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Worship With No Power

Worship With No Power

Kurtis Parks
King David Being Anointed by Samuel

My son Moses is obsessed with fishing. Since moving to Virginia, a land of rivers, ponds, and lakes, we decided to pick up a boat. I bought an older bass boat for a great price, and we couldn’t wait to get it out on the water. Everything about the boat looked perfect. No scratches, beautiful paint job, the interior was great, and the test run was flawless – we were ready to rock and roll. So on a sunny Saturday morning, Moses and I decided to go on a fishing trip down the James River. I unloaded the boat off the trailer with precision, we hopped into the boat, and I put the key into the ignition, but something didn’t feel right.

Looking down at my hand holding the keys, I could see that the 30-year-old ignition switch literally disintegrated. I pulled out the keys with a look of disappointment and confusion. I had just bought a 2,000-pound floating shell, with no power.

Maybe you can see where I’m going with this. Do you want to lead worship in a canoe, or a high-powered motorboat? One takes all your energy to move forward, the other is powered by a force you can’t explain. If the goal of your church service is to have a high-energy experience and impress people I would say you can do all of that with a few things in place. The songs can be top picks from CCLI, the
sound system, lights, and screens can be the latest technology, and even the band can be hitting all the excellence cylinders (am I going too far with the engine analogy?). You would have a fine, and probably even fun, Sunday morning, but would life change happen?

Experience VS Encounter

There is a tangible difference between an EXPERIENCE and an ENCOUNTER. Experiences are exciting but encounters change lives. Experiences might draw people in, but encounters will keep them coming back. Experiences will be talked about for a day, but encounters have books written about them. Only when the HOLY SPIRIT is present and moving can we have a spiritual encounter with the
living God.

WorshipOlogy Kurtis Parks

When we look at Scripture we can see the Godhead working in perfect unity, each with a beautiful role that points to the others. God the Father, Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit all point to one another and have unique positions in our daily lives as believers and worshipers. We pray to (and worship) God the Father, through Christ the Son empowered by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit’s role in worship can best be described by Jesus:

“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all
things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” (John 14:26)

The Holy Spirit Is Our Teacher

The Holy Spirit is our teacher, our helper, and even our comforter in times of need. Jesus said the Spirit will help us remember what Jesus said and taught. Think about this in the context of our services, and how we need the Holy Spirit to be present to do all of these things. The Spirit teaches in worship, as the words on a screen become life to those who need to be reminded of who God is. When we sing lyrics like “All my life you have been faithful”, people are reminded that God has never failed and always been faithful to them.

When we sing songs that are rich with scripture and theology, young believers are literally being taught and helped in their faith as the Holy Spirit seals the moments in their hearts. For those in our congregations who are hurting and wrestling with sickness, anxiety, and pain, the Holy Spirit is a comforter and uses songs to bring peace and joy (which are actually fruits of the Spirit). By neglecting the role of the Holy
Spirit, you would literally be saying “no” to be taught, helped, and even comforted.

God gave us the Son, who prepared the way for the Holy Spirit. Now check this out – The Holy Spirit always points us back to Jesus, who in turn shows us the heart of the Father. It is literally a perfect communion that always works together in harmony. This is what happens in worship. The Holy Spirit shines a light on Christ the Son and God the Father. Our worship must be directed towards God the Father, Creator of all things, and his Son Jesus Christ, the One that God exalted to the highest place, giving Him the name above every name (Phil. 2:9-11). Knees don’t bow to the Spirit, but to the Son. Tongues will sing and confess that Christ alone is Lord. The Spirit empowers us to worship the way we were designed to.

— — — — > > Worshipology: A Biblical, Practical, and Spiritual Guide to Living and Leading Worship by Kurtis Parks

The “Worship X Factor”

For worship leaders, the Holy Spirit is like the X factor in our leadership. I know personally as I lead a worship service, I’m really in the passenger seat, next to the Holy Spirit who is driving (AKA “guiding”) the set. We can plan and prepare, and I encourage you to do this with the utmost care and excellence, but we must be open and willing vessels who follow the leading of the Holy Spirit in our services. This is where Sundays go from mere “experiences” to “encounters”!

For instance, a few weeks ago in our worship service, we were ending one song and about to go into another when I sensed that God wanted to do something in that moment. So the band sort of “hung out” on an open pad, and we waited on the Lord. In that moment a prompting from the Holy Spirit led me to pray for people who were wrestling with back pain that morning. Nothing premeditated, just a moment of being led by the Spirit. After that service, several people came up to explain how God used that moment to bring healing in their lives. To God be all the glory!

The Worship Game Changer

There is a word that we have been talking about a lot within our team here at Destination Church – “anointing”. I believe the anointing is THE game changer in worship. We can have talented singers and musicians, and that goes a long way, but the anointing is like adding rocket fuel to the tank. Beautiful music can move emotions, but anointed worship can move hearts. It’s the difference between being touched by heaven, or being moved by feelings.

In the Old Testament, most of us are familiar with the story of Samuel showing up to choose the next king of Israel, and pouring the anointing oil over David, signifying that he would be the chosen vessel that God would use to lead his people. I think when it comes to skillful leadership and inspiration, David probably wasn’t the only option from Jesse’s lineup. It was the humility, heart for excellence, and willingness to be whatever he was asked to be that God’s anointing was drawn to. God knew that David would be an empty vessel for Him to fill with His Spirit. David played music in the fields for an audience of One, before he ever was invited to the palace to play for royalty.

So how do we walk in the anointing, and help our church encounter spirit led worship?

I believe there’s great power in prayer, and simply asking the Lord to pour His Spirit out and show His power. My friend Paul Wilbur and I were talking not long ago, and he said his prayer for this season is

“…no more declarations without a DEMONSTRATION!”

Wow, what a powerful prayer.

Ask God to make His power and His presence known in worship, through His Spirit. One thing I’ve learned through the years – The Holy Spirit never turns down an invitation! The more in communion you are with the Spirit, the better you will shepherd moments in God’s presence, and the easier you will recognize when God wants to step in and interrupt our plans! May we see a great outpouring of the Holy Spirit, as the Church lifts up Jesus in Spirit-led worship. Let’s crank up the engine!

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