That disease has invaded the church.
I'm bring the word to you today that American Christianity is as anemic as American Sportsmanship because it has become a spectator event. People don't golf, they watch it on TV.
Most people don't actually play sports events much any more. Even kids games are organized and controlled. The idea is if we didn't control them we might run the risk of someone actually making a boo boo. Or become free.
So we drag our kids to soccer games, controlled, monitored, directed. Doesn't anyone just pick up a ball and a bat and strike up a game any more? A pick up game? Without supervision?
NOPE. It's all controlled. It's a spirit. And when it's in the Church it's use of Jezebel to control and silence the move of God.
Now the Church and it's para church environs have become just like the sports world. We find ourselves dedicated to doing things according to principles with no chance of disorder. And people are drifting away from it. It's boring. Not mystery. No manifestation.
It doesn't work any more. People are voting with their feet.
Once, I was part of a great prayer movement which is still going on today out of Kansas City. Then it became platform centric. Open prophecies were discouraged. Then stopped. Open words in tongues quieted. I heard about a local church yesterday that only allows ordained prophets to bring a word in services. All others must stay quiet and spectate. Most of any prophetic words come from the worship leaders...since they have a mike. I racked my brain to think if any of the great prophets in the old and new testament were musicians? Aseph? Psalmist. David? Sure, but he was mostly King. Not prophet David. Song of Moses...Miriam? I guess. But, if you think about it, a prophet was a prophet and not a musician. Where did the idea of prophetic worship come from. Sure worship CAN be prophetic, but now it's to the exclusion of verbal prophecy.
Spectator Christianity today depends on the platform..speakers, controlled prophets, prophetic musicians. All good, in the place, but not good since it drives people into being only spectator Christians.
""Come hear this great speaker. Come hear this great prophet. Come hear this great worship leader."" All good....except it doesn't look a THING like the picture of the Church Paul defined as the "Should Be" for our gatherings in 1 Corinthians 14:
When did any worship service you participate in, conference, teaching look like that at all. Messages in tongues. Prophecies from several in the room, not on the platform. Now, I left the bit about women in, not that I agree with it, I don't, but for context and cultural relevance.
22Tongues, then, are a sign, not for believers but for unbelievers; prophecy, however, is for believers, not for unbelievers. 23So if the whole church comes together and everyone speaks in tongues, and some who do not understandg]">[g] or some unbelievers come in, will they not say that you are out of your mind? 24But if an unbeliever or someone who does not understandh]">[h]comes in while everybody is prophesying, he will be convinced by all that he is a sinner and will be judged by all, 25and the secrets of his heart will be laid bare. So he will fall down and worship God, exclaiming, "God is really among you!"
Orderly Worship26What then shall we say, brothers? When you come together, everyone has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. All of these must be done for the strengthening of the church. 27If anyone speaks in a tongue, two—or at the most three—should speak, one at a time, and someone must interpret. 28If there is no interpreter, the speaker should keep quiet in the church and speak to himself and God.
29Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should weigh carefully what is said. 30And if a revelation comes to someone who is sitting down, the first speaker should stop. 31For you can all prophesy in turn so that everyone may be instructed and encouraged. 32The spirits of prophets are subject to the control of prophets. 33For God is not a God of disorder but of peace.
As in all the congregations of the saints, 34women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says. 35If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.
36Did the word of God originate with you? Or are you the only people it has reached?
37If anybody thinks he is a prophet or spiritually gifted, let him acknowledge that what I am writing to you is the Lord's command. 38If he ignores this, he himself will be ignored.i]">[i]
39Therefore, my brothers, be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues. 40But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way.
We have allowed a spirit of lethargy born of spectatorship (sitting on the couch watching the game) to invade the church and it looks just like the ball games I attend from time to time. The loudspeaker tells the crowd to stand up and yell, sing along, chant na na na na, na na na na good bye. EXACTLY as we do in our church services. Lots of stuff up on the video screen.
I am about to fast any church service that demands I be a spectator. I will not continue to be part of any church that asks me to sit down, shut up and doesn't let the Spirit of the living God speak.
When I was first saved and filled with the Holy Spirit I was part of a great Church of a couple thousand in Fargo ND. Every service was unique. ANYTHING could happen. Sometimes in the evening services the room would be filled with so much electricity and freedom that we all expected Jesus to manifest bodily at any moment. We didn't want to miss it.
Messages in Tongues came from the congregation, so did the interpretations. Sometimes people from the congregation would call the congregation to the front or to their knees. There was a Holy FEAR of being out of order. Seldom did Pastor Dan step in and stop it. He encouraged the freedom. It was marvelous. To this day I think of that. Sometimes Elder Jeff would get up and ask everyone to pray in tongues, a strong tongue, to accomplish something in the Spirit. People would engage. The Jericho march was common. People were engaged. Sure it got a little ragged sometimes. It messed with the "Plan". BUT it was the power of the Holy Ghost in action that was released.
How long has it been since you have seen this happen from the congregation and not from the platform or the worship team? How long has it been since a roar came up spontaneously from the congregation and not because of cheerleading from the platform.
I know it can happen. It still does some places. But fewer than it used to be and we are poorer for it.
I tell you without fear from the throne of God: The Spirit of Spectator Christianity has to stop or Jesus will get out his pen and begin writing Ichabod over the doors of the spectator driven houses.
I'm not talking about the Mainline type churches here. They make no claim to being free or Spirit Filled. I'm talking about the Church in America that considers themselves the Holy Ghost Church who today the Spirit of God rebukes. By the Spirit I can report, Jesus says...STOP IT!
We MUST kill this spirit of Spectator Christianity in our churches. It's not the People in the Pews fault. THEY WANT to participate. It's leadership's fault. What if God wanted to use some Jackass to bring a clear word from heaven as he did with Balaam? He does. He has. He will. You probably have seen it. But, so what? Did anyone die? We need to Learn to judge and measure. Even this word.
That person would be set down in today's spectator Church. Or beaten as Balaam's ass was. Even threatened with a sword. Numbers 22
Let those who have ears, HEAR what the Spirit Says.