the one who is worthy.  and all of a sudden…worship doesn’t seem so much like an interchangeable word for music and singing as much as a position that gets ME out of the way and opens the door for God’s Glory and Divinity to finally be welcomed to work through my entire life….my hands…my feet…my voice… 

when Paul writes that our battle is not against flesh and bone…but against the powers and principalities of evil…how do you think that battle is fought?  it is through worship.  it is by our selfish, carnal selves getting out of the way and inviting the Spirit of God to work in us….through us…around us.  we are a living sacrifice…continually sacrificing our own wants, needs, and desires and becoming a walking, breathing conduit of God’s blessing, healing, love, and transformation in the world.  when you worship through serving…God is breaking down strongholds and invading enemy space by using your hands.  every praise you sing together is a spiritual battle for the person dealing with depression sitting next to you.  every mile you walk with your legs to visit the orphaned and widowed is your spiritual act of worship.  every worshipful prayer offered with the abused wife allows God another avenue to heal a wounded soul.  worship is the means by which God is manifest to a broken world in need of healing.

the position of worship is prostrate before a God who is worthy.  it is not about you…get it?  it is NOT ABOUT YOU!  it is not about your wants, needs, and desires being met within the context of a church service.  that cheapens worship…and it cheapens what you think a church is all about!  let us fall to the ground with our faces to the ground prostrate before God and say… 

You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.

brandon

8 Comments on “the position of worship…”

  1. Jon January 10, 2008 at 6:00 pm #

    Our worship pastor had a sermon a while back where he spoke on this subject. For worship time on this day we actually went through a journaling time in worship to God. We’ve also done some Lectico Divina within our services as well as part of worship and centering. We did not do the entire hour, but I believe we did a half hour. It may sound ritualistic but it is a good way to center on God and give him our attention. Like anything if you do it without the reverent heart of worship to God it means nothing. Sometimes or I could go a step forward in saying more times than we think we believe we make worship about us. We look forward to belting out cool songs we heard on the radio. Instead our focus should be one of anticipation of what next thing God will do. Our hearts should be focused on being willing to do what he has called us to be and walking with the Spirit to provide His direction. I placed the Wikipedia link to Lectico Divina below if you want to take a look.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lectio_divina

  2. Kasey January 11, 2008 at 12:55 pm #

    Brandon you never cease to amaze. I am so proud of you and thankful to God that he gave you the ability to breakdown his word and share it with others. I am thankful to God for all of the many ways that you have been a role model and mentor for me. I have grown to be a better Christian because of the outlook and personal insight you have given. I love you so much. Thank you for sharing. It moved me greatly.

  3. Andrea July 4, 2009 at 2:37 pm #

    Dirt with Divine breath…love it.

    Very convicting in so many ways…especially being on a worship team at church, when so many eyes are on us…it’s all too easy to let ego get in the way, as much as I try to pretend it’s not. Very very humbling and ouchy to think about, but timely and necessary. Thanks, Brandon.

  4. Jeromy Bilbrey July 5, 2009 at 3:41 pm #

    My first true worship experience was when I learned to ask God for nothing, but gave him everything. I did get on the ground to lay prostrate before God that day. It was amazing. I was asking for nothing, but God allowed me to feel close to Him. I know we don’t always get to feel close to God. It’s not a feeling we should be seeking, but obedience. This is stuff I’ve come to understand fairly recently. If you ask for nothing, but give God everything, you’ll be surprised with the blessings you get when you NEED them. I think I just babbled a bit. Thanks for sharing this blog.

  5. Andrea July 8, 2009 at 2:05 pm #

    Just making sure you do know, after our recent email communications…I get it now, Brandon!!! And I see how I still didn’t quite get it (even if the sentiment was sincere) in my above post. Thanks for the hints :)

  6. Eduloubcult November 26, 2009 at 7:29 pm #

    I’m always searching for brandnew informations in the internet about this theme. Thanx!

  7. Niki June 4, 2010 at 5:46 pm #

    Awesome and still timely. God bless you. I was looking for something that would describe an experience I had last night and when reading this I found myself reading outloud “it is through worship. it is by our selfish, carnal selves getting out of the way and inviting the Spirit of God to work in us….through us…around us. we are a living sacrifice…continually sacrificing our own wants, needs, and desires and becoming a walking, breathing conduit of God’s blessing, healing, love, and transformation in the world” It spoke volumes to my spirit. I desire to stay in this place right here. Never to be the same again. Thank you for sharing.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. the evolution of sunday sing-a-long… « outside the walls… - August 24, 2009

    [...] evolution of sunday sing-a-long… I have written previously on how we need a fresh perspective on worship within the church. And while I pray that our [...]

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