Corporate Worship is grounded in Personal Growth

And he will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water.” (Psalm 1:3)

I was awakened one night at 3:30AM by a loud “crack.”  I could tell it was outside, and thought it was too loud for a gunshot.  I wondered if it may have been a car running off the road into the ditch, since the roads in our area are lined by ditches on both sides.

After getting up and peering into the darkness outside, I determined that whatever the sound was could wait until morning and daylight.  There are farms nearby, and the cows that inhabit the barns are always causing noises that seem unexplainable.  I assumed, since I heard no sirens and saw no movement outside, that everything was OK for now.

Upon recalling this incident the next morning, I found that no one else in the family had heard the mysterious noise.  I decided to do some more investigating and searched the area from our deck.  I noticed the branches of a tree on the ground behind our shed that had not been there before.  As I investigated further and stepped behind the shed, I saw that a fairly large tree had been blown over in the wind.  There before me stood the trunk, still in tact up to about 12 feet from the ground, but no further.  Another large piece of the trunk (about 10 feet or so) lay on the ground nearby, while the rest of the tree had been shattered on the ground, in the midst of the other trees.  Obviously, this explained the noise and the windstorm of the previous day claimed a victim.

This reminded me of our verse from Psalm 1:3, “And he will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water.”  The Psalmist refers to that person who “plants” himself or herself in the things of God and drinks deeply of the knowledge of God, spending time with Him regularly in His Word and in prayer.  This person will not be shaken by the winds of change, or error, like this tree had been shaken by the windstorm.

However, the tree I saw in my backyard was only about 20 feet from a stream.  How odd, I thought, that it would have a supply of fresh water so close, yet deteriorate to such weakness.  Surely some kind of disease or parasite had infected this tree.  The appearance of the tree did not reflect the health of the tree.  It was near water, but somehow was not “firm” in its reliance upon the life-giving flow of water nearby.

And what about you?  Is your appearance different than the reality of your relationship with Christ?  Do you look good as you perform and help lead worship, does it seem like you have it all together, while at the same time the strong winds of difficulty are ready to blow you over?  Is the water of the Word and prayer close by, while your spirit suffers dehydration?  Is there some parasite that has latched onto your soul, draining you of spiritual vigor?

Being near the water of God’s Word is not enough, it must be in you.  You must drink deeply to understand Who He is – and who you are in relationship to Him.  This deep drinking must happen on two levels:  in a personal way between you and God directly, and in connection with a community of believers that can sustain you and encourage you.  This pursuit of God must be daily and consistent.  It is in these things that we can become “firm” in our planting.  Our roots will grow deep, and the strong winds will buffet us but not knock us over.

It’s easy for those of us who are “up front” to lose sight of the unseen reality of our faith.  Our successful performance of another worship set can lull us into believing that it also represents our internal spiritual condition.  Let’s not get caught in that trap, but consider what it is to be “like a tree firmly planted.”

Father, we can so easily pull away from our firm roots.  Give me the strength and will to seek You daily in Your Word.  Give me the privilege to talk with You each day through prayer.  Amen.

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Posted on August 4, 2015, in Content of Worship, Corporate Worship, Leadership, theology, Worship Leader and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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