Sunday, 17 June 2012


The whole point of Christianity being based on faith is so that we wouldn't have a love of Jesus based on sight, but based upon the fire of the Spirit's workings in our hearts and minds. To set up our Churches as places designed to enthral and entertain the senses of sight and sensation therefore, works against how our Lord and Saviour has designed not only how we are to know and love Him, but also how meetings of His Church family are to learn of and worship Him. 

If anything, the New Testament serves as a testimony to us to guard against being enraptured by the senses. Jesus turned His disciples' eyes away from the glittering temple building, He gave John the Baptist as a contrast to 'those that live in luxury' and live in palaces. In the disciples Jesus gave an example of how great the power of God was in the weakness of their own strength, and in the meagreness and often strangeness and poverty of their appearance. 

The books of the New Testament are devoted to the careful instruction about our hearts, minds and lives, and little to no evidence is found to justify OVERLY important emphasis on buildings for the sake of culture or anything else. One upper-room was enough for the Holy Spirit to descend in power when Pentecost came, and a stable was enough for our Lord and Saviour, the King of Kings to be born in. A cave was enough for God to give John the Baptist one of the greatest revelations in all of Church and Biblical history, and a tomb was enough for our Lord and Saviour to rise from and ascend to heaven, as were a few disciples enough of a crowd for Jesus to depart this earth with. A field was enough of a place for Jesus to break bread in and give thanks to the Father before feeding the people, and meeting from 'house to house' was enough for the early Christians to continue ' the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.' 

There will always be obvious needs and basic requirements that the Church in the West may need, and the above doesn't discount those things. Such things in moderation are fine. But when we emphasise a Church of grandiose designs, flashy set-ups, and entertaining places of worship, we have completely missed the heart and the point of the grace and glory of Jesus. No matter what we call it, it won't be of Him.

Monday, 11 June 2012



There is something new that is trying to introduce itself into Church services at the moment, and while it doesn't seem to be a 'trend' at the moment, we need to be on our guard against it. This involves using worldly songs to worship the Lord. While the motive and reason that is given for doing this appears in all innocence to be good and pure, the reality is that it isn't Godly at all, and that the MOTIVE AND EFFECT is anything but good and Godly.

Churches are supposed to identify with Christ, and to be careful to represent Him according to how He is represented in His Word (He is a jealous God). They are supposed to represent His desires and those things that He loves. For us as a Church to begin to introduce worldly songs in order to worship the Lord, is like the children of Israel introducing a golden calf in order to worship God by. It is essentially trying to take something that is valuable and 'shiny' to the world, and to use it in order to give glory to God.

I had a dream last night that seems to illustrate the above quite well. It started with me sitting in the back of a Church. As I listened to what was supposed to be a worship song, I soon realised that the worship leaders were singing a song from the world. As I looked closer at the projector screen up the front, I realised that the song title was actually a Christian song that I knew. This confused me- how could this be a worship song I knew when it sounded like a song from the world? The two worship leaders up the front were dancing like they were at a club; they danced with what seemed to be well-rehearsed moves and they danced in unison. Totally bewildered by this I tried to find the word to use to describe what was going on. What came to me was, 'sadistic,' but then I thought, 'no, that's not it.'

Upon waking I was quite shocked as to what 'sadistic' meant (though I'd always had a rough idea): 'The deriving of sexual gratification or the tendency to derive sexual gratification from inflicting pain or emotional abuse on others.' As I just mentioned, I was really shocked by this, and because of this, the dream above isn't easy to share. Essentially what I believe is implied by this is that SOME worship leaders in Churches that are doing this, and those that listen to those that are singing such worldly songs and 'worshipping' in such a way, are doing it in order to gratify the flesh, to the point that it is a sexual gratification. The moves of the 'worshippers' and they way they went about it was worldly and those moves had sexual connotations about them (they were also dressed up luxuriously and extravagantly). Worship, and they way we worship, is in some cases now being influenced by the world because of wrong desires of worship leaders and those that listen to them alike. The effect that this is having is an emotional abuse on true worshippers because it is creating great distress and a great conflict within them, after all, how can the worship of God be worldly? At the end of the dream someone said to me, 'well done for finally being independent.' The people of God need to separate themselves from such worship.

The heart is deceitful above all things, and the Church needs to be on guard against this shocking and awful reality that is now starting to rear its head in SOME Churches (there are MANY Churches that are completely free of this, and this post is in no way addressed to them or to those that attend them). In the Old Testament, when the Israelites started to worship a golden calf, it was said of them that- 'So the next day the people rose early and sacrificed burnt offerings and presented fellowship offerings. Afterward they sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in revelry' (Ex 36v2). It is quite easy to tell if this is going on in the place that you worship. Is the worship becoming worldly? Is in becoming influenced by the world? Are the worshippers (leaders and listeners) worshipping in a reverent and serious manner? Are the worship songs Godly and not polluted by the lyrics and spirit of the world? All these questions are so important. Paul told Timothy to guard what was entrusted to Him. Jesus has entrusted the Church to His servants, to His ministers, and even to His sheep which make up His body which is the Church itself.

Are we as the people of God learning to apply the appearances, moves and spirit of the world? Or are we learning to apply the inward instructions of the Word? Are we learning to guard with Godly jealousy the glory and honour of the Lord? And above all are we guarding our hearts with the love of Christ that is according to truth? The love of Jesus and the love of the world are two totally separate things. The worship of the Lord is a Holy thing, are we keeping it that way?