By Becky Spell Vann Contributing Columnist
April 18, 2014
What makes worship wonderful? Worship is defined in my Everyday Bible this way: to worship and serve God. When one feels the freedom to truly worship, express joy as the Holy Spirit flows, commune with Christ, and show love for the Lord with joyful reverence… minus man made restraint, that defines wonderful worship to me.
What makes worship wonderful for you? Is it reserved for holidays like Christmas and Easter? Is it worked into your schedule when nothing else interferes? Is it a ritual of going through the motions with little spiritual significance? Is it a way of life, an everyday observance, a weekly joy to attend the church of your choice? Is it a special time spent with the Savior? Is it evident in your home? A gift from my mother and daddy in the early eighties explains what the scripture says about worship in our homes. The tapestry hangs proudly with words that proclaim what is pleasing to our Father: “As for me and my house we will serve the Lord.”
In Luke 4 7-8, the devil promises Jesus all the kingdoms, all their power and glory if He will worship him. Jesus answers, “It is written in the Scriptures: You must worship the Lord your God and serve only Him.”
Reading John 4 shows what God seeks from His people in worship. Jesus said, “Believe me woman. The time is coming when neither in Jerusalem nor on this mountain will you actually worship the Father…The time is coming when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, and that time is here already. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”
Last week I wrote about three wonderful worship services I experienced one Sunday morning and am tingling inside to share, with you, the rest of the story. Actually, the first Sunday morning worship experience was in our home. James and I shared our time in the Word and prayed together. This routine is a special time we share in honor and gratitude to God… every morning and every night. It doesn’t bog us down or become a burden; it is our time of wonderful worship. Like McDonalds senior cup of coffee…we’re lovin’ it!
Worship Experience # 4 11am First Baptist Church
Driving from my mother in law’s home from Clement to Clinton gave time to reminisce and have a little talk with Jesus. Is that a habit you embrace? It’s much safer talking to Him than on the phone while driving. Sharing conversation with Christ while cruising keeps one focused on the right things. I have never heard an audible voice as I talk a mile a minute, but the divine downloading that sinks in my heart is the stirring of the Holy Spirit.
Before entering my church, I stopped on the street and looked at the beautiful steeple that seemed to touch heaven. I thought of all the steeples I had seen that morning on my drive through our county. Have you noticed the beauty of the steeple at your church? It points to the destination God is preparing for His children, a place where praise, worship, no pain or sorrow, new bodies, and God’s light and love will last forever and ever. I can only imagine what worship will be like when we walk down golden streets with Paul, Mary, Moses, and loved ones praising God and bowing at Jesus’ feet. Eternity in heaven is a never ending worship experience we do not want to miss. Nothing in this world is worth the risk of losing a ticket to glory land. Accepting and Keeping our eyes on Jesus is wise, as is wonderful worship.
Standing in our foyer, I waited for the right time to enter worship and scanned the beautiful sanctuary with scattered people in the pews. Oh that all churches would be filled to the brim with young and old seeking to worship Him. Flashbacks of wonderful worship here and the season our sanctuary was gutted for renovation rose up inside. I looked to the left where the sound proof room was filled with parents and little children and knew including that room was right - an asset to worship services. I asked God to forgive my negative attitude about a room I did not think we needed and thanked Him for showing me the blessings that can come when we get out of the boat that binds us in: tradition, pity, stubbornness, and sorrow, and step forth in faith to the changes we face in life.
What a sense of humor God possesses when pointing out how His perfect plans bring beauty from ashes. I stood there in silence with a smile that said, “Lesson learned Lord, thank you for knowing what we need and sending it in your perfect timing. Change comes to all our lives. We worry and worm our way through seasons of sorrow and struggles. Yet, You look beyond our faults and see our needs, bringing good from the bad with blessings we never dreamed would come our way. I remembered January 5, 2013 when I stood in that soundproof room with James, the man God sent to be my husband when I thought I was fine by myself. God knew what James and I both needed…someone to love and cherish, to help, to look after, and to carry out the plans He has for the rest of our lives. I thought of our wedding day when two families filled that room with love and laughter – embracing change with positive attitudes and His perfect plan for our lives and families to be joined together as one. I remembered James and me waiting in the room where we could not be seen or heard and humbly watching family and friends fill the sanctuary where we would be become man and wife. I thought of changes and choices we must make in this life that affect us here and in the hereafter. I asked for forgiveness again and thanked the Lord for changes that bring us closer to Him and loved ones.
Worship experience # 4 was about to begin. I entered our sanctuary with thanksgiving and took my seat beside my husband. Our pastor read from Galatians and prayed for God’s Word to bless His children. After praising Him with songs and offerings, our church family listened to words we needed to hear and heed. Our pastor preached with the passion and pleas that Paul surely felt while writing this letter to the churches in Galatia. We heard warnings of false teachers, reminders of the simple message of salvation and lessons on how to live a Spirit-filled life. He urged us to be properly prepared, wearing the breast plate of righteousness and shoes to protect as we walk the path to His plans for our lives. During the invitation hymn, I thanked God for each family and prayed for those going through changes, repented for any word, action, or thought from me that was not pleasing to my Father and thanked Him for bringing beauty from ashes in my life. I asked for His protection and guidance as changes come that we are not sure how to handle. I prayed for honor and wonderful worship to God, for unity among believers to stand tall with the breastplate of righteousness and walk in Christian love and peace.
When James and I sat down at Hardees for lunch, I thought of change again. My mother surely shared with all the saints gathered for heavenly worship, “Becky knows better than that. Our family always sat down together for a home cooked meal after worship service on Sunday.”
We held hands across a fast food meal and prayed together. I whispered, ‘thank you mother and thank you Lord for guiding us through change, good food and wonderful worship. Amen.”