Christian 101 Series

Christian 101: Praise & Worship

I love DIY projects. I’m not necessarily good at all things DIY but I tend to gravitate toward creating before buying. Anyone who is a novice DIY projecter (like myself) will tell you that the best way to achieve success is to do plenty of research and hone your skills little by little before trying a huge project on a whim. Unless you are a carpentry savant, your first project probably shouldn’t be building a deck from scratch. The same is with your Christ walk. I’ve never found a good example of anyone who was on a podium preaching and saving lives before they even professed their love of Jesus and the belief of God’s Word. When Jesus walked the Earth, he did not just pop out of the womb doing miracles and preaching to the masses. Even though He knew what His calling was at a prepubescent age, His most effective ages were in His 30s. This series follows this structure. So far we have covered How to Pray and How to read The Word. Those are the foundation for praise and worship.

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Many of you may be thinking that you already know all of what praise and worship is because your church sings songs and people are moved but did you know that there is a difference between the two?

Praise– Express warm approval or admiration

Worship-the feeling or expression of reverence

Both definitions seem similar right? I said the same thing! The best way to think about it is, praise is you boasting to other people (and God) about who He undoubtably is. Worship is telling God who He is to you. To put it in context, It’s like if you are asked about your favorite singer. You can list how many grammy awards they’ve won and what school they graduated from. You may also list the charities they are apart of and their family members.  These undisputed facts about the artist and what they’ve accomplished is what proper praise looks like to God. List all the things He is. He is the King of Kings. He is the founder of the universe. He holds the World in His hands. These are all facts you can find in the Bible. Now, if the same person follows up by asking you why this artist is your favorite over the others, you can describe what their music means to you. Their music may make you happy or feel certain emotions strongly. You may relate to something they sing about. This is what God wants us to do when we worship. Tell Him how He saved you from poverty because He is your provider. Tell Him He is your Savior because He sent His son to die for you on Calvary. Tell Him He is your comforter because He helped you through the death of your dog.

All these sayings I’m sure you’ve heard on Sunday mornings. To truly participate in praise and worship, you have to adopt some of these well known sayings and personalize them. God is something different to each of us because we have all walked a different journey in life. Some of us have had similar life experiences but God has personalized His love for each of us to fit where we’ve been and where we are going. When we all gather together on Sundays, our praise will be the same because who God is, is unchanging but our worship will all look unique because who He is to US is unique to everyone.

This logic is why it is important that you come to church not as a spectator but as a participant. Even if you are not in the choir, the usher board, or preaching, you have a specific task when you come to church. You HAVE to come to church with your praise and worship. When we all come with our own praise and worship miracles can happen that will change your life and the people on the pew next to you. If you come as a spectator you will not see a change when you leave the building.

Now that we understand the difference between praise and worship lets see what the Bible says about each so we know how to do them in a way that pleases God. Psalms is the book of praise. In the last chapter of Psalms, (150:1-6) it gives us literal instructions on how we should praise. It’s actually a one step program: Use Everything to Praise. There are different types of praises & God wants us to use them all during praise:

Halal Praise– The root word of Hallelujah (the highest praise). Means to boast or be clear. 
Shabach Praise– LOUD reverence! (Screaming or yelling)
Barak Praise– to kneel or bow knowing God is willing to move on your behalf
Tehillah Praise– singing in spiritual spontaneity (adlibs)
Towdah Praise– extending hands out of thanks
Yadah Praise– extending hands vigorously (fist pumps)
Zamar Praise– rejoice making music with instruments

How does God want us to worship? Well in John 4:24 it says, “God is Spirit & those who worship Him must worship in spirit & truth.” God is asking us to first come to Him in our spirit. This means that to worship Him is an internal action. Every person walking this earth has a spirit. We all call them different things. Some of us call it our vibe, our aura, or our soul but all those things are referring to is our spirit. The attitude of our heart is the condition of our spirit. That’s why you can watch someone sing at and you can physically feel the between someone who is truly singing from their heart and someone who is not. It is important that during your prayer time, you ask God for a clean and pure heart. You cannot worship Him if your heart (spirit) is not in good condition. Your heart has to be cleaned of anger, bitterness, etc.

The second part of John 4:24 says God wants us to worship Him in truth. Simple, you cannot lie to Him. Every ugly part of you has to be exposed and YOU have to be the one to expose it. I always tell people that no one can worship God for you. For this reason, if you come to church as a spectator and you are hoping someone will worship for you, know that that is impossible. To worship God in truth you have to put down the walls you have of shame or embarrassment. Once you’ve made up your mind to worship Him in spirit AND truth, you can follow these steps to dive completely into worship. Remember, even though all worship will be expressed outwardly in different ways, worship takes place internally between only you and the Father.

Step 1: Prepare
The night before church or on the way to church, have private prayer & read The Word
Step 2: Declare (Praise)
Before you can worship you must first praise His name
Sing, Say, & Think about who He is (Undisputed facts)
Step 3: Surrender
Humble yourself. Reflect who you were before Christ or the things He’s done for you
Invite Change. Reflect how God has changed you and what still needs to be changed.
Focus on Him only. Turn off distractions and thoughts of what you need to do later in the day.
Step 4: Let Go
Don’t worry about who is looking at you. Let your body do what comes naturally.
There’s no wrong to worship. God sees your heart.

The last part of worship takes place outside of the church. In Romans 12:1 it says, “Dear friends, God is good. So i beg you to offer your bodies to Him as a living sacrifice, pure and pleasing. Thats the most sensible way to serve God.” God doesn’t want us to just worship Him when there is music and good singing. He wants our praise to turn into worship and turn into actions outside of the four walls of the church to begin to set an example for the unsaved. He wants us to give other people a reason to want to get to know Him. The ultimate way to worship Him is how you speak to people when you’re tired. How you treat the people at your job even when they do things that are unfair or damaging to you. Can you pray for your ex that cheated on you and humiliated you? That shows you and God what’s truly in your heart.

Trust me, it will take some time to be able to turn the other cheek and treat bad people good. But if your desire is to please God and reap the benefits He has promised His children, then reading The Word is your answer. In fact, reading The Word is the answer for all. To get better at praise, you have to know who God is and He tells you who He is in The Bible. To get better at worship, you need to know who God told you that YOU are (hint, it’s in The Bible). To get better at prayer, you need to know His promises to you (also in The Bible). All roads lead to The Bible. So out of what I call the Four Essentials to Christian Living, the most important is to read your Bible. Once you get consistent in reading, the rest will follow naturally.

k, good talk

-J

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