Fellership Blog

for those wondering >>>and wandering

Door #5 Worship and soaking in God’s nature

Is there a difference in worship and praise?

I used to wonder about this question a lot.  I wasn’t really sure there was a difference.  What difference would it make anyway?  We often hear the phrase “praise and worship?”  Why use two terms for the same thing?  Hmmm, maybe there is a difference.

I think I can answer those questions now (at least for me).  I do believe there are several differences. 

PRAISE AND THANKSGIVING

(1) Praise is specific.  We praise God for various reasons, but songs/hymns/psalms are written to magnify a certain aspect of God or His interaction with us.  It is a recognition and appreciation of God/Jesus Christ for what they are, have done, or shall do.  Thanksgiving is a part of praise, but thanksgiving is also specific. 

(2) Praise is presented with gladness and joy.

(3) Praise is most often a group dynamic and is often accompanied with music, players and encourages participation of others (unless one is praising alone).

(4) Praise is an offering, like a free will offering.  Praise is something we initiate.

(5) Since praise is intiated by us, it often begins with/in our souls and eventually (hopefully) moves into our spirit and visa versa.  A few examples: “bless the Lord, oh my soul, and all that is within me…”  Another example:  “My soul magnifies/exalts the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced…”  One more:  “I will pray with the/my spirit and I shall pray with the/my mind also.”  “I will sing with the/my spirit and I shall sing with the/my mind also.”

I know that some may think I’m streeetching this a bit too far, but just wait and hear me out :).  There may be more aspects of praise and we would welcome further input.  Now let us look more closely at worship.

WORSHIP (must be in spirit)

(1) Worship is recognized and accepted by God ONLY when done in spirit and truth/reality (that is a MUST)…not so with praise.

(2) Worship can be done anywhere, anytime, any place, but more readily done outside the constraints of time and place and for varying degrees of duration (from milli-seconds to hours).

(3) Worship is not dependent upon emotion.  It can be expressed in weeping, laughing, or utter silence and stillness.

(4) Worship can be alone (often is) or with others, but worship is directed to God alone.  Worship, whether in a group or alone, is still one-on-one.  There may be 1,000 people praising God, but only 3 worshipping God, or 997 worshipping.  It depends on who is in spirit during the praising, praying, speaking or listening.

(5) Worship happens.  It is NOT dependent upon us intiating it.  We may begin to praise the Lord, but until a spiritural connection is made, worship has not happened.  True/real worship does not begin until God is manifested in some way.  In fact, it is the manifestation of God – the actual “seeing” God (spiritually) that triggers worship.

SOAKING IN GOD’S NATURE

Worship is initiated by God.  He is seeking true worshippers.  God desires worshippers because they “see” Him.  All creation manifests God, but when we “see” spiritually God in His creation, it spontaneously brings out worship.  Here’s an example of someone seeing God and spontaneously worshipping.  This may come to you as a shock.  It’s found in Mk. 5:6.  This man had many demons, yet when he saw Jesus, he also “saw” something spiritual and this man RAN and bowed down at Jesus feet.  This word bowed (in Greek) is also translated “to worship.”  Seeing God brings about worship, because God is the initiator and He is letting us see Him (with spiritual eyes) for a purpose.

When we are worshipping, it means the spirit connection is made.  That’s the time to take advantage of the opportunity and soak it all in.  God and man in communion.  All that God is and wants to reveal to us can happen when we are linked up in worship.  That’s when God wants to show us Himself.  God initiated this “worship moment” so He could infuse us with His nature.  He wants us to know Him intimately.  He wants us to take on His character, His divine nature (II Pet. 1:4).  God has given us some precious promises and He wants us to act upon and live in them, “…all things pertaining to life and godliness.”

As we take advantage of these “God moments” presented to us by the Creator Himself we are beholding His glory.  Maybe a leaf just drifted down in your lap, but at that moment, God was there in that moment with you.  Now’s your chance, linger, abide, draw closer.  Soak it all in.  As we behold, we also will reflect or shine out.  We shine out what He shines in, His divine nature.

Mary sat at Jesus feet taking it all in.  She recognized the moment and soaked it in.  Martha missed that same moment.  I bet the part that was not recorded ended up with both Mary and Martha serving others.  How many “God moments of worship” do you reckon we miss everyday?

