He Who Honors Me: Keeping God at the Center of Worship Leading

Derek Joseph Levendusky

Anyone who’s been following our ministry knows that I’ve been doing a lot of writing lately! I just published my third book within the last fifteen months, this time a book titled He Who Honors Me. I’d had the idea for some time to write a book for worship leaders, and when Dr. Mike Brown came to our church and spoke on honor, the idea sort of galvanized everything that I’d want to say about worship into one concept. So I contacted some friends, Mike Kim and Darrell Evans, and asked if they’d join me in the project. It took about six months, but I’m pumped that we finally released it last week! Here’s the “Introduction”:

God made honor the cornerstone of all virtues. It is the one virtue that holds together our relationship to all things. Without honor, our character and all of our relationships self-destruct. See how God builds honor into every relationship we have:

“Then Moses said to Aaron, ‘It is what the Lord spoke, saying, “By those who come near Me I will be treated as holy, and before all the people I will be honored.”’ So Aaron, therefore, kept silent.” (Leviticus 10:3, NASB) “Honor your father and your mother.” (Exodus 20:12, NASB) “You shall rise up before the grayheaded and honor the aged, and you shall revere your God; I am the Lord.” (Leviticus 19:32, NASB) “Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king.” (1 Peter 2:17, NASB)

The virtue of honor has all but exited western society. The doctrine of self-esteem, the “question authority” movement, the rise of humanism, and the exodus of a generation from organized religion have all contributed to the decay of the very virtue that actually holds a society together.

Honor. Picture with me the two teenaged young men speeding down the road in their hot rod on a Sunday afternoon, music blaring, showing off for the two uneasy girlfriends in the backseat. They race up to the bumper of an old man driving a Cadillac, cursing at “the old fart” for driving so slow. A decal on the back window of the Cadillac indicates that the old man is a World War II veteran, but the young men don’t notice or care. The young driver says something about the old man being senile and blows by him, passing over the double yellow line, risking the lives of his passengers and the man he’s passing. As they pass the octogenarian, the young man in the passenger seat flips up his middle finger, yelling obscenities that the old man can’t hear.

Where is honor? A few years back, when my wife and I still lived in Texas, two teenaged young men decided to go out and “have a good time” by killing some random person they might come across. Their poor victim was a mentally-handicapped  girl riding a bike on the street. After they were arrested, local media interviewed the cold-hearted murderers in jail, where a reporter inquired, “What would you say to the family of this young girl?” The young men looked at each other and laughed before one answered, “What am I supposed to say? She’s dead!” We value what we honor. When we lose honor, we begin to see everything sacred disintegrate. Families, marriages, relationships, government, morality, the sanctity of life, and the list goes on and on. Societies rot to the core when honor dissipates. Nothing remains untouched. In the family, children disrespect their parents, husbands do not serve their wives, parents choose careers over their own children. In government, self-serving leaders abuse their people, civility disappears, and hatred creates a great divide between political parties or tribes, making it impossible to be effective. In societies, the weakest are neglected, despised, rejected, and scorned. Abortions are justified; the mentally and physically handicapped  are mocked; elderly people are sentenced to nursing homes and forgotten.

What about when honor leaves the Church? Congregations split, brothers and sisters cut one another to pieces with their words, and dissatisfied members leave for petty reasons, viciously spewing venom on their leaders on the way out the door. Worship becomes man-centered and not God-centered. The heart of David is replaced by the heart of Nebuchadnezzar, as self-exaltation and entertainment become the “modus operandi” of the leader. Worship services become a performance and not a pursuit.

Where’s the clog in the pipe? It all begins with our relationship with God. If we cease to honor God, we will never honor His Word. And if we cease to honor God, we will never honor others. Our prayer for this book is to redeem the virtue of honor in worship leaders, and consequently, in the worship services of the local churches or other gatherings this book may influence. If God will grace us with the restoration of honor among us, we have all taken a large step toward revival in the church, and reformation in society.

To order Derek’s new book “He Who Honors Me,” visit the Amani Records Store today.

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