The above picture is a list of the current “Worship Favorites” on my iPhone. Although God has not gifted me with a beautiful singing voice (far from it!), I do love to worship – whether that’s with a crowd or alone in my car.
When it comes to listening to and participating in worship, everyone has their own particular tastes and preferences. If you want to stir up a hornet’s nest in a local church, just bring up the subject of “music” and “worship.” Opinions will start flying from all directions – and will be shared with passion and gusto!

Never in the history of the church have there been more worship songs to enjoy, and to express a believer’s love for the Lord, than there are now. We should thank the Lord often for providing such gifted musicians for the Body of Christ!

As a follow-up to the blog post I shared recently about worship, I wanted to add a few more brief thoughts before we leave this important subject.

First, what is worship? Here is how I would define it: Worship is our response of all that we are – mind, will and emotions – to all that God is, says and does! In a nutshell: Worship is our response to God and His Word.

Second, worship is something that all believers are commanded to participate in. In other words, worship is not intended to be a “spectator sport.”

Third, when it comes to corporate worship, lay aside your personal preferences and prejudices about worship style. Be mature enough to not demand that worship happen “your” way before you will participate.

As I said, all of us have personal preferences in worship. Some of us even have prejudices. Remember: right at the heart of worship is humility. Humility acknowledges that God is God and we are not…which means that we need to leave room for other styles of worship that may not be “our cup of tea.”

The late Francis Schaffer once said…

“Let me say firmly that there is no such thing as a godly style or an ungodly style. The more one tries to make such a distinction, the more confusing it becomes.”

We are too prone to judge a worship experience by our feelings, rather than by the fact that we obeyed God and tried to please and glorify Him.

Fourth, when you are involved in worship, make an effort to consciously think about the words that you are singing. Worship is not meant to be some magical mantra that we chant to try and elicit some emotional feeling (much like other religions do). We are to use our intellect to ponder and unpack the meaning of the lyrics. When we truly understand what we are singing, our hearts can be moved emotionally. Someone once said, “God becomes remote when worship becomes rote.” Rote worship is “mindless worship.”

When Dr. John Mitchell (founding president of Multnomah School of the Bible) was pastoring a church in Michigan during the 1930’s, he received a message from a young member of his flock. This individual was about to leave the U.S. for missionary service in China. Prior to the young man’s departure by ship, he telegraphed Dr. Mitchell from San Francisco, requesting his pastor to give him one final word of counsel before he sailed for the mission field. Dr. Mitchell wired back immediately:

“Sit down and worship at the feet of Jesus, and then tell the Chinese what you see.”

Genuine worship is the first step in effective evangelism and missionary service.

While I was serving in the pastorate prior to leading GTN, we chose a particular worship song as our “theme song” as a church family:

Jesus, Lover of my Soul

It’s all about You, Jesus
and all this is for You
for Your glory and Your fame
it’s not about me
as if You should do things my way
You alone are God 
and I surrender to your ways

Just a few weeks ago, Lisa and I had the privilege of worshiping with a large group of pastors and their wives in Southern California. We were led by a young man who was a student at Westmont College in Santa Barbara. It was one of the most refreshing and powerful “God-focused, God-glorifying” times of worship that we have ever experienced. On our way home, we reflected on the gratitude we feel for young worship leaders like him who are following hard after God and leading people to spread the “fame of God’s Name to all peoples.”

Lisa and I have had the privilege of worshiping with fellow believers in Christ on almost every continent on earth – from many different cultures and ethnicities. It is always a reminder of the great and glorious day that is coming, described so vividly in Revelation 5:9-12

After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nationtribepeople and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice: 

“Salvation belongs to our God,
who sits on the throne,
and to the Lamb.” 

All the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They fell down on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying: 

Praise and glory
and wisdom and thanks and honor
and power and strength
be to our God for ever and ever.

Finally, I want to leave you with a few articles on the subject of worship that I have found encouraging, as well as challenging.  Enjoy!
P.S. And please remember: as with any article or book that I recommend or pass along, “chew the meat and spit out the bones.” I don’t agree with everything that is written below – ask God for wisdom to glean that which is good, profitable and God-glorifying.