Bible Study

After The Commotion

When I get up in the morning, I grab my coffee and iPad and check into Facebook and Twitter just like I used to open up the newspaper before technology changed my morning routine.

Today, one of the first things I see is a quote by A.W. Tozer, “A church fed on excitement is no New Testament church at all. The desire for surface stimulation is a sure mark of the fallen nature, the very thing Christ died to deliver us from.”

Wow! A simple statement carrying the blinding flash of the obvious!

In many evangelical churches today, loud music, strobe lights, pulsating drumbeats and emotional euphoria is often mistaken for a movement of the Holy Spirit. If these elements are not present, then congregants often feel something is missing from the service. I know many people who attend a certain church because almost every service is the end result of an almost drug-like “high.”

Now, I’m not saying anything against energetic worship of the Lord. I love worship music, voices lifted in praise and lifting holy hands unto the Lord. However, it is sometimes hard to discern whether the venue is a church or rock concert hall. The music has such a powerful impact on those in attendance and bring the excitement level to a fever pitch, opening minds and hearts to whatever is spoken.

In many churches, musicians and singers seem to no longer lead worship but simply take the stage for another performance week after week.

Some pastors even think that the louder they yell, the more aggressive they are, the greater their anointing. Sometimes in those messages, the Holy Spirit is present. But sometimes it is just noise.

On the day of Pentecost after the ascension of Jesus, the Comforter that He had promised made an entrance into the souls of those gathered in the Upper Room with great noise as a “rushing mighty wind” and filled their hearts with such joy and anointing that they rushed out into the streets speaking with holy boldness and new tongues. The noise of that day was fruitful and Holy Spirit ordained.

I have to consider the great prophet Elijah. Queen Jezebel hated Elijah with a murderous passion.  She sent a messenger to him that she was going to kill him the following day and he was forced to flee for his life. He fled into the wilderness and sat down under a bush. He prayed to die with the words, “I have had enough.” (1 Kings 19:4 NIV).

Elijah journeyed to Mount Horeb, the mount of God, and there he entered into the solitude of a cave where God spoke, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” (1 Kings 19:9) Elijah poured out his heart to the Lord, he cried out the sins of his people and lamented the contract on his own life.

Then God called Elijah out of the darkness of the cave and into the light where Elijah would experience the true presence of the Lord.

We read in 1 Kings 19:11-12:

  • 11.  And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake:
  • 12.  And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still, small voice.

Commotion. God was not in the aimless turmoil of the wind, earthquake and fire. He was not in the fruitless commotion.

If we look for God in pointless noise, strobe lights, drum beats, screaming voices and commotion without a spirit-filled purpose, you won’t find Him there.

Sometimes we must be quiet. Listen. It is in the silence that you will hear the still, small voice.

Be blessed today, my friends, and if I don’t meet you again here, I hope to meet you over there!

Mimi

 

4 thoughts on “After The Commotion

  1. “loud music, strobe lights, pulsating drumbeats and emotional euphoria is often mistaken for a movement of the Holy Spirit.” I love this statement, and the last: “you won’t find Him there. Be quiet. Listen. It is in the silence that you will hear the still, small voice.” Well said, and I so agree. My grandpa belonged to the old southern style church that made a lot of commotion to invite the spirit in. I am so glad I/we don’t need to shout and scream for the spirit to feel welcome.

  2. I can see what you’re saying but I very respectfully disagree! Weird because I pretty much just wrote the opposite of this. Hopefully, you’re fine with my disagreeing?! Sorry if not, don’t mean to insult. I was raised in a very quiet, conservative, Mennonite Brethren Church and it was it certainly quiet. Life was quiet. Church was quiet. The pastor was polite. I’ve attended every church in-between trying to find where I belonged. I’ve been to churches that were just loud. They had beautiful marketing, the worship band was on-key and rocking, the Pastor’s message was very good but the Holy Spirit just wasn’t there. As I said, I’ve also been in quiet churches and the Holy Spirit wasn’t necessarily there either. My two favourite churches are this little tiny, small one I attended with only 50 people and the other is the one I go to now- Hillsong. Loud. Lots of lights. But the Holy Spirit is there. They say the sign for the Holy Spirit is the Wild Goose because the Spirit is Wild and cannot be caged. I think that’s what it is for church too. It’s not about the lights or the noise, though I can see how those would be distracting! It’s whether the Holy Spirit is there or not. The Holy Spirit is not always quiet- but He can be. He can also be passionate. He can be wild. He can be both comforting and overwhelming at the same time. God speaks to us in the quiet places as you said- I totally agree but I also think we need that Holy Spirit fire running through our veins every once in awhile. Every good thing from God Satan has tried to turn around for his own purposes of destruction- why not a high? Look how many people salve their pain with drugs and an unnatural high. Sex is a natural high from God that chemically bonds two people in love and has the power to procreate. Imagine what a “high” from the Holy Spirit of God can produce 🙂 Anyway! That’s my very long-ish two cents! Everyone’s needs are met from God differently.

    1. Great points, Leah. My issue is with those who believe that if there isn’t the loud music, pulsating drum beats and wild abandon in worship, the Holy Spirit isn’t present. I know people who leave a worship service saying the service was “dead” because the music wasn’t to their liking or the performance wasn’t as action-oriented or entertaining. The Holy Spirit is, indeed, manifested in a variety of ways but we always need to listen carefully for His voice whether in the midst of noise He quietly speaks to our spirit or in the silence of the cave. Sometimes loud music, pulsating drum beats and wild abandon are just that and as children of God, we need to be able to discern the difference between that and the actual Holy Spirit.

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