Learning to watch, wait and anticipate

God is seeking worshippers.  You become a worshipper when you see God in spirit, that is true worship and God has set it up for us.  That’s how much He is longing to reveal something fresh of Himself to us.  He wants to bring many sons to glory, like Father, like son.  The prayer Jesus prayed in the garden of Gethsemene was that the Father would give that same glory He gave the Son to others.  That glory was the oneness (Jn. 17:22).  God’s Spirit in us has provided the oneness in spirit.  We need to be watching and expecting God to reveal Himself, then wait and linger, take it all in while you can.  It’s a lot harder for us to initiate that intimacy with God, than it is to be watching, anticipating and longing for Him to show up in some unexpected way and time.  When He does, dwell there and take it all in while you can.

Conclusion

I used to try so hard to please Abba.  Try as I may, I kept failing.  I tried to get up early, read my Bible, I tried hard to pray and keep my mind focused, but it never lasted for me.  I think it’s a lot easier to let God pick the time and place and we just need to “see” and soak in those times for all they are worth.  When we “see” God, worship happens.  God is seeking many worshippers.

Now here’s another benefit that comes with that.  We get His nature infused into us.  What does that mean?  To me it has come to mean that as I spend more intimate moments and recognize opportunities more, those times in His presence allow that oneness to work into us His nature so that we:

begin to think like God (see situations and people from God’s perspective).  Our mind dwells more on whatsoever is pure, just, lovely, etc.

we feel like God (have compassion, joy, hurt).

we speak like God (with authority, boldness, gentleness)

we act like God (reflect God’s nature in how we treat others).

If you take the fruit of the Spirit in Gal.5, mix it with the famous “love” chapter in I Cor. 13 and add in the beatitudes in Matt 5, you can get a pretty good idea of what God’s nature is, OR just take a look at Jesus.  That’s how He wants us to be toward others.  That’s the beholding, reflecting, transforming life He wants us to live.

Which is better, gut it out, try harder or watch for those God moments (which bring about worship) that He sets up for us and soak it up?  God’s way is the way of life, the way of the Spirit.

Charlie

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September 13, 2006 - Posted by | Uncategorized

15 Comments »

  1. I’d like to share a few experiences I’ve had that brought me to where I am today concerning worship. I would imagine that this may sound a bit strange and unfamiliar to folks.

    I used to have a job where I travelled pretty much through the U.S. I had become familiar with the I-net and fellership among Christian e-mail lists, chat rooms and Instant Messenger type communication. I had felt that I needed to expand my life experiences by learning to trust the Lord and live by faith more. Since I was living by myself I was able to do that so travel fit into this.

    I had been away from organized religion and “going to church” for about 10 years. I wanted to travel and meet the body of Christ and visit saints as I travelled in my job. Through I-net connections and fellership, I’d try to plan my work around meeting saints and eventually staying with them on weekends. It was great!

    The only problem was that I still had to spend weekdays in motels. I struggled with a habit living in motels and watching too much tv, especially stuff I KNEW I shouldn’t watch. I would try to fight it, some nights I won, but I knew it was a game and eventually I would give in.

    Now here I am visiting saints, fellershipping into the wee hours of the night or morning and living a double life. The guilt was almost overwhelming, but no one knew but me and God. At this same time, I was learning a little more about worship and praising the Lord and giving thanks in all things. Saints were so kind and many would give me cassette tapes of music mostly (some teaching stuff) and I would drive down the highway in the company van and just have a great time with the Lord in worship and enjoying Him. I used to tell folks that I put in a tape, kept the windows up on my chapel on wheels and just breathed in that recycled life giving Spirit over and over. But then at night in the motel it was a different story :(.

    I finally told the Lord I was tired of playing games. He knew my heart. I don’t wanna be this way, but I can’t stop. It was real life Romans 7 for Charlie. I told God I was gonna quit singing and worshipping Him, cuz I was just being a hypocrite. Some days I would overcome the temptation and I would worship and enjoy the Lord. Other days I would dare not even utter His name. I began to realize something: God is worthy of praise and worship regardless of my condition. WOW!!  I saw it!  But I still struggled putting it in practice.

    There were times when I failed that I felt I just cannot turn that tape player on today or read my Bible. It’s useless to pray and repent when I know it’s just a matter of time when I will do it again.

