>Vanilla Worship

>Yes, its been two months. Sorry. All four of you who read this.

Since my last update, we’ve ended the school year, graduated a great class of kids, I’ve been to Uplift at Harding University, and Abby has finished her summer clinic rotation.  We leave for South Dakota in four days, and that will begin our whirlwind tour of this great nation of ours.  Hopefully I’ll be able to post some great things about our travels, but let’s be honest: I don’t update so well.

Uplift was a fantastic experience.  I got to know a bunch of the kids at Sugar Grove really well, met some incredible people like our counselor, Goldfish (a.k.a. Trever), and really got the spiritual boost I need to jumpstart into summer.  Being a teacher has it’s benefits, like summers off, but it also means lots of free time by myself when Abby is so busy, so I’ve had to find ways to keep myself busy, and constantly napping just won’t cut it.  I got a ton of great books at Harding and I’ve been hacking away at some other books I’ve had throughout the year, so it was a great starting point.

Something struck me as we were sitting in worship one night, hands and voices raised to our God in praise.  Every camp has its spiritual high, and every youth ministry has its “don’t let it end here guys” speech, which inevitably fails miserably.  I think I found one of the key culprits for that failure, and it may cause some of you to stop reading, respecting, or even acknowledging me: Church.

Now, I’m sure there are some angry thoughts swirling through your head right now, but hear me out.  Our kids, and even the adults, at camp are immersed in worship. We get up praising God, we learn about Him, we fellowship with likeminded people, we worship some more, and then (at Uplift at least) we have multiple baptisms and everyone is just soaking in the Spirit.  And then, after five days of camp, we come home, the vibes start to fade, and then we hit Sunday morning worship and it just falls flat.  We are used to vibrancy and life, excitement and passion, and for most of us in the CoC, normal Sundays just don’t deliver that. We stand when we are told to stand, we sit when we are told to sit, we pray (or “pray”) when others pray, we absorb or deflect the message, and then we figure out where to eat lunch.  After the high of camp, church can be incredibly deflating.

Here’s the goofy thing though: that’s how it should be every week.  We should be so moved by the Spirit that amazing, unbelievable things happen throughout the week, and we have this immense build up and we just can’t wait to get to Sunday mornings to tell everyone about it, and then we’re confined by this building and this structure and formality and we’re literally bursting at the seams to get back out into the world and let God shine His glory all over this mess once again!  Can you see it? Sunday morning should be the most boring part of our week!  Christ didn’t do His miracles primarily in the temple; He did them amongst the people.  There’s a reason Eutychus fell asleep listening to Paul in Acts 20–teaching is all fine and dandy, but God shows His power outside those walls.  I certainly can’t think of any story in the Bible that starts with “after an orderly worship service and an altar call…”

We need the church for support and rejuvenation, but to rely on a Sunday service to get us through the week is preposterous.  If anything, we should rely on the week to get us through Sunday, so we can get back out and experience God in the world.  Imagine a world where camp isn’t a spiritual high, but church is a spiritual low!

That’s certainly a situation God can work with.

“Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through Him, as you yourselves know.”  Acts 2:22


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