Friday, October 30, 2015

Encounter Worship

And when they had prayed, the place where they had gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God with boldness.  Acts 4:31 NASB

Two cows standing in a field saw a milk truck pass by. The truck had painted real big on its side, "Prairie Farms Milk – Homogenized – Sanitized – Vitamin Enriched" One cow spoke up and said, "Makes me feel kind of inferior!"  It seems comparisons can always cause us to sense something that we are short of.  I sort of felt this way when I came across the web page for a popular Baptist Church with all its programs, opportunities and ministries. 
It's no secret, pastors and people dream about how they would like for the church to be … perfect choirs, perfect programs, perfect sermons (just the right length) preached by perfect preachers, and of course perfect people.  Why with that combination everyone would want to come to church. But since there are no perfect churches filled with perfect choirs, programs, sermons, preachers, and people … why do we come?  What is or should be the reason that draws us together again and again?
We come to church to encounter the living God. Oh we enjoy the choirs, the programs, sermons (well maybe not) and people but that cannot be our purpose for gathering.  It must be to encounter the Living God.  Jesus told us, "For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst."  Matthew 18:20 NASB  He is present as He promised when we gather.
We ought to experience the presence and power of God in church, but many times we do not. In those times we are preoccupied with everything else, our schedules and calendars, we honestly do not encounter the living God.  I believe the church today is hungry for such encounters. We long to come to church and sense the manifested presence of our supernatural God. We just need to get into the habit of "expectation."  What do you expect when you come to gather with the church?
From the passage in Acts it is evident that prayer was a vital part of worship in the early church. You might say they stayed prayed up.  They had to!  They didn't have choirs, programs, preachers and people to fill the time.  They depended on prayer to see them through. 
Their prayers were combinations of adoration, confession, repentance and then request for God to use them.  These prayers ushered them into a supernatural encounter with God.  Notice what it says.  "And when they had prayed . . ." they encountered God! I doubt anyone there that day declared, "Ah Church, it is boring!"
"We do not sense the presence of God because our circumstances don't require it." (Rev. Darryl Dash)  We've got everything worked into a routine … choirs, programs, sermons, preachers and people. Who needs a supernatural God? We do if we want the kind of encounter worship the early church experienced! 

Scripture to Claim:

Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe;  Hebrews 12:28 NASB

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