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Monday, August 18, 2008

III. Worship

There are steps to worship. As illustrated in the OT (TaNaK), worship begins in the outer courts.
  1. The outer courts was a place anyone could go. People met here all the time. Priests gave sermons. People did business. Yet it was still part of the worship center. It was open to all. But once you got to a certain point called the Sacred Enclosure only Jews could enter. So to enter to the next part you had to be of the right physical culture (BODY).
  2. The next part was called the inner courts. This is where the praising of Adonai started to take place. Specific prayers were offered. Each went to their own place, men to men, women to women. A focus on Adonai ELOHIM was apparent. Your mind was set upon God. So to enter the next part you had to have the right focus (MIND).
  3. The next part was called the Holy Place. Here only the Priests of El Shaddai were allowed to enter. These were the descendants of Levi. They were the only ones allowed because Levites stood behind Moses and followed his leadership during the Golden Calf incident. They stayed close to God and listened to their heart, not their head. God gave them a special place. One that was close to His heart. So to enter the next part one had to be of the right character (HEART).
  4. The last step is only for the strongest of hearts, the Holy of Holies. Only the Chief Priest could enter this place. He entered once a year to make atonement for all. He had to be clean in all ways. If he was not found to be cleaned he could die at the altar. This altar was the Ark of the Covenant. The place where God comes down to meet His people. The highest of all worship is when God comes to meet you.

What does this mean for us? It is an illustration of what worship is. Each worship time we have should follow these steps. We start with a call to worship. Kenaniah and all of the worship leaders blew the shofar to let the people know it was time to worship. It doesn't necessarily mean it is time for a song or music but it is a time for fellowship. A time for our BODIES to wake up. Once we are awake we are ready to move into the inner courts. This is a time of praise! Songs should be sung at this point. They should be uplifting and praising God. This sets our MINDS for the next step. Real worship. Getting our hearts ready for the Lord's presence. This is a time to slow down. It is a to get deep with your worship. Ultimate praise becomes a personal issue. You are no longer using your mind you are using your HEART. Once your heart is prepared is when you can meet God.

Here is the problem. Too many churches do not know what worship really is. They think it is a program. They want to put on a show. They don't know how to lead people to the next step in worship. They think all they have to do is practice and put on a presentation. It is not about presentation. It is about participation. People need to participate. They need leaders to get them to the next step. Many people say worship is individualized. Worship is up to each person. Then why have a worship time in church? Worship leaders need to do exactly what their title is: LEAD WORSHIP. The leader has to understand people each week come with baggage. You can't just present something and leave it up to the people. People are hurting. Their bodies are drained. If their bodies are drained then their minds are not thinking right, which means their hearts are not in the right place.

  1. There should be no "worship bands". Technically there should be no "worship teams". There should be a worship ministry! These people are more than just musicians. They reach out to people. They are examples. All should be involved.
  2. There should be a balance of music played. Not everyone is in the same place. The people who say it is not about the style will be the same people who will refuse to change the style.
  3. There should be a time set for praise and a time set for worship. Songs should change from words of praise to words of personalization. All songs should focus on God not on people.
  4. Distractions should be kept to a minimal. Remember people have to worship in steps. No one can get to the Holy Place without going through the courts first!

The greatest story of what worship is, is the Menorah. A lamp with seven places. Each place is dedicated to a day of the week. The middle place is "worship" time. There are three places before the middle. This is a symbol of preparation for worship. There are three places after the middle. This is a symbol recovering from worship. Can you imagine worship being taken that seriously? Instead, in today's churches it's all about the production and not what should be produced. What a shame.


sh'ma Y'srael Goyim said...

Good Posting. One thing left out. As we enter into the "Temple of God", remember we must first pass the "Kiyor Nechoshet", the laver for daily washing of our hands and feet. Today, this is symbolic for emersing ourselves in Gods Word, which is Y'shua and the confession and repenting of our sins.

We must ask ourselves daily, "What are we doing to make our corporate worship pleasing to God?" Do we stand around worship like rest while complaining on the sidelines? or Are we searching out the true remnant of God for True Worship pleasing to God?

Shalom Messiach! My friend.

Gozreht said...

