Last Sunday I attended a different church. It was weird to say the least. It felt strange and I felt awkward. I was unaccustomed to being at the mercy of some one else’s leadership. It wasn’t a bad thing; it was a weird thing.

The preacher leading the worship was enthusiastic and energized. He was prayed up, fired up, and lifted up. The thing I appreciated most about the church is that there were no clocks in the building. No one was worried about how long worship lasted or what direction it took once it started. They were there to worship not to be seen. In fact, as I read over their six page bulletin, I didn’t even see an order of worship. Mostly, it was six pages of prayer requests.

The preacher said several good things that morning but I have to say that I appreciated most this comment which I will paraphrase:

The problem with the church is that most folks think of it in the wrong way. Take ships for example. Most people get up and think that the church is a cruise ship. There everyone will be waited on hand and foot, drinks will be poured whenever they snap their fingers, and they will be entertained for an hour or so. After all, that’s what they have paid for.

But that is not what the church is, and certainly not how we should be thinking.

Instead we should be thinking of the church as a battle ship: And we are coming on board, at the invitation of The Captain, to get our orders.

That is brilliant, and true. It was the single best illustration I heard all morning (and the morning was nearly 2 hours!).

The church we worshiped with did things differently than I was accustomed to. I’m used to an order, a live band, a manuscripted sermon, a couple of cursory prayers, clocks (or people with them) and some well-timed responses from the people in the chaise lounge chairs pews. Instead, we prayed, we sang, we listened to a very poor sermon that I thought would never end (and yet we hung on every word because it was The Word), we prayed over people who would be leaving on other journeys, we didn’t even hear from the senior minister because the worship was conducted nearly entirely by the congregation, we were concerned about the Lord, and we fellowshiped in love.

In fact, these folks were so concerned about attending the Lord in worship that they didn’t even pass the plate for an offering. They trusted the Lord to provide. No offering was even taken.

That was a congregation preparing to do battle. That was a church ready for her orders. That was a church blessed because they knew that the Jesus Way is not just about showing up (at church), but about being (the church). These are people who know that the Jesus way is not a cruise ship chugging along for some distant, exotic port but a battle ship preparing to engage the enemy on his open water.

Soli Deo Gloria!

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This entry was posted on Saturday, August 1st, 2009 at 10:56 am and is filed under Church and Society, Devotional. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
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6 Comments(+Add)

1   jay (aka j)    http://www.urgentprayers.com
August 1st, 2009 at 3:40 pm

that sounds like a good church you went to.

I BTW wish more churches were passion-filled with prayer like that church you mentioned is.

prayer is somewhat neglected by many churches nowadays

in the name of getting onto other things.

and I wish there was more prayer by christians and in churches.

There is nothing more important in our relationship with God than prayer and worship

2   jay (aka j)    http://www.urgentprayers.com
August 1st, 2009 at 3:44 pm

in case anyone was confused on what I was saying.

i meant to say,

I wish more churches were filled with passion and understand the importance of prayer.

prayer is something we as christians should be doing more of now more than ever.

—————————

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus”

(Philippians 4:6-7).

3   jay    
August 1st, 2009 at 6:02 pm

out of curiousity:

what was the sermon about?

4   Jerry    http://www.dongoldfish.wordpress.com
August 1st, 2009 at 6:56 pm

Honor.

It’s not that the subject matter was terrible. It just wasn’t particularly meaty. And it was particularly long. I listened and he did have some important things to say–especially about honoring our leaders.

It was a good morning and I enjoyed being anonymous for a change.

Thanks Jay for stopping by.

5   Joe C    
August 1st, 2009 at 7:16 pm

It’s fun to be a by-stander every once and a while. It’s good to know a pastor would do that Jerry. I bet you learned a lot.

6   Jerry    http://www.dangoldfinch.wordpress.com
August 1st, 2009 at 7:21 pm

Joe,

Indeed. Indeed.

jerry