An Intense Worship Service

Now in the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen, a close friend of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. As they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” Then after they had fasted, prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them off. So being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia, and from there they sailed to Cyprus.

Acts 13:1-4

The worship service in Antioch that Sunday had been intense. They gathered, as usual, to worship together. They gathered, as usual, having fasted in order to hear clearly from the Lord. They gathered, as usual, to hear teachers and prophets expound on the Word of the Lord.

As expected, the Holy Spirit spoke . . . to everyone. The teacher and encourager called out. The teacher and encourager gone.

They gathered. They listened. They agreed. Antioch’s best, gone.

Imagine with me how a conversation between a husband and wife – members of the church in Antioch – went that night at bedtime.

“I just don’t know if the church in Antioch is for us, honey,” her husband said as he removed his socks before climbing into bed.  “I mean, what happened today, well, that was hard. It was, um, invasive. It scared me. I mean, what if the Holy Spirit does that to us next week? How can we hide?”

She rolled over and sat up against her pillow. After a few moments of calculated pause she asked, “Well, dear, what do you want to happen when our family attends a worship service on Sunday morning’s? Don’t you want to hear from the Holy Spirit? Don’t you want to get a Word from the Lord? Don’t you want to know if the Father is calling you . . .me . . . us to something?”

He hates it when she’s right. Despite his usual deep breath of disapproval and rolling over to turn out the light, he sighed an answer. “Well of course, I do. That’s why we go. But I have to be honest. I don’t know if this is what I signed up for. I mean, Saul and Barnabas – they had become part of us. Where do we go from here? Who is going to step up? And what happens when those who do step up get called away like what happened today?” He got out of the bed and started pacing.

“Do you hear yourself?” his wife said in a loving, but sharp tone. “When we became Jesus followers, we did so surrendering to His Lordship. He is in charge.”

“Well I know that!” he quickly inserted with stress in his voice.

“I’m not finished,” she said. “I don’t know what the Lord has for Saul and Barnabas next. I don’t know what He has for our church next. I don’t know what He has for us next. But I do know this. The way our children watched obedience today is what I want for them. The fear in my gut when the Holy Spirit spoke today is what I so need for my spirit. The way we came together and the energy that was present is what I long for. I’m scared too. But it’s a good scared. I want to know what He does next and what our next step is with Him. Don’t you?”

As usual, she talked him off the ledge. He crawled back in bed, kissed her on the forehead, rolled over and turned out the light. After a couple of deep breaths, he finally uttered the word, “Yes.”

What about you? Why do you attend a corporate worship gathering? What is it you want? If the Spirit spoke, would you recognize His voice? What needs to be adjusted in your Sunday routine, so that there are minimal, if any, distractions? When was the last time you went to a worship service, with a “good scared,” that the Spirit might do something intense?