January 22, 2007

Spirit-filled worship

The sermon yesterday was about being Spirit-filled, about being filled with the Spirit in worship. It was a great sermon. It was a special guest speaker, Brian C. Stiller, president of Tyndale University College & Seminary. I wish we had more guest speakers.

Anyway, I think one of the things that hit me, having been part of a worship team and see a real glimpse of our congregation from God's standpoint, is that the majority of the english congregation at T3C is spirit-empty.

Stiller spoke about how, as you are filled more with the Spirit, through whatever means -- prayer, devotion, scripture reading, etc -- you start to "leak" the Spirit. You're so full of spirit that your life and your actions are affected -- it's like you're wearing Him on your sleeve. Everything about you personifies the Holy Spirit.

To illustrate the idea of making use of the Holy Spirit to reach God, Stiller used the example of buying a home, and how when you put in a down-payment or deposit, you are tied to the home. But if you walk away from the home, you will lose the down-payment. I also heard another analogy with chocolate milk. If you have a glass of milk, and you pour chocolate syrup in and do nothing, all you have is a glass of milk. Until you take a spoon and mix it all up, the syrup is just going to sit at the bottom. You can't have chocolate milk unless you mix it all up -- until you allow the Spirit to consume your life, you will never have the sweetness of truly knowing God.

Another example I'd like to throw in, is worship at Urbana. Since day one, the music was amazing. There is no difference between the music we heard on Day 1 and on Day 5. On Day 1, it was just a bunch of people standing and singing. But on Day 5, after 5 days of being filled with the Spirit through prayer, through scriptures, speakers, seminars, interactions with eachother -- people were jumping up and down, screaming JESUS at the top of their lungs, doing conga-lines up and down the aisles, raising their arms to the sky, crying (literally) out to God, kneeling on the floor, etc. We went from regular Mr. John Christian to people who were so filled with Spirit that He was literally BURSTING out from us.

When I look out at the congregation at our church, I see a bunch of people from Day 1 Urbana. They are looking at the words and thinking "Ugh.. why do they make us stand? What is this.. do I have to sing? This song again? Oh man.. now they're making us clap. I am so not clapping."

Only for the majority of them, it's not Day 1. It's day 1000, or 6000 of their spiritual journey with God. You have to wonder, how spiritually empty, how dried up they must be, to have that kind of a reaction to worshipping God? How scary is it, that nearly an entire congregation, 'normal behavior' is to stand/sit there and do nothing?

When I sang for Ina or Ina -- ooops -- I mean, when I sang for Yee Lee or Karen, I would often sense their frustration because no one was singing, you would look out and see a bunch of blank faces and you didn't know, was it because we sang poorly? Did we pick the wrong songs? Can they even hear us?

Maybe we're being too hard on ourselves. What good is it to provide Spirit-led worship, when people are not Spirit-filled? We're stirring the milk, but chocolate syrup has solidified and won't mix in anymore. People are stuck on Day 1.

No comments: