Life, Faith and Urban Farming

The life and happenings of an unconventional pastor and urban farmer living in the city with a family of five.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Encountering God in Worship

Yesterday I took the advise of BJ, my co-worker with the Open Door, to download the emergent podcast series with Miroslov Volf. Dr. Volf is a Croatian professor at Yale Divinity School. He was one of Tony Jones' (National Coordinator of Emergent US) professors when Tony was in undergrad.

One statement that Volf made about worship particularly impacted me. In the first episode, among many other things, Volf said that he chose to be a part of the Episcopal church because he felt their worship was designed as times where people meet God. Volf said that many of the churches he's been to and particularly the sermons he'd heard were nothing more than pop-psychology, a simple self-help on how to be a better person. These worship gatherings had little to do with encountering the triune God, rather they were about making you feel a little guilty about something that you need to change or do better in your life. Or they were just about making you feel good.

When was the last time you encountered God in worship? When was the last time you really KNEW the Holy Spirit in worship? At the Open Door we want people to encounter God in worship, but I don't know if we get it right all the time. Sometimes I know we do. On the other hand, I don't think we can "design" God into worship. It's definitely not like if we get the music just right and the multisensory aspects of worship connected just right to the sermon that the Holy Spirit is somehow automatically engaged. I think true worship happens when people come to worship God in Spirit and in truth; when we come together as a community with our defenses down and our expectation that God wants to connect with His people in a powerful way. True worship happens when we all come to worship for no reason but to WORSHIP. When we leave our expectations and our hopes to have some powerful experience behind and simply come together to give to God what is God's we find ourselves in God's presense and ready to be transformed by the action of the Word - Jesus Christ.


Jeff Broderick said...

Over the past 1 1/2 years I have been getting deeper and deeper in my Christian walk. In fact probably a lot of you may have even noticed my approach on speaking about God, and Godly things even changed some. Well there is something happening that all should be told. PLEASE listen because this is very important.

In the world of Christianity there is a huge movement being made. It is called the Emerging or Emergent Church movement. This movement is the biggest movement ever in Christianity. What is really happening is written in the book of Revelations. For any of you that want to see a Biblical Prophecy unfolding. Go read Revelations I think it is Chapter 13. It speaks of the One World Religion, as well as a One World Government, and Bank System as well. My friends the Emergent Church Movement is the begining of this prophecy being fulfilled. Let me explain why it makes since, and who I would have to say appears to be Huge players in this, and maybe even the Anti-christ himself.

The Emergent Church has also been seen under the term Modern Church, or Seeker Sensitive Church is also a big name it calls itself. What this movement has been doing is disguising itself as Christianity. However what it has really done is, watered down the Gospel, built itself upon tolerance, preaches peace joy love and happiness. It is also now moving into much more dangerous areas. It is now starting to teach that contemplative prayer or silencing. It is begining to introduce Universalism throughout it. Universalism and Christianity are a contradiction to one another. Now do not get me wrong, Peace, Love Joy and Happiness are true legit fruits of the spirit BUT They are a RESULT of having a true conversion and being born again. It is not that those feelings make a RESULT of being saved, as they like to preach. Within the Emergent Church there are key component that are missing. The Biggest is the Gospel. These Churches they do not speak of words such as; Judgement, Righteousness, Eternal Torment, Hell, Repentance, The 10 Commandments. How can you preach the Gospel without these things? The other thing you will see within the Emergent Church is that they do not preach from the Bible. They instead tell stories, and every now and then will quote a verse that ties into their cute story. You see they use psychology and self esteem preaching so you leave there going "WOW that place is wonderful, it is so spirit filled", or you would say exactly what they were designed to make you say. "WOW I did not know church could be so cool, man it was like we were not even at a church". Well I will tell you there is a simple reason why watching an Emergent Service does not feel like being in church. The reason is because IT IS NOT being in church. My friends do not be fooled.

