In the most important sense of the term, I am not THE “worship leader”.
Yes, I lead people in song, and on my best days (hopefully, MOST days) I encourage them to sing to God, but that’s not necessarily ‘worship’, and at best that makes me a ‘lead worshiper’ or a (oh, I do hate the name) ‘song-leader’, not a worship leader.
“He really led me into the presence of God”? Wow – that’s a lot more responsibility than I signed up for. What I mean is; I can’t do that – I was never meant to! Me, leading you into the presence of God makes no more sense than if I were to drag a corpse to church – I honestly can’t do it, and if I could, it wouldn’t do him, or you, a bit of good.
Here’s the short of the back-story:
“Let us make Man in OUR IMAGE” – that is where we all got our start. Noel Due wrote, “He creates, and that which springs into existence…WORSHIPS.”
God made you a worshiper. This doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out: watch any group of people watching their favorite sports team… even watch me at U2’s concert in Atlanta this past October, and see if you can’t honestly say that my whole LIFE during those 2 ½ hours did not get poured out into enjoying and proclaiming the greatness of U2!
Several years ago I went to see THE Sir James Paul McCartney, formerly of the Beatles, live. I thought it cool before the show started. Paul walked out on stage – and I expected a set from his latest c.d., DRIVING RAIN, which I would’ve enjoyed just fine – but he broke into “You say ‘yes’, I say ‘no” and I squealed like a little schoolgirl – I was so excited that I CRIED. No doubt about it – I clearly proclaimed Paul’s greatness to all around me in that crowd. I was MADE a Worshipper! Worship flows from me – it is basic to my very nature.
Here’s the deal, though – like the musician in me is prone to worship Paul McCartney more than I worship God, we all are Satanists. That’s not to say that we consciously choose to worship Satan, but we did all choose to worship like Satan worships, which looks much like the story of the Fall of Man in the book of Genesis. In the Garden of Eden the Devil made a 3 prong attack upon man, converting all of us to his form of worship.
One: “Did God really say that?” (Genesis 3:4, my paraphrase)– doubting God’s Word.
Two: “I think God’s holding out on me” (Genesis 3:5, , my paraphrase) – doubting God’s goodness.
Three: “I think I’ll make my own rules” (Genesis 3:5, , my paraphrase) – making ourselves out to be gods.
That is Satanism, at heart, and it is as much the devil’s message today as it was thousands of years ago when that beautiful angel with an ugly heart was first booted from his Heavenly home. We bought the lie, and that lie locked the door between us and God, barring us from the Garden, and God’s presence.
Life after the Fall has been pretty much like picking a new car off the lot, driving it into the ocean, and then complaining to the automobile’s manufacturer that it’s not running properly. We were created for a specific purpose. We turned from that purpose, and then wonder why things go so wrong. And THAT is why I could never lead you into God’s presence. You are spiritually dead – disconnected from God, and not even allowed into His presence in your natural state.
That’s bad news, but we have to hear and be reminded of the bad new if we expect the good news to make an ounce of sense.
“Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.” – Hebrews 10:19-23
What I notice of first importance here is that we have a ‘Great High Priest’. Most of you are probably thinking, “I didn’t know I NEEDED a ‘Great High Priest’, so what’s the big deal?” Stick with me.
Two years back I attended the WORSHIP GOD conference, hosted by Sovereign Grace Ministries, and I met a number Godly men whom I find inspiring: authors, songwriters, bloggers, and fellow worship leaders. Since the conference was in the Washington DC area, I figured I’d just stop by and visit the Oval Office. I marched right up to the White House, flung those doors wide, kicked the doors of the Oval Office wide open and offered ole’ George W. one of my famous prank handshakes. And of course, if that had really happened, I would have probably gotten shot all to pieces by the Secret Service in the process because I just don’t have the security clearance to get in! Who am I?! Just imagine, “Mr. President, Shannon Lewis is here to see you, sir.” And the president says, “Shanna-who?” I simply don’t have authority or relationship to walk right on in on the President of the United States of America.
That’s the job of our ‘Great High Priest’ – a priest in Biblical terminology is a mediator: someone who stands between you and someone far greater – particularly, GOD – whom you have no right or authority to talk to, especially given that your present relationship status to him is something akin to “Ex”. However, I have friends who are friends with the former President’s daughters. What if – when he was still in office – I had befriended one of the Bush girls by way of our common friend, and was then escorted by them into the presence of their father? My standing before Him would have significantly changed, as would my degree of access, entirely because of my company: the president’s daughters.
My own merits before the father are this: I was made to be a worshiper of Him, but instead I chose Satan’s way of worship, which is to worship myself & my own pleasures. But Jesus Christ – God the Son – lived as a perfect servant here on Earth – embodying perfect Worship in true, selfless obedience to the Call for which he was MADE. With Christ at our side, we can enter God’s presence.
Not only that, but we can enter BOLDLY – ‘in Christ’ we are no longer just ‘tolerated’ by God, as merely Christ’s friend, but loved as Sons and daughters. It’s like – to continue along my analogy (recognizing that all analogies break down at some point) – what if you were to marry one of the President’s daughters: your relationship to the President would then be as “Father-n-Law”. Because of what Christ did on the Cross, YOU ARE NOW HIS OWN CHILDREN – we are adopted into God’s family, and He relates to us as sons & daughters!
Our response, as a result, is to “DRAW NEAR”
Hebrews 4:16 also says “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace”
For me, to try to lead you into the presence of God would be pointless, because Christ has already done it. Christ is your true worship leader, by his life, and by His Holy Spirit, making a way for you to approach your heavenly father in confidence. I merely work to remind you, to guide you, to encourage you: God’s presence however was made available to you already by one far greater than any mere worship leader.
So, what is my role in this, as a so-called “Worship Leader”? I’m saving that for my next blog…
Thank you, Jesus, for ushering in Your Kingdom. So be it. Yes.