Worship: Do you know what you’re singing?

Worship: Do you know what you’re singing?

Have you ever thought to yourself during worship at church, “I don’t believe that!”  It happens to me every so often when during worship we sing songs that have lyrics that either don’t apply to me (meaning it’s for the artist) or they simply are not right. Let me explain:

Exhibit 1- Newsboys: It is You
As much as I love this song by the Newsboys, the song It is You, has a line in its chorus that I think needs to be changed.  Instead of the church singing “Will you meet us here,” we should be singing, “You will meet us here.” The church today does far too much asking and not enough declaring what has already been given to us as a gift from God. God has already promised in scripture that he would meet us when two or more are gathered in his name (Matt 18:20), so why are we asking if He’ll meet us now? We should declare that He will meet us. Perhaps if we did more declaring instead of asking, our mountains would finally be moved.

Exhibit 2- Matt Redman: Heart of Worship
Unlike the first and third example in this list, The Heart of Worship by Matt Redman, is again, a fabulous song, but it’s personal and in my opinion not meant for the corporate church. Why does the church sing a song that goes like this:

I’m coming back to the heart of worship
And it’s all about You
All about You, Jesus
I’m sorry Lord for the thing I’ve made it
When it’s all about You
It’s all about You Jesus

I’m sorry, why am I repenting in this song? How have I “made it” that I must corporately apologize to God? Given that I have never led worship, I do not feel this song applies to me in the first place, nor can I identify with how such a role might corrupt my walk with God through self exaltation, which seems to be implied here. Because of the personal nature of this song, I feel strongly that it should not be sung corporately.

Exhibit 3- Deluge: Open Up the Sky
This is, again, a totally anointed worship song so I must start by clearly adding that disclaimer up front. However, there is one line that I don’t like.  The lyrics read:

Open up the sky, fall down like rain
We don’t want blessings, We want You
Open up the sky, fall down like fire
We don’t want anything but You

I fully understand the heart behind this particular worship song, and while I am thankful that we are declaring something, I’m discouraged that we are declaring the wrong thing. Why do we declare that we don’t want blessings for God? Why aren’t we declaring that we want God’s blessings, which again, is something that He already promised to us? After all, blessings from our Father in heaven and a close intimate relationship with Him are not mutually exclusive in the world of our Lord.  The confusing thing to me is that the heart behind the rest of the song seems to be all about blessings being poured out from heaven. I find it oddly conflicting then, that Deluge writes, “We don’t want your blessings” when the rest of the song seems so eloquently express the opposite.

Exhibit 4 – Jared Anderson: Ready Now
Perhaps the most egregious example I found was Jared Anderson’s Ready Now. This song in particular is offensive to me. As my wife said, it must have been written by someone very young in the Lord. When I hear the world say, God thinks we’re wicked, I want to jump out of my seat and correct the record about God’s nature. That’s why it came as such a surprise to me when we started singing a song by Jared Anderson called Ready Now that says “I know that I’m wicked in Your eyes. God does not think we’re wicked. I am covered with the blood of Christ. His sacrifice for me on the cross gives me FULL access to the Lord.  Matthew 3:16 says, “God so LOVED the world that he gave his only son.” If that scripture is true then clearly the Lord doesn’t even think that about the unsaved. So it begs the question how are we “wicked in his sight?” When the Lord looks at me, does he see my purity because my sins are covered by the blood or wickedness?  Or said another way, “the future me,” that even I don’t embrace until I have come into fullness, is what the Lord sees? To say we’re wicked, in my opinion, is just flat out wrong and every church should permanently purge this song from its worship program!

Lyrics from Jared Anderson’s Ready Now:

I feel like a blind man in Your sight
I know that I’m wicked in Your eyes
So wash me and make me shine like Your Son
I want to tell everyone that You’re the only one

The Church today is being careless in the words it writes into worship songs and chooses to sing corporately. Words do matter. What we declare as a church is important and it seems to suggest here that we don’t God’s blessings or want to believe that God thinks we’re wicked in his eyes. UGH! I hate that song for that message! That is NOT the heart of God. Is that what we really mean? Do we really mean to tell a new believer, “Ah, you don’t want God’s blessings” or “God thinks you’re wicked, dude.”

