Repost: Biblical Worship vs. Hyper-Emotionalism

A friend of mine named Adam Neal at Journey in Raleigh, NC wrote a great blog post. I’ll repost it here:

Let me set a scene for you: You are sitting at a restaurant with your family enjoying a nice dinner and having a pleasant conversation. Before you can even order your food, the toddler in the booth behind you begins crying because dad took a toy away. You can barely carry a conversation now because the kid is going crazy! What’s even more annoying is when there is a group of adults that act as if they are the only ones in the restaurant. They make so much noise that you can’t help but to be distracted. Unintentional distractions are obnoxious and mostly rude.

In the Old Testament, people would express worship for the Lord with sacrifices, burnt offerings, and bowing. In fact, worship through singing didn’t appear until 2 Chronicles. Singing and playing instruments became a popular way of worshipping the Lord as shown in the Psalms. Worship didn’t change all that much in the New Testament. Worship remained to be an outward expression of love for God. Hebrews 12: 28-29 says, “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our ‘God is a consuming fire.’ ” In John 4:23 Jesus instructs believers to worship in spirit and in truth. Culture obviously makes a huge difference in our style of worship these days compared to worship in bible times. However, congregational worship is to remain reverent and respectful of others. I am not opposed to the full band, “contemporary” style church. I’m a worship leader at a great one! We just can’t forget that there are other people around us that may be turned off to Christianity if it involves screaming and running around. Hyper-emotionalism gets in the way of evangelism, and possibly interrupts someone’s personal walk with God. Letting your emotions take control of your actions is an immature act in any circumstance. In Revelation, John witnessed the most intense worship service in the history of the world and what did he do? Run around the throne room? Scream at the top of his lungs? Dance around naked? No! He got on his face and worshipped. Even the 24 elders and 4 living creatures got down and worshipped. Maybe this means our worship should involve more bowing and less moving.

Preaching

I read an interesting article today about preaching. It’s entitled “The Truth About Expository Preaching” and asks some interesting questions: How do you define expository preaching? Do you think the term “expository preaching” is applied too broadly? What forms can an expository sermon take? (Sequential and logical.) What are some examples of logical orders? Is there any problem for the listener when we present the most logical order but move through the Scripture out of sequence? To what extent is an expositor obligated to unpack all the elements of a passage–the verb tenses, shades of meaning, and so on?

He asked many more questions, too. I find it these are very important questions we should ask when listening and especially when preaching a message from God’s Word.

One very interesting point I like is his “3 A.M. Test.” Can the preacher be awakened at 3am (however unhappily) and concisely state what his sermon will be for the coming week? This is one thing that I think is done exceptionally well at Journey. Jimmy’s (and the other pastor’s, when they preach) take-away points are exceptionally clear and concise.