Today’s reading is Psalm 149.
I remember the first time I ever attended a church service with contemporary/rock music. I was in college and visiting my brother and sister-in-law’s church in Houston, TX. It sounds funny saying this now, but growing up in a traditional church where pretty much only an organ and piano were played, I felt like it was a sin or something to be hearing this kind of music and clapping in church. Little did I know that just under 10 years later we would move to Bloomington, IL and begin attending Eastview Christian Church. As we started going there, I began to think and reflect on this type of music being played there, too. I realized that I go to rock concerts and sing along and clap with excitement. Why shouldn’t I have the same type of energy and fun at church praising my Lord and Savior? I find it cool that Psalm 149:2-3 says, “Let Israel be glad in his Maker; let the children of Zion rejoice in their King! Let them praise his name with dancing making melody with tambourine and lyre.” I’ve written on this before, but the moments I typically feel closest to God now are in the church when certain songs are played. I think to myself, if this is what Heaven is like, it will be awesome and I can’t wait to get there and spend eternity. In fact, if you’re a regular Bible Journal reader, you have probably noticed I often post songs I feel connect well after my writings. I now almost exclusively listen to Christian contemporary music, and I would probably say it’s my main form of “worship.”
Am I saying this type of contemporary service is the only way church should be done? Absolutely not. As long as your church focuses on the Word as the one and only true source about God and follows its direction unequivocally, then it doesn’t matter how you worship. It doesn’t matter if it’s traditional hymns and organs or drums with clapping and arms raised, three-piece suits and dresses or jeans, shorts, and t-shirts. God only wants your praise and adoration in whichever way brings you to oneness with Him.
I am not advocating for any type of church service. What I am advocating for is getting out of your comfort zone and trying new things that may help you grow in your excitement, knowledge, and relationship with Christ. Ten years ago, I couldn’t imagine being in a contemporary church or a Bible study talking openly with others about the Word. Five years ago, I couldn’t have imagined having the confidence to do street ministry on a mission trip or reflecting and journaling on God…let alone writing about God where others would actually read it! As I write my last post for 2017, I can say that I was nervous and not confident in being a writer for Bible Journal. But, as other Bible Journal writers would attest to I’m sure, God is the writer, and we just hold the pen. I have thoroughly enjoyed writing in 2017 and have grown in ways I couldn’t imagine. I don’t have things figured out. I fail and am trying to get better every day. It’s always difficult, but I have to remind myself constantly that in order to be all God’s called us to be and to become closer to Him, we have to get out of our comfort zone to grow. No growth happens within our comfort zone. By getting out of your comfort zone, not only will you grow closer to God, but you might actually find you enjoy things you didn’t think you would or even find God has given you talents, gifts, and abilities you never knew you had! Who knows..as you read this you may even feel a tug on your heart to write for Bible Journal in 2018. If you do, let us know, and I’m sure we can find a spot for you! My prayer is that God helps each one of us grow closer to Him in 2018 in a way only He knows how.