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-- © GodSpeak International 2005 --
-- Do not republish without written permission from <copyright@godspeak.org> --

Author: Rodney Hogue <rodhogue@aol.com> http://www.icgrace.org
Editors: Teresa Seputis, Earlene Bown
Transcribers: Sharon Farris, Rita Joyce, Erma Kummerer, Fred Pekkonen

Prayer-School Course #32

Grace and Christian Values

By Rodney Hogue

Lesson 17
How To Become A Worshipper

Freedom or liberty are a part of extravagant worship. We need to be free before God. When I am worshipping the Lord, I'm free from condemnation, free from the fear of judgment of man. II Cor 3:17 tells us, "Now the Lord is a Spirit and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty." There is freedom. Liberty basically says that when I come into this house and I worship the Lord, I am not coming for man. I come to worship God (not man), therefore I can't allow the fear of man to determine how I worship God.

Let's talk about one aspect of worship: raising our hands to God. Some people don't feel comfortable raising their hands. The word of God says, "Lift your hands unto the Lord." It didn't add, "...if you feel like it." So we should all be free to lift our hands to the Lord in worship. Unfortunately, Some people are concerned about what the person sitting next to them is going to think about them if they raise their hands. Who cares? That is the fear of man. Some of you may be concerned that you brought somebody to the church with you, and they are going to think that you are strange. Okay, be a little strange, it is okay. We can't allow people with their problems and their issues or their judgment determine how we worship God.

Liberty says this: "I'm going to give people freedom to worship God. If they want to stand, then they stand. If they want to sit, then they sit. If they want to dance, let them dance. If they want to kneel, then let them kneel. If they want to shout, then let them shout -- as long as what they do is not distracting to the whole house and pulling the others out of worship. There are times when we have to tap someone on the shoulder. I look at them and say this is "flesh." When someone is distracting, we pull them to the side. For instance, if someone is dancing and stepping on people and knocking over everyone, then we stop them. That is very rare, but it does happen on occasion. There is freedom in the house to worship, unless it is messing with everyone else.

Praise has its protestors: the devil doesn't like it, your mind doesn't understand it because it is in the spirit realm, and your flesh may be uneasy with it. Those are the three primary categories that are uneasy and protest praise (the devil, our mind and our flesh). God wants to push past that and begin to bring freedom to the soul.

Another important characteristic of extravagant worship is that it will take on the various Biblical expressions. If the Bible talks about it, then it is ok to do in worship in the service. What are the biblical expressions of worship? Look in the book of Psalms, what's there about worship? There is quite a bit, including clapping, tambourines, dancing, shouting, raising your hands, singing, kneeling, being still, playing instruments, laying prostrate (on one's face on the floor). All of that is in the book. If you want to know what is appropriate in worship, then get familiar with the Book. Read the book of Psalms because it is full of expressions of worship. If you want to know what is appropriate in worship, read your Bible.

God has called all of us to be extravagant worshippers! What do you need to do to become a worshipper?

First, you need to pursue every opportunity to engage in public worship. The reason for public worship is so that you can pursue a lifestyle of private worship, not just for the sake of public worship itself. A lot of people can engage in public worship, but that is where it stops. My question is: What are you like when you and God get together? What about private time? Do you and God get together -- do you all spend time together? What do you do when it is just you and God? When you are alone with God, you don't have to worry about the fear of man. You can do whatever you want and nobody is going to look at you, except maybe the angels. You can dance all you want.

You can always tell an extravagant worshipper, not only will they worship corporately, they will also worship and cut loose with God in their private time. Some of the best worship times I have are not in church services, and they are not with anybody else, except me and God. That is the place where we want every believer to get to. We want you to be an extravagant worshipper at church, and also when you are alone with God, when nobody is looking.

We should pursue excellence (but not performance) in worship. I think we need to be the best we can be while worshipping God; this is the objective. We are not looking for perfect people, perfect singers with perfect voices. If God wanted all of us to be singers, then He could have given us all voices. God does not require us to be great singers, but anything that you do, you need to do your best. God is looking at our hearts. When it comes to singing unto the Lord, do your best.

Let me give you a few pointers, a mini voice lesson for those of you who have never had it. (The only reason I'm doing it is so that you can improve the way you worship.) Many of you really have good voices. Many of you think that you are tone deaf, but you are not. If you work at it, a lot of things could be developed. God gave us these vocal chords, which are just a set of muscles, but we need to train our voices. If you play tennis, do you spend time training? Do we spend time training and developing our muscles? If you are an athlete, you spend time training and developing your muscles. Of course you do; the answer is yes. Well, if this is a set of muscles, then they need to be trained. If Sunday morning is the only time you train your voice, then you need to work on it and develop it.

The best thing that many of you can do is consider your posture. Look at your design: God gave you vocal chords and a diaphragm. Don't breathe from your chest, but from your diaphragm. Standing is the best posture; if you are sitting, then lean back, because the more air you have, the stronger your voice will be. The more air you have, the better you will be. Some of you would sound so much better if you would just change your posture. You want to minimize the air flow coming through your vocal chords, which means you don't want to expel all of your air at once.

Have you heard someone sang and hold a note for a long time? What's going on there? There is a minimum amount of air flowing through the vocal chords, thus giving you more control. Some of you just need to practice this stuff -- just minimize the amount of air and control it. God gave you a sounding board in your body to help resonant sounds in your chest. Basically, your vibration flows in and out of it. The nasal cavity is not the place for resonation of your singing, the chest is. How do you know if you are using your nasal cavity or your nose? Next time you sing, hold your nose. The nasal cavity is not the place to resonate and you don't want to sound like you are in the shower.

Another thing you can do is record yourself and listen to it. I didn't say play it for the family or the neighbors, but listen to yourself! A lot of times you go flat and you don't know you went flat. But when you listen to yourself, you will know when you go flat.

The last thing I will say is: whenever you sing, pronounce your words like when you talk. A lot of times people start pronouncing their words differently when they sing. Sing the way you talk. You will pick that up when you listen to yourself, when you record yourself.

Don't try to imitate others. Be who you are and use your voice. God gave you a voice. Sing like you would speak. This will make all the difference in the world. You will pick this up when you record yourself. Sing like you would speak. Okay, so now you have had a mini voice lesson.

The next time you worship, celebrate the Lord and experience what we have been talking about. Make exalting Him your primary objective. Start with the outer court, but don't stay there. Move into the inner court and then move right in into the Holy of Holies. Enter into intimacy with our God as you worship. Focus your attention on Him and make it all about Him and not about you or what you desire to get out of it. Bless the Lord by worshipping, and I guarantee you that He will bless you back and reveal more of Himself to you.

-- © GodSpeak International 2005 --
-- Do not republish without written permission from copyright@godspeak.org --

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