“Worship as service instead of a service”

homeless.jpgworship.jpgTraditional, contemporary, edgy, contemplative, liturgical, and the list goes on and on to describe our “Worship”.

My question is “What is worship”?  Much like how we define “church” determines the outcomes we get, so it is with “worship”?  If we define it as a “time to prepare for the word” (I have heard this often) then it is simply some acts we go through to position us to be more open to hearing the word of God through a preacher.  But is this worship?

If we define it as a “posture before God” then it is simply the position of our body or heart or soul in relationship to God.  I think this is getting closer but how many times has this posture been attached to a day of the week, a “time of worship”, a ritual in a service or a style of music.  Ok, there I said it – the “M” word.

We have “worship pastors” who “lead us in worship” so we can “enter the throne room” of God.

I am afraid that based on the definition we have arrived at for “worship” that many in our church culture today never really worship.

Sure they feel like they have worshiped because their activities fit their definition.

Answer this question – A “worship pastor” is filled with bitterness, and anger.  He is judgmental and spreads rumors and gossips.  This all happened 20 minutes before he mounted the platform and sang songs of unity and forgiveness.  He sang songs of grace and humility and how his deepest desire is for God to “create in him a clean heart.”  With hands lifted high and a posture of “worship” he comments on how wonderful “worship” has been and how he “feels” a deep sense of worship.  After walking off the platform and that “time of worship” he again goes on with his bitterness, anger, rumors and gossip.  – Did he “worship”?

He feels like he has worshipped because of his definition of worship.

However consider the following….

Romans 12:1 says, ” Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.” (also translated “reasonable service”)

1 Samuel 15:22 “But Samuel replied: “Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the LORD ? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.” 

Probably the most confronting in this context however is Isaiah 58…..

True Fasting (Worship)

 1 “Shout it aloud, do not hold back.
       Raise your voice like a trumpet.
       Declare to my people their rebellion
       and to the house of Jacob their sins.

 2 For day after day they seek me out;
       they seem eager to know my ways,
       as if they were a nation that does what is right
       and has not forsaken the commands of its God.
       They ask me for just decisions
       and seem eager for God to come near them.

 3 ‘Why have we fasted,’ (worshipped) they say,
       ‘and you have not seen it?
       Why have we humbled ourselves,
       and you have not noticed?’
       “Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please
       and exploit all your workers.

 4 Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife,
       and in striking each other with wicked fists.
       You cannot fast as you do today
       and expect your voice to be heard on high.

 5 Is this the kind of fast I have chosen,
       only a day for a man to humble himself?
       Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed
       and for lying on sackcloth and ashes?
       Is that what you call a fast,
       a day acceptable to the LORD ?

What do you think would happen if our churches redefined their worship service in the following manner?….

 6 “Is not this the kind of fasting (worship) I have chosen:
       to loose the chains of injustice
       and untie the cords of the yoke,
       to set the oppressed free
       and break every yoke?

 7 Is it not to share your food with the hungry
       and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
       when you see the naked, to clothe him,
       and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?

 8 Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
       and your healing will quickly appear;
       then your righteousness will go before you,
       and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.

 9 Then you will call, and the LORD will answer;
       you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.
       “If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
       with the pointing finger and malicious talk,

 10 and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
       and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
       then your light will rise in the darkness,
       and your night will become like the noonday.

 11 The LORD will guide you always;
       he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
       and will strengthen your frame.
       You will be like a well-watered garden,
       like a spring whose waters never fail.

 12 Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins
       and will raise up the age-old foundations;
       you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls,
       Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.

 13 “If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath
       and from doing as you please on my holy day,
       if you call the Sabbath a delight
       and the LORD’s holy day honorable,
       and if you honor it by not going your own way
       and not doing as you please or speaking idle words,

 14 then you will find your joy in the LORD,
       and I will cause you to ride on the heights of the land
       and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob.”
       The mouth of the LORD has spoken.

Ladies and Gentlemen – IT IS TIME TO WORSHIP!


      2 thoughts on ““Worship as service instead of a service”

      1. Great thoughts.

        In addition to Romans 12:1-2, 1 Samuel 15:22, and Isaiah 58, I’ve found Colossians 3:16-17 to be especially helpful in defining “worship as service instead of a service.” In these two verses, it could be argued that Paul includes both aspects within this text.

        Paul wrote, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

        Verse 16 seems to provide for a type of corporate gathering that includes what many would define as a “worship service.” Then verse 17 incorporates every other daily opportunity as an act (or service) of worship.

        No doubt about it, some today inaccurately define “worship” only in the context of going to some type of a church service. But it would appear that Paul clearly included worship “as” service and not just as “a” service.

        Again, great thoughts.


        David Guion


      2. David,

        Thanks for your comments and the added verse. I love music and corporate singing. But I have become more and more frustrated with that becoming the measure by wich we “feel” like we have worshipped or not.

        thanks again. I appreciate your insights and hope to see you around.

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