Some time ago, I came across some articles on worship and I thought the content of some of those articles would be good to pass along . I’ve added, edited, change and embellished those writings, but in spite of all that, I think that truths here will be of real benefit to all of us. There’s a wide variety of opinions on what constitutes worship, both private and public. Tragically, many very sincere Believers, who are seeking real worship, totally miss the point of worship

A parable is told of a community of ducks who waddling off to duck church one Sunday to hear their duck preacher. After they waddled into the duck sanctuary, the service began and the duck preacher spoke eloquently of how God had given the ducks wings with which to fly. He pounded the pulpit with his beak and said, “With these wings, there is nowhere we ducks cannot go! “There is no God-given task we ducks cannot accomplish! With these wings we no longer need walk through life. We can soar high in the sky!”Shouts of “Amen!” were quacked throughout the duck congregation. The duck preacher concluded his message by exclaiming, “With our wings we can fly through life!


More ducks quacked loud “AMENS!” in response. Every duck loved the service. In fact all the ducks that day commented on what a wonderfully convicting message they had heard from their duck preacher and then they left the church and waddled all the way home.

Too often we waddle away from worship the same way we waddled in unchanged, but it should not be so! When we genuinely worship God, we are responding to God’s grace by giving Him our lives, allowing Him to change us and make us better people.

In Romans 12:1-2 Paul described worship in this way when he wrote..,

Romans 12:1-2 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

True worship should be a time when we allow God to challenge and change us. Those who waddle in, to worship, should not waddle out!

Isaiah 40:31 But those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.

Someone once said, “Worship is to the Christian like breathing to the human body. It is an absolute necessity!” The Christian must worship to live the abundant life. If we are to be healthy Christians, then we must be worshipping Christians, because it will keep us strong in everything we do:

Filling Station or Pep Rally

As important as worship is, many Christians still don’t understand it. People have misconceptions about worship—big misconceptions. Some Christians see worship as a “filling station”. These Christians think that worship is where they receive the necessary resources for the normal activities of the week. To them, worship is that “pause that refreshes”. Those who view worship as the “pause that refreshes” want to get close enough to God to warm themselves with His love but not close enough to be consumed by His love.

For others, worship is more like “a giant pep rally”. To them, a meaningful worship service seems to be related to the loudness of the participants, and the amount of energy expended in the process. They tend to view worship as something done “to” them and “for” them, rather than doing something for God.

Please, don’t misunderstand me, in some ways worship is a filling station. When we worship, we get energized to do God’s work in the world. There is also a sense in which worship is a pep rally.  We come together to encourage one another to cheer each other on, but the bible teaches that worship is so much more.

Worship = (Greek) To fawn or crouch; To prostrate oneself in homage; To heel as a dog

I don’t know, but I haven’t been in many, so called, worship services where I see Believers fawning or prostrating or heeling to God. Instead, too often, our worship services are more of an emotional rollercoaster performance. Often our worship services are little more that a religious concert capped off with a moral challenge. When such a service is over, the performers, say, “God. We really wowed them today”. And the participants leave such a service saying, “Whew! That felt sooo good!”

God Alone

When we truly worship, we demonstrate that we consider God worthy of all we have and are. The scriptures teach us that only God is worthy of our worship. Not…

Revelation 4:11 says, “You are worthy, O Lord to receive glory and honor and power.”

So when we worship God, we are declaring His worth and acknowledging our worthlessness. Someone has described worship this way..:

In worship, we experience the truth of…

James 4:8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

Worship is man and God communing together, and it is vitally important to our life as a Believer and our life as a church.

How can we be sure that true worship happens? (Personally or Publicly)

We must encounter the grace of God, in our worship, in such a manner as to be transformed and changed into better and more holy disciples.  You have not experienced worship, unless you have been transformed or changed in some manner that extends beyond the service. If we are to experience genuine worship, we need to have a proper attitude in at least three areas.

A proper attitude about GOD

Some theologians have described God with the phrase, “Wholly Other”. By using this phrase they mean that God is not one of us, nor is He like us. God is beyond anything we can imagine.

His involvement with humanity is purely by choice, not the result of any need or limitation on His part. God is “wholly Other”. The prophet Isaiah wrote of a time of worship in which he had visions that taught him What God was like

Isaiah 6:1-3 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. 2 Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. 3 And one cried to another and said: "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory!"

