As part of my research for last month’s worship series I picked up two Vineyard related books on the subject. Originally I was going to review them separately, but the longer I thought about them the more I thought it would work better to lump them together in one post.
“The Worship Journey: A Quest of Heart, Mind and Strength” by Andy Park
Andy Park is a legend in the worship arena of the Vineyard with songs like “In The Secret”, “The River Is Here”, “One Thing I Ask”, “Revive Us Again” and “Have Your Way In Me”. He is also a pastor and church planter who has been with the Vineyard since the beginning.
Accordingly, I was excited to read his thoughts on worship and he didn’t disappoint. The book was a beautiful look how worship influences and involves all areas of our lives. It is not, as some folks like, simply about a half hour of musical instruments and corporate singing on Sunday morning.
One of the best parts of Andy’s book is the way in which he weaves together resources and quotes about worship from all over the place into his own story of following God. The end result is truly a worship journey from beginning to end.
“…in our culture of narcissism, we could be lead to believe that intimacy with God is all about feeling loved. It’s as if we believe that if we can get a warm, fuzzy experience in worship then we have been intimate with God. I really enjoy every feeling that comes from worshiping Jesus, but friendship with God is bigger than that.”
Joel Balin and his wife Trace have a long history in the world of traveling musicians, both as former recording artists and as a member of Third Days pastoral board. Joel also wrote articles for WORD Music and Inside Worship Magazine in addition to being a senior pastor of the Crossbridge Church in Marietta, Georgia.
The main thrust of Joel’s book was to help people break through the barriers of life and sin and enter into a deep intimacy with God. Accordingly he brings out the freedom aspects of worship and how it changes who we are. In some ways the book reminded me of Mark Batterson’s “Wild Good Chase” in that they both have a heart for folks passionately follow God with everything they have.
“Too often, our worship and affection is directed towards the things of this world and not God…The question isn’t if we will worship, but who or what we worship. We were designed to worship, and unless God is the object of our worship, something else will be.”
I have to admit that this book was by far my favorite of the two listed here. There was just something about Joel’s writing style and no-nonsense demeanor that hit a chord with me. Well, that and the fact that I was kinda of looking for a book that helped lay out the biblical prescient for worship, which Joel does beautifully. Sadly I didn’t end up using very much of Joel’s book in the worship series as the Lord took me a slightly different direction…but it was still worth the read as I personally learned a lot.