State of Play #003 "Emotionally Involved" (Part 3) by Andrew Funderburk on 2015-02-13 10:19:40
For the past two weeks, I brought to our attention the way that modern worship can be more about stirring up an emotional response, rather than maintaining a focus on God. Granted, God can stir up an emotional response to Him during our times of worship; however, we must keep in mind that during worship we are directing our focus towards God, not on ourselves. Our posture should be surrender towards Him. With what I’ve said, I also believe that if an issue is presented, much of the time an answer or some sort of solution needs to be provided as well. In presenting an issue for the past two weeks, although not an exhaustive or end-all list, I would like to offer some practical ways as to our response in worship.
Surrender and Thanks: When we come into worship, many times we might be dealing with physical or emotional pain, loss of a loved one, struggles with sin, issues with our family or friends, and the list can go on for a while. It can be difficult to sit/stand during a time of worship and even try to focus. Despite the difficulty, I find that sometimes just sitting and saying, “God, I surrender this to You,” is a great first step in enabling my mind to focus on God. In doing that it helps me to move forward to know God’s heart for the situation I may be in. Also, giving God thanks for who He is in the midst of trouble can set perspective in worship.
Read the Word: Other times during worship, I feel that God is leading me to sit down and read the Word. By reading His Word, we come to know His character more. We grow to know His heart more, and in that we grow to love Him more and desire to worship Him more.
Journaling: While reading the Word, oftentimes I like to write down what I’m reading. Meditating on the Word in an atmosphere of worship can hone us in on things we may never have discovered before in Scripture. While journaling, God can also bring prayers to mind or speak to you while you’re writing through specific words or impressions.
Sitting in silence: Because of our culture’s business, it can be easy to even be distracted during worship. I find that sometimes just sitting down and closing my eyes to hone in on the song being sung can be helpful in focusing my attention on God. Other times I’m sitting not even thinking about the song, instead I am training my mind to be silent before God. It’s in times of silence that we can hear His voice much clearer than we might normally can.
In ending, please remember this is not an exhaustive list, nor is it a magical go-to cure in all situations. I hope though that it does equip you to better engage with God and possibly find a personal venue at times to connect in the way God ministers to you during worship.
Slightly Obsessed #186: When the Path Ahead Is Fearsome
The room was dark and shadowed, the only sound within its walls the rhythmic whoosh of the ventilator beside my son’s bed. I sat on an uncomfortable chair jammed into one corner of the room. In the faint light that fell from the window across the pages of the Bible I held, I tried to corral my stampeding fears long enough to find some comfort from God’s Word. Outside the door of his room, a cacophony of voices from the nurses’ station jarred our shattered nerves.
Slightly Obsessed #185: Clean
They were just turning down the lights in the sanctuary as I awkwardly slid into a seat near the back of the church. I was tired and soiled by the previous week. Life had been especially difficult, and I had not handled the pressure well. I felt completely unhinged spiritually and wholly unworthy to be in God’s presence. The worship team began with one of my favorite songs, and I hoped I didn’t look as vulnerable as I felt.
Slightly Obsessed #184: The Mark of Maturity
The infant finishes his bottle and smiles contentedly up at his mother. A trickle of milk courses down from the corner of his mouth. It’s a sweet scene because that’s what babies do. They are born with immature digestive systems and no teeth. Mother’s milk or formula are necessary for the child to survive and thrive. As they grow, their teeth begin to come in, their digestive abilities mature, and they can tolerate solid food.
Slightly Obsessed #183: He Knows Your Name
All sheep look alike to me. Defenseless, timid, and nondescript creatures, they tend to wander and get into trouble. When one falls, it needs help to get back on its feet. Its purpose in life is mostly to eat and make more sheep. It’s easy to see why Jesus equated them to humans. A line of sheep looks like a sea of wool and blank stares, huddled in a timid group behind their leader.
Slightly Obsessed #182 "When Speaking the Truth Makes You the Enemy"
The apostle Paul loved the people of God. After his conversion to Christ, he spent his life not only establishing churches, but also ministering to their needs. He often had the unpleasant duty of confronting issues that threatened the fledgling church, and his letters to the Galatians and to the Corinthians were especially aimed at keeping the churches rooted in the faith.
Slightly Obsessed #181 "The Moment before the Moment of Revelation"
The movie Ten Commandments famously depicted the rise, fall, and restoration of the Hebrew man who would one day lead his people out of Egypt. Set afloat as a baby in a basket to escape the wrath of Egypt, Moses was found by an Egyptian princess and unwittingly restored to his family to be raised as royalty. He was a man with a foot in two worlds, and his choice to follow the faith of his birth family cost him a king’s inheritance.