My6inchchallenge's Blog

Tackling difficulties and overcoming the challenges life serves up – by Dona Halliday

Satisfied with a shake and a shout

“What did he say?” I wondered in annoyance. My annoyance was directed at my doctor who insists that my hearing is perfect. Not so. I can hear the noise but sometimes I can’t get the message. If the voice is too deep, or excitement causes it to rise in shouts, as it was in this case, I’d have to wait for an interpreter.

I was in church, no doubt something mighty powerful had been said because most of the congregants were on their feet clapping and shouting, I was still seated. As soon as the person next to me sat down, I turned and asked, “what did he say?” The shrug followed by the I don’t know caused my spirit to sink. This was not the first person or the first time…

I’ve often wondered if preachers and leaders of worship would care. Would they care that people may not be growing because amidst the noise they are missing the development of faith that comes by hearing the word of God? Or would they be satisfied that the response of the people gave the impression that THEIR church “has it going on?”

Would they care if they realized that after many, many years of confessing a relationship with Christ, that His people, like a mother who still hikes her 8-year-old onto her hip and carries her, still have to be told when to shout, what to shout, how to shout it, how long to shout it for, when to lift their hand, how long to do that for, and many people like parrots would repeat anything they are asked without giving much thought to the message they are repeating?

Would they care if they realized that after all the emotionalism, theatrics, shouting, slapping, high fiving, finger snapping, that when their members stepped back into the everydayness of their lives they were still ill-equipped with the faith, power and love to affect change in their world and live holy and righteous lives?

One of the scariest passages in the bible to me is where the Lord says to his people, Israel:
“I hate all your show and pretense—the hypocrisy of your religious festivals and solemn assemblies. I will not accept your burnt offerings and grain offerings. I won’t even notice all your choice peace offerings. Away with your noisy hymns of praise! I will not listen to the music of your harps. Instead, I want to see a mighty flood of justice, an endless river of righteous living.

It is possible to go to church Sunday after Sunday and go through the motions of worshiping God with our lips but have hearts that are far from Him. That’s why I’ve grown to greatly appreciate those who teach the truth of the Word. Those who understand that being satisfied with a shake and a shout produces malnourished, ignorant, unchristlike Christians. Those who do not need to be constantly affirmed by the shouts of their congregants, but have committed themselves to studying and teaching the word and trusting the Holy Spirit to do His work of convicting and convincing God’s people of transformation that needs to take place in their lives.

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4 Comments»

  Royal wrote @

Awesome Perception !!! Its The TRUTH that sets the Captives FREE!! Religion keeps people in Bondage to recieving What GOD Truly wants, Which Is an Intimate Relationship with HIM~Our LOVING FATHER & CREATOR… We should Be So In Love with HIM~That HE Has Our Undivided Attention ~Like the Deer Pants 4 the water brook, Our Soul Longs and Desires YOU O LORD!!!!!!!

  my6inchchallenge wrote @

Indeed Royal. May we seek Him so that our love for Him deepens and may our praise be an outward manifestation of that love.

  Al wrote @

It took me a while to locate the passage from Amos (5:21 – 24) but the strength of the feelings you expressed drove me to find the source. While I absolutely agree and identify with your description of what I will call “worship noise”… I can’t help but wonder whose church you were visiting. I say that because I believe what you described is the rule, not the exception. Study, meditation, growth, and enlightenment are the stuff of Bible classes and personal, prayerful effort. Sooo, I am surprised at your question “would they care”? Clearly, quite often the answer is no, and a loud and noisy No at that!
Your comments are at the heart of the failings ot the Church to prepare the faithful to meet the test… “Everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another”.
Less than Paul’s “…milk…not solid food”, or the misguided efforts in Amos; “noise” is nothing at all… a travesty to worship and Crist-like growth.
Still, even those Teachers who avoid the noise, need to embrace with less equivocation and clutter… “Let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action”.

  my6inchchallenge wrote @

Hi Al. Your thoughtful and very provoking response is greatly appreciated. I’d felt compelled to write a post like this as a follow up to an earlier post “I want to live like my Sunday morning praise” but it’s actually a video of a church service that a facebook friend directed me to that influenced the timing of this post, because it so greatly disturbed my spirit.
I sometimes question certain things in my posts hopefully to stir the mind to think and examine individual behaviors and actions and though I question in this post the hearts of some of the leaders of the church, I pray to God that they do care. That they care about God, His agenda, genuine worship, the truth of God’s word, the growth and transformation of the lives they have been placed as shephards over and definitely that the people who name the name of Christ are conforming to the image of Christ and growing to love like He does.
My post is not meant as a charge against praise and worship within the church, I’ve done enough studies to realize that God loves the genuine, thoughtful praises of his people and in his word encourages the singing of songs, clapping of hands, shouts and even dance are a part of worship. However, I believe individually we have to be vigilant and guard against our worshiping being no more than an emotional high because God always examines our hearts and the Amos text shows that He watches to see that our words are aligned with the way in which we live out our relationship with Him. Unfortunately, there seems to be so many automatic reponses in church with a sought of “Simon says mentally” where actions are copied and instructions to repeat after me followed and the mind seemingly is not really engaged. I believe when the word is being taught that it really needs to be heard and leaders have to value the hearing of the word more than they need to be affirmed. When it comes down to it my prayer is very simple, that God would manifest in my life that which my lips shout. That the way I live out life would bear evidence to His transforming power and my surrendering to that power, so others may see and come to know Him. And this not only for me, but for the entire body of Christ for I believe being satisfied with a shake and a shout is a huge insult to God’s character and his power.
Our individual responsibility reminds intact that we need to set aside personal time to seek God, to grow in our knowledge of Him and understand what He requires of us through prayer, bible study and worship.


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