“The Old Is Gone; Behold The New!” Will New Forms Of Worship Be Natural Or Supernaturally Natural?

The Millennials Look For Ways To Express Themselves In Worship – Part II

In his blog The Imminent Decline Of Contemporary Worships Music: Eight Reasons, (Oct. 27, 2014,) T. David Gordon wrote, “Thankfully, my own generation is beginning to die. While ostensibly created “for the young people,” the driving force behind contemporary worship music was always my own Sixties generation of anti-adult, anti-establishment, rebellious Woodstockers and Jesus freaks. Once my generation became elders and deacons (and therefore those who ran the churches), we could not escape our sense of being part of the “My Generation” that The Who’s Pete Townsend had sung about when we were young; so we (not the young people) wanted a brand of Christianity that did not look like our parents’ brand.”

What drew many Baby Boomers who were “church kids”, like me, away from their institutional churches towards the Jesus and Charismatic Movements often were the forms of worship we witnessed, when God’s Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Jesus Christ, fell on his believers individually and corporately. I had never experienced the masses “singing in the Spirit” in heavenly harmony until in the midst of a charismatic worship experience. The beautiful, rich, four part, a capella harmonies of hymn singing could not capture the harmonies and intimacy of worship found in this unique corporate expression!

I had experienced superb singers singing “special music” before the sermon, but never experienced the richness of a common believer being given an original tune with lyrics by the Holy Spirit while being accompanied by musicians who had never heard the tune before either until I witnessed it at a charismatic worship service.

At Love Inn in Freeville, New York, I witnessed someone sing an original “new song” accompanied by Phil Keaggy and his band while a lady interpreted the song through dance, all at the same time, all original, never rehearsed.

At Jim Brown’s Saturday night Prayer and Praise Meeting at Upper Octorara Presbyterian Church in Parkesburg, PA, I heard a lady sing The Lord’s Prayer, not in the traditional way, but in an entirely original tune that the Lord gave her which powerfully impacted everyone present.

Over the years I have heard prophetic words given through song rather than just being oral. I even witnessed people being ministered to personally through musical instrumentation without lyrics. The Holy Spirit is a creative spirit and will manifest and lift up Jesus in many forms that are nontraditional to us.

I remember sitting on my blanket at outdoor Jesus Rallies in the ‘70’s & 80’s, listening to contemporary Christian bands, discerning if their audience was heavenward or directed to those in front of them. Very few bands directed theirs truly heavenward, but when they did, an incredible worships experience occurred. I have seen a heavy Christian rock band hold their closing note at an incredible decibel level in the midst of an incredible worship experience. It is hard to explain.

So my question to the Millennials is, “What kind of worship are you seeking: high quality professional music, superbly written lyrics, well staged and professionally lighted, with top quality professional musicians and singers, or common, ordinary, believers, like you and me, jointly willing to do whatever the Holy Spirit tells us to do, even if it is out of the ordinary, out of our current comfort zones, totally original, unscripted, fresh and new. Are we willing to just be vessels of His love, His grace, His Mercy, and His voice through obedience to the Holy Spirit? If so, Millennials too can experience supernaturally natural worship!


“The Old Is Gone; Behold The New!” Can This Be True For The Way The Church Worships?

The Millennials Look For Ways To Express Themselves In Worship – Part I 

I read an interesting blog, 3 Reasons Contemporary Worship Is Declining, and What We Can Do To Help The Church Move On by Jonathan Aigner (Sept. 4, 2015). His three proponents are: 1) Baby boomers are losing their influence. “‘My own generation is beginning to die.’ Your parents, not your kids, are the biggest proponents of contemporary worship,” 2) Millennials are seeking old ways of doing things. “This doesn’t mean a return to the church of the 1950s, but it means an increasing rejection of the church of the 1990s and 2000s”, 3) Contemporary worship is an unstable and non-theological movement. “To be thoroughly contemporary necessitates a slavish allegiance to the new, the current, the hip, the cool, and the commercial. It requires a thorough rejection of what is old, passe, not current, not cool, and what doesn’t make money.”

Aigner senses a shift in the church worship scene, giving me a hint that the millennials are seeking their own identity in worship, which excites me. This is a good thing.

As a Baby Boomer growing up in the 1950’s & 60’s, I was inundated by hymns written by composers who died over a hundred years earlier. Southern gospel quartets, “special music,” and “choir anthems” entertained us. Worship services were predictable; their script was printed in the church bulletin.

That was all challenged in the ‘70’s & ‘80’s when the Jesus Movement introduced Contemporary Christian Music with a rock beat as electric guitars and drum kits replaced the electronic pipe organs, and the Charismatic Movement introduced worship choruses as choirs yielded to worship teams. Churches were forced to offer two worship services: a traditional service with hymns, hymnals, a choir, special music, and sermon held in a sanctuary, and a contemporary service with choruses projected on an overhead screen, a worship team with drums, guitars, amplifiers, and stage lighting, and a sermon held in an adjacent church gymnasium or all purpose room. The Baby Boomers were trying to find their own unique way to express their praise and adoration to God through worship.

It takes decades for the church to embrace new forms and styles of worship. Those Baby Boomers as youth and those in their twenties who challenged the church scene are now the establishment that accepts their style of worship as acceptable. I do not necessarily support Aigner’s call to “Refuse to contribute to the commercial industry. Stop paying Nashville and Atlanta and Australia for its so-called “worship music.” Stop going to “worship” concerts. Stop listening to commercial Christian radio.” Keith Green challenged the Contemporary Music Industry of his day for their capitalistic entrepreneurship, but he did not call to ditch the whole movement. There is much to glean from it that has benefited the Church.

What the millennials will contribute to the Christian worship scene is yet to be determined by the Holy Spirit, the creator of Christian creativity, who flows among us. How He chooses to express Himself in their midst is yet to be seen, but when it occurs, I guarantee that it will be rejected by current forms, structures, and powers within the institutional church, and it will take decades until it too becomes the accepted practice within the faith.

Holy Spirit come; Holy Spirit create! Church observe what the Holy Spirit is doing in the midst of His people, those who call themselves millennials, as they worship naturally and supernaturally. Embrace the upcoming changes, and accept the new forms of expression Jesus will give His Church, His Bride, in preparation for their eternal marriage in the heavens. Get use to it, for worship in heaven will NOT look like the way we currently do it on earth; just read the book of Revelations, and you will see!


Experiencing Deurteronomy 16:16

 Why Should/Shouldn’t My Church Embrace Change? Part XXXXIII

Our Deuteronomy 16:16 passage concluded, “…and they shall not appear before the Lord empty-handed.” I believe worship to be simple, the act of giving back to the Lord what He has already given you. If we believe that, then there is a price to be paid during each of these three feasts; something is to be given back to the Lord.

In his book, The Great Divorce, C.S. Lewis has captured the price for Passover. To receive salvation, you have to give Jesus the garbage of your life, that which prohibits you from drawing near to God. Lewis tells of a bus trip to the out skirts of hell and the edge of heaven where the saints try for one last time to persuade their loved ones to come to heaven. They refuse because they do not want to give up that which binds them (ie. pity, self centeredness, greed, wealth, etc.) Looking back, giving God our garbage did not look like a big deal, but it was, for it was difficult, particularly when sin is pleasurable and rewarding to one’s ego.

When one has a Pentecost experience, the price is to pay “one’s all,” everything! If Jesus is to be Lord of one’s life, he demands all because He is in total control of your life. A popular car bumper sticker was “God is My Copilot.” How wrong that premise is if you made Jesus your Lord. He is the pilot, period! You aren’t even the copilot; he flies the plane. When on autopilot, the Holy Spirit is in control! All you have to do is be obedient to His flight plans as He directs. It is was difficult giving up your garbage and junk for your salvation, it is even harder to give up the good things that have benefited you to which you are now attached.

