Allow me to explain! I am certainly not lacking anything to post! It is simply time!! I could happily sit and post here all day, but as I am responsible for the church here in South East London, that has to be my priority. So I haven't forgotten the blog, there is much I am bursting to say (three more draft posts, and one over at the new blog After God's Own Heart) and it will come out as time permits!
Anyway, last week in my reading through the scriptures, I came to Psalm 84. Verse 4 says (in the NKJV), "Blessed are those who dwell in Your house; they will still be praising You."
There was a real mistake I made in previous years as a pastor. I was so desperate for passionate worship in the church that I must admit I put pressure on people. Of course, there is a place for exhorting people to draw near to God, but the exhortations had become heavy handed; I was almost looking for a charismatic "form" of worship (hands raised, dancing etc, etc) and (although I didn't realise it at the time) people were crushed. Many were feeling that if they didn't "perform" then they weren't accepted. The horrors of legalism!!
My problem was passion for a "form" of worship, rather than a passion for His presence. This verse is so key - those who dwell in His house (are tangibly in His presence), will still (other versions say "always", "ever") be praising. Presence leads to praise! Presence leads to passion and delight in God.
Dwelling in His presence leads to effortless praise. Of course we still have to choose to declare His praise, but His presence releases something in us. How can we be silent with such tangible power and glory around us? How can we ignored the beauty of the Lord?
His presence is everything! Ruth Heflin said, "The glory is not in a song - the glory is in His Presence".
Rob Rufus said, "God said to me when I moved to Hong Kong; 'Son, if you will live not to fill buildings with people but will live to fill people with My Presence then I will fill buildings with people full of My Presence'".
This is also a vital promise for our own personal walk. The key word is "dwell". What a wonderful word!! Not "visit" but "dwell". Most of us visit God's presence. We visit in corporate worship, or in our regular "devotions". But this verse says "dwell". And this is the norm of new covenant life. The curtain is torn in two and so we meet God on the basis of His finished work!! There is no work to be done to get in His presence!! We haven't got to be kneeling or bowing or talking in hushed tones. We haven't got to have our eyes closed. We haven't got to be in a church building.
The curtain is open, we can dwell in the house of the Lord. You can be in the house of the Lord at your desk at work, on a building site, fixing a computer, playing with the children, washing up, cleaning the house, digging the garden, walking the dog, going for a run, lying in bed, having a shower, painting a wall, driving a car, anywhere!
And the result of being in His presence - we will still be praising!! Always, anywhere, anytime. Praising in His presence!