Does worship really matter?
We can do what we do best. We can do what we have been called to do—worship the Lord Jesus. Also, we can lead others in the worship of Him.
True Worship makes a true difference in this troubled world. How? Simply put—Jesus makes a difference.
The Jesus Difference
When He walked this earth, Jesus made a profound difference in the lives of those he spoke to, touched, healed, delivered and challenged to follow Him.
He still does.
Now He walks this earth through us—His church. (Eph 2:19-22 NIV) He speaks, touches, heals, delivers, and challenges people to follow Him through us. Many times He does these things through the worship we prepare and lead each week.
One Day in Nazareth
One of the most important scenes in Jesus’ life played out just after his return from the wilderness. He attended his hometown synagogue and was given the honor or reading the scripture for the day. He selected Isaiah and read:
- “The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD. … Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” (Luke 4:18-22 NKJV)
The good people of Nazareth threw Jesus out of the synagogue and would have thrown Him off a cliff but Jesus stared them down and simply walked through the crowd untouched.
Next Sunday at Your Church
Today, true to His promise, Jesus is with us. He stands ready to do these same, amazing things:
• To preach good news to the poor, the poor in spirit and the poor in any aspect of life.
• To heal the brokenhearted, those crushed by life.
• To proclaim liberty to the captives, those imprisoned by addictions of the mind and body as well as those whose surrounded by stone walls, iron bars, razor-wire fences and armed guards.
• To recover the sight of those who walk in darkness.
• To set at liberty those who are oppressed, those who wear shackles that bind and bruise the soul. Jesus has come to break the shackles and heal the bruises.
Jesus does these wonderful things while we praise and worship Him and as we call on His name in prayer. To help us see this Messianic vision I will tell two stories.
Sometimes lines of dialogue or words from a song can escape the confines of the proscenium and become a part of everyday life. We all have fun quoting lines from films or songs at appropriate moments.
“What can we do?”
In the late 70’s the score of a musical about missions called for the choir to repeatedly choral-speak this question: “What can we do?” The emphasis on “we” was a small scale disaster as the collective inflection and heavy rhythm of the choir always sounded more hopeless than ready to take action. To this day, when we are faced with a difficult choice, my wife will quote that mournful line, “What can we do?” The ensuing laugh always lightens the momentIn the late 70’s the score of a musical about missions called for the choir to repeatedly choral-speak this question: “What can we do?” The emphasis on “we” was a small scale disaster as the collective inflection and heavy rhythm of the choir always sounded more hopeless than ready to take action. To this day, when we are faced with a difficult choice, my wife will quote that mournful line, “What can we do?” The ensuing laugh always lightens the moment.
“Something must be done and soon!”
Years later, we used Robert Sterling’s wonderful music from The Choice with an original script of mine. One of the songs used brilliantly as part of the crucifixion music was first sung by Pharisees as they plotted against Jesus. While our theatre company was deep in actors who could sing and singers who could act, we were not deep enough to help the evil Pharisees. The mournful refrain called for a low-pitched setting of this text, “Something must be done.” It was sinister, menacing, and hilarious. It repeated time and again only to finish with the even funnier line, “Something must be done—and soon!” To this day when we have an urgent decision to make, my wife and I will sing that line.
When I think about the renewal, reformation, and revival we need, these lines come to mind: “Something must be done. What can we do?”
We can worship!
It is time to renew our confidence in what God has called us to do. Worship is important. Lives are changed every week. Chains fall off and alliances are forged. Nations get to hear the only Good News there is. The down and out are lifted up into grace while the high and mighty are humbled before Almighty God. The enemies of the Kingdom of Light are driven back by the armies of the Lord of Hosts. As we crown Jesus King among us, the River of Life flows from His throne to the healing of the nations.
An Unparalleled Choice
We are a generation facing an unprecedented choice: revival or apostasy. The last days will include two parallel and exclusive events:
• A great falling away from True Faith and Worship, (Matt 24:12; 2 Tim 4:3; 2 Thes 2:3)
• A great outpouring of the Spirit. (Joel 2; Acts 2)
We can choose which event we want to experience. We can renew our worship as we draw near to God or we can follow the influence of the world toward destruction.
I believe Psalm 102:18-22 contains the trigger mechanism for the great outpouring.
Let this be written for a future generation, that a people not yet created may praise the LORD: “The LORD looked down from his sanctuary on high,
• from heaven he viewed the earth,
• to hear the groans of the prisoners and
• release those condemned to death.”
• So the name of the LORD will be declared in Zion and his praise in Jerusalem…
What will trigger this end-time outpouring of grace? True Worship.
• …when the peoples and the kingdoms assemble to worship the LORD. (NIV)
We are the Future Generation
Let people of all races and citizens of every kingdom gather, not to debate, deliberate, or dictate, but to worship. Let’s put Jesus in the center of our walk through life and at the center of our services of worship.
Only Jesus heals the hurts of humanity, brings peace to warring tribes, breaks the chains of sin and slavery, and opens the blind eyes of those who can see everything but Him and His Kingdom.
Worship is what you and I can do about the pain in this world.
Worship is the “something” that must be done—and soon!
For the next four weeks I will be writing twice each week on the impact worship has on the world around us. Follow the Road to Renewal at The Worship Renewal Center.
Dr. Stephen Phifer has a doctoral degree in Worship Studies from the Robert Webber Institute for Worship Studies. He currently serves as Creative Arts Minister at First Baptist Church at the Mall in Lakeland, Florida. Dr. Phifer has written numerous musical and literary works which have had extensive use in churches. He is the founder of TheWorshipRenewalCenter.com.
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