"No matter where I am, your teachings fill me with songs." - Psalm 119:54 (CEV)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

"The Heart of Worship"

When the music fades
And all is stripped away
And I simply come . . .

I love music.

If you know anything about me, you probably know that.

It's my passion.

Of course, even greater than my passion for music

Is my passion for God.

(Well, most of the time.  I'm far from perfect, after all.)

I really enjoy listening to sermons,

Spending time in the Word,

But none of that reaches my heart in the same way that music does.

90% of the songs I sing,

Both the ones that I write and the ones that I don't,

Are about God,

And I sing them straight to Him.

It's how I feel closest to Him,

What moves my heart more than anything else.

I think it's different for everyone,

God made us all to "speak different languages",

To connect with different things,

Know Him best in different ways.

To me, worship is the best part of any church service.

Writing and singing music is the highest form of prayer.

(Not in some deep, theological way.  It's just what makes me feel closest to God.)

Sometimes, though, I get so distracted in worship.

Where I go to church with my friends, cameras film live video,

Project the images up on the screen,

Hands lifted in praise.

My selfish heart is instantly distracted.

"Is that me?

Am I up there?"

It drives



I just want to worship,

Focus on God and get me out of the way.

Why does it have to be so complicated?

I remember how awhile ago,

Someone told me to look up the story behind one of my favorite worship songs,

"The Heart of Worship" by Matt Redman.

Here's an excerpt from this article:
The song dates back to the late 1990s, born from a period of apathy within Matt’s home church, Soul Survivor, in Watford, England. Despite the country’s overall contribution to the current worship revival, Redman’s congregation was struggling to find meaning in its musical outpouring at the time.

“There was a dynamic missing, so the pastor did a pretty brave thing,” he recalls. “He decided to get rid of the sound system and band for a season, and we gathered together with just our voices. His point was that we’d lost our way in worship, and the way to get back to the heart would be to strip everything away.”

Reminding his church family to be producers in worship, not just consumers, the pastor, Mike Pilavachi, asked, “When you come through the doors on a Sunday, what are you bringing as your offering to God?”

Matt says the question initially led to some embarrassing silence, but eventually people broke into a cappella songs and heartfelt prayers, encountering God in a fresh way.

“Before long, we reintroduced the musicians and sound system, as we’d gained a new perspective that worship is all about Jesus, and He commands a response in the depths of our souls no matter what the circumstance and setting. ‘The Heart of Worship’ simply describes what occurred.”
That's where the song comes from.

The lyrics show it, too,

This incredible story: 

When the music fades
And all is stripped away
And I simply come
Longing just to bring
Something that's of worth
That will bless your heart.

I'll bring you more than a song
For a song in itself
Is not what You have required.
You search much deeper within
Through the way things appear.
You're looking into my heart.

After the worship,

After the sermon,

After we'd all stood and talked for half an hour,

One of my friends sat down on the edge of the stage,

Picked up a guitar,

Started strumming,


I heard him from across the room . . .

"Swing low, sweet chariot,
Comin' for to carry me home."

I wanted to go over right then,

Stumbled on my words trying to explain to the people I was talking to.

"I'm going to go . . . sing . . . sorry."

I ran over,

Sat down next to him,

Joined in,

Sang some harmony.

"Swing low, sweet chariot,
Comin' for to carry me home."

Pretty soon, another came over,

Sat on the other side of him,

Then someone sat next to me,

Someone else pulled up a chair,

Another sat on the floor.

Before long, there were about ten of us,

Ten voices and a guitar,



He asked me if I wanted to pick a song.

I flipped through pages of chord sheets,

Found the one I wanted,

Asked if he could play it,

If he knew the chords.

He knew most of them,

Modified a couple slightly,

And we were all singing it there,

Just our voices and a guitar,

No fancy equipment,

None of the typical trappings,

Just us, before God, with nothing to give Him but our hearts:

I'm coming back to the heart of worship,
And it's all about You,
All about You, Jesus.
I'm sorry, Lord, for the thing I've made it
When it's all about You,
It's all about You, Jesus.

The song "The Heart of Worship" is written by Matt Redman and preformed by him and numerous other artists.  Many thanks to all of them for delivering this incredible message to so many hearts, including mine.

Also, linking up over here today.  Focusing our hearts on the One who really matters during this season.  (Sorry this isn't exactly what you'd normally think of as "fasting" - maybe fasting from some of this life's many distractions.)

Please consider visiting some of these other wonderful people's posts, all striving to walk with Him and use this season to draw us closer.


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