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Expecting God?

October 25, 2014

Not long ago I went to a Jace Everett concert. He was on his UK tour and I was excited to finally get to see and hear him live. I went to that concert with real expectation of loving the music and having a great time. I was a little disappointed with the support acts but not by Jace Everett himself. He was even better live that he was on any of his albums – the music was brilliant but even better he was a great entertainer too. He involved the whole audience – we got involved and together made the concert even better.

Last week I went to see Graham Kendrick and again I had real expectations of that evening. I was expecting great music and Spirit filled worship. I had great expectations and again I was not disappointed. Again Graham involved everyone there and as we joined him in worship we were lifted high in the Spirit. Graham Kendrick wasn’t just giving we were all giving into a common act of celebration and praise.

In both cases I could have sat there and listened politely to the music, perhaps giving a restrained clap every now and again. But if I had then both of those evenings would have been pretty dull. In both cases the music would have been good but I believe that in both cases it was better for me and all of the others joining in. That is the magic of live music. That is the difference between listening or singing, and truly worshipping God.

It is normal to have expectations and hopes when I go to places, it’s normal. But is it normal for worship, normal worship, Sunday by Sunday? Whether I am leading or in the congregation do I always go expecting to encounter God? Do I expect to join the worship of the angels in heaven? Do I expect that my joy and tears will be echoed in heaven? Do I expect my presence in church to make any difference at all? Do I expect to give of myself every time?

I would love to say, ‘yes’ to all of those questions, all of the time. I know that I should go expectant but sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I’m dry. Sometimes I go because I feel that I should; when I really just want another hour in bed.

Sometimes this happens and I go without expectations. Sometimes I go and I keep myself to myself (perhaps when on holiday). Then there is the real danger that I will go home as flat as I went. I’ve found that when I don’t go to worship expecting to meet Christ, then I’m more likely to do just that – not meet Christ. Sometimes Christ reaches through my reluctance and touches me anyway. But often when I don’t go expecting to meet with Jesus, I miss him somehow, perhaps he slipped out before I got the chance to speak with him.

That’s why I always try to go to worship expecting God to speak, expecting the Spirit to flow, expecting to meet with Jesus. Then I have my eyes and ears and heart open to God’s voice and I can then receive from him. I also find that when I go expecting God, I go ready to contribute to the worship. Whether I’m leading or not I go ready to join in with the prayers, to be there in the sermon, and I also have the chance of being really open to receive Christ in the bread and the wine.

I’ve found that like going to a concert, worship isn’t a passive activity. When I join with everyone – then together we really join our hearts and minds and spirit’s together with the Spirit. In worship I am taken up with my brothers and sisters right into the heart of God. Through Christ I say that my prayer and worship bring me into the ‘Holy of Holies’ before the throne of heaven, into the presence of the living God. I say it and believe it. I have faith, but I still need more faith to fully claim that reality.

I remember the prayer in Mark 9:24 and I pray to Jesus, “I do believe, help me to overcome my unbelief”.

I know that Christ is coming. I need to expect him now- then I will have the faith to expect Jesus’ return and be ready to welcome him without fear.

I pray that I can come expectant to worship: Live an expectant life: Expect Christ to come.

I pray, Maranatha, Come Lord Jesus.

Amen. Come Lord Jesus.

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