Volume, Silence, WORSHIP!

As I age, I appreciate many things.

Short and occasional breaks from lots of noise and activity. Bits of time to just sit and read, to think and consider.

I've always loved hunting, fishing on a quiet stream or lake, in fact ponds surrounded by woods. Quiet, peaceful spots where I can pray, observe all God has made, enjoy His creation.

Then again He has called me and all of us to love and serve our neighbors, which means being around people. Kids. Noisy ones ha!! Yep. And most of the time I really like it.

Long ago I learned people are the rain that causes me to bloom.

My prayer life has increased more and more over the years, and I mean in various styles of prayer. Among them, silent, listening prayer is a great stress-reliever and of course the more one senses intimacy with God, the more peace one experiences.

For those Christ followers who do not consider themselves pentecostals or charismatics, let me add that the high-voltage prayer, praise (especially with music) song services, intense, sometimes shouting preaching may not be your style- but it is exactly what many believers enjoy and in part, to experience what they believe to be His immediate (sometimes referred to as "manifest") presence.

Whether it's endorphins going off, mere human enthusiasm and excitement, the actual presence of the Holy Spirit or not, many of them (myself included at times) enjoy such experiences.

Such gatherings with the accompanying "fireworks" can seem and feel like a show to some. I fully understand that. In fact, in some cases I think that's what's going on and on occasion, sadly, nothing more.

At the same time, the volume and intensity of it all is the very stimulus some are looking for if not in every encounter, at least in most or many of them.

As I say, I personally think God shows up in such meetings (He's omnipresent so of course He's everywhere we go). I've been blessed in such.

There were many moments when Resurrection Band (REZ) concerts became intense worship events for me. As one of the lead singers and guitarists in the band, there were times I'd get so engaged in the lyrics of a song that I'd momentarily forget where I was and what I was doing.

A deep sense of euphoria and what I believe to be the immediate sense of Jesus being very, very present swept over me. Powerful, deep times!

REZ was usually loud… VERY loud! Most of many audiences would be dancing, bouncing up and down, and this was many years before Hillsong-style worship meetings ๐Ÿ™‚

I say all this to say that volume and high-velocity worship experiences are not invalid simply because some of your (or my) personal taste, theology or doctrine doesn't allow for it.

At the same time, as I wrote at the beginning of this blog, I truly enjoy peace, silence and a sense of intimacy simply resting in God, just BEING with Him, really focused.

There are times when volume is not my personal "cup of tea", at least in that particular moment.

I have learned to enjoy God the Holy Spirit when He arrives with a "still small voice" and just as much when He comes as a "rushing mighty wind".

When one studies church history, and the history of various Christian movements one can also quickly recognize splits over the lack of comfort X, Y or Z group provided the others in direct response to the worship styles, atmosphere and appreciated or un-appreciated delivery (by a strong minority or large majority) of the people involved.

"Worship wars" are nothing new! And I doubt they'll go away any time soon as there are always young, middle-aged or quite old believers who will not agree on which way God Himself actually manifests Himself in gatherings.

Be aware, according to Jesus, God the Holy Spirit Himself both comforts and makes us uncomfortable. He's the Comforter and the One Who convicts us of sin, righteousness and judgment. We get the embrace and the correction from Him. He has that right. Alas, some of us are camped out, nearly always parked in one or the other of these places spiritually. He… is not!

No Christ follower would disagree with John when he quotes Jesus saying that those who worship God -must- worship Him in spirit and in truth. But these things take on different meanings in our minds, often merely according to our own sense of comfort.

Clearly, the first reason God calls us to worship Him is that He indeed IS God and is deserving as nobody else is or ever shall be, of praise, thanksgiving and worship.

After that… He calls, even commands us to worship because WE need to! We need to experience Him in the many ways He meets with us, for our own benefit. We need freedom from so continually thinking about ourselves! In authentic, genuine, God-focused worship much is accomplished in the people of God. Certainly God is unchanging, so genuine worship in part is about the Lord interacting, communing with us to work His work of change and maturity in our own lives.