Now Key Players. First let me tell you how close to this subject I am. Some of you may recall a thread a while back that I showed you the Church i was going to. Well this Church is one of the biggest players in this Movement. It is Willow Creek Community Church, head Pastor and a Leader of this movement is Bill Hybels. I was a member there for years and was even a youth pastor there. Many are and will be blinded, I thank God for showing me the truth. Ok soem other Key players would be Brian Mclaren, Joel Olsteen, Andy Stanley, Rick Warren, Rob Bell, Robert Schuller and many other well known pastors. Now for the Biggie, this is the one that (well i am not saying he is, so do not Tag me on this), but some big signs that he could be the Anti-christ is Bono of U2. Yes when you are done laughing I will tell you do your research before scoffing at this comment. Bono is a very influential person all over the world. He has met with all the most powerful leaders and they have all befriended him. He preaches Universalism which says "All roads lead to God" and will be the One World Religion the Bible speaks of. At his last concert he held up a sign that said COEXIST: The C was a half crescent moon for the sign of Islam, the X was the star of David for the Jewish symbol and the T was the cross for Christianity. He began chanting MUHAMMED, JEW, JESUS ALL TRUE. and he began chanting over and over while thousands began joining in. Now is this just Bono showing off or is it deeper, while I looked into it and found out, that he is not only going to be one of the Lead speakers at The World Leadership conference that is hosted by Bill Hybels and Willow Creek Church, but he is also been named as the President of the new World Bank, and now a winner of Nobel Peace Prize. Well he sure would fit the bill. The Anti-christ is going to diguise himself behind , Peace...Joy...Love...and Tolerance. It is going to look good and will Appeal as the Bible says to people, but my friends do not be decieved.

To any Christians that maybe at or were saved at an Emergent Church. I just want to say 2 things. First I was right there with you at the biggest one on the country for years. Now I was not saved there, because I was saved very young before ever experiencing a seeker sensitive church. But I do know many that are truly saved and that is the only church they had been to. So I am not saying you can not be saved there, because God can save you anywhere, it does not matter where you are. What I am saying is that their message is not Biblical, this is NOT "Our Best Life Now" our best life is the one to come. The Bible does not speak the Health, Wealth, Prosperity that this Movement teaches it speaks of hard times, and trials, persecution. We Have 400,000 missionaires in Africa right now, locked up in a freight car being tortured and executed, we have another 200,000 in Korea in what is being called a concentration camp. My friends the Gospel of Jesus Christ is not to be taken lightly and peace, joy, love and happiness, is not the theme of it. This is what our brothers and sisters are dieing for, do not be decieved. Amen!!

John said...

I included the "comment" (which is 10X as long as my post!) for the sheer enjoyment of reading it.

Who knows, maybe Bono is the anti-Christ. But I'm quite sure that Bill Hybels is not the clandestined leader of the Emerging Church.

wanttoworship said...

Need fresh ideas? Tap into Baloche, Fitts, Boschman, Garlington and Hayford. Attend this year’s International Worship Institute.

This year’s International Worship Institute draws on the spiritual gifts of well-known contemporary worship leaders and pastors. How can you have a more Spirit-filled preparation, rehearsal and worship? Attend the workshops and ‘breakout’ sessions to draw on the experience of these speakers as well as those in attendance.

WHEN: July 3-7, 2006
WHERE: Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center, Grapevine

Terry L. Mann said...

John, This same Broderick guy is posting this same exact post - word for word I think - all over the blogsphere. Check this link for another example where he posted it twice!

or here


Sarah Louise said...

Well, um, I just came to the comment box to say that the choice of songs at the OD helps me worship. The song "When all around has fallen" spoke to me all week, and "Be thou my vision" is my absolute favorite. I won't be there this Sunday--I'll be at my parent's church, and I'll miss the worship experience that to me now seems more normal than any other. The prayer stations WORK. Thanks for being part of the worship experience at the OD.

reyes-chow said...

Thanks for your comments and thoughts. While I may disaggree with some of the assumptions you make about the "Movement" that is being called emergent (Not preaching from the Bible, no talk of repentance, wealth and prosperity and central.) I do appreciate the thoughtfullness and passion of the critique.

I would also posit that there are elements of truth in what you say depending on who you talk to and how they live out their lives as part of the "Emergent movement or any other church culture.

Again, thanks for words and contribution to the discourse.