For The Feast of Booths or The Feast of Tabernacles you give up your earthly tabernacle, your physical body. Which is better; living her on earth doing the Lord’s will or dyeing and being with the Lord in heaven? Paul wrote,”For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:21) Glorification is giving up this earthly body to dwell eternally in the Presence of the Lord Jesus Christ!



Apathy to Activity


Why I Would Want The Five Fold In My Church – Part IV


….. because it replaces enabled apathy with Holy Spirit led activity for believers in Jesus.

Which church would you want to attend?

One whose Worship Service tells you when to stand, sit, or kneel, when to sing, pray, be silent, or listen, when to financially give generously or greet one another cordially. You can volunteer to be an usher, children’s worker, or nursery attender, or you can just show up, follow directions, and leave having no social contact but entertained. The music will be excellent. The sermon delivery will be professional; all done orderly. Bible quotes and lyrics to songs will be projected. Not much is required of you, nor is much expected from you. The Senior pastor and staff will do everything in a professional manner. An enabled apathy will settle over the congregation as everyone knows their place and expectations.


One that will only be a hymn or chorus sing followed by a sermon unless the congregation comes prepared to give. If prepared, one may share a scripture that came alive during their private devotion; another may sing an original song or a song everyone knows and joins in. A poet may read an original poem; an artist may draw or paint. Peer believers in Jesus may be led to pray, offer healing, comfort or encourage one another. Some may release spiritual gifts to edify the body of Christ, while others may release giftings to aid in their peer believers’ spiritual growth. A formal sermon is not necessary because sharing of scripture and its application may be given by believers or the sharing of narratives of how Jesus came alive in people’s lives may be shared. Invitations for salvation, empowerment, healings, may be given by fellow brethren . There is no formal agenda, only individuals and the body of Christ jointly listening to the Holy Spirit’s lead. The service in unpredictable, but the anticipation high that God’s Spirit is among his people, and Jesus will be manifested through them. The leadership is not on a platform, but among the people, not seen, but arises for encouragement, support, edification, and correction when needed. This service is not passive, but active, only if the congregation has decided to participate and give back to the Lord what He has already given them. If the people are apathetic, a hymn sing or choral response of songs and a planned, prepared sermon is given. If the people are active, a theme, a sewn thread in the tapestry of worship will relay the Holy’s Spirit’s theme.

The first choice is today’s typical Sunday service in most churches; the second is what would happen if the church empowered and released their people as peers to minister to the Lord and to one another. The first service is very predictable. The second is unpredictable because the Holy Spirit is in charge; leadership and their peers, the people, follow only what the Holy Spirit leads. The first choice appears to be dead and dry; the second choice appears to be full of life. The first choice requires nothing from you but your finances; the second choice requires your all: body, soul, and spirit. Finances are not needed unless the Spirit calls for them to meet the needs of the body, the poor, and the widows and orphans.

Two drastically different choices! An orlderly caterpillar structure that lumbers along, or an unpredictable butterfly structure that flies. The church today needs a cocoon stage for transition!


The Two Diagonal Planes of the Cross – Part I?


10 Ways The Church Might Change: Point 2

[In previous blogs I have outlined 10 possible changes the Church may face in the future. This is point 2 in the series: The Church has worked hard on its vertical relationship with God through worship and praise (John 3:16).  Now it will be forced to work on the horizontal relationship of brother/sister to brother/sister in redefining how the family of God functions (IJohn 3:16). Where those two planes intersect is at the center of the Cross, thus reinforcing that the Cross is the center of the Christian experience. There is where the Church will find the Presence of God!]

The cross is an intersection of two perpendicular lines. In the Christian life, it represents relationships.  I grew up being told that man, Adam, had a fulfilled relationship with God until he sinned. That relationship, horizontal, was broken between he and his God, and soon the depravity of that broken relationship became evident between man and his with relationship with each other when Cain killed his brother Abel.  The relationship was restored when God sent his Son, Jesus to earth to be the sacrificial lamb to break the gulf of a broken relationship caused by sin.  That vertical relationship intersected the horizontal relationship, literally and physically, at the Cross where Jesus died (John 3:16).

Worship is the vertical relationship between God and man.  The Church has worked hard on this relationship over the last half a century, and today most church “worship” services, at least the musical segment, emphasizes their vertical relationship with God.  Styles of music may vary, but the direction of a believer’s adoration is universal.

Where I believe drastic change in the Church will occur is in the horizontal relationship between brothers and sisters in the Lord (I John 3:16).  The Church is known for it’s horizontal relationship as being fractured: denominations, divisions, and sects abound all under the Christian label, yet Jesus prayed for its very unity in John 16, a passage often called the Priestly Prayer.  If His prayer is to be answered and fulfilled, drastic change must occur if there is to be unity among the brethren.  How do we get past doctrinal differences, historical differences, and cultural differences?  Reputations like “Christians don’t heal the wounded among themselves; they just shoot them”, and “The most segregated time during the week in America is when the American churches meet on Sunday mornings,” must vanish.  If anyone should know “grace”, “mercy”, “unconditional love”, “loving the unlovely”, etc. it should be the Church!  The Church needs to practice those principles among themselves, and the results will be unity.

Unfortunately, the American church has placed much of its priorities and efforts into Sunday morning services.  The programs have become very professional with high quality singers and musicians, excellent orators, high tech theatrics with excellent lighting, sound, and projection. Unfortunately as they have worked hard on their theatrical presentations, the involvement among those in their theatrical seats and chairs that have replaced pews have diminished.  The attending participants are to “follow” the worship “leaders” as robots. They are told when to stand, when to sit, when to give financially, when to shake hands, when to leave, and when to fellowship. They are never asked to “generate” anything during the service except enthusiasm and financial support. Their singing is lost among the mix of the professional sound system.  It’s almost like they lost their voice, because some one, either the pastor or staff, always speaks for them, prays for them, or teaches them.  Things that encourage relationships are usually minimized or not present.  To reverse the trend would be difficult due to the lure of the lights, sound, and professionalism.

But Christianity is all about relationships: a whole and healthy relationship between God and once fallen man because of a personal relationship with a personal Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ; a reconciliation of broken relationships between man and fellow man, and a transformation of a person within themselves going from an old decrepit, sinful self to a new, healthy, whole person in Jesus Christ.

As a professional educator, I know the importance of relationships with my students.  Not to minimize the importance of curriculum, it is the relationships with teachers that students vividly remember: who they loved, who they feared, who they respected, and who they hated. I contribute much of the success that I had as an 8th grade teacher for 40 years to the relationships I built with administrators, teachers, parents, and my students. 

As professionals in a Church staff, pastors and supporting staff must recognize the importance of relationships not only with those they serve, but relationships built among the laity with each other.  Not to minimize the role of a pastor, or staff, or sermons, or church curriculums, and all things professional, it is the strength of relationships of the common believers among themselves that produces a strong, vibrant, healthy church.  If a church doesn’t have these relationships properly built, all the staff ever gets done is what I call “crisis” counseling, which drains the staff, the laity, and the whole entire church of its enthusiasm, energy, drive, and effectiveness.  I’ve been involved with churches that live on the edge of each “crisis”, basically because there was little if any relationship among their people.

If the church wants to be more effective to this generation, a cause for change will be in relationships.


A Surprise, Unattainable, Undeserving, Unmerited Gift


What Did I Do To Earn This?

What did I do to receive this gift? 

Christmas had already passed; my birthday lay months away. 

I lived at my current resident for five years, so it wasn’t a house warming gift.

I never asked for this gift. There was no “list” like at Christmas; how then did the gift giver know that I needed it? 

What did I do to receive such a gift?  Absolutely nothing!  For the most precious gifts we receive we never “earn”; we can only receive because they are given in love.  I often have found it difficult to accept the fact that I can receive something that I never earned, never asked for, but is a gift given because I found “favor” in the eyes of a gift giver.  What did I do to find that favor? What happens if I discover that I did absolutely nothing; the gift was given to me just because the gift giver wanted to give it to me?  What do I do with that?