You need to stay around. People will learn from you. I hope you enlighten everyone to when this cleansing would take place. I have some background in the temple but not enough. The temple is a fantastic study and is very relevant to our lives. Because today of course we are the temple. From my understanding the laver was part of the outer courts and when you washed it meant that you were separating yourself for God. So for me true worship means that I must separate myself from the world and not be part of the culture, especially while I am worshiping. I will admit, sometimes I stand on the sidelines, more lately than ever, because I feel the modern church has lost the true meaning of what worship is. Too many are about the show and not about the glow (shekinah). They haven't separated themselves. I would love to hear your opinion. You strike me as a Messianic Jew. I could a lot from you. Thank you for your comment.

Anonymous said...

I am part of a worship ministry that calls ourselves a worship band. I have to say I totally disagree with one point. We need to reach out to those who are lost by using what they know. And what we do works. We use all uplifting songs. People love to hear our music. We bring in the people. We have grown so much in the last five years. So you may want to rethink what you have said.

Gozreht said...

No one is arguing about the fact that the lost need something and that something of course is Christ. But on the risk of being personal and I do not want you to take it persoanlly, look at what you have said. They like our music. Music is a powerful tool. But what I question is the motive behind the music. I personally have seen our worship time technically stop while the worship "band" all turned to the guitarist who then put on a solo. Worship ministry works hard but too many times it looks like a concert. Stop putting on shows and start putting out examples of worshiping.

If you use all uplifting songs, and by this I am thinking all upbeat songs, then a one on one time with God is probably lost. When people are praising God they are doing it together as in the Outer Courts. But true worship comes form the inner courts and even more from the Holy Place. This is an alone time. If you do not give the people a "down" time, no one can really focus on true worship.

Now about your other point; you are growing in numbers. This is fantastic. I truely hope that this keeps up for you. But let me ask a question. Are they growing in numbers only or are they growing in spirit as well? Growth doesn't always mean you are doing things right. Your community may be growing just because of opportunity and you may be the beneficary of that community. Make sure that you have something for people to fall back on because just like all other forms of entertainment, the fun can wear out. You have a great comment. I thank you and I hope you are growing in all ways. Take care.

Sorry I deleted my first answer because of my typing skills.

Anonymous said...

But isn't it a good thing to get people excited about Jesus? This is why we use upbeat music.

Gozreht said...

Giving someone a positive message is great. Trying to keep them on the positive end is a must. But what you are doing when you only have upbeat songs is this: you leave them with only part of the message.

I have seen people get excited in worship but I question if they know what worship is all about. Getting excited doesn't necessarily mean that someone understands. There are movies that are all about action and some love the movie but when you really think about it you forget what the movie is really about.

What you really have to ask yourself is "are the songs we sing about Christ or about us?". I have been to worship services that sing about the Christian more than about Christ. Some examples of this are when I have seen songs like If We Are the Body by Casting Crowns and Bless Me Indeed by Mercy Me. Now these are two good songs by they are NOT worship songs. They sing about the Christians life not praising God or Glorifying Christ in any way. They may get the people excited but they hide the true message: The Only Way to God the Father is Through Jesus Christ. Many Hymns do the same thing, so it's not just the new songs.

There needs to be a balance of time AND STYLE.

Sh'ma Y'srael Goyim said...

"You need to stay around. People will learn from you."

I humbly appreciate this sentiment but it is only by God that these words flow from my mouth. Thank and praise him alone for allowing us opportunities to fascilitate his Word to others.

As for the daily cleansing, in the Temple or the Tabernacle, it was done, as you say, in the outer courts by the priests prior to entering the inner sanctum of God or the "Holy of Holies". Without the washing, the priests would be struck down. Both the Talmud and the Mishna tells us that it didn't matter if you washed that morning, if you were to enter in to the presence of God, you would have to wash everytime.

To put it simply, you would have to be continually washing yourself prior to any time of worship. Sooner or later, there was going to be a mistake and a priest and his offering would be struck down as unworthy.

Today, it is no different. If you attempt to worship God without being continually emersed in the laver of God, you offering is held in utter contempt by God. It is dirty and worthless and an insult to God.

As we discussed earlier in this blog, the brazen laver is the Messiah, and the water is Ruach Elohim, God's Spirit. Emersing yourself means to make youself one with God. Without this covering, you are nothing but a sinful piece of garbage, worthy of nothing more than to be casted out and consumed by fire, another part God's message that is left out of many sermons today.

Daily washing includes living God's Word, not just reading or studying it, and allowing his Spirit to well up inside of us to overflowing and makes us holy. We make not ourselves holy, it is a gift of God. This is what the people in the outer courts see in us and draws them to become B'nai Elohim, sons of God.

