Following his rousing message on the power of praise on the weekend of Sep 4-5, 2016, City Harvest Church’s advisory pastor Phil Pringle spoke to City News about applying the sermon to one’s life.
Pastor Phil, what are five ways to be a successful praiser of God?
One, think about your salvation. Let the redeemed of the Lord praise Him.
Two, count your blessings, and name them like the song says, one by one. “I’m blessed with my wife, I’m blessed with my children, I’m blessed with good health.”
Three, you should organize the atmosphere in your house to have praise and worship in it. I mean, if you’ve only got the TV going and radio going, you’re not organizing your atmosphere very well. You can have a beautiful house but a locked up atmosphere.
Four, be intentional. Praise gives you a new language with which to access the positive things of life. If you’re praising God in a negative circumstance, it forces you to see the positive. But if you’re just complaining, you’re going to see the negative. Intentionality is a big part of the Christian life. You don’t have to do anything to be negative, but you do have to do something intentionally to be positive.
Finally, praise simply because the Bible says so. Praise is comely to the upright (Psalm 33:1); it’s the right thing to do, the beautiful thing to do.
You taught us in your sermon to be prepared for attacks if we are worshipers. How do we do this?
By being a worshiper! That preparation is the same as what Peter says, “Don’t be surprised by fiery trials”. So, mentally prepare people so they’re not surprised by what’s going on.
At the end of last year and the beginning of the year, I found myself really feeling the pressure of what we (C3 Church) do. We have grown to 440 churches. When you’ve got four churches you’ve got problems. When you’ve got one church, you’ve got problems (chuckles). When you have 10 churches you have more, when you keep multiplying by that many…
The problems were not small ones, and so I found myself with too many of those challenges and I think I was tired at the end of the year. So I found myself waking up in the night sweating, [hit by] panic attacks, and I couldn’t go to sleep. That was happening for a week. I thought, “Man, I gotta do something or I’m going to end up needing to go to a doctor or getting some medication” because I wasn’t sleeping, I dreaded going to bed, I was talking to [my wife] Chris about it, “I donno if I can keep doing this.” It was really desperate. It wasn’t just one problem; you can cope with a hundred, but when one hundred and one comes…
Then the Lord reminded me about confessing the word of God, and as I did that I also worshipped. So it’s like that psalm, “Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, And a two-edged sword in their hand” (Psalm 149:6), I just started saying “Be anxious for nothing” (Phil 4:6), and within a day, it was gone. Completely. I went to sleep—bam! And I’ve been fine ever since.
I’d never had panic attacks in my life—maybe moments of depression, but not when you’re involuntarily shaking and waking up. You look at people who have panic attacks and think, “Aw, they must be weak or something” but then you realize it can happen to you. So, that kind of praise is powerful. The two go together: confessing the word and praising God.
When I was doing this message in Frankfurt yesterday and the day before, I was walking around. I started doing what I was going to be preaching: “Praise God, praise God, praise God” and instantly, I was in another dimension. Instantly, I was aware of angels, I was feeling better, filled with the Holy Spirit and not so focused on problems, just praising God. It certainly took my focus off the negative and put on the positive.
What about the power of praise for a whole church?
When you’re confessing Scripture it is like worship, on the Pentecost when they broke out in tongues they didn’t understanding but what they were saying were the wonderful works of God. They were preaching! So every preacher should be a worshiper. If you’re not a worshiper you need to get worshiping. God is wonderful and glorious and He will inhabit your preaching.
People will do a teaching about praise, I could do that message as a teacher today: “Praise is a powerful weapon”. But while I was teaching I was trying to inject the spirit of praise into people.
I think every declining church I know has also got declining worship and praise. There are a few other factors but when we renewed our worship three years ago in our church, it also renewed our growth. It renewed our growth in a different way—we grew sideways (with more C3 churches across the world). Praise and worship always needs attention to keep improving, because the Bible says, “Sing to the Lord a new song”—that means keep praise fresh. Every pastor should give the praise and worship section of his church attention.