Search This Blog

Tuesday, July 11, 2017


Not long ago I was eating at a local restaurant, like many with a series of TVs on highlighting various sporting events, except on one the channel had not been changed and one of the infamous infomercials was on touting a set of cookware that could change your life and destiny... Ok, I am exaggerating, but I'm sure you've seen it or one like it. There were two co-stars, one who was doing the cooking and another who was overawed and amazed with everything the other would do with the cookware. Excitement, smiles, laughter, just seemed as if by just bringing the cookware into your home the whole kitchen would transform itself into a 5-star restaurant, and to top it off, they were going to offer you this one-time special price of just three easy payments of .... Well, you know. You've heard the same ones. Sometimes, they will break in and say, “But wait, if you order now, we will send you another complete set for free! Just pay shipping and handling.

Hear me first say that I don't doubt that what they are selling might be good; this is not a commentary on the quality of the product. Perhaps it's just me, but when I hear those commercials I tend to jump to the defensive and wonder “What are they trying to sell me now? What's the catch?”  I confess that I cannot listen fairly because of some past experiences I have known from others who have made similar purchases and had less than positive results. I tend to lump all such advertisements together. The purpose of the infomercial is to sell the product. I get that, and yet I long for all the information and openness that doesn't tell me “this is the only pan you will ever need for the rest of your life...” Theoretically possible, but highly unlikely.

By now you might be wondering what all this has to do with worship. Glad you asked because I really am not on an anti-advertising tirade. If we are not careful we can allow our worship to morph into an infomercial about a Jesus “who will take all your problems away.” The manner in which we talk about our faith and relationship in Christ can begin to sound like a cheap infomercial and subconsciously be lumped together with those on TV. Authenticity requires transparency.  As we share of the transformation that Christ has made in our lives, we need to share the struggles and failures as well. As Bonhoeffer stated, “Free grace is not cheap grace.” Following Christ includes commitment and sacrifice.

Our worship must be centered around Christ's death and resurrection, salvation, redemption, His return, Who God is, all He has done and how this Almighty God desires a relationship with His creation. At the same time, this relationship demands a surrender of personal desire that welcomes the remolding of our character that is consistent with the new nature He has given.  The benefits of our relationship with Christ should never be minimized, but the cost of the commitment cannot be overlooked. Worship is God-centered. The focus of worship is not to meet our needs but to return to God the praise and thanksgiving to Him who alone is worthy. At the same time, as we are obedient in this recognition, God miraculously meets our needs.

Worship that is designed as an “infomercial” is shallow, gimmicky and lacks depth. Worship must be accessible to those attending, but not compromised just to bring in the crowds. Jesus never did the miracles just to bring in the crowd. In fact, Matthew 5:1 states that “When he saw the multitudes, he called his disciples to himself and when he sat down he began to teach them {the twelve} saying...” Nor was he worried when the crowds didn’t understand what he meant by “eating his flesh and drinking his blood” and began to leave. His desire was to test the commitment of the twelve: “Will you also go?” Peter replied, “To whom shall we go? You alone have the words of life!”   [John 6:55-69]

Worship is that celebration and thanksgiving for all He has done and will do, but it is also that obedient commitment to follow Him, to allow His Holy Spirit to cut away the rough edges of our personalities until we reflect the Son of God. We cannot have one without the other.

No comments:

Post a Comment