What is Wrong with This Picture?

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On the one hand, I understand the desire to use your talents to display yourself to the church. “He who can teach, teach…” etc. But this video (click to watch) is a travesty of worship. Here’s why…

If you want to know how Church should be, you really should know the end from the beginning.

What is the end to which we are all pressing? What is the end to which our Sunday worship points? Is it to a stage where people are bringing attention to themselves?

No. It is to the Lamb on the Throne.

Even though heaven will be a civilization, where we will be in our bodies again (resurrected & changed), and will have industry and purpose–even still, our eyes will not be on ourselves anymore. (See link at end).

We will not be self-absorbed, and self-worship will (finally!) be dead. We will be meek and humble and eager to turn all things to Christ.

These young men certainly wanted to glorify God. I don’t doubt it. But they were misled.

Unfortunately they took the limelight in a place where eyes are to be on Christ alone—they stole the show at the worship gathering of the Church.

“My beloved is radiant and ruddy, distinguished among ten thousand”
(Song of Solomon 5:10). 

“And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent”
(Col 1:17-18).

Whether or not this belongs in church pivots on one crucial question—What is the purpose of the Church’s gathering?

If it is to delight in ourselves, tell ourselves how great we are, how talented we are, show how much we love God, then a display of “us” has a place at church. If it is a time where we exult in ourselves, sure, why not?

But, if it is something else, we have a big problem.

How can we know?

One way is we can rewind to the first Christians. Do we see Paul and Timothy dancing ballet as they gather together? or doing mime? or encouraging each other to use creative ways to worship? No, what we read is things like, “For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you,” (1 Cor 11:23). They were cautious to pass on what they were supposed to, and be what the Church was supposed to be.

Another way is to look at the times we see the quintessential worship service happening, in heaven. Isaiah 6, Daniel 7 and Revelation 4. The Throne of God is before us.

What do we see?

People and angels falling down on their faces, covering their feet and eyes, trembling with fear, casting crowns, looking at the Throne. While they do take the gowns and harps they are given and play them. But in Rev 5:8, 14:2, 15:2 and 18:22, no one is looking at the harpists. They are background. No one applauds them. No one is awed at their work.

In heaven we are FINALLY relieved of self-worship. We are finally freed of our desire for attention on ourselves and enabled to love God and love others SELFLESSLY (like it says in Phil 2:2-3 “being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. [Doing] nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility [counting] others more significant than yourselves.” So what business do we have turning THIS WORSHIP TRAINING TIME into self-worship? Even in the name of God-worship.

If worship at church is a taste of our eternal worshipful life, then it should NEVER BE self-promoting. If a worship leader is ever applauded, he has failed in his task. A worship leader should make himself disappear as he brings the worshippers to God. “He must increase but I must decrease” (John 3:30).

So then, what about our talents? How CAN we use our talents for the Lord?

We do have a responsibility to use our gifts. This is shown in the parable of the talents. The word talent actually came into the English language from this very parable.

Investing “what we are given by God” for the GROWTH of God’s kingdom is a valid use of our talents. Instead of “upstaging” God during a worship service, we should use our talents for the express purpose of EVANGELISM at the appropriate time. 

“There is a time for everything,” Ecclesiastes says, and if women or men have ways they can use their talents to “bring fish” to hear the gospel, they should use those giftings.

While churches do attract seekers, the purpose of the Church’s gathering is worship. Outreach is not the purpose of worship. Outreach is the RESULT of worship. “Take it outside!”

The purpose of worship is to propel us to the ultimate business “out there” of evangelizing a lost and hurting world. We have no greater job than to use our life and breath and talent and gifts to declare the praises of God.

But not in the time we have set aside for worship. It would be like a new bride talking on the phone when her new husband is holding her in his arms. What business does that phone have there?

Friends, we have to see our task and duty for what it is. We are to love God, and to love our neighbor as ourselves, love our enemies, love one another.  As we care for others in their difficulty, we are showing love to others out of our love for God.

But in the short moments we set aside in the week for an intimate time of love between Christ and his corporate Bride we have no business in self-delight. We can encourage each other during coffee and donuts. We have no business spending that rare time fighting the whirr of questions these effeminate male dancers spin into our heads. That certainly was in the minds of people sitting there. We have no business turning church into a talent show.

We have one business, that is to BE the Bride who is delighting in her Christ.

This is what should consume our thoughts each Lord’s Day…

“As I looked,
thrones were placed,

    and the Ancient of Days took his seat;

his clothing was white as snow,
    and the hair of his head like pure wool;
his throne was fiery flames;
    its wheels were burning fire.
A stream of fire issued
    and came out from before him;
a thousand thousands served him,
    and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him;
the court sat in judgment,
    and the books were opened.

…and behold, with the clouds of heaven
there came one like a son of man,
and he came to the Ancient of Days
and was presented before him.
 And to him was given dominion
and glory and a kingdom,
that all peoples, nations, and languages
should serve him;
his dominion is an everlasting dominion,
which shall not pass away,
and his kingdom one
that shall not be destroyed.”

(Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14)

You may disagree. But you are wrong. We take our cues from Scripture…not whims, Hollywood, or cultural abnormal norms.

It is breaking the First and Second Commandment to delight in anything else but God during Worship. If it is not enough, and you need entertainment to be satisfied….gulp.

For more on what I say, study the book of Colossians or 1 John.

May our love not grow cold, though the time is getting short…


Link on Heaven: (See Heaven According to Scripture @WhitehorseInn).

Also see Lee Irons: A Critique of Tim Keller’s “Evangelistic Worship