On February 19th Pasadena held the Rock’n’Roll marathon. I woke up later than normal and realized that I needed to leave at about 8:30 to make it to church on time and I wasn’t ready until 8:45 (which is when I usually leave). So on this day I worshiped from home. Luckily my church (Hrock) has Hrock live (streaming of the worship service) so I really did worship from home.
The trick about worshiping from home is really bringing your worship. Just like in the worship service you could choose to just watch and not participate. You have to choose to participate. You have to choose to worship. I sang my heart out and I’m sure I annoyed my roommate and the other apartment that shares my bedroom wall but I decided to participate in worship even though I wasn’t at the auditorium today.
Today in the small group prayer time where we prayed for our needs I tried to think about what my needs were: sadness of Grandma Shirley, protection over my family both immediate and everyone else too, continued health, and a job. Also help with the teaching this afternoon. I prayed all of this with my hand over my heart and really asked God for help like Che and Sue asked us to. I may not be in the room but I am still communing with God and asking for his help this afternoon as we commune with God to help others get healing.
Then we sang one of my favorite songs “He Loves.” We even sang my least favorite lyric “heaven meets earth like a sloppy wet kiss.” I thanked God for the money I received this week and promised to make my tithe next week.
This is not to say that there isn’t a difference from worshiping from home because there is. You miss the atmosphere of the room and there is a tendency to want to either surf the web or lay in bed and worship. I had to fight these pretty hard. In worship these aren’t the distractions but that doesn’t mean I don’t get distracted. When I am on site my distractions include: worrying about the teaching later on, making sure I’ve done all my homework and so forth. There are always distractions but you have to decide not to be distracted from them and sometimes you just have to tell yourself that maybe this Sunday you just try to give to God and try not to focus on getting something.
Worship can be disappointing if your entire focus is on what you can get out of it. So today I tried to focus every song on giving to God. And if I got something from it good and if not that was okay as well because the focus is on giving to God and not on what I get from it. Isn’t that what worship is supposed to be about?
The message today was on the Holy Spirit. It was all about the things I think are weird. So I found it to be very interesting. What I took away from the service was: be open to it. I am often closed off to the Holy Spirit at least in the ways that I find weird. Che stressed the need to not do this. I need to stop focusing on how weird something is and instead focus on what God is doing in that.
I usually look at a manifestation and think, “Gee that’s weird. Lord please don’t do that to me” and I’m also thinking “why isn’t that happening to me?.” I’m fickle. I love that God gives me pictures and I thank God for that and in some ways that was totally weird when it started happening. I actually thought I might have had a brain tumor. God opened my heart to what the Spirit was going to do with me. Maybe I’m not open to more or maybe I’m not ready for more. Truth is until I can believe that those “weird” manifestations are real I probably won’t get more. Because I’m not open to it. Like Che said this morning, if it happens I’m more likely to rationalize it or intellectualize it than to actually accept it.
So Lord today I ask that you continue to open my heart and mind to the “weird” manifestations. Lord that I may not judge others but that I would be able to see you in them and to see you do the work within them. Lord open my heart to your works and my ears to your words. May today be the starting point of your teaching within the “weird” manifestations and may I work to learn from you. Amen.
All in all a good worship service. I do wish I had woken up earlier and made it to the service on site but I’m glad I was able to worship from home as well.