Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Audience of One

I had the privilege of being a volunteer at a leadership conference this past weekend for young leaders and helping out behind the scenes.  There were great speakers, great music and some powerful times of prayer, but if I am being honest, I have to admit that I didn't connect with what was going on.  I understood what was happening, and I appreciated the talent of those around me, but I wasn't engaging in the powerful encounter that God had allowed me to witness.

Let's step back a minute and give you some background into my upbringing.  I have had the privilege of growing up in a christian home all my life.  My parents took me to church from the moment I was born.  I've been to thousands of services and encountered God in many of those opportunities.  I have seen miraculous things happen right before my eyes and witnessed lives changed by the very presence of God.  However, I find that as I get older, I find there are times that I get a bit cynical of the worship experience.  My fear is that the bigger the production becomes with all the talented musicians and vocalists, the more it becomes a concert or a performance.  If the band isn't good or the singers don't have great voices, we won't be able to enter into the presence of God.  Coming from a smaller church growing up, it was a bit of a let down after coming back from conferences to our small church which lacked the musical capabilities of those witnessed previously at the conference.  Now add to that the lighting productions that have entered into these settings and the huge screens projecting all sorts of cool graphics on them it creates a sensory overload which is euphoric but at the same time, a huge anti-climax when you go back to your small town church.

But this week, as I was singing in the shower praises to my God, a still small voice whispered to my spirit, that it isn't the size of the crowd, or the grandeur of the production but rather the attitude of the person that matters to God.  Worship is a choice.  Worship is an action based on the priority of your heart.  No matter what is going on around you; no matter how good of a lighting production there is; no matter how talented the musicians or vocalists are; no matter how many or how few the numbers of people around you are; no matter how many mistakes the sound person makes; no matter what the style of music is or even if there is no music at all; no matter how loud or quiet the music is; no matter how great or how bad you're feeling; worship stems from the heart and not your sensory experience.  Worship is not for the people around you, but rather, for an audience of One.
"Shout with joy to the LORD, all the earth!  Worship the LORD with gladness.  Come before him, singing with joy.  Acknowledge that the LORD is God!  He made us, and we are his.  We are his people, the sheep of his pasture.  Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into His courts with praise.  Give thanks to Him and praise His name.  For the LORD is good.  His unfailing love continues forever, and His faithfulness continues to each generation"(Psalm 100).
Notice that it doesn't say, "Shout to the person beside you" or "Worship the LORD because the mood is right".  It just says to,  "acknowledge that the LORD is God!"(Psalm 100:3).  It is an exclamation of David.  It is an expression of what his heart is saying.  He is making the conscious choice to worship his Creator.

Wherever you are today, whether in the shower or in a crowded auditorium, choose to worship God and make Him priority in your life.  No matter what your sensory experience, come into the presence of the Most High recognizing who He is and all that He has done for you.  Give Him thanks for all that He has done acknowledge His unfailing faithfulness.

Here's a video that was playing in the background while I was composing this today.  I think you will find it very encouraging as you choose to worship: 

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