Welp – there goes the season. It was fun while it lasted! For the first time in fourteen years my Raiders made it to the AFC playoffs in the NFL! Yes, they are MY Raiders – because a true fan considers themselves part of the team! There was so much hope and promise just a few weeks ago until our quarterback got sacked and broke his fibula, ouch! Then, it kinda all went downhill from there. It takes an entire team to win games, but when your leader, the one you know, trust and look to gets taken out; it makes an already tough situation nearly seem impossible. But that is another blog for another time.
Today I wanted to share something that this football season taught me. If you’re not even a sports fan, track with me because I still believe you can learn this valuable lesson along side of me. In my last blog I talked about the value of resting in the “game” we are participating in rather than the “seat” we are afforded in life. If you missed it, you can read it here to catch up.
There was a moment two weekends ago while I was watching the game, the moment Oakland quarterback Derek Carr (who had been having the best season of his life) was injured and was down on the field and awaiting help from his trainers and coaches. Suddenly the packed stadium of crazy face-painted and spikey-shouldered Raider fans literally fell silent. They were stunned, scared, worried. It was as if fear of the unknown swept across every seat and all they could do was stop and watch, and wait. In an instant, the entire crowd stopped engaging in what they were there to do in the first place – cheer, celebrate, connect, encourage, spur on. Then BAM – it hit me. This is what happens all too often when those within the body of Christ attend church. Yep, you heard that right. I love when the Lord takes me on a 180 to show me part of his heart.
You see, it amazes me how excited, rowdy, over-the-top, scream at the top of your lungs type celebration people offer up when they attend live sporting events. Yet when it comes to attending church, and participating in worshipping the Creator of the Universe, the Most High King, the Alpha and Omega, the Lord of Lords and the King of Kings – the vast majority just stand there, almost stunned in silence. WHAT! Why is that? Why are we so afraid to engage and celebrate the One from whom we are given our very life and breath? Are we embarrassed? Too cool for school? Apathetic? Too tired? We don’t like the music, or the platform set up, or the choice of songs, or it’s just not “our thing”? Or, is it that we are just so afraid of the unknown that we let our fear cripple us and we too fall silent. Honestly, I think it is a belief issue. If we truly believed the Lord is who He says He is, and can move in our lives as we desire Him to, then we would be shouting from the rooftops every time we had a chance. We would certainly be the biggest fan of all of ushering in the Kingdom of God, especially in a worship service type experience. Shouts of Joy. Acclamations of gratitude. Cries of desperation. Yells of frustration. The list goes on and on, but one thing I’m sure, standing silent, unengaged would not make the cut.
We believe Lord, help us with our unbelief! What would it look like if the next time you found yourself in church, during an opportunity to engage in worship, you just went for it!? No holds barred. Sang, shout, clapped and confidently participated as if your voice mattered. As if the chorus of you, along with all those around you ACTUALLY made a difference to the outcome of what was unfolding before you. What if you were Jesus’s biggest fan every time you were in church and nothing was going to stop you from letting the whole world know of your passion, love and crazy-fan type expression toward Him? I think it would radically change you, and the body of Christ. It’s an awakening we desperately need. Jump in! Engage! Don’t hold back! You will leave with a smile on your face and a hop in your stride because, unlike in football, every time you engage with worship and honoring the Lord, You. Will. Win.
I hope you’ll join me – Cheerin’ Free!