Lesson 3 Worship and The Word

MAIN IDEA: Worship strengthens the Word in us.

As we respond to the revelation of God’s great love by laying down our lives — as we become a living sacrifice — we can always expect resistance. Worship is our response to the revelation of God, and there is a heavenly battle that always centers around worship. That is one reason why worship is such a divisive element in many churches today.

As we saw yesterday in the story of King Jehoshaphat, we are equipped for battle through prayer, fasting, worship, and the Word of God. The battle is won in prayer; our strength and encouragement are found in the presence of the Lord as we worship; and the Word of God is our mighty weapon — the sword of the Spirit — with which we take the offensive:

Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is God’s word. With every prayer and request, pray at all times in the Spirit, and stay alert in this, with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints. Ephesians 6:17-18

In this lesson we will focus on the powerful combination of worship and the Word of God.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. John 1:1

A Powerful Combination
God’s Word and worship are indeed a powerful combination. In worship we both receive the Word of God and strengthen the Word within us. Worship apart from the revelation of the Word (the Living Word and written Word) is incomplete. But worship in response to God’s revelation brings that Word to life in a powerful way. Worship and the Word go hand-in-hand, and this powerful combination is a crucial element in living the abundant life that Jesus promised:

“I have come that they may have life and have it in abundance.” John 10:10

The world we live in is full of struggles, fears, and temptations. Jesus, the Living Word — the Living Two-Edged Sword — faced them all in the wilderness. He was tempted just as we are in every way, yet He was without sin. His response to the Adversary is our example to follow:

Again, the Devil took Him to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. And he said to Him, “I will give You all these things if You will fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus told him, “Go away, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve only Him.’ ” Then the Devil left Him, and immediately angels came and began to serve Him. Matthew 4:8-11

The battleground was temptation, but the core issue was worship. The Enemy wanted Jesus to worship something other than God, but Jesus drew upon the Word of God within to fight the battle. Do you ever stop to consider how Jesus can truly understand our temptations? Offer a prayer now thanking Him for this aspect of who He is.

Nothing has changed since the time when Jesus was in the wilderness. The Enemy still wants us to worship something other than God — Father, Son, and Spirit — and the answer to this and every other challenge or temptation is still “It is written”! The Word of God is always the answer.

As we have studied previously, faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. Prayer prepares us for the battle, and worship strengthens the Word that has been deposited in us — often giving us new revelation or understanding of the Word.

Revelation in the Midst of Worship
Have you ever found yourself singing a worship chorus or a great hymn — possibly one you have sung many, many times — and suddenly you recognize another truth of God that had eluded you previously? That is the picture of revelation in the midst of worship.

The song “Praise the Lord,” written by Brown Bannister and Mike Hudson and popularized by The Imperials, is a great example of revelation coming in the midst of worship. You see, every time I sing this song, I’m reminded of so many biblical truths. Just take a look at the insights this one verse brings.

Now Satan is a liar
And he wants to make us think
That we are paupers
When he knows himself
We’re children of the King
So lift up the mighty shield of faith
For the battle has been won
We know that Jesus Christ has risen
So the work’s already done

Praise the Lord,
He can work through those who praise Him,
Praise the Lord
For our God inhabits praise,
Praise the Lord
For the chains that seem to bind you
Serve only to remind you that they drop powerless behind you
When you praise Him

This is the reason we gather as the body of Christ each week — to receive more and more revelation. And this is why we also must “gather within ourselves” daily to receive the Word. Worship is the key. Every time we worship, we strengthen the Word that is in us and open ourselves to receive further revelation as well. And the Word of God never fails as this verse, written by the prophet Isaiah, tells us: “Just as rain and snow fall from heaven, and do not return there without saturating the earth, and making it germinate and sprout, and providing seed to sow and food to eat, so My word that comes from My mouth will not return to Me empty, but it will accomplish what I please, and will prosper in what I send it to do.” Isaiah 55:10

How is it reassuring that God refers only to Himself and His Word in this passage, not to us? What are some ways that you have seen or heard about God’s Word doing what He sends it out to do?

• What statement or Scripture you read in this lesson was most meaningful?
• Reword the statement or Scripture into a prayer of response.
• What does God want you to do in response to this lesson?

