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1 Shout with joy to God, all the earth!
2 Sing the glory of his name;
make his praise glorious!

Psalm 66:1 (NIV)

Shout with joy to God.  I have seen this used to God’s glory and I have seen it abused to God’s dishonor.  I am involved with an interdenominational Christian organization that includes Christians from shouting congregations as well as Christians from more reserved congregations coming together to worship.  Both sides find themselves wishing to have it their way expecting the other to agree with them. I have no problem with true joy spilling out into the worship service, and if that joy leads to a shout, then SHOUT!  There are two situations that give me  problems.  I don’t believe the shouting should precede the feelings.  I have seen those of the shouting persuasion try to muster up the feelings by trying to get everyone to just start shouting–even when the majority of the worshipers were not from shouting churches.  I don’t believe God needs our help in this way.  If there is a stirring message, God is honored with our shouts.  It the music stirs our hearts, God is honored with our shouts.  If we come to worship following a spiritual blessing that overwhlems us, share it and shout. But sometimes God wishes to whisper to our spirits in more subtle ways.  He may give us an inner peace that brings tears to our eyes, that puts us in a spirit of quiet rest. We must respect one another’s forms of worship.  The second situation that gives me problems is the hard-hearted bench warmer who is missing the blessings because he feels the need to criticize or laugh at those who would raise their hands or shout praises. The non-Christian community is watching.  Even they seem to understand the words Jesus spoke to the Disciples at the Last Supper:  By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”  (John 13:35)

Lord help us to shout to you in ways that bring you glory.  May we never dishonor your name.

Copyright © 2008 by Janice Green

Scripture quoted by permission. Quotations designated (NIV) are from THE HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

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