Neglecting Worship

Neglecting Worship

Is God not God? Has God changed? Has God disappointed us? I throw these question out in the open because even people who say they are Christian are neglecting worship. How do I know?  I know as a matter of experience as a pastor of a local church. I also know because the statistics prove it. According to Pew Research, 42% of evangelical Christians attend a worship service once or twice a month if ever. The percentage among mainline protestants is worse at 67%.

Maybe we don’t understand what worship is so let’s define it. The apostle Paul describes true worship, RO 12:1-2 “I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable, or well pleasing and perfect.”

So what is the motivation for worship? The mercies of God. The mercies of God is everything that He has done for us that we don’t deserve. How do we worship? The text says, “present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice.” The word “present” in this text means that we give it over. In this particular case we are giving our body, all of ourselves, over to God.  More than that, we give all of ourselves over to God as a living sacrifice, meaning we give up control completely and willingly as we turn ourselves over to Him.

The biblical model of worship is a lifestyle but we often treat it as an event.  You might say, we have put worship in a box limiting what it is and what we do to a weekend service that lasts on average about 75 minutes. Allow me to be blunt. This is a disgrace. If our worship of the most high God is confined to a particular building during a weekend service we are neglecting worship and I’d also assume we have a very limited, maybe selfish,  view of God.

In order to fully experience worship as a lifestyle, we must understand that worship is both private and corporate.  Please don’t miss that worship is “both.” It isn’t turned on and off like a light switch as we enter and exit a weekend service. In fact, you’ll find weekend worship services lacking if you are relying on it as a single source of worship. If that’s the case, you will likely focus on you, what you want, what you like, what makes you comfortable and what makes you feel good about yourself.  If so, you might be in a service with the church designed for worship but instead what you’re practicing is idolatry.  In other words, you’re worshipping yourself instead of the one true God.

We are typically more familiar with corporate worship. This is the weekend service where the church gathers for worship led by a pastor(s) and we pray, give, sing, take communion and listen to the preaching of the word of God. It is significant and we are called to it but it’s not enough for us and God is worth much more.

HE 10:23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”

Worship is also private and not confined by time or space. It is a lifestyle of bringing glory to God. We pour out to God through adoration, praise, service and obedience. We give all of ourselves over to God as a living sacrifice to please Him and Him alone as we read the Bible, meditate, sing and pray in our daily devotions along with opportunities to obey God’s commands and serve others as the hands and feet of Jesus.

Is God not God? Has God changed? Has God disappointed us? Well, of course not. God hasn’t changed but we neglect worship because we somehow have “conformed to the pattern of this world” instead of being “transformed by the renewing of our mind.” Let’s be clear. God is worthy of our worship at all times, in all places, and under all circumstances. With that said, whatever or whoever is getting in the way must be moved aside giving God first priority.

A Work in Progress,

Pastor Gene