Identity: The Birthplace of True Worship

Lynn Furrow - Senior Pastor

Springs of Life | Cedar Rapids, IA

Over my lifetime I have watched a revolution occur in the western church in how we do worship.

I have observed the emergence of worship movements within the church that have profoundly shaped and crafted what worship looks like in our generation. The skill and creativity of many of the singers and musicians have never been better. There is never a shortage of songs that producers and publishers crank out to feed the need of the worship consumer. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard believers leaving a worship gathering asking the question, “What did you think about the worship?” Now I know what they were attempting to ask: Did we like the song set? Were the vocalists good and have just the right harmonies? Did the musicians play well and build and fill the room with enough energy without overpowering the vocals? All of these questions are symptomatic of a real core problem within the contemporary western church. We have become a generation of worship consumers! Worship has become a means to our own ends.

The real questions we need to start asking are these: Is God a consumer of our worship? Can God consume what we are offering?

In the story of Elijah’s confrontation of the prophets of baal on Mount Carmel found in I Kings 18:30-31, we see that Elijah, with great care and intention, methodically repaired the altar of the Lord to provide a foundation for his sacrifice. Elijah’s restoration of the altar was a prophetic act revealing to the children of Israel their need to have their God-given identity restored to them. Only then could a true sacrifice of worship take place. However, the sacrifice was not the ultimate goal of the prophet’s worship that day. Elijah’s ultimate desire was to have fire consume the sacrifice he was about to offer – an all-consuming fire, a fire from heaven that would completely devour the sacrifice of his worship!

In our times, the church seems to be engaged in the hustle and bustle of religious sacrifice and performance.  We are frantically attempting to improve the quality of our performance offerings.

With tongue in cheek we say, “Let’s go big or let’s go home,” as if the sheer quantity or volume of our activities are the true measure of our success.  Our problem is not fundamentally in the quality or quantity of our performances, but upon what this activity is based and grounded.

In the church we must shift focus from doing and back to being.  What I am attempting to do for God cannot become disconnected from who I am in God.

The real work that lies ahead for the church is not in the arena of sacrificial perfection but in the recovery of the stones of truth for identity building.  It is in the restoration of identity that true worship is born.  A worship “in Spirit and in Truth” is responded to by God with His holy presence and power (John 4:23).

Prayer: Father, bring us back to the true purpose and heart of worship.  It is not about us.  It has always been about You!
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