I’m still having trouble getting Harvest Bible Chapel Miami out of my head, even though I am back in the UK and two Sundays have passed since I was in the US. I think that worshipping somewhere else allowed me to relax in God’s presence more than I do in the church I am part of in Hereford where there is always something to be done. We have rotas for everything, and many folk serve on more than one. There are times, I guess, that we need to stop and ask who it is we are serving?
There are also times that we need to remember whose church it is. We are supposed to be part of the body of Christ (one body as opposed to many) and yet the temptation is to make church our church. It’s not the fact that we have many different churches that is the issue. For instance, I really felt comfortable with the service at Harvest Miami, and I generally feel comfortable with the services in Hereford. I was extremely comfortable with the service in June when I was back in Guernsey and worshipping at the church I grew up in. But it’s not about comfort, or personal preferences, or individuals wanting church to be a certain way, or those on a personal mission to change their church it to the way they want it.
Surely church is about coming before a Holy God in humility, in an attitude of complete surrender, confessing all that is wrong in our lives (and in our church) and being open to humbly receive the blessings He wants to pour out on us as we worship Him. Yes I know that we need people to open up, sweep the forecourt, make the coffee, play the instruments, work the PA, lead the service, preach, mind the little children, teach the larger children, interact with the youth and all that stuff. But we have to do it all with an attitude that says: “This is God’s church, not mine.”
If there are too many loud voices in church, in the places we serve, in the services we attend, in our home groups, prayer meetings, etc., then we are simply not going to hear His voice. Why do we try and drown out God’s voice? Do we really believe that we know better than Him? Who are we lifting up – ourselves or our Heavenly Father? Once again the words of John the Baptist come to mind: “He must increase, I must decrease.” Being church isn’t difficult. We just have to fix our eyes upon Jesus. All of us.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. (Hebrews 12:1-2 NIV)