Just receive it with gratitude, I guess!

I just received such a gift:  I looked healthy, acted healthy, was walking my routine everyday life’s journey when something physically just didn’t seem right which took me down a different path than I had ever traveled before. Before I knew it a cardiologist proclaimed I had 98% blockage in a major artery, labeling me as a heart-attack waiting to happen, resulting in placing three stents in my heart.  The procedure was without pain, without any discomfort, without any complication, perfect in performance and results.  Seventy-two hours later I am keeping scoreclock at a Jr. High Girls Basketball game, living a life that now had energy and zip.  What had I done to deserve this?

Absolutely nothing!

I had just experienced God’s “Grace”, His unmerited favor, not because who I was or anything I did.  For some reason unbeknown to me, God extended His favor towards me, which I warmly received. Hindsight reveals that it had been extended for over six months.  In June that still small voice of the Holy Spirit told me to slow down my lifestyle as I became a retiree after 40 years of being a public educator, quit multitasking, lay down and release the pressures that went with my former profession, learn to be quiet, listening for the small voice and being obedient to it.  I did that, and it was instrumental in saving my life. 

Now I realize I have been given two to three more decades of life! Why? I feel I have to “do” something now in gratitude, but that still small voice says, “No, just receive it, receive life, and live it in Me! You can do NOTHING but receive, accept, and live in it!”

Wow! Grace has nothing to do with work, allowing only gratitude as its reward!  I haven’t earned it, can’t earn it, nor ever will earn it! Grace is a “free” gift of “favor” with NO STRINGS ATTACHED!  I can’t pull God’s string!

God’s “Grace” is always about life, for He offers us eternal life of being in his presence if we accept it, often being healed if we accept it, giving us wisdom and understanding if we accept it, and extending favor if we accept it.  He gives; we can only receive through “acceptance” which produces gratitude, praise, thanksgiving, honor, etc. which He calls worship. It is all about HIS Grace, HIS favor!

I thank God for the grace and favor He has extended to me with another couple of decades of life on earth and the promise of an eternal relationship with Him, and I would like to extend the challenge to your to see what Grace and Favor God has extended to you with the invitation to accept whatever the Holy Spirit reveals!  Please leave comments here on what Grace, what Favor, what Gift God has given you.


What Happened To Diversity In Worship?


Body Ministry Is For Every Believer

Reflecting over the renewal, revival days of the Charismatic Movement of the 1970’s, I could not help wonder what has happened to tongues and interpretation in corporate worship settings or singing in the spirit today?  The church that I am attending was in the forefront during those days, and someone speaking in an unknown tongue with another person interpreting in English was a common practice.  It was an awesome occurrence since the one giving the tongue could not interpret it, relying on another member of the body to validate the word. It prevented the corporate worship session from being a one man show and called for a reverence and respect for the gifts, an accountability through discernment, and faith in the leading of the Holy Spirit among all God’s people.  People who came later to our church knowing our theological stance on the matter, began questioning why these experiences were no longer evident in our meetings. Good question! I cannot recall the last time tongues and interpretation has been evident in our worship experience. Why has it disappeared is a valid question.

I also recall the first time that I heard singing in the spirit.  It was the most corporate angelic sound that I have ever heard as everyone present was praising the Lord verbally any way they wished to express themselves, usually melodically.  With so much diversity, the sound was enriched, full, and harmonious: something very difficult to explain.  It was the ultimate body worship experience that I have ever been engulfed by, for everyone participated individually yet corporately in pure freedom of expression to their Savior and King, Jesus.  I truly believe it is a glimpse of worship of heaven here on earth.

Today, we, the church, have fallen back into the institutionalized, predictable, order-of-worship format when we gather. Usually worship is directed by a worship leader and senior pastor with little if any participation by the believers present except to “follow the lead” of the leadership on the platform.  There is no tongues or interpretation, nor prophetic utterances, nor singing in the spirit which all lead to an unpredictable service led by the Holy Spirit.  Everything is directed and executed as preplanned.

Why has the spontaneity of spiritual gifts in a corporate setting been silenced by the institutional church? Why has the church accepted the stance of toleration of the gifts but not the encouragement of using them? Why the passive stance of doing nothing? What use is a gift if it is not opened nor used?

Much of this free expression of worship had to be found outside of institutional settings during the Charismatic days of the 1970’s & 1980’s. I had to go to conferences, Jesus Rallies, Full Gospel Business Men’s meetings, etc. to worship in this setting of freedom. Does it have to be that way 40 years later?  Why hasn’t the institutional church embraced it?  Simple answer:  It is a question of control.  Who is in control of the service at your church: the leadership on the platform or the Holy Spirit moving amongst God’s people? Who do you, as a believer in Jesus Christ, follow during a corporate worship session: the leadership on the platform or the Holy Spirit moving in his temple, your body?  If the Holy Spirit moves you during a worship service, what outlet during the service do you have to express what He is doing in you or must you remain silent, submissive to the order of worship and under the scrutiny of the leadership that has to “approve” everything before it can be expressed?

If the principle of the Priesthood of Believers is to be activated in the Church, then the freedom of corporate worship by God’s people has to again be interjected into the Church’s worship experiences. Can the church take the risk of trusting the Holy Spirit to move among His people as He chooses, when He chooses, and any way He chooses, or will we keep our protective shield of institutionalized order of worship to prevent such occurrences?

Bottom Line: Who do we as a Church trust? Can we trust the Holy Spirit?  If we trust Him, then why not release Him and His lead. His purpose is to draw all men to Jesus individually and corporately!  We need body ministry to return to worship in our Churches activating the faith, giftings, point of views, passions, and voices of all believers in Jesus Christ!




The Clash Of “Mindsets”: Structural Versus Relational

What would happen if you eliminate the Senior Pastor and all his Associate Pastors, Worship Leader and all his musicians and singers from a scripted “order of worship” service?  Can worship still occur, or must it be “lead”?  If it has to be “lead”, does it have to be done by a “professional” “professionally”?

At first I would doubt if much would happen because no one came to church “prepared” to worship, to actually give anything during the worship service accept their “gifts and tithes” to support the professional institutional system we just eliminated, and they would not know what to do with their new found freedom to just worship!  They would even probably begin to question and ask, “What is worship” because before it had been defined for them by the Senior Pastor during his sermon and musically done by the worship team. If I can’t play an instrument or sing without the help of a full moon, what can I do to contribute to worship?

If a congregation knew they were now responsible for worship, or everyone would sit in total silence (which sometimes is the best way to experience worship, for if one listens, and is obedient to what they have seen and heard, they will produce real worship), with their new found freedom and responsibility they just might begin to share a poem the poet, Jesus, gave them, or share an “insight” or “revelation” they learned from the Holy Spirit about a scripture they read during their private devotional time,  or tell their “story” what Old School church calls “testimony”, about the relevancy of their current Christian walk, or create a theatrical drama or interpretive dance, or paint an original creation inspired by their Creator, or not just shake hands with the person sitting next to them, but actually dialogue and “hang out” with them outside the confines of the church building, or be obedient and give a prophetic word to someone also in the same room that would change or direct their life, or pray with the sick and hurting and actually witness healings, or stand by one fighting mental illness instead of wilting to the stigma of it, or raising hands, singing, or dancing with the physical or mental handicapped in their midst so they can go beyond their physical or mental limitations in worshipping their Maker.

Release the Holy Spirit to move among His people, the saints, not the professional hierarchal staff, and we would be amazed at what would come forth as “worship”.  Yes, we would have to ask the Holy Spirit to redefine worship and show us how to do it as the Creator has created us to do!  All nature worships as the trees raise their hands, the brooks babble, the winds blow causing plants and trees to sway, but we would ask how “we are to worship” as humans, created in the image of God!

