Sunday Circus?

A circus makes us ‘ooh’ and ‘aah’ by giving us a spectacle. There are noises, sparkly costumes, and bright colors splashed everywhere. It’s all designed to overwhelm our senses, a kind of sensory banquet that leaves us impressed. And, it works! We do not go to the circus to meditate and think deep thoughts about world peace. We go to see the elephants, the high wire acrobats, and the clowns tumbling as a diversion from the tedium of everyday life.

When you go to church are you looking for a circus? Are you content with loud music, novel presentations, and flashing lights? Or, do you desire a real moment of worship, an encounter with the Lord of Heaven? Noisy circus-like Christianity cannot change the world. Meeting with God will change me, you, and the world! Paul says that His Power ‘is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.” (Ephesians 1:19-22, NIV) That power flows from deep inside of us, from holiness of heart, and deep intimacy with God. The very things we often mistake for ‘spiritual revival’ – the grand productions featuring ‘God’s man of power for the hour,’ – can actually block an incredibly intimate, empowering experience of the Holy Spirit.

An old joke circulated among preachers relates that the pastor on reviewing his sermon notes wrote in the margins, “Point weak; shout loudly!” If we feel the need to rise to sweaty heights of emotional displays to cast down the strongholds of the devil, I fear the we have most likely fallen into circus-style religion. We have substituted the ‘still, small voice’ of the Holy Spirit with our amplified declarations, that echo meaninglessly into the caverns of evil!

Our desire must be for Jesus Christ, not a thrill of emotion. “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ. For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority.” (Colossians 2:8-10, NIV)
Read it again, this time from The Message: “Watch out for people who try to dazzle you with big words and intellectual double-talk. … They spread their ideas through the empty traditions of human beings and the empty superstitions of spirit beings. But that’s not the way of Christ. Everything of God gets expressed in him, so you can see and hear him clearly. You don’t need a telescope, a microscope, or a horoscope to realize the fullness of Christ, and the emptiness of the universe without him. When you come to him, that fullness comes together for you, too. His power extends over everything.”

Friend, don’t get taken in by the ‘show.’ Don’t let fast-talkers take your heart (or your money) away from the true Source of your hope and your power. Walk with Jesus. If you feel manipulated, pushed, pulled, or overwhelmed by a ‘ministry,’ that feels more like a circus: RUN- don’t walk- away! Find a place where they love the Spirit’s voice.

“The Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says, “Only in returning to me and waiting for me will you be saved. In quietness and confidence is your strength.” (Isaiah 30:15, NLT)

__________________________

Only In God

Only in God, is my soul at rest.
In Him, comes my salvation.
He only is my Rock,
My strength and my salvation.

Only in God is found safety,
When my enemy pursues me.
Only in God is found glory,
When I am found meek and found lowly.

My stronghold, my Savior, I shall not be afraid at all.
My stronghold, my Savior, I shall not be moved.
Only in God, is my soul at rest.
In Him, comes my salvation.

Author: Talbot, John Michael
Copyright: 1980 Birdwing Music (Admin. by EMI Christian Music Publishing;

Admin. by BMG Music Publishing) / BMG Songs, Inc. (Mech) (Admin. by EMI

Christian Music Publishing; Admin. by BMG Music Publishing) CCLI License

No. 810055

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