Categories
Christian Blog Prayer

A Tale Of Two Churches

The massive church, I visited while on a trip, was a sight to behold. The multi-acre campus was dominated by a circular building; one that looked more like a convention center than a traditional sanctuary.

The decor inside was just as grandiose. It was very “mall-like,” with lots of church folk wandering through a bookstore and lined up at a coffee shop.

Being a first time visitor, I decided to give myself plenty of time to find the sanctuary. I found it alright. It was a cavernous theater-style setup. I’m guessing 2000 seats.

With time to spare, I decided to wander around for a bit. Just outside the worship center, I noticed a single door with a sign that read, “Prayer Room.” Intrigued, I ventured in.

It was a comfy little nook, softly lit with trendy table lamps. The room smelled like fine leather furniture. But the most notable thing about this would-be-sacred space was what was missing: people. Unlike the bustling book store and coffee shop, the prayer room was empty.

I could hear the praise band warming up the crowd next door, but there was no one–this side of the wall–to warm God’s heart.


I heard a story about some Christians from the states who visited a large evangelical church while vacationing in Hawaii. It was ten minutes before the worship service but the sanctuary was half empty. Most of the regular attenders were in two large adjoining prayer rooms, lifting up their hearts to God.

The guests from the states found out later this was indicative of Polynesian culture. Many of the faithful at the church had been redeemed from a polytheistic background. Once, they had believed in many gods, but now they knew the one true God. For them, to come into His presence unprepared was unthinkable. “We need to set our hearts to worship God,” said one of the elders.

I bet the Lord came to THAT worship service!

Thank you for reading. 🙏❤️ prayers and love.

Categories
Christian Blog worship

Strike Up the Band!

My best friend in college went to a large high school who had a major cross-town rival. Each fall, the annual football game between the two schools was an epic event.

Game day at my friend’s alma mater was a sight to behold! The whole school shut down after lunch to hold a huge pep rally for the game. After a boisterous cheer fest in the gymnasium, all 1000+ students lined the hallways in anticipation.

“What’s going on?” I asked my friend. “Just wait,” he said. Sure enough, in a few minutes I heard the 85-member marching band coming down the main hallway blasting the school fight song. Everyone was chanting and cheering and shouting at the top of their lungs!

Yet amid such pandemonium, I heard God’s still small voice. As the band came into view, the Holy Spirit whispered, “I wish someone would do this for me.” And like the prophet Isaiah, I heard myself saying, “Here I am, Lord. I’ll do it!” (Isaiah 6:8)

At the time, I was the 19-year-old music minister at the little Baptist church where I grew up. It was a wonderful, loving congregation. But most of our worship services started at 11 o’clock sharp and ended at 12 o’clock dull.

I had no idea how to translate the atmosphere at the school into a church environment. We didn’t have a band. The only shouting was when one of the deacons called out an occasional, “AMEN!”

Over time I realized you don’t need to recreate the ambience of a raucous school pep rally to honor God. You just have to want to. True worship is a “pedal to the metal” reality—whatever form it takes. God seeks authentic, heartfelt praise. THAT’s what He wanted me to know.

“Shout with joy to God, all the earth! Sing the glory of His name; make His praise glorious! Say to God, “How awesome are Your deeds!” – Psalm 66:1-3 (NIV)

“O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together.” – Psalm 34:3 (NKJV)

Strike up the band!


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This piece originally appeared on Devotional Treasures as a guest post. If you don’t already follow Alan Kearn’s excellent blog, please check it out!