    Here’s what began to happen. I would drive down the road after utter failure the night before, and out of shear boredom turn on the radio. As I would run down the road stations would change. Wouldn’t you know it..a Christian station would come on and before I knew what I was doing, I’d be back in the joy of the Lord! Then I’d think, “wait a minute, I can’t do this! I haven’t even prayed yet.” So I’d turn it off.

    Then it went a step further. I’d be listening to rock or country music and as I listened I would apply those words and thoughts to God. Before ya know it…I’m worshipping God and the radio is not on a Christian station. How can this be?!! I even started seeing God in tv shows! Whoa! This just ain’t right! It sure didn’t fit MY doctrine!! 🙂

    To make a loooong story short, I began to realize that God knew what I did last night, yet He still gave me joy and He still is worthy of worship. So, no matter what, I just kept doing it. Now this is MY story and I’m not advocating this for anyone else. I don’t want to offend any, but this is how God melted my heart..I told the Lord I couldn’t change and I was not going to try anymore. I will live this double life believing He can change me. Now that part sounds pretty good. But, what do you do in the meantime when things don’t change like you want and God wants? Well, for me, I quit trying, if I fell, I didn’t stop worshipping and I made no promises.

    I remember on many occasions saying, “Lord, I don’t know why You keep blessing me? I know I keep letting You down, but You just keep loving me anyway.” “Lord, You gotta stop this, You’re spoiling me and I’ll take advantage of You if You don’t start ‘spanking’ me or sumpin.” He just kept on loving me, and filling me with joy. So I kept on worshipping no matter what.

    This is getting too long..more later. I’d like to hear from y’all now, rebuke, reprove, rejoice, just share freely.

    Charlie

    Comment by fellership | September 14, 2006 | Reply

  2. I hate to monopolize this, but I wanna share one more thought while it’s fresh in my mind. I think we often lose sight of the fact that God is spirit. He has NEVER been tempted. I wonder sometimes if God looks over to His Son and asks, “do You understand what they are saying or why they are acting like this.” Then Jesus would say, “yes Dad, I have felt like that too.”

    God sees hearts. He is spirit and He knows all about that. We are flesh (and growing in spirit) and WE know ALL about that flesh stuff! I don’t think God does. He just fixed the problem for us :). Now He wants us to move on out of that realm of “flesh,” and more into spirit. Worship helps us get there and God likes it too. That’s a WIN, WIN deal! PTL!

    I think God saw my heart in this tv matter. It didn’t matter so much to Him whether I was batting .600 or .125. It didn’t matter how many errors I made, or the number of strike outs. He knows how this game will end and WE win!

    Now, if we let these things weigh us down, and pull down our spirits, He KNOWS immediately. If He sees a change in my heart, then He takes action to deal with that. I really believe that my heart was pure. I just had some growing, more worshipping, and soaking in God’s nature to do. So God just kept pouring it out and I just kept soaking it in.

    Please don’t throw any large or real hard stones at me 😉

    Charlie

    Comment by fellership | September 14, 2006 | Reply

  3. Charlie,

    I think you have mostly hit the nail on the head with the first post. Just don’t start selling “Soaking Kits” a la Toronto Airport Fellowship.

    Here is one of the definitions for “praise” from dictionary.com:

    “the offering of grateful homage in words or song, as an act of worship: a hymn of praise to God.”

    Notice they refer to praise as an ACT of worship. Their definition of “worship” as regarding God is:
    “reverent honor and homage paid to God or a sacred personage, or to any object regarded as sacred.”

    Apparently, as I’ve thought before, “worship” does come from “worthship” of an earlier spelling. So I suppose that we esteem God greatly (worship) and therefore we praise Him by telling Him how wonderful He is.

    Personally, there are times when my soul does not initiate praise–it seems to spring spontaneously from the spirit into my soul, which then overflows.

    BTW, your story on failing God but refusing to stop worshiping–that goes right along with things I have shared with addicts. I got to share that once with a homosexual brother who struggled and I think he got some relief, though I wasn’t able to stay in contact with him. I am convinced that continuing to worship will overcome anything in our lives–even overeating–it’s just a matter of time.

    Good stuff here.

