Tuesday, 5 August 2008

5 sermons that changed my life NUMBER 3

This is getting tough now. I am building up to "number one" which is a no brainer to choose, but the rest are vying with each other for importance.

The next one wasn't even a sermon as such, but rather a "seminar". David Holden, Brighton Conference 2007, and for once you can actually listen to it if you want to here.

Now this stirred something in me, not just for the merits of the content of the talk itself, but for what God was, and is doing in me, at the time I heard it and through to the present.

Rob Rufus was speaking at the conference regarding the work of the Holy Spirit and even though I didn't engage with everything he said there was a real sense of God stirring something of a desire for His glory, for His presence.

Dave Holden had come to speak at our regional celebration meeting (A termly meeting of the churches in Shrewsbury, North Shrewsbury, Wrexham, Stafford, Rugeley and Telford) and had given a similar encouragement / challenge / provocation which the seminar added to.

- Are we "charismatic" because we have a "contemporary style" or because the "charismata" are present? Is it guitars and PA systems or spiritual gifts that really express the presence of God?

- Are "prophecies" and "words of knowledge" becoming just too fluffy and huggy to bring about any real consequence? God does love and care for us - wonderful - but what about stuff that is more directional, more challenging, even rebuking. Why is that becoming rare?

- Is the full weight of the bible behind the words given? Could we aim for more public reading of scripture as God puts in on our hearts?

- Where are tongues and interpretations? Paul gives instructions for when there are many at one time, not irregular and from the same people every time.

- Do we "perform" worship or do we sing out psalms, hymns and spiritual songs? That is a question for the congregation as much as the worship band. Is it too prescribed, too closed?

- Is the way we "do" worship times too restrictive? When is the last time someone other than a worship leader has started a new song? How can we all be more deeply involved in shaping the time of worship?

- Has our worship become so focussed on "music" that there is less room for other forms of expression?

These are all open questions.

I see cell groups as an opportunity for people to express some of these things more fully in a smaller, safer context. But I want to see these things in the wider settings too.

I guess the underlying question is this: Has the thirty five minutes of 1970s "soft rock" songs that so defines many charismatic churches actually become a blockage to the work of the spirit in our meetings? Has the very thing the "new wineskin" of the charismatic movement sought to redefine itself from actually re-occurred but just in a more contemporary way? Are we charismatic because we sing Matt Redman or because we exercise spiritual gifts?

For example, I know I have the gift of tongues and interpretation but have only used it twice in public meetings in the last twelve months and not on a Sunday morning. This sermon / talk / provocation remains outstanding in my life - and that is why it ranks in this list, because the challenge of it pursues me and keeps calling me to account.


Gareth Le Long-McKean said...


Great blog

Totally agree, sung worship has got so dull. Worship's become a product, a commodity we buy and sell in a nice little plastic case. It's become too safe, too narrow, a spectator sport rather than a lifestyle.

As a worship leader I find it so easy to go into default mode and sing those 70's soft rock, Coldplay type song. It's actually quite nice for me that 'Worship' is predictable, makes life easy :)

Regarding Redman, check out the link on my blog, http://garethlelong-mckean.blogspot.com/2007/05/redman-overdose.html

Blue, with a hint of amber said...

It is the "gig" type mentality which grates with the passages I read in the New Testament Church.

This gives rise to comments like "I didn't get a lot from the worship today"

I read of people bundling over each other to bring prophecy and speak in tongues so more order has to be brought! Now that sounds a bit more exciting!

Anonymous said...

We seam to be going off on a few different subjects here

so first prophecy it should be as described - challenging, rebuking, encouraging and moving people on.

See my blog http://beatthedrum.wordpress.com/2008/08/06/a-word-from-on-high-or-last-nights-dodgy-take-away-curry/

on my thoughts of this.

As for worship i am not sure where I stand, Sometimes 'gigg' worship can be fantastic as seen at Yfriday concerts or planetshaker giggs. Often though local churches cannot pull this off due to lack of PA, good musicians and half the congregation shouting TURN IT DOWN !!

For me worship is about passion for Jesus and Father. Its something I put into not if i get something out of it then its a bonus. Its about me prasing and worshiping the God most high and my Saviour.

If you want something out of worship then your heart is not right.

Rant over

Blue, with a hint of amber said...

"If you want something out of worship theny our heart is not right"

Fully agree!

See number two in my series of sermons!

Huw said...

Dave - good stuff, this. As a worship leader, obviously there are issues about key, other musos coping with it, etc. BUT these are minor things compared with people just starting singing. In fact it is probably easier in the whole-church context because you can get hold of the words more easily (may not be available in the cell sheets!). Certainly, if you have a reasonably skilled worship leader, at least one of the musicians should be able to accompany, but if not, the spontaneous songs should happen anyway! Give it a go! Encourage it!

As for the gig thing, it is quite hard to avoid - you have musicians trying to improve their musicianship, which leads to more professionalism, all of which can be seen as exclusive in some way if we are not careful.

Now, about tambourines in church....!

Blue, with a hint of amber said...

Thanks Huw.

You know, it is really interesting, reading back at this list.

We have recently had some singing of psalms, some prophetic songs, some very moving spontaneous congregational singing (like this last Sunday) and also quite a bit of reading scripture during the worship.

That is really encouraging.

Still lots to explore though.