Sunday, July 28, 2019

Spiritual Disciplines of a Leader: Worship

Today's post is part 8 of our Spiritual Disciplines of a Leader series. Previous posts in the series include Spiritual Disciplines of a LeaderEliminating HurrySabbathSolitudePrayerCommunity, and Simplicity

Last December, my wife and I hosted a Young Life Carol Night fundraiser to benefit her work in the Capernaum ministry. We provided a beautiful spread of charcuterie, some tasty beverages and much like a Sunday morning, lyrics on a screen and a band of musicians to lead the folks gathered.  In between groups of songs we had the privilege to do one of our favorite things, share the story of God’s hand within Young Life. One of our older friends with disabilities who has been impacted by the ministry, shared her story, and we invited a few other Capernaum friends to welcome, greet and celebrate with us. 

There were many special moments that night, but the highlight for everyone was when Brittany, our friend and neighbor with Downs Syndrome, dressed in a bright green sequin blouse, spontaneously invited herself on stage to sing ‘O Holy Night’ with us. As we made our way through that incredibly beautiful and poignant song, 

--- O holy night, the stars are brightly shining. It is the night of our dear Savior's birth ---

…the room and the congregation suddenly changed,

---Long lay the world in sin and error pining, 'Til He appeared and the soul felt its worth ---

…not because of Brittany’s voice,

--- A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices, for yonder breaks a new and glorious morn --- 

…but because of Brittany’s courageous presence. She had no fear. She did not care what anyone thought of her performance. She sang those 170-year-old-words with a freedom that matched the freedom proclaimed in that hymn. And as she raised her hand in praise, Brittany confidently sang… 

--- Christ is the Lord; oh, praise His name forever! His power and glory evermore proclaim! His power and glory evermore proclaim! ---

…and displayed where her hope comes from and that her soul knows it’s true worth. 

The word “worship,” before it became a musical genre on iTunes, is defined as “treating (someone or something) with the reverence and adoration appropriate to a deity.” 

In Romans 12:1, the scripture we kicked off this Spiritual Discipline series with, Paul urges us, “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.” 
What Paul is asking us to do through God’s mercy, is to consider our posture. Not our posture as it relates to how upright we sit in our chairs, but posture in how we physically and spiritually and heart-fully relate and respond to our God and Redeemer.

But this response – true and proper - requires presence; which in our phone-in-hand culture, is getting harder and harder to do. True, meaning “genuine” and proper, meaning “belonging to one,” a presence in mind, body and spirit with the One who created us. For God longs for us to be present with Him, and presence doesn’t always mean awesome or pleasant feelings, but rather coming to Him in whatever condition we are in… willingly offering ourselves, as Paul commands. For when we turn our attention away from ourselves and focus our presence in Christ, we will be even more apt to open all areas of our lives. 

As Robert Webber declares in his powerful book Worship Is a Verb, “to celebrate Christ, not my devotion to him, frees me from having to create or invent my worship.” 

We will find freedom when we remember the Lord and consistently celebrate all that He has done and continues to do through his death and resurrection. Worship will become more than something done to us or for us in the 22 musical minutes every Sunday. In turn, it will become something done “by us.” 

Cultivating a heart of thankfulness and a constant adoration of our living Father will not only inform our posture, but it will affect every one we come in to contact with. Worship will become our way of life!

My prayer is that through God’s mercy, like Brittany worshipping openly and inadvertently ushering an entire room of tearful adults to the feet of Jesus… we might, through our posture and presence with God, create a life of worship that leads more kids to know the God who saves.

As you think about worship in your life, consider engaging these questions with the Lord and within your community. We are not meant to do this alone…

  1. What people or things in your life do you treat with the reverence and adoration deserved for God?
  2. What is your posture towards God on Sunday mornings? Or on a Tuesday afternoon? And how are they different or similar?
  3. What would it look like to worship God through the rhythms and liturgies of your days?


Written by Christopher Williams.

Christopher loves Young Life and has been involved since he was a high school kid. He is a singer songwriter, percussionist and worship leader and is married to Suzanne, the Southeast Divisional Co-ordinator for Capernaum and they have a sweet 8 year old boy named Hudson. Christopher just released his 11th and 12th independent albums - Gather and We Will Remember. He is on the road non-stop playing shows and leading others in the musical part of worship and loves to partner with areas to communicate the heart of YL through banquets, intimate house concerts or any other creative ways. Email him here for more info!

We Will Remember: Songs Inspired By the Book of Joel on Spotify and iTunes
Gather on Spotify

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