“Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs” (Psalm 100:2).


My guitar amp hummed as I turned it up to nine and waited for the worship leader to give me a nod to start playing. I was 20 and nervous playing in “big church” for the first time. I formed my shaking fingers into an A chord, raised my pick and hammered that first note. My second note, which followed just as quickly, was a dissonant clang as my strap popped off and I dropped my guitar.

The Sunday night crowd of about 100 (but it felt like 1,000) was silent for a second, and then everyone started laughing. I picked up my red guitar, which matched my face at that point, waved to the crowd and started from the top—this time with a little less vigor.

I learned two lessons that day. First, invest in a pair of guitar strap locks. But secondly, I learned that worship is never about me. It’s not about singers or bands; it’s about forgetting about yourself and worshiping God and praising Him for who He is.

It doesn’t matter if you went to Julliard or can’t carry a tune in a bucket, God delights in our praises, even off-key ones. Worship is a way to offer a gift to God.

When the disciples began praising Jesus and singing, “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!” the Pharisees told Jesus to rebuke His disciples.

“‘I tell you,’ he replied, ‘if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out’” (Luke 19:40).

I’ve never heard a stone sing, but I can’t imagine it would sound good. But when we offer a song to God, it shouldn’t matter how we sound. God looks at our hearts. “I can’t sing” is not an excuse for being silent in church. Besides, I know just about everyone—regardless of their singing chops—has sung along with Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’” in the car or shower.

Psalm 98:4 (KJV) says, “Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise.”

Make a joyful noise, any noise—in tune, out of tune—all of us, not just those with gifted vocal chords. Be a little undignified. Humble yourself. King David was a brilliant musician, but he caught some flak from his wife when he danced around town in his underwear praising God.

I suspect he didn’t dance with the grace of Danny Kaye, but his response to his wife showed he had a true heart for worship: “I will celebrate before the Lord. I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes.”

Now I’m not advocating doing exactly as David did; our city does have decency laws. But God deserves so much more than we could ever give Him. Don’t let the stones sing his praises.


>What is your favorite worship song and why?

>How can you be more intentional about spending time worshiping God?