The drummers all stuck to soft cymbals and beats anyone could handle
The guitarists deployed good effects, but condensed them, so the highs and lows never stretched too wide.
The lyrics tended to be rhythmic and pronunciation perfect, the better to sing along with.
There were no sad songs in this megachurch, and no angry songs. There were songs about desperation, but none about despair; songs conveying longing but only longings that already been fulfilled
It was worship for the perfect. The already arrived. The good-looking, inoffensive, and nice. No wonder the unchurched weren’t interested’.
That was the description of a service a journalist attended at one of the largest, worship-driven churches in the country. A service, he concluded, designed to please humans, not to please God.
It’s on Palm Sunday that we are hit hard by these five things Jesus passionately wants to see in the House of God (Mt21v12-16), but couldn’t find then and probably wouldn’t find today.
1.) Prayer v13 – passionate prayer for this crazy hurting world we live in. Jesus actually wept when praying over his city. When was the last time you felt raw emotion in church during the prayers? Jesus couldn’t remember it either
2.) People in need v14 – the disabled and blind and ill and sick flocked in for a touch from heaven on their lives, because they knew there was
3.) Power to heal there v14 ‘he healed them all’. If God really is in the house then ‘goddy’ things MUST happen, which will then release …
4.) Praise v15 – especially from children; they weren’t ‘bored’ by being in church when Jesus was around doing his stuff. The praise was actually quite enthusiastic, a bit different to our restrained ‘nice’ praise times. But there was also…
5.) Purity – there were a lot of people there ‘using’ church for their own ends, especially making money out of the faithful. And Jesus wasn’t having any of that and didn’t mind how many he upset
I often wonder as I sit in church Sunday after Sunday, how passionate are we to see church like this? It was his passion for this revolutionary vision that sparked the events that led to the authorities coming to the end of their tether and beginning the plot to take him out. A passionate vision for God’s temple always arouses opposition!
I’m praying that this Palm Sunday someone get stirred with the same passion Jesus has for what goes on in our largely inoffensive ‘nice’, seeker sensitive services which are characterised by sameness and lack of Holy Spirit action and tables being overturned
Our wineskins have grown rigid and inflexible and governed by ‘don’t rock the boat’ thinking and have lost their ability to move spontaneously without committees and resolutions and votes and majorities, which explains why its hard to find churches where there is new wine flowing.
Jesus said, ‘”No one pours new wine into old wineskins. [It] would…burst the old skins…[and] the wine would be lost…New wine must be put into new wineskins…”.
Likewise, God can’t put fresh ideas into fossilised minds, or change your situation till you’re ready to change your thinking.
God’s Word says: ‘”…don’t keep going over old history…I’m about to do something brand-new…”‘ (Isaiah 43:18-19 TM).
Church should be different this Palm Sunday to last year’s Palm Sunday.
Palm Sunday is definitely not for those of a nervous disposition, cautious and nervous about change. A vision from God is always too big, too dangerous, too risky; it will require a faith step into the dark, doing something that might fail unless God steps in
A vision from man is always safe, small and doesn’t really need the God factor
May God enable us to rise up and put an end to that old mind-set of defeat and sameness and niceness and compromise and steady as she goes.
He’s ready to fill us and our churches with ‘new wine’, but first He wants us to ditch those old wineskins! And if we won’t do it …. hold onto your table!