What do true worshipers do?
You’re a worshiper. I’m a worshiper.
There’s no question about that. The questions are:
- What are we worshiping?
- What kind of worshipers are we?
- What worship matters to God?
TRUE WORSHIPERS MATTER
Bob Kauflin addresses these concerns in his new book, True Worshipers: Seeking What Matters to God.
“The worship of God matters. . . . There is nothing more foundational to our relationship with God and to our lives as Christians.”
I’ve been following Kauflin’s work for several years, so I know he’s the real deal. He’s a pastor, worship leader, blogger at WorshipMatters, and director of Sovereign Grace Music. And he’s now the author of two wonderful books.
I recommend his first book Worship Matters for growing in your personal worship of God.
And now I also recommend this second book, True Worshipers, where Kauflin lays out why our worship matters to God—and why it matters to us.
TRUE WORSHIPERS RECEIVE
Kauflin starts off strong: “It takes God to worship God.”
“Our first responsibility as Christians is not to give to God but to receive from him. . . .when it comes to being a true worshiper, receiving from God is our calling from first to last.”
God both invites us and enables us to worship him. Worship is our response to his initiative.
“We come to God by grace or we don’t come at all. We come by receiving a gift, not by doing a deed. We don’t create worship; we respond to what we’ve received in Jesus Christ—eternal life.”
TRUE WORSHIPERS EXALT
True worship requires humility on our part. Without it, our worship takes a wrong turn, exalting things other than God as we seek our own satisfaction elsewhere, i.e., idolatry
Exalting God shows that we remember he exists, and that we value him.
“When we love something, we attach worth to it. We’re saying to others, ‘This is worthy of my thoughts, time, labors, and affections.’ Loving God persuades others that God is desirable, good, and satisfying. Loving God is distinct from loving things about God. It’s the difference between Bible knowledge that leads to pride and that which leads to praise.”
TRUE WORSHIPERS GATHER
While, yes, we can (and should!) worship God when we’re home alone (and at work, at play), there’s something unique about gathering with family to worship God together.
Kauflin enumerates these benefits we receive when we worship in community:
- Remembering and rehearsing the gospel
- Receiving God’s Word together
- Mutual serving and caring
- A greater awareness of God’s presence
- Demonstrating our unity in the gospel
- Sharing the sacraments
- A greater display of God’s glory
Kauflin goes on to explain more actions that true worshipers do: They edify, sing, encounter God, and anticipate eternity. To be counted among the worshipers of God, “there can be no higher purpose . . . and there can be no greater joy.”
May we each be numbered among that group of true worshipers.
“The critical question is not Do I have a voice? but Do I have a song?”
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“Worship is a gift we receive before it’s a task we perform.”
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“It brings no glory to God if we claim deep affection for God while harboring ill will toward people.”
~ * ~ * ~
“It should be clear by now that if we haven’t come to receive, we won’t have anything to give. This isn’t self-centered Christianity. It’s acknowledging that we have no resources in ourselves, and that from him, through him, and to him are all things (Rom. 11:35–36).”
~ * ~ * ~
“We meet together as redeemed saints to remind each other whose we are, how we got here, and why it matters.”
~ * ~ * ~
“There’s no context or group on earth quite like the gathering of God’s people. God has uniquely designed the church for true worshipers to experience, enjoy, and be edified by their common life in Christ. Every time we meet, God is eager and able to do more than we can ask or think according to the power at work within us (Eph. 3:20). There are no normal Sundays.”
* * *
My thanks to Crossway
for the review copy of this book
- Links, books, and other things I love – November 2015
- Who are you avoiding?
Oh. This sounds excellent.
Sometimes I go into worship (whether privately in my home or publicly with the body) thinking that I have nothing to offer, nothing to give. I am tired. I am sick. I am overwhelmed. And my response is often either to be angry – angry at myself for being tired or at my circumstances for being overwhelming – or to weep – frustrated that I can’t even conjure worship. What a wonderful reminder that we always come to God with nothing to offer – and that He always gives us exactly what we need (both for the present moment and for eternity). And when we receive Him, we can give Him back the worship He deserves. Lovely.
Yes, it is an excellent book! And I love his premise that we first receive. It’s not the philosophy I grew up with: I was taught that we come only to give, give, give. But as an adult, I’ve learned otherwise that if we don’t first receive from God, what do we have to give? It’s a more beautiful way to live.
Wonderful graphic! This author has a timely word for us right now. You’ve touched on many truths in your post that I loved hearing. Worship is powerful and something we need to embrace daily. Right on!
I agree, Mary. Kauflin really has a way of getting to the heart of the matter with words that make sense to all of us. I appreciated this book so much.
It’s a PTSD thing, but I’ve never been fond of group worship. It’s not a comfortable setting.
Come to think of it, I don’t even know how I would define worship, because I don’t really DO that. I know the job that the Almighty’s set me to do, and try to execute that to the best of my ability. I probably should spend time reflecting on His grace, Holiness, and all that…but I don’t. It doesn’t seem to be what He wants of me.
There are two dozen small souls He’s placed in my care, and a message to deliver through writing. That seems to be His assignment,and I’d best stay with it, I guess.
I haven’t thought of this in regards to PTSD; interesting perspective. I appreciate how you make me think of things in ways that I hadn’t considered before. Sometimes we define worship too tightly. I’d say that your care of animals is an offering of worship to God….
Interesting set of questions. What am I worshipping? I need to remember that one as it draws my heart back to God and off the item/problem/desire I am longing for instead of him. Great question to put into my journal. Thanks, Lisa
Yeah it’s so easy to get drawn away into the weeds before we even know it. I know all about that. 🙂 I appreciated the thoughts in this book so much. Glad that question resonated with you, Jean.
makes me want to check out both books Lisa. Good review.
I think you’d like both of Kauflin’s books, Bill. Good material and steeped in scripture.
Hi Lisa! I think sometimes the word ‘worship’ isn’t well understood. There are so many things that worship is, and it probably does take a book to get started!
I like his point about being called together to worship. My private prayer is very good, and important. But we aren’t called to be single/alone/insular. We need each other!
We do need each other, Ceil. I’m like you—my private prayer/worship time is very important to me, but I also need that time together with others. It’s not either/or, but both/and. So thankful for books like this to help put our common thoughts into common words!
These words, “We come by receiving a gift, not by doing a deed. ” are I needed to hear today, Lisa. I’m a “doer” by nature but I’m slowly learning to be a receiver of His gifts. Thank you so much for the review and for sharing these specific points.
Good to hear from you, Dianna! I pray for you often and hope all is well in your world.
I was trained to be a “doer” too; only in adulthood have I begun to understand the “receiving” part. It’s made a glorious difference! Love you, sweet friend.