God in a box

Can we contain God?
Can we make Him fit into our preconceived set of expectations?
Does God need a predictable arrangement of circumstances before He can do His work?

If we have a past that includes experiencing God, we sometimes expect Him to do a repeat performance. Maybe a few years ago, God moved in your life in a profound way. Maybe, while that experience was happening, a certain song was playing or maybe a particular preacher was ministering. Maybe you were in a particular location of significance – at a church, at an altar, or out in the woods. So you associate your encounter with God with that place or with that person or with that music. So it is quite natural for you, when desiring some time with God, to gravitate toward that place or that atmosphere. If you could just hear that song, God would make Himself available. If they would only play that style of music, God would be present. If they would just bring back the old altar, then you could really connect with God. If only that evangelist would visit, then everything would be great again, like it once was.

Do we realize that God does not need our nice, neat, predictable little set of perfect circumstances in order to do His work? We try to confine God. We do our best to set up hoops for Him to jump through. And so many times, we refuse to recognize His work unless He does it exactly the way that we want it.

A prime example would be worship music. People sometimes define certain artists or styles of music as “anointed” or “inspired”. While we know that God can certainly bless an individual with a unique effectiveness in music ministry, let’s never make the mistake of assuming that God chooses one style of music over another. It would be nice to hear, for the last time, phrases like, “I just can’t worship to that kind of music”, or “I just wish we would do some new songs at church”, or “the old hymns are more anointed than modern music.” What we are really saying is, “I know that God has the same taste in music that I do. We have to do it my way or God will not even be here!”

Loud or quite, electric or acoustic, bluegrass or jazz…God is to be worshiped. Traditional or contemporary, liturgical or emergent…worship God!

Let’s grow up in our worship. Let’s get to the place that no matter where we are, no matter who is present, no matter what style of ministry that is being utilized, we can honor God with true hearts of worship. Apply Matt Redman’s lyrics from the old classic, Heart of Worship: “I’m sorry Lord for the thing I’ve made it (worship), when it’s all about You, Jesus.”

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