Regardless of which point in the month you’re reading this, over the recent several weeks, our church has shared the joy of welcoming Mrs. Amber Hutchens, her husband James, and their daughters Cindy & Catherine to our family of faith! She is our new Minister of Music & Worship. Note, that these two terms are not synonyms. Often times we think of worship as something we do when we sing in “big church”. Yes, Amber will serve (Latin: minister) as she directs songs. Yes, Amber will take an increasing role in planning and coordinating our worship services. No, “music” and “worship” are not interchangeable terms.
Music is a valuable part of worship. Prayer is a valuable part of worship too. The reading of God’s Word is an equally valuable part of worship. Fellowship with brothers and sisters in Christ is a valuable part of worship. Observing the ordinances (baptism & the Lord’s Supper) properly is valuable as a part of worship. Finally, giving is a valuable part of worship. All of these elements are found in the Church in the New Testament, and should be found within the First Baptist Church of Walnut Cove too.
Among our five values (through which I preached a year (or so) ago), we would all agree that we – as a church family – value worship. Since 2015 (except for 15 CoViD-19 months), I’m sure our Choir has gotten extremely tired of hearing me say this: we aren’t here to put on a show, or impress anyone, or “perform” for anybody but the Lord. When we lift high our voices, declaring biblical truths to one another, we sing TO God. When we give or pray, or go to the Table to remember, we do so to God. When we dive into His Word and meditate upon its rich truths, we do so in order to more completely give our hearts, souls, minds, and strength TO God. Is God pleased with how well we’re doing these things?
Two paragraphs ago, I mentioned the contributing parts to healthy within the Church … corporately. Yes, we worship together as a church family, but if we let it stop there, we will find ourselves in a bad place indeed. Corporate worship is a precious thing; it’s a vital thing for the over-all health of our church, but worship is much, much more than just a thing we do at 11:00 on Sundays!
For us – all of us – we must worship individually. I define “worship” this way: a RESPONSE to who God is and what God has done. Has God done anything in the life of our church family? Of course! Has He done anything in your life personally? Has He moved in your household? Has He answered your prayer? Has He saved your soul from the eternity you deserve? Our very lives should be lived as a response to these things.
Let’s assume for a moment, something I know to be false. Let’s assume God has never done anything for you personally. “I am that I AM” He says to Moses from the burning bush. Creator of the universe, He is (according to Genesis 1). Holy and righteous and just He is. Omnipotent and omniscient and omnipresent He is. Merciful and compassionate and loving He is. Good, good Father, He is. So whether or not He’s ever done anything to you or for you, don’t you reckon He is still worthy of our worship, simply because of who He is? Is He worthy of our praise in music? Sure. Is He worthy of our obedience? Is He worthy of us witnessing faithfully? Is He worthy of our hearts, all day, every day? Is worship just something we do at 11:00 on Sundays? Is responding to God, in humility, in obedience, in faithfulness something you do every day? Is God pleased with how well I’m doing it?
Is He worthy, is He worthy
of all blessing and honor and glory?
Is He worthy of this? He is.
Rev. Andrew J. Reynolds