downloadThis past weekend I had the privilege of leading worship both at a Christian ministry event and at my own church. Both worship experiences were powerful, authentic encounters with Almighty God. At the end of one the experiences, a woman came to thank me for our ministry. With heartfelt emotion, she talked about worshipping God. She described her experience of being ushered into the God’s presence as a “whoosh!” as the Holy Spirit enveloped the room and filled her very being.

I loved her description!  I live for the moments when our lives, faith, prayers, preparations, and together-ness intersect with God’s indescribable Presence in worship.  As a leader, I attest that there is no sweeter sound than the sound of God’s people worshiping and then experiencing Him in worship.

Incidentally, no pastor, worship leader, planner, or creative artist can take credit for these moments.  Even with excellent human efforts, the “whoosh” of worship can’t be manufactured or manipulated.  Worship preparations and activities without God’s presence are like a deflated tire: Empty and useless. But when God inhabits our praises, the “whoosh” of worship happens!

In the Book of Acts, chapter 2 describes one experience of the “whoosh” of worship as the Apostles were gathered in one place. I imagine they were praying and waiting in expectation just a few weeks after seeing their risen Lord Jesus Christ. Read what happened next:

“…they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting…All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
Acts 2:2,4

Just as in those days, God still reveals His presence in the whoosh of His Holy Spirit!

A key—no, THE key component of authentic worship is actually experiencing God, on His terms, in His power, and for His purposes. This is both a terrifying and hopeful thing and reminds me that worshiping God should never be downplayed or trivialized.  We should all tremble with fear if our worship gatherings become lifeless religious exercises or mere displays of human abilities and accomplishments.

Think about WHO we come to worship:

•    Almighty God, Who in glory and love created and reigns above all things in perfect power and holiness;
•    Jesus Christ, The One and Only Savior, our Kinsman Redeemer who ransomed us out of darkness and brought us into God’s glorious light;
•    The Holy Spirit, whose Presence causes dead hearts to come alive, perverse minds to be transformed.  and hopeless lives enflamed with God’s power;

The writer of Hebrews put it this way:

”Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe,  for our “God is a consuming fire.”
Hebrews 12:28-29

When we come into worship experiences with both authentic humility and hopeful expectations of meeting God, then get ready: all of heaven and earth can move as He reveals Himself to us as I individuals and as a church.

Sometimes His presence comes as a WHOOSH!

(Next week: The Whisper of Worship)

Blessings to you,

Chris