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.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

How to Fix Bad Worship

People complain about the music in church with the excuse it somehow prevents them from worshipping. It isn't comfortable for them, and it messes with their rhythm, and don't change the words or inflection because it makes it hard to follow and they can't sing it mindlessly like usual, and plus, they sound dumb when they get the notes wrong, and how one worship when they are afraid of getting it wrong?
Okay. Okay, so it's not just the generic "people". *I* have been known to complain about all of the above. It completely ruined my worship experience. Except worship isn't an experience. It's an expression.
It isn't something that happens to us. It's something that comes from within us.
And some of the worst worship experiences have shown me it isn't about having the right music. It's about having the right heart.
First of all, "The music just isn't right for me to be able to worship." Unless the music is so loud it is actually painful, this is bogus, but it does say something about our mindsets concerning worship. It says we have the attitude things need to be just so-so for us to worship. What we really mean is things have to be so-so for us to feel a certain way. We want an emotion, a warm fuzzy. We want to leave feeling better than when we arrived, but that is just an emotion. The point of worship is not to conjure emotion; it is to express our recognition of God's worth. It isn't to get a warm-fuzzy, it is to give glory to the only One who is worthy to receive our praise. Emotions are fleeting and easily altered. We don't need an emotion. We need a heart that is steadfast
If I have to have music a certain way to tell God He is amazing, then you know what? I probably need the rest of my life to be going a certain way to think He is awesome, too, and that is a selfish, not spiritual, way to live.
Something else I've learned. Worship isn't about being comfortable. It's about being Christ-like. Christ didn't focus on Himself. He focused on others' needs. Christ got out of the religious comfort zone of the day so others could find the Father. Maybe those teenagers I wrote about two days ago need more connection today than I need Kari Jobe. Oh, I know. I could dig in my heels and say they could adjust and meet God where I am, but maybe the Christ-like thing is to meet them at their well instead of waiting for them to come to my Temple. Worship isn't about my being comfortable. It's about people connecting with Christ.

And by the way, we all know songs are supposed to be sung a certain way, and people shouldn't go changing words or rhythms or inflections. How in the world am I supposed to sing when it's always changing? Plus, do you know how stupid I sound when I get the notes wrong? Honestly. We know worship is really about getting it all right!


Is that what worship really is?

About doing things a certain way?
About being intolerant of others?
About getting it "right"?

Here is the question the Spirit asked me, "Whose way of worshipping me is right?" My son shows his love by drawing me a picture. My daughter shows hers by writing lyrics to a song. Whose love is right? Could it be if both have the right love, then the way each expresses that love is also right?

A friend of mine likes spicy foods. REALLY spicy foods, but when we go eat at her house, she tones it down for us. It's still food, just with a different flavor. Could it be that worship with a rock beat is simply love expressed with a different flavor than love expressed in a slow 3/4 time?

If worship is responding to the love of God, isn't the only "right" response love? If I try to make others fit into my worship music box and dance according to the tune I determine is acceptable, is that loving them like God loves me? If I pray for God to meet me as I am where I am, isn't the right thing to let Him reach others as they are where they are? Who am I to find God in a gentle cello but tell others they can't find Him in a bass guitar or slamming drum? And let's be honest. If we make this a right and wrong issue, we have to entertain the idea we could be wrong. If we make this a winner take all situation, are we willing to lose everything? We could. Oh, I know. We aren't wrong, so it doesn't matter...except it does matter...because any time I tell someone they have to find God the same way I do in the same things I do, I am wrong, and I don't care what musical genre you paint it into, it'll never be right.

You know what the real issue is, though? When we worship, we don't want to have to think about it. We want it to be effortless, and we don't like boat rockers who change that.

Any time worship starts becoming a thoughtless action, we are no longer giving thought to God.

Worship cannot be effortless unless we make no effort to notice the greatness of His love, the magnitude of His generosity, the immensity of His kindness, the freedom of His forgiveness...and our absolute lack of deserving all of the above.

When we reach a point when we are just saying words, we are no longer hearing what the Word has to say.

The only way for worship to become mindless if for us not to mind if our God has no worth.

Worship isn't a musical process we get right. Worship is getting our hearts right so we can respond to Him.

Worship isn't about creating an emotion or cautiously not rocking the boat. Worship is a conscious choice to respond to a God we know is good even when the boat is rocking.

If the songs or the service order or the number of times a chorus is repeated makes it absolutely impossible for us to worship, something is definitely wrong, but it isn't the music. And no one else can fix it, but me.

2014 Copyright Jerri Kelley Phillips
All rights reserved.

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