Monday, October 17, 2011

Learning How to Worship from a Worshipper!!

One of my favourite pasttimes if I am struggling to engage with God during worship in church is to focus and watch someone who is "in the zone" and I find it lifts my spirits and before long I am leaving distractions aside and focusing on what really matters - or Who really matters! One of the reasons why I treasure women worship leaders so much - such as Kate Simmonds, Lou Fellingham, Darlene Zschech or Isi de Gersigny - is I find they are far more abandoned to worship and far more ready to move into the Holy Place. I love it!

And Wendy Virgo is no exception. Although she doesn't leave worship, she is pretty easy to spot in a Newfrontiers conference. She is usually to be spotted in the front row with both arms raised - lost in wonder, love and praise. So it is great to read her latest blog post;

"The pastor called the chattering mob to order. “OK folks! Time to stop talking and start worshipping!” It was hard to get them to focus at first: 500+ people all greeting, hugging, laughing, swapping stories, kids milling about. It was warm, friendly, lively and strangers were welcomed gladly. But John the pastor persevered, and the band played some chords. “OK, are you ready to worship? God is here. He will meet with us and speak to us.”

Somehow you knew this was true; it had already been demonstrated in the expressions of love in the large auditorium. Now the people responded, rising to their feet to sing. For the next 50 minutes we were in glory, enjoying God, celebrating our salvation, worshipping the King among us.

A lot of the time our hands were in the air, or clapping, or both. The band was technically excellent: it was difficult to keep still! The words of the songs were declarations of truth that resonated in heart and mind. It was loud, but it seemed appropriate!

There were prophecies, a reading or two, a tongue and interpretation, a prophetic song. From the top of the banked seating to the front of the auditorium, there was enthusiastic involvement. It drew to a close after about 50 mins. Long? It didn’t feel long. When Terry came to preach, he was speaking to hearts that were open, primed to hear and receive.

I have been in worship that was technically excellent, but empty. I have been in long worship that seemed endless! I have been in loud worship and it was simply noise that made my ears hurt. I have also been in worship that was efficient, brief lasted exactly 14 minutes and 32 secs, and it did not leave me longing for more; no room for gifts of the Spirit.

I have learned a technique: when I am in an unfamiliar crowd and I want to find Jesus, I imagine I am like the woman who needed to press through and touch his robe. I try to push through the obstacles to find Him. But it is so refreshing when you are in a crowd that is shouting hosanna, metaphorically waving palm branches and welcoming the King! Seeker friendly? Bah, humbug!

So—how do you get there? You prioritise on the presence of God. Musicians learn that they are like priests who stand before God and the people, and make it easy or hard to find Him. There has to be an ethos in the church of anticipating the presence of God, to recognise Him, cherish Him and respond to Him.

The previous day, we had looked around an amazing new facility that had become available for their newest church plant. This is a burgeoning church, a church on the move, but a worshipping church. Gifts of the Spirit flow; lives are being changed; people are being saved.

What an edifying weekend!"

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