Last week I wrote about my journey driving to a Ladies Conference. I shared about the Lord putting it on my heart to turn around and go back to a particular gas station. Once I got there, there Lord emphasized how eager I was to get to the conference, but like a parent whose kid races through the parking lot to get to the water park, He was telling me to slow down, see the people around me and wait for Him.
Well, that wasn’t all of the story!
About 2 hours later in my drive, I needed to go to the bathroom. As I turned into the Collin Bakery parking lot, a psychic place off to the right with a neon OPEN sign, caught my eye. Oh no, Lord, I thought. Are you asking me to go in there?
I contemplated it while I did my business in the restroom. I didn’t feel compelled to walk in there as I had been to go to the gas station earlier. But God was bookmarking that place in my mind. I later realized why.
Fast forward several hours and my friend and I walk into the ladies conference, overwhelmed. We didn’t realize how big this event was. I grew up attending conferences of 50 at the most. This place sat 3,000! And the seats were sold out. The building was brand new and equipped with every kind of the latest, greatest technology for a 5 star production.
After my exhausting drive, I was looking forward to worshiping the Lord and seeing what He had for me at this weekend retreat.
But as the band began, something in my spirit wasn’t right. I sang along with the words on the screen, trying to propel my spirit to worship but my mind was distracted with all the flashing lights and pretty background images. People were dancing in the isles, and it seemed every hand was raised.
Knowing my tendency to have a critical spirit, I prayed. I prayed for a heart of worship. I prayed for Him to block out the distractions and allow me to focus on Him.
Then there in the middle of 3000 screaming ladies, I heard His voice. That same voice that told me to turn around and go back to the gas station. The same voice that pointed out the psychic place to me.
In the middle of the lights and music, the Spirit reminded me of that psychic place. He said, Look around you. Remember, the magic doesn’t happen here in a coliseum. The magic, the power of God happens on the street…like in the psychic place. Are you willing to go there? There is where my broken and oppressed people are. There is where people are hungry and searching for me.
As the evening progressed, the host said things like “This weekend is going to change lives and be a weekend that you will remember God doing powerful things in your life! He is making all things new if you will believe on His resurrection power.” And as she spoke, I thought about God’s words to me and His caution to SLOW DOWN and wait for Him.
We were asking God’s power to fill us in a building. We were asking Him to do great things…new things…Resurrection things.
My Spirit paused. We must be careful that we aren’t asking Jesus for a “sign”. We must be careful we aren’t looking for Him to perform some great miracle so that we will believe Him. In Matthew 12: 39 He says, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. The cross is the sign!
There may have been some there that weekend who received God’s gift of salvation for the first time. I hope so. And there may have been some who came in bound and left free. I hope so!
But, do we really need God’s power in a building? We do in some extent. Every Sunday I pray for God’s power, His Spirit to speak through our Pastor and teach each of us sitting before him. But I believe that even more, we need God’s power to live out what we receive in a building on the street.
We need God’s power to turn into the gas station when His Spirit prompts us. We need God’s power to see those people who are broken and oppressed and ready for deliverance. We need God’s power to ask for forgiveness when we are wrong. We need God’s power to forgive that person who wronged us. We need God’s power to grant us the faith to face the giants in our day.
We ask for His Resurrection power to make all things new in our life. And He will. But what has to happen before a Resurrection occurs? What had to happen to Lazarus and Jesus before they were resurrected? They had to die. Die. Completely. Lazarus was in the tomb for 4 days. Jesus was in the grave for 3. They were dead. There was nothing living left in them.
It sounds so exciting to pray for new things and for God’s resurrection power to be unleashed in our lives. But are we willing, are we prepared to go through the Garden of Gethsemane and die before the Resurrection can happen?
Yes, God wants to do a new thing in us, but are we willing to let go of the old things? Are we willing to change, believe and obey Him?
I believe there is a war going on for our worship. We are so quick to raise our hands in a flashy , glamorous, emotional worship setting, but are we as willing to bend the knee and surrender our lives? All of our dreams, ambitions, comforts, everything?
Who are we really worshiping? When Hillsong sings, “What a beautiful name it is, what a powerful name it is, the name of Jesus Christ my King,” do you agree His name is beautiful and powerful? Is He your King? I believe if our heart isn’t right before the Lord when we utter those words, they are careless words, spoken in vain.
“This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.” Mark 7:6-7
There is nothing wrong with praise music. There is nothing wrong with a full band and lights and background pictures.
No matter the worship style and setting, God is always most concerned about the heart of His people. He desires a wholehearted worship, wholehearted obedience, a whole heart yielded to Him.
There is something wrong when one of those things interferes with that wholehearted worship. Because it becomes the object we worship instead of Jesus. And that is a form of idolatry.
Oh Father, open our eyes to see the slippery ways idolatry sneaks into our worship and center our hearts, our minds, our worship on YOU only! I pray in Jesus name, Amen.
On one hand I wish I had life together and everything figured out. A clean house with a place for everything and everything in its place. But then I think, what fun would that be? It’s in life’s messes I watch my Creator make a masterpiece. He takes my spilled paint, torn fabric and frayed strings of life and weaves in His Redemption and Love and makes it something beautiful. His creativity inspires me to be creative. So watch your step! And thanks for joining me on this messy, creative adventure of life.