In your worship, have you ever experienced the Holiness of God to such an extent that you have seen that the whole world is full of His glory? Too often, we allow the things of life to come between us and God. In that manner, the things of life seem greater and more important than God, because those things have filled our vision. When our concentration is on God, the things of life are less pressing and the problems less significant, because God now fills our vision. True worship will go far beyond a “quite time” or a church service and translate into every aspect of world in which you live.

Isaiah 6:4-5 And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke. 5 Then I said: "Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts."

Isaiah heard the angels saying, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of His glory! The Hebrew language has no real words to express comparison, as does English. In English we have words like good, better, best or big, bigger, biggest. The original bible languages don’t have words like this, so to express comparison, repetition is used. Many times in both Old and New Testaments, you will find words repeated to express intensity or comparison.  If the Hebrews wanted to describe great joy, they said, joy, joy! If they wanted to speak of great fear they said, fear, fear! Even Jesus practices this when he said, “Verily, Verily I say unto you...¨ When Jesus said “verily, verily” He was saying, What I am about to say is really, really true!” When the Jews wanted to say that something was the very best or worst beyond comparison, they repeated the word three times. This occurs only twice in the bible, both times in very interesting places.  One is found in Revelation, 8:13 where John saw the judgments of God being poured out upon the earth. A great angel in the form of an eagle flies through the heavens crying out…

Revelation 8:13 And I looked, and I heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, "Woe, woe, woe to the inhabitants of the earth, because of the remaining blasts of the trumpet of the three angels who are about to sound!"

The angel is saying here that there could be no greater time of trouble, no greater woe. The only other time this repetition is used, in the Bible, is in Isaiah 6.

Isaiah 6: 3 And one cried to another and said: "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory

In other words they are saying, God is the holiest being in all of creation. There is no one or no thing that even approaches God’s holiness. Worship begins with this attitude about God, this awe, this reverence, this awareness of God’s supreme greatness.

Psalms 95:3-4 For the LORD is the great God, And the great King above all gods. 4 In His hand are the deep places of the earth; The heights of the hills are His also

The Psalmist challenges us to take a tape measure and stretch it to the deepest place on earth, which would be in the bottom of some sea, to the highest peak in the mountain ranges

In so doing, we would see that our God is infinitely greater than all. Someone that awesome and that great is deserving of our worship and praise. True worship begins with this attitude of reverence and respect for Who God is, but it doesn’t stop there, because a proper attitude about GOD leads to…

A proper attitude about Ourselves

When we are confronted with the holy perfection of our God, our own imperfection stands out like a dark stain on a white shirt and we become painfully aware of our own sin

If we have truly worshiped God, we will leave that time of worship with a reality of the awfulness of our sin. Simon Peter experienced this

Luke 5:1-8 Now so it was, as the multitude pressed about Him (Christ) to hear the word of God, that He stood by the Lake of Gennesaret, 2 and saw two boats standing by the lake; but the fishermen had gone from them and were washing their nets. 3 Then He got into one of the boats, which was Simon's, and asked him to put out a little from the land. And He sat down and taught the multitudes from the boat. 4 Now when He had stopped speaking, He said to Simon, "Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch." 5 But Simon answered and said to Him, "Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net." 6 And when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking. 7 So they signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. 8 When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!"

Peter realized that he was in the presence of not just a man, but the living Christ, Who was the fullness of the Godhead in human form. When Peter saw who Christ was, he saw how bad he, Peter was. When the prophet Isaiah stood in the presence of our Holy, Holy, Holy God he exclaimed, “Woe is me, for I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips.”

There is something about being in the presence of God that opens our eyes! God designed worship for this purpose. Through worship we come to see things as God sees them and the things of earth grow strangely dim in the light of his glory and grace. Too often we come to worship in order to elevate the things of the world within our lives, instead of elevating Christ to be the Ruler of the things in our lives. True worship will move the things of the world to their proper place.

In Psalm 73, the writer says that he envied the prosperity of the wicked until he entered the sanctuary of God and then he had proper understood. Worship allows us to stop our hectic lifestyle long enough to re-evaluate our lives by comparing them to the standard of Christ’s life.

Psalms 73:1-3 Truly God is good to Israel, To such as are pure in heart. 2 But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled; My steps had nearly slipped. 3 For I was envious of the boastful, When I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

Psalms 73:16-17 When I thought how to understand this, It was too painful for me - 17 Until I went into the sanctuary of God; Then I understood their end.

