Sunday, November 4, 2007

Worship... is it all you expected?

Over the years I've seen all kinds of preaching styles, worship styles, and ways to do church styles. Seems every other church is doing things differently with the focus being... how do we get more people inside these doors. There's all kinds of books and articles on how to best achieve this. Books on how best to set the tone or mood for a worship service. Books on how to blend the proper style of songs to enhance the worship experience and even prepare the hearts of men to hear the message of the Gospel. We can turn down the lights, we can play music in the background during the offering, we can even tell stories during our sermons that softens the hearts of those listening. There's so many things we can do to... well... persuade people into giving their heart to Jesus.

Our Pastor this morning shared a story about a person telling him that sometimes he comes to church and he just doesn't get anything out of it, sometimes he's not able to take anything away from the worship service. And as our Pastor pointed out... Worship is not about taking away, it's about giving to the Lord. It's about giving our attitudes, and our life to the Lord Jesus Christ and our Worship is a reflection of our life being completely in surrender to God and His will. Worship isn't something we take, it's something we give! It's praise and adoration of our Lord.

We have to be careful that we do not come to church expecting to be entertained. I think the mistake we make is that we want to come to church to be recharged, but instead we should come to church already charged and full of the Spirit and ready to WORSHIP our Lord and King. It's not supposed to be the other way around. Yes, our emotions are touched during the service through the songs and the message, but the Holy Spirit moving is the only thing that makes the service meaningful. Sometimes I think there's too much effort put into trying to convince people that they need the Lord, rather than leaving that part solely up to the Holy Spirit.

Imagine this... You go to church and welcome one another, fellowship, and enjoy each others company. Maybe meet some new folks you don't know or simply hug on the ones you already know. There's joy and happiness and excitement because we are about to enter into a time of Worshiping our Lord together this morning. We have a word of prayer Thanking God for the opportunity to Worship Him. We sing a couple of songs as a part of our praise and adoration towards our Lord. The Pastor preaches the Gospel right out of the bible. No illustrations or fancy stories or commentary, or videos, or media of any kind... just good ole preaching from God's word and then explaining to us how this scripture applies to our life today. We say a closing prayer and or benediction to encourage the congregation and then we fellowship as we leave.

That's it? No light show, no video's, no huge choir, no guest singers or special music, no INVITATION at the end of the service? You've got to be kidding right?

No I'm not... the truth of the matter is this; all those things do nothing expect try and create a mood or atmosphere. The Holy Spirit is the only One that can convince someone that they are a sinner and in need of a Savior. The Holy Spirit does not need our help nor should He. He is all powerful and really anything that happens will only happen if it's the will of the Father.

Look at Peter's sermon on the Mount. He simply gets up there and tells the people the truth of God's word. He preaches the gospel and the Spirit moved and convicted the hearts of many people that day. I ask you this... Why do we think we have to persuade people to come to the Lord when all He wants us to do is deliver His message and let Him do the rest? I'll tell you why! Because we have made Worship a thing for us rather than for God. Our focus is on our ability to experience something when it should simply be about Praising or Lord Jesus. In other words... Worship.

My last thought... If we want to experience God! We should be doing that in the way we live our lives throughout the week. We should experience God in our time alone with Him as we study and meditate on His word while reading our bibles. We should experience God as we pray as often as the Holy Spirit convicts us to. We should be experiencing God as we share the good news with others and help lead them to know the Lord. (that's where the invitation should be, not at the end of a Worship service).
What do we do? We don't experience God all week long and we've gotten to where we think coming to church is our time to experience God. How foolish is that? This time should be the one time of the week that God experiences our presence as we Worship our King together.

My prayer for you is the next time you go to church to Worship, that you'll go for only one reason and one reason only. To Worship our Lord Jesus Christ!

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