Contending For Worship

"Whole-hearted praise and worship in spirit and in truth will always require forceful men and women to contend together!   In so doing we lay hold of that aspect of the Kingdom!"

I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints. (Jude 3) 

Jude appealed to the believers to ‘contend’ for the faith. In this context the amplified Bible says the ‘faith’ is ‘the sum of Christian belief’. Whatever stimulated Jude to write this caused him to passionately appeal to believers to develop a forceful attitude, to contend for all things they believed. 

To contend in this context means to assert, to struggle or to fight the opposition. Opposition is anything that stands between us and wholehearted worship …whether it is spiritual opposition or internal resistance in our own soul. There are many aspects of Christianity I could address where we should contend. However, the Holy Spirit has me focusing on contending for and in our worship. We must fight against anything that inhibits or opposes fully honoring Him in worship.

The church in general has become complacent in praise and worship of our God. We have fallen into personal routines.  Human nature strives for comfort; comfort in every aspect of life; our home, our car, our furniture, our food, our music, etc.  Striving for comfort overflows into how we offer praise and worship to our God. We bring our personal comfort levels to corporate worship. Over time it becomes half-hearted rather than whole-hearted.

Comfort is, well, comforting…like a soft reclining chair…a quiet setting away from noise…a familiar way of doing something. Comfort implies a freedom from resistance in the soul and body. However, comfort over time breeds complacency. Complacency becomes the default setting in our soul and body. It’s the place we settle where there is no resistance. Complacency is like a stagnant pond. Over time we grow to like that pond. It's familiar and warm. However, stagnant ponds have no fresh water flowing in, no cool rains coming down, and no outflow to release the old and bring in the new. 

Complacent mindsets can develop in every church, every culture and every person unless the church, the culture, the person CONTENDS for fresh water, cooling rain and releasing outflow from their soul and body.

In praise and worship we develop comfort levels; the place we sit or stand in a gathering; the way we physically praise and worship; the level at which we participate. If we don’t lift our hands in worship, that’s our comfortable place. If we don’t sing, that’s our comfortable place. If we meditate, that’s our comfortable place. Over time doing the same thing becomes a stagnant pool because we are worshiping on a default setting. We are going through the motions but forgetting the mission! The mission is to honor, exalt, praise and worship God wholeheartedly in line with His Word.
It is at this place of stagnancy that we must CONTEND in and for the fullness of praise and worship. This stagnant place offers opportunity to draw upon the Spirit of God’s fresh water and rain. We draw by choosing to do something we have not done before! From the days of John the Baptist until now, the Kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing and forceful men lay hold of it. (Matt. 11:12)  We draw by forcefully engaging in our whole heart, taking captive every thought of internal resistance and submitting it to Christ.  We draw by forcefully moving out of what we have been doing into what we will do. We respond to the Word of God, what He says about praise and worship. We forcefully come into alignment with a fuller expression of praising and worshiping the Father. Whole-hearted praise and worship in spirit and in truth will always require forceful men and women to contend together!   In so doing we lay hold of that aspect of the Kingdom!

I encourage you to contend, to fight the good fight, to get beyond the default setting in your soul and move into the greater, fuller, whole-hearted dimension of our Father in praise and worship. Praise be to His Name!


New Songs, Vital Songs!

Praise the Lord. Sing to the Lord a new song, His praise in the assembly of the saints. (Ps. 149:1)   

David wrote these words prophetically to the ‘saints’; the church that would be birthed hundreds of years later. He was declaring that the church would sing ‘new’ songs in their gatherings. Five times in the Psalms David speaks of singing a ‘new song’. (Ps. 96:1; 98:1; 33:3; 40:3) David loved to praise and worship the Father. He loved to give glory to the Lord of Hosts. He passionately poured out his heart to the Father declaring His goodness, mercy, love, power, and greatness. From his heart would then come new songs, songs of the Spirit; songs birthed in the 3rd heaven and manifest here on earth. Such songs are for today, for the church, for you and me in personal and corporate worship. 

New songs are vital to spirit filled and spirit led praise and worship. They reflect a remnant mindset. They reflect our connection and communication with the Father by His Spirit. No one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. (1 Cor. 2:11b) New songs are organic; nothing artificial added! They are neither contrived nor forced, but simply spring from the Holy Spirit; Spirit to spirit. They bring forth fresh sounds, new words, and a fragrant aroma of heaven here on earth. 

New songs in a congregation come in two primary forms, (1) those birthed during a time of corporate worship, i.e. spontaneous birthing, and (2) those birthed during personal time with the Lord and sung at a later time in the church, i.e. intentional birthing. Some can be put on paper and sung over and over. Others are only for a specific moment to bring revelation and truth for that day to that church. In either case their organic nature that makes them fresh, new, and vital to the believers. In this day a remnant will bring forth fresh new songs with prophetic insight and apostolic impartation. The remnant church will birth songs as fresh bread bringing the aroma of heaven to earth. Some of these songs will be sung by others outside our congregations. Some will only be sung in our respective assemblies.

In Crossfire, we sing songs others have written. They are often a platform for spontaneous birthing of a new song. We sing songs we have written through intentional birthing at home or in a music studio. And we sing songs given spontaneously by the Spirit during times of corporate praise and worship.  Each kind of song has its place, but all kinds of fresh songs are necessary!

We have had instrumental only songs birthed in our church spontaneously; musicians playing drums, guitars, keyboards beyond their natural ability or skill level. Our worship leader told me of times when he was playing a spontaneous song with sounds, rhythms and chord combinations he had never heard nor played before. He was out of control, so to speak, yet within the control and influence of the Spirit of God. David said, “He put a new song in my mouth”. (Ps. 40:3) The Holy Spirit can put a new song in YOUR mouth. He can put a new song in your church. Open your heart, passionately pursue His purposes, and sing forth those organic words and sounds of a new song birthed by your Father.