Back when I was searching for a church to attend regularly, a friend invited me to a service at her church. The worship leaders led the congregation in a song I particularly loved. So I sang with gusto, remembering my college choir director’s advice to “Project!”
After the song, my friend’s husband turned to me and said, “You really sang loud.” This remark was not intended as a compliment! After that, I self-consciously monitored my singing, making sure I sang softer than those around me, and always wondering if the people around me judged my singing.
But one Sunday, I noticed the singing of a woman in the pew beside me. She seemed to sing with adoration, without a trace of self-consciousness. Her worship reminded me of the enthusiastic, spontaneous worship that David demonstrated in his life. In Psalm 98, in fact, David suggests that “all the earth” should “burst into jubilant song” in worship (v. 4).
Verse one of Psalm 98 tells us why we should worship joyfully, reminding us that “[God] has done marvelous things.” Throughout the psalm, David recounts these marvelous things: God’s faithfulness and justice to all nations, His mercy, and salvation. Dwelling on who God is and what He’s done can fill our hearts with praise.
What “marvelous things” has God done in your life? Thanksgiving is the perfect time to recall His wondrous works and give God thanks. Lift your voice and sing!
Millions of Christians gather each Sunday to worship God as their Creator and Redeemer. Whether formal and liturgical or casual and spontaneous, church services are occasions to declare God's worthiness and to give Him praise. But centuries of church history reveal how quickly worship can degenerate into empty ritualism. This occurs whenever God's people harden their hearts and fail to obey His Word.
Studies conducted by the National Geographic Society provide some fascinating insights into the behavior of chimpanzees. Observers noted how the leadership of a chimp community changed because of a dramatic bluff used by one of the lowliest members of the group.
The song of the humpback whale is one of the strangest in nature. It is a weird combination of high- and low-pitched groanings. Those who have studied the humpback whale say their songs are noteworthy because these giants of the deep are continually changing them. New patterns are added and old ones eliminated so that over a period of time the whale actually sings a whole new song.
It was a Sunday afternoon several years ago. The whole family was gathered around the table for dinner. Our 4-year-old son Stevie led off our pre-meal prayer: "Dear heavenly Father, thank You for this nice day. Thank You that we could go to church and Sunday school today." Then, to our surprise, he said, "And we'll see You again next week."