December 11, 2014


Psalm 96:1-13Worshiping Out in the Open
Gesu Bambino (When Blossoms Flowered ‘Mid the Snows)

I was introduced to Gesu Bambino when I was in a sixth grade choir at my public school. While it was the familiar chorus of “O, come let us adore Him” that initially drew me in, it was the mysterious lyrics, the haunting melody, and challenging phrasing and dynamic requirements which made this piece one of my all-time favorite Christmas carols. It seemed as if this song forced me to worship – honestly, how can you not worship when singing:

Let ev'ry voice acclaim His name,
The grateful chorus swell.
From paradise to earth He came
That we with Him might dwell.

Recently, I was shown a video of the wife of a famous preacher telling her congregation, “When you come to church, when you worship him, you're not doing it for God really. You're doing it for yourself, because that's what makes God happy.” Dumbfounded, I stared at the video waiting for lightning to strike her down. Was she kidding? Was this some skit? Sadly, she was not kidding; it was not a skit. I was horrified!

In her book, Teaching Kids Authentic Worship, Kathleen Chapman writes:

          The Hebrew word, shakhah, means ‘to prostrate oneself, to bow in homage, to do reverence.’ This is the
          most common Hebrew word translated ‘worship’ in the Old Testament. It represents an acknowledgment
          of who God is – His attributes, person, and character.

          The Greek word, proskyneo, means ‘to worship, to do obedience, to do reverence.’ This Greek word is
          found 59 times in the New Testament and is used exclusively for the worship of God or Christ.

          In both cases, worship pays deference to God alone.

Paul beseeches us in Romans 12:1-2 to offer our bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship. Ponder that for a moment. My spiritual act of worship is to surrender myself completely to God, to not be concerned about my personal happiness. I must push myself aside and completely focus on who God is and what he has done. None of it should be about me.

Take time to read Psalm 96 out loud. Notice the author does not mention himself at all. Everything he writes is focused upwards. If you want to experience a surprisingly simple, but profound worship time with your family or small group, spend time talking to God by saying, “God, you are _____________ (example: creator of everything).” Have each group member take turns coming up with a word to fill in the blank and then write each one down on a piece of paper or dry erase board. Without fail, after spending 10 or 15 minutes focused completely on proclaiming who God is, you will have encountered a worship experience that will not be forgotten.