When our churches begin to grow, is that one of these so called “blessing” we are choosing to defer?  How about the blessing of good health? I’ve known sick people in my time, but I’ve never heard anyone want to reject that. Perhaps a nice home, a season of financial favor, or a covering and protection for our children is a blessing we could do without?  Which blessings are we declaratively proclaiming that we are forfeiting? I for one am not going to sing words I don’t believe in because I want God’s blessings and I want an intimate relationship with my loving Father. I want it all and I don’t know why we think we have to choose.

Words do matter either in the negative or in terms of positively speaking out in our spirits what we want in our churches, homes and lives. We need to come into a season where we seriously upgrade our worship and stand up and sing the things we really believe in. So I beg you – look at every line you sing and ask yourself, “Do I believe these words? If not…if they trouble you, go and speak to your worship pastor. The words of worship should declare God’s glory and that can only happen if worship songs properly capture his true nature.

It’s time to upgrade our worship. Let’s start singing worship with declaration and sing it like never before.

5 thoughts on “Worship: Do you know what you’re singing?

  1. And now we have “How He Loves” that says “we are his portion” and that heaven meets earth like a “sloppy wet kiss”. It seems that the pursuit of saying something in a “fresh way” is being valued more than saying something truthful. We can’t worship God for something that he’s not, and he is definitely not SLOPPY, or erotic towards US for that matter.

  2. Thanks so much for your comment!!
    My only caution about this, “fleshy worship” as you call it, if we push it off, we run the risk becoming religious because of what we think sounds right or better to us. Many of us don’t like something because it’s not religious enough. I honestly don’t know about what God thinks about that line from “How he loves us.” I do think that the Lord loves a sincere heart and that seems like a sincere expression to me. I’m not saying I know, I’m just saying that if I had to err on one side of the other, I probably risk being unreligious in the effort to sincerely express myself rather than the other way around. Not that the two are mutually exclusive, but when it comes to a religious spirit, I usually go the other way.
    Bless you!

  3. Hello. Just stumbled upon this article when looking up chords to the Deluge song. I in no way wish to argue on the artists behalf here. Being an artist myself and tasked with leading worship at my church I get a fair bit of criticism thrown my way. In the article you state “Given that I have never led worship, I do not feel this song applies to me in the first place,”. My question here would be do you feel like the worship leader in the church has the responsibility to sing songs that you can relate to?

    Another quote and question to ponder:
    “This song in particular is offensive to me. As my wife said, it must have been written by someone very young in the Lord.”Question 1: Do you not choose to be offended?
    Question 2: Do you feel like David was very young in the Lord? The reason I ask that is the Psalms are full of honest exchanges with God from a broken heart. David cries out “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.
    Psalms 51:10”

    Another quote then my response:
    “Instead of the church singing “Will you meet us here,” we should be singing, “You will meet us here.” The church today does far too much asking and not enough declaring what has already been given to us as a gift from God.”

    Response:
    I know that you are running a blog here and need to come up with fresh content but that statement just smacks of nitpickyness to me.

    In summation corporate worship should be about honesty and art. Not pat answers and propaganda. There is honesty and love in art. Without love, nothing that we do matters. Propaganda demands, where art invites.

    In response to Brian, the song “how he loves” is bringing people to God. Where is the wrong in that? I challenge you to do some digging to see where that song came from. You say”It seems that the pursuit of saying something in a “fresh way” is being valued more than saying something truthful.”. I think the song is so very true. The sloppy wet kiss line especially. Not that God wants to french kiss me. I know that when I lose my sense of who I am in Christ and he reveals himself in a new way or I seek him in new ways it is a bit awkward yet intimate. Kind of like a sloppy wet kiss.

