Thursday, March 16, 2006


Before the Throne - An interview on worship with Ern Baxter.

It was noted before commencing this article that "Ern Baxter recently celebrated his fiftieth year as a pastor and teacher. During those years his ministry has been characterised by a deep insight into worship and an ability to lead others into the Presence of God". You will find a great deal of similarity between what Ern Baxter had to say on worship and what Terry Virgo wrote in his article - this is something I have come to see again and again in my reading.

Questioner: How would you define worship?

Baxter: Worship is really the occupation of our hearts with God Himself. It does not include prayer for needs and thanksgiving for blessings. In prayer, I'm taken up with my needs, in praise I'm taken up with my thanksgiving, but in worship I'm taken up with Him. Worship offers. Prayer asks.

Q: What kind of priority does the Bible give to worship?

Baxter: For a person who claims to be submitted to the Word of God, worship is not optional. Worship is a command or a demand. I see worship as a means of restoration. (1 Cor 3:18) As a person beholds God in worship with the enlightened enablement that comes from letting the Word dwell richly in him as he extolls God's virtues, His attributes, His excellence and His holiness as seen in the face of Jesus Christ, then that person is changed into God's image. That is true for the Church and for a nation.

The creative aim of worship is the total transfiguration of the created order, a process in whch the incarnation of the Word finds it's goal. I think that's the infinately practical value of worship.

Q: What adjustments do we need to make to fulfill what God watns from us in our worship?

Baxter: First of all, I think we need to have a good balance between the Word and the Spirit. We all have a tendancy to be partial to one or the other. We can talk about worship in terms that are probably accurate but if we don't enter into it in real, spiritual practice thne we're all Word and no Spirit and our worship is unbalanced.

God continues to be the God of majesty, might and glory and my understanding of God requires that when I approach Him I address Him with the spontaneity that the Spirit provides, but with the restraints that the Word prescribes.

Q: If we make worship a priority in our lives, what do you think will be God's response?

Baxter: The finest insights with which God has blessed me and to some degree others have come when I was worshipping. I believe that spiritual gifts, insights, revelations and illumination are all His response to a heart that maintains an attitude of worship. My experience has been that all worthwhile activity derives from worship.

In beholding God through worship we are attracted to Him and we desire to emulate Him and to move toward Him. I see in worship an encounter with God that is absolutely essential to finding His purposes for us and for experiencing the restoration that God intends for His people.

Article Reference List of this website available here.

8 comments:

Sheila said...

Well, I've just listened to the 3rd installment of Terry Virgo's messages on God's Lavish Grace - - and I'm waylaid.

You see, this past December, my husband and I went through the deepest disappointment of our entire ministry. There was a young black man who we'd led to the Lord, he and his girlfriend. He moved out of her apartment, began to treat her with respect and abstinence, he "courted her", and then, after a period of months, they married in our church. Then they had a baby girl. We were delighted with these two, the young man in particular. He was gifted in worship, could out-sing Ron Kenoly, and seemed so hungry for God. He was, we felt, fruit of our ministry, and we laid ourselves out to see to it that this man and his family "made it". We took great care to love and lead them.

Years passed, and this past December, we discovered he'd raped a child....his step daughter. He'd also molested a couple of other children - nieces. It fell to my husband to hear his confession of guilt, to accompany him to the police station, and ultimately we had to watch this man go to prison - and rightfully so. He seems, at this point, unrepentant, in that he is only looking out for himself. There is no manifestation of brokenness over what he took from a tiny, precious 8 year old girl.

This has devastated us. We've run the gamut from wondering what we did wrong - how could we have been SO lacking discernment? We were getting all sorts of "red flags" about this man in our spirits, in the past year or so, but we never dreamed it was THIS BAD.

We had to disfellowship him, according to Corinthians 5, until he brings forth fruits of repentance. We've had to make sure the fractured little family left behind has everything from food to counseling to a new bed to replace the one filled with terrifying memories for the little girl.

I'm aching inside, I'm tired, I've had very painful back trouble ever since, I'm not sleeping well at night. I heard Terry tonight telling me, "You cannot discount disappointment. You cannot go on as if it never happened. Disappointment will drain the energy right out of your boots..."

That is me. That is my husband. THAT WORD is confirmation. Two prophets, neither of whom know each other, called my husband saying, "You must take a vacation. You cannot go through what you've been through and not need a break."

We need to be fed by an angel. We need to stop and rest awhile. That is very, very hard to admit. To take a vacation seems impossible - neither time nor finances will allow us the opportunity - so I am left with nothing but God's Lavish Grace. He will make the way, where there seems to be no way.

Once again - thanks, Dan. It has taken me awhile to get to the last of Terry Virgo's messages on grace, so forgive me that my comment doesn't tie in perfectly with today's blog. But I just wanted you to know the huge impact Terry's messages - made available to me through YOUR blog - have had on my very weary heart.

I don't know what else to say. Tears are threatening to fall, so I'll go now. Blessings, Dan!

Sheila said...

Well, I've just listened to the 3rd installment of Terry Virgo's messages on God's Lavish Grace - - and I'm waylaid.

You see, this past December, my husband and I went through the deepest disappointment of our entire ministry. There was a young black man who we'd led to the Lord, he and his girlfriend. He moved out of her apartment, began to treat her with respect and abstinence, he "courted her", and then, after a period of months, they married in our church. Then they had a baby girl. We were delighted with these two, the young man in particular. He was gifted in worship, could out-sing Ron Kenoly, and seemed so hungry for God. He was, we felt, fruit of our ministry, and we laid ourselves out to see to it that this man and his family "made it". We took great care to love and lead them.

