March 29, 2014

Worship Directions

This blog post is distilled from a series of sermons preached at Torquay Christian Fellowship (Australia) in late 2005.
© Chris Rowney 2014

All five posts can be downloaded as a PDF here.

Part One: Being enjoyed by God!

Our action as we approach God,
and our reaction when we meet His presence.

From the title of this blog you can see I’m planning to write for a few pages about worship directions.

That doesn’t mean I’m going to say “kneel, sit, stand, lift your arms” - this book isn’t about those sort of “directions”, but about the “In” and “Up”, the “Out” and even the “Beyond” – of worship.

Whether you have ever realised it or not, you exist to share in the joy, the pleasure that God experiences in loving us.

“You are worthy, O Lord our God, to receive glory and honor and power. For you created everything, and it is for your pleasure that they exist and were created.” Revelation 4:11, NLT.

You’re here for God’s pleasure. That’s ultimately the most basic definition I can come up with for worship.

Why is it that we would want to give God pleasure? Because He is worthy. The phrase “You are worthy” in one form or another is found all through the Bible. The word “worship” is the modern form of the Old English word weorþscipe, (worthship) which simply meant to acknowledge or declare the worth of something.

Have you ever woken up on a Sunday and wondered if it was worth getting out of bed that morning to get in the car and head off to the ‘worship service?’ Wondered if it was worth foregoing the nice weather and the beckoning beach? Weighed up the time spent sitting through some music you may not even like?

I don’t know whether you thought it was worth all those things. But the nub of the question is, is God worth those things?

L’Oréal may have cheapened the phrase “because you’re worth it” as an advertising tag line, but our activity of worshipping God is in a very real sense us declaring that He is worth it!

Our participation in a worship service is our expression, our declaration, our recognition of the worthy–ness of God. It doesn’t give Him anything that He lacks. It doesn’t add worth or goodness. But it displays to the world, in the visible and tangible actions and reactions of our lives, some of the incalculable greatness of God.


Before I go much further I want to dispel a possible misconception. That God demands our worship like an egotistical dictator. There is probably no person so unpopular as the one always fishing for compliments (I have learnt not to do that, sometimes when you go fishing you just catch an old boot!). Or the person that demands attention and flattery.

C.S. Lewis is one who for a time felt uncomfortable with the  frequent commands of Scripture to praise and worship God. Until he recognised it was not so much God that demanded worship, as that our nature requires worship to fully appreciate and enjoy God! Yes, we are created for God’s pleasure, but He gains His pleasure by observing our delight!

Lewis speaks of this in a chapter of his book Reflections on the Psalms, saying:

I think we delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment; it is its appointed consummation It is not out of compliment that lovers keep on telling one another how beautiful they are; the delight is incomplete until it is expressed.”

The relationship between our delight and God’s pleasure, the effectiveness of praise and worship, is well summarised by John Piper when he says - “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him!”

We will revisit this idea later, but I wanted to set here as we start the true end for which we seek in every worship direction – being glad in God’s glory!


A few paragraphs ago I used the words ‘actions’ and ‘reactions’ in trying to define worship.

I  looked up some other definitions of worship, and they use words like—adore, admire, esteem, exalt, love, magnify, respect, reverence, rejoice. I’m sure had I kept going I could find some even down at the far end of the alphabet.

Did you notice they are all verbs? Action words? Another way of understanding worship is to recognise that worship is all of these things done for the reason of approaching the divine. Our action when approaching God.

Which brings me to my next post and my first directions. Which way do we go when we worship?

Click to read Part Two - Worship Up

Click to read Part Three - Worship In

Click to read Part Four - Worship Out

Click to read Part Five - Worship Beyond

 This blog post is distilled from a series of sermons preached at Torquay Christian Fellowship (Australia) in late 2005.

Permission is given for personal and study group use.  We would simply love to hear your feedback and if you found it helpful -

5 comments on “Worship Directions”

  1. This is outstanding and inspiring. If only the Church could embrace all the amazing insights you have captured here. Thank you.
    p.s. It is too long for one blog and would work well as a series and still should be posted a such but for me it is inspiring and empowering.

    1. Thank Eric, greatly appreciated! It started life as a planned ebook, then I thought a blog was more accessible. I think you are right and I will convert it to a series of posts, perhaps with a link to a pdf download of the entire article for those who would want it in that format.

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