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6/27/2010

GETTING TO THE HEART OF "WORSHIP"

I'm coming back to the heart of worship
It's all about You. It's all about You!
I'm sorry for the thing I've made it.
It's all about You, It's all about You, Jesus. 
(Matt Redman)

Much of what is called "worship" in Pentecostal-Charismatic circles has deteriorated into an anthropocentric (human centered) religious exercise that is more concerned with the act of worship than with the object of worship. God is calling His Church to return to a christocentric (Christ-centered) expression of worship that focuses on the object of worship rather than the human act of worship.

Who Is This For?

This was made very real to me some time ago as I sat in a meeting and noted a troubling in my spirit during the praise and worship. Outwardly, everything was great. The musicians and singers were superb. The congregation was enthusiastic and some danced in the aisles while others waved banners. As I prayerfully pondered my experience, the question was posed to my mind, Who is this for? The answer then became clear. This was for them. They were having fun. They enjoyed doing this. They were reveling in their own excellence and feeling good about their expertise in "worship." They were more enamored with their act of worship than with the object of worship.

This experience reminded me of Gods rebuke to Israel for their anthropocentric worship. They too had lost their focus in worship and had become centered on themselves. They were doing the right things, but for the wrong reasons. Through the prophet Zechariah, God said, "During those seventy years of exile when you fasted and mourned, was it really for Me? And even now in your holy festivals, you dont think about Me but only of pleasing yourselves" (Zech. 7:5-6, NLT).

Music, Singing & Dancing
Do Not Equal "Worship"

One mistake we have made as Spirit-filled believers is equating music and singing with worship. We thus have a time of "worship" before the preaching. Did you know that the great revivals in history did not have "worship teams" and "praise bands?" Frank Bartleman, a participant in the Azusa Street Revival, wrote, "In the beginning in Azusa, we had no musical instruments. In fact, we felt no need for them. There was no place for them in our worship--all was spontaneous." Don't get me wrong! Anointed music can be a wonderful means for expressing worship to God. True worship, however, encompasses all of life as can be seen from the meaning of the word itself.

Worship Encompasses All of Life

"Worship" comes from the old Saxon word weorthscipe meaning "worthship" and referred to any activity utilized to recognize or describe the "worth" of a person or thing to which homage was being paid. Worship is thus synonymous with the whole of a reverent and devoted life. We ascribe "worth" to God by the way we prioritize and live out our lives. Listening to Gods word can be an act of worship as much as singing and dancing. In fact, even hoeing ones garden can be an act of worship, as is illustrated by the following story from the life of Francis of Assisi.

Hoeing Ones Garden Can Be "Worship"

Francis was hoeing his garden one hot afternoon when a friend passing by stopped and posed a question. "Francis," he asked, "What would you do if you knew that at sunset you would be standing in the presence of Jesus Christ?" Francis replied, "I would finish hoeing my garden." Francis answer revealed how that, for him, every act was a sacred act done for the glory of God. Even the hoeing of his garden was an act of worship. We must get beyond the idea that worship is something we do for a half hour on Sunday morning.

Our Life Must Become Integrated

Most Christians have segmented their lives into the sacred and the non-sacred, or secular. When we go to church and lift our hands and sing, that is sacred. But when we are sitting around the dinner table or when we are working at our job that is secular. This dichotomized approach to life has hindered us from becoming true worshippers of God.

To the contrary, we must see all of life as sacred, lived for the glory of God and the advancement of His kingdom. As 1 Cor. 10:31 says, Therefore whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the gory of God.

Remember how the Father spoke from heaven at the baptism of Jesus and said, This is My beloved Son in Whom I am well pleased (Matt. 3:17)? This was before Jesus had healed a single sick person, cast out a single demon or preached a single sermon. His life had been lived in the carpenter shop, making chairs, tables, plows, etc. Nonetheless, His was a life of worship because everything He did was for the glory and honor of God, and God was well pleased. Question: Are we living all of life for the glory of God--every thought, every word, every deed? That is worship!

We Must Repent For Our Wrong Approach to Worship

The third line in the worship chorus by Matt Redman says, "I'm sorry for the thing I've made it." What have we made it? We have made it a performance--a show. We have made it a religious exercise within a restricted time frame on a Sunday morning or Wednesday evening. We have shifted the emphasis from the condition of the heart of the worshipper to the expertise of the musicians, singers and dancers. My heart trembles when I think of it, but I am afraid that what we call "worship" is more about us than it is about Him.

Let's Keep It Simple

In Exodus 20:24-25, God instructed Moses that when the children of Israel made an altar on which to offer their sacrifices to Him, it was to be a very, plain altar of earth. If they built an altar of stone, they were not to cut or hew the stones but to merely pile the stones, for if you use your tool on it, you have profaned it. The altars--the means of their worship--were to be plain and simple. Why?

God was giving guidelines to protect Israel from the human tendency to become enamored with that which is outward and sensory. The means of worship must never eclipse or obscure the object of worship. This does not mean that God puts any premium on ignorance or crudeness in worship. It does mean that He looks on the heart and is not impressed with our pomp and circumstance.

