The universe [cosmos: beautiful order] was created for one purpose – to prepare a population for a New Heaven and a New Earth.
That new world will be populated by human beings, all carriers of the distributed manifold fullness of the nature and disposition of their Creator in physical bodies. They will be eternally joined together in a relationship which can now only be described in terms of the human body and its parts. By coordinated function, they will accomplish work beyond any single part’s ability or imagination, synchronized by the mind and will of a Head, whose thoughts and wishes are transmitted in specific dedication to the unique design and purpose of each individual part, in the coordinated function and movement of the whole Organism.
One illustration comes to mind – the huge animatronic apparatus created to extend the movement of a man inserted at it’s core, which gives the man super power and size to do work that only a huge pneumatic machine can do. Each part of the machine, in this example, has been built to fulfill a minute and specific part which is coordinated with all the other parts so that what you see is the movements of a man doing work but in gigantic dimensions proportionate to the huge work being done. A little boy playing with toy trucks becomes a monsterous machine stacking tons of containers onto a ship in the docks.
The parts of that machine are connected to computer programs and sensors which activate the parts, like the massive robots which now do the production-line work in the manufacturing industries. But this universe is connected with the very Heart and Mind of its Creator and is functioning exactly as designed… except for the product being made by this machine… Man.
Don’t let the mechanics of the organism ever obscure its message. Man is designed uniquely with a mind and will, not only mindlessly carry out a function it was made to provide as in the design of a machine. Man is being re-created with cognitive and decisive powers, which require the development of a free and independent will. That completed development, the ingredients required to independently choose and then to engage in intimate work with God against all obstacles, is the single purpose of this present time and space. Qualifying humans will proceed to the next stage of the process where a whole new set of antagonists will be faced. Every part of the audible, visible, tactile universe is built to support that process. They accomplish that mission because they in some way carry the character of something in God’s timeless reality, which is what we are ultimately being prepared for.
In this environment, this time, this universe many people gather for an encounter with God. Even with all the competition for our attention and our own manic self-obsession. Regardless of the religious trappings, liturgy and even the particular belief system, human beings have an inner homing instinct drawing them to seek something beyond themselves. CS Lewis writes to his friend Malcolm, that people “go to church” for the outside chance that they may have an encounter with God. And they simply tolerate all the other stuff. Though their sensitivities may bristle, their inner hearts don’t even take notice whether it’s their preferred “style” or not. They just put up with it, watching for Him.
Imagine that you, the reader, has qualified to proceed to the next environment – “Marriage Supper of the Lamb” or past that into deployment in the final battle to destroy all that contends with the Master-Plan or even into your position of leadership in the King’s rule of peace for a millenium…
In any of those three contexts – and to get right to the point, contrast our present age in the background – how would a Gathering sound and look? It would naturally, spontaneously facilitate and support the updating, redeploying encounter with the Head, the Mind and Heart which leads, thinks and beats in the breast of every one who gathers. BTW, in each of those environments, that HMH would be the PPL – Personal Presence of the Lamb. What would be the basic elements?
• CONVERSATION – Brief/Debrief, openly intimate, audible conversation with God, present by His Spirit in and through each person gathered.
• SEATING – Where would you be when He is in the room? If you are seated at all, you would be bunched around Jesus, in order to speak directly to Him while participating with every body else in conversation with Him.
• CONTINUITY – As with any conversation, greeting, salutation, recounting, proclaiming His centrality and the foundation for this live building, by corporal and single-voice song and spoken word from Scripture & submitted heart.
• WORD – In this age, at least [Jeremiah 31:34], we need preachers or readers for each gathering to stand and proclaim God’s Word in Scripture with insights given for the Body from Him in personal communion, with concentrated listening from all, with prepared heart to respond openly in obedience and worship.
• OPEN PERSONAL RESPONSE – Personal words and actions, openly expressing and carrying out the heart response to the Lord’s intimate revealing of Himself and correspondent exposure of our own hearts.
• OPEN BODY RESPONSE – Unanimous participation with that expression, those immediately around the person speaking, reach, touch and walk with them through that obedient, repentant response to the Word’s call to them.
• TRACKING – Worship leaders participating but also noting the conversational responses of the others and preparing to put the combined, core of the corporal expression of the Body (new song) to a melody so that all can sing it together added to new songs from previous gatherings as the conversational communion comes to its natural close.
• CORPORAL RECOVERY – Cells (3-4 who were spoken to and were responding in like manner) then gather round the ones who voiced the work of the Spirit in them, anointing and praying for each other in that specific issue until the Spirit brings a spontaneous release of victory, joy and celebration.
• DEPLOYMENT – “And when they had sung a hymn, they went out…” Matt 26:30
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SO, YOU STILL WANT TO BE A PASTOR, A WORSHIP LEADER?