Worship Happens When Lyrics Are Applicable To Our Experiences

Worship is our response to God as he reveals what He has done, is doing and will do in our lives.

I led worship for fifteen years and loved it. I loved being able to sing and play guitar and lead people singing about how great God is. Through these experiences I had a lot of doubt, insecurities, and fears but on the other side I had joy, faith and hope. At times, I saw people worship with every ounce of their being and others act like they hardly wanted to be there. I learned a valuable lesson from a friend named David who never moved but stood faithfully in the back of the room and hardly an emotion crossed his face yet worshipped. How I knew that was because I talked with him about it and he says he worships differently. Long story short, people worship differently and worship looks different to different people.

What I am sure of is that musical worship is an experience that needs two things; lyrics and life. What I mean by that is lyrics need to be applicable to life experiences in order for us to respond. We can sing “How great is our God,” but if we haven’t recognized God’s greatness in our lives then our words are invalid. The same goes with the faithfulness of God or his works. God is faithful and the works of his hands are great but if we don’t recognize them in our life, our response when we sing, is a melody with no power.

If we haven’t recognized where God is faithful or working in our lives, then singing these songs will be a regurgitation of words that have no meaning. Regurgitation has no heart, it has no emotion, it releases no lament or joy. It simply voices words with no invested feeling. It’s apathetic. It’s indifferent.

Recently, my wife and I experienced a scare and now joy because our son had fallen eight feet off some bleachers at the Little League park. We weren’t sure how he would come out of falling on concrete from such a high level. After hours spent at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital, he was given a full release. This is an incredible story of trust and faith in God and prayers of the community being answered. When we attended church the next Sunday, every song and every lyric was applicable to the experience.

We sang Chris Tomlin’s Sing Sing Sing. The lyrics are “We will sing, sing, sing, grateful that You hear us.” We were very grateful that God heard our prayers when Levi fell and answered us. They were applicable to sing that day.

We sang When I Think About the Lord by Shane and Shane. Although this is a salvation song, it still was applicable because everyday he still picks me up and turns me around and places my feet on solid ground. I needed him to do just that when Levi fell. I needed someone like him that was faithful to stand on and lean against.

We sang I Stand Amazed In The Presence. What an amazing song. It is one of my favorites. The chorus reads

How marvelous! How wonderful!
And my song shall ever be:
How marvelous! How wonderful
is my Savior’s love for me!

After the accident and hearing the outcome, I can’t possibly utter greater words. During this song, I couldn’t help but be moved to shed crocodile tears and my jaw shuttered so much that singing was not an option. I have experienced God’s great love for me and my family and when we sang this song, I was emotionally a wreck.

Back to my point: We need lyrics to apply to experiences for worship to happen.

So my call to worship leaders: choose songs that relate to your congregation. That means you have to be in relation with them in order to know how to minister and lead to them through song.

My call to the congregation: Experience God. The only way to do that is live though the Holy Spirit. Go where he tells you, be who he tells you and experience him as he gives you an abundant life.

When we live in the Spirit we will experience all of who God is and when we sing the lyrics, they will be applicable to our experiences. Then we will be able to experience worship by responding to God’s revelation of himself in our lives.





About Kevin Riner
child of grace, worshiper of Jesus, husband, father, Pastor of Village Church, author of Faith Debugged

One Response to Worship Happens When Lyrics Are Applicable To Our Experiences

  1. Pingback: When The Lyrics Hit Home | Worship Links

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