This brings me to the subject of the "worship band". My friend anonymous, it is obvious that you have a heart for God. But do you have a Heart of God? First, let me tell you that I am not judging you. Only you and God knows your heart and God alone will judge you. However, as brothers in the Messiah, we are to be lovingly critical of ourselves and each other.

You said,
"But isn't it a good thing to get people excited about Jesus? This is why we use upbeat music."

So out of Love, I say this to you, if you honestly believe that you or your music are what is bringing others to God, then you and I urgently need to truly look into the laver and see the reflection staring back at us. For it is only by the Spirit of God, people are drawn in, not the type of music or anything else.

It doesn't matter if you play todays popular music or polka music, it is the Sh'kinah, radiance of God, just like Moshe, when he came down from the mountain, that shines out from you that brings the people in and keeps them coming back.

"...and no one can say that "Y'shua is Lord", except by the Ruach HaKodesh, the Spirit of God." I COR 12:3

As harsh as this sounds, the others
are wordly and unfortunately lost, and that saddens me.

Yes, we should pray for them but in the end it's all about the remnant of God. If that angers you, it should but it doesn't change the truth.

Do you realize, that after all God has gone through, he doesn't get what he wants out of the deal? He supernaturally came to this earth, giving up his heavenly realm, to live a perfect life, so it could be sacrficed and waved as a sin offering upon an altar of wood.

He did this so ALL could have a way back to him. Yes, it angers me when I think he did that for what ends up as small amount of people. However, he knew that going in. He does not get what he wants, that all come to him by resting in the Messiah.

He gets you and me. Think about it that's not much of a return on his investment. However, it's not about the investment, it all about the Love of God for you and me.

It is great... and praise God, that the amount of people attending your synogogue or church is growing. However, the Scriptures tell us that in every generation, God gathers a only remnant unto him. A remnant, yes a remnant, a small amount of people.

But keep up the good work, and keep fighting for God. You will be rewarded for your hard work THROUGH FAITH ALONE, not for the actions of others, unless they're your family, but that's for another day.

Back to whether or not I'm a Messianic Jew. Some of my mishpacha are, unfortunately, of the old covenant. As for me, I don't believe in the divisions or denominations set up by Satan with the help of man. Satan has successfully caused unholy divisions in the body over the past 2000 years.

I, as well as you and anonymous, are b'nai Elohim, sons of God.

Shalom Messiach (Peace in the Messiah), my brothers.

Gozreht said...

Wow! I could talk to you for a long time. We of the new covenant compeletly misunderstand, or just as bad, never know what scripture truely means. I make this point often when it comes to worship-we may be leading to worship but do people truely understand who and/or what they are worshiping. Do they know what Jesus Christ is all about? I would venture to say no because we are in the numbers game too many times.

I love to read the scripture translation by David Stern, the Complete Jewish Bible. It uses phrase and names that have lost their meaning and puts them back into context. Fanstastic eye openers of how the gentile who believes in Christ have become grafted into the vine of Judaism. Instead of a barrier, it ought to be an embracement.

Tracy said...

Wow! There is much to think about and consider on the topic of "worship". I agree with sh'ma y'sreal goyim when he said, "It is only by the Spirit of God that people are drawn in...". The worship leaders are just the vessles God chooses to use to reach and connect with His people. We often forget about that.

I belong to the same "worship band" as Anonymous, with reguards to point #1, whether we are called a "Worship Band", Worship Team", or part of the "Worship Ministry" is irrelevant. It is just a title - "would a rose called any other name not smell as sweet"?

I take my role on the team very seriously, and believe me, at times, I really feel the pressure of the level of responcibilty that it entails. At times it is overwhelming.

I can prayerfully prepare the words I will speak and the songs I pick to play; I can practice my gift so that I serve the Lord and my church to the best of my ability so that I won't disrupt someone's worship time with mistakes, but what I can't do is MAKE someone want to worship.

No matter what type of music we play/sing there will be someone who can't worship to it for whatever reason, but my prayer is to please God with every note that I sing, and that God would use it to bring someone closer to Him. I pray that God uses me every week even if it is only to reach one person.

Gozreht, you are right - "True worship comes from the inner courts and the Holy of Holies", from inside ourselves. Some people might need the "soft, slow" music to get there, but not everyone. I know some people, me included, that say they can do there best, "true" worship during more upbeat songs. It is the words that move me not the tempo.

