Pure Praise Week #4

It’s Monday morning and I’m finally getting time to sit down at a computer and write last week’s blog post. I’m actually on vacation out in Arizona right now. Isn’t vacation supposed to be relaxing? We’ve been going a hundred miles an hour visiting all our friends in Flagstaff. Today we are going to brave the Northern Arizona snow storm and head south to warmer weather in Phoenix. But first, it’s time to reflect on the teaching from last week’s “Pure Praise” study.

The focus of week four was on hearing God’s voice. Our ability to hear God’s voice is directly proportional to our willingness to surrender ourselves long enough to listen…and then to trust and obey. And if you are wondering why it’s so important to hear God’s voice, then read this quote from Dwayne Moore.

“Being able to hear from God is at the top of our priorities as worshippers and praise leaders for this simple reason: If we don’t hear from God, we don’t know what to do. He is our leader, our Shepherd. We are dumb sheep that need him to lead us. (In fact, we’d best not take one step unless He is leading us!) This means laying down our pride and self-will and allowing Him to direct us.” (Pure Praise, pp. 57-58)

Yes…hearing God’s voice should be at the top of our priority list. But how many of us are so busy that we don’t take the time to sit and listen for God? What are we missing out on by turning up the noise of the world and tuning out the voice of the Holy Spirit? As worship leaders, can we really afford to let another weekend go by without truly leaning into the Lord to hear how He wants to speak to His people and minister to them?

When Jehoshaphat heard of the dangerous threat upon the nation of Judah, his leadership was immediately put to the test. And what he did, or more appropriately, what he didn’t do proved to be the most essential lesson from this entire week’s worth of study. Take a look at 2 Chronicles 20:2-4…

Some men came and told Jehosphaphat, “A great multitude is coming against you from Edom, from beyond the sea…Then Jehosphaphat was AFRAID and set his face to seek the LORD, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. And Judah assembled to seek help from the LORD; from all the cities of Judah they came to seek the LORD.”

I think it’s totally natural and appropriate that the Bible acknowledges that Jehoshaphat was “afraid.” That’s just reality! The surrounding nations had gathered a massive army and were in the process of once-and-for-all wiping Judah off the map. What were they going to do? What good would it do to mount a counter-attack? How many lives would be lost this time? Would the small struggling nation of Judah ever be able to defend their “promised-land” against the hostile enemies of the Lord?

Jehoshaphat wisely recognized the decision was too difficult for him to make. He needed help…and it could only come from one place! They would set their faces upon the LORD and wait for Him to tell them what to do. No matter how long it took…they…would…wait…

Not our natural inclination, is it?

“[Jehoshaphat] recognized he wasn’t smart enough to make the right decision in this situation and had to have God’s help. We who are worship and ministry leaders could learn a great lesson from this. It’s easy to rely on our experience, our education, and our natural charm to carry us week after week. After a while, we start thinking we don’t really need to pray that much. We know that if we were to face a crisis like Jehosphaphat’s, then we would pray hard. But that’s exactly the point: We do face a crisis like his. We’re leading men and women into spiritual battle every week!” (Pure Praise, p. 60)

Did you get that? I’ll tell you something, that hit me really hard! As a minister, I must “help people bear their burdens and find relief.” I must rise above my own apathy and be more of the leader God expects me to be. The stakes are too high to simply downgrade this act of “leading worship” to a mere performance. To deny or ignore the enemy’s attempts to destroy our lives is both foolish and dangerous!

If you’ve ever seen the movie “Black Hawk Down” you will recall the scene about two-thirds of the way through the movie when the small convoy breaks away from the battle and returns to base with the wounded soldiers and dead bodies piled in the back of their transports. There’s a quiet desperation in the eyes of every soldier getting ready to return to the battle. It’s one thing to brag about how one would act in battle and it’s another thing to engage it head on.

