Guest Post by Pastor Norman Sison Lao
In this generation, “Praise and Worship” has become the norm, a fixed part in Christian churches (especially those of the Pentecostal persuasion, although many other churches are catching up).
Every church tries its best to come up with a Praise and Worship Team and purchase all the necessary equipment to be used in the “worship” service.
There is no problem with this. I have to make that clear.
The problem comes from the following issues:
1. When Christians begin to understand that “worship” is that part of the service where people sing songs only.
The truth is, the whole service is supposed to be worship. Every part of the church service is a different aspect of worship.
We worship God through songs, we worship God through our tithes and offerings and we worship God through His Word and we worship God through the different expressions of our ministries.
And as we depart from the church service, we worship God through the application of His Word.
2. When Christians make “praise and worship” the end rather than the means to an end.
Worship should lead us into an experience of God’s Presence (“Enter His gates with thanksgiving in your hearts and enter His courts with praise…”) where we are more open to hearing His instructions for us (speaking of the preached Word, considering that the preacher who preaches heard from God first…).
The goal of the worship service is to hear God and obey Him.
Thus, a worship service should not just “feel good because I have touched God in worship” but also results in people making the right decisions and choices based on the Word they hear which ultimately find changed lives as its eventual consequence.
3. When Christians “worship” God through songs on Sundays and live like unbelievers all throughout the week.
Worship is not, and I cannot overemphasize this, is not a 45 minute singing of songs to God, not even a 2-3 hour Church Service.
Worship is a 24-7 lifestyle! In other words, Worship is Life.
Worship cannot be compartmentalized and limited to a certain location and a specific time. Worship is all of life.
In the words of Paul, “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” That’s exactly the summary of worship.
Worship comes from “worth-ship”, the giving of worth. When we worship God, we declare He is worthy. He deserves it. And God does not deserve to be “worshiped” only in church for two hours every Sunday.
Worth-ship is about giving God worth in EVERYTHING that we do.
Again, I am not against “Praise and Worship,” I am just putting the emphasis where it belongs — living a life of worship, not just singing worship songs.
A verse that seems to be ignored or forgotten in this whole “Praise and Worship” enterprise is found in Romans 12:1,2:
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to OFFER YOUR BODIES AS A LIVING SACRIFICE, HOLY and PLEASING to GOD—THIS IS YOUR TRUE AND PROPER WORSHIP. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Emphasis mine)
This is a New Testament description (definition) of Worship.
So, where is the “deception in worship”?
The deception, as far as I am concerned, consists in believing that one has “worshiped” or is “worshiping” God by singing only apart from living a life of obedience to God.
The other deception would be concluding that a Christian has not “worshiped” because he was not singing in church. All of life, not just singing, is the basis of worship.
Another deception would be the worship of ‘worship’ instead of God.
I am not anti-progress. We have gone very far in the way we do church since the Book of Acts. Times have changed and the church has to change with the changing times.
We welcome all biblically sound changes or changes that enhance the mission of the church to win souls and make disciples.
But I must leave a stern warning regarding worship, lest we worship ‘worship’ instead of the person of our worship: Jesus Christ.
Worship must make us better Christians, better followers of Christ, not just better singers and instrument players.
Worship must lead us to obedience of the Word of God.
Worship must lead us to the performance of our Mission to make disciples of all nations.
Worship must make us more Christlike.
I leave you two verses:
Matthew 15:8 – “‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.”
Isaiah 29:13 – “The Lord says: ‘These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught.'”
My two cents.
About the Author
Norman Sison Lao is the pastor of the Journey World Harvest Church, Iloilo City, Philippines.
Pastor Norms, as he is fondly called by church folks, is a Civil Engineering graduate of the University of San Agustin (1990) and finished a Computer Programming course at STI-Iloilo (1990).
He trained under the Central Institute of Missions (CIM), an Assemblies of God Bible School, from 1994-1998 and completed his Master of Divinity degree at the College of Theology of Central Philippine University in 2007.
He received God’s call for full-time ministry while he was working as a Campus Worker for the Agape Campus Missions back in 1987. After four years of productive ministry, he was ordained into full-time pastoral ministry in 1996.
Pastor Norman is married to Velma Jane and they have three children, David Bryan, Kyle Jonathan, and Nikka Andrea.
NOTE WELL: This article was first published on the author’s Facebook feed and we have the author’s permission to republish it here at Multicultural Response. Thank you.