Revelation 7:9 begins one of my favorite passages of Scripture:
After this I saw a vast crowd, too great to count, from every nation and tribe and people and language, standing in front of the throne and before the Lamb. They were clothed in white robes and held palm branches in their hands. (NLT)
This is it, the beginning and the end – worship. Have you ever wondered what the Great Commission would look like when it’s completed? This is it! Every nation, tribe, and tongue – every people group – standing in the presence of Christ our King. That’s the goal.
I personally love worshiping with believers from other cultures, especially in their home countries. I can’t help but look around the room and think, this is it! This is a little glimpse of what it’s going to be like in Heaven. Those are some of the most treasured worship memories of my life. Yet I can’t help but wonder why that isn’t my usual experience back here in North America?
I don’t think it’s the environment – ours are so comfortable and carefully controlled. I don’t think it’s the theology – our pastors are so well trained and articulate. I don’t think it’s the quality – our worship teams are well prepared and extremely gifted. I think it’s our expectations. I’ve found that believers all around the world, in some of the most challenging situations we can imagine, expect to meet God when they gather in worship. And when they gather expecting to meet God, He usually shows up!
It makes me consider how I approach worship. Do I come because it’s a habit? Do I come because I think I’m supposed to? Do I come because it’s my job? Or do I come expecting to meet my King? Do I come with great expectations?
I love preparing mission teams to serve around the world for two primary reasons. First, they actively engage in some portion of the Great Commission as God works through them. Second, God also works in them. During these opportunities, most people experience God and the moving of His Holy Spirit like never before in their lives. Their expectations get realigned to a whole new level.
Pause and Reflect:
How do you approach worship? What is worship to you?
Consider the different aspects of worship. Which ones do you enjoy the most? Which ones do you think draw you closer to God. Which do you think pleases God the most?
As I watch this dynamic unfold, I see a whole new dimension of the worldwide Body of Christ. Our brothers and sisters around the world need our help as they battle disease, corrupt leadership, spiritual darkness, and physical poverty. We need their help as we battle spiritual poverty and apathy. They teach us how to come into the presence of God with great expectations.
Can you imagine what our churches would look like if the vast majority of us came together truly expecting to meet God in all His power and majesty? I can … we would have to arrive early to find a seat. The members of our communities would pile in to find out what is going on – people being healed, leaders serving others, relationships being restored, and generosity being poured out, all as the ultimate message of hope is being boldly proclaimed.
Can you see it? I can. It looks a lot like Heaven. It looks like a vast crowd, too great to count, from every nation and tribe and people and language, standing in front of the throne and before the Lamb. That’s it … that’s the goal!
So here’s the question: Do you have great expectations?
© Mission 78:72. All rights reserved. Used with permission.