Christians like to talk about church music and call it worship. Church music usually is a means by which Christians worship. But worship is much more than music. We even have our own “worship wars” in which we decide what “style” of worship is right, wrong, or most biblical. I still see the phrases “contemporary worship” and “traditional worship” plastered on church signs, as though worship can be defined by such descriptors.
Pastor, you will always have critics, and you will always have fans. At the end of the day, you need to have the guts to believe neither, but rather to allow your affirmation to flow only from the truth God has declared about you in His Word.
Jesus’ followers are constantly being tested – not in the sense that He’s trying to make us fail, but in the sense that He’s preparing us to pass. He tests us through trials and troubles, just as a craftsman “tries” or purifies metals in intense and melting heat. But the toughest of tests isn’t loneliness or loss. It isn’t suffering. It’s praise.
Yesterday, the Host Pastor of Praise, one of Saddleback’s Lake Forest venues, was unable to be at services and I happened to be standing in sight of our Program Director, so I was drafted into service to fill in for the day. Saddleback offers one message in many venues so that people who connect in worship through various styles can express themselves the way God wired them. And thus far, I think Praise is my own personal favorite place to sing on Sunday.
There are two things that will test a person’s character more than anything else: criticism and praise. Here’s the thing you probably don’t know about me. I’m pretty good at being pretty good when things are pretty good. But when the pressure is up, I sometimes fall apart. Ever happen to you?