“Come let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker…”
“Well, we definitely can say that it’s not true anymore that the Lord isn’t working in our adults.” This is what my wife said to me in our worship service after what we saw. I need to back up about 4 years.
As I write this, we are days away from releasing the final component of a 5-year project, a dream God gave me to reinvent college ministry, to make it “meaner, leaner and greener (or, more focused, less wasteful, and more fruitful, respectively). It’s a generational — as distinct from today’s institutional — model. We call the first application of this model “Recon”, short for reconnaissance, which is “strategic intelligence to prepare for a military operation in hostile territory”. The hostile territory most Christian high school graduates face is the university culture on college campuses. The military operation ought to be when these Christian grads enter college. But they’re getting picked off spiritually like fish in a barrel. At the same time, they’re missing what for most will be the best foreign missions opportunity they’ll ever have: reaching out to international students. The final component is our training curriculum for juniors and seniors. While this is helpful to set the background, I’m a little off the target.
After much research on youth, I did a survey of the kids in our youth group. One question I asked them was, “Without naming names, how many adults have a walk with God that you would like to have when you’re their age?” I had a general idea of what most kids thought about this overall, but I was shocked to read their answers: only one or two. That was it. One or two! In our church! And we have tremendous people as churches go. I thought, “Wow, even the great people we have and these kids still don’t want what they have!” Then I realized that if kids were adrift (at best) spiritually, that could easily account for their responses. Then there was what happened in church today.
We have a worship focus each week that centers on some aspect of the Lord. Our opening verse was Psalm 95:6, “Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker; for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care”. One guy not particularly known for his demonstrative flair said he wanted to begin the service on his knees. He calmly walked to the front of the room, got down on his knees with his face to the floor and began to call out to the Lord. Now, I realize this may be normal fare in some churches, and I’m sure at least some of that is genuine. But this was the real deal: tears, trembling, calling for repentance and enlightenment, asking the Lord for greater revelation of himself in our lives. I think everyone was gripped by that. The service clearly kept that tone.
Several men shared after that. One about how intricate and delicate God made us physiologically. Another shared about the healing powers God made/put in our bodies. Another about how God made the universe and all that is in it. Finally, it closed with our attention drawn to Isaiah 54:5 — “For your Maker is your husband—the Lord Almighty is his name—the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the God of all the earth”. The speaker made the following points progressively.
First, the Maker was not content to stick with just a Creator-creation relationship. No, he wanted more; he wanted closer: to be our husband. What does it take to be a husband? What is required in terms of time, energy, attention, service, leadership, communion, intimacy, and everything else? That’s God.
Second, our Husband’s name is the Lord Almighty, or the Lord of hosts, of uncountable numbers. This name conveys the sense of owning incredible quantities of angels, armies, etc. There is no rival.
Third, the Holy One of Israel is our Redeemer. Redeemer suggests that after God made us, and we didn’t work right, he didn’t throw us away and start again. No, he redeemed us; he fixed us, so that we would work they way he intended and designed us to work. And to do that, he had to be holy. If he had had any scintilla of ungodliness within him, he was unworthy of the cross. That is perfect love.
Finally, our Maker/Husband is God of all the earth, not just one of many gods. He is Lord over all. No question about it. How often do you bow down before him and kneel to him in worship?