Some folks sense their church is changing and it troubles them greatly. Some folks feel their church is not changing and it troubles them greatly. What is your take on change in the church? Let me tell you mine: I believe the church should change – must change. Every time it meets.
Unless our time in His presence leaves us changed – ennobled, stronger, in awe, energized, more deeply in love with Jesus – then it has not accomplished all that He intended. God inhabits the praises of His people. (Ps 22:3) As we praise Him then, as we worship Him, that intimacy with the Most High God transforms us. If there is ever a time when there is a corporate glow on the faces of God’s people it is as they rise from their knees from a face-to-face encounter with Him.
In fact, rather than sliding back onto the pew as soon as the last amen of the prayer time dies out, what if the congregation, still kneeling, raised their voices together in an anthem like this one: (I encourage you to sing it right now and envision the picture it paints.)
All hail the power of Jesus’ name, let angels prostrate fall.
Bring forth the royal diadem, and crown Him Lord of all!
How can we come to worship Him and bring any lesser praise?
Often God’s people have been identified as those who don’t. They tend to stick out because they are out of synch with the culture around them. They subscribe to the Scripture counsel, “Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its mold.” (Rom 12:2 MSG)
OK, but we can’t stop doing enough bad things to be declared righteous. It has to be an inside job. It’s His presence that changes us; that’s why we sing, “Take away our bent to sinning…” To repent means more than just asking forgiveness for doing the same vile sin again, it means learning to hate sin as God hates it. Time with Him births that hatred.
When Mrs. Potiphar attempted to lure her houseboy, Joseph, into an illicit tryst, his response was reflexive and firm: “How can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?” (Gen 39) His God-journey had changed him into a victor. Time spent in the presence of God does that. That’s why I’m an advocate for change in the church – every time it meets. Is that happening where you are?