How to worship...at church by Rick Munchow We need to learn to worship God in every area of our lives: at home, at work, in our cars... everywhere. In this article, we're going to let Psalm 95 give us some ideas for learning to better worship God at church. Believe it or not, worship does not happen automatically the moment you walk through the doors of the church each week! There are some choices that you can make that will bring a real difference to your focus on God during worship. As often as we attend services where we are supposed to worship, we spend very little time talking about HOW to worship. Most of us spend more time training on how to work at our computer than how to worship our Creator! For worship to stay both restful and revitalizing we must: Get the BIG picture right Do the LITTLE things right Here are 4 ideas from Psalm 95 I. HOW TO START "Let us come before Him with thanksgiving..." Psalm 95:2 (NIV) The big idea: Start your worship like you start your meals: BY OFFERING THANKS Worship has a starting line... and if you're ever going to get out of the blocks you must begin with an attitude of thanksgiving. Let's take this visual of the starting line of a race a little further. Suppose the gun goes off, and you're still sitting at the starting line - caught up in grumbling about the details. "My shoes hurt... the track doesn't look right... my shorts are the wrong color..." You never even get into the race! I'm not saying you should fake it and say everything in your life is perfect... because it isn't. But if you want to bring the truth about God's greatness to both the good and the bad in your life... start with thanksgiving. When you put thanks at the top of the list, it tends to put everything else in the right order. The little things: 1. Tell someone something you're thankful for. What are you thankful for? What person, what circumstance, what blessing, what event, what growth, what characteristic of God are you thankful for? Don't just think it... say it! 2. Reduce your GPH and increase your TPH. GPH is "Gripes Per Hour"... TPH is "Thanks Per Hour" 3. Thanksgiving Day once a week: in your QUIET TIME Why have Thanksgiving just once a year? You might even start a "thanksgiving journal" that you add to each week! II. HOW TO SING "Let us... extol Him with music and song." Psalm 95:2 (NIV) Every once in a while, I talk to someone who doesn't want any music when we worship at church - just Bible study. But when you study the Bible you see that God clearly tells us to worship Him with music! I've found that usually people who don't want to sing want a worship for the head and not the heart. Music has the power to speak to our heart!! The Big Idea: 3 words should mark our singing Alive - Sing with JOY Aloud - Sing with ENTHUSIASM Some people sing like they're practicing to be ventriloquists. "Look, he´s worshipping and I barely saw his mouth move!" Aloft - Sing to GOD You're not performing, you and I are expressing our hearts together to the God who loves us! The Little Things: 1. SMILE while you sing! 2. Close your EYES. When some of us sing, we open our eyes and close our mouths Why not close your eyes and open your mouth! 3. Personalize the WORDS as you sing. Think about what those words mean to your life, your family, your future. III. HOW TO FEEL "Come, let´s worship him and bow down. Let´s kneel before the LORD who made us," Psalm 95:6 (NCV) How should you feel when you worship? Should you get goosebumps on your goosebumps? Should you feel like you´re floating on the air? The Big Idea HE IS GOD! The more I sense the truth of those three words, the more I worship! I can't tell you the exact emotions that go along with that, because it's different for all of us... and different at different times. This feeling is expressed in words like "bow down" and "kneel." It is a sense of awe and humility. He is God. Everything I see, He made it. Every thought I think, He knows it. Every person I meet, He loves them. Every move I make, He is there. The Little Things: 1. Do some "warm up" exercises Try listening to a worship CD on the way to church, or praying as you drive on to the church property each week, or taking just a few seconds as you sit down in the worship center to think, "God is bigger than anything I'm facing!" You and I have a GREAT responsibility for what happens in worship. The way you prepare yourself makes an incredible difference!! Don't just come in and expect the leader to WOW you into worship... why not wow them sometime. Remember, worship is a witness. Worship in a way that lets the people around you know that God is real! 2. Talk to God THROUGHOUT THE WORSHIP SERVICE. No, not out loud! If He's the One we're here to worship, but we just talk about Him and never to Him... we've missed it. 3. Focus your thoughts to God's GREATNESS. If you're going to worship, you can't just let your thoughts drift! Have you noticed that they don't always drift towards God's greatness? Those who have learned to worship God in refreshing and new ways have learned the need to intentionally focus their thoughts on God. IV. HOW TO LISTEN "If you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts" Psalm 95:7-8 (NIV) The Big Idea: Have a SOFT HEART What would happen if this next week you came saying, "Lord, I´m really going to be listening to You today - and whatever You tell me to do I will do my best to do. I trust that You will only ask me to do what You know is best for me." That's having a soft heart. The Little Things: 1. Take NOTES There is something about writing the truths of God's Word down that allows you to begin to see them as personal and real. 2. Put significant verses or truths on cards - place them where you'll easily see them. 3. Make a TO DO list based on God's message to you. Before you leave, write one thing God's told you to do at the bottom of the outline, a way to take the truth and make it real. In fact, you can practice that right now by writing down one new thing you're going to do this week as you worship God at church.