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RESOURCE: 7 words of worship

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Miss Bessie was known at Oakland Baptist Church for her exuberant singing from the pews every Sunday morning.

Something unexpected happened to Miss Bessie, however, that could have discouraged her from worshiping God with the same enthusiasm — throat cancer.

But Miss Bessie didn’t let it stop her. After losing her voice, she kept on worshiping God as best she could. She held high her arms and hands and continued praising the Lord in worship until cancer took her life.

For Miss Bessie, worship by song was something more than simply voicing words. It was an act of honoring Him.

In “Seven Words of Worship: The Key to a Lifetime of Experiencing God,” a new book from the B&H Publishing Group, Miss Bessie is among the examples of worship being a key facet of a Christian’s identity. Authors Mike Harland and Stan Moser describe worship by using seven words — creation, grace, love, response, expression, presence and experience.

“These seven words of worship can become your keys to a lifetime of experiencing God,” they write. “We were made to worship Him in every part of our lives.”

Harland is director of worship for LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention and Moser is president of Spin 360, which provides worship resources for more than 1,000 churches.

Combining a mix of Bible stories, personal testimonies and wisdom learned, Harland and Moser write about how believers can make worship come alive in their own lives and ultimately in their churches. Worship, they emphasize, is not just something to do in Sunday morning services. And it’s not just something to read about in the Bible.

“From Abraham to Nehemiah to Mary” -– and to individuals whose stories are recounted in the book – “God’s amazing presence is a proven reality,” the authors write. “Yes, God’s amazing presence is still available today.”

Harland and Moser write that worshiping the Lord should be the reason people get up in the morning; it should be pure, simple and honest. They observe, however, that many people in today’s churches get too caught up in worship styles, rather than who they are worshipping.

Worship often is a popular topic of debate, with most everybody having an opinion on how it should be done correctly, the authors observe. Questions that often pop up include the following: “Does your church have a contemporary or traditional worship service?” “Do you like hymns or praise choruses?” “What about a praise band?”

Worship, however, should only be about communicating with God, Harland and Moser write.

“Spending time in God’s presence — getting to know Him in the most intimate parts of our heart and soul — gives us the foundation to really believe all He has planned for those of us who love Him and are called according to His purpose,” they write. “There is no substitute for time spent in God’s presence.”

Unfortunately that time often gets whittled away in a busy life, Harland and Moser write, as Christians live in a world full of things that compete for their attention and their worship.

Jesus dealt with the same situation in Matthew 4:8-11, Harland and Moser point out.

“The battleground was temptation, but the core issue was worship,” they write. “The enemy wanted Jesus to worship something other than God, but Jesus drew upon the Word of God to fight the battle.”

The answer to this temptation, Harland and Moser write, is always the same in Scripture: “For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve only Him.'”

“We can always expect resistance…. Worship is our response,” the authors write. “Worship is our response to God’s revelation of who He is and what He has done.

“Worship is our destiny throughout all eternity…. [God] wants to hear your voice of praise and adoration more than you could ever imagine.”

LifeWay also offers an eight-week small-group Bible study likewise titled “Seven Words of Worship” and a music CD, “Seven Words of Worship Live.”
Shawn Hendricks is a writer in Richmond, Va.

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  • Shawn Hendricks