Why Worship Matters
- Bob Kauflin Pastor, Director of Sovereign Grace Music
- 2003 27 Oct
In my conversations with others, I've found that much about worship is either assumed, confusing, or deemed unimportant. The recent "worship explosion" has been both a help and a hindrance in this area. It seems as though people are aware of worship like never before. But that's not quite true.
We have been inundated with a small number of artists, CD's, and books that reflect an understanding of worship peculiar to 21st century Americans. We are very taken up with what's happening now, but tend to dismiss what God has been doing in the church for thousands of years. When I read on the cover of a recently published worship devotional that it contained "the greatest praise and worship songs of all time," I was only mildly surprised to learn that it only contained songs written in the last 25 years.
What I've been learning is that Scripture paints a picture of worship that far exceeds our wildest imaginations, songs, and dreams. Why? Because worship in the Bible is directed to a God and Savior who exceeds our wildest imaginations, songs, and dreams. No melody, worship song, or lyric we come up with, no matter how incredible it seems to us, can begin to express the worth, excellence, beauty, and glory of our Redeemer. We can only try, grateful that the perfect sacrifice of our Savior perfects our offering.
In the first chapter of Philippians, the apostle Paul lets us in on his motivation for living. He writes, "For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain." He is saying that what he values above all else on this earth - more than reputation, more than wealth, more than power, more than earthly pleasure - is his relationship with Jesus Christ. That attitude gave him courage and confidence when he considered death. In fact, he looked forward to death, knowing that it would bring him into the presence of the Savior he loved and worshipped above all else.
Do you feel that way? I pray you do. I also hope that what I've written has inspired you to be less concerned about the mechanics of worship and more about the One we worship. It's not that techniques, methods, and forms are unimportant. They are simply means, and not the end. God and His glory are the end.
Many of my thoughts are expressed in this hymn by Isaac Watts, which I've edited slightly.
I'm not ashamed to own my Lord, or to defend his cause;
Maintain the honor of his word, the glory of his cross.
Jesus, my God! I love his name, His name is all my trust;
He will not put my soul to shame, nor let my hope be lost.
Firm as his throne his promise stands, and he can well secure
What I've committed to his hands until my final hour.
Then will he own my worthless name before his Father's face,
And there forever I'll proclaim the triumph of his grace.
May we never stop growing in our passion for seeing our Savior's name honored in all creation - even in eternity. Soli Deo Gloria. To God alone be the Glory.
- Upward: The Bob Kauflin Hymns Project. In an age of individualism and an emphasis on personal experiences with God, hymns remind us that we don't ever worship God in isolation. By their very nature, hymns connect us to that "communion of saints" from every nation, culture, and time who will one day unite to glorify God around His throne. We are honored on this project to join our voices and hearts with hymn writers from previous centuries who looked upward and were moved to worship our great God and glorious Savior. Free downloadable song, sheet music, song samples, and video interview with Bob - click here.
- All We Long To See: All We Long to See is the ninth release in the Come & Worship series from Sovereign Grace Ministries, and builds on the modern worship sound that has attracted national radio exposure for previous projects in the series. The focus of each new song on All We Long to See is a life lived for Another--for the One who died, and rose, and will come again. From the opening declaration of "Jesus, My Only Hope," to the closing celebration of "The Audience of One," these songs bring a message that help us experience and express the glorious mystery of the Savior. Available on Sovereign Grace Ministries Webstore.
- A Passion for the Glory of God Worship Conference: This conference seeks to combine theological training with practical equipping to serve both worship leaders and worship teams. The main sessions this year will explore Worship: What Really Matters (Bob Kauflin), Worshiping the God Who Creates (Craig Cabaniss), Worshiping the God Who Redeems (Mark Altrogge), and Worshiping the God Who Is Here (Bob Kauflin). The seminars will address songwriters, sound teams, musicians, and worship leaders. The conference will start on Thursday October 16th, and conclude on Saturday, October 18th. The full schedule is available, as well as links to registration, information on lodging, and a full list of speakers.