This blog is a reminder on the importance of worship and the state of our hearts. We welcome you to read, learn, and comment as we join together on our journey of faith!
As I read article after article, excerpt after excerpt, and story after story of men and women of the faith who willingly gave up their lives in worship and love, I am broken. Do I value the Word of God to the point of losing my own life? Is the name of Jesus more precious to me than even a year on this Earth? The New Testament was written to a body of believers whose world was riddled with persecution, suffering, and torment. But, as Paul writes, they offered their lives as a continual sacrifice giving praise and honour as fruit of their righteous heart. Their lives and their worship were flourishing even amidst death and destruction. I pray my faith and my worship would give God even a portion of the honour those brave Christians ascribed to His name.
I would bet money on the fact that if we placed all of these martyrs in a room today and asked them to worship, the roof would fly off that building! Yet, many worship leaders/pastors/congregants walk into Sunday service week after week more frustrated and tired than the last as the same spirit rests on believers that causes them to refuse to sing, sit in their chairs, and cross their arms. (*Of course I’m exaggerating here…i’m trying to paint a picture) While not all services are like this, nor are all church bodies, there is truth in this reality. Even I have found myself in the middle of a worship set more focused on the calibre of the band than on the One being worshipped. Since when did worship become about how I feel? Our culture has shaped how we act, feel, and think by teaching us that “I” is the most important, “I” is in charge, and “I” decides what is right and wrong. The Word of God is supposed to shape us, but perhaps we do not value it enough to let it. It’s time to let our “I”s be replaced with HIM. The martyrs came to an understanding of Paul’s text:
[ A Living Sacrifice ] Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.
While their reality was physical, it was their heart that echoed worship. We may not be beaten, punished, or killed, but how we live our lives WILL reflect the state of our heart. Do we live like martyrs, sold out on Jesus or do we live sold out on self?
New International Version (NIV)
15 Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name.
As our lives begin to centre around Jesus, the focus we once had on self fades and loses it’s desire. Our worship becomes more energized and focused, while our needs and disappointments seem to disappear. The joy of serving Him is restored in our heart while the destructive spirit of serving self is put away. People take notice within the body of Christ and out in the world. Instead of being pushed away by our once self-focused Christianity, people are drawn to the Spirit of God that now consumes our lifestyle. Ridicule, persecution, and rejection increase but still our hearts sing with fiery passion the name of our God! This is what it means to live, this is a martyr’s life. This is how we flourish in praise and in worship by offering our lives as a sacrifice of praise to the One who is more precious than the air that we breathe.
A Poem I wrote while writing this blog:
A martyrs’ life cries even after death rings, it echoes eternal, true worship it brings. For even in torture and even in pain, their lips were faithful to only one name. A name filled with power, whom death has not seen. The mountains would cower, the demons would flee. I look at my worship, the idols I keep and think of my life so filled with debris. If I could just empty these spiritual walls, the Spirit be welcome I’ll hear when He calls. Don’t stop at giving just half of your heart, put worth back in worship, by yielding your all!
Bailey Riza is a young, passionate, up-and-coming voice in the music industry. A worship leader, songwriter, and recording artist, she has a wealth of experience and a dynamic approach to teaching and leading. She is a member of the Faith Alive Band and travels throughout North America performing and ministering in many different arenas. Her songs have been featured on the Faith Alive Show as well as on Daystar Television Network. Her latest EP, Coming Alive, topped the iTunes charts in Canada! She was born and raised in Saskatoon, Sk, Canada and attends Faith Alive Family Church, where her parents are senior pastors.She loves her family, church, and country and has a zeal to see this generation experience a powerful outpouring of God's presence.
Bailey Riza will be our guest musician on our upcoming Speaker Tour. For more information click here: Speaker Tour 2014
We are gearing up for our Fall conference, Flourish 2014. To find out more and buy tickets click here: Flourish 2014