Sunday, November 4, 2018

We Don't Need A Production, We Need An Encounter!

It's becoming very obvious that many church services are more of a production than an encounter with Jesus. This trend is driven by the belief that the church is less relevant to people than she used to be. The truth, relevance is not the issue. It's the absence of the One who is relevant to All people and every situation - the Holy Spirit. We must remember, a production is man-made. An encounter with Jesus is Holy Spirit-breathed. So what's the answer? We make a place for the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives, and in our gatherings.

Sometimes I find it difficult to offer pure praise from the congregation as I am distracted by the show taking place on the stage. Bright flashing lights, search lights, and smoke make it look more like worldly entertainment. It might even be impressive at times, but it doesn't make us more relevant to people. It glorifies people. Trying to look like the world doesn't draw folks to Jesus. The Holy Spirit does. No one is more relevant than He! If we want to be relevant to people, we cannot do it without Him in our midst.

uch of what we call praise and worship today has no anointing upon it. It contains no fire. It's polished and professional, but it's powerless. It's a great production, but it lacks the supernatural touch of the Holy Spirit. His touch is what distinguishes His spiritual from the world's natural. Jesus said of Him, "He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you." (John 16:14) Oh how we need His involvement in our services! We must seek God for Him to inhabit our praises as we prepare a place in our hearts, and in our midst for Him!

Our stage production style of doing church is not evil. It's just not anointed. In a negative sense, it instills in many folks the "You up there, me out here" mentality. It produces the mindset that church is for entertainment. So we find ourselves saying things like "The worship was really good (or not so good) today." Or, "I didn't like the choice of songs this week." This puts pressure on the folks up front to perform to please man...not God. The question should be asked by everyone, "Was MY worship pleasing and acceptable to Jesus today?" "Did I glorify Him?" When individual hearts are determined to glorify Him, He comes. When He comes, no one in their right mind can deny He is there! That's preparing a place for Him!

What I am about to say comes from my own personal experience in worshiping our incredible God through the years. I am convinced this is the crucial key to powerfully anointed praise and worship; praise and worship that is saturated with the fire of the Holy Spirit. What is this key? It is personal worship. Our personal praise and worship is developed during our personal times with God, as we make the effort to worship Him. Corporate worship should be composed of people who are developing their worship during their own personal times of worship. Guess what happens when people on fire, participate in corporate worship: The fire of the Holy Spirit falls. Frankly, it won't matter whether there is smoke, flashing lights, spotlights, or search lights in the building.

Let me insert something here concerning praise and worship teams. If you don't worship during practice, your are missing much of the anointing God has available for you and your congregation. It's obviously very import to rehearse to be comfortable with the music and the vocals. But it should be equally important that you set aside time to worship as a team. That's where the corporate anointing lies! To rehearse the mechanics only is to prepare for a production, not an encounter!

Never forget, church is first about Jesus, and what you bring to Him. He deserves the purest, and highest praise and worship...first. That is why after Jesus ascended back to the Father, He sent forth the Holy Spirit. He inhabits this praise (See Psalm 22:3). He responds by moving in our midst. He anoints and confirms the preaching of the Word of God with signs, wonders, and miracles!

We are created to worship Him. We exist to bring Him glory, honor, worship, and praise. Jesus has given us His Spirit to help us. He energizes us. He transforms what we sincerely offer up to Jesus into the world-changing glory of Himself! This is how we become more relevant to humans. We worship Him in spirit and truth. He comes and supernaturally connects us to the King of Kings, Lord of Lords, and the awesome Prince of Peace. When the Holy Spirit comes, Jesus is exalted by Him. When Jesus is exalted, people are drawn to Him. It's in the encounter, not the production.

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