Went to i55 last night. i55 is a Praise and Worship time geared toward college and young adults; however, I saw some there as old (ok, maybe not quite as old) as me. It is held at Irving Bible Church, but not affiliated with the church. That in itself is refreshing – that a church will open it’s doors to a group whose leaders aren’t, for the most part, members of that church. Anyway, to gather with a group of young adults who are there for worship is a wonderful experience. These guys make an extra effort to come out on Tuesday night for no other purpose than to get recharged and spend time in corporate worship with other believers from other churches and perhaps other denominations. That is what Christianity is all about! I had no idea if the people in front of me, and behind me, were Baptist, Methodist, Catholic, Pentecostal or no denomination. It just didn’t matter. The music was wonderful and the band did an awesome job of leading the worshippers into the presence of God. And the speaker/preacher was very good. His name was Chris and he talked about putting God in a box, making Him conform to our image. This is something I talk about alot. How we make God something smaller than He is because we can’t get our thoughts around who He really is. And it so much easier to make Him fit our image than for US to fit to His image.

Why can’t we have this kind of worship on Sunday morning? What keeps us from true worship, in spirit and truth? A couple of things we talked about last night on the way home. One, Cindy (my wife) made a very interesting point. In the Old Testament, before the people could worship they had to make themselves ceremonially clean. That’s why the lepers, the prostitutes, the down and out, could not come into the temple – they were considered unclean. How often do we come to worship and not be clean before God? Unconfessed sins, wrong motivations, too many distractions in our daily lives that keep us from that daily cleansing we all need. Cleansing today is a washing in renewal and transformation from the Word of God – daily. And confessing our sins so that we can be cleansed by Jesus Himself – daily. We often come into church, or wherever we go to worship, with hearts and minds that are unclean. And we are unwilling to have the presense of God cleanse us before we can truly worship. We just go in to the Sunday morning services expecting to be entertained or worse yet, to get something out of it for us, not give something to God (praise and worship). When we go in with hearts that are ready to be touched by the cleansing power of Jesus and ready to give God worship, we always get something out of it for us, though it may be not what we expected.

The second thing we talked about was how we feel so inhibited in how we worship. Though I’m not big at lifting my hands, I have no problem with those that lift holy hands in worship. But in our church we don’t do that on a regular basis so those who do, feel self-conscious. We can’t be free to worship God the way we feel He is leading us to worship. My class has often heard me refer to what John Ortberg calls “boundry markers” in Christianity. We have certain expectations of how a Christian should act, whether it’s in worship or daily life, that we look for these boundry markers and nobody is willing to cross them. Raising hands seems to me to be a boundry marker in worship. We don’t do that in a Baptist church.

Well, this blog has gone on long enough. I’d like to know what you think. Either email me or make a comment, either way I look forward to hearing from you. And I’m sure I’ll have more to say later, I always do.

His Peace be on you.