Pastor and writer Michael Catt says that there are two God's being worshiped in the American church, God as He is, and God as we've created Him in our image.  Before you pull back in horror, think on his words.  Dwell upon much of what we call "worship" in the church today.  How much of what goes on is tailored to our needs and desires, what we like, what we want?  How much of "church" is about "us" rather than being all about Him?  How much of our music and preaching is geared towards getting a favorable response from people, instead of being an offering of brokenness to Him?  I once has an irate congregant tell me after a message that displeased him that "I come to church to feel good."  If we don't leave a gathering feeling "good", we feel shortchanged somehow.  We're "paying customers" aren't we?  Shouldn't we be getting what we came for?  In Isaiah 6, when God appeared to Isaiah, all he could say is "Woe is me, I am undone."  Catt says that this element is missing in modern worship.  The sense of awestruck wonder in His presence is missing.  Few of us are "undone" in most "worship" experiences today.  We may sing fast paced choruses or traditional hymns.  We may clap and dance, or stand in somber silence, but when we are done, how many of us have been undone?
     I once preached on this matter, and in the course of the message, I mentioned how so many of us, at the immediate end of a "worship service," immediately check our phone messages, or begin texting, or pick up a conversation right where we had left off before "worship."  I didn't detect that anyone was not "listening" when I said that, yet, as the service closed, I saw a number of folks immediately do what I had just spoken of.  Were they being defiant?  I don't think so.  Though they heard, they didn't hear.  I believe the reason they could disengage from Him so easily was that they had never been truly engaged with Him to begin with, and this disengagement was not a Sunday morning thing, but a day by day reality for them.  Is it the same for you and I?
   Jesus, in John 4, told the Samaritan woman that those who would worship the Father would worship Him in "Spirit and truth."  I think many wonder just what does that mean.  I like the meaning that Catt gives; those who truly worship Him in Spirit and truth will do so as a way of life, surrendering moment by moment to His Lordship, living with an ever growing, ever deepening sensitivity to His Spirit, a day by day dying to themselves, and a step by step obedience to His Word.  This is a lifestyle of worship.  This is a lifestyle that will live in His Presence.  For sure we will be undone by this lifestyle before Him, be remade as well.  True worship encounters Him as He is, not as we wish Him to be.  One cannot truly worship Him and remain unchanged.  True worship comes to Him as He is, with a willingness to be shown who and where we are.  This is the worship that He'll joyfully receive, and worship that we must joyfully give.  Which God will we come before, the one we've created in our image, or the One who is?  One way or another, we'll answer that today.  What will that answer be?

Pastor O  
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   May 2019   
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