Changes in the Wind

By Bob Sorge

Part 1

Some portions of the Body of Christ are sensing a change in the winds of the Spirit in regard to praise and worship. The Charismatic Renewal witnessed an upsurge in vibrant celebration and worship. In the mid-80s, another wave of worship crested in the church as worship seminars proliferated, books and tapes on worship suddenly abounded, and the explosion of ministries like Integrity's Hosanna music caught the attention and appreciation of the international church. And now in the mid 90s, there seems to be another shift in the impetus of the Spirit.

This time the change that seems to be in the air is somewhat difficult to understand and label. We don't understand why, but for some of us, the forms of worship that we've employed for years are becoming less exciting. Something resembling boredom is creeping into our services, and we're realizing that the Holy Spirit is simply not energizing the forms of worship that were incredibly powerful in the Spirit just a few short years ago. One well-known worship leader told me he foresees a change in our "paradigm of worship." I have observed that ministries which nourished in the "praise and worship movement" are finding it more difficult to balance their budgets. What once seemed fresh and vital has become repetitive and at times contrived. How is the stream changing? Where is the stream taking us?

Recently, the Lord began to unfold some thoughts to my heart that seemed significant to understanding the times we're in. These thoughts are derived from the story of the "Triumphal Entry," when Jesus rode on a donkey into Jerusalem to the boisterous praises of His followers. I invite you to consider these thoughts:

The triumphal entry is an example of corporate worship. This was the first and only time in the earthly life of Jesus that a crowd gathered to praise Him openly and extravagantly. For three years Jesus had been telling His followers, "Don't tell anyone!" But now the Father was giving the green light: "Let them praise You, Son."

Jesus set the stage for this drama of corporate hosannas, He ordered up the donkey and rode upon it, inspiring the prophetic spirit of praise within those of His followers who understood this fulfillment of Scripture (see Matthew 21:2-5; Luke 19:38). In setting things up like this, and also by doing nothing to stop the praising crowds, we can easily say that Jesus was encouraging and aiding their praises. Something in His demeanor evoked pleasure in and approval of their praises, which only fueled the crowd's enthusiasm. And when His critics asked Him to rebuke the praisers, He made one of the greatest pronouncements ever on praise: "I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out" (Luke 19:40). Three years of wonder at the works of God are pent up in these people (see Luke 19:37), and when they realized Jesus was supportive, they literally burst forth with loud and high acclamations.

The praises of the people were audible, enthusiastic, uninhibited and highly expressive. Their praise was not only spoken, but also expressed very dramatically and visually in the way they spread a carpet of clothing and branches for the King's colt to walk upon (see Matthew 21:78).

Go to Part 2.

Copyright: 1994 by Morningstar Publications and Ministries. All rights reserved.

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