My friend Jody gave us this week’s Quote of the Week for Pastor Wrinkle’s Sunday Blog.
“We’ve traded Presence for atmosphere.”- John Bevere.
Do you agree with that? I think in some ways it may be true. When we become more concerned with the keys of a song than the keys of the kingdom, we have traded Presence for atmosphere. When we are more concerned with rhythm and melody than we are with the confession we are making we have traded Presence for atmosphere. And when we are more concerned with the look of the sanctuary than we are with the LIGHT IN OUR SANCTUARY, well then we have traded Presence for atmosphere.
Listen I am a worship pastor. I get paid to make sure songs are singable, the music is right and that the sanctuary is conducive to worship. I am not saying keys, rhythm, melody and good setting aren’t important. They are. But they are important for us not for God. They cannot bring the Presence of God by themselves. They can create an atmosphere that impresses men but by themselves they don’t impress God enough to make Him send His presence.
I want to speak about three keys that bring Presence over atmosphere. The first one I would like to address is holiness.
Hebrews warns us, “without holiness no one will see God.” Heb. 12:14. I know we tend to think of this in terms of our eternal destination (Heaven or Hell) but frankly it pertains to the here and now just as much. God’s presence can be blocked by unholiness in the church.
We like to think that when the music is good the Spirit of God comes and moves in our midst. Conversely we like to think that when the music is bad somehow that hinders God. The music though is not for God. It is for us. Can I just say God has better music in Heaven than we will ever have on Earth no matter how talented our musicians are. So our music good or bad will not impress Him. What does move God to send His presence is the heart of those worshipping.
A heart that is actively pursuing the things of God and turning from the world of sin attracts God and will bring a move of His Spirit. Meanwhile a heart that is embroiled in sin may be able with great musical talent to move the emotions of men but it will never be able to summon the Presence of God.
The Presence is what we need. Without it we have nothing more than an emotional high in worship. We must begin to seek greater holiness and the Presence will come in greater measure.