Tag Archives: worship services

True Worship

Isaiah 1:1-19

What is worship God accepts? It’s not just ceremony or sacrifices. It’s not parades, gifts, or pious meetings. It’s not even lifted hands.

True worship can only come from clean hearts. No matter what form worship takes in your church or in your home or car, God will not even pay attention if your heart is harboring sin. Clap your hands, jump up and down, work up a sweat, or shed some tears. None of it matters unless your heart is right with our Holy God.

Isaiah begins his book talking about the rebellion of God’s people. And then he tells us what God thinks about their acts of worship. God is sick of it. He gets no pleasure from it. In fact God says He hates their worship celebrations. Their worship has become a burden God wants nothing to do with.

Then Isaiah tells us what God requires from those who want to worship Him:

Wash yourselves and be clean! Get your sins out of my sight. Give up your evil ways. Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of orphans. Fight for the rights of widows.
“Come now, let’s settle this,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool.” (16-19)

Let’s not make the mistake of thinking we can go into a worship service like we are attending a concert or ballgame. Let’s not make the mistake of thinking we ought to get something out of worship. It’s not about us.

Let us go into worship, whether in our closet or in the sanctuary of our local churches, with clean hearts, sober-minded with fear and trembling before a Holy God who demands holiness of any one who worships Him. I think God is very clear to say that before we sing the first note of any praise song, we had better have sincerely prayed:

Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence; and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation; and uphold me with a willing spirit.” (Psalm 51:11-12)

Then and only then, will your expression of worship be acceptable to God. True worship, worship He demands, comes from holy people.

See You In Church!

Deuteronomy 12

God was adamant that the Jews go to church to worship Him. They were not to do their own thing, or worship at a more convenient place. And they were not supposed to stay home and worship Him there. That was because the Holy Spirit had not been given, and the only place they could meet God was at the place He chose.

I know we live after the cross. We have God’s Holy Spirit with us 24/7. I am worshiping God sitting in my enclosed porch this morning. But I wonder if we can’t learn something from God’s words to Israel about worshiping together with fellow believers.

The writer of Hebrews (10:25) tells us:

Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one anotherall the more as you see the Day approaching.

The COVID thing has made it so easy to neglect corporate worship. Many of you are simply out of the habit of getting up on a Sunday morning to go to church. You might turn on a live-stream or TV preacher and feel you’ve satisfied God. And maybe you have. I’m not your judge.

I’m thankful for technology for legitimately homebound people to be able to hear God’s Word preached, to sing and worship along with their church family. But I think even they would say they are missing something important. That face to face, hand-shaking, bear-hug kind of fellowship with brothers and sisters in Christ can’t be had through the TV. The writer of Hebrews tells us the “meeting together” is the encouragement we need during these times.

You may truly worship God sitting in your jammies in front of the TV. At least I hope you do, without distraction. Your attention to the service is no less important than if you were sitting in your pew.

But if you are one who is able to get out, and simply choose to stay home instead of attending your church’s worship service, let me ask you why? Are your reasons those that honor God? Or just excuses out of your own comfort and convenience? Have you convinced yourself you don’t “need” church?

God, in Hebrews 10:25, tells us it’s important as the day of Christ’s return draws near. And that was written 2,000 years ago. Could it be even more important today?

See you in church!

May 4 – Praising God With Abandon

2 Samuel 5:11-6:23, 2 Chronicles 13-16

David praised God with abandon. He didn’t set himself apart because he was king. He got down there with the rest of the people, singing, dancing, and praising God in the streets. He didn’t care if he looked foolish. He was praising God.

I know some people believe we should take that same behavior inside our churches and into our worship services. I don’t see where that was the case in Scripture. But Scripture does tell us there is a time to rejoice in the Lord with abandon.

Got me to thinking about my life, my worship of and service to God. He seems to be asking me if I hold back from serving Him because I’m afraid of what someone might think of me. Do I not talk to that person God has laid on my heart, because I don’t want to sound foolish, or have them think I’m a religious nut? God is asking me why I’d care about that.

Do I hide my tears when singing that hymn that touches my heart, or hear a word of Scripture that makes my heart sour, or am convicted by something the pastor says from the pulpit? Am I concerned that the people sitting next to me will think there’s some deep sin I’m committing, or that there is something wrong with me? Again, God is asking why that matters.

When David’s wife Michal told him he looked like a fool out there in the streets, he said, “Look lady, God’s been good to me. And I’m going to celebrate that whether you like it or not.” (Don’t look for that quote exactly. I kind of took some liberties with David’s words.)

God deserves our praise. I think we short-change Him when we take all emotion out of our worship. And I think we divert attention away from Him when our worship becomes an experience.

More than ever I want to take myself totally out of my praise, my worship, and my service to God. It’s not about me.

He alone is worthy.


Feb 20 – No Work For The Wicked

Leviticus 22-23

When God was setting down the rules for the special sabbaths the Jews were to observe throughout the year, He always gave the instruction that no laborious work was to be done on those days. It seems very important that the people understood there was to be no work, because that direction is repeated often in the verses we read today.

Got me to pondering. God must have wanted their full attention during these times of sacrifices and celebrations. It reminds me of the encounter Jesus had with Mary and Martha recorded in Luke 10. Martha was busy preparing the meal while Jesus Himself was speaking in the next room. Scripture says Martha was distracted, and Mary who sat at Jesus’ feet chose the better part.

So in my walk with the Lord this side of the cross, what can I glean from what I read today? God seems to be asking me what it is I allow to distract me during my time with Him. Where does my mind wander when I read His Word or pray?

When I sit in church do I play a game on my phone? Do I take my baby into the service where, not only I am distracted by her crying and cooing, people around me are distracted by her, too? Do I worry about the roast in the crockpot? Think about the big game this afternoon? Or go over in my mind that strategic plan for work?

God gave us six days to be busy. He asks for one day out of the week when we focus only on Him. One day. And sometimes I think He’d appreciate the one hour we are in church, if our focus was truly on Him alone.

Reading these chapters in Leviticus today helped me understand how important it is to God that we give Him our undivided attention in our worship of Him. It’s a choice, my friend. It’s an act of will, that I put every thought out of my mind except the thought of God, His Holiness, His love, His interest in me, and His demand to be worshiped above anything or anyone in my life.

I hope you are planning to attend the worship service in your church tomorrow. Will you put aside any distraction and choose the better part? Let’s prepare to worship God tomorrow as He deserves. No work. No distractions.

Just God. And you focusing only on Him.