Lesson 1 Our Response: Service and Surrender

MAIN IDEA: Responding to God’s revelation in a manner that is pleasing to Him involves service and surrender.

As we have seen so far in our study, God is love and His grace abounds toward us every day. Through Jesus Christ, the sacrificial Lamb of God, we are able to enter God’s presence and receive from the very throne of grace. What’s more, God continues to reveal Himself and His efforts on our behalf every day.

It is up to us to respond and worship God for who He is and what He has done. But what should that response look like? How can we respond to God’s revelation in a manner that is pleasing to Him?

Service: Love in Action
As we have seen, God’s love for us is everlasting. In expressing His love for us through the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus, God was being true to His nature:

“God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son.” John 3:16

God is love, and God made us in His image. Our response to God’s love should be to love in return — to love God and to love one another. We love because He first loved us, for all things begin in Him:

From Him and through Him and to Him are all things. [For all things originate with Him and come from Him; all things live through Him, and all things center in and tend to consummate and to end in Him.] To Him be glory forever! Amen (so be it). Romans 11:36, AMP

Still, we must respond — we must put our love into action! Love without action is similar to faith without works, it’s dead. Our love should look like the love we read about in 1 Corinthians 13, and it should result in service and good deeds. Spend a few minutes reading 1 John 3:16-19 to learn more about God’s love. How can you show others the love of Jesus?

In the same way faith, if it doesn’t have works, is dead by itself. James 2:17

Complete Surrender
As we have discussed, Jesus gave us the ultimate example of surrendering to the plans and purposes of God. He really did choose to walk the road to Calvary and take the weight of our sins upon His guiltless body. God mercifully sacrificed real, unblemished flesh and blood in order to make a way for us to enter His presence. Jesus, the Lamb of God, paid the complete and total price for our freedom, and our response of worship is likewise costly:

I appeal to you therefore, brethren, and beg of you in view of [all] the mercies of God, to make a decisive dedication of your bodies [presenting all your members and faculties] as a living sacrifice, holy (devoted, consecrated) and well pleasing to God, which is your reasonable (rational, intelligent) service and spiritual worship. Romans 12:1, AMP

We’ve considered that our response to God’s love is to express love, which requires action. We are to serve others in tangible ways. Even so, our words and actions are not enough. Our tithes and offerings are not enough. There is only one thing that makes our service appropriate and sufficient: complete surrender.

Totally surrendering our hearts and our lives to God — that is our reasonable, rational, intelligent response. Responding to God in this way requires surrender in every area of our lives: laying down our desires (if they are different from God’s) and taking up God’s desires every moment of every day.

Our lives really can become a living sacrifice, often in the most practical ways. Many times what we see as sacrifice is really God’s way of moving us toward our destiny. I was introduced to that truth as a teenager.

Sacrifice Is a Choice
Sports are important to most young boys and girls. Whether they are good at a particular sport isn’t always the issue. Just being on the team — being included and having an identity — is a big deal, particularly in the teenage years.

I grew up playing baseball and playing guitar. And frankly, I loved both activities. I guess I was born for a stage of some kind! I’m pretty sure I was great at both baseball and music … well, at least my mom and dad thought I was.

When I was a sophomore at Delta State University in Cleveland, Mississippi, my baseball career was in full bloom — and so was my music career. Until that year, both interests had coincided very well, but that was about to change. I can see now that God’s call on my life has always been music ministry, but at that time I really wanted to do both music and baseball. My two passions, however, were about to have a head-on collision.

Our baseball team had a makeup game one day that simply had to be played on Sunday morning. That was very unusual, but Jacksonville State was in town and there was simply no other time for the game to be played.

I was committed to lead worship that morning at the church I attended. I had pitched the entire game the day before, so I knew my role with the baseball team on that particular day was to sit in the bullpen and cheer for our team. Since there really was no chance that I would play on Sunday, I figured I was good to go — break out the hymnals and warm up the choir!

Unfortunately, my coach didn’t see things the same way. He wanted me to be at the game. I felt that both baseball and music ministry were crucial to me, but the fact was that something had to take a back seat. I didn’t realize it at the time, but God was working through my circumstances; and I was about to make a major adjustment in my life.