I believe worship is simple: giving back to Jesus what he has already given to you!  He has given us life, freedom, salvation from sin and death, deliverance, healing, a purpose, a desire to worship, etc.  Let’s now “release” the believers in Jesus Christ, the priesthood of believers, to give back individually and corporately. I have heard corporate “singing in the spirit” which is the closest thing to heavenly music that I have ever heard as everyone individually sang their own songs of salvation, deliverance, life, hope, redemption, healing, etc. producing a corporate song of unity with a melody line and in harmony that I can not explain in words.  You knew God was truly “in the midst of His people” at those moments.

Not only vertically, but true worship should also happen horizontally, something the Church knows little about.  Unity in Jesus comes when you have “horizontal” “relational” worship!  Just as the vertical relationship where Jesus healed the broken relationship between God and mankind due to sin, Jesus can also heal the broken relationships between brothers to brothers, sisters to sisters, and brothers and sisters to sisters to brothers in a horizontal relationship.  In relational worship there is no distinction between Jews and Gentiles, the “we” and the “thems”, the “saints” and the “ain’ts” in the pyramidal structure,  male and female, or any race.  The Church would not be one of the largest segregated institutions in the world, but an integrated family of believers “revealing the image of Jesus” in each life universally and in unity. That is horizontal worship, creating horizontal relationships that can’t help but produce one result: unity in the body.

The Church Needs A Chiropractic Approach To Revival: An Adjustment!


How The Church Can Adjust To An Artesian Well Flow

The Holy Spirit is in the Church because it dwells in the “temples”, the bodies, of believers in Jesus Christ.  But how is the church as an institution to react when the Holy Spirit surfaces as a flow out of the believers in their structure?  History shows that most of the time, the institutional church tries to “cap” it rather than let it flow.  By “capping” it, one “controls” it.  The question always falls on “who is in control” and “can you trust the Holy Spirit” to be in “control”?

Almost every church Sunday Morning Worship Service is a very controlled environment.  I joke that it is a morning “controlled” by the pastor, worship leader/choir director, and a scripted program.  In most churches there is given very little room, if any, for the flow of the Holy Spirit to surface from the average pew sitter in the church, except at offering time when the institutional church hopes for a large flow of money to support its institutional system. 

This past weekend I attended my nephew’s confirmation celebration in a traditional Lutheran church.  Given a bulletin, every part of the service was preplanned.  Prayers were written and read by the pastor, congregation knew how to respond in unison verbally or in song, when to stand or sit, when to sing, when to be quiet, when to turn during the processional and recessional, when to participate in communion, etc.  Several scriptures were read, all liturgy was ecclesiastically correct, all passages theologically sound.  It was Pentecost Sunday, the celebration of when the Holy Spirit was released on the Church, yet in this service there were no cracks in the preplanned service for the artesian well to surface, to flow out of the “participants” at the service.  The service was all about receiving, even receiving communion, but not about giving nor allowing the flow of the Holy Spirit from its so called “participants”.  Church members are allowed to be acolytes, altar boys, carrier of the Bible or cross in processions, lay reader of scripture, and ushers, all pre-orchestrated planned positions, but the pastor controlled the flow of the service.  The Holy Spirit can flow out of him through his sermon, comments, the laying on of hands, etc., but not the “congregates”, thus an established the dreaded line between clergy and laity and what each can and can not do.

I am not just picking on the Lutherans, for last night I attended a "worship/prayer" service in the I.H.O.P. style where almost the entire service was scripted. Each participant received the script when entering. Confession, repenting, and intercessory prayers were all read by participants. When the mic was open for "spontaneous" prayer, no one responded because the scripted prayers and the pre-chosen scriptures had covered every point. Music was fantastic; program went smooth, but the artesian well was never tapped nor flowed. The preplanned, well scripted, well thought out program capped the well.

It is a little different at the present church that I attend though the services aren’t as scripted through a bulletin, but the pastor and the worship leader drive 95% of the service.  The congregation is allowed to give their monetary offering, greet one another through hand shakes, hugs, and informal chit chat, and even allow if someone flows prophetically through giving a prophetic word, which is starting to become more of a rarity and only being done by some of the “old timers”.  In a church rich in Pentecostal, Word, Prophetic, and Apostolic history, spiritual gifts flowing in the Sunday morning service is getting scarcer and scarcer.

How is the institutional church to respond to an artesian flow of the Spirit of Jesus Christ arising from the tombs of inactivity in believers?  What happens if a “pew sitter” gets a prophetic message arising from with in?  Can he give that message instead of the sermon? Probably not! Everyone knows the pulpit is a guarded commodity of its pastor.  Even when absent on vacation, illness, etc., it is filled by guest speakers, other pastors, and very seldom from those with in their own local spiritual family.  Most churches don’t equip, prepare, or train any of their members to “replace” the pastor and the sermon if needed.  What if a “pew sitter” gets a “new song”, an original scripture based song arising from within?  Where in the service could that song come forth?  Would it have to be first approved by the worship leader, then written down so the worship team could play it?  That is not spontaneous!  What if a “pew sitter” has an original poem flow out of himself/herself?  Where can they spontaneously give it? Oh, they are to write it down, give it to the pastor, have it submitted to and approved by the worship committee, and printed in the bulletin several weeks later!  An artist? Forget it, for there is no outlet to paint a picture, sketch a drawing, allow a flow of visual artistic creativity to spontaneously flow during a Sunday morning worship service in most churches!

I remember the beauty of hearing an entire congregation “singing in the spirit” in the ‘70’s & early 80’s!  The harmonies were angelic, never to be repeated, powerful with passion and compassion.  Where is there an avenue for “corporate” spontaneous flow of the Spirit in today’s church services? 

If we truly want the flow of the Holy Spirit to arise from the tombs of inactivity, tombs of doubt and disbelief, tombs of complacency, tombs that lacked spiritual self discipline, then we need to give permission to allow the Holy Spirit to dig deep into the wells of every believer in our congregations, into my life and yours, to expose the silt of sin laying dormant on the bottom, and allow the Holy Spirit to erupt from with in, clean up the silt of sin, then rise and flow out of each believer to overflow onto others who are spiritually dry.  If this be the case, then we will have to reexamine how we “do” church, how we “do” worship, how we “relate” to one another in the body of Christ, how we “serve” one another, and how we “lay down our lives” for our brethren.  This simple flow of the Holy Spirit from with in will force the Church to face dramatic changes.  Hey, this sounds like revival!


What Does Worship Look Like To The Five Fold?


Different Passions, Point of Views, But One United Vision!

With the different passions and points of view, what does worship look like to the five fold?

Evangelist:  The passion of the evangelist is to “win the lost”, so worship to him/her might look like the lost coming to the foot of the cross and accepting the “evangelistic” offering of the “first fruits” of their lives, resulting in the crossing of the great chasm of belief and unbelief.  Unlike C.S. Lewis’ Great Divorce, those who have rejected the gospel would now accept it in an embrace with their loved ones who have entered the kingdom of God.  To an evangelist the celebration of “new birth” and “newness” would be central to their framework of worship.

Pastor/Shepherd:  To the shepherd, worship would be the daily “living out” of their salvation, their lifestyles.  Their “doing” the gospel would be an act of worship.  The practical daily practice of their faith while releasing it in daily situations and challenges would be central to their form of worship.

Teacher:  The teacher would feel the Logos Word of God, the Bible, is the centrality of all worship.  He/she would feel that everything would evolve around the centrality of the Bible in their lives, thus the reading of the Word would be of great importance in a corporate setting.  The testimonies of the saints living out the Word in their daily lives would augment everyone’s faith.

Prophet:  Prophets think worship is ascending to the heavenlies, experiencing revelation through Spirit and Truth which would unlock the mysteries of God.  They would emphasize making the Logos, living Word, a Rhema, or living Word. 

Apostle:  The vision of an apostle’s view of worship would be corporate, universal, all encompassing the many giftings and diversity within the Body of Christ in unity.  He would want to release the evangelistic spirit in corporate worship, as well as the pastoral spirit of nurture, development, care, and growth.  He would bring balance and unity between the teacher and the prophet in centralizing the worship around the Logos Word, but releasing the Rhema Word for current day revelation of gospel truths.  His view of worship is purely corporate unity in Jesus to proclaim a living gospel allowing the releasing of all the passions.

