Worship Psalmist Style
Monday, October 5, 2009


“How lovely is Your dwelling place, O Lord of Heaven’s Armies.  I long, yes I faint with longing to enter the courts of the Lord.” Psalm 84:1

                Some churches understand worship, most don’t.  But when you enter such a church, you find a refreshment for your soul that is life changing.  The psalmist had found that kind of worship experience in the Temple of Jerusalem.  That drove him to write, “A single day in Your courts is better than a thousand anywhere else.”  Church does not have to be dull, routine, bound in traditionalism.  It can be a refreshment each day which will cause people to flock to their doors – not to get their ticket punched, not to be with old friends, and not because they have done it all their lives.  They will come because there is no other place where they would rather be.

                I occasionally find such places of worship.  I have long been a fan of River Crossing Church in Jackson, Wyoming.  Pastor Mike Atkins and his team obviously have been in the Temple experienced by the psalmist.  Each time I visit, I find the meaning of the 84th Psalm.  This past week on our journeys we found another such worship in Colorado Springs.  It is so wonderful.  “I long, yes I faint with longing to enter the courts of the Lord.”  My question to ponder this day is why are such churches a rarity instead of the norm.  What I have noticed is that true worshiping churches have ordinary people preaching, singing, praying, and serving and these are the very same kind of people that attend almost every church in America.

                I think the clues to my question lay in the 84th Psalm.  First, there is a genuine longing to be in the presence of God.  Descriptors of that longing are lovely, faint with longing, joyfully, joy (4 times), singing Your praises, mind sets on pilgrimages, refreshing springs, a single day is better than a thousand years,  and the Lord our God is our sun and our shield.  Maybe the answers begin by these descriptors.  Today, the descriptive attitudes of worship are dread, sermons too long, great game on TV today, lousy music, etc., etc.  So, the first clue to wonderful worship is a joyful and cheerful attitude of the worshipers. 

                The second clue to wonderful worship is a very high attitude of God.  The psalmist clearly saw the Lord as worth living his whole life for.   “A single day in Your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere.”  Church has been so relegated today as drudgery, routine, people centeredness, and fear of truly worshiping God that we can’t wait to get out the back door and to a restaurant or to a football game.  We pray for God’s blessings on people, instead of people’s blessing of God.  We sing for entertainment instead of pouring out our hearts to our Creator.  Sermons are generally focused on feeling good, being prosperous, or how to have a better life, instead of transformative sermons to stir the Holy Spirit to conform our lives to Christ.  No wonder we don’t like church – God is somewhere else and that is fine with most Christians.

                The third clue to wonderful worship is our mindset.  The psalmist said, “What joy for those whose strength comes from the Lord, who have set their minds on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem.”  Every day we are on a pilgrimage to somewhere.  Even a dull and sedentary day is a pilgrimage – it is just a journey to nowhere.  But when our minds are set on the eternal God and worshiping Him, “what joy” lies before us.

                There are many lessons in this psalm, but notice the emphasis.  It is not on the worship leaders; it is not on the pastor; it is not on the musicians and singers.  The emphasis is on God and our yearning hearts for Him.  But here is where the church comes in.  If the church is centered on people, if their desire is announcements and accolades for human glorification, if the sermons are not drawn from the teaching of Jesus and the Apostles as given in Scripture, and if length of service is more important that waiting quietly upon the Lord, then it will never draw people to a proper ideal of worship.

Kingdom Road Ministries
PO Box 503
10 South Main, Suite 201
Victor, ID 83455

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