What does it mean to choose sacrifice? It is one of the guiding points of our vision statement and probably my favorite of the bunch. But it’s also the toughest for me. Choosing sacrifice is not about putting other people before yourself. It is about choosing to follow what God has in store for your life instead of all the things society teaches us to want; to sacrifice our worldly and selfish wills and pursue God’s will for us. It is cultivating a mindset that doesn’t say “it’s all about me and what I want.” I don’t think many people have that mindset intentionally, but I think it is an underlying thought process which guides many of our decisions.
Take worship for example. Often times I look around when worship starts and think “where is everyone? They are missing the best part!” I think worship is an integral part of what you experience on a Sunday. Why? Because it is about God and not about us. One thing I appreciate about Pastor Dave is that his heart is not to perform for us on Sunday, it is to lead us in our worship of the LORD. Worship is not about us hearing great music, it is about lifting up our voices together in community to celebrate and praise our God and Father. I think of worship as an opportunity to let go of all our concerns, troubles, and distractions in our lives and just focus on God and His greatness.
A few years ago I heard Pastor Mike Pilavachi of Soul Survivor church speak about worship and his experiences. If you have not heard of Soul Survivor, it is a large church in England where worship leaders/composers such as Matt Redman and Tim Hughes got their start. Pastor Mike spoke of a time where he felt the congregation and the worship band had lost their way. He did something drastic, he eliminated the band and sound system. It was just the worship leader, Matt Redman singing a capella. It was a challenge from the pastor for the congregation to engage with God during the time of worship and to do so with their hearts instead of their eyes. He challenged them to be “participants” in worship instead of “consumers.” He asked the congregation “When you come through the doors on a Sunday, what are you bringing as your offering to God?” At first the congregation and the leader struggled and there were moments of awkward silence, but eventually they got it and the band was slowly reintroduced.
This experience was not just for the congregation. The worship leader Matt Redman was affected – you can read about his perspective of it all from an article on the Christianity website. From this experience he wrote the song “The Heart of Worship” which illustrates how the “me” thought process can invade our lives, and the importance of worship to be all about Jesus. The importance of choosing to sacrifice oneself.
And I simply come, Longing just to bring
Something that’s of worth, That will bless Your heart
I’ll bring You more than a song, For a song in itself
Is not what You have required, You search much deeper within
Through the way things appear, You’re looking into my heart
I’m coming back to the heart of worship
and it’s all about You, it’s all about You, Jesus
I’m sorry Lord for the thing I’ve made it, when it’s all about You
it’s all about You, Jesus.
What a beautiful illustration of his experience and his heart for God which we can all learn from. Worship has been on my heart a lot lately, especially as we look through the Psalms in our current teaching series. I look forward to the opportunity to worship the LORD along with all of you.
Trying to Follow,