On 20th of May, more than 30 churches from various denominations in Malaysia – Grace Assembly, Methodist, Baptist, Lutheran, Catholic and Anglican – came to lead worship in the 24-hour A Day of Praise and Worship (ADOP) at Grace Convention Centre (GCC) in Plaza Mayang, Petaling Jaya.
People were seen in the hall for 24 hours, praising and worshipping God with singing, dancing, waving flags, blowing the shofar, and painting unto the LORD as well.
“Worship is an act to honor God, giving Him thanksgiving and praise for His greatness and holiness,” said Rev Dr Eu Hong Seng, Chairman of the Christian Federation of Malaysia, opening speaker of ADOP. “But I see corruption of worship creeping into the church.”
Instead of revering God, Rev Dr Eu Hong Seng witnessed a number of people coming late to worship. Convicted by God himself, he recalled complaining to God about a worship song. But the LORD said to him, “They are singing to Me, not you.”
“Worship is not about you or me, but it is about God,” Rev Dr Eu Hong Seng emphasized. “But we have subtly defined worship. There was a time we would ask after a successful concert, ‘How many souls are saved?’ But now, we ask, ‘How is the sales?’ We want shorter services and shorter sermons.’”
What have we become? Let us not be those who come near to God with our mouths and honor Him with our lips, but our hearts are far from Him (Isaiah 29:13a).
Grace Assembly Petaling Jaya echoed how God looks at the heart by presenting a skit – an angel came to enlighten God’s heart for a frustrated church choir director. The take-home message was how ‘man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart’ (1 Samuel 16:7). We are called to love the Lord our God with all our heart (Luke 10:27). Without love, we are ‘only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal’ (1 Corinthians 13:1).
Pastor Sean Prasad, ADOP’s Pastoral Advisor, also shared about seven expressions of wholehearted worship to God.
Firstly, we can lift our hands in adoration to the heavens, where God’s heavenly throne is at (Matthew 5:34), also called ‘Yadah’.
Secondly, we can extend our right hand with confession and repentance for our sins, called ‘Towdah’. Like David, we can ask God to ‘search’ and ‘know’ our hearts (Psalm 139:23), for only those who are pure in heart will see God (Matthew 5:8).
Thirdly, we can kneel down to God, as an act of full surrender, called ‘Barak’. Paul urged all of us ‘to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God – this is your true and proper worship’ (Romans 12:1).
Fourth, we can sing like the Psalmist and proclaim His goodness day to day (Psalm 96:2), also called ‘Tehillah’.
Fifth, we can play musical instruments to the Lord, also called ‘Zamar’.
And sixth, we can dance with abandonment and without dignity like David to our God, called ‘Halal’.
Lastly, we can make a loud noise unto the LORD, also called as ‘Shabach’. Do you know that the whole universe worships the LORD day by day (Psalm 19:1-4a)? The heavens and skies proclaim His Majesty!
The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they reveal knowledge.
They have no speech, they use no words;
no sound is heard from them.
Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world.
Reverend Andy Chi, Acting Secretary General of NECF, shared that God wants us to establish our personal tabernacle of David through worship.
While the tabernacle of Moses focuses on atonement of sin through animal sacrifices, the tabernacle of David introduces sacrifices of praise and worship (Psalm 27:6). Like Abraham who raised altars wherever he went, we too need to raise our personal altars wherever we go.
Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise – the fruit of lips that openly profess His name. (Hebrews 13:15)
“God is enthroned in the praises of His people (Psalm 22:3). So, the let God arise and let His enemies scatter. When the tabernacle of David is restored, the nations will also be restored,” Reverend Andy Chi exclaimed.
“Tonight, we are gathered with churches in this nation, to proclaim that there is a God in Malaysia who will save this nation,” added Shamini Ruth, founder and organizer of ADOP.
The LORD is looking for an unblemished Bride, ‘without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless’ (Ephesians 5:27b).
How does the Church becomes the radiant Bride? It is only by ‘washing with water through the word’ (Ephesians 5:26) and also ‘humbly accept the Word planted in you, which can save you’ (James 1:21). ‘Do not merely listen to the Word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says’ (James 1:21-22).
A phenomenal event, we see God preparing His Bride to be pure and holy unto the Groom – Jesus Christ.
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Note: All pictures are credited to the organizer of A Day of Praise and Worship (ADOP).