Together:  What an unique experience worship would be if all five giftings, passions, and points of view were allowed to be released in one setting at the same time!  The Church would experience the lost being saved, the found being developed into the maturity of Jesus Christ, and together unity in lifting up Jesus.  With the Holy Spirit orchestrating our worship, Church would never be the same.  Bring it on…….


Corporate Christian Worship Is But A Dream?


Can Old Men Dream Dreams? 

Because we upgraded our cable tv line to get more HD channels, I now get a channel that basically shows live rock concerts from around the world with tens of thousands of people in mash pits jumping up and down because they have been orchestrated to do so by the entertainer.  It is impressive to see the massive sea of people, as far as the eye can see and the front third pogo-sticking in unity.   There is a Christian counterpart called Creation (and the year) held at Agape Farm in Shirleysburg, Pennsylvania every year that attracts over 100,000 people to it.  It too is quite a theatrical production of continuous Christian bands and artists for three and one half days.

This made me reflect to my presence at Creation’s first year of existence and the Jesus rallies of the 1970’s which I faithfully attended in my youth.  Being among tens of thousands of people at a concert is an experience one never forgets.  Worshiping among that many believers in unity is life changing.  I remember worshiping beside a lady who claimed to be a Byzantine Catholic.  I did not know what a Byzantine Catholic was, or stood for, or believed, but I knew Jesus and so did she, so we worshiped Jesus together in unity. When in worship, there were no labels, no age barriers, no theological differences,  no sexual or economical preferences, just believers with raised hands or holding hands on bended knees praying in unity. That corporate worship experience is phenomenal.

At one Jesus rally in the ‘70’s, worship superseded the jamming of a Contemporary Christian Rock band until someone on stage actually pulled their electrical plug, shutting down their power source, sending the rock band huffing off the stage. Amongst the worshipers, entire Youth Groups were being slain in the spirit, physical healings occurred as well as deliverances.  Brothers and sisters in the Lord kept ministering to one another.  There was laying on of hands in ministry, raising of hands in worship, and holding of hands in unity.  Fellowship continued when returning back to one’s campsite where campfires were lit and little mini-worship services continued through the late night.  I remember one year a Hill Billy, spoon playing, fiddle fiddling youth group beside me broke out in worship, while a messianic Jewish group toting tambourines amidst continuous clapping worshiped on the other side of my tent. What cultural diversity in the Body of Christ, and it was all O.K.!

I miss the days of corporate worship with believers of different labels with one purpose in mind: to lift up the name of Jesus.  Worshiping in my own little Sunday morning church service can become so inclusive, and one can believe that they way one worships in that setting is the only “acceptable” way to worship.  How wrong! 

Where is the American Christian worship experience going today?  My sons, and my friend’s son who attends a Christian college for sound recording have challenged the worship band mentality that currently fills our airwaves as all sounding the same.  Where has the creativity, diversity, and uniqueness gone?  Does the Christian recording industry have that much of a grip on what is being produced as “worship”?  What does worship sound like in Africa, in the underground Church in China, in the small group homes in Russia, in prison cells in Muslim countries, in the back rooms of India, in Central and South America, in places where playing of instruments would give away one’s hiding place since Christian gatherings must be done in secret?

According to the book of Acts, “old men dream dreams”, and one of my fantasy dreams was to organize a worship session out in an open field with a stage in the shape of a pentagon, each side projecting worship in a different language (ie. English, Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, Arabic, and Hindi), so that all tongues and races could worship together. That is in the natural.  In the supernatural, worshiping in “the speaking with tongues” would take care of all of that!  In a world wide, computer, internet driven world that is bringing the world together by language and tongue, could this supernatural dream ever become a reality?

I long for corporate worship on a large scale.  I picture heaven being that way, so “thy kingdom come; thy will be done on EARTH as it is in HEAVEN.”  Why not practice a little heaven on earth?  Old men dream dreams….. This old man continually does that!


An Air Of Expectancy


The Fruits When the Prophetic Is Present

It has been a while since I have attended a worship service with an actual air of expectance, an excitement that something different is about to happen because the Holy Spirit is present.  I am getting so use to a regimented service, that one can quickly lose the anticipation of the Holy Spirit’s moving and really expect nothing but the usual usual, or same old same old.  There is safety in knowing what is going to happen because we are in control, but there is anticipation and expectancy when the Holy Spirit is in control.

When the Holy Spirit is freed to move the way he wants, a lot of ministry takes place and a spirit of unity and awe prevails.  Things just mesh, fall in place, dove tail.  There is usually a definite message or theme that flows throughout the gathering.  Many are involved, often most if not all are involved in his moving.

If you have been following my blogs, I often refer to the prophetic as the passion to release the Rhema Word, the active, living Word that is based on the Logos or written Word.  “In the beginning was the Word….” (John 1) “And the Word became flesh and dwelled among us.”  Jesus’ disciples did not know how blessed they were when they witnessed the Word that was the basis of their Torah in living, human form right before their eyes until he was gone, resurrected, returning to His Father in heaven.  God’s Spirit in the flesh, active, alive, living!  Today, God’s Spirit, the Holy Spirit, is still active, alive, and living in the flesh in the believers of Jesus Christ.  We, believers in Jesus Christ, must learn to activate that Spirit, release that Spirit, and trust that Spirit if we want a life of expectancy and anticipation in our faith journey. On Pentecost, the early Church  believers gathered, anticipating, expecting a “promise” Jesus had made them, not knowing how that expectancy would manifest itself.  When it came, it did not come as another sacrificial service in the Temple, or a grain offering, or a peace offering of a dove, or what they had become familiar with when going to the Temple, but it came in the form of tongues of fire, a life rejuvenated, a life of faith on fire.  After that day, their gatherings were not for the purpose of traditional exercises of faith like prior to Pentecost, but an anticipation that the Holy Spirit would move among them and an expectancy that he would manifest himself in any way he wished.  Just as they arrived corporately, the Holy Spirit would also arrive, usually arising out of their spirits.

If you have the Logos Word without the Rhema Word, there is a good chance your faith will dry up in traditionalism, but if you have the Rhema Word without the Logos Word you will burn up by falling into heresy. We need the refreshment of the written Logos Word with the fire of the Rhema Word to be effective witnesses for Jesus Christ!

We have to realize we need the written Word and the spiritual living Word.  Jesus told the woman at the well that there would be a day we would worship the Lord in “spirit and in truth” and today is that day.  We do not have to be like the traditionalist Jew who not only worshiped at his temple but ended up worshiping his temple and his Torah, nor do we have to be like the spiritualist Samaritans and worship on their mountains.  We are to be grounded in the written Word, the Logos Word, and release the living Word, the Rhema Word so we can anticipate and expect the Word to be our foundation as well as our life.

A true prophet sees spiritual insights when reading the Logos Word.  Passages come alive!  Soon the life of those passages become the foundation of our faith journey, and the anticipation and expectancy of the moving of the Holy Spirit becomes a normal thing we Christians should be doing.  I urge you to release the Holy Spirit in your life and begin to expect him to move in your life making the foundation of your faith, the written Word, the Bible, alive in your spirit.

If we first practice this as individual believers, then we can begin to practice it as corporate believers, and a new dynamic will become a reality in our corporate Church gatherings giving new meaning to a “worship” service.  Can we just gather not knowing what will happen, but trust the Holy Spirit to arrive as those in the upper room did at Pentecost?


Can Worshipers Worship, Or Must They Always Be Led?


A Contrast In Styles

Recently I attended a funeral at an old established church.  When entering the foyer to the right was what use to be a gymnasium, now packed with hundreds of chairs, with a drum set and microphones on the front stage.  This was for the “contemporary” service.  The funeral was in the “sanctuary” with its pews, altar, split pulpits, huge hanging cross suspended from the ceiling, side wedding chapel and full pipe organ.  This was the home of the “traditional” service.

