NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Miss Bessie was well known at Oakland Baptist Church, especially for her loud singing from the pews every Sunday morning.
Something unexpected, however, happened to Miss Bessie that could have easily discouraged her from worshipping God with the same enthusiasm — throat cancer. But she didn’t let her illness stop her. After losing her voice, she kept on worshipping God the best way she could at the Corinth, Miss., church.
Miss Bessie held high her arms and hands and continued praising the Lord in worship until cancer took her life.
Worship for her was a lifestyle.
Miss Bessie is among the examples of how worship should be a key part of a Christian’s identity cited in “Seven Words of Worship: The Key to a Lifetime of Experiencing God,” a new book from the B&H Publishing Group of LifeWay Christian Resources. Authors Mike Harland and Stan Moser write about the importance of worship and explain what worship is by using seven words — creation, grace, love, response, expression, presence and experience.
Harland is director of worship for LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. He holds a master’s degree in church music from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and is a choral musical producer and worship songwriter.
Moser is a Christian music and publishing executive who has led Word Records, Star Song Communications and Maranatha! Music. He also has helped develop artists such as Amy Grant, Bill Gaither and Twila Paris. Moser currently is president of Spin 360, which provides worship resources for more than 1,000 churches.
“These seven words of worship can become your keys to a lifetime of experiencing God,” Harland and Moser write. “We were made to worship Him in every part of our lives.”
Combining a mix of Bible stories, personal testimonies and wisdom learned, they 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 … to the individuals whose stories we’ve shared with you, God’s amazing presence is a proven reality,” the authors write. “Yes, God’s amazing presence is still available today.”
Harland and Moser pull from their years of experience to explain the importance of worship in a Christian’s life.
Worshipping the Lord, they write, should be the reason people get up in the morning. It should be pure, simple and honest. Sometimes, however, people get too caught up in worship styles rather than who they are worshipping.
Worship is often a popular topic of debate — everybody seems to have an opinion on how it should be done correctly, the authors note. Questions that often pop up include: “Does your church have a contemporary or traditional worship service?” “Do you like hymns or praise choruses?” “What about a praise band?”
Worship should only be about communicating with God, Harland and Moser emphasize.
“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,” the authors write. “There is no substitute for time spent in God’s presence.”
Unfortunately that time often gets whittled away in the busyness of life. 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, the authors point out.
“The battleground was temptation, but the core issue was worship,” Harland and Moser 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 is always the same in Scripture, the authors write. “For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve only Him.'”
“We can always expect resistance. … Worship is our response,” Harland and Moser 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.”
In conjunction with the book, LifeWay also offers an eight-week small-group Bible study titled “Seven Words of Worship” and a music CD called “Seven Words of Worship Live.”
Shawn Hendricks is a writer in Richmond, Va.