Do you engage with God during the worship service? A Barna survey reports that eight out of ten believers do not feel they have entered into the presence of God or connected with Him during worship. This should not be the case. “True worshipers experience more than great music or stirred emotions during worship; they experience being in the presence of God.”
Noland offers practical suggestions for overcoming the challenges of worship. The first half of the book concentrates on individual worship and the second, on corporate worship.
Noland advises, “The first step to becoming a better worshiper is to become a vibrant worshiper Monday through Saturday.” After all, that is what we are here for.
David is used as an example of one who made worship a priority, observed a regular routine of private worship, regarded obedience as the highest form of worship, and worshiped amidst adversity.
“True worship must always be offered on God's terms, not ours. So we need to learn how God wants to be worshiped.”
It must be our priority because it is God's ultimate priority. It was Jesus' top priority on earth. There will be an increased awareness of God's presence, an increased delight in God's attributes, a more accurate picture of God, and an increased desire to be changed.
Noland provides examples, suggestions and tips to make worship a habit. He clarifies how idols keep us from worship and helps us identify them. Repent early and often, he says.
We must worship in adversity. “Our problems may not go away, but they are placed firmly within the context of God's sovereignty, power, mercy, and love.”
Noland looks to the book of Revelation to see what corporate worship is to be like. He quotes Tozer saying that any man or woman on earth who is bored and turned off by worship is not ready for heaven. Worship is the main activity of heaven. Some of it is loud. Some of it is contemplative. Some of it is repetitive.
Noland reminds us we must be teachable. We can start preparing for heavenly worship right now. The four compelling features of heavenly worship are: pure ascription (obsessed with God's intrinsic worth and ascribing to God alone the glory and honor due him, giving thanks), unapologetically passionate (whole heart and body – what holds us back), intergenerational (set aside your preferences), and multiethnic (welcome others with open arms, learn from ethnic worship).
He has eight “take away” points:
1 Make worship a priority.
2 Establish a regular routine for private worship.
3 Smash your idols.
4 Worship amidst adversity.
5 Focus on God's attributes during corporate worship.
6 Bring God your best worship.
7 Set aside personal preferences.
8 Embrace diversity.
Noland's advise: “Walk into church raring to go.”
This book can be used by individuals or a group. Questions are provided at the beginning of each chapter and a “ponder and apply” section at each chapter's end. He also has suggestions for pastors and worship leaders at the end of each chapter.
I've read lots of books on worship (for a class I taught a few years ago). None were as practical as this one. Every Christian should read at least one book on worship. Read this one first. You'll want your worship to be like that in heaven!
See more at www.heartoftheartist.org. Rory is the director of heart of the Artist Ministries, an organization dedicated to serving artists in the church. Songwriter, speaker, church leader, and consultant, Rory is the author of four books and currently serves as a part-time Pastor of Worship in Illinois.
Zondervan, 240 pages. Publisher information.
I received an egally from the publisher for the purpose of this review.