What impresses God? Isaiah 66:2 says, This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word. Many churches today would do well to dispense, at least for a time, with their elaborate means of worship and emphasize, instead, the inward condition of the heart in worship.

Simplify the means of worship and focus attention on the Object of Worship. The Fire of God will fall. His Presence and Glory will come. After all, worship is not about us, but about Him. It's all about You, Jesus!


Dr. Eddie Hyatt is an author, Biblical scholar and ordained minister with a vision for another Great Awakening in America and around the world. His books are available from Amazon and from his website at www.eddiehyatt.com/bookstore.html. To invite him to speak to your congregation, group or event, send an email to dreddiehyatt.com.






6/04/2010

7 IMPORTANT LESSONS FROM AZUSA STREET THAT WILL SAVE CONTEMPORARY REVIVAL MOVMENTS FROM IMPLODING AS HAPPENED IN LAKELAND


The following quotes are from The Apostolic Faith the official publication of the Azusa Street Revival published from September 1906 – October 1908


# 1 Stay focused on Jesus

We do not have time to preach anything else but Christ. The Holy Spirit has not time to magnify anything but the Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. We are simply a voice shouting, “Behold the Lamb of God!” When we commence shouting something else, then Christ will die in us. If Christ be lifted up, he will draw all men unto Himself. (January 1907)



#2 Measure Everything by the Word


We are measuring everything by the Word, every experience must measure up with the Bible. Some say that is going too far, but if we have lived too close to the Word, we will settle that with the Lord when we meet Him in the air. (September 1907)

Do we need to study the Bible as much after receiving the Holy Ghost? Yes, if not we become fanatical or many times will be led by deceptive spirits and begin to have revelations and dreams contrary to the Word, and begin to prophesy and think ourselves some great one, bigger than some other Christians. But by reading the Bible prayerfully, waiting before God, we become just humble little children, and we never feel that we have got more than the least of God’s children.
(October 1907- January 1908)

The Corinthian church was one of Paul’s most gifted churches, and just as it is today, where a church is very gifted, the only safeguard from deceptive spirits is by rightly dividing the Word of God, to keep out of fanaticism. We must rightly divide the Scriptures and compare scripture with scripture so that there is no confusion, and no deceptive spirit or wrong teaching may creep in. (January 1908)


#3 Learn to Flow With the Spirit
Without Becoming Fanatical


Many times when we were receiving this blessed Pentecost, we all used to break out in tongues; but we have learned to be quieter with the gift. Often when God sends a blessed wave upon us, we all may speak in tongues for awhile, but we will not keep it up while preaching service is going on, for we want to be obedient to the Word, that everything may be done decently and in order and without confusion.
(January 1907)

The demonstrations are not the shouting, clapping, or jumping so often seen in the campmeetings. There is a shaking such as the early Quakers had and which the old Methodists called the “jerks.” It is while under the power of the Spirit you see the hands raised and hear speaking in tongues. While one sings a song learned from heaven with a shining face, the tears will trickle down other faces. (October 1906)


#4 Avoid Pride · Stay Humble

We humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God and constantly search the Scriptures to know His whole will and plan. (October 1906)

There is no pope, Doweism, or Sanfordism, but we are all little children knowing only Jesus and Him crucified. This work is carried on by the people of Los Angeles that God has united by the precious blood of our Lord Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit. (December 1906)

(Note from E. Hyatt: The references to “Doweism” and “Sanfordism” pertain to John Alexander Dowie and Frank Sanford, two of the most famous, charismatic ministers of the day who projected themselves as special end-time apostles and prophets)


#5 Avoid Exaggerations

Correction: We want to correct some errors that were in the last published report from Portland. It was stated that one hundred were baptized at the evening campmeeting. The saints believe there were not so many. The insane persons that were brought for healing were not fully healed, or else through lack in our faith and through weakness lost their healing. The saints want the simple truth stated about the work. Amen! May no one from any place send in a report that is overstated but rather let it be understated. (January 1908)


#6 Realize that You Can Receive Directly from God


Is it necessary to have hands laid on in order to receive the Holy Ghost? No, you can receive Him in your private closet. The gift of the Holy Ghost comes by faith in the Word of God. You may receive the Holy Ghost right now, that is, if you are sanctified. Take your Bible, turn to the first chapter of Acts, 5th verse, “For John truly baptized with water, but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.” Read this verse of Scripture and cry out to the Father, “Lord Jesus, baptize me with the Holy Ghost,” and believe the Lord with all your heart and the power will fall. (October 1907- January 1908)


#7 Equality of Women with Men
in the New Era of the Spirit


Before Pentecost, the woman could only go into the “court of the women” and not into the inner court. But when our Lord poured out Pentecost He brought all those faithful women with the other disciples into the upper room and God baptized them all in the same room and made no difference. All the women received the anointed oil of the Holy Ghost and were able to preach the same as men. They both were co-workers in Eden and both fell into sin; so they both have to come together and work in the Gospel. (January 1908).