Being married to a worship leader has undeniably tainted my churchy lens.
For twenty-five years, I watched my husband cheer-lead the corporate people of God into the high praise which David exhorts us to offer God in Psalm 103:1, “Bless the Lord, oh my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name!” During that season of our lives, I was often reminded of a phrase which my grandmother had sagely used when I was a child: You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.
From where I sat, the American church was like an overfed horse, grazing on the banks of a living river which flows with the purest water imaginable, dying of thirst.
That conviction was further underscored when I had the opportunity to lead a women’s study on worship. For weeks we discussed what it meant for our souls to choose to act as the gatekeeper for our spirits so that we could worship God in spirit and in truth. At the conclusion of our time together, we gathered for corporate worship. As I led from a small stage—my glance sweeping over the faces of women whom I adored—my heart broke. No thunder of praise erupted. No shouts of adoration, no spontaneous exaltation of the King of Kings. Instead, I found myself cheerleading—and failing miserably. As my husband often says of worship leading, it was like pulling teeth.
For months afterwards, I wrestled to understand the possible causes for the Church’s lackluster worship. Was it fear of man or laziness? Perhaps it was pride or just plain bad theology? The list of possibilities seemed endless, and I wasn’t making any headway.
Until the summer of 2020.
In response to COVID-19, our state’s governor singlehandedly outlawed all churches from gathering. Adding insult to injury, he instructed us not to sing.
Then, something shifted.
A long-haired worship leader stood up, rallying the people of God. As the world trembled in pandemic-induced fear, a few hundred Christians boldly sang their way across the Golden Gate bridge. They belted out their praise for the entire earth to see, unashamed.
And they just kept going, adding leaders to their daring company as they went.
That summer saw cities torched and burned in the twisted name of justice and equality. Businesses permanently shuttered in an attempt to control and protect. Families torn apart both physically and ideologically. But in the midst of the chaos, the Remnant began to wake up and sing.
For three years, we’ve been singing outside of the walls of the Church. Not the tame, barely audible mumbling which substitutes for worship in so many quarters of Christianity. It’s a groundswell of praise that shakes communities, cities and states with the power and goodness of God. It’s a dancing-like-David declaration that our God is WORTHY, and nothing can hold back His people from roaring of His greatness. This all that is within me worship ushers in supernatural salvation, deliverance and freedom. Just as King Jehoshaphat set worshippers in front of Judah’s army to rout his enemies (2 Chronicles 2:21-22), so the awakening Church is sending forth an army of unashamed worshippers to break up our nation’s fallow ground, so that hearts might be captivated with the beauty of Jesus.
What does it take for hundreds of thousands, even millions, of unashamed Christians to sing, dance and declare the glory of the Kingdom across every state in the Union? Undoubtedly, courage is required. But far more than just bravery, this outpouring of radical worship requires that the people of God become convinced with every fiber of their being that Jesus is deserving of our praise. That the Lamb is worthy to receive the reward of His suffering, even in the midst of our own desperate trouble. That our unashamed worship is the very least we can offer to such a matchless Savior.
When the Lord set me on a journey to understand the kind of worship Jesus desires from His people, Psalm 103 shone like a spotlight. As a result, Bless was born. A nine week study on David’s song of praise, Bless provides keys for unlocking genuine worship as we consider God’s breathtaking lovingkindness. When we focus our hearts on the innumerable benefits of a love relationship with our Creator, our soul’s adoration can’t help but spill over.
There is a desperate need in this pivotal hour for the Church to join David’s choir, raising our voices to declare the goodness of God to a fractured world. Let’s respond to the Spirit’s call and cry out with the Psalmist,
“Bless the Lord, O you his angels, you mighty ones who do his word, obeying the voice of his word!
Bless the Lord, all his hosts, his ministers, who do his will!
Bless the Lord, all his works, in all places of his dominion.
Bless the Lord, O my soul!”
Are you ready to grow as a worshiper?
If you’d like to learn from David what it means to sing praise in every season, consider Bless Bible Study.
I wrote Bless with busy moms in mind! It’s not homework focused, and you can seamlessly incorporate the videos and written study into your demanding life. Bless was designed with flexibility in mind, as it can be studied individually or in a group of any size. For example, the women’s ministry at your church could go through Bless this Fall, or you could gather a handful of moms in your home. Either way, you’ll find your soul coming alive with praise to Jesus as you go through this study. And, I promise you, that will change everything!