Trying to get people to worship

by Larry Crabb

I sometimes wonder if the most serious mistake we make in our churches is trying to get people to worship. Robert  Webber puts it well when he says:

Worship is the response of the people to God’s saving initiative. The inner person receives God’s acts of salvation communicated in public worship with humility and in reverence, service and devotion.

The passion to worship needs an opportunity for release. The Christian longs for a chance to worship. But frenetic efforts to stir the passion produce only a shallow counterfeit. Both traditional and contemporary styles of worship provide that change when the worship leader has nothing of himself at stake and is therefore not trying to make anything happen for his sake. We must learn to structure the opportunity to worship, to re-create the even that stirs our hearts, and then get out of the way and let the Spirit do the work of drawing to Christ.

~ Becoming a True Spiritual Community, p.112

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Are our prayers a demand or a petition?

by Larry Crabb

We pray, asking God to hear our cry, pleading with Him to let nothing else go wrong. I wonder if sometimes the passion in our prayers reflects more of a demand than a petition. Frustration is excellent soil for growing a demanding spirit. It is therefore important that we handle difficulties well, allowing them to mature us rather than to push us toward demandingness.

“The beginning of a proper response to frustrating circumstances is a clear recognition of who’s in charge. To handle frustration by reminding ourselves how much God loves us is a good second step, but not the first one. We must take our place as a creature before our Creator and then explore the wonder of our Creator’s loving character. An awareness of God’s love casts out our fear, but subjection to His authority deals with our demandingness.

Inside Out, P 148

Spiritual community is always a miracle

by Larry Crabb

Spiritual community is always a miracle. It cannot be programmed into existence. It will never be successfully scheduled to take place on Tuesday evening when the small group meets. Yet we still try to manage community. We end up settling for either an occasionally convincing counterfeit of community, where all that’s missing is the Spirit, or we lose hope that we’ll ever experience the real thing. And, of course, we won’t — not as long as we stay in control.

Becoming a True Spiritual Community, p. 165

Church was designed by God to be the dance studio

…church was designed by God to be the dance studio.  A gathering becomes a church when a group of Christians together hear the music of heaven’s party and the laughter of God enjoying Himself and begin awkwardly dancing with the Trinity into the relationships and circumstances of life in order to bring heaven’s way of doing things to earth.

Real Church, Page 15

Healing community

by Larry Crabb

Healing community does not depend on getting people to do what’s right or on figuring out what harmful psychological forces are causing us problems and then trying to fix what’s wrong.

A community that heals is a community that believes the gospel provides forgiveness of all sin, a guaranteed future of perfect community forever, and the freedom now to indulge the deepest desires of our hearts, because the law of God is written within us–we have an appetite for holiness.  Communities heal when they focus on releasing what’s good.

Connecting, P 38

A certain type of “community”

Larry Crabb, Connecting

Maybe there is something to enjoy about being Christian that passionate, something so good that we really can regard our struggles unworthy of comparison not only with what lies ahead but also with the glory of our journey in that direction. Maybe the key has much to do with companionship on the journey, with a certain kind of community that bands together to scale the ragged peaks

The most powerful thing we can do to help someone change is to offer them a rich taste of God’s incredible goodness in the New Covenant. He looks at us with eyes of delight, with eyes that see a goodness beneath mess, with a heart that beats wildly with excitement over who we are and who we will become. And sometimes he exposes what we are convinced would make him turn away in disgust in order to amaze us with his grace. That’s connecting. When we connect like that, it can change people’s lives.

Only a worshipping community will ever become a connecting community

by Larry Crabb

. . . I would affirm, strongly, that only a worshipping community will ever become a connecting community. We must meet God before we share Him with others. A group of people who first connect with God and then pour into each other the passions that gush out of the encounter becomes a spiritual community.

~ Becoming a True Spiritual Community, p. 164