When I was in high school I loved music and I had my share of favorite bands (depending on what day it was). But there was one that stood above all the rest. I mean have you ever listened to a certain band or song that you could listen to forever? This was what that band did for me; I loved their style, sound, and everything else about them. They seemed to break all the rules others seemed to follow and I couldn’t get enough.
One afternoon after swim practice I got in my car and heard that they were going to be playing thirty minutes from where I lived that very night. You can imagine my reaction: flipping and flailing around in my car like those people you see screaming for The Beatles in the 60’s. I couldn’t believe it. How had I not heard about this sooner? I didn’t have tickets, but I knew I had to see them.
By the time my girlfriend (my wife years later) and I arrived where the concert was being held the line was wrapped around the building. My heart sunk at the thought of not being able to experience this epic night of music. My girlfriend stood in line and I walked up and down the massive but organized group of people.
“Anybody got any extra tickets?”, is what I found myself saying over and over until eventually I found someone who did. I was that guy. But, we got in.
I love music. It has always been apart of my life. Growing up, my dad and I would listen to Elvis Presley, The Beatles, and so many other history making musicians. I bought my first album when I was in the 5th grade. I remember walking by a TV in some music store and found myself watching the Foo Fighters in their music video. I had never heard music like that before and from there on out music has been a big influence in my life.
But it hasn’t been the only influence.
Being a follower of Christ really messes an abundance of things up; for all the greatest reasons ever. It embeds a new way of speaking, thinking, and living into our hearts and minds. Our very existence is centered on something different, it’s centered on Christ. Following Christ is a sacrificial walk, it aint easy.
So where does music fall into this walk with Christ? What about worship? Where did this phrase or action even come from? Do you think we as creatives know how to worship? Does everyone worship, even atheists? Is it attainable for us or is it something the angels do? What do we really believe about worship?
Humans were made to worship God. Humans were not originally made to be disconnected from the creator and then have to find their way to Him. We were designed to be connected with Him; there was harmony between God and man, between God and us, between God and You. It’s possible we may have got it all wrong somewhere down the road. What the heck is worship?
I believe worship is connection with God. It is living in such a way that keeps God and us connected. When we go to school everyday and seek God and speak to Him while in class we are connected, we are living a life of worship. Worship isn’t just at the altar, or in the pews, or in a song. It’s more. It’s bigger. It’s deeper than those things.
We’re connected to so many different things. In this is an age of connection. Facebook, smart phones, e-mail, tablets, texting, Bluetooth, iWatch, social media and everything else out there are designed to keep us connected. I think it’s possible that what we are constantly connected to is what we tend to be worshipping. The things we are constantly pressing forward to, and striving for closeness, whether we know it or not, is our worship experience.
Music however plays a significant role in worship. It moves us; it can bring us to tears in a moment and fill us with joy in the next. Music is a powerful thing; it was created by God and manipulated by the devil. In Ezekiel 28 it talks about a covering cherub who had an obvious rank above all the cherubs, who were beings of worship, and were exiled from
the heavens. In a sense this covering cherub was a sort of worship leader and scholars have interpreted this as the devil himself.
Satan knows the power of music. The enemy knows the “in’s and out’s” of every single thing of music. He knows you were made to worship, so he won’t try and stop you, he will just try and get you to worship the wrong thing. In his mind, the best thing to worship is anything besides God. No worship, no connection.
People have often asked me what is going through my mind when I’m leading worship or participating in the music in church. Over the years I’ve played in many different venues of music; massive concerts and small intimate settings with both young and old. What are you thinking about? Are you distracted? Are you worshipping?
Over the years I’ve matured and have been able to focus myself around word with leading worship.
Am I worshiping? Yes. But it’s war. Am I leading? Yes. But it’s war. I’m warring against the false connections I’ve made, the false connections we’ve made, and I’m fighting to bring an atmosphere that honors and worships God. Fighting to bring Him glory. The devil does not want us creatives to bring out of our gifts to honor God or help others worship. Satan is at war against you and me. When I am leading worship, when we lead worship together, we carry the ultimate weapons: the sword of the spirit and the Holy Spirit himself. I try and wield those weapons with the utmost ferocity.
When we say GREAT ARE YOU GOD, we declare what we believe and we pierce the darkness. Worship for me is war.
Back to my high school concert.
The club was dark, maybe 100 people inside, and most of them more concerned with the bar than the stage. I was shocked by the small stage, small sound system, everything just seemed too small. I’d watched videos of this band play for thousands, what was going on?
Midway through their set I had a spiritual moment with God. It came by watching the others in the room. The people in the club were lifting their hands in the air with palms open. I had seen this before, but not here. I had done that very thing before, but not here. It looked like worship, in the same way that I worshipped at church. I was stuck in that moment of time for what seemed forever.
Then I heard the spirit speak to me. Jordan, these people are looking for me, help them find me. We must pursue lives that our in connection with God. Music is music, it’s awesome and I love it. But disconnected from God, it’s noise.
Make war with me.