Why Worship

There is a worldwide phenomena happening in the Christian World.

Worship.

New songs, new expressions, stirring melodies, inspiring lyrics and a new generation of musicians composing and playing for the Glory of God. Churches throughout the world are growing, congregations are rising with a new song, seminars and conferences are drawing multitudes of worshippers eager to gain new inspiration and motivation. Skills are taught, talents are trained, church music teams learn together and then return confident in their calling, instructed and polished, to lead their congregations with new zeal and purpose.

There is a never a moment when there is no worship ascending to the “throne of God”.

The whole world is singing!

The whole world is worshipping Jesus!

In the midst of all this excitement can I draw you aside for a moment of reflection?

I have used two words in my opening paragraphs.

“Inspiration” and “confidence”

Recently my wife and I attended a “Worship Conference” in England. It was a huge event that literally took over a whole seaside town in the south of the country. Worshippers from all over the United Kingdom, Europe and as far away as Australia had gathered for a weekend of inspiration and participation. All who had come so far desired to be “inspired”.... Has a ring to it! They came together to sing and to play, to learn and to be helped. They longed to return to their churches refreshed and full of “confidence”.

I have led the worship in many of these events. I have stood in front of a highly skilled group of musicians and sang the many songs that had somehow traveled the globe. Either side of the stage enormous projectors carry the lyrics of these hymns and choruses. Above the stage is a complicated profession lighting grid. Snaking it’s way in between the instruments and musicians are the miles of cabling connecting us all to a highly profession sound system. There are on-stage fold back mixers with six separate “sends”. The best microphones and a team of highly skilled experts mix the sounds that are made.

The congregation lift their hands, close their eyes and sing!

Music directors watch intently as the band played, sound and technical directors make notes, singers watch techniques and all together we determine to further our craft to the “glory of God”.

For eleven years I was the Worship Pastor of Hillsongs Australia. I played at the first service. I arranged the musicians and helped set up the P.A.

The church grew from these humble beginnings into the international movement that it has become today. I remember the first time Darlene Zschech played “Shout to the Lord” on the piano in my office, while she nervously worried whether the song was any good! It is now one of the most sung songs in Christianity today!

All over the world we have all been “inspired” by a worldwide movement of worship.

Worship!

Many times I have been asked: “What is the main reason that I see that has caused all this to happen?” and “How should we worship”?

The answer in is in the two simple words.

“Inspiration” and “Confidence”.

What inspires you?

Is it the music, the seminars, the concerts? If it is then you have only seen the reflection of the greater story.

As a songwriter my greatest inspiration is not in the many hours of listening to “Beethoven”. It is not in the beautiful melodies and lyrics of anointed psalmists and hymn writers. It is not in the exquisite voices that capture a melody and fill the soul with beauty.

My greatest inspiration is far deeper than that!

What inspires me the most in a very simple story.

“Jesus in walking along a stony beach just outside Capernaum. It is very early in the morning. He looks out over the lake, this “sea of Galilee”. He is looking intently for his friends. They are fishing and they are failing miserably.

He has been with them for three years. Wonderful things have happened but the events of the last few weeks have totally obscured any good that they have done together! His friends have been the witnesses to the greatest tragedy of their lives. Not only have they been witnesses but also they have been active participants, especially two of them, and together they are mourning.

One of them has died a horrible death at his own hands, one of them has denied Jesus, and all of them have seen Jesus die at the hands of the Romans at the request of their own countrymen!

They have seen the most unbelievable miracle. Jesus has been resurrected from the dead. But this makes their unbelief even worse! Jesus has sent them home to Galilee and they have walked back into their hometown without him.

Jesus looks at the scars in the palms of his hands. They say two things to all of creation. They show just how far mankind will sink in its quest to be right. These scars then show just how far God will go to forgive!

Somehow Jesus must now show his broken and failed friends that their failure is not the end, it is the greatest beginning they can ever have!

Why is Jesus in Galilee? Surely he should be in Jerusalem preaching in the Temple. Just one public appearance and the nation would be turned upside down! Surely all he had to do was to gatecrash the High Priests dinner party and the whole issue of “Who He really was” would be settled for all eternity!

No, Jesus had more important things to do.

He had to find his failed friends. He had to find Peter, James, John and Thomas and show them his love. A love that overwhelmed their failure. A love that was to be the only inspiration to their message and their mission.

I have been on that boat! I have returned to “fishing” when personal failure has disqualified me from my dreams and passion. Like Peter and his friends, I have lost my confidence and have had to try and put the pieces back together by going back to “fishing”.

Perhaps you know these feeling too. Imagine the added disgrace when, after fishing all night, they realise that they can’t even catch fish any more.

They have failed at becoming “Fishers of men”. Now they are failing at being “fishermen”!

Jesus is on the beach. Perhaps he is walking up and down the rocky coast peering through the early morning light trying to recognise familiar shapes among all the boats on the lake.

Jesus has come to his failed friends. What will he say to them when he finds them? What message will he bring as his time on earth comes to a close.

It is not what he says that inspires me. It is what he does!

Jesus goes and buys some bread and some fish. He collects some firewood and makes a fire. The aroma of barbecued fish and baked bread wafts over the beach and the lake.

God is making breakfast for his broken hearted friends. In the middle of the greatest story ever told... the resurrection... Jesus is simply caring for their needs!

No wonder Peter was awestruck!

No wonder they turned the world upside down.

They knew the aroma of God’s breakfast. An aroma that invades our failure and our hopelessness and turns disgrace into grace, dark to light, death to life, the end into a beginning and broken dreams into brand new promise.

This is my inspiration. It is not in the music and the songs. They are simply a reflection of a far greater truth! If I could scent the CD’s and the music books, you could smell it for yourself: fish and bread and the fire that the wounded hands of God prepared for failures!

Oh, yes, the other word... Confidence!

How could we ever be confident in anything else but this love!

Yes, we can now take up instruments. We can now turn on the PA and turn up the lights, but this is not what inspires us, this is not what brings us confidence.

We have smelt the bread and the fish and we can’t stop writing our songs and singing about the God who has come with broken scarred hands to light a fire that warms our heart and fills our soul with unmerited grace, mercy and love.

.... to the praise of his glorious grace!

This is why the whole world should worship… “how” we should worship is up to you.

geoff b

 

 

Copyright © Geoff Bullock 2008

 

 

 

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