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Union chapel speaker poses worship goals

JACKSON, Tenn.March 2, 2005 – Though many people may genuinely desire to worship God, not all of them do it correctly, according to a staff member at the Tennessee Baptist Convention.

“God is the seeker in worship,” said Paul Clark, worship and music specialist for the TBC. “He is seeking worshipers, and he wants people whose hearts are yielded toward him.”

Clark spoke Feb. 25 to Union University students and faculty in a chapel service about the importance of daily worship.

“There are indications that in your generation there is a capacity and perhaps a calling from God to become a part of something much, much bigger than yourselves,” he said.

Humility and reverence are key themes when worshipping. Clark referred to a song by Kyle Matthews to explain the importance of these two points: “God forbid that I find you so familiar that I think of you as less than who you are. God forbid that I should speak of you at all without a humble reverence in my heart.”

Clark said thoughts about God should give pause and break prideful desires in the hearts of Christians. Simply stated, the very premise of worship is, “God is God,” and that simple phrase is the starting point of worship.

“Worship doesn’t happen until we understand that God is who he says he is,” Clark said.

He said many times people try to control their own lives and take hold of the reigns. Selfishly, people wish for others to love them and serve their every desire. These feelings occur when one is trying to be God. Clark made clear that one must know who God is so that one can worship him properly and unselfishly. That recognition of God for who he is puts everything into perspective because it completely humbles people.

In addition, Clark said a Christian’s entire life should be in worship, because worship is a condition of the heart and isn’t confined to a certain place or time. Thus, although some may think they have to go to church to worship, Christians should instead worship God everywhere they go.

“We often think we ‘go to worship,’ when in fact we should ‘go worshipping,’” Clark said.

He added that worship can happen in private, where an individual can confess everything. Worship can happen in festivals, where people can have individual experiences within the masses. Or worship can happen within extended families, such as sororities, fraternities, clubs and other organizations.

But perhaps the hardest kind of worship is congregational simply because there are so many different personalities within a congregation, Clark explained. There are all ages, from grandparents to teenagers, but regardless there is a place for everyone in a church family.

Worship should occur continually, no matter where one is, who one is with or what circumstances are taking place.

“Praise God, not because everything’s OK, but because of who he is,” Clark said.

Emily Stopher (’07)

Media contact: Tim Ellsworth, news@uu.edu, 731-661-5215

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