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Alum Jami Smith Speaks about 'Natural Dwelling Place' of God

February 1, 2012

Smith spoke primarily about worshiping God "in spirit and in truth," referencing John 4:24. Her message, "The Natural Dwelling Place of God," follows OBU's current chapel theme, "The Purpose of Man: Designed to Worship," based on the book by Christian author A.W. Tozer.

A graduate from OBU in 1993 with a degree in music education, Smith said she felt called by God to lead worship. In 1994, she recorded her first CD and has since enjoyed success as a recording artist as well as a worship leader. She performs regularly at church services, schools, women's retreats, conferences and special events. She and her husband, Justin King, have two children.

Having led worship for 19 years, Smith told students the longer she leads others, the more she feels the need to "get out of the way" and allow God to minister to audiences. Referencing Jeremiah 29:11, she encouraged students to surrender their lives to God, trusting that God will lead each person to whatever profession He has planned.

"If you don't have it all figured out -- good!" she reassured the students.

During her message, Smith explained how people should approach true worship. Acknowledging that many of the students were well educated about worship and could easily give her a definition, she implored students to respond with their hearts rather than their heads, and with their experiences rather than mere knowledge.

"A lot of times we think worship is song; worship is contemporary style; worship is an acoustic guitar," Smith said. "Worship is so much more. Automatically in our minds, we go to song; we go to contemporary music; we go to how we might respond best through the gift of music. Don't limit it just to music."

Smith explained that when worshipers have the Spirit of God within them, the Holy Spirit connects with God as they worship whether the setting is a hut in Africa or in Raley Chapel. Since human souls are "natural dwelling places for God," she said, Christians carry His Spirit with them.

Smith said people tend to think unintentionally they can "control" the Holy Spirit's work in other people's lives through the ways worship is orchestrated.

"We think we know when God is going to move, how He's going to move, and we plan these set lists that we think will facilitate that," Smith said. "But we are really foolish in our thinking to believe that we can cause people to worship God. If someone worships God, it is because the Spirit of God has prompted him or her to do so."

Smith communicated to the students the importance of worshiping God in spirit and in truth by rediscovering the attributes of God throughout life. Using A.W. Tozer's books as an example, Smith offered a method in which worship tends to flow: to know, love, admire and adore God. The more people know God, the more they will love Him. The more they love God, they more they will admire, esteem and respect Him. The more they admire God, the more they will learn to adore Him.