IIIM Magazine Online, Volume 3, Number 48, November 26 to December 3, 2001

Music Matters
Show 3

by Robert Barnes

Originally aired Monday at 5:50 P.M. on WTLN 950 AM in Orlando, Florida, Music Matters is a weekly radio show that explores the nature of and antidote for the worship wars that exist in the church.

Good day, and welcome to Music Matters. I'm Robert Barnes, director of worship at Covenant Presbyterian Church and on staff at Third Millennium, both located in Orlando, Florida.

Oswald Chambers said, "Worship is the adoring contemplation of God as he has revealed himself in Christ and in his word." Worship that is worthy is necessarily God-centered, but what does God-centered worship look like? That's what we are going to discuss today on Music Matters.

Self-centered people grate on the nerves of even the most saintly individuals. Self-centered people are not only focused on only themselves, but they want everyone else to regard them first, to be the center of everyone else's conversations.

What gets my goat is that the self-centered person thinks they are better me, and thus they deserve to be treated with preference. But what if someone is better than you are?

If I was to go to my boss, Ra McLaughlin, and was to kick him in the shin, he would likely beat the tar out of me, but I wouldn't go to jail. But if I was to kick, let's say, the current governor of Florida, Jeb Bush, and if I was to kick him in the shin, I would likely be tackled by his bodyguards and arrested. If I was to attack the President of the United States, I might be shot on the spot.

It is downright irritating when someone is self-important. But what about when someone is genuinely important, and we refuse to acknowledge their position, refuse to treat them with respect? Scripture and reason dictate that the consequences for such dishonor grow greater and greater, depending on how great the person is. The greater the person, the greater the offense when we disrespect them.

If I'm right about this, many churches are breeding a generation of disrespectful, dishonoring, self-important, self-centered worshipers. Wicked worship is not done on purpose sometimes. Sometimes it is known by a term I use frequently, "relevant." But worship that makes relevancy the main goal may be quite irrelevant to God. Worship that is in perfect harmony with the surrounding culture may sound out of tune to God.

Worship that is God-centered needs to be relevant and biblical. It's these three ideas that hold good worship together, each one keeping the proper tension on the other two, keeping them from going too far.

Next time on Music Matters, we'll ask three general questions to help determine if your church is focusing on God or man when you gather to worship.

Until then, pray for God's church, that we will worship God, and God alone, when we gather. Join me here next week on Music Matters.