thanksThanksgiving is another one of those worship keys. Without this one, you might as well quit before you start. In working with worship leaders and watching church worship sets being constructed, I often find that the latest songs or the tempo dictate what songs are picked. This is a worrying trend and needs to be nipped in the bud.

Scripture tells us quite plainly on more than one occasion to ‘enter His gates with thanksgiving’. In simple terms… If you planning to meet God at his home… Thanks is his doorbell! The way into God’s presence is thanksgiving. It sets the context for an encounter with God.  Anything done well involves preparation and  life teaches us that there is no substitute for good preparation.  Thanksgiving gets you into a place of  God consciousness which is ‘good preparation’ for face to face encounters with the One who made everything and rules over everything. As we ‘Count His blessings’ or ‘ recall to mind’ or ‘forget none of His benefits’ starting with the work of The Cross, we are quickly filled with how amazing our God is and praising and worshipping is no longer a dry-mouth-with-fake-words activity. Soon, a song or tune is irrelevant and we discover that praise and worship has little to do with music and everything to do with being wrapped up with God and responding with our voice with words, shouts, dance…and maybe even song. Never ever ever let a song get in the way of lavish thanks and praise (don’t be intimidated by musical worship or more tuneful/eloquent people near you).  Notice, I emphasized the need for us to use our voice. The book of James talks extensively about the power of the tongue. Oh! that we would be people whose mouths are continually filled with thanks and praise (Psalm 34).

I hope that we as worshippers are looking at ‘thanksgiving’ as something more than just a family meal that ends with <burp>! I long for us in the church  to  move past the trappings of music and songs  and come into the place where all we do is return to God and just say “Thank You”; completely unreserved and unashamed. May we be so wrapped up in God and His goodness that looking like a nutjob dancing King David (I will be more undignified than this) would be something we want to emulate.

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