Worship & The Crucible Project
How do you define worship? Is it something you do on Sunday mornings at a church, or is it something different?
Several years ago, I heard a unique definition of worship given in a sermon. And ever since then my perspective on worship has changed.
The definition is this: Worship is whatever happens after knowing who I am AND knowing who God is AND understanding the difference.
KNOWING WHO I AM
Knowing who I am means knowing I am flawed, I am broken and that I have limits. It means understanding that I am not good enough to make myself righteous and holy and never will be. Knowing who I am requires me to look at the dark places in me – the things I hide, repress and deny. It means accepting that those parts are true of me and ultimately loving them. In addition, it means bringing those parts into the light and receiving God’s forgiveness and love.
KNOWING WHO GOD IS
Knowing God involves experiencing the presence and providence of God. In their best-selling book Experiencing God, Henry T. Blackaby and Claude V. King teach that a person comes to know God through experience and experience comes through taking steps of faith. This has definitely been the case in my life.
The times I have experienced God most in my life have come through taking steps of faith. I wish I had the time and space to tell you the different times this has happened. Each time I have come to know God more and, as a result, I have come love God more.
Knowing who God is also means acknowledging His sovereignty over all things, including me. He is God. I am not. A daily struggle I have is between living life on my one and learning to depend on God. I’m ashamed to admit, much of my life is lived on my own power.
Knowing God means understanding His love for everyone, including me. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His one and only Son.” It is easy for me to see that God’s love is for everyone, yet it can be so difficult to believe His love is for me too.
THE HEART OF WORSHIP
And then what happens? How do you respond in those moments when your heart catches a glimpse of the glory of God and knows how desperately you need God?
- Do you celebrate?
- Fall to your knees?
- Express gratitude?
- Extend compassion to someone?
- Surrender your self-reliance?
- Take a step of faith?
- Believe in your gold?
- Do you go for a walk and breathe in the beauty of God’s creation?
- Or do you simply relax in a quiet spot and release the cares and noise of the world?
The answer is yes. Whatever you do in those moments is worship!
In Romans 11 we read this:
“33Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
How unsearchable his judgments,
and his paths beyond tracing out!
34 “Who has known the mind of the Lord?
Or who has been his counselor?”
35 “Who has ever given to God,
that God should repay them?”
36 For from him and through him and for him are all things.
To him be the glory forever! Amen.”
And then notice what comes next:
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.”
This passage tells us because all things are from God, through God and for God (knowing who God is) AND because I am not wise enough to be His counselor and God owes me nothing (knowing who I am), then our bodies serve as living sacrifices. How you live your life is worship.
Why is this important to us? I believe the work we do in The Crucible Project highlights this definition of worship. We teach, encourage and give men opportunities to understand who they are in deeper ways.
- I have learned a lot about myself when I have taken parts of me out of shadow and put them into the light.
- I have learned a lot about God when I have been accepted and loved just as I am.
- I have experienced God’s grace in rich, fulfilling ways during these times.
And then I worship. I worship God for who He is, for His everlasting love, for being ever patient with me, for showing me favor, for providing and protecting me, for being a dream maker, for delighting in me and for much, much more.
Worship is whatever happens after knowing who I am AND knowing who God is AND understanding the difference.
- So what about you? What is your understanding of who you are?
- What is your understanding of who God is?
- Which part of the equation needs some work in order for you to worship?
- Does the life you are living right now express a heart of worship?
By Barry Thomas
Barry is Chairman of the Board for The Crucible Project. He has been a catalyst in bringing and growing our ministry throughout Texas. He is a senior operations engineer for Concho Resources in Midland, Texas. Prior to that, he served in ministry for 13 years at churches in Oklahoma City, Chicago and Midland. Barry holds a master’s of divinity from Bethel University in St. Paul, Minn. He also holds bachelor’s degree in petroleum engineering from Colorado School of Mines. Barry completed his initial Crucible weekend in August, 2005.
Photo credit: Thomas Hawk via FLICKR