What is Worship? | 5 Powerful Examples of Godly Fellowship

Welcome to Simply Jesus Church! I’m Dr. Sunny Bhaskaran, and with me once more is Moses Lugemye who shares his extraordinary journey of being called by God into worship. Moses’s story is not just about his path to becoming a worship leader but also about the profound encounters with God that have shaped his life and ministry. This post aims to delve into Moses’s testimony, the fundamental aspects of worship, and the importance of having personal encounters with God.

We discuss:

  • Moses Lugemye’s Journey
  • Asking the Hard Question | What is Worship?
  • 5 Powerful Examples of Godly Fellowship
  • Final Exhortation

Moses Lugemye’s Journey

Our transformation from glory to glory is a process with God, one that He promises to fulfill. But within this process, there are profound encounters that change our lives forever. Moses regularly saw his father and other members of his congregation worship – that was all part of the process. But throughout his life, there were profound encounters in the process, like hearing a man prophesy over him, “You’re going to stand before nations, proclaiming His name, and leading people to God…”

Discovering Worship on a Keyboard in Uganda

“One encounter I had was when I was attending church with my dad; I was about ten years old and went to an open-air crusade. There, I saw musicians playing a little Casio keyboard. Looking back, it was so rudimentary, but at the time it sounded incredible to me. I remember telling God that if I could ever get my hands on it, I would use it to worship Him.

A few years later, our pastor travelled and brought some instruments back from the US, a drum set, bass, acoustic guitar, and a keyboard. I was fascinated by that keyboard, and I would run to play it after service, even though it annoyed the worship leader, and he would chase me away. Eventually, I wore him out, and he taught me one song. The pastor’s son also had this little keyboard with about 32 keys that I would teach myself on.

Eventually, I joined the worship band, initially just carrying instruments and following them around.

Having a God-Given Desire to Improve

It was at another open-air crusade a while later that I got to play in front of about 500 people. At that point, I only knew the key of D. In Africa, you don’t get chords, you just listen, and you’re supposed to play whatever the singer is doing.

In the middle of a song, everyone modulated higher to a different key, and I was so lost; I didn’t know what to do. There were 1,000 eyes on me, people were grumbling, I couldn’t understand their language… But by God’s grace there was a transpose button on the keyboard that saved me. I survived that day, but this one experience pushed me to get better, and I asked, “Help me. God teach me.” It was a big part of the process.

The Holy Spirit is Consistent in Prophecy

Moses has also had people prophesy over him a few times in different countries. It has always amazed him how consistent the Holy Spirit has been across these prophetic encounters.

“I was playing in the background for a ministry session with a couple from Grenada when I felt an urge to sing. Initially, I thought it would be inappropriate since I was only supposed to play background music, so I stopped playing and stayed quiet, but then the lady turned to me and said, “God’s giving you a song, you need to sing it.”

So, I started singing spontaneously and they went back to their ministry. Then, the woman prophesied over me, saying, “You have the spirit of David, you are a prophetic psalmist, and God has called you. He’s going to give you songs.” From that point on, I began writing songs.

Later, after high school, I was an international student in the United States. My visa required me to remain a student, or else I would have to leave the country. During this time, as I was preparing for college and unsure of how everything would work out, I encountered a minister from South Africa who was prophesying over people. When it was my turn, he prophesied over me,

“You have the spirit of David, you are a psalmist.” Those same exact words as the ministers from Grenada. He also said something that I’m still trying to understand, “The pattern of the tabernacle of the temple is imprinted on your spirit.

Asking the Hard Question | What is Worship?

We know that God desires to dwell among His people. When God instructed the Israelites to build the temple, He gave the Old Testament Moses a specific pattern to follow. God imprints this pattern on all of us, not just a select few. Through Christ, the Spirit of God dwells within us; we are a kingdom of priests to our God, carrying His divine imprint. We become walking temples, carrying His glory wherever we go. As we yield to Him – as we worship Him – the world sees God through us. I asked Moses to talk more about what worship really is.

Worship is an Action & Submission to God

“We live in a very visual culture, and unfortunately everything is viewed through the lens of what you see. However, what you see is often just the tip of the iceberg. Singing in worship, while extremely important, is merely a manifestation of what is happening inside.

Worship is a rich and vast subject. Both the Old and New Testaments use several different words for worship, many of which relate to the actions you perform in worship. If I were to boil it down to two words, I would mention:

  • “Shachah” from the Old Testament, which means “to bow.”
  • “Proskuneo” from the New Testament, which means “to prostrate oneself.”

