Not many people will take the time nor have the inclination to read the excellent book "Worship by the Book", D.A. Carson editor. So to share just one of the many blessings from this work, I thought I would duplicate a passage from the chapter "Worship Under the Word" by D.A. Carson himself. Carson is articulating some conclusions from his rather technical chapter in which he attempts to construct a brief theology of worship. In the chapter he demonstrates the true nature of worship in the New Testament, one aspect of which is that true New Testament worship is the life of faith. Worship is the Christian's expression of the greatest commandment to love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength. Clearly this is far beyond what many think of as worship. Many restrict their view of worship to the weekly, corporate gathering of the Church in which congregational praise is offered to God. In fact, New Testament worship is the entire focus of the Christian's thoughts, heart, and actions. But, it certainly does include corporate, congregational worship! Read these strong words from Carson about the authenticity of true worship in the corporate, congregational context...ponder them and apply them:
"Hindrances to excellent corporate worship are of various sorts. For convenience, they may be broken into two kinds. On the one hand, corporate worship may be stultified by church members who never pray at home, who come to church waiting to be entertained, who are inwardly marking a scorecard instead of participating in worship, who love mere tradition (or mere innovation!) more than truth, who are so busy their minds are cluttered with the press of the urgent, who are nurturing secret bitterness and resentments in the dark recesses of their minds.
On the other hand, corporate worship may be poor primarily because of those who are leading...Some who publicly lead the corporate meetings of the people of God merely perform; others are engrossed in the worship of God. Some merely sing; some put on a great show of being involved; but others transparently worship God...their conduct is "transparent". The way they lead must in the first instance be marked by faithfulness to the Word of God: that is certainly observable, in particular to those who know their Bibles well. But the way they lead can be measured not only in terms of formal content but also in terms of heart attitudes that inevitably manifest themselves in talk, body language, focus, and style. Some pray with strings of evangelical clichés; some show off with orotund phrasings; others pray to God out of profound personal knowledge and bring the congregation along with them. Some preach without punch; others speak as if delivering the oracles of God.
What is at stake is authenticity...sooner or later Christians tire of public meetings that are profoundly inauthentic, regardless of how well (or poorly) arranged, directed, performed. We long to meet, corporately, with the living and majestic God and to offer Him the praise that is His due". (58-59 - bold and italics mine)