The Worship Quote of the Week for (07/08/2008):

Where Are Our Idols?
Today's WORSHIP QUOTE is another helpful excerpt from Bob Kauflin's new book, WORSHIP MATTERS: LEADING OTHERS TO ENCOUNTER THE GREATNESS OF GOD. Although this is addressed to worship leaders, I think it serves as an important reminder for all of us: Worship only God.

What's the greatest challenge you face as a worship leader? You might think it's deciding which songs to sing, getting along with your pastor, receiving feedback from church members, or leading a team of unorganized, independent musicians.

Nope. Your greatest challenge is what you yourself bring to the platform each and every Sunday.

Your heart.

For years we've read about or experienced firsthand the "worship wars"--conflicts over music styles, song selections, and drums. But far too little has been said about the worship wars going on inside us. And they're much more significant.

Each of us has a battle raging within us over what we love most--God or something else.

Whenever we love and serve anything in place of God, we're engaging in idolatry. We love our idols because we think they’ll provide the joy that comes from God alone. We think having them will truly satisfy us. We think they're worthy of our worship.

Of course, we're wrong.

Throughout Scripture idolatry is the greatest snare the people of God encounter. God condemns idolatry repeatedly in his Word. He hates it when we pursue, serve, or are emotionally drawn to other gods, which are not really gods at all. Idols enslave us and put us to shame (Isaiah 45:16; Psalm 106:36). The apostle John warned his readers and us, "Little children, keep yourselves from idols" (1 John 5:21). Idols are powerless to help us and end up making us into their own image (Psalm 115:8). Like David, we should hate idols and those who pay regard to them (Psalm 31:6). Too often, though, we ourselves are the idolaters.

When some of us hear the word IDOLATRY, we picture primitive tribesmen bowing down to statues of wood, metal or stone. Or we think of countries like India where Hindu temples dot the landscape. When I went to train pastors in India years ago, I met many men who had grown up worshiping idols as a daily ritual.

But idol worship is a daily ritual in America, too. Only it's more subtle and therefore more dangerous.

Idols are all around us. Can you spot them? They come in different forms. Material comforts. Financial security. Sensual pleasures. Musicians have their own special idols. New gear. Electronic gadgets. Hip clothes. The most powerful idols are the ones we can't even see. Things like reputation, power, and control.

--Bob Kauflin, WORSHIP MATTERS: LEADING OTHERS TO ENCOUNTER THE GREATNESS OF GOD. Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2008, pp. 21-22. ISBN-13: 978-1-58134-824-8. Highly recommended--this is a fantastic volume. A significant portion of the book is dedicated to unpacking Kauflin's thoughtful definition of a faithful worship leader. Here it is:

A faithful worship leader
magnifies the greatness of God in Jesus Christ
through the power of the Holy Spirit
by skillfully combining God's Word with music,
thereby motivating the gathered church
to proclaim the gospel,
to cherish God's presence,
and to live for God's glory. (p. 55)


Have a great week,

Chip Stam
Director, Institute for Christian Worship
School of Church Music and Worship
The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
Louisville, Kentucky

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