Honour and the Heart of Worship

No Other Name

It was good to be back home after being away for nearly a month, with two weekends spent in Sydney sandwiching the Hillsong Conference (which was pure amazing) and then ministering last week at another church.

Maybe it was the sense of missing something that made me appreciate it more (like being on a diet and then rediscovering ice-cream), but there was something about yesterday’s service at Faith Community Church that really excited me.

Normally, when I prepare to lead worship, I would find out what the preacher was going to speaking on. But having been absent for a while, I didn’t really keep up the comms with Ps Benny, so I just had to wing it (I mean, prayerfully put together the songlist). Having come back from Hillsong Conference however, I just had to introduce the song “No Other Name”, so that became the focus of the songlist. I think those of us on the band yesterday who had come back from the Conference were also brimming with excitement at the prospect of playing that song. I could tell because they brought in the midi computer.

As the service unfolded however, what became apparent was how apt that choice of song was to what Ps Benny was preaching. At times like that, you just have to thank God for how the Holy Spirit orchestrates everything even when those who lead different aspects of the service don’t communicate.

Ps Benny preached from Malachi 1:6-14 on “Setting Our Hearts to Worship”. He said that a principle of true worship was to have a heart of honour. The word “honour” had the meaning of giving weight and reverence to something or someone. He then went on to describe how having a heart of honour should affect the way we serve God in church and the offering that we give Him. Do we offer something which is just outwardly impressive but without the corresponding attitude of heart? What would happen if we were to take this teaching seriously? Do the musos, for example, just come a few minutes before the service starts without practising during the week, or do we prayerfully and consistently prepare and rehearse so we can execute with excellence? What if every ministry in the church approached our service with the honour that’s due God’s name?

It was a sobering and hard-hitting message. But for our church, I think it was a timely one. And Ps Benny pulled no punches. He said that if we like expository teaching (as indeed our members do), then this is message the prophet Malachi was trying to get across and we would have to accept it, even if it does touch a nerve.

And here was the convergence point of our service and offering – to give to God what is due His worthy name.

“My name will be great among the nations, from the rising to the setting of the sun. In every place incense and pure offerings will be brought to my name, because my name will be great among the nations,” says the Lord (v11)

“For I am a great king,” says the Lord Almighty, “and my name is to be feared among the nations” (v16).

In the words of Joel Houston and Jonas Myrin: “one Name holds weight above them all”. Indeed, it is because there is no other name but the name of Jesus.

I came out of yesterday’s service feeling inspired and excited, with the hope that our whole church will get a revelation of the privilege and weightiness of serving the greatest One of all. May his fame and renown be the desire of our hearts!

Here is the setlist from yesterday’s service:

// Nothing is Impossible (A) (led by Joseph Wong, Vibe Worship Director)
// Our God (A)
// 10,000 Reasons (G)
// Prayer for the families of the victims of the MH17 disaster (Ps Benny)
// No Other Name (G)

And here is the recording of the worship sesh.

A big shout-out to Fantastic Team 3 for living out the principles Ps Benny taught. I am so blessed to serve with a bunch of people who truly set their hearts to honour God in their service!

Heavenly Commission

David Livingstone said:

If a commission by an earthly king is considered an honour, how can a commission by a Heavenly King be considered a sacrifice?

That’s a profound thought, isn’t it? Sometimes, we serve God as if our sacrifice can somehow be held to the same light as His. Juanita Bynum once said something like this: “even if God were to stop blessing us today, it would take us 1000 years for our praise to catch up to Him.”

How can our sacrifice ever compare to His? That He would sacrifice His most precious, so that we wouldn’t get what we deserve, but instead, so that we get what we don’t deserve. That’s His grace! And yet, when asked to serve Him, it’s as if God still owes us something. So we say we sacrifice for His sake, and the sake of His kingdom.

Think about this: God doesn’t need our sacrifice! He can do everything by Himself. If we don’t do it, someone else will rise up. Remember what Mordecai said to Esther in Esther 4:14:

“… For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”

If we don’t serve, someone else will arise to take our place. But what if we have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?

We must see our service to the King as a privilege. Yes, it does involve personal sacrifice on our part to some extent, but God didn’t need us, and yet, he called us to such a great honour. Will we accept the call?