Thursday, April 16, 2009

Dose of Ravenhill

There’s an old hymn that says, "God’s presence and His very self, an essence all divine". I’ll ask you again, I’ve asked you before, When did you last go out of the sanctuary on tiptoe because God had revealed His holiness and His majesty? We go out very much as the way we came in. We go out, we say, "Hey, I like your dress!" Or some other trivial thing that’s got nothing to do with eternity and nothing to do with God.

Leonard Ravenhill

11 comments:

Steve Martin said...

Sadly true.

We just don't get it.

Jonathan said...

I guess I get it and I don't get it. I mean, I get that so many people come to church because it's their "good duty" and they carry on about their lives, being "good people" asking how everyone is and making nice comments about people's clothing. I get that they've missed the point. But I don't get it because I still haven't really nailed down the purpose of church. Are we supposed to come away with a burning bush experience every Sunday? I don't think so. God is with us now. It's a little different.

Steve Martin said...

Jonathan,

I think you are right. We can't expect a huge emotional high, or epiphany each time we leave the sanctaury.

After all, we are still sinful people. Each of us goes through the normal ups and downs of the Christian life.

We shouldn't get down on ourselves because we are not Super-Christians every Sunday.

Jonathan said...

Do we reverence God enough? Should we, in a similar manner, remove our shoes on Holy Ground? God wasn't perceived as our father in heaven in the O.T. When Jesus came it was suddenly grace and love, personal relationship to God through Jesus. Is it different now, or should it be the same as the O.T.?

Wayne Dawg said...

"Are we supposed to come away with a burning bush experience every Sunday? I don't think so. God is with us now. It's a little different."

I agree Jonathan - My main thought when I posted this was the half-hearted approach a lot of folks enter the house of God with.

And Steve is correct too in saying that we all go through ups and downs in the Christian life and that may/could/does affect someones worship time.

But I do think that there is some truth in what you said Jonathan; that we should remove our shoes (so to speak) when we walk on holy ground and get face to face with God (so to speak).

Maybe it is the reverence part I have issue with the most here.

God is holy and we are not. He is to be lifted up and worshipped with all our being and a lot of church-goers seem to be indifferent to the things of God when they walk through the church doors.

What happened to reverence?

Ike said...

"What happened to reverence?"

Jesus has become a "buddy" or an add on to an already pretty good life. We need to get back to the truth........if we have not Jesus...we have nothing.

I heard Paul Washer say that when our worship is over....we should be exhausted. I have never experienced this.....but why is it that the unregenerate can act like fools at sports events......and we who have the greatest thing going on earth are not as passionate? It's certainly something to think about.

Joseph A. said...

Sort of off-topic: check out Bring the Noiz's recent open-air preaching escapades at tea party rallies in Florida!

Carla said...

Ike,

How, specifically, are people treating Jesus like a buddy, and what - specifically - are it's implications?

Paul Washer seems to be putting the emphasis on my much physical or emotional effort is put into a gathered worship service. Isn't worship so much more than just that? Worship is what we do when we're gathered on Sunday, but it's also what we do when we're scattered Monday through Saturday, right? For years, I put a lot of physical/emotional effort into my gathered worship experience, but I had not yet understood the Father's love for me, so any scattered worship was pretty much nonexistent, being replaced by empty moralistic attempts at getting God to owe me for my "good" behavior.

People who act like "fools" at a sports event do not necessarily reflect a "heart full of love" for the sport, it's players, or the event. Many of these "fools" are just college students who are bored with their own lives, trying to find some sort of fulfillment (pseudo-saviors).

So, it would be a mistake to compare our gathered worship "passion" to that of a bunch of drunk lost people, saying that we should match their enthusiasm.

Of course, I can see where you are coming from, and have heard this type of thing my whole life. It wasn't until my adult life that I finally began to understand that it's all about the heart, and the "outward manifestation" of that heart condition cannot be put into a box - meaning that it isn't fair to expect any certain degree of verifying enthusiasm in the context of gathered worship. The real "test" of any sort of "passion" is this:

Is the Gospel on my lips?
Has the Jesus Story been just rolling off my tongue all week long?

That, I believe, is how one can gauge whether or not the Gospel is alive inside a Believer (regenerated), working to change them (sanctification) until they meet Him face to face (glorification).

Any sort of "lack of reverence as they're walking through the doors into a church service" is a reflection of their HEART during the week (scattered worship). Scattered and gathered worship are equally important.

At least, that is how I am seeing things right now.
Any thoughts?

Carla said...

Wayne,

You said:
"My main thought when I posted this was the half-hearted approach a lot of folks enter the house of God with.""The house of God", really?
Do you remember what Jesus said to the woman at the well when she asked him about the "house of God"?

WE are the house of God. There is nothing special, or sacred about any church building. The building should not be referenced. This is where many people seem to think they should quote the O.T., comparing our gathered worship services to the O.T. temple services. This would be a mistake, since the N.T. is implicit that WE are the temple, not any structure made by man.

It's time that church people let go of the supposed sacredness of buildings. The Church is not a building, or a place where we gather to worship. We often call that "church", but "the Church" are the PEOPLE who gather and scatter, gather and scatter, worshipping as they go. Without an emphasis on worship as a lifestyle, we are left in our current condition: focusing on some Sunday morning service, letting that be the centerpiece of our spiritual adventure.

If we have not had a dynamic encounter with the Transcendent One by the time we get to "church" on Sunday, we have tragically missed the point of being a Christ-follower.

ALL of life is sacred.

Being "on mission" is equally as important as living "in community". And NEITHER necessitate a Sunday morning service.

What would it look like if we were to strip down "being a Christ-follower" to the bare essentials?

What mandatory items would be left if we were to get rid of all the man-made things that we do not necessarily even need.

What would be left?

(Any takers?)

What does it really mean to be a "Christ-follower"?

Jason said...

BTW, Those last two comments [from "Carla"] were from me [Jason].I need to be more careful to log my wife out before i start comment on people's blogs, lol.

-Jason

Wayne Dawg said...

Jason -

Hello!

That pic of you with the toothbrush (I assume that's you with a toothbrush) is really cool.

I place no emphasis or sacredness (is that a word?) on the bricks and wood that may make up a church building.

A church building is just that.....wood and bricks.

The 'house of God' I made reference to can be anywhere we (Christians) practice Hebrews 10:25.

If Christians assemble together in a field, a house, a cave or where ever....there is the house of God (So to speak).

It is there, that place of gathering to worship and praise as an assembled group of believers, that I am concerned about the lack of reverence towards God when meeting.

Your point is well taken on how some people do put emphasis on the building (and carpet, and chairs vs pews, etc.) and not on the One they should be worshipping.

"If we have not had a dynamic encounter with the Transcendent One by the time we get to "church" on Sunday, we have tragically missed the point of being a Christ-follower."

This is a great statement Jason!

What does it mean to be a Christ-follower?

Do as He did!

Jesus said He came to seek and save that which is lost.

This should be our top priority as well.

He commanded us to go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature.

He told us to feed the hungry.....clothe the naked.....visit the prisons.....take care of the widows, among other things.

Are we like Jesus?.......ask someone who knows us best.

Ask our wives.....ask our husbands.......ask our friends......ask our children.