Wednesday, September 25, 2013


Worship is more than singing and preaching. It is ascribing the correct worth to God that is subsequently expressed in ALL ASPECTS of our life. In simple terms, it could be called obedience. Abraham, when ready to offer Isaac in obedience to what he thought was the will of God, said he and the lad would go yonder and WORSHIP. [Genesis 22:5] You know what he meant by that. He was just going to obey God in his actions of sacrifice. [Not knowing, of course, God had other things in mind, including a ram in the thicket.]

In the same way, there is no such thing as a differentiation between the secular and the spiritual in the life of a believer. ALL THINGS are sacred and we worship God in the process of ALL of life's activities by seeing them as gifts from our Father, whatever their particular nature. Yes, even football games qualify. [See 1 Corinthians 3:21-23]

That is not to say that in the biblical narrative, God's people didn't come together and worship God corporately. They did. And they used music and speaking the Word of God in the process. So worship isn't an either/or at all. It is intended to be both individual and corporate as well.

I would like to share a simple concept concerning the flow of corporate [congregational] worship that I've taught through the years which I gleaned from Psalm 95. It has an emphasis on three things that I believe will assist in making corporate worship result in our experiencing the presence of the Father, which is the point of it as I'm sure you know. The sequence is VERY important as you will see.

One is CELEBRATION____[See Psalm 95:1-2] These are songs and choruses where we sing to one another in joy about coming together. It is testimonial in nature. "I'm standing on the promises of God" illustrates this. "I will enter His courts with praise" does as well. These are usually very robust, even loud, and exciting in nature. Hands clapping, hands raised, and shaking hands all around, if not hugging. It  is just part of the experience. When this is at the beginning of a service, it makes for a joyous atmosphere indeed. You get the idea. 

Please don't say, "Oh we should enter His presence in reverence," meaning quietness is reverence. If that were true, a cemetery would be the most reverent place on earth. I don't think so! Reverence is simply recognizing and esteeming the worthiness of God and is almost a synonym for worship. it is to be experienced in everything in life as already pointed out, but in every kind of emotional moment corporately as well. That means in celebration [noise] as well as adoration. [Quietness]

Two is CONTEMPLATION___[See Psalm 95:3-5] These are songs and choruses where we sing about God, His nature, work, character, and such. "How Great Thou Art" is one that does this. "Majesty" is another. "The Old Rugged Cross." Hundreds of hymns and choruses I can think about. These are thoughtful and reflective in nature and would probably see a diminishing of things loud into things profound. Again, you see where I'm going.

Three is ADORATION___songs and choruses sung to God. I love you Lord, Open My Eyes, I want to see Jesus, is another. Holy Spirit breath On Me another. Here, it is quiet, broken, open, eyes focused on Him alone. Just you and Papa. It's like crawling up into His lap and speaking of hurts, fears, joys, whatever the case may be. 

The flow is for the purpose of bringing you ultimately to have eyes only and ears only for the Father as He speaks His Word through His messenger.You're never more ready to hear His Word, as Psalm 95 suggests, than at the end of that kind of experience. What's been described is a good and helpful tool for corporate/congregational worship where God's presence is desired to be experienced.

There is nothing magic or settled about this flow at all. It can come and go in moments without violating anything commanded or desired. But it does assist in those times when the corporate body is together ready to encounter, through the Holy Spirit, the living God, who is our heavenly Papa. I call it THE FLOW OF WORSHIP. 

Paul B. 


Steve Miller said...

Hey Paul,

Welcome back and trust you are getting stronger each day in health. John McArthur wrote a whole book on Worship and yet you nailed it right with one Psalm. This is so needed as the emphasis today is so much on what pleases me and how can I be entertained. Then I may leave if I am not entertained. Thank you for the reminder of worship being all that I am in response to all that He is. The first two verses of Psalm 100 are also good in reminding me to shout, sing, and serve joyfully. Many times all we want to do is shout and sing and forget the application of service. Thanks again brother.


Paul Burleson said...


Good to be back. Surgery's still pending, but as of now it cannot be before November 12th, if then. We'll see.

You probably see in this post what we experienced at Southcliff and did not know what was happening and only later came to be able to pinpoint the flow as I've described it here. Those were days worth remembering were they not!

Steve Miller said...


They were days worth remembering because of the beneficial impact on my life. I am still applying the vital truths learned in my missions ministry today. Truth never grows stale. Thanks for the surgery update.


Aussie John said...


I was struggling a little how to respond until I read Wade's latest article which embraces my understanding of Biblical worship for those living in the New Covenant.

When thinking about the subject Paul's letter to the Colossians, and the sound of Johnny Cash's voice singing the Gaither song "It is finished" always comes to mind, especially that first line which sets the scene:

There's a line that is drawn through the ages 
On that line stands an old rugged cross 
On that cross, a battle is raging 
To gain a man's soul or it's loss 
On one side, march the forces of evil 
All the demons, all the devils of hell 
On the other, the angels of glory 
And they meet on Golgotha's hill 
The earth shakes with the force of the conflict 
And the sun refuses to shine 
For there hangs God's son, in the balance 
And then through the darkness he cries 

It is finished, the battle is over 
It is finished, there'll be no more war 
It is finished, the end of the conflict 
It is finished and Jesus is Lord 

Yet in my heart, the battle was still raging 
Not all prisoners of war had come home 
These were battlefields of my own making 
I didn't know that the war had been won 
Oh, but then I heard the king of the ages 
Had fought all the battles for me 
And that victory was mine for the claiming 
And now praise his name, I am free.

Paul Burleson said...

Aussie J,

Great comment.

This is just a simple idea of a "flow" corporate worship might find helpful in our experiencing the reality of the presence of the Father with us.

I've long believed that when we come together with other believers for an experience of corporate worship we're not "doing" something that we hope God, off in heaven somewhere, will like [God is the audience idea] and bless us because of it.

That's more just religious activity and maybe even pagan, to me.

I'm into the understanding that it's a family gathering and the Father is present and to be experienced through His Spirit and His word by all.

Aussie John said...


I agree with your statement,"I'm into the understanding that it's a family gathering and the Father is present and to be experienced through His Spirit and His word by all". I realized that from your article.

My response was because it grieves me to see that, probably most, of our fellow believers don't understand that this experience is to be ours at all times,seven days a week.

Most of the "church" scene in this country subtly promotes, even though claiming otherwise, the idea that our Triune Father is only to be experienced in all His fulness at "officially" sanctioned meetings, overseen by "officers" of the organisation.

There is a general attitude that somehow, when a congregation leaves the building, the individual members of the Trinity have a parking spot reserved in the rafters ready to be summoned at the next meeting.

Paul Burleson said...

Aussie J,

Now this...."There is a general attitude that somehow, when a congregation leaves the building, the individual members of the Trinity have a parking spot reserved in the rafters ready to be summoned at the next meeting." funny, all too true, sad, and classic. LOL