I spent a lot of time in my teens building my library from the local “Baptist Book Store.” Seemed strange since my classical apostolic background was anti-Baptist. But I was really led to Church History and Biblical Interpretation. So while my musical skills were growing and I played the organ regularly in churches around town, my hunger for God was being pursued in my private prayer and study times.
I have at admit my real introduction to life outside my small church and social community in Baltimore in the 1960’s was being drafted in the Army. I had few friends; I was a loner and deep thinker; and my dad’s church had done a good indoctrination job on me. I had more questions than those around me could adequately answer. So I entered the military with a limited world view of society at large but I got a quick education in people, relationships, and religion.
My best friend in Basic Training was a red neck from Kentucky who had never personally interacted with Black people before. We seemed to be drawn to each other out of the shock of the new environment we found ourselves ultimately having to adjust to. Our favorite pastime was singing “Sly Stone’s ‘60’s hit, “Don’t Call Me Niger, Whitey.” It really didn’t take me long to score high with a rifle and become an expert in hand-to-hand combat. So while the army was molding me into a soldier, I was also developing discipline that would shape my ministry career for many years to come. All the while trying to figure out where I should go from here.
This is Part 7 in the series
To start at the beginning click here – http://dmgolphin.me/2013/07/24/how-it-all-began/
Or continue on to Part 8 here – http://dmgolphin.me/2013/08/03/providence-before-academics-my-personal-journey/
Today, this MEMORIAL DAY, we celebrate those who made the ultimate sacrifice of defending our nation as well as honor those who are today in foreign battlefields facing dangers every day.. Memorials are appropriate. They challenge us to stop, remember and give thanks. Throughout scripture, The Lord instructed His people to set up memorials and to remember His faithfulness and deliverance. He knows us well, that we are a forgetful people. Thankfulness must be cultivated. Memories of God’s faithfulness strengthen our faith and fortify our love for God. While we are memorializing this day, think of making an memorial to God marking and thanking Him for countless blessings.
The current climate in churches today is not to create an atmosphere to worship and praise God but to attract and appease people. Most people are only attracted to a church where they can “feel” God. A George Gallup polls suggest that, “We are having a revival of feelings and not the knowledge of God.” The church today is more guided by feelings than motivated by knowledge. We want a good feeling, not a good experience with God in worship. That was the attraction of the two “Great Awakenings” a need to experience God emotionally apart from what we knew intellectually. It also was the motivation of Western “Pentecost.” In 1906 with the popularity of the Azusa Street Revival, we shifted worship from getting to know God to seeking to be empowered by the presence of God with major spiritual empowerments.
Passion for God – the ability to seek God with your total being has been substituted for a need to express my release emotionally while addressing my status as a gifted saint. Is it wrong then to want to feel God? No, but it is danger if all we want to do is “feel” and not get to know God. That is the beauty of intimacy. Not just the feeling but the communication. We move from one extreme to the other. If we seek knowledge from God the danger is being labeled an “egghead” and “dry.” If we seek the presence of God only in music and song, the danger is becoming “too emotional” and surface orientated. The balance is expressed when we can seek God intellectually without getting “puffed up.” Then we can become “passionate” for God without it becoming a celebration of my talent and not an elevation of God’s Glory. Keep in mind promotion carries two parallels. The danger of pride and the demotion of self-glory to the danger of becoming more than a player on the cosmic stage to the star of the show.
We need a new breed of worship leaders that understand the mandate of prayer and praise. New leaders who are not making news headlines, but delivering the Good News of the kingdom; Honest leaders that will take the time to sanctify themselves to and for God in this hour; Charismatic leaders that are not just speaking for God (prophets) but speaking to God (priests) regarding the sins of nations, governments, societies, and churches. Leaders that will propel us into the future with a healthy perspective of lessons from the past. Finally, we need true intercession in this hour, warfare prayer that restores and refreshes the supernatural power of God in the earth. Not by a troop of gossiping prayer bands, but a worship leader who can both discern and command the conflict and calm the storms of life.
The methodology of worship has dominated the Christian Church world as we are more focused on how we express our worship (my way) than how it is regulated to please God. What worship should accomplish is to get us into God’s presence. The purpose of worship in the body of Christ is not to appease God and make one feel good and enjoy all the blessings of prosperity. No it is to honor the Father through Jesus Christ as our mediator with the aid of the Holy Spirit. We are as divided over worship as we are over doctrine. In fact, worship has gotten so systematized in America that we offer people a menu of choices like a restaurant. Instead of fighting over styles today we just blend a choice of options – Traditional, Modern, or Contemporary. Take your choice and sit and enjoy the sideshow of worship being focused on your taste instead of God’s glory. So we divide over the day, style, music, and prayer language in our worship services.
Paul used several metaphors to relate his interpretation of the “church.” In Eph 2:19, he refers to the church as a “household” and in v21, as a “building” and a “temple.” Also in I Cor. 12:13-27, Paul sets out to make an analogy of the human body as a metaphor for the church. The people who received the message of Jesus Christ were then called the “church.” They met in cell pockets in different locations and discipled new converts into the Faith. The importance of where they worshiped and what they called “Houses of Worship” was a later development and could be concluded as adding more complications to the genesis of the church. Paul sought to give clarity to a new concept of worship and theology that would change the entire world.
I am convinced that the greatest singular act of personal worship that you can render the Lord is to have a thankful heart. I believe that the Lord desires for us to worship Him with the fruit of our lips as we receive blessing after blessing. When we are thankful, it ultimately crucifies self-interest and motivations. Being thankful helps us recognize God for who He really is, as the source of everything. Thanksgiving is always able to reach God in the midst of difficult circumstances. God is to praised, and sees beyond the pain to the plan for now. If you are a thankless person, you have missed the point because the whole of our Christian life is to finally come to the place of thanksgiving.