[forthright] Upstaging the Boss

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From: Forthright Magazine <forthrightmag@...>
Date: Wed, 16 Apr 2008 13:33:11 -0500
Forthright Magazine
Straight to the Cross

COLUMN: Reality Check

Upstaging the Boss
by Stan Mitchell

Jesus said to him, "Away from me, Satan, for it is
written, 'Worship the Lord your God, and serve him
only'" (Matthew 4:10).

George Bush (the senior), who was always known for
his dry wit, said this of his relationship with
President Ronald Reagan. "It's important for a
Vice president not to upstage his boss, and you
don't know how hard it has been to keep my
charisma in check."

Sometimes I worry that as humans we try to
"upstage" God in worship. Who, after all, have we
come to honor? Are we presenting ourselves to the
community as the church with the "best" worship
service? Are we trying to enliven the singing in
order to keep our young people interested? Should
this enterprise be considered successful if we all
leave with a woosy feeling in our tummies?

"Sometimes these days it is hard to distinguish
praise from 'schmooze,'" notes one writer. "Real
praise happens when God becomes God again for us.
'Be God for us,' we will cry, 'Speak your word so
strongly that we can't hear anything else.'"

(Marva Dawn, Reaching Out Without Dumbing
Down, page 89).

Of course God has always been God. He has always
been great beyond our imagination. He has always
been near to us. It's just that we sometimes miss
him because we are so busy trying to upstage the
one who should be the focus and center of our

Worship is conducted on his terms alone, or it is
not worship. A service designed to honor anyone or
anything less than God is not worship.  It is
flattery at best, and idolatry at worst, for
nothing less than the God of all the earth
warrants our worship.

After all, we came to honor God, not the church.
This Sunday morning, don't upstage the Boss. Allow
his warmth and righteousness, his will and word be
the lasting impression that is left on your heart.

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