As I prayed about the situation, I just couldn’t find any peace about leaving 125 folks without a worship leader on Sunday morning. Trust me, I tried to find a way around the predicament, but it finally came down to a decision: something had to be sacrificed, and the time was now.

As I led worship that morning, I was so encouraged to see two familiar but unexpected faces in the congregation sitting close to my mom and dad. The parents of the pitcher for Jacksonville State — the starting pitcher in the game being played that morning — had heard about my decision, and they chose to join me in worship while their own son played the game! I honestly don’t remember who won the game that day, but I clearly see now that God won the battle for my heart and my life.

Years later, I happened to be listening to the radio as I drove through Mississippi. My old coach at Delta State was being interviewed as he was being inducted into the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame. I had always assumed that I let him down that day, and that thought left me with such an empty feeling. But there he was on the radio years later talking about his former players, including me! He told the audience that I was a minister and one of the finest young men he had ever coached. God reached out through that radio and gave me closure that day. Through my tears of appreciation, I realized that what had been a sacrifice in my mind on that special Sunday morning turned out to be the launching pad that God had planned for the rest of my life.

We all have found ourselves at similar crossroads in life — possibly laying down something that we want to have or to do in order to follow the “still small voice” of the Spirit. But more often, complete surrender means surrendering our hearts, our thoughts, and our reactions to the daily issues of life to God’s direction. It isn’t always easy to exchange our lives for His, but the rewards are indeed great when we do. As Jesus said,

“Whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me will find it.” Matthew 16:25

What do you think it means to “present your members as a living sacrifice” (Rom. 12:1)? What is one practical way you can present yourself to God as such a sacrifice?

Jesus has already made the supreme sacrifice of real flesh and blood on our behalf. Yet we must choose to surrender or yield our own unredeemed bodies as instruments of righteousness, rather than instruments of our own selfish desires.

A Renewed Mind — The First Step
You can present your body as a living sacrifice, but that process starts with a re-born spirit and a mind that is continually being transformed or renewed by the Word of God:

Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God. Romans 12:2

Ridding yourselves of all moral filth and evil excess, humbly receive the implanted word, which is able to save you. James 1:21

As born-again believers, we have the Spirit of Christ dwelling in us to guide and direct us, but we must train our minds and our bodies to respond to His direction in every situation. This training process begins with renewing of our minds — reprogramming our thought life — which can happen only as we mediate on God’s Word. This process takes time — a lifetime, in fact — but the result is a life that is good and acceptable to God.

What are three things you thought about as you woke up this morning. Now compare your thoughts of this morning with the directions of Philippians 4:8: Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable—if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise—dwell on these things.

The Word of God is the only thing that can renew our minds, and it will contradict our typical thought life regularly. The key is found in preferring God’s Word to our own thoughts, and this a conscious decision on our part — often minute by minute. But God’s thoughts really are higher and better than ours!

“My thoughts are not your thoughts, and your ways are not My ways.” This is the LORD’s declaration. “For as heaven is higher than earth, so My ways are higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9

It takes revelation and a renewed mind to fully appreciate all that God is and has done in our lives. As we make a conscious decision to train our minds to align with His thoughts and His words of life, we are ready to adopt a lifestyle of worship.

• What statement or Scripture you read in this lesson was most meaningful?
• Reword the statement or Scripture into a prayer of response.
• What does God want you to do in response to this lesson?

Lesson 1 The Heart of Worship


MAIN IDEA: Worship is the key to experiencing God in our lives.

There is a real hunger in the church today—a growing hunger to know and experience God in a personal way. Truth is, we were created to know God in this way—to have a relationship with God. He made us this way because He has desired an intimate relationship with us from the beginning of time.

God Desires a Relationship with Us All lasting relationships are based on mutual interest, trust, and understanding. By choosing to create us in His image—with a mind (the ability to reason), a will, and emotions—and by providing everything we need for life, God created and equipped us for a lasting relationship with Him.

