The church is meant to be a living expression of a living gospel. The church was never meant to be a gathering of people gathered to consume truth and leave.
This "by standing gospel" reminds me of our fascination with online shopping, where we save God in our own little digital shopping cart and decide if we want to engage and be part of the greater experience of knowing Jesus, His fullness, His truth, His presence and His community, ...here on earth and in the moment.
The modern church has acquired a consuming mindset and a worship deficit. We cannot bring truth to bear in real life, if we are simply watching church, watching the singing and listening to teaching.
We have a crisis of worship.
Yes, we have a crisis of worship with our singing, our preferences, our well-meaning judgments, our by-standing, and our consumerism, but we also have a crisis of worship in our hearts. This crisis is not denominational, nor location specific, it is not online or in any particular room.
It is heart specific.
If we want to unleash the gospel in our churches then we must unleash our worship with the practical, living, singing, praying, weeping, rejoicing truth of the gospel. This cannot merely be spoken, it must be lived, spoken and sung, it must be alive and unbound. It must be beating in our hearts and running through our veins.
Glorifying Jesus in "all the things going on in our lives" is paramount to living our spoken gospel.
God is always activating transformation in us and among us.
He always brings things to life when he is present.
He is present in us.
This active gospel is so much more than a few songs, offering, announcements, the spoken word and maybe an ending song that we all hope we recognize from our past. It goes beyond atmosphere, lighting, age of our leaders, styles of our music and our modern box checking view of church.
If we are to change the culture, then our own hearts must break for the things of God to spring up in our hearts and manifest themselves in our relationships, behaviors, and lives.
We must be bold enough remove the "rules" that keep us bound in ritual and consumerism.
We must come to church with a transformed mindset.
We must come inviting the living Christ to be manifest through us, even though we come with our earthbound limitations.
Regardless, we come.
We come to worship whether hungry, broken, full, in need, at rest, restless, expectant, obedient, waiting, watching, listening, hoping, dreaming, but expectant and ready for anything that God wants to do.
There is a journey to wholeness in Christ. It looks like surrender and manifests itself in discipleship, invitation and replication.
It begins with surrendering our time to His timing, our talents to His mission, and our treasures to His kingdom.
These are the signposts of transformed people.
When we understand our identity in Christ, then we can embrace our sovereignly initiated vision to gather and unleash the power of God inside of us. This beckons us to glorify, magnify and lift high God's power and God's own sacrificial vision for the lost to be found, for the found to become unbound, and the unbound to become living worshipers on mission, wherever they are planted.
We gather to declare that we part of the divine invitation to freedom and life, no longer slaves.
We gather to be reminded that we are free.
We come to prophesy, which simply means that we declare what is to come.
We believe it and we declare it again and again.
Worship must be a priority.
It goes before and comes behind our beliefs and puts skin on the dry bones of our hearts.
13 The Lord says: “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught.
The hand of the Lord was on me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. 2 He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. 3 He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?”
I said, “Sovereign Lord, you alone know.”
4 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord!5 This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath[a] enter you, and you will come to life. 6 I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’”
7 So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone.8 I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them.
9 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath;prophesy, son of man, and say to it, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come, breath, from the four winds and breathe into these slain, that they may live.’” 10 So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet—a vast army.
11 Then he said to me: “Son of man, these bones are the people of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.’12 Therefore prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: My people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel. 13 Then you, my people, will know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves and bring you up from them. 14 I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the Lordhave spoken, and I have done it, declares the Lord
21 “Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22 You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”