Psalms 73:22-28 I was so foolish and ignorant; I was like a beast before You. 23 Nevertheless I am continually with You; You hold me by my right hand. 24 You will guide me with Your counsel, And afterward receive me to glory. 25 Whom have I in heaven but You? And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You. 26 My flesh and my heart fail; But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. 27 For indeed, those who are far from You shall perish; You have destroyed all those who desert You for harlotry. 28 But it is good for me to draw near to God; I have put my trust in the Lord God, That I may declare all Your works.

There is a story of a wealthy American entrepreneur who went on a hunting safari in Africa.  He chose a seasoned guide and hired local natives to carry the necessary gear. From the very first day, aggressive and driven, the business mogul wanted to go much faster than his guide. Every day after that, he pushed and drove his bewildered safari team from morning to night, until they could hardly stand. Finally, the burden bearers stopped and would go no farther. They would not stir from where they sullenly reclined in the shade. The American tycoon was used to instant obedience, and he was furious. “Get up, Get up!” he yelled! “Push on!¨ But they all just sat there not even meeting his eyes. The impatient man stormed at his guide. “What’s happening here? Why won’t they go on?”  The guide replied, “They must stay here all day. They won’t move, no matter how much you shout and bully. “We have been going too hard and fast, and we must let our souls catch up with our bodies!”

Too often, we are like that tycoon rushing through life until crisis comes, and then we learn the hard way that we are designed to stop regularly and worship our Heavenly Father, and in so doing, we let our souls catch up.  We need…

But the last item should not be the first on our list of actions for worship.

True worship requires a proper attitude about God which leads to a proper attitude about ourselves which should lead to one more thing.

A proper attitude about our daily lives.

Genuine worshipers see every task of every day an opportunity to worship God. There needs to be special time set aside for intense worship, but real worship in not controlled by the clock or the calendar. After all, “The whole earth is full of God’s glory”. True worshipers follow Paul’s guidance in Romans 12:1-2 and worship by presenting their lives to God as living sacrifices…

Romans 12:1-2 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

So often, we come to worship to discover a good feeling about God, and to generate a good or at least a better feeling about ourselves. Biblical worship is not a one-day-a-week event, it must be a lifestyle.

I can do a wedding in about ten to twenty minutes almost with my eyes closed. But a marriage takes years to really start working properly. Weddings are important, beautiful, impressive, emotional, and sometimes expensive.  During the ceremony, we are careful to be at the right place at the right time and to say the right words. Every detail of the service is important, but all the same, weddings are easy. Marriages, on the other hand, are complex and difficult. It is through the marriage that we work out every detail of the words, the promises, and the commitments that we spoke at the wedding. And it takes a lifetime of dedication and sacrifice. In marriage, we develop the long, rich life of faithful love that the wedding promises and announces. The events of the wedding without the life of a proper marriage don’t amount to very much.

If there is no..

then, the wedding service was a sham and the marriage is an empty charade.

In a similar way, if worship does not translate into a changed life, it, too, is a sham. It makes no difference how good the service makes you feel if that service does not bring some spiritual change to your life, that service was not worship. You see, God is not as much interested in the activities of worship as He is in the actions of life. God expressed this when He said …

Isaiah 1:12-17 "When you come to appear before Me (God), who has required this from your hand, to trample My courts? 13 Bring no more futile sacrifices; incense is an abomination to Me. The New Moons, the Sabbaths, and the calling of assemblies - I cannot endure iniquity and the sacred meeting. 14 Your New Moons and your appointed feasts my soul hates; they are a trouble to Me, I am weary of bearing them. 15 When you spread out your hands, I will hide My eyes from you; even though you make many prayers, I will not hear. Your hands are full of blood. 16 "Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes. Cease to do evil, 17 learn to do good; seek justice, reprove the oppressor; defend the fatherless, plead for the widow.

Isaiah 29:13 Therefore the LORD said: "Inasmuch as these people draw near to Me with their mouths and honor Me with their lips, but have removed their hearts far from Me, and their fear toward Me is taught by the commandment of men,

In God’s eyes, worship is much more than what happens on Sunday mornings or in your “quiet time”. Worship is what happens the rest of the week. Christians who want to experience genuine worship must respond as did Isaiah, by saying, “God , here I am, send me. Take my life and accept it as an offering to you to use as you see fit. Worship is acting on God’s directives no my dictates.

© Clyde White, Austin TX, 2005