    Comment by Kat | September 14, 2006 | Reply

  4. Thanks for writing Kat. I agree with the definitions technically. But God is spirit. Just paying homage might fulfill the technical defintion, but God says true worship is in spirit. That’s a MUST.

    Ya know I once told a homosexual that as long as you keep fighting, God will keep pouring out. I forgot to mention the worship thang. He went back to his room that night, and later began singing old church hymnns to the Lord. I thought that was sooo kule. I forgot the worship part, but God didn’t. I’ve lost touch with him, but I know he never will forget that night and neither will God :).

    Charlie

    Comment by fellership | September 14, 2006 | Reply

  5. Folks,

    Here are a couple of quotes from an article concerning the court-marshall of Lt. Gordon James Klingenschmitt, chaplain for the United States Navy:

    Then, Judge Lewis T. Booker, the judge overseeing the court-martial, ruled that the right to “public worship” doesn’t include “worshiping in public.” Judge Booker said essentially that “public worship” is allowed for one hour on Sunday, and you better use it, because that’s the only free exercise of religion you have left, sailor.

    So, I’m not sure what the judge means by “public worship” doesn’t include “worshiping in public”. Sounds a little like the gobbledegook of a former president of the United States concerning the meaning of the word “is”, doesn’t it?

    Comment by mrzerog | September 15, 2006 | Reply

  6. Well Bob, that’s a good example of “technnical” thinking isn’t it? Where would a judge get such an idea about “public worship?” Man, todays “churches” have one heck of a PR staff. Even the Muslims are allotted more “public worship” time:).

    Good thing we can still retire to our closets (indoor and outdoor).

    Charlie
    PS – just what is this Chaplain being court-marshalled for?

    Comment by fellership | September 15, 2006 | Reply

  7. Charlie,

    I won’t argue that worship is to be in spirit. That was the best official definition I could get from the etymologists. I think of worship as something that sort of emanates from the spirit. It does sort of involve a “worth-ship”, but it’s closer to loving and being loved upon. Maybe it’s lovemaking in the spirit.

    Interesting about that judge defining “public worship” as not worshiping in public. Guess you have to do everything behind closed doors–really secret doors. Of course, some of us have that as our default anyway.

    Comment by Kat | September 15, 2006 | Reply

  8. Kat said, “I think of worship as something that sort of emanates from the spirit. It does sort of involve a “worth-ship”, but it’s closer to loving and being loved upon. Maybe it’s lovemaking in the spirit.”
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Uh oh! Look out now Kat. That may be too intimate! Actually I think that is pretty close though 8O. When Paul talks about us being ONE spirit with the Lord (I Cor. 6:17) the context is being one flesh with a prostitute. Of course we are also ONE flesh with our wife/bride and we know we are the bride of Christ. God likes intimacy.

    I agree “worth-ship is pretty close. He is worthy and we are with Him in the ship.

    Charlie

    Comment by fellership | September 15, 2006 | Reply

  9. Hee hee! Batter, SWING!

    Comment by Kat | September 15, 2006 | Reply

  10. Charlie,

    The good Chaplain was charged with disobeying a lawful order and appearing at a political rally in his uniform. My point was the judge making some sort of distinction between “public worship” and “worshipping in public”……sounds like balony to me……that is unless someone can explain to me the judge’s thoughts on the matter.

    Does “public worship” mean some sort of ritualized worship activity and “worshipping in public” is something less formal? I don’t know.

    Comment by mrzerog | September 15, 2006 | Reply

  11. The thoughts of everyone here sure are worth chewing on. I don’t know if I can prove the following thoughts theologically but I will share them anyway:
    I believe there is a difference between praise and worship. The word worship is the all-encompassing word that includes all that we do towards God: prayer, meditation, praise, singing etc. Praise is a joyful, exuberant act of thanksgiving. It can also be a outward expression of who God is and what He does. Worship in its purest form is just plain adoration of His Person.

    Anyone who has a dog (let’s call him Fido) should understand the difference between praise and adoration. The moment the master of the house comes home from being absent for a period of time, a period of pure “praise” will eminate from Fido. There will be yelping, jumping, waging, licking, …..That is praise….pure and simple.

    Toward the end of the evening while “master” is sitting in his easy chair reading the paper, we find Fido laying at his feet, gazing up into his face….pure worship.