“In essence, worship is absolute submission to the will of God, placing Him at the highest point with nothing above Him. It’s an encounter and the only appropriate response in the presence of true greatness.”

Moses Lugemye

Man is Created to Worship God

“We are all created to worship God; He has instilled this desire in us. When we worship, it’s like we are trying to reach back to Eden, to that first unbroken fellowship with Jesus. In the beginning, man was made in His image to have unbroken fellowship, which sin then severed. But once we’ve tasted that fellowship, we always want to return to it. We’re searching for it.”

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

Genesis 1:27 (ESV)

The Holy Crusade for Tamarind

“I’ll use a simple illustration with food; Dr. Sunny is from India, a place known for its incredible food. Once you’ve tasted good food, you want more. I remember when I lived in Arizona, my Filipino roommate was an amazing cook. One day, he made tamarind chicken, and I had only ever eaten tamarind by itself growing up in Uganda. When I tasted the dish, it was so good that I began seeking that taste everywhere. Eventually, I even made my own tamarind beef, which is a family favorite now.

But similarly, humanity was designed for perfect fellowship with God. Adam’s first, unbroken fellowship was so fulfilling it was imprinted in our DNA, but sin severed this and left only echoes of that memory. Now, we live in search of that connection. Like I was seeking that first amazing taste of tamarind, every person on earth has that ingrained desire to for fellowship with God.”

Worship is a Response to Greatness

I once watched a documentary on Michael Jackson, where people were fainting at his concerts, and I thought to myself, “They are worshiping him.” The same thing happens at Taylor Swift concerts, or with any celebrity. People see greatness and they respond to it, but it’s never fully satisfying because it’s not the infinite God.

Paul reminds us in 2 Corinthians 3:18 that we, with unveiled faces, are transformed from glory to glory. We are made for the infinite God, and when we direct our worship elsewhere, it always falls short. Only in Him is our worship truly satisfying, as He is infinite and offers endless fellowship.

But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.

2 Corinthians 3:18 (NKJV)

Worship as Submission to God’s Will

“To worship is to completely yield and submit to God’s will, denying Him nothing because He is worthy of it all. This is something I share with aspiring worship leaders.

In Genesis, there’s the story of Abraham, who had long desired to have a child. Finally, his greatest desire is fulfilled with the birth of his son, Isaac. But then, God tells Abraham to offer Isaac up to Him in sacrifice. Abraham tells his servants,

“…Stay here with the donkey; I and the boy will go over there and worship and come again to you.”

Genesis 22:5 (ESV)

This is the first time the word “worship” is ever used in the Bible! Abraham is willing to take the most precious thing to him and offer it to God, showing that worship is an act of absolute submission to God’s will, born out of an encounter with His greatness and goodness.

In Romans, we are told to present our bodies as a living sacrifice to God. This involves recognizing how great God is; all expressions of worship stem from this posture.”

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.

Romans 12:1 (ESV)

Worship is Having a Personal Encounter with God

“As I lead worship in different contexts, I often see the varying maturities of people—some are more spiritually mature, while others are like babies in their faith. It’s incumbent upon me, and all of us leading worship, to point everyone to Jesus.

“I’ve always held myself to this standard: if people leave at the end of a service talking about how amazing I was as a worship pastor, then I’ve failed. But if they leave in awe of God and wanting to go deeper with Jesus, then my job is done.”

Moses Lugemye

We have a priestly call to stand between heaven and earth, and we know the frailties of humanity. Our role is to invite others to see how amazing He is. We guide individuals and point them to Jesus, getting out of the way so that they can encounter Him directly.”

Worship is Seeking & Embodying God’s Glory

“In Exodus 33, God was frustrated with the Israelites, calling them a stiff-necked people. He didn’t say He would destroy them, instead saying, “Go into the promised land, a land flowing with milk and honey. I will send my angel before you to take down your enemies, but I will not go with you, otherwise, I might consume you.”

But Moses later says to God, “If I have found favor in Your sight, show me Your glory.”

From this, we learn that it’s possible to experience some blessings of God without experiencing His full glory. Moses was not satisfied with just the angel; he wanted God’s full presence and refused to settle, saying he would not go without God Himself present.

This should reflect our hearts: Do we want only what God can do for us, or do we want God Himself. God offered the Israelites the promised land and its blessings, but He withheld His glory. Unfortunately, many in the church today have settled for the angel.

The question then becomes, “How hungry are we for God?”

Moses understood that what distinguished the Israelites from the rest of the world was God’s presence among them. He reminded the Israelites that if they obeyed God’s commandments, they would be a chosen generation and a nation of priests.

