Sunday, February 24, 2013

Black Coffee vs. Half-Calff, Peppermint Macchiato with Low-fat Whip Cream

I’m a man. Not a metro-sexual, hyper-sensitive, skinny-jean, manicured nails, poster boy. Don’t confuse me, I realize that we are all different, having unique personalities, gifts, tastes, and proclivities that create a cacophony of humanity. I also realize that I have a tendency to glamourize the true Renaissance man, the guy that can speak fluently using just the right words at the right time, play a musical instrument, be a crack-shot with a gun or bow and arrow, and have a physical demeanor that would make an enemy second-guess messing with him. You know, a well-rounded man, just the right amount of brute strength and cultural poise. The reason I am drawn to such is because they usually produce the greatest number of world-changing champions. However, these guys are not typically drawn to our current church environments. Why? Here is issue number 2.

The second characteristic that is has become mainstream in the current church model and that is oblivious to its leadership is the overemphasis on emotions. Although real men have emotions and know exactly how to use them and control them, they are NOT the lead! In most of our modern Worship Services emotions are the pinnacle of the Sunday experience. We strive for more and more emotive responses from start to finish! Let me explain my thesis.
The most important part of our Sunday Service is … what? Well, it’s NOT the reading of the Scriptures, the explanation of the text, the application of the message, or the giving of the tithe. We certainly don’t stand up and get excited about that part of the service! In my frequent travels I observe most congregants are very disconnected with the aforementioned elements of the typical service. See for yourself, the most important part of the Sunday morning experience is the song service. We all stand up for that part. Interestingly the only time the congregation of Israel ever stood up was during the reading of the Law (Nehemiah 8:5), not the song service! You see we are placing a higher value on music than God ever intended! We should be standing when God’s Word is read, displaying physical agreement to those precious holy words that are infallible, inerrant, and God-breathed. Today we worship music, which is why we now call music, “Worship!” The shift was subtle, but effective – men are less inclined to be involved in something that is mostly “emotive” and less substantive. Music is emotional. An emotional response only lasts a brief moment, and though it is important to include emotions in our service, it should NOT be the pinnacle, the apex, or the linchpin since it does not last. A changed heart, a changed mind will always outlast an emotional high. God’s Word is the tool that changes hearts and minds, not well performed, emotionally charged music.

Let me explain it another way. Instead of feelings-based activities, sound doctrine boldly proclaimed and connected to applicable, relevant opportunities should be the center of our Worship experience. Each worshipper should find as the highest part of the service the Word of God being connected directly to the daily applications in their lives giving them answers and mental pictures of how they can fulfill God’s will for their life. They should be given a vision, a calling, and a purpose for their special abilities, insights, and gifts. Men tend to find little opportunity for the exercise of their unique wiring. Few programs are offered that allows manly men to be given a challenge. For the modern Renaissance man, the disappointment is the watering down of the godly mandates of Scripture. We are so afraid to offend that we actually offend the very nature of the typical, practical-driven man. Real men want genuine facts, clearly and boldly proclaimed, and applications for their lives. In other words, these guys want their coffee black but we’re serving them some fancy party drink and wondering why they’re not happy.

More to follow.

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