    I would encourage you Brian and Mark to see the spirit behind the lyrics. Test with love and honesty. Knowing that honesty is not synonymous with the truth. To God always be the glory. I leave you with love in my heart and I hope that this does not cause division, only thought.

  4. Hi Eric
    Thanks for visiting my site and for your comments!

    I wanted to reply to you as I think it helps to have these exchanges for what others are thinking that perhaps is not openly discussed in Church. You asked some questions, let’s get to them:

    QUESTION 1:
    My question here would be do you feel like the worship leader in the church has the responsibility to sing songs that you can relate to?

    I believe the responsibility of the worship leader (operative word “leader”) is to usher in the presence of God through worship which, in my opinion, is the catalyst for what will happen under the power of the Holy Spirit for the rest of the meeting. To that end, yes, to some extent, I do think it is the responsibility as a “leader” to be corporate minded. The Deluge song is not corporate. I loved that song at first but later came to the conclusion that it is deeply personal and it has no place in a corporate setting. All I’m saying is that it is just not a worship song for churches. I have not shamed the heart of worship and I am sure most people would feel the same if they thought about what they were singing. Worship in Church is corporate and should be approached that way. Kingdom worship is life giving, does not ask permission in song for what has already been given, etc.

    QUESTION 2:
    “This song in particular is offensive to me. As my wife said, it must have been written by someone very young in the Lord.”Question 1: Do you not choose to be offended?
    Question 2: Do you feel like David was very young in the Lord? The reason I ask that is the Psalms are full of honest exchanges with God from a broken heart. David cries out “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.
    Psalms 51:10″

    I don’t normally edit my posts because it’s unfair to the comments that came after the post, but I would not write this in such provocative way today. First of all, “offended” is entirely the wrong word to communicate what I was feeling. And to your point, YES and AMEN, we do choose to be offended. I would put this in a milder terms today, more like the song is private, personal, etc. Which it is. And your Psalm example is a good one, but doesn’t that apply to every Christian at one time or another as opposed to “I’m sorry, Lord, for the thing I’ve made it.” I was left asking myself in worship, why am I singing that? I haven’t made worship anything it shouldn’t be.”

    QUESTION 3:
    Another quote then my response:
    “Instead of the church singing “Will you meet us here,” we should be singing, “You will meet us here.” The church today does far too much asking and not enough declaring what has already been given to us as a gift from God.”
    Response: I know that you are running a blog here and need to come up with fresh content but that statement just smacks of nitpickyness to me.

    I supposed to most people it might. It comes down to whether you have a Kingdom view or not. Let me just ask a rhetorical question. Why do we ask for what has already be bought and paid for? Isn’t it time for the church to rise up and stop asking God for mercy and just receive it? Shouldn’t the church start declaring like Jesus modeled which is faith in action, instead of staying as babes on mother’s milk asking for the same thing over and over and over, seemingly never growing past the permission stages of life? Scripture says, “If you say to that mountain “Be moved,” it will be. It does not tell us to ask God if he will move our mountains, it says to pray, believe and declare it and it will be moved. I guess it just comes down to how badly some of us want to have our mountains moved, doesn’t it?

    QUESTION 4:
    In response to Brian, the song “how he loves” is bringing people to God. Where is the wrong in that?
    I love “How he loves us.” I have no problem with that song whatsoever.

    I would encourage you too, to spend time really listening to the words that Bethel chooses to sing and to really internalize the words in each song. They are purposeful and intentional, and even sometimes changed, because they are all about being life-giving, they are empowering and because of that, they are anointed and widely received worship songs and worshiper teams.

    Thanks again for the exchange. It was a good one!

    Bless you and your ministry, Eric. I pray and declare increase, increase, increase in your walk with God and in your music ministry and speak bounty over ever word and note that comes out of your voice and instruments when you sing. May the heart of God and his anointing use you in the most powerful ways to change hearts and minds through worship in the days and years ahead.

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