Have you ever wondered why many church services are comparable to a seemingly never-ending funeral service? I’m talking about church services that are cold, lifeless, boring, emotionless, powerless, predictable, … Need I go on? You know exactly what I am talking about. You’ve endured those types of services. I’m talking about services that have been so formalized and formulaized that its very life has disappeared.
A few weeks ago, I spent a Friday evening at a local Oktoberfest celebration where literally hundreds of people were enjoying the carnival rides, games, and native German food and pastries. And, of course, the native German beverage, beer, was plentiful. It was definitely a party atmosphere. It was easy to identify those who had enjoyed the beer in excess. Their exuberant, boisterous dancing was one for a YouTube video. They didn’t care one iota about what people thought about their celebrating. And, to be honest, very few people paid much attention to the inebriated partying. Why? Everyone knew that Oktoberfest was the place to throw life’s cares to the side and enjoy the moment!
The reason for this week’s blog subject is to challenge some sacred cows. I am convinced (are you ready for this?) that God LOVES an Oktoberfest-type Church. I know that this might seem radical. This is far from what we are seeing in most churches today. We all know that church is supposed to be a have-to-go, have-to-endure place, right? But that’s not the New Testament Church.
What was the Book of Acts Church like? There was absolutely NO predictability and starchiness to be found. You see, when the Holy Ghost shows up, He is life of the party. We see this in Acts 2. The bystanders who witnessed the 120 exiting the upper room were convinced that Jesus’ followers had been in a party. These Oktoberfest-type, Spirit-baptized believers were “intoxicated” on the Holy Ghost and didn’t care about the bystander’s opinions. This “happy hour” that we are still talking about some 2,000 years later brought over 3,000 people into the Kingdom.
Is this scriptural? You betcha! I love what my friend Mark Hankins teaches. Mark says that you will never find a sad or depressed Holy Ghost. The Bible explains that there is “joy in the Holy Ghost”. (Romans 14:17). When He is present, get ready for “joy unspeakable and full of glory”. (1 Peter 1:8).
I have some advice for you. If you are in a formal or formula “churchy” church … RUN FOR THE DOOR. It’s a great indicator that the Holy Ghost isn’t there. Or, if He is there, He is well constrained. Find a church that allows for “intoxicated” behavior. Be a part of a church that has removed the “churchy” straitjacket that’s limited the manifestation and demonstration of the Person who birthed the Church, the Holy Ghost.
I’ve written this blog to let you know that it is “happy hour”. If anyone asks if you’ve lost your mind tell them, “Yes I have and I don’t want it back!” It’s time to party and run, dance, shout, and clap your hands. Shuck the “what will people think” restraints. The Holy Ghost is here!