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The worship experience

Take this journey with me.

The lights are low. You’re standing in a crowd. You can see outlines of the stage where the lights hit it, and silhouettes of others standing in front of you. When you look down at your shirt, the glow allows you to see the pattern but no detail. But you don’t look down for long. A bass drum sounds in a steady beat. Boom. Boom. Boom. Boom. The crowd starts clapping to the sound. A guitar strums. The pace picks up as more instruments join in. The music builds and builds to a climax and suddenly bursts into vigor and beauty as instruments work together to give praise. The worship leader starts to sing.

You love the words. You know them to be true. You start to sing them, quietly at first. As the verse ends, you can feel the chorus coming, and the voice you reserve for times like these—times when it’s just you and God and all you can think about, all you can recall is how great and powerful and loving He is—that voice comes out. You’re singing at the top of your lungs to the God who created you, giving praise and worship with all you have.

All you can see are the words on the screen. You can’t make out anyone’s shoe color, hair color, skin color… you can’t tell friends from foes. Everyone is here for the same reason—to worship. Whoever you are... for whatever reason you came… all you need to see is God. That’s all that matters.

Then your hands start to tingle. You’re holding them close to you, maybe in your pockets. But right now the Spirit is overwhelming and God’s greatness is burning so hot in your heart that they slowly start to move up. Hands out of your pockets, palms up, you offer your nothingness to God in this time of worship because all you will ever have to give Him is praise and even that isn’t good enough. So you surrender your hands completely and fling them into the air, singing to the God who saves, abandoning any thoughts of yourself, any self-conscious deliberations, and forget the world for this moment because, sinful as the world may be, God is God.

Now you’re reaching. You’re really reaching. All you can do is stretch to your tip-toes, bouncing; fingers extended to their limit, doing all you can to reach God, to be close to him, to think of nothing but His justice and mercy.

Then suddenly, you realize exactly where you belong, what you should be striving for.

And you fall to your knees.

You put your face to the ground. How could you ever have stood up in front of the glory of the living God? How could you confidently put your hands up and worship Him, in all of who He is, and not have immediately been blown away and brought to tears? How could you not have been humbled into submission, allowing the death you deserve for your sinful nature to take you now, in the presence of the King?

As you bow there, face down, knees aching, you feel a pull. The music slows, coming to a close. You want to stand up, but you know just how unworthy you are. But the pull gets stronger, and you lift your head. There is Jesus, hand on your chin, compassion in his eyes. He takes your hand and stands you up. He is the reviver. He has taken your shame away. He has taken your sin away. Now, as you worship, you are singing to Jesus. The Son has paid it all, and now, here you are, broken but renewed because the Son has lifted you up.

This was my experience when I came to Christ. I relive it every time I worship. You may not feel this way or understand what it means, but God has a story to tell you. Pick a time to listen to it. He is good. Lucky for us, He doesn’t change. He is always good, even when we are hurting. He is consistent.

Experiencing incredible worship sessions, learning things like this is something I enjoy about Biola and something I admittedly take for granted. God takes the time to remind me to be thankful, not just for my own personal life, but for the universal plan He has for his people.

For that, I praise Him.

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