The contemporary church has fewer pews and more chairs, no more big pulpits only movable podiums, and fewer choirs and more praise teams. That’s cool. Things change. Change is good. But what happens when the focus of worship is what changes?
More than likely most churches have made strides to ‘keep up with the times’. No more church programs or announcements, we have actual news reports. No more wondering what the words to the songs are, there are lyrics. No more having to find a seat close enough to see the preacher, there are huge screens strategically located in front, left, and right of your eye-line. There’s no longer a need for an introduction, you get to watch a cool, short movie about this month’s sermon series. No need to bring your actual Bible anymore, you have a pretty touchscreen device that does not require you to flip one page.
Church has become cool.
Again, there is absolutely nothing wrong with a little fog coming out while the worship team is up, having actual newscasters to report the church happenings, or even a really dope stage setup and lighting. But if all of that was taken away, could you still worship?
More often than not, you sit in front of some type of screen for multiple hours every day. Whether it be a smartphone, navigational system, tablet, TV, or computer, our days revolve around these pieces of technology more now than ever before. Children as young as 2-3 years old know how to operate a cell phone and tablet without help. Gadgets have become part of our daily lives, but is it now a requirement for our daily worship?
How did people have church and truly experience a move of God as they gathered together if they didn’t have a Siri, YouVersion, Twitter/Facebook, Notes, or YouTube? No one in the Bible had any type of gadget to assist them in communion with God, yet they knew Him. But how?
1. Want God.
No light, video, cool effect can make you want God. That’s a condition of the heart. Jesus instructs us to love God with all of our heart. The wants of our heart are the things we seek. If it’s entertainment instead of worship, of course our services will look more like a movie or concert while no one is truly seeking God. If in our hearts we really want God, that’s what we go after. (Jer. 29:13-14, Prov. 8:17, James 4:8)
2. Walk with God.
There are so many people throughout the Bible, yet only two people “walked with God”: Noah and Enoch. These two men were used very differently in the Bible. Noah built the ark to replenish the earth after God destroyed it. Enoch only had children, walked with God, but never died. But how amazing to live a life that didn’t include a great feat like building an ark or living over hundreds of years, but to be known for walking with God. Noah and Enoch didn’t have fancy technology as a mediator for God. They just took time to have fellowship with Him. Will people know you for your fellowship with God?
3. Wait on Him.
These little pieces of technology make everything happen so fast. Our generation of believers feel as though God didn’t hear our prayer if He hasn’t moved like we wanted in three days. We are so used to having everything happen on our schedule. In Ps. 27:14, we are told to ‘Wait on God’. He wouldn’t have told us to wait if we never had to. Do not think God is Siri and has to answer just because you pressed the prayer button. Know that God is always working things out for your good, so just wait. While waiting, spend time to get to know Him better.
It is time for us to learn that our programs are not progress. What we need is His presence.- Tommy Tenney
We have gotten so caught up with how entertaining we can make our services that we never actually experience Him.
Challenge yourself within the next few weeks to pick up your Bible and flip through the pages. Do you know the order of the books of the Bible? Is your app handicapping you? Sing a song to God instead of immediately plugging in your music player. God wants your worship not someone else’s.
From the book The God Chasers, author and former pastor, Tommy Tenney says “It is very easy to begin chasing God and wind up chasing something else.” Sure the contemporary styles are great, but do not let that become what you chase.
Remove your ‘Siri’ and go to God. Like my mom says “Put the phone down. Let’s have a regular conversation.” Is God saying that to you?
Do you have to have the stage, movies, and lights in order to have an encounter with God?
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