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In the 15th century, Martin Luther wanted to renew genuine worship. For centuries monks had kept the scriptures and sacred music locked away in monasteries. But after printing press put the Gutenberg bible back in the hands of the common man in the 1450’s, Luther worked to put worship back in the hands, and minds of the common man to fuel the revival that swept Europe. History says that Luther wrote new hymns to bar tunes and folk songs. His goal to implant the seed of God’s word deep in the hearts and minds of his listeners centered around these common melodies. He hoped that when men  went about their daily routines, the Holy Spirit could bring to mind eternal truth. Charles Wesley continued this approach when we wrote over 6000 songs for Christian worship on the 18th century.

Between Luther and Wesley’s day, the Protestant Reformation gave birth to another explosive renewal in the arts. Symphonic composers like Handel, Beethoven and Mozart rose to the forefront of their craft, and many of their works were dedicated to the King of Kings, and Lords of Lords. Today, concert hall audiences still stand and sing along at the climax of Handel’s Messiah. Imagine pipe organs and orchestras performing the Halleluiah Chorus on stately cathedrals and vaulted concert halls throughout the last 3 centuries. Classic music in the 21st century, Handel and Beethoven were contemporary musicians of the 16th and 17th century.

In the 20th century, the Jesus movement and the charismatic outpouring that flowed across the American church gave birth to another revolution in contemporary music. Even though the traditional church was hesitant to change, today contemporary Christian music is on its way to becoming traditions for the 21st century church.

Worship is never about the outer form, or style of music. Worship is about the heart of the worshipper. Whenever our hearts are more concerned about what is on the outside than the whole hearted devotion on the inside, we are in need of another revival. Real worship must be genuine, contemporary worshiper, heartfelt, and surrendered.

Looking into the scriptures, another idea is essential to genuine worship. Abraham stood at the foot of Mt Moriah. He’d waited for 25 years for his son Isaac, raised him for another 13, and now he’d traveled three days to a mountain’s name whose name means “God will see” to offer him, at God’s request, as a sacrafice.

Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you. (Gen 22.5 KJV)

Abraham’s worship included:

  • He was obeying God, without hesitation.
  • He was going with the full intent of sacrificing his son.
  • His faith and relationship with God was so deep, that he knew that Isaac was the son that God had promised.
  • He intended to kill his son, not to please god, but to obey him
  • He knew that he would also return with his son, because God is faithful to keep his promises.

Genuine worship, praise and prayer that changes our hearts and pleases God includes personal cost. Abraham learned the lesson by obeying God, and trusting him with the results. David also said that he wouldn’t offer a sacrifice that didn’t’ come at personal cost to himself, and he learned these hard lessons the same way – by what he did.

And Araunah looked, and saw the king and his servants coming on toward him: and Araunah went out, and bowed himself before the king on his face upon the ground. And Araunah said, Wherefore is my lord the king come to his servant? And David said, "To buy the threshing floor of thee, to build an altar unto the Lord, that the plague may be stayed from the people. And Araunah said unto David, Let my lord the king take and offer up what seemeth good unto him: behold, here be oxen for burnt sacrifice, and threshing instruments and other instruments of the oxen for wood. All these things did Araunah, as a king, give unto the king. And Araunah said unto the king, The Lord thy God accept thee. And the king said unto Araunah, Nay; but I will surely buy it of thee at a price: neither will I offer burnt offerings unto the Lord my God of that which doth cost me nothing. So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver. (2 Sam 24.20-24 KJV)

Genuine praise, worship and prayer aren’t about how we feel. These essential pieces of a Christ-centered life aren’t about the environment around us, or the music we listen to. Genuine worship flows from a heart that’s surrendered to God, loves Him, gives up your rights voluntarily, obeys Him and follows wherever He leads.


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Comment by Gene Kimel on July 24, 2013 at 7:51am

I really appreciate what you have said.  My wife is on the worship committee at our church and they have had many discussions regarding worship in our church.  There is a tension between the traditional form of worship and the comtemporary form of worship.  What you have discussed is really the essence of worship, which is a heart surrendered to almighty God.  Also, the fact that it has a cost is a very important point.  I would like to share this with the worship committee and that is why I requested you as a friend. 

Comment by Cindy Cleaver on June 4, 2013 at 7:44am

Excellent. So true.

Comment by Michelle Latreille on May 20, 2013 at 3:43pm

This is something we as humans need to be reminded of often.

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