From beginning to end, the Bible makes it clear: God desires a relationship with us. He wants us to know who He is, who we are in relationship to Him, how we should respond, and what we can anticipate in return. We will examine these aspects of God’s desire and plan for relationship with us in greater detail in this class, but for now, consider what these verses tell us:

“I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in Me and I in him produces much fruit, because you can do nothing without Me.” John 15:5

“In a little while the world will see Me no longer, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live too. In that day you will know that I am in My Father, you are in Me, and I am in you.” John 14:19-20

This is how we know that we remain in Him and He in us: He has given to us from His Spirit. And we have seen and we testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God—God remains in him and he in God. 1 John 4:13-15

These few Scriptures alone leave no room for doubt: God loves us and deeply desires a personal relationship with each of us, and all we have to do is respond! God wants to reveal Himself and His will in every situation of our lives, and as we respond we can experience God each and every day as He works through us to accomplish His will.

Worship Is the Key to Experiencing God A number of years ago, Henry Blackaby and Claude King provided us with wonderful insights and principles on how to experience God and discover His will in our everyday lives. Their bestselling workbook Experiencing God, gave us clear instruction to help us fulfill our purpose on the earth: see what God is doing around you and join Him as He works through you. It all begins with God’s offer of a personal and intimate relationship. And as we respond, we really can experience God!

Experiencing God delivered a tried and proven message for the church, and I’ve seen the results in an up close and personal way. You see, I’ve spent my entire adult life serving in churches, from some of the smallest to the largest churches in America, and I’ve seen many of God’s people embrace God’s mission for their lives—the plans God prepared for them before they were even born. I’ve also seen many, many others miss their opportunity to experience God.

For years I wondered what it would take for more of God’s church—ordinary folks like you and me—to fully embrace His love for us, step beyond our distractions and doubts, and truly join God as He works right where we live. I believe with all my heart that the key to breakthrough, the key to experiencing God in our own lives and having a personal relationship with Him, is found in developing a lifestyle of worship. How would you define or explain a “lifestyle of worship”?

We are His creation— created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:1

Worship Is Our Response to God’s Revelation I love “The Andy Griffith Show.” Like so many others, I have learned a great deal about life watching the reruns of this old program. In one episode, Deputy Barney Fife starts dabbling in psychology and decides to try his hand with the town drunk, Otis. After showing Otis a series of inkblot cards and noting his responses, a bewildered Barney covers his lack of discovery from the process by proclaiming, “I hate to think what you just revealed about yourself, Otis!”

Barney didn’t have a clue what those inkblot cards revealed, but our God has given us a clear revelation of who He is and what He has done—and we don’t have to study inkblots to figure it out! Throughout our study, we will use this working definition of worship: Worship is our response to God’s revelation of who He is and what He has done.

[Jesus Christ] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. Colossians 1:15

Simply stated, we are called to respond to all that God has revealed about Himself and to His never-ending desire to enter a deeper relationship with each of us. Through the ages, God has been in the constant process of revealing His character and essence. Yes, God is mysterious in many ways, but He is never a mystery. He has gone to great lengths to reveal Himself throughout history—including sending His Son, Jesus, into the world—and He continues to reveal Himself today in a variety of ways: God reveals Himself in creation. God reveals Himself through His Word. God reveals Himself through the Holy Spirit.

God created us for relationship with Him and deeply desires to reveal Himself—who He is and what He has done—to us. He has promised to meet us as we worship. In fact, as we understand and embrace all that God has done for us in Christ Jesus, our only reasonable and adequate response is worship. Our response to God always requires faith and corresponding action, yet God never forces us to respond; it is always our choice. How has God revealed Himself to you? What were both the immediate and long-term ways in which you responded to these revelations?

Worship Invites God’s Presence As Blackaby and King emphasize in Experiencing God, God deeply desires a personal relationship with each one of us and is at work around us at all times. Just as God fellowshipped and talked with Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden, so He desires to fellowship and communicate with each of us. God has promised in Psalm 22:3 to inhabit the praises of His people, and God is always true to His promises. Our worship provides a place of meeting with God—a place for us to encounter His very presence and embrace His invitation to join Him as He works.

As we focus our time and attention on the Lord in worship, proclaim His place of honor in our lives, and thank and praise God for His eternal promises in our lives, we can expect God to intervene in our circumstances. God has promised to inhabit our worship, and He will. And when the King is present, all things are possible!

That’s why we must worship through the good times and the bad—when we’re waiting for God’s merciful touch in our circumstances and when we’re standing in awe of His power at work around us. Worship invites God’s presence, enabling us to experience God in our lives.

