When I was growing up in church, I was trained to listen to a preacher, but not trained to listen to the risen Jesus. (If church doesn’t train Christians to listen to and obey the Jesus, who will?) The reality is that if only one person is expected to speak for God (week after week), everybody else learns to be quietly passive.
After years of hearing Sunday sermons, I went to a meeting where ordinary people spoke of their love for Christ. It was in that meeting that I met the risen Jesus! That’s when I discovered that going to church without going to the risen Jesus is just going through the motions.
I used to go with ordinary people on “Lay” Witness Missions in churches and we would all take turns telling how we met Jesus. I love to hear ordinary people speak when they are prompted by the Spirit and tell what God is showing them and saying to them.
Perhaps Christians need a place to go on Sunday mornings that welcomes them as an active participants and not just as passive spectators. A team that only lets one person use his talents limits its effectiveness. So too a church service.
Sermons come from outside yourself, through your ears, and into your brain. However,
Jesus wants to speak directly to your heart! A preacher can lecture you about the Bible, but you’d be better off to spend that time reading it for yourself and letting the living Jesus explain it to you. After all, the Bible does not say, “Let the redeemed of the Lord listen to sermons.” Also, there is no mention of pulpits (or lecterns) in the New Testament.
Church is often like a gym that lectures people on fitness and then sends them home without letting them workout. So, as you sit though church, don’t forget to go to and view the living Jesus and let Him renew you with a spiritual workout. If Jesus is the Head of the church, perhaps we should gather to let Him speak and then everyone say and do whatever He tells us to.
It’s okay to occasionally listen to a spokesman for Jesus, but Jesus also wants to talk to you Himself. Don’t miss out on that! When Christianity presents “Head Talks” it can be informative; but when we present the risen Jesus, He is transformative!
To listen to a talk about a beautiful fountain is okay, but I’d sure rather watch it freely flow. Same with Jesus! Fountains need to freely flow. So do churches. Cut off the flow of either one and it becomes pretty lifeless.
God is my search engine. When I ask Him questions He pops up answers in my heart or leads me to passages in the Bible.
To be a “a hospital for sinners,” church needs to go beyond a sermon and let its members minister to people individually. A church service without room for openness and brokenness is broken.
I believe God is calling church back to its roots — the Greek New Testament concept of ekklesia. Will churches respond? If we won’t make room for the Spirit to birth something new, we may be acting like the innkeeper who had no room for Jesus’ birth.
Is a preacher the only one who can hear God’s voice in a congregation of Christians? He who has ears let him hear. What would happen if we spent as much time in church listening directly to the Lord as we do listening to a sermon?
Since true worship is a heart matter, it can’t be done as a mere duty or obligation. It has to be more than that! To limit God to the limits of a Sunday morning program is to limit God. Dare to let God loose!
Here’s the bottom line: Christian worship isn’t about watching a religious program. It’s about openly expressing adoration & obedience to the risen Jesus.
Jesus is speaking directly to you; not just to (or through) a pastor. Hear the risen One; not just the one on a platform. Jesus is Lord (Absolute Master). To tell Jesus, “No, Lord;” is to deny His Lordship.