Have you ever felt like God was about to break out of the mold of church programming we have so carefully poured Him into?
I remember attending worship services when I was a little girl. It was predictably the same pattern over and over each Sunday: Three hymns consisting of two stanzas each (three if the choir director was daring); offering and announcements; a thirty minute sermon and we were all home in time to watch our favorite sports team play.
In the 1980’s God began showing signs of busting out here and there, and so we quickly adapted, making a few changes. We may have rearranged a few things, replacing hymns with worship music, hymnals with words on a screen, choirs with bands. We even added in a few songs (5 perhaps instead of 3) – and provided free style lyrics (inviting and encouraging people to sing out in their own words to the Lord) sometimes onto the last verse, with the intent to usher in the “anointing” – all before the preacher comes to deliver a message that may last a bit longer because we want to show God He is worthy of 15 more minutes. He is worthy, and He does show up, using our efforts regardless.
But has any of it really changed? God was still safely inside the carefully constructed mold we had placed Him within, thank goodness! You see, I dare say we are scared to death of what a service outside of our own personal control would look like should we ever really wait long enough for Him to show up like in the songs we sing, somehow thinking Shekinah Glory translates to uncontrolled chaos. But it is US who would lose control, not God. Is that what we fear most – losing control over our carefully mapped out programs? “It’s OK, God, I got this…”
All the while we sit, dying of malnutrition, starving for His presence, while getting our ears tickled for one more week. We see God’s presence as a pretty little package for us to admire but never to unwrap; to dance around but never walk into. Why? Because no one can look upon His face and live, and that is what His presence would require of us, right (Exodus 33:20)? I love what author Tommy Tenney often says – “only dead men can see His face”. If you think about it, we all are already dead. As unbelievers, we are dead in our sins (Eph 2:1); or as believers, we are dead to our sins (but alive in Him – Romans 6:11). So what are we waiting for?
Are any of us willing to set all aside and really wait – be still – and KNOW that HE is GOD? Have we set aside instead reverence and holiness, exchanging it for casualness? Grace may be free but it is not cheap! What price are we willing to pay to usher in His presence and allow Him to breathe life back into the lifeless body of the church? How badly do we want God? Do we want Him bad enough to walk outside of our spiritual comfort zones?
Or perhaps we don’t really know what comes with His presence? Fellowship, light, love, communion, healing, victory, power, and self-less LIFE. And something within your spirit quickens with this thought. What then holds you back? Are you ready to abandon control and allow Him to take over? Are you hungry enough to forsake all that appears right and orderly, and embrace all that is God instead?
What happens if we don’t want to usher in His presence? Is it more important to have our coffee lounges and so-called activity groups requiring no personal change in us, convinced that we can come to God in a “name it-claim it” fashion on Sundays and believe no one sees how we live the rest of the week? At what cost? Rest assured, God will burst forth from our mold. He will come in all His Glory, and He will pass us by – just as He did with the Pharisees once long ago. And we will never know He came and went.
One thought on “Ushering in His Presence”
Love this Lisa, especially the ending. I feel we all at times compare ourselves to others around us and believe we are not as bad as some and better than most, but we should be comparing ourselves to the Lord Jesus Christ…we are as “filthy rags” before him. We need to be like the man described in Micah 6:8—“He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”
Love you and thanks for sharing.