God’s love is extravagant (link). How do you respond to His love?
An older woman’s husband died; it was a man she adored. After his death, her daughter-in-law stayed the night with her. Between bouts of crying and screaming, they slept. But, her DIL was awakened with praise and worship music blasting as her MIL sang along and played the tambourine. She collapsed again in tears, only to do it all again throughout the first few nights after his death.
Worshiping the Lord in the midst of her greatest heartache…. Could you do the same? Can we also worship in our daily times? In times of comfort? In times of our success? In times of our failures? What times do you worship?
God’s Word tells us to worship in spirit and in truth (John 4:23-24). Do we fully understand what worship is? Hint: It isn’t just music time during church service, though we will discuss that, too.
A Google search for the definition of worship includes “the feeling or expression of reverence and adoration for a deity.” Webster’s Dictionary from 1828 says, “Worship is to honor with extravagant love and extreme submission” (ChristianityToday.com). Dr. Whitney in his book Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life states simply that “worship is focusing on and responding to God.” How do we DO that?
The Bible records how God’s people will bow down, pray, sing, and offer other acts of admiration as acts of worship. Our local church reminds us regularly that we worship God with songs, with our giving, with our serving, and more. So, back to our opening Scripture about worshiping God in spirit and in truth. Spirit and truth require two components – the Holy Spirit revealing our heart of hearts & God’s love for us AND the Truth of who God is no matter what we are feeling at the time. We can worship God anywhere and everywhere in everything we do and say. The reality is that if we don’t have our hearts turned to the Lord and not our own desires, successes, frustrations, trials, or triumphs, our worship will fall short. When we lead our families in worship together, whether we are on a hike and pointing out God’s amazing creativity in His creation or we are singing with our hands held high in praise, we must know that it is our hearts that God cares about, not the routine of corporate worship. (Note: being in a routine of family worship time, church time, etc, helps when you are just “not feelin’ it” so I am not knocking routine; I am pointing out that routine cannot be all you offer God.)
We can see from the definition of worship, worship is “focusing on and responding to God,” but why is music almost always included in the church’s gathering service worship time?
“I will tell of your name to my brothers; in the midst of the congregation I will sing your praise.” (Hebrews 2:12 ESV)
Oh come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! (Psalm 95:1 ESV)
Praise the Lord! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens! Praise him for his mighty deeds; praise him according to his excellent greatness! Praise him with trumpet sound; praise him with lute and harp! Praise him with tambourine and dance; praise him with strings and pipe! Praise him with sounding cymbals; praise him with loud clashing cymbals! (Psalm 150:1-6 ESV)
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. (Colossians 3:16 ESV)
Sing to him, sing praises to him; tell of all his wondrous works! (Psalm 105:2 ESV)
Addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, (Ephesians 5:19 ESV)
What then, brothers? When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up. (1 Corinthians 14:26 ESV)
So, worship of our Lord in a community setting includes songs. Have you ever sat in a church, listening to folks’ attempts at four-part harmony and wondered, “Why on earth is THAT person singing so loudly? She can’t hit the correct note to save her life.” Well, in all honesty, I have (while I quietly missing every note myself, by the way). Growing up, there were these two old ladies who sat together near the front left of the church sanctuary, singing the alto line. Those ladies didn’t seem to care who heard them, but I, in my immaturity, was embarrassed for them. Now, as an adult who has experienced birth and death, triumphs and trials, gains and losses, I can still hear their voices, but I hear beauty, authenticity, and worship. Those two sweet old ladies were not singing for me; they were singing for the Lord.
Authentic worship is not about my distractions, my preferences, my annoyances… umm, I am seeing a pattern… are you? As you can tell by those earlier definitions, worship is NOT about me. Guess what? It isn’t about you either. Worship is about being mindful of God whether we are hiking, listening to a sermon, singing, or even listening to someone pray. It is NOT worship if our focus is off of God.
So, how do we worship as a family? We have to be mindful of our own focus of God as we move throughout our day. We have to choose to add community worship acts such as memorizing Scripture, sharing our meditations of Scripture, singing, and praying out loud to our family Bible time. Remember the phrase “Read. Pray. Sing.”
Taking into account your children’s age range and needs, you may need to be quite brief. You may need to let the fidgety one have a craft to work on while others talk (as long as he is listening, of course); you may need to sit next to your little girl and play gently with her hair to sooth her. Choose a typical time (don’t be militant about it, but a “same time, same place” attitude helps to get in the routine of adding in worship of our Lord together daily), have an idea of what you want to discuss ahead of time, and go for it.
May God bless your endeavors to set a positive example for your children in family Bible times as well as when you “talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” (Deuteronomy 6:7)
LifePoint Church – Live Sent app: “My House Worship Sessions”
Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life by Donald S. Whitney, NavPress; Updated, Revised edition (July 1, 2014)
Family Worship by Donald S Whitney, Crossway; 2016
If you want the words to “Your love is extravagant,” click here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-DqlLAVm0cg