by Sheila Lockhart
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One day, a man went to visit a church. He arrived early, parked
his car, and got out. Another car pulled up near him, and the
other driver told him, "I always park there. You took my place!"
The visitor went inside for Sunday School, found an empty
seat and sat down. A young lady from the church approached
him and stated, "That's my seat! You took my place!"
The visitor was somewhat distressed by this rude welcome,
but said nothing. After Sunday School, the visitor went into the
church sanctuary and sat down. Another member walked up to
him and said, "That's where I always sit. You took my place!"
The visitor was even more troubled by this treatment, but still
said nothing. Later as the congregation was praying for Christ
to dwell among them, the visitor stood, and his appearance
began to change. Horrible scars became visible on his hands
and on his sandaled feet. Someone from the congregation noticed
him and called out, "What happened to you?" The visitor replied,
"I took your place."
Isn’t it amazing how our programs and planned services can just move God right out of the service? I know that there is church protocol and that we are to do things decently and in order, but there are also times when the Holy Spirit must not be quenched. There are times when He wants to move miraculously in a service, but because we have to hurry up and get the second or third service in before they start to leave and go back home, the flow of the Spirit gets cut off.
I pray for a time when we can get to the place of allowing the Spirit to truly move. We have coined the phrase, “Lord have your way” while we are praising and worshipping, but are we actually desiring that? Or do we just want the service to hurry up and finish because our minds are so preoccupied with the rest of the plans for the day?
Saints, there are hurting people out there that are seeking healing. They want to know where they can find peace. The above story is a perfect example of how some people feel when they are visitors at some of our churches. I remember one time seeing a lady come into a church and she had the appearance of being on the streets. She passed by me and caught my attention and I smiled and spoke to her and told her God bless you. As others were walking about fellowshipping with other fellow members, she went and sat at a pew. No one else bothered to speak to her, for they were all caught up in how they were blessed with wearing that St. John suit or how they were blessed with that new Mercedes in the church parking lot. If that woman had risen up and said that she was Jesus Christ, it would have been a rude awakening.
We must allow the flow of the Holy Spirit to move in service for this prepares the way for the messenger. Pastors, I am not disrespecting your authority, but I beseech you, please be obedient to the voice of the Lord, if He says stop the service and have everyone lay prostrate before Him, then do it. If He says to minister on a certain issue, then speak that word in due season because there is someone out there who needs to hear it and there is healing and deliverance that need to take place. He took our place; now let’s keep Him in our place of worship.
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Yes it is truly sad that the "Church" seems to be the biggest stumbling block... makes me sometimes stop and listen closely to see if I hear the rocks crying out. May the Lord bless you always. .....JESUSPUPPY
What a beautiful article, it makes one think what our faith is truly all about. Sometimes the most important things get overlooked, just like in the parable of the Good Samaritan. (Luke 10:30-37) Thank you for sharing this with us.