[shoulders] SHOULDER TO SHOULDER #265 ---- 1/6/03 - part 1

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From: lifeunlimited@...
Date: 6 Jan 2003 04:01:01 -0000
Standing Shoulder To Shoulder Together As We
Fight the Good Fight of Faith

A personal letter of encouragement to you, written solely to "lift up hands that hang down".

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SHOULDER TO SHOULDER #265 ---- 1/6/03

TITLE:  "Worship (Part eleven) ---- A Lost Art"



My Dear Friend and Partner.

This is an extremely hectic and stressful time where we've just moved from our home ministry base in southwestern Missouri to the great city of Kiev, Ukraine to begin a new phase of ministry.  Add to that the responsibility of leading a team of university students in three weeks of ministry and also personally making final preparation to teach a two week course of 40 classroom hours on "Reaching Your City Through Strategic Ministry and Prevailing Prayer", and I find myself in an impossible situation.  It is past Midnight on Saturday and Jo Ann and I are preparing to leave in seven hours with our team to minister four days in the Ukrainian village of Brussilov.

Because I have absolutely no guarantees that I will be able to have access to the internet there, and because I still have to pack, take a shower, and try to get a little sleep, I'm taking the easy way out and sharing with you a short article on worship written by someone else.

Interestingly, this letter was written by Aarik Danielsen, a college student who was part of our very first team we ever brought to Ukraine in January, 2001.  He has a real heart for worship, and has an outstanding ministry of leading young people and adults alike into the Lord's presence.

Several months ago Aarik and his friend JR. Madill wrote "The Lost Art of Worship" for the university's weekly student paper.  Aarik's father, a pastor friend of mine, sent it to me and I filed it in my drafts box for future use in my series on worship.

Well, the future has arrived . . . . and just in time, I might add.  So, here's Aarik's little treatise on worship.  I hope you enjoy the style and the thoughts of a 20 something brother who loves Jesus with a huge heart.

Be blessed.

Next week I'll try to share a report on some incredible things God has done on this trip.



THE LOST ART OF WORSHIP:

Rule by the average 
The lost art of worship
By Aarik Danielsen and JR. Madill

We have a problem. Actually, you have a problem. Okay, okay. To be utterly, gut-levelly honest, we all have a problem. There is a hideous creature masquerading about this campus in the disguise of true worship. It is the beast of emotion, self-service, fashion-conscious, friend-approved, a-okay-pat-me-on-the-back-and-smile spiritual expression. This creature is sly. It sneaked into our midst and made its bed in the position of honor reserved for God alone. Had we seen it coming or uncovered it earlier, we would have destroyed it outright, but it cloaked itself in shadows and half-truths, to where nothing short of comparison against the Truth would reveal its falsehood. It is now well enmeshed into collective consciousness and nothing short of ripping it cancer free will save us from straying further from right. We must deeply search ourselves and put aside that with which we are comfortable. It will not be easy, but proper worship is our reason for existence. If we ar! e not worshipping properly, we are not relating properly with God! 

Before we attack our enemy, we should know it. This pseudo-worship is one of emotion, works and familiarity. First, we must realize that our worship is not solely an emotional experience. Humans are created with minds, bodies and souls as well as emotions, and we were never meant to let our emotions consume us or drive our Christianity. To elaborate, we tend to view worship as successful only when we feel some sort of "warm-fuzzy" sense of accomplishment. It seems to us that even songs sung about being broken or songs that commiserate over the magnitude of our sins aim to leave the participant with a feeling of contentment. This concept could not be further from the Biblical truth of the matter. The Psalms are replete with vivid imagery of the poets' claims of injustices, wrongs, anger and hurts to Yahweh. Even Jesus Himself engaged in the ultimate act of worship in the Garden of Gethsemane when He sweated drops of blood and wept over the Cup of God's Wrath from which! He would soon have to drink. (Not exactly a "warm-fuzzy" experience). Worship is not about making sure that we all feel okay and God is not mad at us. Worship is acknowledgement of all that God is (insofar as our finite minds can comprehend Him) and the response that realization necessarily invokes.

Second, worship is not what we do; it is who we are. How many times have you heard a statement to this effect: "Let's all stand up, put our hands together and worship the Lord." We seem to feel that worship is accomplished through our actions rather than being an attitude we receive from God when we are in close communion with Him. True worship is the only response, the only lifestyle possible when one comes face-to-face with the awesome glory of a Holy God. This means that anything we do is worship. Worship is not half a genre of music; it does not only take place at 10 a.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays (college chapel) and 11 a.m. on Sundays. 

Worship is an every-minute-of-every-day lifestyle. Homework is an intellectual exercise (usually). Good. Worship God with your mind. Exercising is a physical exercise. Good. Worship God with your body. Bible reading and prayer are spiritual exercises. Excellent. Worship God with your spirit. Sitting through a lecture / sermon / Omnibus column that we deem boring or irrelevant can be worshipful if we will only commit our energies and time fully to the God who called us to our Salvation.