Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Mr. Ortega

Sunday mornings at our church are devoted to worship of our Savior. If there are any announcements, and there rarely are, they are slid in at the very beginning of the service. Afterwards, we quickly shake hands and greet one another, speak with any visitors, etc., and then from that time forward, we are looking up - the service is now vertical as opposed to horizontal - focused on Christ. It is a time of confession, thanksgiving, giving and worship. What does it mean to truly worship Christ? I like what Leslie Ludy has to say in her book Authentic Beauty.

Have you ever noticed how most worship services are filled with solemn-faced, distracted people, singing along mindlessly, more out of obligation than sincere adoration of their Prince? Even in more expressive churches, I have talked with many worshipers who admit that they close their eyes and raise their hands simply because that is what is expected of them. I believe the lack of sincere and heartfelt worship we often see today comes from the lack of Christians truly knowing their Lord. Worship leaders often try to make the experience more enjoyable by adding cool guitar solos or smoke and lights on the stage. But mere entertainment can never replace true, heartfelt worship.

There is something missing in most modern-day worship---something I call tender reverence for our Prince. We sing a lot of songs about our own failure or desires, we shout out a lot of personal requests to heaven, and we may even get an emotional worship high by dancing, jumping, or clapping along with the beat. There is a time and place for having fun, singing little mindless ditties about taking a bath, or scratching someone's back. But how often do we tune out the rest of the world and stand speechless in wonder and awe at the incredible majesty of our Prince? How often do we sing about His incredible love and sacrifice with tears of gratitude streaming unashamedly down our faces? How often do we fall on our faces in adoration, stunned by His awesome power and amazed by His infinite tenderness?

I never understood what true worship was until I experienced deep, daily intimacy with my Prince in my inner sanctuary. When I truly began to know Him, suddenly I couldn't help singing to Him of my adoration or falling on my knees in awe before Him. Sincere, tender reverence for my Prince became a natural outflow of my intimacy with Him, not only in worship services, but also as a lifestyle of worship every day. Nurturing ongoing intimacy with our Prince produces an effortless outpouring of adoration for Him.

Although our church gives ample opportunity for this type of worship, it is still up to each individual to "nurture the ongoing intimacy that produces this outpouring of adoration."

In regards to worship songs, sometimes we sing or listen to the old hymn Pass Me Not. When we listened to it a few Sundays ago, I thought the man's voice I was hearing sounded familiar but couldn't quite place it. I discovered yesterday that it was Fernando Ortega. If you've never listened to his music, you should give it a try. His song Give Me Jesus is one of my favorites.

Fernando-Ortega - Give Me Jesus (Tribute to Ruth Graham) Have a tissue handy.

I love Christ-honoring music. When I'm doing my morning cleaning, I work much better if I'm hearing encouraging, doctrinally-sound music in the background, and it helps set the course for my day.

It's funny that I used to not care very much for that song, Pass Me Not. Why would God pass me by? But now I've come to realize that it is all about Him and whether or not He chooses to "call on me while on others He is calling." (John 6:44, No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.) I am so thankful that He did call on me and didn't pass me by. I've heard that song all my life, but now it has new meaning for me. My prayer today is that I adore and worship Him as He alone deserves.

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