The hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth, for the Father is seeking such to worship him. John 4:23

There is a million dollar bill on my dressing table! But it’s no good. It’s fake. It came as a wrapper around a “Million Dollar Chocolate” bar. I leave it there to remind me how appearances can be deceptive. The few coins from my pocket change are worth more. They are the real deal. A million bucks? But all phony! The U.S. Treasury never even produced any such bill.

Worship can be and should be very real. Or it can be as phony as fool’s gold. Worship is not just good notes, rehearsed stage moves, great drums and guitars, smoke machines, and flashing lights. Worship may be enhanced through much team practice, but true worship totally involves a pure heart and a committed servant lifestyle. We need to discern the difference between good sounds and the worship of the heart.

Does the band take more time tuning up than it does praying through? Are the members of the band committed to holy living? Are they humble?

Worship is not a gig. Not a concert nor entertainment. A person who is not musically trained can truly worship. So worship is not just for skilled musicians. Certainly we appreciate great music and trained musicians. Where would the music world be without J.S. Bach or George Frederic Handel? We especially appreciate gifted musicians who also love to worship. They are anointed to lead us into the Lord’s presence. But merely hiring musically skilled performers will not result in Spirit-led worship.

Wonderful worship is a spiritual experience. Our hearts connect with our heavenly Father. Praise is an experience of the emotions, of the soul. Our souls need and embrace praise. But here is the problem: much of what church bulletins call “worship” never gets past the emotions. It may be rejoicing or thrilling celebration. But it’s not spiritual worship. A good worship leader aims to move beyond praise into true worship of the Father.

All the great heroes of the Bible were people of true worship. They worshiped “in spirit and in truth” even without the benefit of big bands and stage effects. How much more should we enter into worship today—with all the help of musical effects we have in our churches.


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