    This may be simplistic….but I like it!!

    Blessings,
    Gary

    PS. Charlie….thanks for your sharing!! There’s hope for us all!!

    Comment by Gary | September 17, 2006 | Reply

  12. Charlie, I had never had much consideration with regards to prase vs worship, but I think you have likely hit the nail on the head with your musings.

    One thing I’d like to add, which supports your ‘theory’ but which approaches it from a different angle. I have a slightly different view of your reference to the demon-possessed man in Mark 5. I’m not sure the man had any control over his actions when he ran and fell at the feet of Jesus. We know that at times he would cut himself with stones and that he even would break chains when he was bound. I suggest that this was not his doings but the doings of the demons that had taken control of him.

    Now I suspect there are ‘laws’ in the spiritual universe just as there are laws in the physical universe. For example, in the physical universe, there is the law of gravity. This law keeps my feet firmly planted on the ground at most times. If I were to step off a cliff, as much as I would wish it otherwise, the law of gravity takes over and I find myself falling.

    What if a spiritual law exists that commands the demons to fall at the feet of Jesus (God) anytime they are in His presence? I’m not sure it was the man running and falling at His feet; I suspect it was the demons. The man just got carried along because he was their ‘container’. The speaking that came out of his mouth was not his words, but the words of the demons, begging Jesus not to judge them before their time.

    And if this is true, then were the demons actually worshipping Jesus(God)? I suspect they WERE worshipping because, even though they did not want to do so, they were compelled to do so; it is what they MUST do when in His presence, whether they want to or not!

    Love to hear your comments on this; feel free to tear it up if you have verses or thought to the contrary.

    Comment by Don Hurst | September 20, 2006 | Reply

  13. I was driving back from Perth yesterday and the countryside on that drive is spectacular at this time of year. All the trees are changing colour and the sun came out at one point to emphasize this beautiful array of all sorts of colours.

    I realized that this is a picture of death, the bracken and heather by the side of the road was also dying and withering. I saw this as a beautiful sight to behold and told the Lord so. My heart was uplifted and I told my Father, that I too was willing to partake of this death, that in another season, (if the Lord wills) I will bear new fruit for Him. I realized that anything worthwhile, comes in the resurrection and the trees are a wonderful example of this.

    We tend to want to be fruitful all of the time, but as with the trees, our fruit becomes over ripe and begins to be unpalatable. It is better to allow the Lord to take us through this death, that we may bear new fruit, fit for consumption by all in Christ, who would wish to partake. I praised Him for this and became willing, to become nothing.

    Cameron.

    Comment by Cameron | October 24, 2006 | Reply

  14. The Bee

    There was one time, years ago, I was working on a weighbridge where I would weigh trucks. The weighbridge kiosk was surrounded by glass windows so I could see everything around me. One day, A bee got caught in there and he kept buzzing up and down the front window, trying to get back to doing his “bee thing” but he was caught behind this glass.

    I took some soft tissue that I had in the booth and cupped him gently in it, trying not to hurt him and keep him from hurting me in his panic. I let the wee fella go and watched as he flew off hell for leather to go back to his flowers and to do what God created him to do.

    I realized that sometimes, we are like that little bee. We get caught up in a place where we can maybe see out but yet we are in a man made prison. It is God who gently frees us to go about doing what He created for us. I sensed His delight as I watched that bee fly off. I have been set free before too but would like it if Christ in me could do this with men, Christian or not. That is my prayer today.

    Cameron.

    Comment by Cameron | November 11, 2006 | Reply

  15. Hello brethren! I think all the mentioned is right on. I truly see that when believers try to incaptualize all this and try placing it in a box to be brought out on certain days at certain times is when we blow it. Worshipping should be a lifestyle and not just certain acts utilizing certains forms. Our Master is beyond that. I believe the Message puts it quite clearly: “It’s who you are and the way you live that count before God. Your worship must engage your spirit in the pursuit of truth. That’s the kind of people the Father is out looking for; those who are simply and honestly themselves before him in their worship. God is sheer being itself–Spirit. Those who worship him must do it out of their very being, their spirits, their true selves, in adoration.” Maranatha!
    SEMPER FIDELIS!

    Comment by ben | January 31, 2007 | Reply


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