A few months ago, I read a book called, “How to Worship A King, ” by Zach Neese.
After reading this book, God placed a huge burden on my heart to talk about what a heart of worship looks like. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not perfect. I am still on this journey just like everyone else, but if you take the time to let me share with you the story God has written on my heart, I promise it’ll be worth it.
This post is going to be more focused on those in a current leadership position in a church. If you do not play a role in church leadership, apply what is said into your daily life and current situations. (Leading your family, your job, etc.)
This passage I have here for you guys takes place in Malachi 1. The first time I read this passage was at Hillsong college, in Australia. It’s a longer passage, but it is too good to shorten it!
If God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, then that means that His heart for us and worship is still the same!
I want you to read and meditate on this passage before we dive into some deeper points.
No More of This So-Called Worship!
1 A Message. God’s Word to Israel through Malachi:
2-3 God said, “I love you.”
You replied, “Really? How have you loved us?”
“Look at history” (this is God’s answer). “Look at how differently I’ve treated you, Jacob, from Esau: I loved Jacob and hated Esau. I reduced pretentious Esau to a molehill, turned his whole country into a ghost town.”
4 When Edom (Esau) said, “We’ve been knocked down, but we’ll get up and start over, good as new,” God-of-the-Angel-Armies said, “Just try it and see how far you get. When I knock you down, you stay down. People will take one look at you and say, ‘Land of Evil!’ and ‘the God-cursed tribe!’
5 “Yes, take a good look. Then you’ll see how faithfully I’ve loved you and you’ll want even more, saying, ‘May God be even greater, beyond the borders of Israel!’
6 “Isn’t it true that a son honors his father and a worker his master? So if I’m your Father, where’s the honor? If I’m your Master, where’s the respect?” God-of-the-Angel-Armies is calling you on the carpet: “You priests despise me!
“You say, ‘Not so! How do we despise you?’
“By your shoddy, sloppy, defiling worship.
“You ask, ‘What do you mean, “defiling”? What’s defiling about it?’
7-8 “When you say, ‘The altar of God is not important anymore; worship of God is no longer a priority,’ that’s defiling. And when you offer worthless animals for sacrifices in worship, animals that you’re trying to get rid of—blind and sick and crippled animals—isn’t that defiling? Try a trick like that with your banker or your senator—how far do you think it will get you?” God-of-the-Angel-Armies asks you.
9 “Get on your knees and pray that I will be gracious to you. You priests have gotten everyone in trouble. With this kind of conduct, do you think I’ll pay attention to you?” God-of-the-Angel-Armies asks you.
10 “Why doesn’t one of you just shut the Temple doors and lock them? Then none of you can get in and play at religion with this silly, empty-headed worship. I am not pleased. The God-of-the-Angel-Armies is not pleased. And I don’t want any more of this so-called worship!
Offering God Something Hand-Me-Down, Broken, or Useless
11 “I am honored all over the world. And there are people who know how to worship me all over the world, who honor me by bringing their best to me. They’re saying it everywhere: ‘God is greater, this God-of-the-Angel-Armies.’
12-13 “All except you. Instead of honoring me, you profane me. You profane me when you say, ‘Worship is not important, and what we bring to worship is of no account,’ and when you say, ‘I’m bored—this doesn’t do anything for me.’ You act so superior, sticking your noses in the air—act superior to me, God-of-the-Angel-Armies! And when you do offer something to me, it’s a hand-me-down, or broken, or useless. Do you think I’m going to accept it? This is God speaking to you!
14 “A curse on the person who makes a big show of doing something great for me—an expensive sacrifice, say—and then at the last minute brings in something puny and worthless! I’m a great king, God-of-the-Angel-Armies, honored far and wide, and I’ll not put up with it!”
Wow. The first time I read this, I had to actually repent for not giving God the honor and respect he deserves.
Now, I am not going to tip toe around this subject because of the seriousness and importance of it. Let’s dive in.
I want you to recall the story of Cain and Abel in Genesis 4. Abel was very concerned about his sacrifice being special to God. He chose his first and best lamb and offered it to the Lord. Abel gave up his most prized possession. It was important to him to try his best to do as God had asked. Cain, on the other hand, did the opposite. Cain was a farmer and gave the least of his crop.
WE do the same thing in our daily lives and especially worship!
- Musicians, Singers, and Teachers, do you come to church prepared and ready to worship? Or do you come thinking “well it doesn’t really matter if I know all the words/songs/chords.” That is the same attitude that God says he despises.
- Musicians, it is not just the job of the singers to lead the congregation in worship. You are a team working together in perfect harmony to usher in the presence of God.
My God deserves my best. Realizing that worship is not about me was a huge wake up call.
- There are too many worship leaders who come to practice unprepared and their excuse is “Let’s just flow and let the Spirit move.” Now don’t get me wrong, I love ushering in God’s presence, being sensitive to the Holy spirit, and allowing Him to move us.
But let me explain the importance of being prepared: When you are prepared, it gives the Spirit room to move and creates the comfortability and readiness for more flow in the service. When no one knows what is going on, this just equals chaos and confusion.
In addition to us being physically prepared for worship, we need to be spiritually prepared!
Here are a few questions I ask myself:
- Is my heart in the right place? Am I on platform for the right reasons?
- How is my personal relationship with the Lord. Not when I’m being watched, but am I making an effort to learn scripture and grow my relationship with my Savior.
- Are you living in harmony with those on your team?
- Is my life outside of church pleasing to God?
- Is there anything I am doing outside of church that could be a stumbling block to myself or others?
As a worship leader, I am not just called to live a life of worship on stage. True worship is pursuing Christlikeness daily and glorifying Him in everything I do.
I want to encourage you to re-read over the list above. Pray and ask God to humble your heart and show you if there is anything you are doing that is negatively effecting your worship. I myself have to ask myself these questions often.
We are all on a journey. None of us have “arrived.” Give the grace to others that God has so freely given you.
Thank you for letting me share my heart with y’all! Each one of you are so precious and you have a heavenly father who loves you dearly.