In an article I read earlier this week the pastor described a couple that attends his church. Now this couple was strong. The guy was literally at one point the strongest man on earth! He could bench 1000 pounds! He was absolutely massive, and the crazy thing was that his wife could bench 400 pounds! They were both just absolutely huge! Now imagine if you met their children and they were scrawny little kids! That would be weird, right? You would expect that with such huge, strong, powerful parents that their children wouldn’t be these scrawny physically small kids! What if I told you that I was in fact describing what has happened to the church?
We believe in a powerful, all-knowing, mighty God who has giving us his Spirit of power and we go to church, hand someone a bulletin, say “glad to have you here, service should be done in an hour- see ya next week!” That doesn’t make sense! Shouldn’t our gathering reflect this power that God has given us?
In the early church people couldn’t stop talking about what was different with Christians. In Acts chapter 4 we see the power that the Spirit gave Peter and John. The rulers were amazed because they knew that Peter and John were ordinary unschooled men and that there was a supernatural power to their message. It also says that the believers “were one in heart and mind”. “With Great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus”. We also read that the believers “spoke the word of God boldly”. Clearly this early group of believers had this supernatural power given to them by the Holy Spirit that enabled them to preach the gospel effectively and boldly.
Isn’t that same Spirit of power available to us today? Don’t we have the same access to the Holy Spirit as the early church did?
Let me answer that clearly. YES. Yes we do! This is great news for us! We don’t have to do it on our own! We don’t have to have the pressure and weight of our ministry to the church and to unbelievers placed solely on us! The Holy Spirit is with us! We can serve the church and the community in the power that He gives us. We can boldly speak the word of God because we have been given this Spirit of power. The same Spirit that empowered Peter, John, Paul and many more in the early church empowers us TODAY.
I challenge you to live in that power. Listen to what the Holy Spirit is telling you to do, and most importantly, ACT on it!
Prayer- Lord may we be a church that ministers and gathers in the power of your Spirit. Thank you for meeting with us every day of the week and for helping us build your kingdom here, on earth as it is in heaven.
Imagine with me for a second, that you are at the Super Bowl (if you’re not a football fan imagine being at the concert of your favorite band or singer). You are surrounded by thousands of screaming fans, whose eyes are all glued to the field. You can literally feel the energy and excitement in the stadium as the teams battle it out in front of you. What happens if your team scores a touchdown in the final minutes of the game to win it?? Everyone goes nuts!! People are jumping up and down, screaming, and waving their hands in the air! Some may even be hugging the closest person to them!
I once read about an experience an author had while watching an episode of Oprah. The episode was on Michael Jackson, when he was in the prime of his career. They showed clip after clip of people around the world responding to him in concert settings. Thousands of people across many cultures were glued to his every move. All around the world they gathered, waving their hands in the air. Some fell to their knees. Others strained with outstretched arms hoping to briefly touch him. One young girl simply stood and looked on in complete awe.
The author then goes on to say, “I was watching some of the most intense worship I’d ever seen…anywhere. Far more ‘full-on’ than much of what I’d experienced inside the church”.
Now obviously the Super Bowl and Michael Jackson are not God- in fact they are far from it! Yet we can get so excited and energetic when it comes to things like that in our life. Is that bad?? NO! God wired us to get excited about stuff! He loves when we are passionate. But which is more important?
Do you think our priorities need to shift? Is it okay for us to be that excited about something as small as a football game or an entertainer, but so apathetic about gathering together as a body of believers and worshiping? Why are we comfortable with raising our hands and shouting out in excitement at a football game but not when we are praising the one who MADE the football game?
I would argue that we should have MORE excitement and MORE physical expressions in our worship on a Sunday morning than at a concert. Check out the blog right before this one and you will see just how active our worship should be! Remember that we are worshiping the One who created everything! He is the beginning and the end! He saved us from our sin by sending His son to die on our behalf! He is in everything and everything comes from Him! He also loves US and wants OUR worship!
Now THAT is something to get excited about!
Source- The Air I Breathe by Louis Giglio
That’s right! Worship is something you do. It isn’t something you watch, or attend. “Worship is something you enter into with all of your might!”
If we look at society today, and even at our churches, it is clear that we have adapted a “spectator culture.” Everything is designed for our viewing pleasure. In fact, I bet that most of you out there have your living rooms (or the room you spend the most time in) designed around watching the TV. Now I am not saying that watching TV is bad, in fact I have a huge list of favorite TV shows and movies! What we have to realize, however, is that this “viewing” culture that permeates so many aspects of our lives also tends to permeate our church-- and our worship.
How many times have you gone to church on a Sunday morning and (if you’re really honest) just sat back and watched? I have definitely been guilty of that! Why? It’s easy! It’s way easier to just sit back (or stand) and listen to the cool music, watch the worship team, listen to the pastor, move your mouth a little on the Doxology, say hi to some people you haven’t seen since last Sunday and head home. GOD WANTS SO MUCH MORE FOR YOU! I wonder if our worship would change if we could actually grasp the literal presence of God with us. Would we sing out a little louder? Would we pay closer attention to the message? Would we realize that we could take what we learn on a Sunday morning with us for the rest of the week? When we realize that worship isn’t something you watch, but something you do, we experience a total shift in how we view church and life in general.
In Psalms we see so much direction, and many examples on what worship looks like as a verb. Shout to God. Sing a new song. Dance before Him. Clap your hands. Bow down. Lift up your heads. Stand in awe. Meditate on His truth. Walk in His ways. Cast down your idols. Lift up your hands. The list goes on and on! Lets stop viewing and start doing!
Remember that worship is not just what happens on a Sunday morning. Our worship isn’t packed into Oak Hill Church from 10:30-11:30. Worship is our whole lives! It’s the stuff that we do throughout our weeks. It is our response to what we value most.
So as we enter a new year, lets follow David’s example in the Psalms and DO worship. Lets be a church that enters into worship together with all of our might every single week. Lets be a church that doesn’t WATCH worship, but actually DOES worship.
Sources: Psalms 18:3; 29:2; 45:1; 48:1; 96:4; 104:1
The Air I Breathe by Louie Giglio
The Worship service is at 10:30am on Sunday mornings