Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The Rhyme of the Modern Parishioner

It happened in the vestibule

At ten one Sunday morn

A haggard-looking churchgoer

Sat plaintive and forlorn

Then suddenly he rose and found

A hungry-looking Christian

He took his hand, took him aside

And asked him a straight question

You know the Word,

You know the Book,

The promises are clear

But have you seen the Living God

Have you found Him here?

Have you experienced Holy Fire?

The Spirit in His Power?

A mighty wave, a rushing wind,

A flame that does devour?

Is there something more you’re seeking,

So high, so wide, so deep?

Do you find yourself frustrated?

Is church putting you to sleep?

Then listen well,

Your heart is right.

My tale I will tell

This story is your story too

And it’s your tale as well.

For 30 years I’ve been in church

Seemed like a good show.

But now I have to meet with God

Do you know where to go?

I’m trapped in mundane worship times

The praises have grown cold

The preaching’s dry and dusty

The teaching stale like mold.

Each service feels like a rerun

The songs all sound the same

The prophesies are so hollow

Not worthy of the name

Words more words they’re everywhere

But oh there is a stink

Words more words they’re everywhere

But none to make us think

We lack the Heavenly Presence

It’s clear we’re in a rut

I’m desperate for revival,

It burns within my gut.

I’m lovesick for my Jesus

So hungry for my Lord

Just longing for my Savior

God knows that I’m so bored.

Is there someone who can help me?

Whose touched the real thing?

A man whose heard from Heaven?

Who’s heard from God to bring?

Are there prophets burning with fires?

Servants who are ablaze?

Anointed and overflowing

Appointed for these days.

Do they carry the Spirit’s burden?

Breathe the Lord God’s breath

Are they set apart and holy?

Obedient to death

I hear the words of the Master

Come follow me, He said.

If some Christians go their own way

I’ll go with Him instead

Oh please don’t do as I have done

And waste so many years

Don’t wait and wait for endless months

Move on, outgrow your fears

Forget the twelve step programs

A seminar won’t do

You need a touch from Heaven

To fill you through and through

There must be change in your life

A work of God that’s real

Don’t fool yourself with warm clich├ęs

Don’t let the devil steal

Don’t miss out on God’s presence

Or let these hours pass

Don’t stop your soul from hungering

Get out of the morass

Dear friend, you are not crazy,

Dear saint, you are not mad

There really is a problem

It’s true you have been had.

There’s more, there’s more

Believe it

There is that place in God

There are holy visitations

New paths that must be trod.

Will you get up like old pilgrim?

And seek that better way

Will you go forth on that journey?

No matter what men say?

Will you go now out now?

And meet him and leave the crowd behind

Forsaking dead traditions if Jesus you will find?

It’s not in another meeting

A nicely packaged hour

Another harmless service

Devoid of Heaven’s power

It’s not in another teaching

Three points to fill your head

The Word is always vibrant

But this stuff is so dead

We need God to send His Spirit

To fully take control.

To transform every member

To come and make them whole.

Enough with man’s religion

Enough with earthly plans

Enough with our new programs

Produced by earthly hands.

Just then in strode the Pastor

His calling to fulfill

Just doing his weekly duty

Then he became frozen still

For astir was that parishioner

He grasped the preacher’s clothes

And grasped the preacher’s soul as well

And in that grasp he froze

Oh, Pastor, enter the prayer room

And shut yourself inside

Be emptied of competition

And crucify your pride

Pray for Holy Visitation

Just caught up alone with Him

Consumed with Heavenly Vision

That’s where you must begin

You won’t find him in a textbook

Buried on page 22

He is the Living God who acts

He wants to move in you.

It’s not only the Apostles

He’ll bless and send and use

He’ll saturate your own soul

If you will not refuse

So arise get up pursue Him

Jesus your true best Friend

He is worthy of devotion

He is faithful to the end.

Why should you starve on crusty bread?

And crawl along the ground

Your Savior is your Source of Life

Seek Him, let joy abound.

Renew your life, refresh your heart

Press in, take hold, pray through

Put first things first make God your goal

What else have you to do?

Your Bible schooling stole your zeal

Church life has drained you dry

You used to have such child-like faith

Now budgets have your eye.

You used to be so passionate,

So innocent and free

Now you’ve become professional

You’ll preach for a good fee.

Oh, set your sight on higher goals,

And not on dollar bills

Live in the light of judgment day

Ambition always kills.

Let Jesus be your daily guide

Put Him where He belongs

And soon His Presence will arrive

His Praise will fill your songs.

Simplicity will be your style

Devotion your new goal

Communion will become your aim

God’s Life will flood your soul.

Oh, take your eyes off numbers,

Church growth can be a trap

Go out and make disciples

Go out and bridge the gap.

Pour your life out for broken lives

Let God your heart break too.

Take up your cross deny yourself

Just live His will to do.

Wake up, be brave, be honest

Oh today oh hear His voice.

Be ruthless with your schedule,

Seek God make that your choice

You won’t find Him in your planner

No committee has the key

You’ll find Him when your soul cries out

There must be more for me.

There must be more than building funds

And sessions past midnight

And endless talks with leadership

Disputing who is right.

Somehow I know I’ve been misled

The model doesn’t work

I’m not called as an executive

Nor should I be a clerk

I’m called to be a man of God

A man whose Spirit-led

Healer of the sick and lame

Someday to raise the dead.

And with that cry

New life will rise

Your heart will be revived

Heaven’s light will flood your soul

You will not be denied

The parishioner then turned his gaze

Away from flesh and blood

He looked to Him who sends the showers

To Him who sends the flood.

Today oh Lord do hear our voice

And pour Your Spirit out

Saturate the thirsty ground

End the Spiritual drought.

Revive us with Your Presence

Renew us from Above

Touch the flock called by Your Name

Come fill us with Your Love.

Do greater works in our day

Than that which you have done

Bring the fullness of your Rains

And Glorify Your Son

That old churchgoer spoke no more

Another voice was heard

Yet not the voice of flesh and blood

It was Our Father’s Word

And if you listen closely

Beyond this little rhyme

You’ll hear the Father say

My children it is time.

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