Excerpt Chapter 6: Vague Can Be Dangerous

< 6: Vague Can Be Dangerous

Worship is the inward orientation…

Okay—not a bad place to start, but a bit vague.

And vague can be dangerous. Let me explain.

Our two older children, Lauren and Jacob, are two years apart in age.

When they were very young, let’s say 6 and 4, we were trying

to teach them that they could talk to God at any time

and about anything. It wouldn’t be uncommon for them

to pray out loud in the natural course of the day.

One afternoon on the car ride back from town,

Jacob began to pour his little heart out to the Father.

My heart was beaming. What openness to God.

I think I have something in my eye (sniffle).

I didn’t really hear the first few sentences but the

last one certainly caught my attention:

“…and dear Jesus…please put Lauren in a cage.” 

Jake’s desire to communicate with God was fabulous. It’s just that the content of his prayer needed some, shall we say, Biblical adjustment. The same thing applies to where we’re going with our desire to grow a bigger worship. If we left off right where we are now, (simply that worship is the inward orientation) we leave all sorts of opportunity for the wrong, or lesser, types of inner orientation to take hold. Next thing you know we could find ourselves right back at square one, a smaller worship (one hour a week and…).

We know we need to take another step, another level out that will help us keep going in the right direction. So, let’s pose a question here that might help: “Are there some basic, fundamental responses of the heart that would aptly describe this inward orientation?” I believe the answer here is yes. I am going to suggest two main components we can explore together. In this way, we get to the second statement in our description of a bigger worship: that it is “the inward orientation of all our heart’s…

reverence and affections…”

These are our two key, worshiping-heart components. Visually, we can depict them like this:

Two Parts of the Whole<

Songwriter and worship leader Matt Redman introduced two phrases into our worship vocabulary over the last decade or so that I think help capture this idea well. These phrases, while not word-for-word, add another level of insight to our discussion of reverence and affections. The first idea, the combination of Friendship and the Fear, is an album title while the second, Awe and Intimacy, was a teaching paradigm that he presented at conferences around the world.15

When I first heard this pairing it resonated with me deeply. My heart said yes, please! to both/and. The idea that I could know God and respond to Him in both a deep awareness of His Holiness and power, as well as draw near closely to my King, Savior, and Father began to call my heart to something wonderful. Something bigger. The proposition that these two realities could grow alongside one another and possibly interact as a necessary spiritual cross-pollination, captured my heart. It gave me some helpful distinction to consider whether or not I was bringing a full offering before God. It called me out to something more.

So, here’s something to think about: In worship are you more awe or intimacy, friendship or fear? Or in our terms—are you more reverence or affections? And are you willing to add to your natural (or learned) inclination the other side of this pairing in order to grow a bigger heart and life of worship? It will not be comfortable at first, but it will be so worth the effort.

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