God’s Word is filled with example after example of those who responded to God’s revelation with worship and experienced Him. You’ll find their names throughout Scripture—names such as Abraham, David, Daniel (and his friends), Mary, Joseph, Peter, Paul, and so many more. As we study together, we will soon understand how absolutely vital worship was in their lives. These great Bible heroes had a clear revelation of God—of who He is and what He has done. They responded to that revelation with worship, and they experienced the presence and power of God in their lives. Their lives are confirmation: you and I can experience God in worship!

Psalm 22:3 is a cornerstone verse for our study. Many times it is helpful to look at a passage of Scripture in different translations to fully grasp the meaning of each word or phrase.

•   Thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel. Psalm 22:3, KJV
•   You are holy, Enthroned in the praises of Israel. Psalm 22:3, NKJV
•   You are holy, O You Who dwell in [the holy place where] the praises of Israel [are offered]. Psalm 22:3, AMP

Let’s take a look at the meaning of several key words in that passage from the King James Version, the New King James Version, and the Amplified Bible. Holy— sacred, spiritually pure, sinless, deserving deep respect and awe Inhabit—to live in Enthroned—placed on a throne and exalted

Our God does indeed deserve our deep respect, awe, and worship! And He has promised His holy presence as we worship. Simply put, our worship expression creates a “place” for us to encounter and experience God.

As we study together, you will be encouraged and released to offer up your own unique expression of worship—an expression of appreciation, adoration, desperation, and expectation that is reserved deep within you for God and God alone. Whether your worship tradition includes three verses and a chorus, liturgical litanies, a capella hymns, banners and dance, or loud, exuberant praise, God is waiting to hear from you. And as you respond to His great love and sacrifice for you—whether you are worshiping corporately or in the privacy of your own home—you will experience God. He is ready, willing, and able to meet you right where you are as you enter into worship.

LESSON 1 REVIEW • What statement or Scripture you read in this lesson was most meaningful? An example is, “Worship is my response to God’s revelation, and He always wants me to know Him more intimately.” • Reword the statement or Scripture into a prayer of response. For example, “Lord, I want to know You more—I want more revelation of who You are—and I commit to listen for Your voice more intently throughout the day.” • What does God want you to do in response to this lesson? For example, “He wants me to really focus on who He is and what He has done as I am worshiping—to change my perspective.”

Lesson 2 God’s Revelation and Our Response

MAIN IDEA: Worship is our only reasonable response to God’s revelation.

In Experiencing God, Blackaby and King suggest there are seven realities in the process of experiencing God:
• God is always at work around you.
• God pursues a continuing love relationship with you that is real and personal.
• God invites you to become involved with Him in His work.
• God speaks by the Holy Spirit through the Bible, prayer, circumstances, and the church to reveal Himself, His purposes, and His ways.
• God’s invitation for you to work with Him always leads you to a crisis of belief that requires faith and action.
• You must make major adjustments in your life to join God in what He is doing.
• You come to know God by experience as you obey Him and He accomplishes His work through you.

If you have chosen to join God as He is working around and through you, then you know what experiencing God is all about. The message of Experiencing God is not just a good idea. It is a powerful guideline for believers. God wants to reach you and use you to impact those around you. And as I have discovered in my own life, worship is an integral part of this process.

A Personal “Experiencing God” Story
My journey to become Director of the Worship Department at LifeWay Christian Resources is a good example of the link between worship and experiencing God. Just a few years ago, I was the music minister at First Baptist Church in Carrollton, Texas. My wife, Teresa, and I were so happy there; the friends and church family God gave us in Texas had become home for us and our three children. My role at the church was fulfilling in every way.

“But God …!” Have you ever encountered those two words in your own life? We truly loved our time in Texas. It was a great place to live, and we were surrounded by some of the most wonderful people God ever created. But God began to invite me to join Him in a new work at LifeWay. I still remember the day He made His invitation completely clear.

I had arrived at the LifeWay Conference Center in Ridgecrest, North Carolina, for my final round of interviews with LifeWay leadership. In the midst of the first evening there, I found myself wandering through the empty 2,000-seat auditorium—just me and God in a darkened sanctuary that had been home to the heartfelt sounds of worship for so many over the years.

