We are lulled to sleep by our worship. A few years ago, we had a birthday party for my husband's grandmother. We had gathered together to discuss who would do the food, who would do the decorations, what committee would be responsible for what, but she was never invited into the planning process. Then the day of the party came. We invited her into the party, told her to have a seat and we set about celebrating and honoring her. Some told about how important she was to them. Some told about the impact she had on their life. Songs were sung to honor her and for a few brief moments we allowed her to get up and give us a few remarks. She was quickly done and things were over. We thought it was a success. Well God says that works fine for a birthday party or an anniversary but not as worship to him. In churches across this country we are inviting God in, when we offer the invocation, we say come in have a seat and we will honor you. We will talk about you in our life, we will even say how you have changed our lives and we will sing songs to honor you, and for a few brief moments we will allow the guest of honor to say something through the speaker or preacher. We however, want the speaker to get up and give the message of God quickly sit back down and then we say, wasn’t that a good worship service? God says not. He wants us to be willing to let go of our plans and give him 100% access. So if that means that we skip something on the list and allow the Spirit to direct in another direction, we do so without getting upset, sitting down, folding our arms, closing our eyes and being lulled to sleep because we feel slighted because we were suppose to sing the solo and instead someone else was called or because you were suppose to do one thing and it was left out. Who is this about anyway, us or God? He says, lulled to sleep.
We are lulled to sleep by our programs, plans and agenda’s. When we planned for that birthday celebration, we didn’t let grandmommy know what was going on. It was for her, about her, to honor her, but we didn’t involve her in the planning. Just like we planned what we wanted to do for that party, in our churches we do the same things. We begin by planning things to line up with what we want, how we want to honor God and we forget that as long as we lined ourselves up with God first, we were successful, we had victories, we had healings taking place, we had deliverances from sin and demonic possession. We become comfortable and turn to our own thinking. So we plan our programs and then we ask God to bless them. Well that doesn’t seem like a bad idea, but the problem is it is based on our own ideas and understanding. We do like Jehoshaphat, and move from Judah and head toward Israel. We move from where God has placed us and turn to seeking after what looks good to us. Instead God says, stop asking me to bless your programs, and start asking me to show you what I want you to do, for that I am surely blessing. We plan our agenda’s a year in advance. I have no problems with list; I’m a list person. I’ll write something down on my list that wasn’t on it, just so I can cross it off, because I did it. But even with that, I still must be careful not to get so involved in doing what I think, that I miss what God is saying. When we get to the end of the year, is the calendar saving a soul? Is the calendar changing individuals from being converts, because God didn’t ask for converts, he asked for disciples? Are the things we plan teaching the basic training that disciples need so they can go out and do the same? Are the saints encouraged and strengthen. Sadly no, for agendas, programs and calendars do not save or change people, only the living power of God. Instead what happens is we get to the end of the year and the end of the business of doing all the events posted on the calendar and we are tired, and frustrated because we have been spinning our wheels and longing to feel the presence of God. Jehoshaphat took steps that led him away from Judah and away from being a reformer, and so has God’s people when they take any steps away from being a true reformer led by God’s Spirit. And just as Jehospaphat was led into aligning Judah up with the sinful behavior of their brother, Ahab, out of ignorance, so does God's people when they turn from teaching and preaching his truth to going after what is popular during the times, programming for the sake of programming. Lulled to sleep. (Return next week to read the next installment.)