Thursday, June 29, 2006

the god-makers


lately this beggar's world has been full of all manner of calamity and wonder. these are days of faith, my friends. i honestly haven't been at 'leisure' to further attend to the discipline of blogging. however, just in case there is anyone who still checks this site for something fresh, i have decided to post something that i came across today when doing some major 'housecleaning.'

it is from a small denominational magazine that i used to write for back at the turn of the millenium...

i remember reading once on someone's blog that it could be rather interesting to repost the 23rd entry on our blogs a year later or whatever in order to note how far from then the now has taken us. well, the article below was published in october, 2000- nearly six years ago- and though my voice has changed a bit, i still hold to the same things (call this redundancy or consistency?)

maybe sometime soon i'll be able to actually put into words all that has been going on at this point in my journey. until then, however, know that life is good and God sustains me, your friend, through all things great and small...

shalom
***
All who make idols are nothing, and the things they treasure are worthless... Who shapes a god and casts an idol which can profit him nothing? He and his kind will be put to shame; craftsmen are nothing but men." -Isaiah 44.9-11

every now and then the word of God gives me a shot right in the chops.

it's really easy to justify involvement in a rather subtle form of idolatry simply by adhering to the maxim: "Give your best to God."

please make no mistake here- i will always maintain that if we are not giving our best to the Father then we are falling short of what he has called us to do for his kingdom. to withhold anything from his will is to be a gripper rather than a releaser.

as a worship leader i work hard to develop what God has entrusted to me. i drill and practice myself to blisters. i listen to maxwell tapes, attend worship conferences, subscribe to leadership magazine, even read the latest yancey title... but sometimes i think that we can carry too much of the burden of worship upon ourselves as leaders. without careful internal scrutiny, we can become too important to the kingdom in our own eyes, and this results in spiritual confusion- maybe not immediately, but inevitably.

the people in the seats become too reliant upon us to rejuvenate them; we become too responsible for the quickening of their spiritual pulse. eventually people end up worshipping the worship.

the danger within any worship context usually arises when people lose track of why they are there. it is this way because of the basic human propensity to become preoccupied with ourselves rather than God.

as spiritual navel-gazers, we allow ourselves to be the centre of our worship, rather than exalting Christ. worship becomes experiencial, rather than sacrificial. we draw energy and joy not from singing the name above all names, but from knowing that when we are singing his name we have his attention.

'all who make idols are nothing...'

personally, i cannot stand the idea of being eternally inconsequential. like a little child, i just want my God to be pleased with the present i made for him myself. i want to grow closer to him with my every offering. in offering it to him, i long for his acceptance of my gift. i want him to be proud of me and i want him to use what i made for him because then i feel less like a spiritual freeloader.

however, if my creative energies are directed towards somehow validating myself by my worship expression then i am wasting both the time and the gifts that have been entrusted to me. Christ's death already established my worth in his sight.

'who shapes a god or casts an idol which can profit him nothing?'

webster says an idol is 'an image of a god, constructed of wood, stone, etc. and worshiped as if it were the god it represents.' one of the things that we seek to do with our words or our music is to paint a picture of God's glory- to somehow make the mind-bending attributes of God understandable for normal, linear, rather blunt-minded creatures like ourselves.

no matter how big or beautifully ornamented the box, God will not fit into it.

furthermore, we must not tuck even a tiny portion of his glory into our own back pockets for our own personal use later. there was a worship leader in heaven who did this long ago and to a certain extent he still works daily at stealing the worship from Almighty God. if the people begin to worship the art as if it were the God it represents, then we are creative heretics in search of company, working away on something that not only profits us nothing, but ultimately costs us everything.

'craftsmen are nothing but men.'

unless God intervenes and transforms our efforts into something that brings him glory, our worship is only temporal. only when God is glorified will anything we do last beyond that final day when we stand, longing to hear him say

"well done, my faithful one, enter into the kingdom...
they're playing our song!"

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4 Comments:

Blogger SocietyVs said...

Great post. I am not a big worship person but what you wrote is true, we tend to want to take some of that glory. I think it is important to worship God, and those who worship Him will worship Him in Spirit and in Truth. I dig your honesty and the way you 'lay it on the line'...always keeps me thinking and on my toes. Keep your head up.

6/29/2006  
Blogger Pastor Josh said...

Great post. This is also true for pastors. I hear a lot of pastor's wondering if the sermon they just did was good or bad. I look at it that it shouldn't matter. If God has given you the words to speak then the sermon is great no matter what. I think as humans we want the satisfaction of hearing someone say that we did a great job. When we should be asking our Father in Heaven if we did what He asked. Worship leaders to have a hard job. They have people in the congregation that are thinking about anything and everything except about worship sometimes. The worship leader is to get them in one accord. To prepare there holy spirit for the message that's going to be spoken. The thing is the worship leader can sound bad or good and it won't change the people's moods. Only the holy spirit can. So when worship leaders have the relization that they need to flow through the Holy Spirit and not themselves. Great things will start to happen.

6/30/2006  
Blogger curious servant said...

I like this post quite a bit. I tend to go too far I think in worship. I have worshiooed with my eyes tightly shut for over a dozen years. I want to concentrate on the meaning of the words, the attitude of mymind and the shape of my heart. I am wondering if I am missing out on the corporate nature of worship, in being a part of a whole and less individualistic.

I liked this post quite a bit.

I wonder though, about your " beggar's world has been full of all manner of calamity and wonder." Let me know if there is something I can pray for specifically.

7/01/2006  
Blogger curious servant said...

Just checking in on you...

7/08/2006  

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