Sunday, February 20, 2011


Have you ever given much thought to the concept of going to church to attend a worship service? There is a huge difference between attending a worship service, and going to worship the Lord. When we use the word "attend," we make it sound like we are going as spectators to watch others worship. Unfortunately, that is exactly what a very large percentage of church goers do. Instead of worshiping the Lord, most of us tend to act as critics, evaluating the performances of God's servants. We sit in our pews and observe the musicians, the singers, and the preacher. We say, "The music was too loud; they sang the wrong songs; the preacher went too long; they were asking for money again; etc." We evaluate their performances, and do not hesitate to tell others our opinions of our experience that day. We are supposed to be there to worship the Lord. God is supposed to be the audience! The worship of God does not just take place on the platform; every person there is supposed to be worshiping Him. You would think we were expecting to be entertained. We actually seem to think of ourselves as members of the "audience," and we have the right to expect quality music and preaching; after all, we do pay the salaries of our "employees," right?

Fortunately, there is a small percentage of folks who go to church to worship and praise Almighty God for His goodness, His mercy, His grace, His love, and His faithfulness toward us. They pray, sing, and show reverence for the One Who has proven His great love for us. They are thrilled to see volunteer musicians, and singers lead in praise to God, to see volunteers hand out bulletins, take up the offering, serve communion, take care of the young children, etc. They even look for opportunities to do their part in enabling others to worship the Lord.

The majority of church goers seem to view "worship" and "service," as an oxymoron. The term, "oxymoron," comes from the Greek ὀξύμωρον, meaning "sharp dull." It is a figure of speech that combines contradictory terms. Literary oxymorons are crafted to reveal a paradox. Some have jokingly viewed my Navy career in "Naval Intelligence" as an oxymoron. Another common example is "jumbo shrimp."

Webster's New World Dictionary defines "worship" as a religious homage, reverence, devotion, and veneration of one's God. The Bible states that worship is to be given to God, and to God alone (Ex. 20:2-5; Deut. 5:6-9; 6:12-15; Matt. 4:10; Lk. 4:8; Acts 10:26; 14:15; Col. 2:18; Rev. 19:10; 22:8-9). Webster defines "service" as being the performance of work by a servant, whether a slave or a paid servant. Hence, a worship service is supposed to be working to honor God. If I am focusing upon God and worshiping Him, and if I am exercising my spiritual gifts within the Body of Christ, then it is a worship service. If I am evaluating the exercising of the spiritual gifts of others, I am neither worshiping nor am I serving.

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