It made me think of the diversity in the body of Christ.  Even within a local church context there was division over personal preference, basically over styles of music and order or worship.   The older crowd, who strongly supports the edifice financially, prefers the “Old Rugged Cross”, “How Great Thou Art”, and “It Is Well With My Soul” over contemporary chorus, who would rather read a liturgy from the back of a hymnal than a projected overhead slide. Meanwhile the younger “contemporary” crowd enjoys the flexibility of folding chairs over pews, and repetitive choruses over lengthy five verse hymns in King James English, and the high tech video clips.

What they had in common is volume: “traditional” pipe organ preludes echoing off the walls with resounding vibrations, or “contemporary” choruses with more electric bass and pounding drums through a high quality sound system. The only thing that was the same in both services is the sermon; amazingly, the same sermon to different audiences!  Styles of music and worship have changed with its audience, but not the presentation of the Word by the senior pastor or staff member, and in both services the clergy let the congregation know that the delivery of the Word transcended over they styles of worship present.

In spite of differences in musical taste and presentation, neither service still allowed its worshipers, those in the congregation, to be the initiators of corporate worship. Worship leaders and choir directors with liturgists still lead the worship. The congregation was always asked to “follow” never to “lead” worship.  Worship never originated from those in the pews or folding chairs.  Both allowed you to give financially through your tithe and offering, and sing along with the pipe organ or worship band, and to greet one another informally with a hand shake and a “God bless you,” but never gave the worshiper an opportunity to give a testimony of their living faith, to read scripture that inspired them through their private devotions that came alive in their daily walk, nor a time to pray with one another or minister to one another.

We have produced another “great divide” on our churches, even at the local level, in this case because of age preferences, traditions, and styles of worship and music.  We have allowed two different congregations to be established under the same physical roof: an aged one dwindling due to a dying population but still rich with tradition meaningful to their spiritual walk, and a younger one establishing their traditions they eventually will want to hold on to as they age.  It amazes me that we preach about the “unity of the Body of Christ”, yet the church is one of the most segregated institutions in our society because of race, age, and culture. We seem not to welcome diversity in our worship experiences, but segregate it instead.

What would happen if we allowed the worship to flow out of those attending?  If “new songs” actually originated from within them but shared with all?  If scripture from the Bible, the Logos Word, would be shared and actually activated by them into the Rhema, or Living Word, in the midst of all who are worshiping?    If those worshiping actually “anticipated” the Holy Spirit to arise in and among them individually and corporately rather than follow the safety of a planned out experience?  If those attending would actually feel accountable for anything and everything happening in a service or all would just sit in silence until the Holy Spirit moved?  Where life would flow out of those attending the service toward one another?

Instead we opt for our own selfish preferences, what pleases me, what I like, what I seek, what would best benefit me, and those in my family!  That is the independent spirit that crushes “body ministry”.  Christianity is about giving out, sending out, the flowing outwardly of our inner faith.  It is not about “us” but about Jesus to a dieing, hurting, suffering, hungry, lonely, sick world.  When we encourage our Christian believers to “reach” deep within themselves to find Jesus, we then have to give an opportunity for our Christian believers to be “sent out” and “flow out” of that faith that is deep within them and reveal Jesus to the world and to each other.  What better place to practice that than in the safety of our own Church fellowship and gathering. That place should be a place of worship, a place of releasing, a place of giving, a place of flowing.

We need to rethink how we do “church” at “church” when the “church” gathers if we are really God’s “church”!


Easter Sun Rise & Resurrection Hope 2011!


Observations From A Wicker Love Seat

There is nothing like a sunrise or sunset to bring me peace and hope.  Often I watch sunsets that settle my spirit and soul after a hectic day. This morning, Easter Sunday morning, April 24th, 2011, I am sitting on the wicker love seat on our front porch having my own private Easter Sunrise service with the chirping birds, the brown bunny slithering through the now tall grass that needs mowed so badly, the robins dancing, hoping to find a huge Easter worm for breakfast, and watching the glory of the painted skies explode.

I love watching the dispelling of the darkness to greys of clouds that have been deluging our area for days, the soggy ground sighing with relief, the payments still darkened from moisture. Those grey clouds soon get touched by an orange flavor around their edges as the artist begins painting a picture that changes with every moment, every second. A dash of red now is sprinkled around select clouds accenting their position. As the reds intensify, even the large clouds that usually blot out the sun on a cloudy day yield to the power of a sunrise and allow their undercoats to be dashed with reds and pink tints. With the sun on the horizon, even these clouds must yeild to a sunrise’s power.  Soon the wispiness of lower lying clouds appear, white, light, almost dancing below the now lightening grays, oranges, and ambers.  With the sun, not yet appearing, broad brush strokes of reds now streak the belly of the once ominous clouds, bringing color over their despairingly dark countenances, erasing the darkness, converting the clouds to color, then whiteness as the power of the resurrected sun announcing a new day slowing peeks as a sliver of a gold ball above one cloud igniting the heavens, one side flaming oranges, the other side hues of pink, royal purples, touches of rose reds.

Now for my favorite part: The darkness of the empty spaces between clouds burst from darkness to the softest blues. I dream that when I die, I will fly through those soft hues of color and light into a special hue of blue that only the light of a sunrise or sunset can produce. As the sunrise climaxes, darkness has no chance as it dissipates, folds, yields, gives way to the majesty of the lighted day, a new day, a day of promise and hope, a resurrected day.  I now have to shield my eyes from the sun’s brightness. What looked as ominous clouds, now turn into fleecy white spectacles, cotton balls of beauty, floating gently across the sky.  Somehow, the birds seem to change their tune announcing a new day.  Momma robin now brings fat worms to screaming babies; the Easter feast has begun!

We, too, can experience that sunrise in our lives if we allow them to be a resurrected life in Jesus.  This past year, my family and I have faced some really dark clouds that attempted to hide the light of life.  Sporadically a ray of light, a ray of hope, a stream of light, a stream of life would permeate through.  The darkness of life’s challenges brought despair, trying to choke out our hope for the promised resurrected life.  It looked so dark, and we yearned for a resurrected sunrise of faith in our lives, for it was as if our faith was being tested to its very core as we faced the cross, another crossroads in our lives, that place where we call on the supernatural to vertically dissect the mundane, natural, horizontal relationships of our daily lives that seem to bring constant conflict.  I almost have forgotten the power of a sunrise, that resurrection of light dispelling all darkness, conquering all ominous clouds, the painting of breath taking beauty of colors over what looked as a dark, hopeless canvas.  With the sharpness of the sun now shining, darkness is gone, forcefully yielding to the power of the light, transforming ominous clouds into white beauty floating on a haze of majestic blue, deepening in color with every passing second.

On the canvas of the sky, the power of light, the power of life prevails, illuminating my faith to another revelation:  In spite of the darkness in one’s life, Jesus is the light.  In the darkness of despair, conflict, and hopelessness, God can paint over top of those situation a barrage of beautiful hues, colors, and images that can change, can transform, can renew the whole picture of the meaning of life. One simple sunrise can bring rebirth.

As I close, the group of clouds that once tried to hide the sun now glows, with a glow of stunning whiteness, a reflection of the brilliance of the rising sun, so it is in our lives.  As my time of meditation concludes, I realize the power of the resurrection, the power of light conquering death and darkness, the power of hope over despair, the power of life over death, the power of renewal, and the power of rebirth.  May I constantly be reminded of these truths for the rest of this year!  Wow! This may be the best Easter Sunrise service of my life!


Retooling: Bringing Back Anticipation, Excitement, and Life


The 21st Century Retooling of the Church – Part XXIV

I recall going to a Prayer and Praise meeting in the mid 1970’s in somebody’s home where you actually “anticipated” that the Holy Spirit would show up.  You never knew in what form or how he would manifest himself, what gifts would be released, if healings would become present. All you “knew” was that everyone who attended “anticipated” the Holy Spirit’s Presence to be in their midst, producing great “excitement”. 

