Hebrews 12:1...lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
No one likes to play church. Either God shows up or we just go through the motions. Sometimes church is a zoom into the heavenlies and other times it is slogging through the Serengeti Desert. I wish I knew how to make every service a “zoom,” but I have never found the solution or the formula. As the Africans say, God is God!”
There are just so many things in life that defy organization, orderliness, and function the way we want it to. We read books, read the Bible, attend seminars and conferences in the hope of finding answers. We certainly learn more, do better, more efficient, more sensitive, but God is God and He will take our best formulas and dash them to the ground like throwing a fine crystal goblet on cement. Our plans and expectations are shattered.
We really want a God who is predictable. It would be nice to be able to know that if you do “A” then “B” would automatically happen. We read our books and the author gives us a fine algebraic formula that has A+B=C. Yes, we have it. If we just plug faith into A and add B will get C. Well, sometimes.
God’s people become agitated, discouraged, and flat out hostile sometimes when the formula does not work. We want a God who is predictable. The problem with predictability is that it leads to lifeless, faithless living. It allows for sterile, uninvolved, liturgical religion.
In daily relationships, no one wants to be taken for granted. Families are great schools of learning. Never does a formula work with rearing children. If you have more than one, you will find that the approach may require a totally different way to reach the second child and on and on as you have more. Each child has their own life and relationship with the parent. Rue the parent that thinks the same formula will work for all.
And then how about the wife? No woman wants to be taken for granted. And just when you think you have her figured out, you fail miserably and things that once worked, now will not. No wife wants to be a roboton that responds to the same input the same way each time. Flowers might be an endearment one time and the next, yeh, what did you do wrong? The same applies to husbands. No one wants to be figured out and manipulated.
Playing church is when you think that you have God figured out. Then He just shows you that you do not. The hymn, the song, that took the congregation into the heavenlies last week, may leave you dry and comfortless this week. The prayer that moved mountains last week, may this week lack the power to move an ant hill. The sermon that brought people to the altar last week, may in another venue or time, be lifeless and touch no one.
While we are a spirit filled church, it does not mean that we have to have three prophecies to qualify. There can be times when there is quiet, no prophecies, no tongues, or any other demonstration. Church is the gathering of the saints to allow Jesus to be present however He chooses that particular time. We sometimes are awed that worship is so good that we do not preach. What if the word was so good that we did not sing? The Quakers of old would sit and wait till God did something. I am not necessarily advocating that approach, but there is something to be said for flowing with God.
I have been at this for a lot of years. I have been in more church services probably than anyone in the church. I have seen the good, the bad, and the ugly. I have been exhilarated and bored. I have heard messages that have inspired me and others that have nauseated me. I have been anointed to the place that I thought God was going to take me home and have been in some meetings that were so dead that I thought the grim reaper was leading the service.
But I keep going back. I keep looking for the ZOOM. Because when the zoom hits, the bad and the ugly go away. I have learned you do not think that you have God figured out. You go with the flow as best you can, steward what you can, and be surprised when it really is a ZOOM.