WHY DID WE COME TO RIVERS OF JOY THIS LAST SUNDAY?
Where going to church was for most Americans the default ( an option that will automatically be selected by a computer if the user does not choose one setting, today it’s a conscious choice. Many churches tried wooing Boomers back with softness and smiles, affirming images of a God who is helpful for our life projects, and myriad activities for the kids. Many of their children and grandchildren are burned out on it all. Some head for the exit, toward Rome, the East, or the “spiritual but not religious” category. Others are calling the church to be less consumer-driven and to make God the focus.
Rivers of Joy Baptist Church is or desires to be a God focus, Bible driven church.
We have few side dishes of worship. We don’t have a “contemporary-worship ” dish, and a “traditionalist” side dish either. The really only dish we ofter is the main dish and that is the teaching of the Scriptures the best we can.
If you are looking for a church that will address your children needs, and your needs, well, it all depends upon what you call needs. We are not necessary “human-centered” that is we want you to feel at home in our church. We do not ask you to take off your shoes when you come in and dress like I am at this present moment.
The design of our services hasn’t really taken the shape that as an Pastor/Eders wish yet, but it is getting there. The services are not design to get the people to have more participation in the service. Some would say that is worship, that is longer singing time with a praise band. We don’t have either long singing and a praise band.
So just what do we consider worship at Rivers of Joy Baptist Church. I am sure what this Pastor/Elder has in mind would be a little different than what members would have in mind.
We come to church for what purpose? What is worship?
Doesn’t it seem that many come so that they can do something, to praise, to express themselves, to serve, to get their needs met? Yes we are to confess our sines and our faith to Christ, and give financially to support the ministry of the church, and we are to pray. But where in the service is there room for God to give us anything when we are doing all the doing in the service?
I was reading an article today that said that historically at least, Reformed churches believed that the Triune God is the primary actor in the public service in church they called it the “divine service: the Father, in Christ, by the Spirit, serving His people with His good gifts..
Could we say that our church public service is a “divine service?” As the Pastor/Elder of our church its my desire that we might receive from God Himself. What I would hope is when people say “This was a really great day at church” they would not mean that Johnny sung a great song, or I had a great motivational sermon, but rather, “our heavenly Father did it again today.” He blessed us with His grace, Christ poured out His love, and the Spirit through His Word touched our hearts. He was real and present in our church today.
I remember coming up out of the water when I was baptized many years ago, I remember the times that my spirit was lifted up to glory as it were when the preaching had the Spirit of God upon it. In one case I felt just wet from the water and in the other case God came down upon my soul and spirit.
Too often people come to church for all the wrong reasons. They are looking for a Wal-Mart consumer-driving model. Where we come to church to “get something out of it.”
Personally I believe we should come to church to have God tell us what we really need, (regardless of our “felt needs) and to give us what we need most. Ye we come to give our selves to worship, and one way is to praise Him, but another is to listen to Him, and the Spirit. Far too many people want the praise band or the music to speak to them, and shut off their minds when it comes to the preaching, just where the Lord talks to them.
Who calls us to worship in the first place? God does. Then who sets the tone of the service? Well the Lord does. Are we just asking God to look upon us as we do our thing? How can we experience God being active in our worship?
If I come into the church on Sunday Morning with this default setting of narcissism, consumerism, and seeking for my needs to be meet, than I don’t need better techniques, rules or motivation for becoming a more intense worshiper of God; I need to be killed and made alive in Christ!”
If we come to church as place where we just get our marching orders for the week, have a little sandwich and a piece of apple pie, and a change to sing a few songs, then why do we really need to show up in the first place, we could get the same in other places.
The question should be what can be done in our church worship service that cannot be done in an informal way throughout the week or anywhere else?
Why do we come to church? We come to church because the Creator and Redeemer has called us to assemble. He has something to tell us, that will rock our world. Christ has His candle stand in the midst of His Church in the power of the Holy Spirit. On the Lord’s Day we need to have a taste of glory divine, that can happen when we express our praise to Him in song, and in the teaching of His Word. Colossians 3:16 and Ephesians 5:19.
What we need to get a hold of is. that we are not only God-centered enough, even when we try, our focus needs to get off what we bring to the table and actually get our attention on what God is bring to the table.
My prayer is that when you come to church, you come with an heart to receive what He is going to free give you if you wanting to receive rather than want to give something.
We the Pastor/Elders at Rivers of Joy are still trying to figure out how we can be a place where God is met and the Holy Spirit is felt and Christ is glorified and we can be filled with the joy and praise of Christ as we leave this place.