"Ladies and gentlemen, The Beatles!" shouts Ed Sullivan. Immediately the audience of mostly teenage girls begin to spontaneously combust into deafening applause, lifting of hands, jumping up and down, some even fainting or screaming to the point of ecstatic tears.
Whether you saw it for the first time on The Ed Sullivan Show back in 1964 or you have seen the replays of that event over the years, there is one thing that can't be overstated. Those fans had a passion and a "love" for The Beatles.
This was not a contrived display of adoration. The audience had not been to a 'worship workshop" to learn the proper and appropriate outward expressions of giving their praise to The fab four. This was not something that was "taught". This was real, honest, raw, abandoned....a lot of what we hear and look for in our modern worship events.
Those fans were not "going through the motions". They were obviously responding sincerely with all their hearts to something about the Beatles.
Their songs, the look ....something was resonating so strongly with these fans that they just HAD to express their feeling of gratitude, appreciation, admiration, praise, or whatever....
That scene, which was played out in stadiums over and over again that year was a picture of praise and worship if I've ever seen one. I realize that the "worship" was misdirected.
As much as I like The Beatles music, they or anyone else, are not worthy of that kind of adulation. Interesting that they were referred to as "teen idols", eh?
Idolatry?...perhaps. Honest and wholehearted?... definitely.
Seeing those old Beatlemania clips through the eyes of a believer, and through the eyes of someone who for the past 12 years has tried to encourage his own heart and congregation toward the Lord using traditional and contemporary worship music, I had some mixed reactions. One reaction was jealousy. Jealousy for The Lord. Jealous that The Creator of the universe, who spoke the worlds and us into existence out of nothing is little more than patronized by His children Sunday after Sunday with a few half hearted songs sung to His memory.
Maybe that's a little too strong.....maybe not. Of course I include myself in there as well, so my second reaction was one of sadness. Sad and a little embarrassed that too many times I have allowed all the blessings of the Lord and the "stuff of life" to distract me from giving myself wholeheartedly to Him on a consistent basis.
Over the past ten years I've had the privilege of teaching around the world at worship conferences hosted by YWAM, Integrity Music, Maranatha! Music, and many others. I see the need for biblical teaching on worship and I believe in exploring every biblical option in expressing our praise to God including but not limited to singing, shouting, dancing, kneeling, playing music, being silent, etc...(see Ps. 95).
I totally see the value in gathering together as often as we can and going deeper in our understanding of worship.
I just wish we didn't have to "learn it".
I just wish our worship and praise flowed spontaneously out of the overflow of a heart, preoccupied with the lover of our soul.
It means so much more to my wife if I respond to her and express my love to her in a way that is natural and real, instead of her having to tell me what she wants from me.
Study is good. Sermons are good. But there is nothing more beautiful than an honest expression of love and gratitude that spring from a changed heart.
Workshops are good. Information is good. But I believe we need more revelation. And that comes from God alone. As we cry out to God to reveal more of Himself to us, that will affect the way we worship, the way we live, the way we play or sing, the way we do everything.
Remember how the apostle Paul went from a Christian killing Pharisee to one of the greatest disciples in history? He wrote to the Galatians, "I did not receive [the gospel] from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I recieved it by revelation from Jesus Christ." (Gal. 1:12) In Ephesians he says, "I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know Him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened...." (Eph. 1:17,18)
As a worship leader, I can't expect to "lead" anyone where I'm not heading myself. So these days I'm praying prayers like this. "I cry out to you Lord, to restore a sense of awe towards you and towards your word. I pray for a childlike heart to be fashioned in me that I might be continually preoccupied with you Father, cultivating a sense of wonder at who you are and what you do.
I realize that I need a fresh revelation of You Jesus. I need to " see" you more with the eyes of my heart. I ask you to reveal more of yourself to me on a daily, moment-by moment basis. Soften my heart and deliver me from religious and cultural cynicism that have crept in.
Free me to express my worship to you in a way that you are worthy of. Let my life be a sacrifice of praise to You. Amen. "
worship leader, songwriter, producer
"Ladies and gentlemen, The Beatles!" shouts Ed Sullivan. Immediately the audience of mostly teenage girls begin to spontaneously combust into deafening applause, lifting of hands, jumping up and down,...