The fifth phase of worship is the giving of substance. The church knows so little about giving, yet the Bible exhorts us to give to God. It is pathetic to see people preparing for ministry who don’t know how to give. That is like an athlete entering a race, yet he doesn’t know how to run. If we haven’t learned to give money, we haven’t learned anything. Ministry is a life of giving. We give our whole life; God should have ownership of everything. Remember, whatever we give God control of he can multiply and bless, not so we can amass goods, but so we can be more involved in his enterprise. Whatever I need to give, God inevitably first calls me to give it when I don’t have any of it – whether it is money, love, hospitality, or information. Whatever God wants to give through us he first has to do to us. We are the first partakers of the fruit. But we are not to eat the seed, we are to sow it, to give it away. The underlying premise is that whatever we are is multiplied, for good or for bad. Whatever we have on our tree is what we are going to get in our orchard. John Wimber
Our Theme: ON WORSHIP.
John Wimber’s five phases of worship, or as I now call them, five steps in the fine art of worship-making have helped countless worship leaders around the Vineyard movement to better assist God’s people as we gathered together for the explicit purpose of coming into God’s presence to worship him.
Wimber believed that as you and I journeyed through these five unique phases of worship: the call to worship; worship engagement; expressing our love; being visited by God; and responding in generosity that we could experience intimacy with God; we were experiencing the highest and most fulfilling calling in life. After thirty years of practicing these five phases of worship with the churches I’ve pastored, I totally concur.
If you recall, earlier in this blog series, we shared this quote from John Wimber: “It’s not enough to be biblically literate; we must also learn to be biblically obedient!”
As I see it, the fifth phase of worship, where we freely give back to God as he has freely given to us, just might be the most important aspect of the true worship experience from a biblical perspective. You see, anytime we come into God’s presence, engaging with the king of the universe, there is always a blessing in doing that. And in the truest essence of Jesus’ earthly nature, it’s always important to give away freely and generously those blessings he grants us as we dwell in his presence.
Wimber used to say it this way, “We get to give, to get to give.”
Those who become passionate worshippers of God in this lifetime become, in fact, the ones who have the most valuable gifts to give away to this broken world around us. Intimacy with the king, you see, bestows upon us his favor, and having his favor behooves us to release that favor we’ve been given to others who desire it.
Think of it this way.
When you and I find our way into God’s presence, we find, in the king’s throne room, a great treasure chest full of precious heavenly gifts. This treasure chest contains the most valuable gifts the world has ever known. Not diamonds, gold, and silver, but eternal gifts the Holy Scriptures call fruit and gifts of the Spirit. My personal favorites in this treasure chest are priceless gems called faith, hope, and love.
This overflowing treasure chest in God’s presence is hidden from the world, but readily available to those who seek it through the words and works of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. As worshippers of the king, you and I can sit in his presence, and as we dwell there for a period, the Holy Spirit begins to place some of these priceless jewels in our coat pockets. As we leave the presence of God, returning back into our fallen world, God asks one simple thing of us: “Give away freely those gifts I’ve given you as you’ve been in my presence.” As we do this job faithfully, giving away the precious gifts from heaven, we know that when we run out, all we need to do is make a return trip back into God’s presence where there’s always an abundance of gifts to once again fill our pockets. There’s no need for hoarding, because in God’s presence, there’s plenty of his treasures to fill our lives and the lives of others around us.
But here’s the catch.
The moment we try to store up God’s rich treasures for ourselves, hoarding them like misers, the goodness of the Spirit tends to turn sour, spoiling just as the manna did in the wilderness, when God’s people tried to secure enough for a rainy day. You see, since you and I can now readily access the throne room of God 24-7, 365 days, it’s never necessary to hoard or sock away the good gifts of God.
Thus, step five in the fine art of worship-making is freely and generously giving all God has given us as we’ve been in his presence. And then as our pockets begin to get empty, just pick yourself up, respond to God’s call to worship, and begin the five-step process all over again!
We get to give, to get to give, to get to give…. Well, I think you get the picture, right?
Father God, I choose to actively involve myself in this holy treasure hunt where I actively pursue you and your presence, fill myself with your goodness, go give away all you’ve given me, and then return to your presence once more to dwell with you again. May I never grow tired of this holy cycle of worshipping you, where giving to get, and getting to give is the sacred pattern of a holy life. For your name’s sake. Amen!
QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO PONDER
- Am I skipping or short-changing any of the five phases of worship?
- Am I freely giving away all the goodness God is bestowing into me as I learn the fine art of worship-making?
- Am I hoarding God’s treasures or am I one, like Jesus, who freely and generously gives away all the Father gives?
So, what is God speaking to you today as you ponder the Wisdom of Wimber?
Between Easter 2016 and the end of August, we are sharing with you a blog series we call The Wisdom of Wimber: As I See It. In order to keep all 64 blog sessions organized, we suggest you bookmark our Wisdom of Wimber page for ease of use. Might we also suggest that you order a copy or two of our book by the same title! It’s available in both paperback and e-book formats…and will soon be available in Spanish! Click here for more info. ENJOY!
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