Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Extravagant Worship - Darlene Zschech

During the year 2000, 'Extravagant Worshippers' was the theme that I felt the Holy Spirit put in my heart to place as a banner over our worship team. As part of our weekly rehearsals we hold regular teaching nights, and everything that was taught that year was on this theme.

Our hunger for more of Him fuelled the year in a magnificent way and by the end of that year I was so excited at what 2001 would bring. So, I diligently sought the Lord for a new 'theme', the new banner and our statement of faith, for the first year of the new millennium.

Well... I was very humbled, as the King gently whispered in my ear... 'Daughter, you're not an extravagant worshipper yet.' When you feel God say something like that, you listen! So, I am not there yet and if we are to continue to call ourselves 'extravagant worshippers', I understand that we have a long way to go.
So... what does it mean to be an extravagant worshipper? It means to be excessive. It means to be over-generous. It means to be elaborate. It's over and above. It's extravagant. It means exceeding reasonable limits. Unreasonable with the cause of Christ just pumping away in your veins. I love that! Excessive, extremely abundant, expensive, superfluous, giving lavishly, costly, precious, rich, priceless and valuable.

Think about who you are as a worshipper... what you do as a worshipper and what you bring to offer as worship to Him. Are you over-generous? Do you exceed reasonable limits? Not just doing what is required. Not just fulfilling the basic level of commitment. Not trying to earn your right of passage. NO WAY! I'm asking you to have a good soul search and give yourself an appraisal. What do you bring to the table that represents extravagance?

I have had the honour of meeting some extravagant worshippers in my time... A young couple in our church that lost their young daughter through sickness, who worshipped their King through their overwhelming grief and are still doing so till this day.

... A young man in our church, left paralysed from the waist down through an accident, who was quickly back in church, tears running down his face, his arms
stretched Heavenward and his heart loving Jesus as he worshipped with thanksgiving.

... A friend of mine, a young married mum of four little ones, whose husband is in our worship team. She is always in church, always early, always full of joy and always found to be worshipping.

The Oxford Dictionary describes 'extravagant' as wasteful. This word particularly grabbed my attention, for one of the most beautiful accounts of worship in the Bible is found in Luke 7... the story of the 'sinful woman' who brought what was considered 'wasteful worship' by those around her. She wet the feet of Jesus with her tears, wiped them with her hair, kissed them... and then proceeded to pour her very costly alabaster jar of perfume on them. As she poured her offering out, He washed away her brokenness. As she loved extravagantly... He forgave extravagantly.

That action of elaborate love towards her King is a powerful example of true, heartfelt worship. Nothing to do with music or song, but all to do with being extravagant in devotion to her Saviour. What a beautiful story.

What is worship? What are we doing when we worship? True worship, the kind of worship that God seeks, is described in John 4:23 where it says... 'Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshippers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and His worshippers must worship in spirit and in truth.'

I have read and read that Scripture and meditated on it for many hours. True worship is when your spirit adores and connects with the Spirit of God. When the very core of your being is found in LOVING HIM... lost IN HIM. It is not about the songs, it is not about how big the choir is. All of those are wonderful expressions of worship, but they are not the essence of it.

The essence of worship is when your heart and soul, all that is within you, adores and connects with the Spirit of God. In fact, regardless of how magnificent the musical moments are, unless your heart is fully engaged in the worship being expressed... it is still only music. The pure song of a heart that is yearning for more of God, and less of himself, is the music that holds the key to so many victories... and delights the heart of our King.

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