Expectation vs. Experience

Posted: October 19, 2010 in Worship

Oh how I love a great “Worship Experience”! You know the kind, where you show up with a smile on your face and expectation in your heart. You look around and you see that you are not the only one. You can almost feel the presence of God before the corporate elements even begin. Sure enough, the band fires up the first song (whether it be a staple Worship song, or simply a secular prelude to go with the series/message). From that moment on, you are ready to let God lead you to a place that you have been many times before. A place that puts goosebumps on the your arm and makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up. As the bass from the kick drum and the bass guitar rumbles through your chest (and almost makes your heart stop), and the perfect gorgeous tone from the electric guitar stimulates your inner soul, you begin to enter into this “Worship Experience”…

But wait a minute, not a lyric has been sung (at least by you) that is honoring, or that is worshiping, celebrating, or even reflecting on the presence of God. While you are being moved emotionally, and maybe even feeling like for a moment you are not even on this planet, God convicts your heart by saying: “You don’t need this to worship me”. Sure, this is one way (a very meaningful, special, corporate way) But He knows the amount of time, thought, prayer, effort you have been putting into our relationship with Him. He knows that this “experience” you are looking for should be something that you encounter daily, and only amplified in such a glorious setting. We are called to worship God “in spirit and in truth“, so this means that any “experience” or “spiritual emotion” we have should be true to our relationship with the Father…

What about when you come into the doors of your home, place of employment, or even your local church…do you still come with the same level of expectation about God as you do at a big “worship” event? Is your heart fully prepared, excited, and ready to be shaken by the Holy Spirit? Why is it that we think we have to go somewhere big to have such an experience with God? Why do we put this idea of “worship” in a box? God’s idea of worship is so much bigger than we make it…

This past week my dear friend Trey Bailey and I talked about what God says about worship. We discussed what worship is: “Our response to God for what He has done for us”, and also we unpacked some “myths” about worship: (Myth #1: Worship=Music, Myth #2-Worship is a Sunday only Event, Myth #3-Worship is all about Emotion and no Truth, & Myth #4-Worship is All about Me) as well. In preparing for this talk, I was incredibly humbled to see what worship had meant to me (all of the myths at one time or another) throughout the course of my life. While I am still constantly learning about the heart of God and different ways to worship him, it’s easy to see that my idea of worship will never be exhaustive. There is obviously no one way in which we are called to worship Him.

I would encourage you to take some time today to simply ask yourself a few questions:

Does your personal relationship with God match your public display of affection toward Him in corporate worship?

Do you show up everywhere with an expectation that God will speak to you? If so, why not?

What is holding you back from truly experiencing God on a regular basis?

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Comments
  1. Chris, I enjoyed your bog. I actually listened to your podcast on Monday (due to missing it Sunday – camping). I thoroughly enjoyed seeing through your post what worship means to you and I could relate to the sensations of coming alive when the music first begins. Great job

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