Dr. James L. Snyder Ministries
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General Essays > The Pathway To Ministry


(Isaiah 6:1-8)

        All acceptable ministry to God is deeply rooted in worship that is worthy of God.

        In the year, the King Uzziah died; Isaiah had an encounter with God that changed his life. In the middle of some catastrophe, God has a way of revealing Himself to the seeking heart.

        One problem Isaiah dealt with was the degradation of worship. God’s people had accommodated the pagan worship around them in their worship of Jehovah. Idolatry was the rule of the day. Israel was suffering from the plague of idolatry.

        Idolatry is simply giving to something else the worship that belongs solely to God. Israel at the time was not ruling God out, but was ruling paganism, combining the elements of the world around them with their worship of God.

        Music, entertainment, celebrity and politics are not elements of worship. The church today has lost this sense of sacredness and nothing is sacred anymore. We are cultivating a spirit of casualness, even among what used to be good solid Christian churches. Christianity in America is succumbing to the plague of idolatry, trying to pull into the church elements of the culture, sprinkling holy water on them and calling it worship.

        The early church would not recognize what passes for worship today in many churches. Our worship of God has been degraded and mixed with idolatry and there is very little difference between the worldly celebration on a Saturday night and the so-called Christian celebration Sunday morning.

        Looking at this passage in Isaiah, worship is an encounter with God not an event; it is experiencing the conscious presence of God in our midst. This cannot be worked up; rather it must flow out of a heart encountering God.

        The misnomer among Christians today is that music and worship are synonymous. Music does not create worship, but true worship can create music. Worship should not reflect our culture rather it should reflect God. When we gather to worship it is not to please ourselves, but rather it is to please God.

        David writes in Psalm 46:10, “Be still, and know that I am God…”

        The word “still” means to cease doing everything. To get quiet and separate yourself from all activity.

        This was Elijah’s experience in 1 Kings 19:12. “And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.”

        Hear the word “still” means a quiet calmness. It was in that “stillness” that Elijah heard the voice of God.

        Could it be that the rumbling and noise and excitement some have labeled as worship is really drowning out the “still small voice” of God? It may actually come perilously close to idolatry.

        At the root of my ministry is worship that is worthy of God. The key to this is getting to know God. I must spend significant time in God’s presence getting to know Him. The more I get to know Him the more I will understand worship acceptable to Him.

        If my worship is flawed in any way, it will compromise my ministry to the Lord. If we refuse to go along with the crowd, but quiet our hearts to such an extent that we hear the still, small, most mighty voice of God speaking to us, we will know how to respond in a way that pleases Him.

        All true ministry flows out of worship. Our worship determines our ministry in so many aspects. Ministry is not something we do on our own or in our own strength. That is not ministry, it is simply works. The unsaved do this quite well. You do not have to be a Christian to feed someone who is hungry.

        Isaiah’s worship led him to his moment of ministry.

        Worship brings to me a spirit of conviction. “Woe is me,” cried Isaiah.

        Conviction initially brings us to our conversion to Jesus Christ. It is the work of the Holy Spirit and is essential if we are to become Christians. Following my conversion to Jesus Christ the Holy Spirit will be working in my life resulting in conviction.

        Conviction is when the holiness of God touches the unholiness in my life.

        “Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.” This was Isaiah’s experience.

        This is a progressive work of the Holy Spirit in my life. Every work of conviction opens up a new room for the Holy Spirit to enter. In order for Him to enter all unholiness has to be dealt with.

        Every door opened in this fashion leads to some facet of ministry.

        Worship brings to me a spirit of compulsion. I sometimes grow accustomed to where I am spiritually; I begin to flag spiritually and lose the edge off my spiritual walk and ministry. I find myself doing things because I have done them. The freshness of ministry seems to evaporate quite quickly and I am just going through the motions.

        Fresh worship will take me through a stage of conviction and bring me to a point of compulsion.

        “Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.”

        The result is simply this, I will come to a point of “here am I; send me.”

        My ministry is not what I do for God but what He does through me touching the world around me. I am to be used of God as He sees fit. My level of worship will determine how God can use me in ministry.

        Not all that is noisy, flashy and exciting is ministry. Only what flows out of my heart that has gone through conviction to the point of compulsion.

        The path to ministry is worship. The key to worship is “be still” and get to know God. Then as I engage in worship worthy of God, the Holy Spirit will begin to open up the path to ministry.

        Ministry in this sense is what God is calling you to do. True ministry must have, “Here am I; send me.” This can only come about through the work of the Holy Spirit convicting me and opening up doors of ministry.

        All acceptable ministry begins with worship. Nothing is more important in my life than worship, both personally and corporately.