“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31, NIV
Worship is not bound by time or place. The failure to realize this concept leads to blank stares whenever I say, “Worship ignites us to discipleship and mission!” Why this reaction? Because it is so hard to think that the anemic hour of worship going on in many of our churches could ever ignite anything. We must enlarge our concept of worship!
Robert Webber, in Worship Is a Verb, wrote: “Worship challenges secularism because it establishes a relationship with God and sets the world in order. In worship, the good news is happening again. It reaffirms the reality of God, the significance of life, and the worth of the human person. It creates, sustains, and enhances a relationship with God, and it heals broken human relationships. Worship refreshes the soul, rekindles the spirit, and renews life.”12
The bottom line, the main thing, the essential ingredient of true worship is this: that I hunger and thirst every moment of life for God’s presence. Are you thirsting every day all day to experience God at every turn? Are you hungry to find God’s work revealed in daily situations and conversations? Do you possess a craving to see his glory in the smallest circumstances? This hunger for God’s presence is the root of the worshiping relationship with him.
“(After the resurrection), the eleven disciples traveled to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had directed them. When they saw Him, they worshiped, but some doubted. Then Jesus came near and said to them, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:16–20, HCSB
Worship is first a constant lifestyle of living in the love relationship with God through Christ. Then when we gather as the body of Christ in the church, our personal worship will overflow into our corporate worship service. But a worship service is not a service to us, it is our service to God. Paul proclaimed this in Romans 12:1, translated into classic King James language, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” In the corporate worship service, the children of God gather to connect with and adore their loving heavenly Father. In a worship seminar that I attended, Robert Webber shared how worship in the family of God is like a family reunion: we greet each other on the front porch and re-establish family connection, we adore our father and celebrate our family heritage, we share stories of great moments in the life of our family, we talk of our future, we may even share a meal before we affirm our plans to stay connected with each other and our father, then we depart to represent our family name in the world.
After his resurrection, Jesus gathered his new family of believers. Before Jesus commissioned them to go make disciples and win the world for him, they fell down and worshiped him (Mt 28:16). A heart of worship will always be the ignition key for missional discipleship in the family of God. Jesus’ disciples had followed him for three amazing years of ministry and then experienced the agony of his crucifixion and the joy of his resurrection. It must have been an emotional roller-coaster ride for them. There were so many things they didn’t know. Now they had been summoned by Jesus to this mountain to meet with him face to face. Just as with everyone else who encountered the risen Christ, they fell down and worshiped him.
This is the first example in the New Testament of the disciples demonstrating an act of worship toward Jesus. Yes, others had worshiped Jesus during his ministry. The blind, the lame, even the lepers, had demonstrated their adoration of Jesus after he healed them. But until this moment, the New Testament has no account of his own disciples bowing in worship. Peter had made the confession of Jesus’ lordship verbally, but even this confession did not lead to an act of worship on their part.
Isn’t it strange that the very ones who were closest to Jesus had trouble believing on a level that led to acts of personal worship? Even as they fell down and worshiped on that mountain, some of them doubted.
Disciples and worship leaders can be like that. We are so busy as a steward of the church club car that we sometimes forget to worship him ourselves. We desperately need to hear a fresh call to authentic corporate worship that ignites discipleship and mission. I challenge you, worship leaders, make worship your lifestyle, not just a weekly event!