Our new church auditorium is being built on what was a parking lot. As you can imagine, parking lots require a different kind of support than a very large building. Before we could begin our building efforts, we had to start over with the foundation, which took a very long time to complete. I believe it will be worth it, though, to know our church is standing on the strongest foundation possible.
We know worship is a vital part of following Jesus. As a worship leader, my desire is to lead people into an encounter with God so they can give Him glory for who He is and what He’s done in our lives. The Bible describes a quintessential “worship service” when Solomon held the dedication of the new temple of God. They prepared sacrifices to God and worshiped Him together.
“The choir and trumpets made one voice of praise and thanks to God—orchestra and choir in perfect harmony singing and playing praise to God: “Yes! God is good! His loyal love goes on forever!” Then a billowing cloud filled The Temple of God. The priests couldn’t even carry out their duties because of the cloud—the glory of God!—that filled The Temple of God.” 2 Chronicles 5:13-14 (MSG)
We all yearn for this kind of worship, don’t we? If you’re like me, you want it every time we gather as a church. However, if we want this kind of experience, we must learn how to truly engage with God in worship consistently. I have found this endeavor of living in an unbroken worship experience requires a strong foundation to even “get off the ground,” and it consists of two solid truths. If these two ingredients are mixed into our foundation, we can be sure our worship will be authentic and life-changing. If we are lacking in them, our worship experience will likely turn to “meh.” We don’t want “meh.” We hate “meh.” We want “mind-blowing!”
First, God is worthy of our worship because He is the creator. Before you and I existed, there were several millennia of generations of human beings. And before God created people, He created the heavens and the earth from nothing. Before we made our choice to worship God, He was standing in eternity, perfect in every way and worthy of worship. He created people so we could worship Him in a loving relationship. But He is worthy whether we exist or not, and He will be worthy forever. Check out Revelation 4:11 and Psalm 95:1-5.
Second, God is good forever and everything good comes from Him. The longer I walk with Jesus, the more I realize this is true regardless of our thoughts or experiences in this life. Everything wrong in this world happens because sin entered the world. That was our choice, not God’s and He has been righting that wrong ever since. Through the veil of sin, we have been questioning His goodness since the fateful moment in the garden, but as followers of Jesus, we must resolve within ourselves that God is good and He only does good all the time. When my deepest dreams come true, He is good. And when my worst nightmares come to pass, God is good. Sin is bad. Satan is evil. But God is good and everything good in our lives originates in Him. You will never truly “initiate” worshiping God – worship is always a response to God’s goodness because He was completely faithful to you before you were even able to recognize who He is and what He has done. God is worthy because He is in and of Himself good. Look into Romans 8:28 and Psalm 36:5-9.
Grasping these two truths, we can move forward into an amazing life of worship! I have found I need to continually remind myself of these truths, often on a daily basis, for them to become rock solid. I encourage you to find evidence of them in the Bible and declare them because they will not fail you. If our worship is strong and full of God’s presence, we can be sure our hearts and minds are centered on these truths. If our worship begins to wane, we may have lost sight of one or both of these foundational truths. And if you show up to church and feel the worship is just “meh,” ask God to renew you with the revelation of His goodness and sovereignty. He is infinite. He is faithful. And He will blow your mind every time.
By James Mark Gulley, Worship and Arts Pastor
Follow James Mark on Twitter at @jamesmarkgulley
Join us Friday, April 5th as we record our newest Antioch LIVE worship album! It will be a powerful worship experience you won’t want to miss. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the event begins at 7 p.m. at Antioch Community Church. We anticipate a packed-out auditorium, so seating will be first come, first served basis. Unfortunately, childcare will not be provided as we are hosting the Community Feast that evening and there is not adequate space for childcare for both events. Please note that since the event is a live recording, we must keep excess noise to a minimum- probably not the best environment for small kids!
Watch and see what the night’s all about.