As I walked across the stage, it occurred to me that I had been on that very stage 27 years earlier when, as a 16-year-old boy, I had been invited to Ridgecrest to perform one of the first songs I had written. Although I hadn’t been back to that auditorium in all those years, I vividly remembered the excitement and anxiety of that moment years ago. And I realized that God had been with me all along the way, guiding my life all the years since, leading me to this very opportunity to join Him in a new ministry effort!

God was there on the stage that night, just as He had been with me in that very spot 27 years earlier. The frightened 16-year-old child had become a grown man who was still filled with childlike excitement and anxiety at the possibility of leading my denomination’s worship efforts.

At that moment, I knew. I had a clear revelation of God’s desire for me to step out of my comfort zone in Carrollton and join Him as He impacts the worship life of congregations and His dear children across the globe. I surrendered to God’s call and began to weep as I sang:
If You can use anything, Lord, You can use me,
If You can use anything, Lord, You can use me.

On that cool April evening in Ridgecrest, I sensed God’s presence so strongly. God’s invitation to join Him at LifeWay was real and personal. As I sang, I clearly experienced God in worship.

My journey to serve at LifeWay had begun. Over the next few weeks, my wife, Teresa, and I worked through the inevitable crisis of belief that always comes as we respond to God’s invitation—when doubts and questions creep in and we must make some adjustments in our lives in order to be obedient to God. We planned our move and put our faith in His call into action. God had revealed Himself and directed our steps once again!

Do you have an “Experiencing God” story to tell—a story of a time when you experienced God’s presence and call to join Him in His work? Think about how the work God invited you to join Him in accomplishing. What adjustments were required of you to join God in His work? What was the result of your willingness to obey God and join Him as He worked through you?

If you don’t have an “experiencing God” story yet, don’t be discouraged. Just spend time asking God to show you how He is at work around you, and He will. God deeply desires to reveal more of Himself and His activities to you because He loves you. God wants a real and personal relationship with you above all else. And He wants to reveal Himself to you in very tangible ways.

He is the great King of kings. He has given us everything we need for life and godliness. He is our Provider, our Salvation, our Strength. He is our All in All. And He is waiting for you to respond to who He is and what He has done!

As we continue our study together, we will see that worship is our only reasonable and adequate response to God’s revelation. Regardless of our current or past circumstances, we have so many compelling reasons to set aside all else and worship Him. Your “experiencing God” story is on the way!

Take a few minutes to contemplate each of the following descriptions about God and His activities in your life. You may go directly to the Scriptures referenced to confirm what God’s Word says about His character and His actions. Verbally thank Him for each one.

Who God Is:
Almighty God (Gen. 17:1)
Prince of Peace (Isa. 9:6)
King of kings (Rev. 19:16)
Lord of all (Acts 10:36)
Savior (1 Tim. 4:10)
Redeemer (Titus 2:14)
Counselor (John 14:26)
Friend (Jas. 2:23)
Healer (Isa. 53:4-5)
Comforter (2 Cor. 1:3)

What God Has Done:
Created the earth and everything in it (Gen. 1)
Overcame the Enemy (Col. 2:15)
Died for our faults and sins (Rom. 8:3-4)
Chose to dwell with us and in us (John 16:7; 1 Cor. 6:19)
Loved us with an everlasting love (John 3:16)
Justified us (Rom. 5:18)
Called us children/heirs (Rom. 8:16-17)
Gave us new life (Rom. 6:4)
Set us free (Heb. 2:14-15)
Forgave us (1 John 1:9)

Remember, God loves to hear your voice of thanksgiving and praise!

• What statement or Scripture you read in this lesson was most meaningful?
• Reword the statement or Scripture into a prayer of response.
• What does God want you to do in response to this lesson?

Welcome to the Course


“An hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth. Yes, the Father wants such people to worship Him.” John 4:23

There is a deep and growing interest in worship these days, and that makes perfect sense. After all, worship is the primary reason we gather as the body of Christ each week. We gather to focus our attention and energy on giving glory to God; and when we do, we encounter God in powerful, life-changing ways. As a result, we are challenged and empowered to join God as He works in the world.

