For a few very hard years this word was my mantra.
The word means
-undismayed; not discouraged; not forced to abandon purpose or effort
-undiminished in courage or valor; not giving way to fear
But the truth is, I was often dismayed by everything that had taken place, and I did battle discouragement. I battled fear and doubts. I hurt and was angry, and sometimes "undaunted" sounded more like a mockery than a mantra, and I was determined to be real about all of it in these posts, thus the name, Undaunted Reality. More than that, though, I was determined to live undaunted, not because I'm so great or strong, but because my God is, and no matter what this world looks like, He is the only reality that matters.
I pray I live the reality of Him beautifully undaunted.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

And the Greatest of These is...Perfect Worship

I don't really know the songs, and we don't sing the same song very often, so I'm not really learning them, which is tedious, but at another church, we had an eleven song play list, so we sang the same songs almost every week, and that was boring.

I'm not into rock music, and some of what we sing is rock-ish. Not my style. Hard to get into...for me. But the younger folk are all over it. Hands up. Eyes closed. You can look on their faces and see they have this...and more importantly, He has them.

At this church, we do worship after the sermon, not before. I've never been at a church that does that. It's weird. I'm used to a prayer, some music, maybe a shake hands with the neighbor behind you, and then the sermon. This prayer, song, sermon, worship thing sort of messes with my mind, but I really loved going to the store after church Sunday and the kids and I singing while we shopped because the music was still rolling in us...the worship coming out of us.

And what is with the worship team anyway? Sometimes we have a full crew with drums, keyboard, guitar, and multiple singers, and then there was Sunday when we had two on stage. Shouldn't it be consistent? I mean. How am I supposed to know what to expect if it is always changing? Except Sunday was meditative worship. The harmony was good, and the gentleness of the acoustic guitar and the voices allowed resting and soaking deep, and those rock-ish songs with their drums work for the kids. And I must confess. I like stopping and watching these young people pouring out their hearts, receiving His heart poured out. It's beautiful. It fills me with joy and hope, but even if it didn't, even if I got nothing out of it, I get something out of it. It is an absolute impossibility for God to invade the world through His children and my world not be affected and made better. Any time heaven comes to earth, I get something out of it.

Last week I had a conversation with a friend of mine who is having "worship issues" at his church, and I listened to him tell how this person had this problem and that person had that other problem, and really, they all had the same problem. The problem is they don't understand what worship is.

Worship isn't what we sing or whether we know the words. It isn't an order of service or style of music. Worship isn't whether you can raise your hands or jump up and down...or stand their with your hands in your pockets in silence.

Worship is acknowledging God as God.

Worship is realizing it isn't all about me and loving those kids enough to see God's heart is for reaching them.

Worship isn't conjuring an emotional response to get people hyped up for a sermon and shout, "Amen!" in regular intervals or on the appropriate downbeat. Worship is knowing the greatest thing anyone has to offer is an experience with God.

Worship isn't the first, second, and last verse, or knowing the songs so well you don't need the words. Worship is the heart without words that needs to hear God speak.

Worship is giving your all to God. Sometimes your all is simply walking into a church and saying, "I'm giving you the chance to find me because I can't find you in this hard place, but I'm not willing to walk away, so this is me walking to you." Sometimes your all is letting the tears fall while you whisper, "You are still good," even when it hurts oh, so very bad.

Worship is giving up my right to be important so God is important, so His plan is important, so others are important.

Music is an expression of worship, but worship is a response to God and our expression of our hearts toward Him and His goodness toward us.

I told my friend that our music isn't exactly my cup of tea either. He sort of groan-sighed. I said, "I'm stepping past the music because if my focus is on the music, I've just made it into a concert. It's not a concert. It's worship, and if I can't worship with music that glorifies God and praises Him, it's my problem, not the music's."

He sighed...more like a long-overdue exhale. He said it did his heart good to hear me say that. Funny, it does my heart good to live that.

2014 Copyright Jerri Kelley Phillips
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