On pages 60 and 61, Dwayne Moore does an excellent job of listing some common “crisis points” that people struggle with on a daily basis. Not unlike the movie, people come to church weary, wounded, burdened, and uncertain whether or not they really want to head back out onto the battlefield. Check out this list:

  • Commitment – torn between God on Sunday and the world on Monday;
  • Heart – not caring for anyone, even themselves;
  • Significance – feeling worthless and without purpose;
  • Circumstance – barely hanging on, hoping for a light at the end of the tunnel;
  • Faith – teetering between belief and unbelief.

Let’s all stay in the fight this week! I love you all and will pray harder for each and every one of you by name. May you hear God’s voice and willingly surrender yourselves to His leading. Thanks for being a part of the team!


4 thoughts on “Pure Praise Week #4

  1. Adam, I hope your travels are safe and you can find a quiet place for today’s study. I know you will look forward to being restored by God’s still, quiet voice that you will hear while alone.

    Today I am thanking God for taking over two days ago when our family had a Mary/Martha crisis during the worship service. He made it so clear to me that my job in that crisis was to pray and not to solve the problem. He is handling it so much better than I possibly could!

    Thank you, Elohim! You are my daily, faithful deliverer!

    Lesly

  2. “[Jehoshaphat] recognized he wasn’t smart enough to make the right decision in this situation and had to have God’s help. We who are worship and ministry leaders could learn a great lesson from this. It’s easy to rely on our experience, our education, and our natural charm to carry us week after week. After a while, we start thinking we don’t really need to pray that much. We know that if we were to face a crisis like Jehosphaphat’s, then we would pray hard. But that’s exactly the point: We do face a crisis like his. We’re leading men and women into spiritual battle every week!”

    How true and heavy. I keep slipping into the trap of believing what I am doing or going to on Sunday is to “play my guitar the best I can for my Lord”. This is a true statement and a good goal, but I realize that it is a shallow goal and does not go far enough or take serious enough my level of responsibility as a member of the team. I am willing to practice for hours each week, but am I willing to pray for a solid hour for the upcoming Sunday? Would my musicianship miss that one hour? I think my own answer lies a few days ahead into this weeks study. Carol Cymbala says on page 75 “….the choir’s (worship team’s) ability to minister can never be better than their spiritual tone.” Maybe I have my own roadblocks that need delt with before I can truly and wholly engage in this calling?
    No time to start like the present!

  3. Well I feel like I haven’t posted in forever. I, like Adam, have been travelling. And confession: I didn’t read last week cause I forgot my book in Denver when I was in NYC. Coincidentally enough this is what the pastor at Hillsong spoke about on Sunday so I feel like I can have a little bit of input.
    Carl (the pastor) said that it’s how we respond in crisis, not a victory, that matters, which I can relate to the story of Jehoshaphat. Instead of fleeing from God’s presence and voice, we must accept it and become attuned to it!
    I am severe amounts of guilty of turning worship into something about me instead of God and that does not lead others into His throne-room. Essentially, I am (or could be) prohibiting others to worship God! That’s super humbling. I was listening to podcast the other day about worship and the pastor said “as worship leaders we’ve grown into such a stage persona that sometimes even our time with God feels fabricated”. That statement made me analyze the heck out of my quiet time and even worshipping in church. This is going to turn into an off topic ramble for a second, sorry! For the past month I have been severely struggling with most, if not all, of those crisis points. On Sunday at church I was worshipping God like I haven’t in a while now and I couldn’t help but wonder, is this fabricated? Am I raising my hands because that’s what you do when there’s a really powerful chorus? Am I crying because the words are touching me or because that’s what I’ve done other times when this song is played? So I’ve learned that spending QUALITY time with God is huge and can really impact how I worship and lead others… like Adam said! Ok, enough with my rant.

    1. “…and I couldn’t help but wonder, is this fabricated?”
      what an honest statement……..I find myself there sometimes. In your case though, I can say that being on stage with you, or being out in the congregation with you on stage, or heck even when you are in the congregation with me, I am moved to a deeper level of worship because of your outward praise. I can’t tell you if its fabricated or not, obviously that is between you and God, but I can say it influences me. So keep it up! hehe
      see you all tonight!

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