What is worship? What does it mean to truly worship? How do we worship? There are so many questions that we think of but never really search out the answers to, so today I’m going to give you my thoughts on what worship means to me. When I was 13 years old I started leading worship with my older sister in the small town church my dad was pastoring at. Ever since I can remember I’ve loved to sing, I guess you could say it was in my blood. For over 5 years my sister and I sang up front every Sunday. Eventually my two younger brothers joined us as we each learned an instrument and began playing and singing together. It’s going on almost ten years that I’ve been up there singing and playing but I’m only now learning what leading worship really means. Every Sunday when I would stand up on stage to ‘lead worship’ I was only ever just singing. It took me forever to realize that there was a difference. Now as I’m searching the Bible and seeking out what it means to be a worshiper of God and how to lead others to that place of worship I’m discovering so many things I had never even thought of. So what made me begin my search? What drove me to seek out what worship meant? I would have to say my longing for a better understanding of worship began last summer. My brother’s and sister and I were given the opportunity to lead worship for the youth at our family bible camp that I’ve attended since I was born. I grew up there, and sadly, through the years, I saw the youth and young adult generation begin to slowly be forgotten and pushed to the back burner. As I stood on that stage looking out over the teens standing in that youth tab I became very sad, because what I saw were so many people my age and younger wrapped up in chains, with no idea how to untangle themselves. How did it become this way? Why were the young people so depressed, discouraged, and silent when they should have been happy, lively, and thriving? I longed to see them happy to sing about God and praise His name but instead they stood still and sang with faces empty of emotions. Hands were barely raised, clapping rarely happened, and shouts of joy were never heard. Yet as the week progressed I felt a stirring, a longing within their hearts to be set free, free from the chains life had trapped them in. I felt the presence of a revival waiting to happen–but it didn’t. Why? Because many of them, like myself, had not come to that place of surrender, they were fighting it, and because of that the ability to truly worship God was hindered. To come to that point of true worship a sacrifice must be made. We must come to that point of surrender! In one of my favorite songs, “Touch The Sky” by Hillsong, it brings to mind what it means to surrender–In the chorus it says “I touch the sky, when my knees hit the ground.” What a simple but amazing way to put it. We must fall to our knees in surrender of everything that is holding us back so that we may feel that freeness, almost as if we could touch the sky, of truly worshiping God. That’s what was missing in that youth tab last year. They weren’t free, they had to many chains holding them down. The biggest chain that I saw wrapped around those teens was fear. They were afraid of what others would think of them if they raised their hands, or jumped up and down, basically acted outside of the norm. What the people in front, behind, and beside them thought of them was so important to them that they were unable and unwilling to fully surrender themselves to God in worship. I’m not saying this in judgement of them because I was the very same way. Looking back at it now I am ashamed of myself. God gave me an opportunity to be an example to them, to share my story and my struggles, but because I was afraid of what they would think of me I ignored Him and threw away the opportunity He gave me. Once more I let fear control me. Worrying about what other people think of you robs you of so much joy and happiness. It robs you of the amazing and all consuming feeling of awe and wonder when you experience what it is to truly worship God with everything in you. When I experienced that in my life it changed me beyond description. I never wanted to go back to just singing, I wanted to worship God with all that I was, every opportunity I got. Not only that but I desperately longed for another opportunity to share what it means to truly worship God to those teens. I wanted to see them free of the very chains that kept me bound and extremely unhappy. I wanted them to experience the free, all encompassing, feeling of worship. David experienced it and he could not contain himself. He danced! He was a king, he had an image to uphold, but when it came to worshipping God he threw off his kingly robes so that he could freely exalt and worship the Lord. He experienced true worship! So why aren’t we seeing that today!? Why are not only our teens, but also adults, in the churches today so hesitant to let go of everything, their pride and fear, so that they can truly worship? When are we going to stop letting Satan control us and keep us from experiencing the power of being fully engulfed with the holy spirit as we serve and worship God? We have to free our minds of all the worries and fears that distract us and hinder us from fully worshiping Christ, and step out like David did–undignified and stripped of all earthly thoughts so that we might worship God with ALL that we are. ALL people! That means dance down that church isle, clap those hands, shout out words of joy and exalt His name, raise your hands in worship, surrender, and praise. God long’s for that! He delights in our praise! So let’s stop letting Satan hinder us from truly worshiping the God that created us and loves us beyond belief. Surrender yourselves and experience what worship really means.