9:00 am, Sunday morning eyes close, hearts open– cue the perfect opening song, chosen because it’s upbeat, uplifting, and it gets the blood pumping. Energy surges. Those who practice loudly in their cars are ready to join in corporate Praise and Worship of Jesus, right?
Except, “I” and “me” are used far more often than His name.
“It’s all about You, Jesus and how much You have done for me, how much I have been changed, how much You love me, how You’ve made a way for me…”
Song one finishes. Cue songs 2 and 3, in similar keys and subject so they can flow into each other smoothly. Hearts and minds are focused on all Jesus has done for “me“.
Cue song 4 for the offering, something catchy and convicting to encourage Believers to give to God freely…
Song 5 helps transition right into the sermon, getting hearts and minds prepared to receive the Word of the Lord and the Preacher’s sermon.
The sermon is deep, convicting, full of Truth and equipping Believers to make it through another week until it can all start over again.
A closing song extending the sermon message, inviting people to let down their personal guard so they can receive personal ministry to help them overcome the things holding them back, keeping them from fully embracing Jesus, God’s healing and deliverance…
And… we’re done.
It’s a set, a church service proven to be a smooth and embraceable formula that the majority of American Church models follow now.
What’s the fruit? Happy people, a love for deep, powerful music, a new determined focus to meet the challenges and difficulties of a week focused around “me”.
Mid-week, there used to be Wednesday night Believer’s Meetings to help get us past the dragging down of our spirits, and re-focus in putting Jesus first and foremost in hearts and minds. It seems many churches have instead poured their entire focus on that Sunday morning gathering. Which is fine, Wednesday night sometimes just adds into another thing that keeps us busy and exhausted.
Which songs in church help equip Believers in how to treat others? How many prepare Believers for interacting with those hurting, abused, or abusive outside of the Church bubble?
What church service songs encourage us to help rescue others from the spiritual muck and mire that acts like quicksand, holding and pulling people farther from freedom through Jesus.
We hear the words “help the dying and lost” so often, we’ve gotten numb to their meaning and impact.
The world that has not embraced the Salvation, Grace and Mercy of God through Jesus– it’s not a friendly, warm place. There are people who hate Christians, hate everything about God. Are we ever prepared to walk in the empowerment of God to not only deal with people that hate us, but also show them Jesus?
We lack transformative power, most often, because I believe we are stuck in a “me me me” rut.
Me filters everything– how does this song minister to me? How does this affect me?
All fingers are pointed at me. I’ve recently been confronted with my own boundaries of keeping the ugliness of the world out of my perception and eyesight-hearing range.
Choosing what I allow my understanding to be exposed to is a luxury.
The hurting, lost and spiritually dying don’t have that luxury. They don’t have Jesus, the necessity for us all, to protect them, to shield them, to deliver them from the cold, dark world of animosity towards all God has created– which includes them.
I had forgotten where I had come from. But– God reminded me. How can I not go back and help others ? Did Jesus rescue me so that I could become cold-hearted towards others who need Him to rescue them as well?
Jesus told us to go, share the Good News with the world that hates Him, and by proxy– hates us. Share the Good News that they don’t have to serve hatred any longer, they can have His free gift of Eternal Salvation. Before meeting Jesus, after allowing Jesus to give freedom is like night and day. It’s like shackles and freedom, caged and free, oppressed and… free.
Mind-blowing, am I right? The human mind cannot even fathom what that means, and so many reject it because it sounds far-fetched and unbelievable.
We need God to empower us to demonstrate that reality of Jesus.
Where does the neat and tidy American church service infuse that empowerment?
We will never find that power on our own, within ourselves, to reach out to a torture victim. Because they do exist– in America.
How can we help rescue someone’s mind who has been trapped in human slavery– because, again, that exists inside of America.
Jesus left Heaven to be born as a human to walk with us, so He could rescue us– heart, mind and soul. Not just our soul. Not just physical and heart healing.
He came to set the captives free.
Where are we most held captive?
In our minds.
How can we ever be ready to help people get free from the ugly hatred of the world if we stay focused on “what Jesus has done for me“? Those trapped don’t care what He has done for me. They need Him to help them, and they need us to stand in the gap while He sets them free.
“For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.” John 3:17 (NASB)
“So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.” John 8:36