Recently the LORD has been pressing on my heart to know Him. To really know Him. Not just things about Him.
I’ve been in ministry for over 15 years and I am convinced that when people are seeking to know Him, when they spend the time on their knees to seek Him, to understand His word and how He is personally speaking to those seeking Him, it is then that He shows up with power.
1 Thessalonians 1:5 for our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction; just as you know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake.
Where is this power spoken of in Scripture? I have seen the word preached and there is no response. I have been to events and seen the worship, leaders, preachers, and event spokespeople try to manufacture a response, and still there is no power. And I have been to events where there is something in the air. Where there is this sense that we are on holy ground. That God is present, with power, and at work in a mighty way in the hearts of many.
What is the difference?
I am increasingly convinced that the difference is the Spirit. If the Holy Spirit of God is not at work in the hearts of people, you could have the same exact sermon and worship and nothing of significance will happen. So what is the difference? Really!?!
Individuals seeking the Lord; friends seeking the Lord together; families seeking the Lord together; groups seeking the Lord together; the Church seeking the Lord together; and in all the above the people are longing to know Him better.
Romans 12:2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
This stirring and transformation begins in the mind.
So I’m reading a bunch of books right now. As I am reading there are certain books that just absolutely get me jazzed and stir my heart and floor me. I am reading a book right now called Discipled Warriors: Growing Healthy Churches That Are Equipped For Spiritual Warfare by Chuck Lawless. There is a chapter on worship. He says this:
“The Bible opens with a simple statement that calls us to worship: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen. 1:1). He who created the universe–including us–has a right to expect worship from us. Worship is the proper response of the created to the Creator: “Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created” (Rev. 4:11).
“Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end” (Rev. 22:12-13). He who is the eternal sovereign ruler over history, and who will be our final judge, deserves our worship. Worship is the right response of the dependent to the Sovereign.
“Between these first and last chapters of the Bible is the story of a God who saves His own through the death of His Son (Rom. 5:8-10). The Bible records God’s intervention on our behalf so that we might be reconciled to Him (2 Cor. 5:18-19). Such a gracious God certainly ought to receive our worship. Worship is the necessary response from the redeemed to the Redeemer.
“Worthy are You…for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation” (Rev. 5:9).
“God is the sovereign Creator and ultimate judge, but He is also our loving Redeemer. When we truly recognize who He is, worship should be the result. The healthy church must, in fact, exalt God. We are to love Him with all of our being (Matt. 22:37-38), and awe and praise should characterize our relationship with Him (Acts 2:43, 47). Worship should be a lifestyle of submission and service, as the words used for worship in Scripture indicate:
- shaha (Heb.) means to bow or stoop before someone (e.g., Exod. 4:31).
- avad (Heb.) means to labor or do service (e.g., Exod. 3:12).
- proskynein (Gk.) means to prostrate onself or to kiss the hand (e.g., John 4:24).
- latreuein (Gk.) means to do ministry or service (e.g., Rom. 12:1).
“Christians badly miss the point if they understand “worship” as only a Sunday morning gathering designed to make us feel good about ourselves and about our religion. So do those who assume that worship is an evangelistic event directed toward exposing nonbelievers to the gospel. Worship, it seems, has become more about human beings than about God.” (pp. 64-65)
The rest of the chapter goes on to explain how Satan and his dominion has worked to confuse worship in the minds of those in the Church so that we find it difficult to worship, difficult to hear a sermon, difficult to apply God’s word to our lives. But we are called to pray and seek the Lord working against the tactics of Satan to remain spiritually on fire and connected with our life giving source and maker.
Biblical worship of healthy Christians in healthy churches will look like the following:
- We will encounter God in prayer and confession to make us right with each other and Him, pursuing holiness, which will in turn make worship more engaging and powerful.
- We will be waiting on the Spirit of God to prompt us to evangelize.
- We will seek to be equipped and the church leaders will be equipping people to spiritually prepare for service.
- We will be seeking to edify and find edification within the church.
- We will encourage one another and be encouraged in fellowship with other believers.
- We will be evangelizing as the Spirit prompts us and will see power in our words as we obey His prompting.
I believe the above begins with prayer and seeking the Lord. Satan quakes in his boots that I just wrote this. He will do what he can to not let you read these words or to get you to dismiss them. But as you begin to pray and seek to be discipled and worship the Lord, Satan will not know what to do and so he will start causing problems in your life and within your circles, which is all the more reason to be in prayer rebuking the enemy and drawing near to God.
This happened to me last night. So I explained to my family this was how I was feeling, we stopped eating, and we intensely prayed. I felt much better about two minutes into the prayer. There was a spiritual feeling as if the Spirit was empowering my prayer. I don’t get this feeling too often. The last time was August 2012. This was God at work. I believe the more I pray in times of need and as the Spirit prompts, the more the Spirit will work mightily to exalt Jesus Christ and advance His message of repentance and forgiveness.