Pastor's Blog

To worship is to bow down, to bow in heart and mind (and body) before God’s magnificence.  We acknowledge our smallness, sinfulness, and dependence and glory in God’s power, grace, and provision.  It is an act by the worshiper toward God.  The worshiper gives to God.  God receives the worship.

The evangelical worship “industry” born of the evangelical “Holy Spirit movements” seems to turn this complex of ideas on its head.  There is lots of talk about one’s “worship experience”.  That terminology, I think, reveals something.  The focus is what the worshipper gets out of “the experience”.

And usually what the worshipper is supposed to get is a “feeling (or sensing or experiencing) of the presence of Jesus (or God or the Holy Spirit)”.  This feeling, this experience, is supposed to bless the worshipper with spiritual strength or joy or empowerment – ‘good stuff’ from God that lets me know, not just that I believe things about God, but that I have really been in touch with God.

This certainly sounds like a worthy and wonderful end to be achieved, doesn’t it?  Feeling the presence of Jesus.  Who would oppose that?

A few questions…

Do any of the biblical writers make “feeling the presence of Jesus” a goal of worship, or a crucial aspect (or even a necessary aspect) of worship?

Is it more important that I believe in the presence of Jesus or that I feel it?

If I don’t feel the presence of Jesus, is it because Jesus is not present?

What does “the presence of Jesus” feel like?  How would you describe it?

Does “the presence of Jesus” feel the same to all who worship God?

Is it possible to think you’re feeling the presence of Jesus when in fact you are feeling something else?  How do you know when the feeling is the genuine article?

Can one worship God in spirit and in truth without feeling the presence of Jesus?  Is a worship experience devoid of the sense of Jesus’ presence defective?  Is it abnormal?

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