*Quick disclaimer for those of you who follow me closely on facebook. Somehow I have accidentally added a dating application...don't ask - it's complicated...and I can not figure out how to remove it. Just wanted to make sure that everybody is aware that a. I am stupid when it comes to technology, b. I am not shopping for a new husband....I really like the one that I currently have. He's pretty stinkin' awesome!
Here's what I'm pondering tonight.....thoughts on worship and life.
I had not really taken time to read the September issue of Worship Leader magazine after being so woefully disappointed in my first issue. It has lain literally untouched on top of the piano for several weeks. I finally grabbed it today and flipped through a few of the articles. It was like God had planned the timing of the reading. Many of the authors were on the exact same page that I have been lately about "the show" versus "real church".
Francis Chan wrote an article, "Why are They Leaving" about youth leaving the church. A couple of his points hit home with me. "Our job is to create sacred space, so He can reveal Himself. Could it be that, in our quest to creatively make Jesus cool ....we've actually hidden Him? Do we plan meetings that are so busy and overproduced that we crowd Him out?" The article addressed some of the differences between the early church and the contemporary church. The difference between relationships and community and putting on a show. "Something real was happening in the early church. It was something of the Spirit too powerful to be replicated by human effort. Imagine taking a young person to one of their church gatherings. Your friend might not experience a smoothly run, professional service. But there is one thing he or she would experience: God."
After reading this, I thought long and hard about church. I am conditioned to setting the stage and getting ready for worship and preparing to worship and making sure all the pieces are in place. And yet....a majority of my most incredible encounters with God have not occurred in a worship service. Oh, there have been some...some ecstatic and excited, some repentant and broken, some confusing but beautiful. However, I am much more likely to hear from and experience God in other places and at other times. As I have been contemplating "the show" over the last few weeks, I am wondering if I am still subconsciously more worried about "the show" than about God. I don't want to miss out on God. I don't want to plan God out of "the show".
Now.. .pausing for just a moment of clarification...at the Crossroads, I think we are doing a great job of trying to avoid a show and seeking God with all that we are. This is simply a personal journey and a needed reflection for me on where church is going and what I need to do to make sure that I am ready when God shows up...not a reflection on either one of you guys leading at the Crossroads. You're doing a great job and I am privileged to serve with you. Definitely a member of your fan clubs.
So here on Saturday night, thinking about worship tomorrow, I'm spending some time in prayer...................................................................................................
God, you are moving across the globe. Everywhere that I look, everything that I see and hear is pointing to a God who is on the move. I know that you are ready to do great things. I am excited about seeing the hugeness of your mighty power. I am excited to hear the rumblings of your presence.
God, I was so convicted by Chan's words. Please, I don't ever want to be so caught up in selling Jesus or in making Jesus look cool that I don't leave room for his presence in worship. I know that Jesus does not need my marketing strategies (good thing, since they suck) He does not need my technology or my talent in order to do big and mighty things in the world. God, I'm laying before you in humility and surrender. Everything that I am is yours...all of my possessions, abilities, talents, and relationships. It all belongs to you...use it for your kingdom.
Meet with us tomorrow. Meet with me. I want to see your face. I am not content with shallow....teach me to swim in the ocean of your great and mighty presence. I can't wait to see you there tomorrow! "Come like a rushing wind. Fill us with power from on high. Now set the captives free. Leave us abandoned to your praise. Lord let your glory fall. Lord, let your glory fall." Echoing Tim Hughes. I want to be abandoned to your praise tomorrow. Because you alone are worthy.