Bobby Schembre serves as deacon over Karis Music and also manages the Imago Gallery and Cultural Center in downtown Columbia. Bobby is married to Laura. After reading the worship chapter of Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life, Bobby wrote down some of his thoughts for us.
It's not just about Sunday
One line hit me hard as I read chapter 5 of Whitney’s Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life, where he quotes Geoffrey Thomas, “There is no way that those who neglect secret worship can know communion with God in the public services of the Lord’s Day.”
I have, sadly, found this to be true.
Weekly corporate worship is vital for the Christian. But though we may have powerful experiences on Sundays, if we are not moved to worship God throughout the week, it is doubtful our Sunday experiences were genuine. Consider the man who claims to love a woman, but only communicates with her on date nights once a week. The rest of the week, she is ignored. He expresses neither interest nor love. Though he might be romantic on date nights, his love is suspect. Similarly, if we are greatly moved by a song on Sunday, but no change ever comes from it, no thanksgiving, no worship, it is possible that we have merely been moved by music. It is doubtful we have been moved by the Spirit.
It's not about who's looking
Many of us are aware that genuine worship is difficult on Sundays. Oftentimes, we wish we were able to sing boldly, dance uninhibited, weep passionately, and shout for joy. But we feel a sense of hypocrisy because our hearts are far from God and people are watching. And people’s approval is our God.
This is a challenge I often face. Sure, we should never stop singing on Sundays. Our lips must proclaim what is true. But we must fight to bring our hearts in alignment with our mouths.
We can worship every day
Now worship is a complicated thing to understand, for it encompasses all of life, and its importance cannot be overstated. Yet what Whitney proposes is simple: having dedicated times of secret worship of God will stoke the fires of passion on Sundays. I also have found this to be true. When I discipline myself during the week to praise God for His grace, for His creation, for His worthiness, I find my heart being moved to praise on Sundays. When I sing songs of praise to Him when no one is watching, I find myself not being concerned about human eyes on Sundays. When I pray and seek God and study the scriptures throughout the week, I find the sermons and scriptures to be alive and powerful to me on Sundays.
Of course the opposite of these things is true. When I never pray or worship in private, I find it cold and awkward to pray and worship in public.
We were made to worship
It is strange to think of worship as a discipline, but we understand that we make time for that which we value. We must value worship above all else. You cannot just say, “I worship God in everything I do.” For there is no biblical picture of worship which does not involve consciously bowing down, or raising our hands, opening our mouths, and giving thanks to the King.
So let us be a people who value worshiping God as the most important item on our daily agenda. Schedule it. Rehearse it. And yes, worship God in everything you do. For it is the very thing for which we were made, and it is a discipline which will continue into eternity.
What did you learn as you read this chapter? Share your thoughts on worship in the comments below.
Have you missed any of the chapter posts from the book? Catch up here or view all the posts in the Abide series: Chapter 1 - Beginning to pursue the spiritual disciplines Chapter 2 - Hearing, reading, and studying God's Word Chapter 3 - 3 ways to get more out of the Bible Chapter 4 - Called to be a praying people