From the heart of a worshipper…

God has been opening up doors of opportunity recently for my musical/worship gift. I’ve been invited as a guest worship leader to various special services, and I was blessed tonight to be invited to play at Dad’s Place during Jim and family’s busiest time of the week (Friday night after a home football game – and if you’ve never stopped in during such a time, you are missing out on a hoot just watching the the Whaleys throw coffee cups, espresso grounds, and mudslides around). Now I have to admit, I’m not the best keyboard player in town, and the venue of playing outside of my element was a little intimidating to me. There are many others who could do a better job than I in this venue, nonetheless, it was an honor to be invited to play in the coffee shop tonight. Here’s what’s hard for me: I don’t know how to just sit down and play a bunch of songs to entertain people. All I know is how to worship with my instrument (For you gear-heads, mine happens to be a Roland Fantom FA-76). So I just sat down tonight and did what I do best: worshipped the Lord while making whatever noises I could get those keys to make.

There are many out there who don’t have a musical talent or the ability to sing. Music is a powerful tool, but worship is SO much more than the song. Although I love to play and sing, I look at “worship music” merely as a conduit by which we can bring our worship to Him. John 4:24 says “God is a Spirit and those who worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth” (notice the capital S in the first Spirit – referring to God’s Spirit, and the lowercase “s” in the second, referring to man’s spirit). Music simply gets our MINDS focusing on Him while we connect with God from our spirit to His Spirit. You see, worshipping in spirit and in truth involves two parts of man (or woman): the spirit and the mind. Truth is what renews our mind and transforms us to become what God wants us to be. Truth is the knowledge of who God is, what He has done, and what He says that He can do. Truth can be conveyed through many forms: music, scripture reading, poetry, even a video clip (that would be telling of the truth – not just a clip from Titanic) When we worship Him, we connect our spirit with His, and we think on the truth – how good God is, how awesome He is, how powerful He is, how much He loves us and we love Him, etc.

Now a lot has been said recently about emotions, (and I know we can’t be guided by our emotions) but when I think about God’s goodness and everything He’s done for me, when I think of how powerful His love for me is and when I think about how, even if I were the only one who would have accepted Him that Christ still would have died for me; I can’t help but get emotional. I think that’s enough to spark at least a little emotion even from Spock! This is why I refuse to speak out against someone who seems to be emotionally going “too far” in their praise – I have no idea of the cost of their praise. I have no idea of the truth of what God has been to them in their life to cause them to get more emotional than I. I wish I could have seen the religeous people on the day David danced until his clothes came off! Talk about emotion! Someone sitting in the pew behind me may sing loud and sound like a goat, but who am I to tell them to hold their peace? Someone else between me and my view of the projection screen may be 6’18” tall and are jumping because they are so joyful for God setting them free from a $200-a-day cocaine habit, but who am I to tell them to sit down? (I’m talking about during worship, not during a baby dedication or something) If their worship annoys me and isn’t what I want to hear – so what? Are they worshipping me, or are they worshipping God?

Now if you’re tone-deaf (you know who you are!), please don’t misunderstand me and demand to be in your church’s choir or praise team stating that I said it’s okay because it’s all for God! I’m talking about worship here, not a ministry position that requires your talent (or in this case a lack of it!).

Here’s what I’m trying to say in all of this. Whether it’s sung from a book or from the wall; whether through a conduit of music, literature, scripture, or digital media; whether it’s in a beautiful cathedral, a storefront church, a cozy coffee house, or in your house; whether it results in emotions that bring tears, dance, laughter, or a simple smile – let your worship be in spirit and in truth.

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2 thoughts on “From the heart of a worshipper…

  1. Jim says:

    T.J. it was such a pleasure for you to be with us on Friday night. You’re such a busy guy, I realize how hard it was for you to be here, but trust me, it was incredible. The calming effect of the music was just what the kids (me really) needed. Little did the crowd know that up in the corner of DP, the throne of God was being called down and entered. And His presence was certainly felt. It’s so great to know that in the midst of chaos, God is found! Stay vertical, my friend!

  2. Mark W. says:

    Didn’t get a chance to fully comment on this post over the weekend, but I agree that music really “transports” me, and I love music that is truly worshipful.

    By the way…I’m not quite sure I’m understanding what sort of musical performance you gave at DP. Was it a kind of moody Philip Glass thing?…cuz that sounds AWESOME!

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