There are many forms of worship and certainly many different styles of worship. The body of Christ is a broad and diverse family, and the form of our worship can often cause confusion and division. God is never the author of confusion, and His Word gives clear guidelines that empower and liberate all believers in their own worship expression. Authentic worship is simply a genuine expression of praise, adoration, celebration, and thanksgiving to God in response to who He is and what He has done in our lives.

Seven Words of Worship explores what this means for us as the body of Christ and as individuals, including how we may pursue authentic worship—not only in our weekly worship services but also in our everyday lives. Over the course of the study, you will be introduced to seven simple Words of Worship that can serve as a guide for knowing and experiencing God. As you apply these teachings in your own life, you will be inspired and equipped to develop a lifestyle of worship, which is God’s desire for every believer.

We are passionate about helping individuals and congregations develop a consistent lifestyle of worship. As you increase in understanding of who God really is and what He has done in your life, consistent and fervent worship will be your natural response. And as you worship, God will inhabit your praise and impact your circumstances.

You are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel. Psalm 22:3

Our Threefold Purpose
Seven Words of Worship is indeed a course initiated by God and birthed through years of effort by my coauthor and friend, Stan Moser. Although this is a collaborative work, I (Mike) will serve as the “voice” throughout this study, representing our collective insights that, we hope, will accomplish our threefold purpose:
• To help you gain a clear revelation of God and His desire for worship to be the focal point and passion of our lives (Rom. 12:1);
• To give you a solid understanding of the biblical foundation that leads us to become true worshipers (John 4:23-24); and
• To encourage you to enter into increased freedom in your worship expression as you respond to God’s revelation (2 Cor. 3:17).

I will meditate on Your precepts and think about Your ways. Psalm 119:15

About the Course
To achieve these goals, we will present some simple, foundational truths about biblical worship in a format of five short lessons for each of eight classes.

Each lesson combines Bible study and biblical narratives with real-life stories and practical application. The practical application questions and activities are in bold print. Please don’t skip over these questions and activities. They are designed to help you clarify, process, and apply what you are learning.

Another important personal-application tool is the Daily Review. Here you will be asked to review the lesson and pray, asking God to identify for you one or more statements or Scriptures from the lesson that He wants to make a part of your understanding and practice. The same three questions will help you to complete this process after each lesson.

Keep in mind that there are no wrong answers to this personal-application process. As God uses the lessons to draw you to some personal revelation or interaction, pray about how He would have you respond. Though you will sense a logical progression in the material, you also will revisit some core concepts along the way, exploring them from different angles and considering subtle nuances in order to maximize understanding and application. You’ll encounter several key Scriptures more than once along your journey to reinforce biblical truths central to our study and to help hide God’s Word in your heart.

Consider the following suggestions for making your journey through Seven Words of Worship more meaningful:
• Trust the Holy Spirit to be your teacher. Ask Him for guidance as you seek to gain greater biblical understanding of authentic worship and develop your lifestyle of worship. Open your mind and heart in ready obedience to all He will teach you.
• Be consistent in your personal study. A lifestyle of worship is a radical change for many, and diligent attention to the Word of God is the key.
• Take time each day to express your worship and appreciation to the King of kings! If possible, begin or end your classes with a time of worship.
• Before beginning each class, pray for revelation and breakthrough.
• Be sure to read and meditate on each Scripture. After all, this is a Bible study!
• Take time to respond to each practical-application question and activity (printed in bold).
• Record the statements or Scriptures that were most meaningful to you, as well as how God is calling you to respond. When God speaks, it is important to record it.
• Write down questions that arise during your study. Then, as the study continues, watch for God to provide the answers.
• Share one revelation or new understanding with someone. Be willing to step out of your comfort zone and share freely with others what the Lord is teaching you about worship!

Our Hope and Prayer for You
As you make your way through the study, our hope and prayer is that you will be filled with a refreshing and clear perspective on authentic worship and challenged to fulfill God’s desire for you to lift your voice and your life as an expression of worship. Here are two biblical promises to encourage you:
• God has promised to inhabit our praises.
• God rewards those who diligently seek Him.

Focusing on these promises will help you begin each day with the expectation that God desires to meet with you and reveal Himself more completely to you.

As you believe and receive God’s great and precious promises in your life, you will encounter Him and experience Him in ways you can only imagine right now. You really can experience God in worship!