My heart and cry are for the church to become distinct once again. When the world looks at us, they should see a people set apart, a nation that carries the glory of God.”

5 Powerful Examples of Godly Fellowship

We can see that intimacy with God is a cornerstone of true worship. It involves cultivating a close, personal relationship with Him, characterized by deep love and trust. Worship also often requires sacrifice. Just as Abraham was willing to sacrifice his son Isaac, we must give up our own desires and comforts to honor God. Thankfully, there are many examples in the Bible of what true worship looks like.

1. Enoch Walked With God

“When discussing the personal encounters of worship, I’m often reminded of Enoch:

And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.

Genesis 5:24 (KJV)

In Uganda, it’s common for friends to chat and walk together for long distances. I remember watching my dad and his friends do this. After dinner, they would leave together, and before you knew it, they were lost in conversation, walking all the way to the friend’s house. Then, my dad would walk all the way back home.

There’s a saying that resonates with me: “When Enoch walked with God, they were so close in conversation that before he realized it, they had reached heaven’s door. Then, God asks, “Why don’t you just stay?”

It illustrates a process of deep, continuous fellowship with God.”

2. Abraham’s Great Sacrifice

“We already mentioned it, but Abraham took his son, Isaac, and went to the top of the mountain, saying, “We will go and worship.” Remember, this is the first time we encounter the word “worship” in the Bible, and it’s so much more than singing, music, or entertainment. Worship is intimacy with God and sacrifice; where there is intimacy, there is sacrifice. Abraham truly obeyed and trusted in the Lord.

3. Moses’s Journey of Guiding People Back to the Lord

“The Old Testament Moses is also a beautiful example of worship. How do we understand and learn the process of guiding people into an encounter with Jesus?

Moses was just going about in the wilderness, taking care of Jethro’s livestock, when a burning bush appeared. Then, he approached the bush and had an incredible encounter with God. He sees the glory of God, and his instinct is to draw nearer. But God says, “Do not come any closer,” Approaching God in his sinful state would consume him; without holiness, we cannot be with God.

By telling Moses to remove his sandals, God declares the ground holy and asserts His authority. In the customs of that age, removing the sandals signified a relinquishing of ownership, indicating that God was in charge. This encounter began Moses’ process of consecration.

Then, God commands Moses to go to Egypt and tell Pharaoh to let the Israelites go so that they can serve Him. God told Moses that the fulfillment of this mission would be bringing the Israelites up to Mount Sinai to worship Him.

“In order to bring people to a place of encountering God, we must first encounter Him ourselves. We cannot lead others where we haven’t been. We must be consecrated and have our own encounters with God.”

Moses Lugemye

When we prepared for worship, we face people under the influence of various entities and troubles. If these entities can distract people with mere entertainment, they will. Worship becomes just singing songs without a true encounter. Confronting these distractions is essential; a church that prays and intercedes before worship becomes powerful, removing obstacles so that people can truly encounter God.”

You can bring Pharaoh down, but as long as you still live in Egypt, you are not free.

4. Jesus & the Samaritan Woman Worshipping in Truth

Jesus’s encounter with the Samaritan woman was also centered on worship. The woman says to Jesus, “Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.”

But Jesus replied,

“You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.”

John 4:22-23 (ESV)

We need to know whom we are worshipping. Without that encounter, worship becomes just another form of activity, lacking the essence of true fellowship.

5. Paul & Worshipping the Unknown God

In the Book of Acts, Paul goes to Athens, having seen the various idols the people were worshipping. Then, he notices an idol with the inscription: “To the unknown God.”

For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription: ‘To the unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you.

Acts 17:23 (ESV)

Isn’t that the reality for so many Christians? They come to worship without truly knowing the God they are serve, much like the Samaritan woman and the Athenians. Many people attend church without a true encounter with God. Our hope is that every time people come to our churches, they genuinely meet with Christ.

Final Exhortation

My friends as we conclude, my heart is saying,

“Show me your glory, God. Show me your presence. Let there be a distinction. Separate us from the rest of the world. Many may believe in different gods out there, but there is one who is unique; there is only one we serve. He is the Creator, the Sustainer, the Waymaker the Miracle Worker, and His name is Jesus.”

Dr. Sunny Bhaskaran

My friends, nothing can replace that presence. Are you serving God? Are you worshiping God? 

As believers, we are called to strive for a higher level of fellowship — one that is marked by intimacy with God, sacrifice, and a relentless pursuit of His glory. Let us be inspired by Moses’s testimony to seek deeper encounters with God and lead others into genuine, transformative worship.

God bless you.

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