Wow, this book was amazing. I’m not sure I can fit it all into this review. If you grew up in a Word church, some of the material may not be new to you. However, the light Zach Neese shines on known principles illuminates and offers a refreshing perspective to churchy jargon and spiritual practice. So, let me just jump right in.
I basically breakdown this book into two parts. The first part I would say is more of a primer and challenges your unconscious thoughts about your place in the kingdom, your role, and how you believe God interacts with you through worship and by your worship. The second part is a walk through Moses’ tabernacle as a pattern of our worship before God.
Both parts are spectacular, but the first part made the biggest impact on me because I grew up with theological sermons every Sunday and Wednesday. So, the different perspective of everyday Christianity was worth the read.
This book is written by Zach Neese who is the worship pastor at Gateway’s North Fort Worth Campus. He has published several articles in popular Christian magazines and is an adjunct professor at The King’s University at Gateway.
Who Am I?
The book begins with me and my place in the Kingdom – what is my primary calling and job description. It answers the basic question, who am I?
Most people believe that their function determines their identity. [Page 2]
If I play the piano, I must be a pianist. If I lead worship, I must be a worship leader. If I develop websites, then I must be a web developer. If I fix cars, I must be a mechanic. Get the idea?
Neese says this borders silly and writes a few paragraphs about our desire to be used by God and identify ourselves by our function.
Let me ask you a question. Do you want to be used by God?
Most Christians would answer with a resounding “Yes!”
Well, let me ask you another question. Do you want to be used by your spouse? Do you want to be used by your friends? Do you want to be used by the church? Would you like to be used by the government?
No way! When you use someone, you treat a person like a tool, not the person.
I have good news for you. God doesn’t want to use you. He wants to know you. He wants to be known by you. God used Pharaoh; He knew Moses. God used Saul, but He knew David. God used Judas, but He knew Jesus.
God didn’t create you so that He could use you. He created you so that He could know you. [Page 3]
Neese recognizes this as the reason many become hurt by the church. Pastors can sometimes view people as tools to use. When this happens, people are treated like objects and thus feel as such. People can also hurt the church by viewing themselves by their function and not by what God created them for.
So, what are we then? We are priests.
It doesn’t matter our function, that which we do as a profession or as a volunteer, when we accepted Christ as our Savior, God made us priests.
You also, as living stones, are being built up into a spiritual house as a holy priest to offer up spiritual sacrifices that are acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. [I Peter 2:5]
What’s my job?
Because I accepted Jesus and became a child of God, I am now a priest. A priest worships God and helps others to do the same. Neese explains this by describing the role of the priests in Moses’ tabernacle. The priests were responsible for everything concerning the tabernacle. In Moses’ day the tabernacle was mobile. It had to be setup and tore down regularly as the people moved. This was the responsibility of the priests. The people met with God in the tabernacle. It was the priests’ responsibility to provide the place and facilitate that meeting place.
To put this in layman’s terms, a priest’s job was to set up the place where God and people came together to meet.
When you’re a priest, every place you go becomes a spot where people have an opportunity to meet with God.
Only priests can steward tabernacles – not plumbers, politicians, or pianist. Only priests can set up meetings between God and man.
[Page 10, 11]
The priest had three responsibilities:
- Carry the ark of the covenant. This was the presence of God. The priests carried it before the people as they journeyed. My job is to carry His presence – to be in a place where His Spirit is always able to move and lead through me.
- Stand before the Lord to minister. This is worship and worship is not meant for me. One of the meanings of the word worship is “to minister to God”. Worship is for God, His pleasure, His delight.
As long as ministry to man is our primary objective, we are not priests; we are only philanthropists.
Priests court the heart of God. Politicians court the hearts of people.
- Pronounce blessing. God uses blessings to change destinies. As a priest, my job is to bless the people I come in contact with. I have the ability to facilitate a meeting between God and people so that people are blessed in His presence that I carry within me.
Biblical blessings catalyze destiny in people’s lives. It is the ingredient that causes change.
Priests must exercise the gift of calling a piece of coal a diamond when it is still buried in the dirt.
[Neese concerning his children] I do not simply pray for them; I’ll bless them. I ask God to show me what they look like through His eyes. I am catalyzing their destinies.
[Page 17, 19]
Who am I? A priest.
What’s my job? To minister to God and to teach others to worship Him.
So much more
This is all in the first two chapters and sets the tone for the entire book. This is the premise on which the remainder of the book elaborates.
The book discusses our posture before the Lord, the desire God has for skillful craftsmen, types of praise, and so much more.
The last half of the book compares the path the priests made through the tabernacle to our personal (and corporate) worship. The tabernacle process was a pattern for how we enter the presence of God and bless Him.
This was really a fantastic book that I recommend for anyone who desires to know God and to have Him active in every part of life.