God is Awesome. The Edge was INCREDIBLE last night! Darrell Evans is great... a very powerful worship leader. Right off the bat, he said, "whatever you said you would never do in worship, do that." I knew I was going to like him! On the drive down there, Allie and Laci rode with me. We had a conversation about legalism and the lack of freedom many Christians seem to have. Once we got there and Darrell opened up with that comment, I knew God was going to speak. Freedom in worship was the theme of the night for me personally. It's not really what Darrell spoke about, but that's what God was speaking to me about. Darrell did say a few things on that topic, but the bulk of what he said had to do with meeting in a "secret place" with God because He desires to meet with us. Throughout the whole night, God's presence was just so thick. It was wonderful.
I was really quite excited to discover when we got there that it was STANDING ROOM ONLY! It was packed out! I wouldn't have had it any other way. I know personally I came with a goal in mind: worship. And that goal was fulfilled. It was such a great night.
The seven of us that had come together went out to Steak-N-Shake afterwards, since that is THE late-night restaurant. One of the guys said something in reference to worship that really kinda struck a nerve in me. It made me wonder if he and I had even been at the same service, since he obviously didn't hear the part about freedom from legalism. [The guys did sit out in the hall for lack of seats... it's not the same as being inside. I think they might have really missed out on some stuff.] I'm not sure if he meant his comment the way I took it, but I am certain that some of our slightly legalistic upbringing is still hanging on to him. Not really his fault, I don't think; he and I (actually all seven of us, for the most part) have had similar upbringings in traditional baptist churches and a baptist Christian school. Don't get me wrong, I love my church, as you know by now. But on certain issues they are still a little legalistic at times. His church is the same way. I just hope we are all able to hear the words of Christ above the words of our churches. While our churches teach the word of God, there are times--since we are human--that we live something that is slightly out of line. The "lived" messages are so much louder than the taught ones.
Anyway, back to the origional point, the worship last night was incredible. On the way home, Allison mentioned something that I had noticed, but I didn't really make the mental connection till she said something. She mentioned how during worship we seem to be opposite of how we are in our day-to-day stuff [but not in a hypocritical way]. In worship, she becomes quiet and more introverted; I become louder and more extroverted. She tied it in with something Darrell said: he said worship should make you uncomfortable at times because you are leaving your comfort zone. Normally, quietness makes Al uncomfortable. Normally, being loud makes me uncomfortable. But in worship, that's what God calls us to do. Thanks for the insight, Allie.
Freedom. It's a beautiful thing.
"Free me from the trap that is set for me for you are my refuge."
"I run in the path of your commands, for you have set me free."
"So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed."
"It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery."
"I will walk about in freedom, for I have sought out your precepts."
"In Him and through faith in Him we may approach God with freedom and confidence."
"Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free."
When I got up this morning and started my quiet time, imagine my excitement when the title read "Freedom from Legalism"! That was totally unexpected and completely awesome. The passage was Colossians 2:16-23. From The Message, it reads:
"So don't put up with anyone pressuring you in details of diet, worship services, or holy days. All those things are mere shadows cast before what was to come; the substance is Christ.
"Don't tolerate people who try to run your life, ordering you to bow and scrape, insisting that you join their obsession with angels and that you seek out visions. They're a lot of hot air, that's all they are. They're completely out of touch with the source of life, Christ, who puts us together in one piece, whose very breath and blood flow through us. He is the Head and we are the body. We can grow up healthy in God only as he nourishes us.
"So, then, if with Christ you've put all that pretentious and infantile religion behind you, why do you let yourselves be bullied by it? 'Don't touch this! Don't taste that! Don't go near this!' Do you think things that are here today and gone tomorrow are worth that kind of attention? Such things sound impressive if said in a deep enough voice. They even give the illusion of being pious and humble and ascetic. But they're just another way of showing off, making yourselves look important."
I like the very first part: "So don't put up with anyone pressuring you in details of diet, worship services, or holy days. All those things are mere shadows cast before what was to come; the substance is Christ." Let us worship God in spirit and in truth, and quit paying so much attention to what others are or are not doing. Rather, pay attention to what God is calling you to do, and DO THAT. Christ saved us so that we might have freedom. If we do not live in that freedom, are we not "wasting" our salvation? Do not make Christ's gift of no use in your life. Live in the freedom of Christ.