“I’m just a soul whose intentions are good. Hold on, please don’t let me be misunderstood.”
And now I must tread lightly, but tread I must.
In part 1, I attempted to relate my position and opinion about corporate worship. I hope that I did not offend anyone by sharing what I believe is the true Biblical pattern of corporate worship. If any of us are offended by Bible truth, then we have problems beyond what I am sharing. Again, these are MY beliefs.
Now I move into sharing these words that I have often contemplated, particularly in recent months, but felt inadequate to express. Today I think the time has come. Again, please don’t let me be misunderstood.
I have been thinking about intimacy with my Savior. Now I now as well (I think) as anyone that Jesus Christ abides within me. I know Him as Savior, and Lord. I try (and my Father knows how often and to what great extent) to live in His abiding presence each moment of each day. As I have previously shared, I try and live before an AUDIENCE OF ONE. If we believe at all in a personal Christ, then we believe that we are continuously in His presence.
Like most of you, I interact with my Father daily. I am alone with Him. I share time in His presence with others. Father God has “spoken” to me on numerous occasions.
I am thinking of the most intimate moments I have had with my Lord. These are the times when I “felt” His presence. When an awareness of His presence enraptured me. Times when I knew that He was restoring my soul, when He was ministering to me, and I was ministering to Him.
I’ve never kept an account of these “special” moments. But it seems to me that the majority of these experiences occurred in times of corporate worship. Some of these times were in large groups of 2 or 3 thousand. But more often they have been in small groups of 10 or 12.
We know that the Bible tells us to “enter into His gates with thanksgiving” and also to “enter into His courts with praise.”
Why do we sing at all? Is it not to express our love for our Lord? Is it not to praise Him?He is indeed worthy of our praises.
Many of us are familiar with the Old Testament tabernacle. There is the outer court, the inner court and the Holy of Holies. On the day of His crucifixion, at the moment of death, the veil of the Holy of Holies was torn from top to bottom. We believe that this signifies that access to the Holy Place is now available to everyone who believes.
Only the high priest had access to that place at one time. Once a year he went in and stood in the very presence of God. Now, we know we can enter boldly because of the grace and mercy of Jesus. He has made a way.
I am convinced that praise plays a vital role in experiencing the presence of Jesus. But sadly, in many of our congregations, we seldom get past the outer court.
I was speaking with a brother the other day who told me of assembling recently with a fellowship in town. He noticed a “count-down” clock at the rear, in the “control booth”. When he asked about it, he was told that everything must follow a tight schedule. There was no “bulletin” to follow, but sure enough, everything that occurred that morning was efficiently timed. He was told that it was a “seeker friendly” church.
I guess the “microwave” approach is sufficient in some groups.
Well, and again, please don’t let me be misunderstood, it may be “seeker friendly” but it seems to me that it is not very “Holy Spirit” friendly.
We seem to be content in this day to sing 2, 3 or 4 songs and think we have encountered the Lord. Our meetings must fit neatly into a time frame. We have to shoehorn all the things we have planned in. WE BOX HOLY SPIRIT IN. WE MAKE HIM CONFORM TO OUR SUNDAY MORNING PLAN. WE LIMIT HIM!
Please, if you are ministered to and sincerely know that you have worshiped the Lord in format you are accustomed to, then do not let me discourage you.
I want to go past the outer court. I want to enter the Holy of Holies. And for that to happen, I submit that our “worship services” need to change. Maybe it needs to change just for me! Maybe I am the problem. But in talking with others, I am quite sure that I am not entirely the problem.
To “come into the Holy of Holies” we must worship. Our songs go from focus on ourselves to focus on Him. We change from singing about Him to singing to Him. We focus on Jesus. We lose ourselves on and in Him as we invest the time worshiping Him. We linger there.
These are the moments I have experienced the shekinah – the glory of His Divine Presence. We wait on Him. We wait on Him to speak, always to us personally, perhaps to us corporately. We behold the beauty of the Lord. We are refreshed. Is it too much to think that this intimate encounter of His glory can be experienced on a regular basis, as God Himself would allow?
Maybe our failure to linger in the presence of our Lord is one reason there seems to be a decrease in signs and wonders. Where the Spirit is, there is liberty. And where the Spirit is free to direct the meeting, and we flow in the Spirit, we WILL see amazing things.
I fully realize that I cannot point to chapter and verse to justify my point of view here. But I would also point out that there is no specific teaching in the New Testament about the Trinity. When you put many verses together, we get the picture and understanding of the Trinity. That seems like proof enough. I share from my experience.
I realize that there are groups who practice this regularly. I’d love to hear from you about these fellowships, and about your experiences.
“Come into the Holy of Holies
Enter by the blood of the Lamb
Come into His presence with singing
Worship at the throne of God
Lifting holy hands to the King of Kings
And that is enough for now.