Yet- thirdly, if all we did was worship Him individually (where there is little conflict about HOW we worship as nobody else is around in such moments) we would not experience an entire dimension of both worship and community (as in shared, communal worship of our heavenly Father together) of the sort God also commands.

Note this: He commands both individual and corporate worship. There are some things He does in me in the midst of my brothers and sisters He does not do in me when only He and I meet.

We need both, He commands both.

The old Rodney King question, "Can't we all get along?" is easy to answer. We don't want to get along, we want things our way and at times this includes how the worship of God happens, is conducted, or to what extent this or that element of worship is allowed in our local gathering.

I will now be quite blunt. It is my experience that the Bible is rarely quoted and even more rare is a thorough and solid application of the scriptures in debates over the way local congregations worship God.

One would think that something so central, important and basic would bring the discussion fully into the Bible and it's core teachings regarding worship. One would imagine most if not would seek consensus about worship in a local gathering. This is sadly, not always the case.

While it does occur in places, what more often occurs is "people vote with their feet". They simply move on to another church more to their liking.

Certainly, worship styles and methodologies are only one reason people join or leave a local church but in the end, some like it hot and loud, some like it quiet and very ordered. Some love a tight form and others want a liturgy of near-chaos and breakneck momentum. Some are content with 40 minutes and some with a couple hours. I have met with the Lord in all of these. I've also felt as though I'd been to a desert in a few of them on both ends of the spectrum.

I admit to having my own personal preferences but also admit that this is exactly what they are- personal preferences. In fact, my own desires for encountering God change from day to day. My own needs, sometimes felt needs… moods and interest change from time to time.

I've experienced God in powerful ways in the midst or blow-out volume and what looks like full-on chaos all the way to complete silence and near-dark lighting. From one end to the other of the wide landscape of worship approaches I am convinced not only that God was truly honored but myself and others were touched and met by Him in and through such broad experiences of individual and gathered worship.

In every generation there are those who think their own opinions equal God's revealed will. They wonder if others will ever "get it right". And some apparently will in that we can always find at least some people who will share our own views, tastes and desires for a worship experience.

A little humility here- there is, in the end, "nothing new under the sun" ๐Ÿ™‚

Further, sometimes what you need is not what you want at the time. God has ways of stretching His kids. Let Him! Cooperate and learn. Love those who don't do it like you. Take the mature road and you'll bless a lot more people and of course, God Himself.

What I pray for and am calling for is a more mature view among the people of God in all our varied worship cultures. And varied they are!

Remember, when God put color in the sky -it was a rainbow, not merely red, blue or yellow.

Be blessed in the diversity of our Father and spiritual family!

Thanks for stopping by. -Glenn

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8 thoughts on “Volume, Silence, WORSHIP!

  1. I like this piece… it’s a true and accurate account of the way we let our preferences rule over grace. In doing so, we diminish God and His kingdom by limiting what we’re prepared to receive.Along with this, the ‘consumerist’ attitude with which we approach worship is partly to blame. We’re encouraged to come to the service expecting it to appeal to our tastes and we express our disappointment if the music isn’t exactly what we want.I agree, Glenn. God is able to speak through any situation, circumstance and parameter of worship, and the temptation is to constrain the Spirit or refuse to listen. I need the encouragement to be open to hear – even when it doesn’t suit my tastes…

  2. enjoyed your insight, it is so true as we get " older " we become convinced that our views on things are his view, not always so. God will give grace to the humble thanks for reminding me not to put him in a box of my making ( as if i could ). thanks again, joe

  3. I stumbled on Rez Band videos on YT. I was looking for lyrics for awaiting your reply. Then to this website. Thanks for the music and memories. Yours was the music of my youth. The music my parents hated – well, as good fundy Christians they pretty much hated everything, still do. Including the gays, which included me.So I’m not involved in any church anymore. I have no home there – there ain’t no place for gays in any church I know, and I have no intention of returning any non-favours given that church was the place I learned to hate myself.But I still like the music. Thanks a whack.

