I was at Seaside the last couple of days at a convention of about 200 people, primarily Pastors and their wives. We had an outstanding preacher and an excellent worship team, and I had a blessed time soaking it all in. What made the worship time powerful was the fact that most pastors and their wives sing well so the volume in the auditorium we were gathered in was very loud. It wasn’t uncomfortable loud, it was impossible to think of anything but the words of the song loud, it was like I imagine heaven will be like loud, it was like one of those heart shocker things but to my spiritual heart loud.
I was curious so this evening I did a little study with my Bible program on my IPad and I found over 300 references to singing, music, and musical instruments in the Bible. The command to worship God with music is given almost one hundred times, I don’t know of any other command that is repeated that often, it must be important to God.
On one of our bicycle trips across the country we attended a church on a Sunday. We usually attended the closest church to where we were camping. When we walked in, there was six of us, we came close to doubling their attendance, and as we came in the Pastor asked if any of us played the piano. None of us volunteered so the little old lady that usually played came up and started playing. I think she only knew about a dozen of the hymns in the hymn book, and she didn’t play those very well. The fifteen or so people in the room sang together four hymns, all the verses, along with the halting piano accompaniment, and I think only about half in the room were close to singing on key, and the ones most off-key sang the loudest. It was a worship experience that I have never forgotten, not because of the music, but because of the powerful sense of God’s presence and pleasure that I felt in my heart. This last couple of days was great, but no worship experience that I have ever had has been as holy and anointed as that little church with the lousy music.
I have been in many different churches over the years and many different worship experiences. I can’t think of any that I didn’t enjoy, and wasn’t blessed by. My worship experience is not anyone’s responsibility but mine. I am to direct the words that I sing to God, I am to draw near to God in my mind and heart and soul, and then He will draw near to me. Worship is praise to God, it is Thanksgiving to God, it is exaltation of God, it is all about God, nothing about me. So while I sing I also think of blessings, one after the other, and I thank God for each one of them. My salvation, my wife, my kids, my ministry, my history, and on and on. God inhabits the praises of His people. I know how to pull my thoughts in and make them all about God, I know how to mentally focus like a laser on just one thing – God, I know how To forget everything in life, set everything off to the side except for God.
I think that is why whether it is a talented group of musicians with drums, guitars, keyboards, and state of the art sound equipment, or a little old lady on an old upright piano, I have never had a lousy worship experience because worshipping God well is my responsibility, no one elses.