October 12, 2007

This was a devotion I wrote for this weeks ministry update for our worship community at Sunset.  It’s called Heart.

Last Sunday I visited Bel Air Presbyterian in California.  Much like our church, they have two different services with two different musical “styles” in each.

Apparently it was communion Sunday across all denominations, a Sunday where Presbyterians, Baptists, Methodists, and you name it all celebrated communion. 

I started thinking about all the different expressions of worship that happen at the same time in different churches.  Prayers, liturgies, dance, confession, hymns, worship chorus’s, scripture reading, choirs, ensembles, solos, praise, testimonies, videos, dramas, offerings, sermons.  I thought about all the different styles and variables that were happening… traditional, contemporary, emerging, loud, soft, organs, electric guitars, acappella, standing, sitting, clapping, not clapping, silence, dark, bright, to name just a few of thousands of expressions of worship that occur in long services or short services, from older generations and young generations, etc., etc. 

I wonder what God thinks of it all as He hears and views the immense variety of expression. Is He looking for that one church that gets the “process… the form… the style” just right; and, are the other churches just wasting their time?  I don’t think so.  While style and form has its importance for a lot of reasons, I think in all the variety God is looking for the heart behind it. He is more interested in the hearts of the people that are reciting the prayers and singing the songs, both on the platform and off. He is looking for people who are honoring Him not just with their lips, but with their hearts. (Isaiah 29:13)


Imagine a community that came together to worship and praise God first, a community that was far more concerned with the heart than the form worship was expressed in. I believe this can be the case at Sunset and I pray toward that end.  

So they will know Him!



  1. I couldn’t have said it better. I sometime think we get too caught up in being “apart” of church…and also segregatation between churches (ie. my church is better than yours).

    I think there is a careful balance, but we’re nowhere near what the focus needs to be…The Lord and His perfect Will.

  2. These exact thoughts were on my mind this week. We were discussing in one of my classes how throughout the time of all churches, most likely they haven’t gotten things “correct.” But I believe God has seen past their practices and order to see their hearts. He sees His children who are faithful and striving to serve Him.

  3. You really captured the heart of what worship is all about. It is about focusing and praising God.

    I also want to thank you for the balance in music that you bring to Sunset, because music is such an important transition into worship. The old hymns are very beautiful and they are a great treasure that ought be kept alive right next to the uplifting new songs.

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