We were amazed that there was a spontaneous Prayer and Praise gathering somewhere in the county where I lived every morning, afternoon, and evening of every day of the week.  Most often they were in people’s personal homes.  There was no set agenda to their gatherings.  Only one thing could be assured: Not only would believers in Jesus gather; but the Holy Spirit would show up in their midst. 

I attended on several Friday nights at the home of a man who had polio. He would sleep in an iron lung in his bedroom, yet come out and lead singing at the Prayer and Praise session in his home.  I lead a group for six weeks around a campfire prior to a local evangelistic crusade. There I witnessed testimonies, sharing of scriptures that had personally touched people, a women read a poem she had written bringing finality of her grieving process, and the gifts of the spirit being released on the last night.  You found yourself “excited” about wanting to come back each week because you “anticipated” that the Holy Spirit would show up bringing “excitement” while producing “life”.  Amazingly none of these spontaneous groups were directly under the banner of the institutional Church of its time.  They were all created out of the need for spontaneity, out of the need to find an outlet to express oneself spiritually, out of a hunger to know God, have an intimate vibrant relationship with Him, and actually see Him work in lives of common people, out of the need to find “life” within a church structure.  Unfortunately, most of these groups dissipated when the local churches felt they needed to “oversee” and eventually control the activities that these groups advocated.  With the control, which opposed the freedom that had created the anticipation, excitement, and life within the group became stagnation bringing eventual death.

One exception came at the Lower Octorara Presbyterian Church in Parkesburg, Pennsylvania where the Rev. Jim Brown, set aside his traditional liturgical church service format, practices, and traditions for an open Prayer and Praise format on Saturday nights for over a twenty year period where people from all over the state, country, and world packed out his facility in a worship atmosphere lead by “unplanned” special music and personal testimonies from those who attended.  I attended several of these sessions the last year that they were held and marveled at how the church building was always filled to capacity, the singing vibrant, and the testimonies original and powerful.  Before the service ever began, you could feel the excitement and the anticipation of what the Holy Spirit would do that night.

The 21st Century Church needs to retool, rethink, re-evaluate establish mindsets of how it does worship.  Many churches have professional worship teams and choirs that sound awesome, but have lost the spontaneity that small group worship sessions once harbored. Well orchestrated programs have replaced the “anticipation” of the “unexpected” that the Holy Spirit brings.    Professionally delivered sermons by Senior Pastors and staff have replaced the spontaneous sharing of personally testimonies of common believers that want to share what God is doing personally in their lives.  With everything so well planned by the leadership of the church, there is nothing to “anticipate”.  Everything is predictable. The excitement is gone because nothing is required of the common believer in a well scripted service except his “financial” contribution.  Although the music and sermon were excellent, the parishioners, the common believers, leave the service with little if any spiritual life or renewal because nothing was expected of them.  Leadership did not anticipate their involvement since they produced the worship and teaching atmosphere, and the service fulfilled the needs of “release” musically for the musicians on the platform and intellectually for the preacher, but did not necessarily fulfill the needs of the congregation because they were not afforded the opportunity to be “released” in their gifting or passions.

The 21st Century Church has to examine what “releasing” means: releasing the “believer” to be what he has been developed and equipped to be in Jesus. Allowing this releasing to be done in a safe, loving, and developing atmosphere where mistakes can be made and lessons can be learn while one grows spiritually in “their faith walk and journey”. 

Although my local church believes it has made changes, when my children, now adults living away from home, return to visit, they claim “nothing has changed.”  It is the same predictable “order” of worship as when they were a child. The faces of the clergy who gives the sermon and the worship team who plays the instruments have changed, but the agenda is the same. The only thing different is the “style” of music played, reflecting the current worship leader’s bent of leadership, or the delivery by the current pastor in his sermon.  It is “assumed” that the Holy Spirit is already there, not anticipating His Presence.  There is little excitement in a “planned, orchestrated” worship service because there is no participation of the congregation except to sing “word-fed” choruses on overhead projectors or hymnals in traditional settings, give an offering, and sit quietly, acting attentive during the delivery of a well prepared professionally delivered sermon. Little arises from the soul or from the heart of the common believer because very little is “required” from him.

The 21st Century Church must “retool” how it does “worship” by allowing, an actually advocating the releasing of the gifting, talents, compassion, and passions of the believers in their midst, allowing them to spontaneously give back song, testimony, inspiration, and scriptures that have touched their lives.  It needs to find a way to allow church services to be “believer” or “body of believers” driven, not clergy and staff driven.


Jesus Never Prayed For The Sick; He Just Healed Them – Healing And Faith

Supernaturally Natural: Rethink The Way We, The Church, Worships Corporately - Part XXIV

from Supernaturally Natural: Chapter 15 manuscript by Anthony Bachman

This is a tough fact for our natural mindset, but JESUS NEVER PRAYED FOR THE SICK; HE JUST HEALED THEM!  Healing is a supernatural mindset built on FAITH, the backbone of the Church. 

 If Church was by the bedsides in the hospital, we could allow those ill to pray, to worship, to lay their sickness on the altar and allow the Lord to do with it what He wants, which is probably heal!  When healed, the healed could instantly give back they’re healing to Jesus. Can you imagine when supernaturally healed, one could “take up his bed and walk” to the next room to give away his healing to someone else? Revival in the cardiac unit! Revival in the Intensive Care Unit!  Revival in Geriatrics! Can you imagine the nursing staff overwhelmed with unexplainable, supernatural healed “discharges”? What would they write on all the paperwork that these healings would produce?

 Hold it! I am taking this mindset too far? Or AM I? God says, “No, for I AM YOUR HEALER.” He’s revealing Himself! The Church would be experiencing true worship because its true worshipers are willing to be sent out!


Mindset To Reconsider: “Church” Activities Should Take Place At The “Church” Building Because That Is Where The “Church” People Attend. (Pt. 2)

Supernaturally Natural: Rethink The Way We, The Church, Worships Corporately - Part XXIII

from Supernaturally Natural: Chapter 15 manuscript by Anthony Bachman

(Part 2 - Continue)

Mindset to reconsider: Most “church” activities should take place at the “church” building because that is where the “church” people attend. 

Jesus never built structures for his own Presence, for he knew in dwellings had to be in the hearts of his believers, his priesthood, not in buildings. The very next chapter, Luke 10 begins:

                  After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them…

                  sent them…

                  sent them two by two ahead of him…

                  ahead of him…

                  ahead of him  to every town and place where he was about to go.

Then he gives them specific directions of what to do and not to do when they are “sent out”.  What was the result of such a strategy?

The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.” (Luke 10:17)

How does Jesus react to the joy of their successful “missions trip”?

Jesus replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. I have given you authority…

have given you authority…

have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all he power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” (Versus 18-20)

Now for a dynamite revelation:

At that time, Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit said,”….

Wait, the Holy Spirit is about to lead Jesus into true worship! That’s right! Jesus is going to give back to the Father what the Father had just given him, and that is true worship by The True Worshiper, Jesus!

