One of the first things I struggled with when I first became a Christian was worship. Because I had never been exposed to any sort of church tradition or practice, I pigeon-holed the practice of worship as being the 15-20 minutes of music and singing before the sermon. (The on-going debates around me about contemporary vs. traditional, praise choruses vs. hymns did not help my struggle—it only reinforced my immature misconception of worship being only about singing.) I don't think I was alone in that struggle in the early days of my faith. Looking back, a book such as Wired For A Life Of Worship, by Louie Giglio, would have been an invaluable resource. In eleven succinct, easy-to-read chapters, Giglio gives the reader a complete snapshot of what true worship is. Both anthropological and theological, the result is challenging and life-changing to any reader regardless of where they are on their spiritual journey.
Sleekly presented with simple text interspersed with bold color, assorted font styles and wide margins, the book itself is aesthetically pleasing. However, the old adage about not judging a book by its cover rings true. In a day and age where style is emphasized over substance, it is refreshing to find a solid combination of both. Within the pages of Giglio's book, the reader is systematically taught a full-orbed perspective of worship beginning with a general analysis of all of mankind. Using scriptures along with anecdotal stories and practical experience, Giglio hypothesizes that every person is born with a God-given desire to worship; i.e. we are "wired" for worship. Even after the fall of man, the need and drive to worship something remains. However, stained by sin the human heart resorts to worshipping anything but God. From here, Giglio skillfully builds one point upon the other painting a beautiful picture of creation, fall, grace and redemption.
Perusing many other books written on the subject work of worship, I have found that many of them erred on the side of being overly self-centered, individualistic, mind-numbingly mystical and theologically muddy. Giglio, on the other hand, emphasizes the work of Christ on the cross, the importance of sacrificial living with others in community, and a Christ-centered love of God out of response for what He has done. The result is a good balance of theological and practical applications. The headings for each chapter illustrate how the theme of each builds upon the other:
Through each chapter I was challenged and convicted personally in all areas of life—how I think, how I serve, how I use my gifts and resources, how I work and even how I rest. Do I make every part of my life an opportunity to worship? Or do I compartmentalize them? Do I view the things that God has blessed me with as mine and that I somehow deserve them? Or are they gifts from God that I am to use for His glory alone? Do I view time as mine or a tool to use for His purpose? Tackling this book was a humbling endeavor and I doubt that I will be alone in that conclusion.
Interspersed in the content of each chapter is a brief, devotional bible study which addresses the theme being discussed. This is an extremely helpful tool in supplementing the understanding of the chapter. Also, there are discussion questions at the end of each chapter which makes this a great resource for small groups or home bible studies. (Note: the book is also packaged with a devotional/bible study called "30-Day Worship Journey" which takes the reader through 30 different Psalms. With each Psalm the reader is taught how to note key phrases and words to capture the theme of each Psalm; essentially, you are taught how to study the Bible. By the end of the 30 days, the reader is able to do each exercise without any outline or instruction from Giglio. Again, this is a very effective resource especially for the newer Christian.)
Although Giglio gears his material for a younger audience in both its style and presentation, Wired For A Life Of Worship will surely challenge the most mature of reader. Having our preconceptions (which are often misconceptions) confronted, deconstructed and re-shaped is often times painful but ultimately necessary. Only when we view all of our life as worship will we be able to "offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship" (Romans 12:1).
Tim Berroth, January 2007
At the time of writing these reviews, Tim Berroth was a freelance writer in San Diego, California and an elder at Crossroads Church. Some of his work has also been featured at Hollywoodjesus.com and TheOoze.com.
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