The Upward Look, by Jon Forrest
Our Worship, Dead or Alive?

A 12-year-old boy was attending worship with his grandparents in the church they attended. He noticed that the service was very formal and kind of stuffy for him. All of the anthems were very difficult to follow and sing. The liturgies were dry and filled with old King James type words. He struggled to stay awake, often catching an elbow from his grandma as he began to nod off. The sermon that day was dull and he lost interest during the introduction. After the service ended, the Grandfather led the boy on a tour of the very old, yet elaborate church building. They came upon a plaque on a wall in the foyer that had numerous names listed. “Grandpa, what is that plaque about?” asked the boy.

“Oh,” replied the grandfather with pride in his voice, “That is a list of our young men and women who died in the service.”

The boy asked, “Which service, Grandpa? The morning or evening service?”

In Mark 4:23 & 24, Jesus told the woman at the well that one day soon location would be unimportant when it came to worshiping God. It would be the “How” that would be vital to our worship. He wasn’t talking about the types of songs or hymns that would be sung. He wasn’t talking about the preaching style of the minister. He was telling us the condition of the hearts of the worshippers. He said that a time would come when we will all worship God “in Spirit and in Truth.”

When the Holy Spirit invaded the temple prayer time on the Day of Pentecost, no one dosed off during Peter’s sermon. Everyone focused on the powerful, moving and relevant message of the apostle which touched their hearts and resulted in lives transformed for Christ. The difference that day was the Holy Spirit. When we worship God, we must always make room for his work in us. The Holy Spirit, living and active in our midst makes all the difference in the world.

I remember a speaker talking about the Holy Spirit’s work in or worship when he asked us the poignant question, “When was the last time something happened in a church service that wasn’t planned?” The question kicked me in the stomach. While I believe the Holy Spirit is active in the planning of a Worship service, we should always be open to what He is doing while it is going on.
Worshiping God in Spirit and in Truth is the Jesus way of doing it. Like the Day of Pentecost, no one should be falling asleep and everyone should be touched by God’s message.

How this goes is not only the responsibility of those who lead the service. It is just as important for the individual worshipper to come into the Lord’s presence with a heart open to the work of the Spirit. We must not come seeking to be entertained, but to be filled with Him and to find what God has for us to implement in our lives. We should also come, not just to get something from God, but also to give ourselves to Him.

It really isn’t worship unless the Holy Spirit is involved and what happens impacts the way we live for God. Thank you, Jesus for giving us your Holy Spirit to lead us in your truth every day.

This Sunday we will continue our new series of messages called LIFE IN THE SPIRIT When God Moves in to Stay with a sermon titled Spiritual Worship, based mostly on John 4:19-26 & Romans 12:1. God will be there waiting for you.

Worshiping His way with you,

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