Worship That Sets Captives Free

My friend Joe Bassett posted this yesterday on his blog. AWESOME words. I had to share it:
“…All at once the prison doors flew open, and everybody’s chains came loose.” Acts 16:26

(a continuing series of blog posts drawn from the Worship Concepts Network conference series AWE: Authentic Worship Experience)

Yesterday we looked at what worshipping “in truth and spirit” looks like; that thing you can’t worship without is the thing that you worship. In short, if all you need to worship is God, then He is who you worship.

The inevitable outcome of AWEsome, authentic worship is freedom. Not just for the worshipper, but for everyone around. When Paul and Silas worship in truth and spirit it’s not just their chains that fall off, it’s not just their prison door that opens. Everybody that witnesses their worship is set free.

But also notice that just as Paul and Silas’ worship was not dictated by their condition (see yesterday’s post), neither is their freedom or any of the other prisoners’. We would think that the former prisoners would immediately break for the door, but they sit tight. We don’t have any evidence that Paul or Silas had to convince or manipulate them to stay. God’s presence was there. How do we know? The Bible tells us, “where two or more are gathered in My name, there I am.” (Matt. 18:20) There is nothing more compelling for the “captive set free” than the presence of God, regardless of circumstances. They didn’t want to leave.

Further on in the story we see that the jailer is ready to throw himself on his sword. But even the captor is set free that night. And not just him, but his entire family.

What’s the outcome of your worship? Are you set free in worship? Are those around you set free? In the AWE conference we talk a lot about bearing fruit; “that a grape doesn’t have to try to be a grape, if it’s attached to the vine, then it will be a grape” and other ideas like that. You can tell if your worship is in “truth and in spirit” by the fruit that it bears. Don’t try to have worship that sets captives free; that’s just manipulation. Worship because you are free, free in Christ regardless of your circumstances. When the captives around you see AWEsome worship of the One who will set them free, then they’ll be set free, too. Free indeed.

That’s why worship.
Many of us, maybe most, are still growing and learning what worship is. But Joe is absolutely right: "that thing you can’t worship without is the thing that you worship." If I can't worship without hymns, God is not the true (or sole) object of my worship. If I can't worship without drums, God is not the sole object of my worship. If I can't worship without a cross in the sanctuary, God is not the sole object of my worship. If I can't worship without music, without a priest, without familiar forms, without a guitar, then I have much to learn about worship, and much to change in me. There may be enhancements to my worship, but if the lack of them is an impediment, then God is not the sole object of my worship.


  1. To paraphrase Navin Johnson, "Bob's new blog post's here! Bob's new blog post's here! I'm somebody now! Tens of people look at this blog everyday! This is the kind of spontaneous publicity - a repost on the Desperate Pastor Blog - that makes people. I've been reposted! Things are going to start happening to me now."

    Seriously, it's an honor to be reposted by a friend.

  2. You're right, Joe, this is your big break. Now just sit back and wait for the pairs and pairs of clicks.