Is God Pleased? - Is He?

By Stephen M. Newman
Founder, and Author of Experiencing Worship
April 27, 2022

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Unfortunately, on more than one occasion I have found it hard to get the sleep I need. There have been many instances where I have lain awake at night and not been able to sleep. I’ve come to the conclusion that during those times God has something He wants to share with me. I believe in my heart that when I do not make, or have, the time to spend with Him during the day, He wakes me to share something - whether it be for me directly or just to pray for someone.

This particular night I was out hunting in Colorado and staying in a trailer. I couldn't sleep so I began praying. As I lay praying, a thought hit me like a ton of bricks. It was phrased in a question, "Is God pleased with my worship?" Then another followed, "Is God pleased with the way our church is worshiping, and more important in how I am leading them?" Wow! I had served as a worship leader for 20 years and have never stopped to think about it. I always thought I knew what God wanted and was able to attain it. After all, I don't need His help to worship Him, do I? Worship is about what I bring to Him, and not what He gives to me. He gives to me all the time, and worship was my expression of thanks and love to Him for all He has done in my life.

The question still bothered me. Was I doing something wrong? Was I leading my church down the wrong road in worship? Was I mis-communicating what worship is? I had to stop and think about it. For me worship was a lot like everything else I do. I get into a rut or pattern and rarely stop to evaluate what I'm doing or where I am in it. I thought I was doing a great job in my teaching and leading worship. But was I….. really? That was the question I had to ask myself and answer before I could get back to sleep.

I began to mentally evaluate all that I was doing as my mind raced with doubt and insecurity. I thought I was doing a fair job at this worship-leading thing. People seemed to be worshiping and growing in their personal worship. What was wrong? Where was I missing the mark? I went back to the question, "Is God pleased with your worship?" I thought for a while and began to look at my worship. I began to look at my life. During corporate worship times, and even in my private worship times, I was honestly trying to worship. The true effort was there to offer up a sacrifice of praise and to give to Him of myself during worship. I felt that I prepared myself for leading and spent suitable time in prayer for our church and preparation of worship. I am a planner and an organizer and am always ready for the service.

Next, I was forced to look outside of my "worship times.” How was I to my family? What did others think of me? Did they see me as a person who had a lifestyle of worship? Was I seen and respected by those in my church as a leader and pastor? These questions didn't matter at all because you see, I knew the real me . I knew that I was a selfish person who was out for me. My desire to be a servant had deteriorated to next to nothing. I wanted to be Christ-like in speech, but the reality was that I wasn’t living it. I know how to talk the talk but my walk was hurting. I had fallen into the church game and had become frighteningly comfortable there. I played the role fairly well, so I thought, but inside I was a selfish, self-seeking P-I-G.

What was I to do? I had realized part of the problem…….me. How did this relate to my leading of the church? You guessed it. No matter how hard a person tries to be something they’re not, their true colors eventually bleed through. It wasn't that I intentionally tried to deceive anyone, it was that I wasn't being what God had called be to be. He has called us all to model His life. He was the greatest example of a servant. He came to serve, not be served. I have always wanted to be like my heavenly Father and my earthly father, because they are both servants. I had a great role model growing up and was headed in the right direction. Somewhere along the way I missed it, but where? I thought that worshiping Him was a lot to give. If I became a true worshiper in my private and corporate times then God would honor it and He would draw nearer to me, wouldn’t He? The reality was that I wasn't living the life of a true worshiper. A true worshiper seeks to live a complete Christian life. He is not one who worships only when he wants to, but is worshiping through his obedience every minute of every day...taking our eyes off of us and placing them on God and others. The old acrostic of JOY is true. To have true joy you need to put Jesus first, Others second, Yourself last. Sadly, my generation is hung up on seeking self, and seeking recognition for what we do in life and ministry. If we will take our eyes off of what we do, and place them on God and His will, I believe we will begin to understand what it means to be a true worshiper. Striving to be like Christ, worshiping Him daily, and serving our fellow man and brothers before ourselves. These are the things needed to become a whole worshiper of God. How do we lift up the name of Jesus and praise God for who He is when we fail to be obedient to the very simple things He has called us to do? I pray that our motivation in life be to hear, "Well done thy good and faithful servant," and not strive for man's approval here on earth.

Is God pleased with you? Is He pleased with your worship? Do you have a true lifestyle of worship or is it just a Sunday morning thing? Are we leading our people by example? Is the example the right one?

What will I do? I will try to regain the heart of a servant that God intended me to have. I will try to die to self daily as I minister to those God has placed in my care. I will begin by serving my family better and focusing my full attention on them and not my own desires. From there, I hope to reach out to those in need in our congregation. To not only speak it, but live it as well. To model to all a worshiper lifestyle that is reflective of Christ. Jesus praised His Father in heaven, He was obedient to Him, He obeyed Him, followed Him, and completed His will even when it meant the loss of his own earthly life. He was a true servant. I want to be like Jesus, and I want others to see Jesus in me. I want my Heavenly Father to say to me, "Well done thy good and faithful servant."

Stephen M. Newman
Founder, and Author of Experiencing Worship
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