Amos 5:21 (NIV): “I hate, I despise your religious festivals; I cannot stand your assemblies.”
I grew up attending the “General Protestant” service of the Main Post Chapel at Fort Hood, Texas. We prayed. We sang. We encouraged each other. We listened to God’s Word. During those years we didn’t use technology to assist in the service, basically because it wasn’t available.
In recent years I have attended services that have lights, stage smoke, lots of amplification, multiple cameras, and huge videos of what is happening on the platform. The room lights are dimed to create a certain effect.
As I reflect on those experiences, I am fully convinced that worship of God can take place in those settings. I know this, because I personally have experienced worship. I firmly believe that worship begins in individual hearts based on a relationship between a person who has been marvelously saved by grace and God who gives that grace.
Not everyone experiences worship in very contemporary worship settings. I know those who simply cannot handle the volume or the videos and are therefore distracted from worship.
More concerning to me are those who come for the show. They enjoy the performance of those on the platform. They listen. They smile, but they don’t sing. They enjoy the show, but they are not worshiping.
Amos was an Old Testament prophet who observed that type of behavior at worship gatherings. The people attended, but were not worshiping God. As a result, God shared the rebuke, “I hate, I despise your religious festivals; I cannot stand your assemblies.” I cannot read people’s minds. God can.
As I experience worship opportunities in my own life, I pray that I can in every circumstance focus on God. He is worthy. I praise Him. I exalt Him. I want everything else to fade as I give my attention to my Lord and Savior.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, I want worship to be a regular part of my relationship with You. May I resist distractions. May I focus on You. May I be comfortable among lights and volume or out in a field where I am alone with You and Your voice.