Years passed, and this past December, we discovered he'd raped a child....his step daughter. He'd also molested a couple of other children - nieces. It fell to my husband to hear his confession of guilt, to accompany him to the police station, and ultimately we had to watch this man go to prison - and rightfully so. He seems, at this point, unrepentant, in that he is only looking out for himself. There is no manifestation of brokenness over what he took from a tiny, precious 8 year old girl.

This has devastated us. We've run the gamut from wondering what we did wrong - how could we have been SO lacking discernment? We were getting all sorts of "red flags" about this man in our spirits, in the past year or so, but we never dreamed it was THIS BAD.

We had to disfellowship him, according to Corinthians 5, until he brings forth fruits of repentance. We've had to make sure the fractured little family left behind has everything from food to counseling to a new bed to replace the one filled with terrifying memories for the little girl.

I'm aching inside, I'm tired, I've had very painful back trouble ever since, I'm not sleeping well at night. I heard Terry tonight telling me, "You cannot discount disappointment. You cannot go on as if it never happened. Disappointment will drain the energy right out of your boots..."

That is me. That is my husband. THAT WORD is confirmation. Two prophets, neither of whom know each other, called my husband saying, "You must take a vacation. You cannot go through what you've been through and not need a break."

We need to be fed by an angel. We need to stop and rest awhile. That is very, very hard to admit. To take a vacation seems impossible - neither time nor finances will allow us the opportunity - so I am left with nothing but God's Lavish Grace. He will make the way, where there seems to be no way.

Once again - thanks, Dan. It has taken me awhile to get to the last of Terry Virgo's messages on grace, so forgive me that my comment doesn't tie in perfectly with today's blog. But I just wanted you to know the huge impact Terry's messages - made available to me through YOUR blog - have had on my very weary heart.

I don't know what else to say. Tears are threatening to fall, so I'll go now. Blessings, Dan!

Baxter's Boy said...

Thanks so much for sharing all that. How my heart goes out to you! There is really absolutely nothing that I can say (and you don't need anything that I can say) - but all I can do is assure you of my prayers over here in the UK! And I am just so blessed beyond words that you can seize this outstanding material from Terry Virgo and that it has broken into your life in a way that only God could do!!

I share such a strong bond with you, in terms of the disappointment. Different things of course. But the same aching heart. And there's a little bit in Terry's book, "God's Lavish Grace" that is just SO important to hear. He says that we must make EVERY effort to keep ourselvs in the love of God. So let me urge you to keep listening to those sermons, keep reading his books on grace if you've got them. If you havent - I'll send you mine!!

Thanks again for sharing. So much. Your testimony makes my passion worthwhile - to make this material available!!

A big huge hug from UK!!

D xx

Sheila said...

HOW did my post come through TWICE??

*growl*

Oh well. Dan, your making the materials available has had lasting impact on this preacher's wife. Rest in that - God has used you, and will use you again, disappointment notwithstanding. I confess to being almost embarassed about sharing all I did last night - Terry's message had so freshly touched my heart, that I just opened right up, and now I wish I hadn't. ;-) This is YOUR blog, Dan, and I would eat dirt and die (sorry...a southern U.S. expression) before I'd cry or whine in public.

I am characterized by being always "up"....darn near "Pollyanna-ish" in my outlook. God is always good, and my path is like the light of dawn, always brighter and brighter. But this recent disappointment *has* knocked the wind out of me.

However - I won't dwell on it. I struggle with the tension between what Terry said in his message, "You cannot just "move on"...you have to acknowlege disappointment." and the fact that I cannot, will not, wallow in this. Don't I *have* to move on?

Love what you said, Dan, about keeping myself in the love of God - making every effort. THAT I can do.

That I will do.

(sorry for the twice post...I really have no idea...)

Baxter's Boy said...

I do know how you feel!! Again there's nothing new or radical that I can add - just join me in keep re-visiting Terry's amazing sermon!! Yes there is a danger in lingering too long and we don't want to stagnate. That is where Terry broke in directly to my life. I, like Elijah, had been hiding in the wilderness nursing my wounds! And having got rid of anyone who reminded me of the past! But at the same time there is a definite time given for recovery and just resting in God.

So nothing to be sorry to be about. Thank you again for sharing and thank you for reading!

ollie said...

Amazing grace! How sweet the sound!! Not just saved a wretch - but goes on saving a wretch and making us kings!! Let's not be guilty of making grace just for saving us. God's lavish grace lives for us still today!!

nwood said...

I am glad that you seperated these two articles out even though they were both in the same day. There are some key precious things to learn from them both and it helps clarity by reading them.

The images are particularly powerful - are they from Stoneleigh Bible Week? Wow - what a time that looks.

Yes, worship - our highest and greatest calling. And my concern is that some so-called worship leaders and websites don't seem to grasp that concept of intimacy enough. Are they once again falling into the danger of quenching the Spirit through fear of excess?

I fear so.

Anonymous said...

I love this concept of "beholding God" - while I believe that worship should and must be in "spirit and in truth" - therefore we must sing songs that are indeed true, to downgrade the intimate aspect of worship is to absolutely rob us of the chance of "beholding God".

In the Scriptures David came in and sat before the Ark - why did he do that?! Could it be to "behold the Lord"??! Would we dare to think of coming into worship and just "sitting before God"?

I think something powerful has been touched on here - something of real importance, we must reclaim the aspect of "beholding"!