Monday, April 17, 2017

Worshiping with Boldness

Worshiping with Boldness
Who does my worship effect?

By: Elisha Jane Wells

This is a testimony I recently shared. It bares repeating.

Pastor informed me a week or so ago that he wanted me to come up one Wednesday night while all the kids were downstairs and share a very special testimony with you all.

Since then I’ve been thinking and praying about just what to say. And one thing keeps coming back to my mind. It is how blessed I am that I had the influence and the encouragement of true worshippers in my life as a young person. It’s made me think about those people and just how they worshipped; how they prayed, how they got behind the preacher. What did they do in church? How did they act?

I don’t know if any of you had the opportunity to know Bro. Dummitt’s mother, Sister Opal Dummitt, but to give you an idea he is her made over. She was not ashamed to whoop, holler, cry, dance, shout, Amen the preacher, wave her hankie around… She always had a testimony. I’m pretty sure she was determined to either shake or shout the Holy Ghost into me! And she is only one of the many people I can think of whose worship taught me what worship could and should look like.

I’ve been blessed to see those ministers who jump on the altar and those saints who aren’t too intimidated to take off running laps or to walk up and say ‘hey God told me to pray for you.’ I’ve been in those altar services where half the church ended up slain in the spirit  it didn’t matter that there was school in the morning, because you were in the presence of God.

I went to church expecting bobby pins to fly - because it was gonna happen. Me and one of the other girls in the youth cleaned the church once a week and we always had to go around search for bobby pins before we could vacuum. I went to church expecting to go to go to the altar. Expecting shouting, and aisle running, and dancing.
I am so thankful that I have had those experiences. That I have those memories of the people who didn’t just tell me about worship and praise but let me see them doing it.

A few weeks ago I taught Klub 356. And after we went through our lesson, we had a few minutes left and we ended up having a very interesting discussion,,, interesting enough I felt the need to share it with Pastor.

It was pretty laid back, I mean I was sitting cross legged in the floor, but I asked them what the biggest thing that kept them from speaking up, participating, and actively praising and worshipping in church was. Unsurprisingly they all agreed fear. So I asked fear of what? Again, unsurprisingly, they agreed that it was fear of being judged and ridiculed. So, I asked by whom. I was expecting them to say each other, other kids, their friends, their peers... But not one of them said that. Their actual answer blew me away. I had to take a second and regroup because it was not what I was expecting to hear. Their answer convicted me!
Their answer was the adults.

I asked them to explain and they were very hesitant at first to look me in the eye or to give a real answer. I mean they’re kids. I’m an adult. I don’t blame them., I would’ve probably been reluctant too. So I approached it a different way. I asked if I intimidated them, were they afraid to worship in front of me? They all agreed that the answer was no. So I asked why not. They started with vague answers like “you’re you” and “you’re not  going judge us”, but then one of them made the statement, “because you do it too” and the rest chimed in with responses that included  “exactly”, and “you would just do it with us”.

I looked them each in the eye and said so you’re telling me that if more of the adults actively worshipped that you would too? Their immediate answer was yes.

Since I had them talking, I asked them why it mattered and they said that they were afraid that the adults thought they were just supposed to sit and be quiet because they were kids. That the adults would judge them and disapprove if they were active in church. They were afraid they would be in trouble, or reprimanded - like by not not sitting quietly they were being disruptive and disrespectful. The consensus was that they felt that way because the adults were just sitting so they felt like that’s what the adults expected them to do too. One of the statements that really got me was that they felt like that if they participated the adults were just sitting back watching them to make sure they didn’t mess up or get out of line.
So, I shared with them my testimony of the last year and the choices I’ve had to make, even as an adult, to praise and worship more.

We talked about all the things that Jesus went through (ridicule, judgement, pain, the cross, death). I described some of it pretty graphically because I wanted them to get the point that he did it all without ever sitting down and saying they weren’t worth it.

And I told them they had a choice to make, either they could be influenced by their fear and the actions of others or they could be the influencers. That they had to decide what God was worth to them. I encouraged them, since they had all admitted to me and each other that they had the same fear, to sit up front together in church (if they didn’t already) and to participate together, to worship and praise together and that I was definitely one adult that would worship with them. That if they weren’t sure, or needed some encouragement they could look to me.

I may have been a bit blunt but I asked them to think about what was worth going to hell for? Because of what someone else might think? Just what was God worth to them?

And I have been asking myself the same question. Just what is God worth to me? Is he worth being ridiculed? Being made fun of? Being judged? He thought I was worth that. Is he worth pushing past pain and tiredness? Past hurt and doubt and intimidation? He thought I was worth that. Is he worth pressing just a little farther? Because God didn’t think Calvary was too far for me. God didn’t think Hell was too far to go for me.

I don’t want to ever be guilty of holding back praise and worship from God because no matter how I feel or what is bogging me down and trying to hold me back, He deserves all that I can give.

It’s hard to change the way you think. It’s taken me a long time to get where I am right now. I don’t expect their thinking to be changed immediately by that one conversation. They need to see that conversation put into action.

I don’t ever want to be guilty of being the reason that anyone, whether it is a child, a teen, a new convert, whoever is intimidated or influenced not to praise, not to worship. I don’t want those who are watching me to think that just sitting like a knot on a log is the worship God wants or deserves.

So it has become my prayer that God will help me to have a new determination to push, to press, past everything to worship him like he’s worth it!

And I want to encourage you each to do the same. Ask yourself what God is worth to you? Can you make the effort to raise your voice a little louder? Raise your hands a little higher? Clap a little harder? Stand when you feel like sitting?

God deserves every bit of praise and worship we can eek out. And he deserves all the praise and worship we can influence others to give.

We don’t know how our level of worship affects others, but I don’t want to stand before God guilty of having been the reason He missed out on worship - mine or anybody else's.

So if you notice I’m a little louder, a little bolder, a little more willing to move - I’m trying! Because I have decided for myself that I am going to worship with boldness because not only is my God worth all the worship and praise I can give, I don’t know who might be learning their worship from me, or who might be intimidated and influenced by my lack of worship, and He’s worthy of as much worship and praise as they can give too!