One of my favorite songs says:
You are all I need when I'm surrounded. You are all I need if I'm by myself. You fill me when I'm empty, there is nothing else - You're all I need!
This is a fast tempo song.
I have danced with my face to God and tears running down my cheeks - singing, worshiping, praising, crying in thanksgiving from the very depths of my soul.

As worship leaders I feel that we should do a variety of songs so that we do not cause a brother to stumble over style. I will sing anything God leads me to sing - anything, as long as it pleases God, that a person needs to get closer to God.

I was saved at the Vineyard - God has given me such a passion for music, and He uses it to talk to me. If it wasn't for that music, that style, I am not sure where I would be in my faith right now. I went to a Catholic church most of my life and was miserable and untouched my the music - I partly blamed it on the "music" - I now realize alot of that was my fault - my heart wasn't in the right place, but my gracious God, who knows me better than I know myself, knew what I needed to find Him.

It is up to me,as a now more mature christian to continue to mature and be able to worship Him no matter what type of actual music is being played at the service on Sunday mornings.

I would like to address one last comment from gozreht. "I personally have seen our worship time technically stop while the worship "band" totally stopped and turned to the guitarist who then put on a solo." I have a friend who is one of the most dedicated Christians I know. He LOVES God with all his heart, mind, and soul. His heart, his love for God, is expressed through his "solos". He doesn't sing - he sometimes has a hard time expressing his feelings, but when he plays his heart permeates every note he plays. He is loving God and his church family with his gift. During his "solos" a smile comes to my face and my heart singd with his...and we worship together. It is like moaning out to God during prayer when you don't have the words to express your hearts desires....God doesn't need our words - he wants our hearts. His solos aren't, in my opinion, stopping worship they are enhancing and adding depth to the worship. Worship is all about the heart. Worship is all about our relationship with God - and consequently really has little to do with the actual music, the band, the church - the music is a mere tool used by the Master.

Gozreht said...

These are fantastic words from you. One can read the passion burning in you about worshiping. I hope that none of my words went against your grain and would cause any offense to you.

Worship definitely is a sticky subject and can even tear some churches apart. Some due to stubborness, some due to misunderstandings, and some due to what you have mentioned about your experience in the Catholic Church: no motivation. All of these can be detrimental to a body of believers or an individual.

I personally have struggled with this for quite some time. Worship used to be the only thing I wanted to do. I used to sit in the front rows so I can get a better feel for what was going on around me. I used to get involved with the Men's worship time on Saturday mornings and it was a great thing. I would put music together and we would all share time together. Then for some reason it all stopped. No one was showing up anymore. I was approached by a church leader and he told me it was because no one liked the music I was using. (oddly enough, it is the same style of music that my own congregation uses today):)

I agree with you on many parts even though my words in these postings doesn't show it.

Worship is one of the strongest if not the strongest part of a Christian's walk. In the OT we read that God put the singers first in front of the battle. Worship is our first line of defense against the world. One's worship will tell almost exactly how a person is doing in life. And music is one of the tools that can change the way people are. That is why it was created. To move people. Psalms is great. It is perfectly balanced. It has times when David was jumping for joy. And there are times when you feel David is at his lowest. In both incidences he knew what worship was. Sometimes style is part of the presentation. I am one of the hardest rockers people around me know, but I change style for different reasons. Style isn't the main focus but I guarantee it does make a difference.

I think my biggest point is that I feel churches need to have a balance. You mention that some people can't worship to certain types of music for what ever reason. This is all the more reason to have a balance. People need exposure to all forms of worship, or as I said in one posting, they may never know the true or full message of God. There are downpoints in our lives. Sometimes an alone time is what we need. A downtime to really listen to what God is saying to us. I don't get this sometimes. And I realize that much of it is up to me. But just like when I did the music for the men's worship ministry, the leader or leaders need to know that sometimes people need pulled or pushed.

I didn't mean to sound condescending when I mentioned our worship team stopped and watched the guitar solo. I was trying to say that this seemed to me to give more glory for the music instead of the giving it to the one who made the music because it looked like it was part of the "program". Now of course to some it may not have looked like that at all. And as you mentioned someone like you who is very passionate about their ministry it would have been totally different for you. And all should practice their talents for God. You hit the nail right on the head. I was totally out of line making it sound like I was 100% correct on that matter. The comment on moaning to God was beautifully put. I believe that whole-heartedly.

Worship is a delicate thing. It is personal. We all need to be more sensitive to what others need in this area. That of course includes me! I need to be more sensitve. But I am also passionate about the subject. And sometimes I can come across pushy.