  4. You're so welcome David. I'm sorry you feel that way about the church. I hear you though… somebody once said &quot;to accept Christianity one must forget almost all the Christians.&quot;<br><br>I can get the lyrics to you via email, hopefully in the next day or so.<br> <br>Though you and I might not agree re. gay-bi-les or for that matter, heterosexual sex (that, outside of marriage…) I think we'd agree on much if not most other things! But whew, I hear you re. fundy stuff.<br><br> In any case, God still and truly loves you!! I'll try to email you those lyrics directly.<br><br>Thanks so much for writing David.<br><br>Yours,<br>-Glenn

  5. <div>OK David, here you go! Write anytime… and don't hate yourself- God loves you.</div> <div>??</div> <div>-Glenn</div> <div>??</div> <div>AWAITING YOUR REPLY<br>Glenn Kaiser</div> <div>??</div> <div>A voice on the other end said<br>&quot;Where in the world have you been&quot;<br>I said &quot;I been all around,<br>But I ain't seen a thing&quot;</div> <div>??</div> <div>I was lying in my bed<br>Trying to arrange my head<br>When a letter came in from Him<br>Saying I was dead</div> <div>It was signed in blood, it was mailed<br>Into my heart<br>Though the channel was clear,<br>I didn't want to hear, it made me worried<br>When you're out with the boys<br>Walking paranoid, and all your toys<br> Make you discouraged,<br>It's really sad you know<br>When you've nothing to show,<br>And there it reads on the bottom line:<br>&quot;I love you…awaiting your reply&quot;</div> <div>??</div> <div>Why did He have to word it like that<br>Why can't He let me be<br>It was bad enough that He offered His love,<br>But why did He fry my head with that last line<br>&quot;Awaiting your reply&quot;</div> <div>??</div> <div>I could laugh in the face of life<br>I could laugh in the face of lies<br>But I knew I couldn't keep Him waiting-<br>I had so little time</div> <div>So I called Him up<br>Asked for Him by name<br>He passed me the ticket<br>And I boarded the plane<br>We pulled out onto the airport runway<br>We began to climb as the whole world exploded<br>I'd just asked Him for His lifeline<br> The blood, the blood of Jesus is His lifeline</div> <div>??</div> <div>So sit down and read His letter<br>His love is clearly defined<br>When you're done with His words<br>You won't forget what you've heard<br>And in His love, He'll haunt you day and night<br>&quot;Awaiting your reply&quot;<br> </div>

  6. Thanks so much. The lyrics are not just a little ironic in light of my own history – I hear the irony in my own words.I don’t know what I believe anymore to be honest. I’m not sure what I want to believe. And although we might not agree on the "gay" issue – well, I think my values are now alot clearer and probably do reflect more of what I thought church and Chrisitians should be about.Someone you might know, Dwight Ozard was a very good friennd of mine – and in his own fervent belief he found a place to let me be me and to care about me just the same. I’ve missed him – he left us far too early.Thanks again

  7. David, I hear you totally. Understood.<br><br>And thanks for your candor right through. That's huge, and important.<br><br>Yes, Dwight was a really good man and I miss him. Eternal life… this I believe. And that Jesus alone gives it.<br> <br>I'm quite public about my life, and really that's to benefit whomever -if that's possible. I referred to myself as bi-sexual the last couple years of high school, though never acted on it. I was quite ready to. I had a really kind and quite a gifted guitarist friend who I learned was gay and would have gone that road in an instant had he seemed up for that, but he was not and I did not. I came to faith in Jesus right at the end of that year and everything turned upside down- in the most spiritual, positive way.<br> <br>I have a number of gay friends- and have seen God work wonders in people's lives.<br><br>At the moment I have so many divorced friends… whew… such a sadness.<br><br>Wendi and I just celebrated our 39th! Talk about miricles. Ha, then again I often tell folks I wouldn't have married ME… not even today. But she is amazing and the love of my life.<br> <br>Well, thanks for replying and if you need to chat, please do so, I'm here!<br><br>His, yours,<br>-Glenn

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