Tuesday, July 26, 2011


Praise must be expressed. The expression of what you are enjoying is the consummation of it. There is a fulfillment and joy found in sharing your expression.


Praise is admiration and reflection. Just wanting an experience is religious existentialism. Worship must be rooted in reality. God loves us and the experience that His Spirit pours out is a greater reality of what we know. Our worship is a realization of that experience and is flooded with reality. We have a greater consciousness of being with the Lord. There is an appetite for God within us. David expresses this when he declared, "As the deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God" (Ps. 42:1-2). An increasing appetite for God will move us on.


We highly value being in God’s presence. When we worship, God touches us and dwells with us right where we are. The Message Bible describes Jesus’ coming to the earth as God “moving into the neighborhood” (John 1:14). God remains present among us today and worship manifests Him. In worship, there is intensity, God coming upon us with power.

In worship we express that we desire to encounter God. One song expresses this longing with the simple phrase, "I long for you, oh Lord…" We always want to know God and encounter Him in our worship!

We need to long to encounter God and find our highest joy in Him. As John Piper explains in his book Desiring God,
"The enemy of worship is not that our desire for pleasure is too strong but too weak! We have settled for a home, a family, a few friends, a job, a television, a microwave oven, an occasional night out, a yearly vacation, and perhaps a new personal computer. We have accustomed ourselves to such meager, short-lived pleasures that our capacity for joy has shriveled. And so our worship has shriveled."
We must re-awaken ourselves to knowing and encountering the reality of the living God. He is our greatest delight.
O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you;
my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory.
Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you.
(Psalm 63:1-3 ESV)

Thursday, July 21, 2011


Worship flows from an appreciation that comes out of knowledge. We consistently praise the things we appreciate. This begs the question: Do we really know God? Do we run out of things to praise God about? We can appreciate what we know, but it is difficult to praise what we don't know.

For example, you can't understand and appreciate football unless you grasp how the game is played and the skill involved. You can be in the stands of the football stadium while others are excited, but it doesn't help you if you don’t understand the game. Worship is not caught. Worship occurs in the midst of a relationship. A person who spends time getting to know God and His ways will praise Him for who He is and all He’s done.

The more we study, meditate and learn of God, the more we want to worship Him. We become fascinated about God. Study and read real material about God and not just the latest spiritual fads found in paperbacks. It is good to delve into biographies of great men and women of faith. It is good to read healthy theology written by godly men such as Wayne Grudem and Gordon Fee. We learn of God and get thrilled. Let’s pursue the goal to learn something of God on a continual basis.

In addition to reading, biblical worship also strengthens us with the truth about our God. Excellent worship songs speak of the wonders of God. When we sing great worship songs, do we really know what's behind these words? As we sing in worship, let’s reflect on the truth revealed about God and grow in our wonder and awe of Him and His great love for us.

We must know God, and true worship flows out of this relationship. Otherwise, our worship is weak, shallow and more focused on ourselves than on God. Our praise is enriched by our identification with Christ. For example, you can appreciate a good football team, but there’s much more excitement when it is your team. When my team scores…it's my team! I get excited! As believers, Jesus is our Savior and this truth comes out of relationship and out of a personal knowledge of Him. The less we understand, the less we praise. The more we understand, the more we praise.

Let me ask, are you impressed with God? If so, let’s praise Him.

Thursday, July 7, 2011


It’s appropriate to be a thankful people. In his book A Passion for Holiness, J.I. Packer says, “No religion anywhere has ever laid such stress on the need for thanksgiving, nor called on its adherents so incessantly and insistently to give God thanks as does the religion of the Bible.”

In Psalm 100:4, the psalmist instructs us to "enter His gates with thanksgiving." This is the first order of worship. God's reign has created a natural order. Romans 1 speaks of the downward spiral of being unthankful and ungrateful. This downward spiral starts because people do not give thanks. Therefore, one thing that should characterize us as God’s people is that we are thankful. One of the first things we teach our children is to say “thank you.” This should be our initial attitude as we worship God as well. Thankfulness is to be a chief characteristic in our daily life and worship. Gratefulness in every circumstance is the obvious evidence of one’s faith in a sovereign God.