As absurd as this statement sounds I think it is possible that we are doing exactly that with our ‘traditions’ and much teaching which comes from the intellect rather than the revelation of the Holy Spirit.
Let me qualify this statement with the understanding the we can NEVER put God into a box! WE are the ones who wind up in the box, of our own making. The fact is that when either we, or God can be said to be in a box, we are not in the right relationship with Him.
How long now, has church been done more or less the way it is now? We, the faithful, come into a building we call church once or more each week. Sunday ‘services’ are little different in form from the old Roman Catholic tradition regardless of how Charismatic or Spirit filled we like to think we are. Let me explain.
Do we (lay people) otherwise known as sheep, dutifully come into ‘church’ on a regular basis either to have our emotional needs met or to add to our intellectual understanding of the things of God? Do we attempt to accomplish this by following the time honored form of listening to the choir, or worship team, paying our dues, listening to some more preaching and, having done our religious duty this week, go our way until next time?
In total how much of OUR service do we actually give over to God and allow Him to do as He would if given the opportunity?
Any church I have attended opens this door only ever so slightly, if it is opened at all. The results are as predictable as our ‘services’, in fact they are just about as predictable as the rotation of the earth around the sun. You can predict with frightening accuracy exactly what will happen at one of OUR services for years into the future. If you doubt what I say take a look back at all of the services you have attended. Alarmingly alike aren’t they?
Why do we presume that our services are what the Creator of heaven and earth would execute if given the opportunity? Do we think He is such a predictable and uncreative God as He would seem to be if you check out our church services? Do we really think that what we call church even slightly resembles what He calls Church? When He is in the House, people will come from miles around. They will be healed,
delivered and set free. We will be touched in ways we cannot even imagine and His Glory would shine forth as the sun at noonday.
Does that describe a typical service at your church? If not, why not? Are we really happy with the same old routine week after week?
A Challenge to all LEADERS
If you really want to see something happen in your midst then quit trying to put God into a box of your making. He will NOT fit! If you think you are not restricting Him then consider the following points:
1. Are your services planned from week to week, right down to the songs which will be sung, the sermon which will be preached and what time you will all DISMISS God and go your own way?
2. Can the local coffee shop predict to the minute when the ‘after church’ crowd is going to come in?
3. Can you plan in advance; give or take 30 minutes, exactly what time you will be home from church?
If you can answer yes to any or all of these questions then indeed, you have put God into a box of your own making. Of course He really is not in the box any more than He is in your services.
What kind of God service are we doing when we set the agenda from week to week, right from the subject to be preached, the program to be followed and the time of departure. All, planned right down to the last detail. So predictable, you can practically set your clock by it. And we wonder why we have not seen Revival in our midst?
A Really RADICAL and EXTREME Suggestion
When we get together to have church. . . . throw out the clock, pitch the smart phone, forget OUR plans and programs.
Come to God and honestly invite Him into our midst and tell Him in all sincerity we will NOT leave until HE says so! Be that one hour, one day, one week, one month, one year, or the rest of eternity. And MEAN it!
What do you think might happen if we let Him say when the service was over? What if we stopped dismissing Him because we thought we had given Him enough time for now?
I believe much would change not only in the life of the Church but in the life of individual believers if this posture were seriously adopted.
I for one am challenged to see what happens, when I refuse to dismiss God and wait for Him to say it is time to go.
Typical Invitation to God
We of the church called (insert name) will be having our regular weekly meeting this coming Sunday.
We cordially invite you to attend this meeting, providing you could possibly consider the following:
From 10:00 – 10:30 we will be singing praises to You and your Son. Perhaps the Holy Spirit too. So during this time please join in, but do not interrupt the program so lovingly prepared by our worship team.
From 10:30 – 10:40 we will be collecting our gift which we offer to you. (It really is the minister’s salary though).
From 10:40-11:15 we will be listening to the well prepared sermon our Pastor will deliver this week, so please sit quietly and listen to what he has worked so hard to prepare.
From 11:20-11:35 we will probably be offering some more singing and perhaps silent prayer.
From 11:40 -11:50 ? we will possibly have to listen to some important announcements to do with church activities or programs.
From 11:55 – 12:15 or so, we will be having coffee and cookies, please feel free to join us during this time of fellowship/
You are welcome to make Your Presence known anytime during this service providing you follow our carefully laid out agenda.
Don’t be surprised if He declines your invitation.
Don’t be surprised if He declines your invitation.