My challenge to you is stay strong in your worship. Keep searching for a way to include more people in worship. Keep trying to find a way that will uplift God more and more. You have this passion. You have this talent. Use it for all you can.

Tracy, thanks for your comments. You have opened the eyes for some. Keep commenting.

Worshiper said...

All of you have good points. If you put all of your ideas together you may have a great worship time. But I think gozreht said it the best. There needs to be a balance to reach more people. If you stick to one kind of music or I guess style is the word that is being used then you may be pushing away some people.

Letting people use their talents for God is exactly what is supposed to happen but never let the talent over shadow the one who gave them the talent.

I have a question for SH'ma. For those who may be standing on the sidelines complaining, what should they do? Should they leave? Should they speak up? I really liked hearing your opinion.

I have a question Anonymous and I guess Tracy, why did you all decide to call yourselves a band?

And the last question goes to gozreht, why do you stand on the sidelines?

Sh'ma Y'srael Goyim said...

To gozreht and worshipper:
I agree, balance is a good thing as long as balance is not compromise. Serve God. Serve him well. Serve him with all your heart, soul and mind. You both are b'nai Elohim. Continue to build each other up. You will need each other in the times to come.

To Tracy:
Shalom! Please know that you are beautiful and precious in the eyes of the Lord. God's Sh'kinah shines out from your words. You have a passion to serve God that only comes from the remnant of God. Keep growing in the Messiah. I am sure we will see each other before the throne of God.

By the way, won't it be nice to dance and praise God and literally see the smile on his face? Amen.

Worshiper said:
"I have a question for SH'ma. For those who may be standing on the sidelines complaining, what should they do? Should they leave? Should they speak up? I really liked hearing your opinion."

I have lived my life with one resounding motto: In all things, give glory and honor unto God. Do you think that complaining or leaving a congregation gives glory and honor unto God ... especially when they need godly people like you to help lead them?

Unfortunately, speaking up usually results in others lashing out at you...especially if the Rabbi or Minister is not spiritually mature. This throws up barriers.

As you already know, a worldly concregation is evident that the spiritual battle is being won by Satan and Satan is alive and well within the "church" today.

However, if you believe that there is any remnant of God's people in your synogogue or church, then it is God's will for you to live your life there as a lighthouse.

As a lighthouse, you may stand alone most of the time. However, when the true remnant of God comes seeking, God's Sh'kinah will shine out from you through the darkness of this world and they will know that they can anchor themselves in the same solid ground as you.

The beautiful thing is that, like a lighthouse, you will become weathered through the storms. You'll suffer damage and show the scars of life. To the world, you will look like a structure that needs to be tore down. But to God, you will resemble his Son...and that's the greatest testimony to have when you go before the throne of God and hear, "Well done my good and faithful son. You have served me well."

Stand tall, shine forth, be still and know God is dwelling within you.

That was a good question, worshipper. But I get a feeling that you knew the answer already.

I want all of you to know that my heart is overjoyed when I read that you desire God so much. However, it appears that you are a minority in your concregation. Unfortunately, that is the norm out of all the ones I visit on a regular basis. So, please keep the faith and know that you are God's children and he loves you very much.

Shalom Ha Messiach, my brothers and sisters.

Worshiper said...

I went back and thought about all of this and some things I have actually changed my mind about. I can see more points that all of you are trying to make, but I can see that a worship leader really needs to be the leader. It was said on here somewhere that leaders reach people. I watched the last couple of weeks at my church and can see that what people do on stage really does effect people. I can see that there is more power in the worship when the leaders actually lead. It seemed to be more powerful when all of our worship leaders were involved. I think I may now suggest something to our worship leaders about this. You may not be able to make people worship but I now can see that you need to give something to them that will spark something inside. Maybe they need just a push to open up.

Yes I knew the answer. But it seemed like some on here may needed some kind of reassurance.

Tracy said...

Sorry I am so late - I hope you get this!
Sh'ma, thank you for the kind words! I too am looking forward to singing, dancing, and rejoicing with God and Jesus! To do so with unending joy and energy!

Worshiper, to answer your question,
I guess we are called a "worship band" because we are a "band" meaning drums, guitars, keyboard, etc.. that is the only reason - no real meaning behind it...sorry.
And I am glad that you have grown from this...I have too.
Gozreht, You are the best! And know that I will always remember our talk. I take it with me where ever our band goes - we play at a variety of places and use many different types of music to fit the need. I do what I can at church, but am just a lowly grunt - not much pull.

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