Saturday, December 09, 2006


I was speaking to the young people at RIOT last week about Africa. I was encouraging them simply to think 'what can we give?' rather than 'what can we get?'. This is how the Kingdom of God differs from the world.

Ironically I am becoming even more aware of how often in churchlife we are focused on what we can get. I've never been a great fan of contemporary Christian 'worship' music for this very reason. I love the stuff that echoes the saints of the ages...singing 'How great is our God' or 'Holy. Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty'. When we focus on God it takes our eyes off ourselves.
So why then are so many worship songs focused on us.....'I'm hungry', 'I'm thirsty', 'Here I am waiting' etc etc. Take the song 'True Intimacy' (A modern favourite that has always grated with me):

'Here I stand, Waiting Lord,
Touch me now like never before'.......

Come on! How can we truly give worship when we're so focused on trying to get something??
Anyway I'm trying to defeat my cynical side so I'll stop now...


Anonymous said...

Hey John, this is my understanding of the song even though it's not one of my personal favorites. I totally understand what your getting at, because "IT IS ALL ABOUT GOD" and for HIS glory and fame.When i'm in worship i realise how much i need more of God in my life, and get frustrated at times when i see the condition of my attitude and heart. I personally end up in tears alot in worship and i'm not saying everyone has to cry in worship to be changed. For me as i draw closer to God and lay my heart out before him he takes me, heals me. His love and grace overwhelm me at times. I believe the people who wrote these songs were coming from places in their lives that were too difficult to bare and are crying out to their maker and healer in desperation. I know in my own life i have had to look inwards as hard as it was, to the pain etc before i was capable of understanding and loving peolpe more effectively. It's a journey, he is worthy!! Coral

Tawit said...

Little comment from a close brother who likes to listen to your words! ;-)

Surely there has to be a balance?

give & receive. receive 2 give.

Surely God is also a giver. Are we to say "no i don't want it from you because i want to give?"

I DO want stuff from God but hopefully so i can be more effective in giving in this world.

J-Mac said...

I maybe didn't put this across in the right way. I realise God wants to be intimate with us...the 'intimacy and involvement' that Pete Grieg speaks of.

I know we need to spend time receiving from God.

I was thinking more of the church service in particular. I just feel that many of the songs we sing are focused on us, often making people feel even worse. But when we take our eyes off ourselves and worship One that is greater than our understanding then we 'receive' a greater peace. I could be wrong though..

Anyways will chat to you when I get home Tawit (your home that is!)


Jen said...

I wonder if your confusion stems from the fact that you're male. Not wanting to insult you or anything, but I know for us women-romance is all about intimacy. We love to feel wanted and love that, 'that certain someone' wants to spend time only with us. When i sing true intimacy I'm telling God that I want to be more like him, I'm inviting him to change me. I don't think that's 'me' focused, otherwise I'd just tell him not to bother. I'm letting him know that I desire him. I reckon that's all about him.I'm romancing him-he desires to be desired. Just a thought.

J-Mac said...

Sorry to disappoint but I don't have intimacy issues. I refer you my post above.

Anonymous said...

flip me, sitting putting off revising and find a topic on Fastfude about nebo, then link that to the band's myspace, and then from there get onto this.

How is it going Jon Boy?

Its Graham Brown here, not seen you in ages, and would love to meet up over Christmas? Maybe head back down to Willowfield for this much talked about double chicken burger?? It would need to be between the 13th and the 25th, as I then go on Hols.

give me a phone or a text, 07708763408

great to hear some of Nebo on the net.


ricky said...

Big Lad,

Interesting blog. . .

I struggle with this quite a bit.
Personally I have a heart for singing songs which lift up his name, for example 'How great is our God', 'You are the Lord. . .' etc. However, I do recognise that depending upon the season of ones heart, then songs like, 'Intimacy' or 'Purify my heart' etc are sometimes necessary.

I do think that in a church service, especially in the morning, when it's mainly the church family, the songs show be God centered. . .

Just some ramblings


Anonymous said...

I think it's important to remember that each of us is in a different place. One song may connect with me today while it seems totally irrelevant to where you are at, and vice versa. But I also agree that we do have to watch out that our worship and indeed our church life does not become introverted, centred around the 'blessings' we want. That's not why we exist. Keep challenging us John! It's hard to get the balance right between wanting to receive and wanting to give. Just like trying to get the balance right in so many other areas in life.