“These people honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me.” Matthew 15:8 (HCSB)
It is possible to sing the right songs and pray the right prayers without connecting with God. We can come near Him with lips yet keep hearts far away. As crazy as it may sound, so much of the Church has grown accustomed to operating without God. We run our church more like an organization, and this is especially seen in our “worship” services. So many of our services are simply man crafted events, with skilled musicians and gifted, well-prepared speakers, leaving no space for the Holy Spirit. Though we may pray, and/or even sing, “Come Holy Spirit” we make no room for Him. We rely on man’s methods over the ministry of the Holy Spirit. We prepare for performance over God’s presence. We simply entertain the crowd instead of providing a context to encounter the living God. We inoculate people with just enough God so they think they have experienced Him. But this is going to change! The era of pseudo Christianity is fading, and the real thing is about to bust forth once again. People are tired of entertainment Christianity and are growing hungry for authentic encounters with the living God!
People want and need the real thing! Once they begin to see what they have been missing they will have a huge choice. Will they stay in the comfort of their known and humanly controlled services, or will they press out into uncharted territories to encounter the living, holy, loving, powerful and moving God? The norm of a powerless church is quickly fading. The bottom line is, Jesus wants His church back! And the question is, will your church give it to Him, unreservedly, wholeheartedly, without limits or restrictions?
Ask the Lord to show you any place where you have chosen comfort over sacrifice, ease over cost, and/or control over the possibility of looking foolish or being misunderstood. Ask Him to reveal this to your pastor and church leadership as well. Ask Him to show them any place where they are inviting Him with their lips but not with the programming or flow of the services. Pray for the Church across Athens, that we would not be guilty of worshiping God with our songs and/or inviting the Holy Spirit to come, without providing Him a place in our meetings as the Leader!