I have been reading Jeff Deyo’s book, Awakening Pure Worship, and just turned the last page… it is a sort of end of one chapter in my life and the beginning of something new. Done with one thing, and holding out waiting hands to see what God wants to do next. Worship.
Jeff Deyo was the lead singer for Sonic Flood, one of the first big bands on the contemporary Christian music scene. Today he is a worship professor at North Central University, preparing future church worship leaders to cultivate a closer friendship with God while giving them tools to lead the church in corporate worship. He has been one of my daughter Angel’s professors, so it was interesting for me to “get to know” him a little. I enjoyed learning how Sonic Flood became an “item,” how God led them to places they didn’t expect, and what Jeff learned about worship for himself.
I found his writing style to be very artistic, which was a pleasant surprise because I think I expected something different after several years of editing college papers for perfect grammar and punctuation! The book is not written specifically for worship leaders, but for everyone who desires to “awaken pure worship.” Jeff’s heart is big. And if there is one idea that I will take away from this book, and not forget, it is that in order to worship well, we need to have a more balanced understanding of who God is.
As Jeff stated, do we worship God as loving Father or consuming fire? He is both. If we only worship Him as the lover of our souls, do we risk passing over His sovereignty as King? Do Americans even comprehend what it means to worship Him as King? I tend to think we lack some understanding because we’ve been in a democracy of the people and by the people for so long, we’ve served for country, had the privilege of good leaders and suffered under poor leadership; but, only for four years at a time. And yet, God is always on the throne, and His commands and decrees are final.
“The beauty of God’s nature is that He is not simply one thing or the other. God is every good thing. He is Groom, Coach, and Judge. He is Friend, Teacher, and Ruler. He is Brother, Counselor, and General. He is to be feared and to be loved. To be embraced intimately and to be reverenced absolutely. He is God. And when we come to Him as He is–in the fullness of all biblical revelation–we will find ourselves communing with a God who is like no other and who loves and cares for us like no other.” p.177
And what about the roles of the Trinity? I grew up in churches that rarely ever spoke of the Holy Spirit. I knew that God was three in one, but I realized as an adult that I really didn’t understand who Holy Spirit is. In my 30’s I began asking God to reveal this aspect of himself to me. I looked up every scripture I could find relating to him and I soaked it in. I read Francis Chan’s book, The Forgotten God: The Holy Spirit. My favorite resource was Charles Stanley’s book, The Spirit Filled Life. Little by little, I became more sensitive to Holy Spirit, began to understand how He works in my life, and this all adds to my appreciation for God, His attributes, and His worthiness.
Are churches who put more emphasis on Holy Spirit and the gifts missing something?
And sometimes we pray to Jesus (Deyo also brings this up). The thing is, when I read Paul’s letters, I don’t see him doing that. He says,
Jesus says we come to the Father through him.
In multiple places, scripture also says:
Growing up, it was the Father who was preeminent in my understanding of God, but after learning so much more about Jesus and Holy Spirit over the past few years, I have a better rounded view, and even find myself drawn back to readdress my understanding of my heavenly Father.
If our understanding of God is limited, our relationship with Him and our worship of Him will be limited. I, for one, crave for the people I know and care about to see and love the real me, and not just their idea of who they want or need me to be. Surely, God feels the same way?
As I completed this book, I began thinking that if there is something I would add to my previous post, Choosing Music for Corporate Worship, it would be that we should be careful to evaluate the songs we sing in church in order to try to communicate a well rounded representation of who God is, to the best of our ability. Our music preaches. And as our understanding grows, our song repertoire should expand to represent our closer friendship with God.
We will only ever know Him more by spending time with Him and learning more about His character and His heart (all three parts).
Two very good resources for understanding God’s nature are:
Jen Wilkens has a ton of Bible Studies too, but I have never done any of them to be able to recommend them (although maybe I should 😉 )
Here’s to awakening pure worship and to cultivating a closer friendship with God.
You can read a short article about Jeff and his book HERE and you can order his book from the North Central University store online HERE. It’s another way to support the a Christian College that is still teaching truth.