Who is this Jamin guy anyway?
I am the husband of one and the father of nine. I was created to sing, to worship, to encourage, and to be steady. I am the Owner & Executive Director of Trinity Arts Center, a multi-disciplinary Arts Center in Eastern Tennessee, and the President of Trinity Arts Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization focused on funding arts education and performance. I've been involved with four music projects in my life -- Hot Pink Turtle, Spin Radio, Stand Like Stone, and of course, Jamin Rathbun.

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box_bible bible

Psalm 147:1
Praise the LORD. How good it is to sing praises to our God, how pleasant and fitting to praise him!

So... I wanted to follow up on yesterday's post with some additional thoughts about how our corporate and personal worship should consist of more than just an emotional response to (or through) music.

I consider myself to be a pretty "controlled" guy. Sure, I've been known to cry while singing or reflecting on a meaningful lyric. Yes, I like to consider myself to be a songwriter/poet/writer with the ability to convey passion, communicate honestly, and connect emotionally with an audience, however... I'm far from a "charasmatic" believer. I've never spoken in tongues. I don't lift my hands during praise (or prayer). I haven't participated (or seen) a healing. I don't dance in the Spirit. I don't laugh in the Spirit... I pretty much don't do anything "in the Spirit" except experience conviction and encouragement, usually in conjunction with the reading or hearing of God's word.

Now that I write that -- maybe I've stumbled upon some clarity. After all... What did Jesus say that the Spirit would do?

John 14:16-17
And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever -- the Spirit of truth.

John 14:26
But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.

Ok... So I'm sure my study on this topic is far from complete but -- where is the dramatic, outward, obvious, sweaty, emotional description of the Spirit's indwelling in us? Where is the experiential, emergent, relevent, action-packed, exciting worship experience? It isn't there. Jesus describes the Spirit as a "counselor" that "will teach" us and "remind" us what He (Jesus) had already said. That sounds more like the role of a teacher, rather than a cheerleader. Maybe not as boring as my 7th grade English teacher, Mrs. Snodgrass (her real name) but -- not very outwardly exciting.

Now let me back track a bit... I'm not saying that an emotional response to God is wrong, by any means. We should and will respond emotionally to God. What I question is this... Should we expect to experience some kind of abnormal or hyper-emotional event when we come to worship? I don't think so. First, based on the passages in John, that isn't what the Spirit does. Second, because I don't believe that our experience at church should all that different from our daily experience as we live life. After all, I never see Christians dancing or raising their hands while they're just out on the street, at least not while they are sober. = )

Does the Spirit turn off and on as we enter and exit the church? Is the Spirit somehow conjured up by good music or a catchy melody? Again... I don't think so.

So... What should we expect from worship? I'm not sure we should expect anything. I think God expects that we will praise, and honor, and glorify Him with our lives, and time, and money, and talents. In some cases, that may include some singing, but, most of the time, it's going to be done intentionally, in obedience to God, in recognition of His greatness and our smallness.

In most cases, I believe that authentic worship is going to "feel" quite a bit like sacrifice and maybe -- like work. Sure, as with tithing, there is a connection you feel when you're obedient. God definitely changes the heart over time so that things that used to "feel" like sacrifice or work end up feeling like blessings. For the most part though, worship will probably consist of unselfish (and un-natural) acts that will be difficult to do consistently and honestly.

That is where the Spirit comes in, not to hype us up with an experience, but to teach us and guide us and remind us what Jesus wants us to do.

Take a look at the passage below and tell me if you would dance or laugh or be entertained in the presence of the God described in this text.

Hebrews 12:22-25, 28-29
But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel. See to it that you do not refuse him who speaks... Let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.

I think my response would be to fall to my knees and cry out "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come."

Thank you Jesus.

© 2006-2010 Jamin Rathbun & Superdink.com. All rights reserved.
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