 “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure.” (vs. 21)

God brings revelation of Himself to his children, the “true worshipers” and is pleased.  Then he continues to reveal:

“All things have been committed to me by the Father. No one knows who the son is except the Father, and no one knows who the Father is except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.” (vs. 22)

Wow, the principle of being “sent out”, the Great Commission of the Church, is so central to the Gospel that that it was part of Jesus’ Priestly Prayer in John 17.  The calling and the purpose of the Church is to be sent out!  We have lost sight of that mindset.  Being sent out as New Testament Priests, as believers in Jesus Christ, requires the supernatural to be effective, to survive, to be its life.  Saul, as a good Parasitical Jew hung out in Jerusalem. Even the disciples now as apostles at first did the natural by hanging out in Jerusalem, but when the Holy Spirit was ready to move, its temple, the hearts of its believers, moved, and they physically moved their bodies, also their temples of the Holy Spirit, by being “sent out”.  How many of us believers have become complacent in the natural, fearing the supernatural because the Holy Spirit supernaturally may call us to be “sent out”. Being “sent out” is not in our current routine of things, nor in our comfort zone, nor a thing we do naturally, so we fear it.  That was the fear I faced when contemplating the move to make Jesus Lord of my life. We need not “fear” it, but through “faith” allow the Holy Spirit to be supernaturally natural in our life, so we can fulfilled the “Great Commission” that our High Priest, Jesus Christ, has given to his priesthood!

So to challenge our mindset I ask, “Should we be meeting with the ‘homeless; on their turf, or expect them to come to ours to discover God’s divine relationship with them through Jesus Christ?”  If the Church comes to the homeless, it also allows the homeless to become true worshipers and worship by giving back to the Lord what little he or she has. The Church can be the Church if it sends out to the homeless to minister to the homeless, to worship with the homeless, and to empower the homeless to be sent out to become supernaturally effective ministers to others who are homeless with the aide and support of this active New Testament Priesthood, the Church.

Should “church” be held in the hospitals? Can we change the mindset from natural “hospital visitations” as a ministry of the local church to becoming supernatural “Holy Spirit visitations” bring the Church to the sick to be healed.

Mindset To Rethink: Lights, Camera, Action: Sight And Worship

Supernaturally Natural: Rethink The Way We, The Church, Worships Corporately - Part XX

from Supernaturally Natural: Chapter 15 manuscript by Anthony Bachman

Mindset to rethink: Lights, Camera, Action; sight and worship!

 The lyrics of the old hymn are, “Once I was blind, but now I can see. The Light of the World is Jesus. Come to the Light, t’is shinning for thee. Sweetly the light is shinning on thee. Once I was blind, but now I can see. The Light of the world is Jesus.”

Sight is also a powerful tool in worship since Jesus is the Light of the world.  Without light there is no sight, only darkness. Even the smallest flicker of light from a single candle in a large dark room can penetrate the darkness. One ray of light piercing a darkened sky brings attention towards its creator.  Worship puts the “spot light” on Jesus, and light is a spectrum of colors. When we enter the His Presence, Jesus, the Light, reveals the spectrum of light producing powerful supernatural images about Himself.  The Glory of the Lord is the light of Jesus.

Einstein’s theory of relativity is an attempt to prove that if one travels “the speed of light”, time stands still; all time is in the “present”.  All days are “today” in the kingdom of God. God’s Presence is always in the present, for he is the “I AM”!  All this, just through studying light! Sight is crucial to worship? Sight can bring revelation. Once I was blind; but now I can see. Bring on the supernatural sight of revelation when in Your Presence, Jesus!


Mindset To Rethink: Is Silence A Mark Of Reverence?

Supernaturally Natural: Rethink The Way We, The Church, Worships Corporately - Part XIX

from Supernaturally Natural: Chapter 15 manuscript by Anthony Bachman

Mindset to rethink: Is Silence a mark of reverence?

Even though the Bible exhorts us to “make a joyful noise unto the Lord”, we have nurtured this mentality in church that silence is reverence; loud volume is disturbing.  I guess music has the power to create atmospheres, sooth souls, rouse passions, bring relaxation, create excitement, and even bring reverence.  Although I do not recall in the scriptures where they sang a closing hymn and went into the night, music has been part of Church culture since the first century.

Music is powerful in setting up a worshipful atmosphere, but it style varies according to taste and culture.  I have heard a heavy Christian rock band hold its tumultuously loud note drawing believers into an atmosphere of worship as I have heard silence call one to worship, so volume isn’t the issue.

I have heard two groups of identical styles of music play, one highly entertaining, the other group drawing its audience into an atmosphere of worship. What made the difference even though the styles of music were the same? The answer lay in whom was their audience, to whom did they play for?  The entertaining group got applause, cheers, and their name glorified as the top marquee band of the night. The other group could care less what their physical audience thought or did, for their direction was “upward” to the Father and His Son seated on the Throne playing their music as “sacrifices of praise”.  The Father and Son are touched and give back their musical gift to them through the Holy Spirit, and the audience before them is touched. The band’s name is not glorified, the name of Jesus is.

The key to music in worship is neither the volume, nor the beat, nor even the lyrics though all are influential, but the key is the direction to which it is played and to whom it is played for.  Music played vertically can be a powerful supernatural agent to pierce the natural setting of an audience before the performer that creates the cross of Jesus Christ always producing results. The vertical is touched by the gift of music, and the horizontal is also touched by that same gift. That is true worship.

Have we forgotten that Satan was once in charge of music in the heavens?  He fell from his position not because of the volume level, not because of the beat, nor the lyrics, but because of whom the music glorified.  His self-gratification of glorifying himself, not glorifying the Almighty God brought his down fall. I have seen the same happen to Christian groups, musicians and singers who lost vision of whom they were playing to and for no matter how “good” they sounded or how “professional” they were.

Music is a powerful tool for worship, for through it we can hear the “heart beat” of God. We, as true worshipers, must be in tune to that heartbeat, in unity with that heartbeat, in the flow of that heartbeat.  That heartbeat sets up true worship. We must not forget though that the Holy Spirit must be the conductor of such a worshipful symphony.

Another Mindset Up For Scrutiny – The Role Of The Five Senses In Worship, Taste

Supernaturally Natural: Rethink The Way We, The Church, Worships Corporately - Part XVIII

from Supernaturally Natural: Chapter 15 manuscript by Anthony Bachman

Mindset to rethink: Can anything taste better than grilling?

“Taste and see that the Lord is Good.”  What does God taste like?

Where I live we have a lot of “all you can eat” restaurants that for a fix price allows you to practice the sin of gluttony.  Fake mash potatoes, vegetables out of gallon cans, pastas, and bread and bake goods to fill you, plus plenty to drink.  We do not think we have “gotten our monies worth” unless we leave the place about to puke. Quantity is fabulous; quality is questionable.

When my sister became a gourmet chef, my mindset and attitude toward eating changed. Gourmet cooking is all about eating for “taste”.  The first time I ate at a gourmet restaurant, my first impression was shock at the “small portions”.  When those small portions were placed in my mouth, I did not want to chew and swallow with speed to increase my intake, but stopped chewing, savoring every morsel, sucking out as much taste as I could with every bite. The taste was heavenly, enriched, and full.  Each bite became an exotic experience unto itself. “Oh’s”, “ahhhhs”, and “mmmm’s” preceded every bite. When finished, I did not feel gluttonously ill, I felt pleasantly satisfied.  Each loaf of bread, each blanched vegetable, each tenderly roasted and seasoned piece of meat, each succulent dessert was created for “taste”, and the chef succeeded.

Jesus knows about taste, for his first recorded miracle was making water into wine at a wedding that was so tasteful that the groom got bawled out for leaving the best wine for last. 

Did you ever wonder what was on the menu at the “Great Feast” that is to be held in heaven. I remember the painting of the long table, set for supper, but no food is yet placed on it. Will it be turkey and mash potatoes like Thanksgiving? Will there be ethnic foods? Will there be fruits? Oh yeah, being spiritual, “fruits of the Spirit”! I should have known?

My daughter and some of her friends have begun to go eat with the homeless several nights a week by buying pizza, chicken, etc. and eating it with them on the streets. What they have begun to taste is more than the pizza; they have tasted friendship, bonding, caring.  They got a “taste” of missions, a “taste” of service, a “taste” of who Jesus really wants at his banquet as taught in his parable where all his guests have excuses not to come, so he tells his servants to go to the highway and byways.  They have experienced a “taste” of church outside of its walls.  By giving back to the Lord food he has provided to them, they got a “taste” of true worship.

“Taste and see that the Lord is Good.”